Phenomenon

Chapter 1

The small town of Lennon rests in the deep mountains of Canada. In ways it could be considered isolated from the world. Hardly anyone from outside ever visits and barely anyone go out. The nearest city was a six hour drive away. Apparently at one point in history the mayor actually got worried that the big cities would forget to print them onto maps since they were so small.

But, although small and isolated, the people of this town were happy. The scrumptious, juicy fruits their orchards harvested made the town wealthy. They had a fancy downtown which celebrated holidays and festivals in a very flamboyant manner. The Wildlife Campsite built beside the clean river by the edge of the town makes it a perfect place to go while spending weekends. You can go camping and fishing there and the manager was extremely kind.

Inside this peaceful town there were four high schools, or technically three, because one was already put to waste. There was one public and two private; unless your family was extremely rich, you would go to the Crescentville Public High School. The only difference between Crescentville and the two private schools and was probably that Crescentville didn't have to wear uniforms.

And currently, Crescentville was planning an overnight fieldtrip for the students who had decided to attend summer school.

The glass doors of Crescentville High School's library swung open loudly. Heads looked up to see who was causing such a big racket. A girl with a tall, slender figure and pretty auburn hair marched in. The girl's name was Melissa Verdine, one of the most popular girls in the school. It wouldn't be exaggerating to say that ninety percent of the male students have a crush on her, because it's true. Her clear, emerald green eyes scanned the rows of students, searching for a particular girl called Sasha. In a matter of seconds, she found the one she was looking for.

Sasha felt Melissa's gaze fixating on her like a hunter seeing prey. She shuddered and shrunk into her chair and buried her face in her book. "Don't come over, don't come over…" She muttered under her breath.

Let's just say that god didn't hear her prayers.

Melissa skipped over happily. "Sasha!" She exclaimed as she slammed her hands onto Sasha's shoulders.

Sasha grunted in annoyance with a tone of dread.

"Good news Sasha, we're partners on the fieldtrip! I thought that the old man would never listen to me!" Melissa announced her good news loudly and the librarian shot her a glare.

"Oh." Sasha said in a monotone. "Congrats." She glanced at the librarian who was glaring at them. The librarian turned away.

Melissa never realized that she had been glared at. She patted Sasha's shoulder. "Now tell me Sasha," Melissa gazed at the apathetic girl. "Are you afraid of the dark?"

"Are you feeling all right in the head?" Sasha deadpanned. "Why would you think that?"

The two girls were both in grade nine. Melissa Verdine had a bright attitude and a friendly nature that granted her the ability to make friends easily. She had a tall, slender figure with emerald green eyes and a pretty face. Since her parents owned a clothing shop downtown, her clothing was always fashionable. She had every quality that a popular girl needs to have.

Sasha Estrella, on the other hand, had an apathetic and cold personality; to the point that she had the nickname Queen among students. She had cold grey eyes that almost never show emotion and dark brown hair. She was easily one of the top student in the grade and she was also what people would define as a fashion terrorist. Most of the others were amazed at how this friendship worked.

Melissa pulled out a chair and sat down next to her. "You know, on the overnight fieldtrip to Fernwood's Wildlife Campsite, we're playing a game called the Test of Courage. You're my partner so I'd like to know what type of things you're afraid of." She flashed Sasha a dazzling smile that would have melted many boys from the inside.

Although the brightness of Melissa's dazzling smile puts the sun to shame, the Queen wouldn't be defeated so easily. Sasha blew some strands of hair away from her face. "You can give up on that." She said in her usual monotone. "I'm not afraid of anything apart from report cards and cockroaches."

"How about ghosts?" Melissa continued on eagerly. "Are you afraid of ghosts?"

"Melissa, you should only dream talk when you're sleeping. Not when you're awake."

Melissa seemed disappointed at Sasha's answer. "Well, you know where the Test is taking place?" She tried to continue the conversation.

"Of course I do," Sasha's monotone made a dead rock sound lively. She turned on her phone and brushed her thumb over the screen lock. When she held it back up a photo of the activities and permission slip was on the screen. "The Test of Courage is taking place on a mountain beside Fernwood's Wildlife Campsite. It was used as a burial ground for soldiers that died in war for several centuries." She looked up. "I'm pretty sure that everyone in town knows about this though; it's not like this information is stopping them from going there on weekends. I heard that Krystal and her parents went there just last week."

"I know, it's not like I don't have her Facebook."

Sasha looked back at the screen. "We're going to take a mountain path up with a candle and a timer; the checkpoint is a small shrine about forty meters away from flat ground. We check our names off a list there and take a picture with the camera provided. Then we turn back and walk back down the mountain, simple as that. There are no branch roads and we have fifty minutes to complete the task. Of course, chickening out is permitted, easy enough." The last sentence was brought out in a contemptuous manner.

"That's not the problem!" Melissa was being driven crazy by Sasha's calm attitude. "It's a burial ground." Melissa emphasized the word. "There are corpses and graves there. We'd be completely alone in the darkness with creepy crawlers with only a goddamned candle."

Sasha didn't seem to understand her partner's anxiousness. "So?" She questioned. "What about that? It can't be that hard; besides, even if that candle did blow out, we'd have lights from our phones. Besides…"

All of a sudden, Sasha's lips stretched into a smile that said no good, like she was plotting something really evil.

Immediately, Melissa recognized the dangerous smile. She could recognize that wicked smile anywhere. "Oh Sasha," She slapped her friend on the back. "Are you going to do it again?"

"Yep." Sasha nodded. "After all, what better timing can we stock up golden blackmail other than this Test of Courage?"

