"Dana, I'm leaving for work. You need to wake up and get ready to leave for school!"

I pulled the pillow over my head.

"I'm tired," I mumbled.

"Dana, I hope we don't have to go through this every day, because I really don't have the time or patience to go get a bucket of water and drag you out of bed."

I groaned before sitting up and glaring at my mom. "Are you happy now?" I asked sarcastically.

"Immensely," she replied in the same tone. "Now go get dressed. I'm leaving now. Love you, bye."

I stuck my tongue out at her as she walked out the door and closed it behind her. I waited until I heard the door shut downstairs and the car engine start before I closed my eyes an flopped back down on my bed. I just needed a few more minutes, then I would get up…

After what felt like a few minutes I stretched out on my blow-up mattress and let out a yawn. I guess I better get up or I'd be late. I sat up and patted my hair down while I grabbed my phone from the floor and looked at the time.

I felt my eyes widen to the size of tennis balls when I saw the time. 7:45.

I only had fifteen minutes to get to school! I quickly yanked my nightclothes off and slipped into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. I stuffed my phone into my pocket and snatched my backpack up from the corner before taking off down the stairs.

I hurriedly locked the door behind me before taking off down the street. I got four blocks down the street before I realized I left my bike at home in the backyard. I looked at the time and groaned when I saw I didn't have time to go back and get it.

I raced down the street that bordered the woods and suddenly came to a screeching halt. I slowly turned to see the woods trail right in front of me, stretching through the dark, looming trees. Thomas had said it was a shortcut to the school, but nobody had used it in years. I'd laughed at their fear yesterday, but looking down the winding path I felt that same fear in the pit of my stomach, but I didn't have many options right now. My mom would kill me if I was late for school, and I would probably get detention. I bit down on my lip and realized I didn't really have a choice. I had to get to school-and fast!

With a sigh I took off down the worn-out dirt path occasionally jumping over a fallen branch of root that stuck up from the ground. I ran towards a huge leaf and when I pushed it out of the way as I stepped over a decaying log. I looked up and when I saw what was in front of me I let out a frustrated groan.

"You gotta be kidding me!" I yelled. I ran my hands through my hair and squeezed them shut. No way I would be to school on time now. And now it made sense why the kids stopped using the shortcut-there was a huge factory that blocked the path!

I looked to either side, but the factory seemed to go on forever! I started to turn around when I saw that the double doors that led into the building were slightly ajar. I walked over to the strange, deserted building and slowly opened the door, peeking in. when I saw that nobody was there I took a step in and looked around. Where were all the workers? Shouldn't there be at least one person here?

"Hello, is anybody here?" I called out, my voice echoing through the large factory. I looked up and saw a door all the way across the factory, and it looked like I was open, but there was a huge gap in the floor where it looked like they were doing some renovation. It looked at least ten feet deep, and it didn't look safe to climb down there just to get across to the other side. I looked up to the right to see a metal walkway going across the gap; that was my best shot. If I could just get through the factory then maybe I could get through the shortcut and get to school. I looked down at my watch and saw that I only had five minutes left. Well, it was at least worth a try.

I walked over to the ladder and climbed up before hoisting myself onto the narrow walkway that was hanging by thick ropes from the ceiling. I looked over the right side and saw a row of metal cylinders lined up against the wall. I wonder what was in them…

Suddenly a rattled sound echoed through the building and I jumped, spinning around and stumbling back. I felt a sharp pain in my back and suddenly the sound of air hissing filled my ears. I turned to see that I'd accidentally bumped into a small, circular red button on a metal box. I watched in amazement as the lids automatically slid off their containers, exposing the insides. A bad smelled filled my nose and I looked over the railing to see a clear, bubbling liquid inside each one of the containers. I scrunched up my nose and leaned forward to get a better look.

Suddenly the railing lurched forward and fell off. I screamed as my arms flailed and desperately tried to grab onto something. I only felt myself fall for a second before a warm fluid surrounded me. I swan to the surface and grabbed onto the side. Suddenly I felt the side tip over and I was thrown down into the pit with the clear solution pouring on top of me.

I sat up and started coughing up the fluid. I gasped for air and fell back to the ground, feeling the liquid pool around my face. I slowly sat up and looked around me. The pit was filled with at least an inch of the mysterious solution, and everything was wet. Oh no, I would be so dead if anyone found out!

I shot up and ran over to the ladder leaning against the wall. I scrambled up the rungs and raced out the other side of the building. I saw a small stream up ahead and raced over to it before jumping it and washing away the remains of the terrible smelling liquid. School was the last thing on my mind right now as thoughts of what would happen to me filled my mind.

Who knew what that stuff was! It could be some toxic fluid or a slowly killing poison! I could die from this! It could be slowly eating away at my organs!

I could feel myself start to hyperventilate and I forced myself to take a deep breath as I cupped the water in my hands and splashed it all over myself. I would clean myself off and then go straight to school to see the school nurse. I would tell her I was sick and then she would be able to see if there was anything wrong with me. Whatever that liquid could do to me-maybe there was a treatment for, or a cure, or maybe it was nothing. The strange thing was, I didn't even feel bad; in fact, I felt great! Better than I had in a long time!

As soon as I was sure all the strange solution had been washed off I sloshed back up to the bank and took my clothes off before ringing them out. Once they were reasonably dry I put them back on and ran down the trail, feeling water trickle down my forehead and cheeks. Once I got to the school I ran through the double doors and down to the nurse's office. I burst in and the nurse jumped about a foot. As she spun around her eyes widened when she saw me.

