Trace of Ink
By Zale_Valrez
Date: June 2, 2022
Ch. 1Prologue

On a cold, lonely night, on the street filled with silence, a girl stood firmly right beside a rusty lamppost, unmoved. A soft wind blew her pale cheeks, some hair strands danced with its calm beat, she loosened the tight grip of her hands as a tear escaped, which she wiped violently. 
A silent fury was suffocating her, the cold breeze of the wind had nothing to aid her aching lungs. As she held her balled fist into a firm grip, her nails dug into her palm. When a sound of a vehicle entered her ears, she slid both of her hands inside the pocket of her jacket, hadn’t paid attention to how red it was. And took a huge breath to calm down her horses. 
She raised her right hand three o'clock angle and a bus stopped, someone went down. Too distracted with her flooded emotion to the point that she forgot she was actually at a bus stop. She hurriedly slid her hand in again and disregarded her burning cheeks. She was embarrassed and bit her inner cheek.
She silently took the only vacant seat between a pregnant woman and an old man. The old man was snoring irritatingly while the pregnant woman was looking at her intently. Soon the man right beside the window reached his destination and she took his seat at once.
As she zoned out, a strong thunder startled everyone except her. She seemed hypnotized by the multiple drops of rain sliding down the window glass. All her attention was on the single drop of rain that was slowly tracing its path down as her tears slowly ran down her cheeks. No one noticed it since everyone was half asleep. Soon the rain stopped falling, she immediately wiped her tears. 
The next stop was an unknown place to her, yet she decided to go down after paying. A girl with a slender body in a denim jacket was carrying bags. Her theory was, that girl with baggage would rent a new apartment. She took a vehicle with three wheels, so as she is. 
She silently followed her, secretly praying that her theory was right. Fortunately, her theory came into being possible. They stopped in front of a small building. A three-story building with three rooms for rent on each floor. Painted with dirty white with a red roof. 
"Good evening, madame. I didn't expect to be this late heavy traffic caught me. I deeply apologize, " the girl spoke. 
"Not a problem, my dear. Here's your key, number five. Peter will help you out with that baggage." She lively answered and handed her the key. 'She must be the landlady', she thought. Before the landlady could get in, she hurriedly approached her. "Excuse me, madame." Her voice broke since her throat was awfully dry.
"Yes, my dear." Answered by the landlady with a full smile on her lips, revealing her perfect teeth.
"Do you still have....uhm a vacant apartment?" 
"Lucky you! Of course, come on in. Let's talk about it in my office,” she exclaimed. And held her duster to lift it a bit so she could take a huge step. "Sorry for this, we'll fix this as soon as we can." Pertaining to the broken bricks of their stair. As they entered her room the landlady started talking about everything. 
"It's obvious that my apartment wasn't big or ideal for families so I only accept alone tenants as much as possible. For a small town, my Apartment was barely rented, not until now. You got the last vacant." She offered her water and a chair, and the girl gratefully accept the water. Then hesitantly took the green plastic chair, it was uncomfortably cold.
"Thank you.” Yet she thanked her while checking the whole place, she almost jump off when her eyes fell on the lady’s curious face.
"I've never seen you before, are you moving for good?" Asked the lady and she put her glasses on. She nodded shortly and looked away.
"Can I see your ID?" She asked while flipping the pages of her book, she lift her gaze to the girl when she didn't hear any response. The timid girl shook her head and her smile immediately faded. "And why is that?"
"I don't have an ID with me." She looked down at her black hooded jacket and her denim jeans. 
"How about tomorrow, can you bring it tomorrow? I'm sorry dear, I don't just accept random tenants. I hope you understand." 
The girl took a few blinks and slid her hand into her pocket. "I need the apartment now, I hope you can give this to me. Here's my down payment." She placed the thick blue cash on the table. 
The lady eyed them like a hawk, grabbed and counted them. "Well, we can talk about it." She carefully slid the fifteen thousand pesos inside her pocket. "What's your name, may I ask, honey?" Her sweet smile and graceful movement instantly lift the tension. 
"Fera Luzares."
"What a pleasant name, sounds like Pera a Tagalog(Filipino Language) word that means money. " The landlady spoke. "And how old are you?"
”Such a fine young lady-” she was cut off by Fera's loud yawn. “Your sleepy and tired, I presume."
"Pardon me." 
"No worries, here's your key. But never forget to drop your ID next time, alright?"
"Thank you so much." 
"Ahm, I forgot something."

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