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I didn’t recognise you without the handcuffs

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Zazzalil was bored. Extremely bored. They always tell you not to get arrested because it’ll go on your permanent record and make it harder for you to get a job later on in life, but really, you shouldn’t get arrested because it is so boring.

She looked up at the clock. She’d already been here an hour and a half, and nothing was happening. She rocked back on the chair, her handcuffs chafing her wrists as she moved. The officer who had arrested her clearly wasn’t having a good night.

A male officer entered the interrogation room.

“Miss Forebranner?” He asked, clearly tired. It was 3am though, so what could you expect.

“That’s me,” she replied, sitting up.

“You are aware that you have been arrested on multiple cases of arson all over the town, correct?”

“That’s what the guy arresting me said,”

“Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

“Yeah, I didn’t do any of them, except the one you guys caught me setting,” she spat, already done. Sure, this guy was being nicer than the other one had, but it was late, and Zazz needed some caffeine.

“That brings us to our next point, what we’re you doing out in the middle of the night setting fire to a pile of trash in a bin?”


He sighed, clearly tired.

“You’ll stay here for two days unless someone pays your bail, I’ll get someone to move you to your cell.”

He left, leaving Zazzalil in the room on her own, again.

Sure, she liked being on her own, but it got hellishly boring, especially in a grey room where the only furniture was a metal table and two metal chairs.

It wasn’t long before a much younger female officer entered the room.

She was tall, and had curly brown hair, cut off just above her shoulders. She looked well put together, especially for the night shift where most of the people coming in were drunk, or high off their asses.

The woman looked at Zazzalil, causing her heart to skip a beat. Her eyes were a honey brown, and they seemed to draw Zazzalil in even more.

“Hello? Are you even listening?” She asked angrily.

Zazz refocused her attention, “sorry, I’ve been here for ages and I’m exhausted, what did you say?”

The officer rolled her eyes, but gave Zazzalil an empathetic look. “Follow me to your cell, and I’ll get you some coffee, from what I’ve heard, they’re not the most comfortable places to sleep.”

Zazzalil smiled at her, and got up, following the officer to where the cells were.

They walked along until they found an empty cell.

“I’m not supposed to put you in a cell on your own, but seeing as you’re not drunk or high, I thought I’d make an exception. Don’t tell anyone though, I could lose my job,” she laughed, and Zazz couldn’t help but chuckle a bit too.


Jemilla started her shift at 11pm. She was stuck on night duty. It was often boring, the same kinds of people coming in constantly. Drunk old men, teens on drugs or drunk, y’know, the sort of people that hung out at night. She was prepared for a normal shift, until she came in.

A girl, around Jemillas age was dragged in, kicking and yelling, her hair tied back messily with a bone hair clip keeping it in place. Her hoodie was burned, and it looked like her hands were too.

Jemilla watched intently as she was dragged into the interrogation room.

“What was that about?” She asked to her coworker who had just dragged her in there.

“Arsonist, and a feisty one at that,” he said.

Jemilla laughed at that.

“What’s the plan S.B?” She asked.

“Leave her in there for a bit, then get Ducker to talk to her,”

“Cool, exciting night then?” She joked. The night team was all close. Ducker, S.B. and Jemilla had all been friends since primary school, Ducker and Jemilla being adopted siblings. The boys were three years older than she was, but she refused to let that stop her from being captain before either of them had the chance.

The other two people on the night team were Emberly and her boyfriend Grant, though everyone called him Grunt to annoy him. Sweet couple, but often distracted by each other. Grant was constantly doodling pictures of her and leaving them on her desk while sorting paper work. Emberly was always bringing in baked treats and sharing them, mostly with Grant. It was sweet, but distracting. Lucky for them the night was easy, drunk people were often easy to subdue if you knew what to do, and tasers were rarely used, especially inside.

An hour and a half had passed since the girl was brought in, and ducker came and sat on the desk where Jemilla was working.

“Hey Milla, what’s up?”

“Nothing, aren’t you supposed to be working,”

“Finished all my work.” He smirked.

