It's dark outside I'm walking down the street and hear footsteps behind me. I turn around to see who's there, only to find no one. I shrug it off and turn back around. I get this gut feeling to run, but I just stay at my pace and ignore it. I think to myself it's all in my head. Suddenly, this bulky arm wraps tightly around my neck, and I hear a deep malevolent laugh directly behind me. I try to scream, but it's too late. He covers my mouth. My lungs feel like they're on fire. I try to fight him, but I barely make a scratch. I start to feel incredibly dizzy, and my lungs feel like they are going to explode. Everything begins to fade into darkness.
I wake up in a small, dimly lit room. I have an annoying headache that is almost overwhelming. I start to shake uncontrollably, as I realize that I am unclothed and tied up tightly with a gag covering my mouth. I see a blur of a man, and in that moment, I know that he will be the last face see alive. I hate him for what he has done, and also fearing him because I don't know what he's going to do next. He pulls a knife out of the cabinet from behind him. It has a dirty black handle, and it looks like the blade has some rust spots on it. I can feel my eyes widening with fear. I close them quickly and turn my head away. I feel this sharp pain... I let out a muffled scream, which goes unheard because of the gag. I start to feel light headed. Everything is black.
I wake up in a cold sweat. Breathing deeply, I look around my bedroom, feeling relief to know the nightmare is over. I sigh as I look over at my clock. It is four in the morning. Knowing that there's no way I'm going back to sleep. I get up, pick up my journal, and start reading, hoping it will get me past the rest of the morning. After a while, I get lost in the journal reading about old memories and forgetting about the dream. Out of nowhere, I hear an alarm. I turn my head and stare at the flashing clock. I start wishing that I could just read a few more pages out of my journal, and forget the rest of the day.
Finally the daze ends. I look at the clock, which it has been buzzing for a few minutes. I turn the clock's alarm off and start my day. Once I finish getting ready, I double check myself in the mirror one last, time to make sure I look okay. I stare at myself in the mirror; a short girl with a pale complexion, that is covered in freckles, with bright blue eyes and long, curly, dirty blonde hair. I seem to almost tower over the mirror in my plain black sweat shirt and jeans. I go and grab my coat, which is thrown on my bedroom floor, and then slip out the front door for my walk to school.
The moment I step outside, I feel a huge chill of cold air rush to my face, which immediately turns into a burning sensation. I look around, I am surrounded by apartment complexes that look just like mine, but as I walk further along, I find a lot of small houses that have trees in most of their yards. I keep walking and pass a small park. It has a few trees, two swing sets that sit side by side next to a jungle gym, surrounded by wood chips. In front of the playground is a bench. The further I get into the neighborhood, the nicer the streets look.
I arrive at my school. My school is a big, tanned, brick building with a large parking lot on the left side of the school. It is filled mainly with newer looking cars, and with a couple of rusted old clunkers mixed in. In front of the school grounds there is a big entryway for people to walk into. In back of the school, there is a track field with a football field inside of it, with two sets of benches facing each other on the outer sides of the field.
I walk onto the school grounds, I am greeted by my friend, Annie. She has a smile on her face as she runs over and hugs me.
"Hey Erin, it's been so long since I've seen you last! How are you?"
"I'm great, how was your trip?" I ask her, faking a smile.
She looks at me with concern and says, "What's wrong?"
Fuck,I think to myself. Before I am able to answer her question, Jenny and Katy show up.
"We've missed you over break, it wasn't the same without you" Jenny interrupts. "How was your trip…" my mind trails off as I stare at my friends. That girl from my dream fills my mind with the horror that she felt and her muffled screaming. I came back into focus and I notice that my friends are still standing there with happy smiles, talking about what happened over break. I start wishing that I could have a day off from worrying about everything, and just talk about everyday life.
Jenny and Katy both have dark brown skin and straight brown hair, Jenny's hair sits at her chin while Katy's hair sits at her shoulders. Katy's dark brown eyes hide behind her thick white glasses. Katy has a bright red scarf covering her neck, a white fluffy winter jacket and a pair of dark blue jeans with dark black boots covering her feet. Jenny is wearing a black puffy coat with designer jeans and a nice pair of black boots.
