Chapter 4

Fog is a strange thing. It shrouds the seemingly ordinary in mystery, cloaking all in its murky embrace and standing like some great, impenetrable wall between us and the world. For some, of course, fog is merely the phenomenon of water vapor condensing near the ground. But for others, fog is a sign, an omen, hearkening to the unknown, be it good or ill. Thus, it's appropriate that on the day I met Nick, it was foggy.

I had no notion of anything out of the ordinary as I trudged to the corner where the bus usually picked me up. For me, it was going to be another dreary day trapped in that dreary place called "school." Mondays, like this one, especially didn't help, and as much as I hated to admit it I had five days 'til I would be released again. Five days. With that thought hanging over my head like dark storm clouds, I forged my way onward through the thick veil of white. When I did finally get there, it appeared as if I was the first one to get there, but after a decent amount of waiting, no one else showed up.

Middle school bus must've come already, I thought. Wonder where everyone else is?

That wondering didn't last for long, as my mind quickly drifted to other things. What were my friends up to? They were probably already in the library, surfing the internet on the Mac's that you could borrow, or else creating amazing drawings, doing homework, or chatting. Speaking of homework, had I finished mine? I'd remembered to pack it, right? Trivial thoughts drifted through my head, and I was completely lost in these for a while. Then, when I looked at my watch again, I noticed that I'd been standing here for twenty minutes. I was pretty sure that I hadn't missed the bus, but there was always the extremely slim chance that I had. And I definitely was not walking to school.

I was just contemplating what to do if that big, yellow lunchbox on wheels (that's really what it looks like) had, in fact, rolled off to school without me when I became aware of approaching footsteps. Idly, I looked up expecting to see the arrival of one of the other kids who usually rode. However, I was surprised to find myself looking at a kid I'd never seen before. He had straight black hair and wore glasses, which surprisingly didn't make him look geeky. Instead, paired with a cardigan over a collared shirt, blue jeans with a dark wash, and boots, he didn't look half bad – more like some brainy athlete. I wasn't sure he'd be with the "popularity" group, but he didn't seem like the type who would have to put up with bullying.

I suddenly blushed and looked away. First of all, I was ashamed that I'd tried to piece him into the social hierarchy of school, since I really didn't care about that stuff. Secondly, he'd just noticed that I'd been looking at him, and we'd made awkward eye contact. Ugh, I hate it when that happens. Then I feel all… weird.

"Do you go to the high school?" he asked.

I blinked, but had no choice but to look back up at the boy.

"Er," I said, before clearing my throat and trying again. "Yeah, freshman."

He nodded. "Same."

"Ah…" Gosh, why couldn't I think straight? My brain now felt kind of fuzzy, like the fog had gone in through my ear and was now messing with my mind. Was I…? Could I possibly… have a crush on a guy who'd just showed up seconds ago? No, absolutely not, I told myself. Guys don't interest me. Never have, never will.

"Is the bus usually this late?" asked the boy, attempting to peer out into the blankness that hid the landscape.

"No," I said. "It shows up around 7:36. Maybe we missed it?"

"I live on this street and I didn't see it go by," was the reply.

"O… kay."

There was a long period of awkward silence. Still, the bus and the other kids didn't show up, which really bothered me. At this point, I was tempted to go home and consult with my parents. Not that I was sure that would get me very far. So instead I just stood, tried to clear my head, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Then finally, I decided I was sick of the quiet, so I attempted to strike up conversation with the boy.

"You new here?" I asked as casually as I could.

"I just transferred from Canada."

"Cool," I said, shoving my hands in my pockets. "I've been there a couple times."


Wow. This guy wasn't very talkative, was he? I tried again.

"What province are you from?"

"Quebec," he replied.

"You speak French?"


"Well, then. Je m'appelle Jack," I said, introducing myself. Thank you, French I.

"Nicholas," replied the boy. "But you can call me Nick," he added. Then after a few more moments of silence, he asked, "Is Jack short for Jackelyn or something?"

"Nah," I said. "Just Jack."

He didn't press the issue further, but after a while the lack of dialogue became somewhat uncomfortable. I finally figured out that Nick wasn't going to say anything else, so I pulled my iPod out of my backpack and started playing some music. Then, with a shock, I looked at the time and noticed that it was an hour since school was supposed to have started. Could the bus really be this late?

Great, I really must've missed it, I thought glumly. How am I gonna tell this to my parents?

"I don't think the bus is coming," I informed Nick.

"Guess not," he said.

"Well, uh… later."


And so, without further ado, a turned around and started for home.

When I did get there, I found my other brother in the kitchen making breakfast. That was fine and all, considering that he's a better cook than me (which isn't saying much since the only thing I'm good at making is a Kraft singles sandwich), but there were two problems here. The first one was that the kitchen looked like a tornado had whizzed through it, leaving behind a mess of flour, eggs, possibly sugar, and an assortment of bowls, whisks, measuring spoons, and other cooking paraphernalia all over the place. The second one was that Taite was supposed to have driven himself to school more than an hour ago.

"Still here?" I inquired, plopping my backpack on the ground.

"Good morning to you too, sis. And why shouldn't I be?"

"Oh I dunno," I said, sitting down at the counter. "Maybe it's the fact that you should be in school by now. Don't tell me you're ditching."

Taite smiled and replied, "Jack, today's an in-service day."

I paused. "Say what?"

"You heard me," he said, checking the consistency of the pancake mix. "We don't have school today."

"And you didn't have the decency to tell me?!" I exclaimed. "I've been waiting at the bus stop for over an hour!"

"Hey," he shrugged, "it's not my fault you didn't pay attention to the announcements last Friday."

"Whatever." I picked up my backpack and slung it over my shoulder. "I'll be in my room if you need me."

Well, maybe today wouldn't be so bad after all. With that parting remark, I returned back to the only haven I really have and fired up my computer. Soon, I was lost in the internet, quickly forgetting Nick. But that blissful ignorance wouldn't last long. Soon, I'd be back in school, and that's when the strange stuff would start to happen…

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Author's Note: Heheh... I got lazy in the end. But at least I managed to battle my way through it. I hope chapter 5 turns out better. In the meanwhile, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE REVIEW!!! Thanks~