Chapter -1 Strawberries are scary
There was a large crowd in the Gumta bus terminal; the terminal alone was as large as two football fields place side by side. The reception area boasted a large electronic board that showed the bus schedules, not to mention a huge map of the terminal.
There were different kinds of people from different walks of life in the area. Some had little possessions since they would only be riding the bus for 30 minutes or so to go to the mall and some carried large luggage to travel to another city or two.
One of them was a woman in her mid twenties. She had an annoyed look at her face as she look at her surroundings.
“Why the hell is she taking too long?”
Her arms were crossed in front of her chest as she stood with her feet wide apart. She had already memorized the layout of the terminal base from the giant map in the wall at the opposite side of the building and familiarized herself with the bus schedules which showed how long they were already waiting.
“M-maybe there is a long line in the toilet Ralia-neesan.”, her companion replied carefully. She was sitting on the bench together with their luggage. Nobody dared to join her in the bench; the surrounding people were even giving them a wide berth while taking uneasy glances at Ralia. All of them felt that it wasn’t a good idea to mess with her.
With her posture and expression of displeasure, one could imagine an army sergeant waiting for his platoon to finish their exhaustive training, only to be verbally abused for being weak and worthless then ordered to do the training again. And again. And again.
And she was only irritated; just wait until they see her full blown anger. It would be like watching a volcano erupt!
Not that anybody could blame her. The bus they just rode on had a flat tire so their arrival was delayed for an hour, which in turn made their reservation in a hotel invalid and worse still, they haven’t had their lunch yet. They were late, hungry and without a place to sleep. She didn’t want to be near her sister when she finally explodes in anger, she would run as fast as she can if she could. Isn’t that what they do if volcanoes erupt?
“This is all your fault Nydia!” Ralia said in annoyance.
“Eh? Eh? Ehhhhh?”
“You should have learned how to drive.” Ralia said as she shook her head in disappointment. “With a car, we wouldn’t have to follow this stupid bus schedules. Not to mention we could save time and money. The cost of gasoline is nothing compared to the travel fare we spent. This is definitely your fault, you useless brat!”
Nydia had a dumbfounded look on her face as she nervously spoke. “O-oneesan, I’m only 15. I’m not yet allowed to dri-”
Ralia turned her head to give Nydia sharp look. “Ha?”
“Eeep! N-nothing!” Nydia immediately replied as she felt that her sister’s irritation go to another level. She wanted to cry. It wasn’t her fault all of this was happening but as usual her sister had managed a way to blame it all onto her. The other people in the surrounding were giving her pitying glances. One guy even pumped up his fist and mouthed, “You can do it!”
I should have run away like Ayna-neesan. Although….. It’s still not too late.
“Um… Ralia-neesan,” Nydia carefully said as she watched her sister’s facial expression. She could hear the audible gasp of the other people who thought she was either very brave or just very stupid. “Do you want anything to drink while we wait? a Soft drink, juice, tea or coffee? Oh! I think I heard someone say that they have strawberry smoothies here.”
Nydia saw Ralia’s expression change from irritation to excitement in a split second when she heard the word strawberry. She inwardly sighed in relief but immediately regretted letting her guard down for a second. Her sister faced her and began to look at her below her nose.
“Do I look like I’m thirsty?” Ralia said in a cold voice. “Yes, I’m starving. Yes, I’m tired. And yes, I’m pissed off as hell. BUT do I look thirsty?”
“N-n-no” Nydia flinched as she watched her sister walk towards the bench she was sitting on. The guy who gave her a fist pump earlier had his palms together and looked like he was praying for her safety. She literally wanted to run for her life right now. That or she could try to get down on her knees and beg for forgiveness. Either way it wouldn’t appease her sister but at least it would lessen her temper.
Then a pile of bills was shoved to her face, she stared blankly at the cash then to the hand that was holding it and lastly at the owner of the hand who watched her slow reaction with irritation.
“Hurry and take it, you useless brat!”
“Strawberry smoothie for me but be sure to check if they use powdered strawberry, strawberry syrup, or frozen strawberry. I don’t like strawberry syrup; it tastes like medicine; if they have strawberry-yogurt smoothie, then the better. Be sure to buy chilled milk tea for Ayna with pudding as its toppings. If they don’t have pudding better just leave it as plain milk tea. She doesn’t like those pearls anyway. Just buy whatever you want, that money should be more than enough.”
With the end of the barrage of instructions Ralia sat beside her younger sister. Nydia couldn’t help but exclaim, “But you said you weren’t thirsty Ralia-neesan!”
“Humph! I’m not!” Ralia said as she avoided her sister’s eyes. Nydia could see the blush on her sister’s cheeks as she pretended to be interested at the map again. “But it looks like you really want to drink something! It can’t be helped. It’s because you don’t listen to me, I always tell you to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day but do you listen? Nooo, useless brat!”
Nydia felt the tension leave her body. When her sister acts like this that means her mood had improved.
Strawberries are scary! How could someone who is ready to bite off someone’s head off earlier suddenly change into some teenager who pretends she doesn’t like a guy when in truth she really has a huge crush on him.
“Well? Why are you still here?!” Ralia said as she taps her foot on the floor. “Run! And be back in five, no, three minutes.”
The terminal was not that large but considering that this was the first time they have ever been in this place, Nydia had absolutely no idea where to find the exit let alone the food stalls.
“Two minutes and fifty-seven seconds.” Ralia said as she looked at her wrist watch.
Nydia ran. Life wasn’t really fair. Whether her sister was in a good mood or in a bad mood she would still make her life miserable. She wanted to cry but surely the tears would blur her vision causing her to be unable to see her surroundings thereby not finding the food stalls in time.
Nydia took out her phone that rang with the sound of meowing cats as she slowed her pace into a brisk walk. That was the ringtone assigned to her older sister Ayna. She opened the message with an attached picture.
It was a picture of a large mirror with a girl who covered her face with her phone. There were bathroom stalls in the back and a line of sink in the front.
Selfie at the Gumta Bus terminal. (≧∇≦)/
Nydia knew she already ran quite a distance but she swear she could hear her Ralia-neesan’s voice screaming, “AYNA! I’LL KILL YOU, YOU USELESS BRAT!”