A breeze blew unsteadily throughout the campus of Larson High School. In autumn, it was common for such a breeze to occur in southern California. But somehow that day, the wind blew differently.
Normally, these Santa Ana Winds thrashed across the surface of the earth, spinning the air and making it humid outside. The wind usually caused garbage cans to tumble over. It normally ripped palm fronds off their trunks. It would let dead, dried leaves collect in corners and it would howl throughout the day and keep the citizens of southern California awake at night.
But that day, the wind was gentle. It blew an irregular, slow breeze. It was just enough to stir the palm fronds. The howling of the wind subsided into a gentle whisper, but when one would listen closely, it echoed back into a soft scream. Instead of leaving the air warm, humid and muggy, it brought chills down the spines of each student walking through the campus of Larson High School.
Quinn Richardson noticed this unusual breeze immediately. He shivered as he walked and looked around suspiciously.
Dragging the heels of his feet on the concrete, Quinn walked lazily towards his locker. Whistling softly, he waved to his passing friends, but continued towards his destination.
A few feet away, Quinn spotted his twin sister talking to her friends. He smiled and waved to her, laughing.
Colette Richardson was small for her age. She had a round face and sleek scarlet hair. Her nose was tiny as were her hands and feet. Altogether, she was a mouse, small and meek but quick and sneaky. She wore her extremely long, crimson hair tied back with a band. Her square glasses made her giant eyes look a little bit bigger and their thick red frames matched her hair and popped from beneath her pale skin.
"Hey Colette." Quinn chuckled as he strolled past his sister, waving.
"Quinn." Colette nodded and smiled mischievously in some form of greeting.
As Quinn slipped past, Colette slugged him in the shoulder.
He rolled his eyes. Sibling rivalry was an ongoing game in their household, but Quinn knew it was a loving battle. He was amused by Colette's attempts to win a fight.
"I love you, too." Quinn said sarcastically, turning his head toward her as he kept walking.
He heard the loud giggles of his sister and her friends behind him, but he continued.
Finally, Quinn found his locker, remembering that it was numbered 611. He sighed and turned the dial, imputing the correct combination.
On the first try, Quinn was successful in opening his locker. Just like many days before, he slung his backpack over his shoulder, unzipped it, and traded in the necessary books from his locker.
As Quinn reached for his Spanish textbook, he spied something peculiar inside of his locker. It was a white envelope that had been folded and wrinkled to fit through the slots in his locker door.
Raising his eyebrows, Quinn set his backpack down on the ground and grabbed the envelope with his small hands. The envelope was not sealed and there was nothing printed on the outside of it. Glancing around suspiciously, Quinn opened the envelope and pulled out its contents.
He held in his hand a white piece of printer paper, folded in half once. The sheet was perfectly folded, almost like it was a machine's doing.
Quinn was hesitant at first. He didn't know anyone that might have shoved this mysterious note in his locker. He remembered the impish look that Colette had given him just a few moments ago and wondered if she could be up to something.
Laughing at the probable joke, Quinn unfolded the paper.
He stopped laughing instantly and pure curiosity rose through his body and brought more shivers down his spine as another zephyr blew unsteadily.
Squinting at the note, Quinn wondered if he had been mistaken when he read the tiny words in the center of the page. But whichever way Quinn looked at the words, they still read the same, Gymnasium, 11:11am.
Still confused, Quinn shrugged, folded the paper in half and then folded it three more times in a sloppy fashion. He stuck it in his pocket, let out a snort of amusement, and then continued to shove books into his locker.
Suddenly, Elliot appeared next to him.
"Hey Quinn, what's this?" Elliot said, handing Quinn another white piece of paper.
"Let me see." Quinn smiled at Elliot and carefully plucked the paper out of his hands.
Elliot stood waiting while Quinn unfolded the paper. His flowing brown hair blew in the wind and he shivered. He stuck his hands in his pockets and stared in deep thought at the palm trees. His eyes, an incredibly bright shade of cerulean, sparkled in the sun. Quinn had always wondered how anyone's eyes could be so blue.
Turning back to the paper, Quinn unfolded it and was again taken aback.
"What is this?" Quinn asked, looking up at the sky, frustrated.
"I don't know. It's weird, huh?" Elliot shrugged.
"Do you remember where this came from?" Quinn asked Elliot, holding the paper up.
"It's hard to remember…" Elliot laughed, embarrassed, and looked around, scratching his head.
"Just try to remember. Did you find this today? Where did you find it?" Quinn asked slowly.
"I found it…today, yeah." Elliot sighed, still trying to focus, "And it was…it was in my locker. That's where it was."
Quinn looked back down at the paper, appalled. He pulled the paper he had found in his locker out of his pocket, unfolded it, and held it next to Elliot's.
They both read: Gymnasium, 11:11am.
Quinn laughed in astonishment. Colette had to have been up to something, he just knew it.
"Did Colette put this in your locker?" Quinn asked Elliot.
"Colette…" Elliot became distracted by her name. He smiled and looked away distantly, "I love her."
"Elliot, focus." Quinn laughed and waved a hand in front of Elliot's face, "Did she put this note in your locker?"
"I don't know." Elliot shrugged again, furrowing his brow.
"Alright, well I'll figure it out." Quinn shrugged and handed Elliot his paper.
"I don't get it…" Elliot said.
"Someone wants you to go to the gym at 11:11am." Quinn shrugged, looking at his note.