"What on earth happened to you? Why are you soaking wet?" she asked, putting a hand over her chest in shock.

"I feel into a stream on the way here," I quickly lied. She turned and opened a cabinet before pulling out a plain t-shirt and baggy pair of jeans.

"What is your name?"

"Dana," I answered as I pushed my wet bangs away from my face.

"Did you come here for a change of clothes while those dry?" she asked, putting the clothes on the counter and raising an eyebrow.

"I came here before I feel sick, and I don't know what's wrong with me," I said, sitting down on the bench.

"Ok, well change into these dry clothes and then I'll check you over," she said, handing me the clothes and pointing to a small room with a curtain hanging in front of it.

I ran into the room and quickly stripped my clothes off and threw on the dry ones. The jeans were a little too big on me, but those were the least of my concerns right now.

I held my soggy clothes in my hands as I walked out from behind the curtain and sat down on the bench. When the nurse turned around from getting something out of the cabinet and saw me sitting there she raised her eyebrows.

"Well, that was certainly fast," she said as she took my wet clothes from me. She held up a plastic thermostat and put a small plastic wrap over it before telling me to open my mouth. After a minute or two she took it out and shrugged.

"You don't have a temperature," she turned her eyes to me and furrowed her eyebrows. "How exactly do you 'feel sick'?"

"I just don't feel well," I replied, looking away from her gaze.

"Well if you don't have a temperature or you aren't throwing up I can't send you come," she said, taking the small plastic case off of the thermometer and throwing it away. "But if you really feel that bad, I can let you call your mom and see if she can come and pick you up."

"Ok," I said. The nurse picked up a phone and turned to me.

"What's her number?" she asked and typed it in as I said it.

"What is her full name?" she asked.

"Emma Coltrane," I answered. Everything was so quiet I could hear the ringing on the other end of the phone even from a few feet away. Finally my mom picked up.


"Hi, Mrs. Coltrane, this is the school nurse-" she started to explain, and suddenly I heard my mom's frantic voice on the other end.

"No, she's fine. She doesn't have a fever or anything, but she's still saying that she doesn't feel well," she explained. The nurse turned to me.

"She wants to know exactly how you feel sick," she said softly.

"I just don't feel well all over," I lied. I knew better than to assume that just because I felt that, that I was well. I heard my mom's voice on the other end as the nurse nodded, even though my mom couldn't see her.

"Alright, I'll tell her. Goodbye," she said before placing the phone back on it's hook. She turned to me and let out a sigh.

"She said she wants you to go to all your classes and that she'll pick you up at the end of the day and take you to the doctor," she said with a sympathetic look towards me. Well that doesn't do me any good, I might be dead by then! I wanted to say, but I kept it in and stood up from the bench.

"These clothes should be dry by lunchtime, so you can come and pick them up then," she said as I walked to the door. I nodded weakly before opening the door and walking out. I closed it behind me and set off down the hall as the bell rang.

Suddenly the doors opened and students started to fill the hall. I had to find Thomas; I had to tell someone what really happened, and I knew I could trust Thomas, even though I've only know him for a couple days.

I suddenly spotted a flash of red hair and raced off down the hall. I finally saw Thomas standing in front of his locker, fiddling with the combination.

"Thomas!" I called out as I ran over to him. He turned and before I could say anything, he opened his mouth and started talking.

"Look, before you say anything, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry if I came off as forward yesterday and-"

"It doesn't matter, I need to tell you something," I said hastily, interrupting him.

"What is it?" he asked, a grin spreading across his face. I knew what he was thinking I would say, but I didn't have time to tell him it wasn't what he thought I was going to say. I glanced around at the students flooding the hallways before turning back to Thomas.

"Not here, there's too many people," I whispered before I grabbed his arm and pulled him down the hall. I dragged him through the school door and out into the parking lot.

"Hey, where are we going?" he protested, but I didn't answer until we were sitting on the stone bench in front of the school, away from everyone else.

"Look, I know this is gonna sounds crazy, but I just have to tell you," I confessed. He look of confusion passed over his face and then suddenly a grin spread over it.

"Yes?" he asked, leaning forward.

"I was late for school so I took the short-cut and I came to this big, huge factory in the middle of the woods and I walked through it and then fell into this big pot of some suspicious liquid that I don't even know what it is and I don't know if I'm going to die or not, so if I do die I want you to know that you can have my hula stuff," I said all in one breath. His eyebrows raised with every passing second I talked and after I was done he was quiet for a few seconds.

"Um, can you repeat the whole thing again?" he asked slowly. "And this time slower?"

"There was this big factory in the woods down that trail you told me that nobody use anymore!" I repeated hastily.


"Yeah, so I was late for school so I decided to take a shortcut through the building but I fell into this mysterious liquid an it spilled all over everything and I'm afraid that I'll die or something because I just know I swallowed some of it!" I cried. Tears started to form in my eyes and when Thomas saw this a sympathetic look passed over his face. He leaned forward and wrapped his arms around me in a hug. After a minute or two he pulled back and grabbed my shoulders, looking at me straight in the eye.

"Don't worry, we'll get this all straightened out. Take me to where the factory is, I wanna see what it was you fell in," he said, grabbing my hands and standing up. I nodded and we both started off towards the woods back to the factory.

It's finally up! Yay! Well, I hope you enjoyed the chapter! =)