“What about the girl in interrogation room three?”

“..shit” he ran out, into the interrogation room.

He came out ten minutes later.

“Well, she confessed to one fire, and we have no evidence she set the others, Milla, you take her to her cell.” He said, rubbing his head, obviously sick of that girl. Jemilla dreaded to see what she was actually like.

Surprisingly, the girl was nothing like how Jemilla had expected.

She was nice, kind of flirty, and definitely tired. Not the kind Jemilla usually hung around with, but she was oddly drawn to the arsonist, she even ended up buying coffee for her.

At 8am when Jemillas shift was over, she was sad to say goodbye to the short girl. They had sat talking for a couple hours, drinking coffee, and yelling stories. Jemilla found out her name was Zazzalil, a name that was slightly familiar, but maybe she was just tired.

Jemilla was just leaving when a blond girl ran in, looking about as dishevelled as Zazzalil had.

“Hello, officer, do you know where I can pay someone’s bail?” She asked.

Jemilla nodded, pointing over to where Ducker was sat, talking to S.B. The girl thanked her and ran off.

When Jemilla got home, she looked up Zazzalil on Facebook, and, unsurprisingly, her account was not private at all. She looked at some of the photos. Silly selfies, random pictures of the streets at night, and then one that caught Jemillas eye.

Zazzalil, with the girl from earlier and a couple other familiar faces, posing after their last GCSE test.

Jemilla and Zazzalil had gone to the same secondary school. Zazzalil was a nickname she went by.

How had Jemilla not noticed? It had only been 2 years since they finished GCSEs, and it wasn’t like their school was that small.

Jemilla fell asleep, her laptop still on with Zazzalil’s Facebook page still open.

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Zazzalil recognised the girl immediately, they had been in school together for five years, but she didn’t recognise her at all. Maybe that was a good thing, they hadn’t exactly gotten along in secondary school, Jemilla often being the reason Zazz ended up in the head teachers office.

It still hurt that someone she had known for years didn’t recognise her. S.B. did, they had been somewhat close during her first and second years, until he hung out with Ducker more often, and focus on his exams. After she started year eight, he was determined to become a police officer, and Zazz didn’t know what she wanted to do. Well, that wasn’t entirely true, she did know what she wanted to do.

She wanted to be lazy, not have to work, and look where it had gotten her.

She sat down in a back ally, next to the apartment complex her friend Keeri lived in.

After Keeri had bailed her out, she had to go to a dance thing, leaving Zazz alone. She would have let Zazzalil stay in the apartment, but her roommate was home, and she and Zazz didn’t get on too well.

The floor was cold, and the ally smelled bad, so Zazzalil got up, deciding that she would hang out in the park.

Due to the fact that it was before four on a school day, the park was pretty empty. Elderly people walking dogs, university kids and teenagers ditching school were the only people around, and even seeing them was rare.

Zazzalil sat down on a bench, pulling her notebook out from her bag. She started to work on a new idea for something. Zazz was full of ideas, not many she could actually build, but maybe she could sell them off to an engineering student for money.

A few hours past, and the after school lot had come and went, leaving the park deserted again.

Zazzalil fell asleep on the bench at half past six at night, using her backpack as a pillow, and her hoodie thrown over her small body to protect her from the cold night that was sure to come.


Jemilla checked the clock, only 8pm, meaning she still had three hours before her shift, and so decided to go on a run. She went her usual rout, past the museum and into the park. It was empty, like it usually was this late at night. She wasn’t on duty, but marked down all the suspicious behaviour she saw in her head, reminding herself to go check those spots out later to see if anything had gone down.

Out of all the things she was expecting to see on her run, a girl asleep on a bench was not one of them.

She lightly shook the girls shoulder, trying to wake her up.


Zazzalil woke up with a start, shoving a knife in Jemillas face.

Jemilla, acting on instinct, disarmed the girl, and grabbed her wrists, making sure she couldn’t grab the knife again.