"I know, but, why?" Elliot asked.
"I don't know. This is weird…" Quinn sighed, looking back at his paper again.
"You got one too?" Elliot gasped, seeing that Quinn possessed a letter as well.
"Yup, I did. It was in my locker just now." He sighed once more.
"Interesting..." Elliot said.
"Yup." Quinn looked around again.
"Should we go?" Elliot asked.
"If you want to, you can go. But I doubt anything exciting will be there. Probably just a joke. You don't have to go if you don't want to." Quinn assured him.
"I might…I'm curious."
"Do you remember what time?"
"No…what time, Quinn?"
"Eleven-eleven. You go to the gym at eleven-eleven." Quinn said, annunciating carefully.
"I guess I'll have to skip class, then." Elliot looked at the sky. His bright blue eyes were blinding in the sun.
"You can just ask the teacher to go to the bathroom at like 11:10, and then go to the gym instead." Quinn said.
"Can you remember all that?"
"Will you write it down for me, Quinn?" Elliot pleaded.
"It's written right on this paper here." Quinn pointed to the paper in Elliot's hands.
"Okay. Go to the gym at 11:11. Go to the gym at 11:11." Elliot repeated.
"Just remember that, okay?"
"Are you going to go?" Elliot asked.
"Yeah, I'll go. I'd like to see what this is all about." Quinn said.
Elliot shrugged. "See you there, then."
"Alright. Bye, Elliot." Quinn said.
Elliot waved as he walked away, toward his next class.
The freezing breeze circled through the campus again and stung Quinn's cheeks.
Quinn zipped up his backpack, threw it back over his shoulder and closed his locker door. He let his feet automatically carry him to his destination, aware that the break was almost over and it was time for his Spanish class.
Shuffling through the quad, Quinn wondered about the random pieces of paper. Who had placed them there? What was their purpose? What was waiting for them in the gym?
Quinn knew these were all pointless questions, and it was probably one of Colette's stupid pranks.
The bell then rang, signaling that break was over and that it was time for the students to head to their next class. Quinn still had eight minutes to get to class, and he was almost there anyway.
Suddenly, he saw her.
Laurel Boothe, beautifully dressed in flattering blue jeans and an orange t-shirt, was standing just a few feet away from Quinn at her locker. He loved how simply she dressed, like she wasn't trying to impress anyone.
Quinn smiled weakly, in awe of her beauty. He watched her strawberry blonde, bouncy, extremely long curls as they flowed in the breeze. Her uniquely gentle hands moved gracefully as she shuffled books into her backpack. Quinn's knees went weak.
Wanting to call out to her, he hesitated. He didn't want to say anything embarrassing around Laurel Boothe. But finally, he found his courage.
"Hey, Laurel!" he shouted, waving dumbly and heading over to her.
She waved, letting her long, slender fingers twiddle.
"Hi, Quinn." She sang when he arrived.
He nearly fell to the floor.
"How are you?" Quinn asked.
"Alright. What about you?" Her voice was captivating.
"I'm good. I really don't want to go to Spanish. My teacher is crazy. So let's stall, shall we?" Quinn sighed in relief that he had found the perfect thing to say.
Laurel laughed enchantingly, "Okay."
"What class do you have next?" He asked, trying to find conversation.
"Latin. I love that class, it's amazing. But we can still stall, I don't need to be there on time." Laurel smiled mischievously and winked at him.
Quinn felt a smile grow on his face as he sighed deeply.
"Who's your Spanish teacher again?" Laurel asked him.
"Oh, it's Mr. Mullen. He's horrible." Quinn groaned.
Laurel laughed again, but then her face fell into a confused look as she spied something within her locker.
"What's this?" She half laughed, reaching into her locker.
Quinn's jaw dropped as he saw her holding another white envelope, blank and unsealed, probably containing a note similar to his and Elliot's. Now he knew that Colette couldn't have had anything to do with the notes. Colette hardly knew Laurel, and there was no chance that she could have dropped a similar note into Laurel's locker as well. It must have been someone else.
"I got one just like that! And so did Elliot! This is crazy…" Quinn stared in awe at the note.
"Elliot Cruise?" Laurel raised her eyebrows, looking at him.
"Yeah…" Quinn said.
"Oh…I didn't know you hung out with him." Laurel said, looking around.
"Well, he's my sister's boyfriend…"
"Oh..." Laurel sighed. She looked around briefly in deep thought but then shook her head and opened the envelope, sliding out a similar white piece of printer paper, just like Quinn had suspected.
Taken aback by her response to Elliot's name, Quinn needed to compose himself before he told her about his note.
When she unfolded it, she stared at it in confusion.
"Let me guess, it says Gymnasium, 11:11. Right?" Quinn asked.
"Yeah, how did you know? Did you put this in here?" Laurel asked, smiling.
"No! No, I promise I didn't. I had one just like it, see?" Quinn reached into his pocket and pulled out his note.
Looking confused, Laurel shrugged and said, "Are you going?"
"Well, I kind of want to see what it's all about. And hey, I get to ditch Spanish, so yeah. I'll go." Quinn shrugged as well.
"I guess I'll go too, then. Is Elliot going?" Laurel asked with a look of worry.
"Uh, yeah. Why?"
"Never mind." Laurel shook her head once more, closed her locker and walked away, waving. "Bye, Quinn."
Watching her go, Quinn sighed, wishing to touch those strawberry blonde ringlets as they flowed in the breeze once more.