Annie, who stands in between them, seems to be a little taller than both Jenny and Katy with layered sandy blonde straight hair that rests right below her ears. She has bright pink cheeks that stand out on her face among her pale complexion, and her eyes are a hazel brown. She stands there wearing a bulky gray winter jacket, with a pair of blue jeans and a pair of plain white tennis shoes.
"It's getting cold out here. Why haven't we gone in yet?" Katy says with a giggle.
We all start walking into the school and as we walk, Annie whispers to me, "I need to talk to you later." I respond with a nod.
We stand in the hallway, talking until it is time and go to our classes. I leave the group to go to my first class of the day; Algebra 2. I look at my schedule, and see that I have Mr. Mead as my teacher. I walk into his classroom and grab a seat in the back. I wait for the classroom to fill with students, and see no one that I really know. I sigh, pull out a piece of paper, and start drawing as I wait for my teacher to enter the classroom.
After a minute or so, he shows up. He pulls out a few things from his desk, and says with a warm smile, "Welcome back. I hope you guys had a nice break, and are ready to get back to school." He pulls out a stack of syllabus for the quarter, and passes them out among all of us. I go back to my drawing, I see a girl, dressed up in a white polo button down shirt with a long blue skirt that goes past her knees. She has long, wavy red hair that sits on the middle of her back. Her bright green eyes are staring up at our teacher, who is also dressed very nice. The girls sitting around her are also dressed in the same clothes.
Our teacher is ranting on about some Dukes family, and their involvement in tobacco. She pretends to take notes about that family, but really, she is drawing little shapes to keep from dying of boredom. Her pocket vibrates, and when her teacher goes to write something on the board, she pulls her phone out to find a message that says, "R u going 2 the party 2 night it's gonna be fun!" She looks up to see our teacher going back to his desk to read something from the book, and decides to put her phone back in her pocket and listen to what he has to say.
"Your assignment is to read pages 125 through 140 by tomorrow, and for the remainder of class, I would like you guys to do this worksheet that goes with your reading tonight," The teacher says as he grabs the papers and hands them to each one of the students in the front. "Please take one and pass them back." Mr. Mead instructs. All of the students comply. In a matter of minutes, the worksheets are passed out. When our teacher returns to his desk, the girl opens her book and slants it between her desk and lap to pull out her phone answer the text message. "Yea where will it be" she responds, and then slides her phone back into her pocket. She starts her work and waits for a response. Within a minute or so, her pocket vibrates again. She looks at our teacher to make sure he isn't looking, then pulls it out again to find "3987 ash st & it starts at 8"
"Erin, are you with us?" says a deep masculine voice. I look up from my paper to find everyone in the class staring at me. My face turns bright red and some people start to giggle.
I look up at Mr. Mead and respond with "Yes, sir."
"Well, would you like to continue reading the syllabus?" he asks.
"Um… Where are we at?" I ask with my face turning an even brighter shade of red.
He narrows his eyes on me and says calmly "turn the page and start reading where it explains the plagiarism/dishonesty policy." I read the whole section. After I am done, Mr. Mead had someone else read further. I go back to my drawing, to find it all done.
I study the picture for a moment. It's the girl from class that I was daydreaming about, but she is in a bedroom. I get the feeling that this is her room. In the corner sits a queen sized bed that is nicely made. A chair sits in the opposite corner, and not too far away from the chair is a door. Next to that door sits a big flat screen television and a stand next to it with a DVD player on it. Not too far away from the television, sits a window with blinds to cover the outside. The walls all over the room are covered with posters of guys, shirtless. She is sitting on her bed, looking like she is going to cry, but she won't. I look up from the piece of paper, and decide it'd be best to write down the address from my daydream. I write it on the back of the drawing.
I look up from my paper to find Mr. Mead going to his desk to grab a paper and a pen. He goes over to a pile of books on his desk and says, "When I call your name, please come up here and grab your book." he calls us up, one by one, off of a list and one by one, each person gets a book. After all the books are handed out, he says, "remember where you are sitting today, because this is where you will be sitting for the remainder of the term, unless I have to move you for misbehavior." He starts the lesson plan for the day. About five minutes before class ends, he gives us time to do the homework that he assigned.