“Hey, what the hell?” Zazzalil said, glaring up at Jemilla.

“Zazzalil?” Jemilla asked, confused.


“Why are you sleeping on a bench?” Jemilla asked, letting go of Zazzalil’s wrists.

Zazzalil shrugged and pushed her hoodie and knife into her backpack, sitting up.

“Zazzalil, it’s my duty as a police officer to help those in need,” Jemilla looked worried.

“Cool, but you’re not on duty, and I’m not in need,” Zazzalil snapped, getting up.

“I noticed you changed your name legally, didn’t realise how much you hated being called Elizabeth,”

Zazzalil laughed “so, you do remember me then?”

“You may have changed, but it’s hard to forget a friends old best friend,” she shrugged. “So, you gonna tell me why you’re sleeping on a bench?”

“My, uh, roommates out at a dance camp for a couple weeks and I locked myself out,” she lied, fiddling with the straps on her bag. She was happy Jemilla remembered who she was, even if it was just because of S.B.

“Well, if she’s not gonna be home for a couple of weeks, you can stay at mine. I usually work night shifts so,” she shrugged. It wasn’t like she was bringing in a stranger.

Zazzalil looked up. “What’s the catch?” She asked. It wasn’t angry, just a genuine question.


“The catch, what do you want in return? Money? Drugs?”

Jemilla cut her off. “Jesus no Zazzalil, I’m just offering you a place to stay cause you look like you could use it,”

Zazz looked genuinely surprised at this. “You serious?”

“Yeah, come on. I have to be at work in about two hours, but I can probably cook up some food and sort clothes out that you can borrow that won’t be too massive on you” Jemilla started rambling.

Zazzalil stood up and hugged her, causing the taller girl to stop, shocked.

“Thank you,” Zazzalil mumbled into Jemillas running top.

Jemila awkwardly patted Zazzalil’s head, not sure what else to do.

When Zazz pulled back, her eyes were slightly red, and there was a damp mark on Jemillas shirt, but she decided not to mention it in case she embarrassed her.

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Zazzalil had never really gotten along with her mother.

Zazzalil’s dad had died while serving in the military, causing the young girl to rebel against any authority she met. Teachers, parents even the police. She snuck out of the house late at night, causing mayhem in the small city. By age 16, she had so many marks on her criminal record, no sixth form in the area would take her, and no one would let her apprentice.

She got a part time job at McDonald’s, but got fired not long after.

Her mother kicked her out at 18, not wanting to be responsible for the young girl any longer. Zazzalil acted like she didn’t care, she never cared about anything. No one saw her cry when she got the rejection letters from collages and 6th forms, it wasn’t like she actually wanted to go into a career in engineering.

It took her six months living out on the streets of her small city for her to finally tell her best friend what had happened. She cried all night, and slept in her friends apartment for a month, until her room mate got sick of her and made her leave. Zazzalil still slept over often, but made sure not to annoy the room mate, too much anyways.

She didn’t care, and often did things that were dangerous, not caring if she got hurt or not. Her arms became littered with burns, that were, for the most part, accidental. And she would often find herself at the edge of a bridge or other high place, not really knowing how she got there. Over the year after she was kicked out, she lost a considerable amount of weight, and often looked sick, wearing the same dark, baggy clothes every day.

The clothes had once fit her, but became over sized quickly, the muscle she used to have no longer there.

There was a place in the park she liked to sleep in, up a small tree, out of sight and in the shade in case it started to rain, but the bushes were burned down by kids, leaving her without a good place to sleep.

She found a lighter one night, probably dropped by a druggie or a teenager who thought smoking was cool, and decided to set fire to a bin. The fire spread, and the police were called.

She recognised one of the police officers from secondary school, he still had the same long, blond hair. They acknowledged each other, but got into an argument after she insisted that the fire was an accident.

That was how she ended up being dragged, kicking and screaming, to the police station on that cold night.

