Ashley Warrington slumped down on the couch, exhausted. She had had a long day of midterms and then cheerleading practice until eight thirty. She was tired, and she was hungry. She went into the kitchen for some dinner.

In the kitchen, she found a note from her mom, saying that she would be home late that night. Before she left that morning someone had called from the hospital and asked if she could work an extra shift. Ashley's brother, Tim, had left a similar note, saying not to wait up for him; he'd just be out at a friends' house, studying for the ACTs.

Ashley sat down and began crunching on the sandwich she had made in 56 seconds flat, thank you very much. She had spent enough time rushing to get to the bus on time and make the same sandwich for lunch all year (instead of risking poison, salmonella, and who knows what else from school food) that she knew how to whip each ingredient on in seconds. Ashley grabbed the remote and flipped through the channels until she found pay per view. She sighed as she turned on The Emperor's New Groove. She knew she was way too old for this movie, but she never got sick of it.

At Yzma's last "Squeakin'", Ashley yawned and looked at her watch. It was 10:30. Tim would be home soon, and she realized that he still had her John Mayer CD in his room. Considering how much Tim idolized him, it would be a wonder if she ever got to hear it again. Ashley trudged up the stairs towards his room.

His stereo was under the window seat, looking out over the front yard. The window was open, and a fresh spring breeze met her curious nose. She sighed, glad that winter was over, and began to look through the six-CD changer. She found John Mayer in the fifth slot. Ashley turned around to head back to her room.

A pair of gleaming eyes were staring back at her. A smile flicked across a familiar face. Before she could scream. . .


Ashley Warrington slumped to the floor, a bullet in her throat.