This is the reason why Sasha, being the perfect girl in nearly every adult's eyes, was able to earn the title of Queen among students. If you want to live a peaceful high school life, never piss her off. This was something all the students of Crescentville Public High School knew. She referred to collecting blackmail as a hobby. She mainly uses the collection to amuse herself, but it was also something that prevented others from pissing her off. There were practically no down sides of being friends with her. If you were a close friend of hers and you invite her to a sleepover, she'd be sure to bring some of her most prized DVDs and you'd get some juicy things of people you hate. You also get forty percent off from buying a DVD on your birthday.

The two girls didn't notice that another person had snuck up upon them. "Blackmail again Sasha?" The person said in a tinkling tone. A relaxing smell of sweet olives washed over them as Kate slid into the seat across from them. A grin was set on her lips.

Sasha shrugged. "You heard it. I figured that this could be an once-in-a-lifetime chance. Better not waste it."

Kate stared at her with a kind of confused awe. "You have a point there I guess."

Kate Decuevas was their other close friend. She had a twin Jessica Decuevas, who was on good terms with them as well. Kate was an optimist like Melissa, yet she had a calm brain like Sasha. She could be referred to as the one neutralizing this uneven friendship. Both the Decuevas twins had long blonde hair which smelled like sweet olives and clear hazel eyes. Their gentle and kind personalities made them popular among boys; although they were still no match for Melissa.

"Besides," Sasha leaned forward, a demonic grin on her face. "Wouldn't you want to watch it too? The horrified expressions of those stupid girls. I'll bring cameras to film then I'll make the whole thing into another DVD. During the next sleepover we can watch it with snacks."

"Good idea." Melissa nodded.

Kate took the iPhone from Sasha's hand and started to play Temple Run 2. "How are you planning to do it though?" She asked, not looking up. "Having a third person tagging along filming isn't allowed. Thinking of it, can you even tag around every group? That means like you'll have to go up and down the mountain for more than fifteen times!"

"We have the whole afternoon to ourselves don't we?" Sasha said. "I'll use that time to walk the trail first and set up some cameras."

"Since when did you have that many cameras?" Melissa asked in an incredulous tone. "You sound like a pro."

"That's because she is." Kate said.

"Since my last birthday and Christmas." Sasha replied. "They aren't that expensive you know, I saved up some money but I didn't really want anything. So I thought: Hey! Why don't I buy some cameras and voice recorders? It might come in handy someday! Bonus, they have night vision function."

Only when they're talking about topics like this, Sasha's stony expression would turn into an innocent smile. Kate and Melissa exchanged a speechless glance. The people of their grade were all secretly betting that Sasha would either grow up to be a well-known criminal, or a government spy. Many people had tried to get revenge on her, but all failed miserably and had their darkest secrets broadcasted across Facebook and YouTube.

"Anyways," She continued. "This will be entertaining. Aren't some teams girls with boys? Who knows what those impatient teenagers would do together in the darkness?" She smirked slightly. "I'll edit that part out though, if you want to watch it you'll have to pay."

"Good idea…" Kate fanned her face that was slowly turning pink.

"Ditto." Melissa nodded. "But if that did happen, I'm buying the video and its copyright from you."

Sasha raised an eyebrow, as if questioning Melissa why would she want the copyright of a video containing impatient teenagers in the dark. In the end she shrugged. "Deal."

They shook hands.

Melissa glanced at Kate. "You're with Jessica right? Since Emily isn't coming."

Kate nodded. "Yeah."

"Are either of you afraid of the dark?" The topic returned to the original one.

Sasha facepalmed deeply in the background. "Here we go again." She muttered. She was also starting to consider ripping off Melissa's face.

"Well," Kate looked thoughtful. "It's more like being nervous I think, not scared."

"Really? Well, at least you're more fun than our Queen Sasha here." Saying this she ruffled Sasha's hair and turned the neat ponytail into a mess. "She's not scared of anything. Like seriously, the only time I've ever seen her freak out is on report card day and when we saw a dead cockroach in the girl's washroom. Plus that time when we had horror movie night."

Sasha swatted Melissa's hand away. "Don't ever mention the horror movie night incident again!" She snapped. "I'm older than you right? You should be more polite to me!"

"Hahahaha no."

Sasha scowled. "Tsk… Well, Unless Slenderman or Pedobear is lurking in the bushes, we shouldn't be afraid of this Test of Courage game."

Kate chuckled. "Let's hope that they're not."

"I'm betting that some guys would hide and scare the groups after them." Melissa said with a sideways glance at the guys fooling around in the back of the library; they were supposed to finish their overdue homework. "They never grow up."

Kate nodded. "Peter Pan would be jealous."

"Hey, don't ruin Peter Pan's image, do you guys have any idea how many poor children would be heartbroken because of that?" Sasha pulled out her water bottle and drank the tea inside. "But if they do try to scare us, just punch them in the face and give them a lesson. The teachers would all be on my side anyways."

One of Sasha's talents was to say threatening sentences with an extremely straight face.

"You shouldn't use your authority like that." Melissa said dully. "Your levels are completely different. You're the teachers' favorite, and they're the ones that teachers would want expelled."

"Don't punch them in the face too hard though." Kate joked. "But what if someone discovered your hidden cameras?"

"I have quite a few, one being discovered wouldn't be a big deal, I'll hide it really good, don't worry."

"Tsk, tsk…" Melissa draped an arm across Sasha's shoulder. "Ahh, I knew that you're not the Queen of Crescentville and my best friend for nothing. Do you have split personality disorder or something?"

"Don't you think that your sentences don't match up…?" Sasha muttered and shot Kate a glance. SAVE ME; her eyes said.

Kate shook her head and ignored Sasha's message. "But, I think I'm still quite excited…"