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“I gotta head off for work at about half 10,” Jemilla said, putting the kettle on to make some tea for Zazzalil and coffee for herself. “I hope you’ll stay here for the night and not leave without a word, and if you do leave don’t get into trouble.” She sighed, exasperated. It had been years since she’d seen this girl, and now she took her into her house, after she pulled a knife on her. Jemilla hoped this wasn’t a bad idea.

Zazzalil lay down on the sofa, using her ragged hoodie as a blanket again, falling asleep almost instantly.

Jemilla turned around and smiled. Zazzalil had looked exhausted. Jemilla decided to make some food for when Zazzalil woke up, leaving it on the table next to the sleeping girl before she left to get to the police station.


“ELIZABETH!” The teacher yelled. Jemilla looked up to see that Elizabeth was stood on a table, a tower of stationary stacked up to the ceiling, a pencil at the top held in place by being stabbed into the cheap ceiling tiles.

“Yes miss,” she said innocently, as her friend Keeri giggled behind her, taking a photo of the stationary tower.

A few people around the class were laughing at Elizabeth’s antics, they always did. Jemilla could never see what was funny about it, she was just disrupting the class, she always did.

The teacher sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “I’m not dealing with you today,” she said, finally, “Jemilla, take her to the house leaders for a c3,”

“WHAT?!” Elizabeth yelled, jumping down from the desk, no longer looking tall. “Miss, don’t give me another c3, my mum will kill me,” she whined.

“You should have thought about that before you disrupted my class, house leaders, now.”

Elizabeth sighed in defeat, and Jemilla awkwardly followed her to the house leaders office.

“What has she done now?” Her house leader asked.

Elizabeth shrugged, so Jemilla spoke “she built a tower out of stationary.”

A boy being told off by a different teacher laughed at that, earning a smirk from Elizabeth.

The house leader shrugged, “you know the deal, you’ll be escorted here at the end of the day for an hour and a half of detention,”

“Aigh’t, see you then Eddie,”

The teacher didn’t even yell at her for calling him by his first name.

They walked back to class slowly.

“Hey, j-mills, you wanna ditch the rest of the lesson, we only got like, fifteen minutes left,” she asked, turning to Jemilla.

“No, we have to go back to class,”

“Oh come on, breaking one rules not gonna kill you,” she teased.

“Sorry that I like having a good record. I, unlike you, have goals in life, ones that don’t include being as lazy as possible,”

Elizabeth looked upset for a split second, and Jemilla felt bad for what she said. That was until anger took over Elizabeth’s small frame, “WELL SORRY THAT I DONT HAVE A STICK UP MY ASS! I’d rather not live as a boring accountant, I wanna have fun in life, and actually, I want to be an engineer, so fuck you.”

“I don’t want to be an accountant,” Jemilla muttered.

“Oh really? What do you wanna be then? Enlighten me.”

“I want to be a police officer, and if that doesn’t work out, I would serve in the army,” at the mention of army, the shorter girl froze. “Wait, Eliza, I, I forgot” she sighed, remembering that mentioning anything about the army upset the smaller girl. Her dad didn’t die too long ago, the scars were still fresh.

“Yeah, well I didn’t expect you to remember anything about me,” tears filled her eyes, and Jemilla wanted to reach out, but Elizabeth had already started sprinting across the yard, rounding the corner before Jemilla could even get a word in.

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Hey, I'm gonna stop writing this for a while, I wanna focus on my own stuff. Sorry. I might post a couple one shots, but this is kind of the end for IDRYWOTHC (Thats probably wrong but yeet). I might re-work the story and post it when it's done, cause i kind of dug myself into a hole. I saw the phrase "didn't recognise you without the handcuffs" and was like 'thats a good title for a one shot about J-mills and Zazzy' and then made it into a multi-chapter thing I had roughly no story for.


What i think i'm gonna be doing is copy and pasting what I have already onto a google doc, work out an actual plot, and then sort everything out instead of writing a chapter when i've drunk two cans of monster and had a slight idea.

Anyways, thank you all for reading, the support has been amazing, and I can't wait for you all to see the finished product, if you stick around.

- Alien