After what seemed like a few seconds of time, the bell rings. I pull my class schedule out and look to see that my next class is a baking class. I leave the classroom once it has finally emptied of the other students, and step into the packed hallways. I somehow managed to get to my baking class in one piece. When I got there, there were few students sitting at the tables. I sit at one of the empty tables, lay my head down and wait for the classroom to fill. I slowly drift off into nothing until I hear this loud annoying ringing sound. I sit up straight to find the room almost filled, and sad to see once again none of my friends are in the same class as me. I look around for my teacher, Mrs. Lyn, who sits at her desk with a stern face, waiting for the arrival of all of the students. Within seconds of me looking up, she stands to introduce herself and then goes through a list to see who is here and who is not. After she is done with that, we get to be introduced by the teacher in front of the whole class, student by student. After she finishes, she gives us the rest of the time to just spend talking with one and another. I go back to sleeping until once again that annoying loud ringing sounds goes off.
I leave the classroom and, somehow, out of pure luck, manage to make it to the cafeteria in one piece for lunch. I stand near the doorway until I finally spot Katy. I race over to her, and she greets me with a smile.
"It's nice to see someone that I know for a change." I say to Katy.
"I'm sorry, honey. I guess you don't have Annie or Jenny in any of your classes." I shake my head no. "Oh I forgot to ask you earlier, how was your break?"
"It was whatever," I replied.
"Hey, what are you to talking about over here?" I hear from behind me. I look over to find Jenny walking toward us.
"Oh, just asking Erin how break was," Katy says calmly.
"Oh we all know how her break was. She stayed at home and hid in her room until break ended. You really need to come out more," Jenny says and sticks her tongue out at me.
"I guess you got me all figured out," I say with a big grin on my face. "Maybe we should go and get a table before they're gone."
"Good point," Katy and Jenny say in unison and giggle. Annie shows up not much later at the table, and for the rest of lunch, we sit and talk about break and how classes are going, until the teachers signal that it's time to go back to our classes for the day. I go through my stuff again and grab out my schedule to find that my next class is English 10 with Ms. Jones. We sit and wait until the cafeteria empties before we all go heading off to our classes.
I enter my classroom, to find all of the seats filled. I sit in one of the last empty seats and wait for my teacher to get to the classroom. She enters just seconds before the bell rings. She starts off the class by seeing who is here off of her attendance sheet, then tells us what to expect from the quarter. She then goes on about how her life is, and how she got to where she is today. As she tells her story, I draw a new picture of mountains, with a lake at the bottom, pine trees surrounding it, and a village not far away. I am just about done when I hear her say that our first assignment is to write about ourselves and that the rough draft is due tomorrow. When she finishes, she gives us time to start our assignment until the bell rings. I pull my schedule out one last time for the day, to see that I finally get to go to my drawing class. When I get there, I sit down in one of the seats and lay my head back down until I feel this tapping on my shoulder. I raise my head and see Jenny.
"Wake up sleepy head," Jenny tells me.
"Finally, I get a class with someone I know!" I tell her.
"I know, I love having classes with you because then I get to mess with you," she says with a big grin on her face. We continue to talk until the bell rings, and Mr. Lamb starts to see who is here and who isn't. After he's done, he starts to explain the quarter. While he is doing that, Jenny and I continue our conversation on paper. When he finishes, he gives us our first assignment, which is to pick a person in the class and draw them. Not by how they look, but by the things they like, and it is due on Wednesday. Of course, Jenny and I picked each other. Most people had to ask their partners questions to be able to draw them, but with Jenny and me, we just started drawing. Before I knew it, our classes were done for the day. We wait until it's manageable to leave, then head to the spot were we all meet at the end of the day, and wait for Katy and Annie.
When they arrive we all stand and talk for a bit. Then, Katy says sadly, "I better get going. I have tons of homework, and if I don't finish it my mom and dad will be on my case. So Jenny, are you coming with me or saying for a while?"
"Yeah, I guess I'm coming. I don't want to hear it either." she says with a sigh.
After Jenny and Katy are out of hearing distance, Annie asks me "It's been bothering me all day, Erin. What's wrong?"