Auburn hair tangled loosely with the flailing, autumn leaves. A crack sounded. With a jump, she caught onto the next branch; pulled herself up. A triumphant smile made its way onto her lips. Delicately, she picked a berry off the tree and popped it into her mouth. Just as the sweet liquid burst down her throat, a voice called her down.
“Melissa, you up there?”
Melissa let out a sigh, pulling her hair into a ponytail. Reluctantly, she jumped down from her perch and awaited the lecture. As always, her teacher was wearing a white shirt, no tie, with the top button undone and dark grey trousers with matching shoes. For a few seconds, they stared at each other, eyes blinking in unison, until said speech started.
“Melissa, you’ve never missed my class before.” Mr Malkeik paused, attempting to read the girl’s expression. Here it comes, she thought, the lecture about IBs.
“What’s troubling you? Normally you enjoy my class.”
This was true. Melissa’s favourite class was Mr Malkeik’s Classical Civilizations. She adored learning the legends and myths. Melissa had come to this school when everyone was halfway through the IB course, but, with her zest for learning, easily caught up.
“I’ve been thinking of my old life,” a worried look slithered onto the girl’s face, “and I have a feeling it’s catching up to me.”
“Take tomorrow off school,” he suggested. “And everyone went home five minutes ago. You don’t want your parents to worry about you.” The teacher turned and walked back towards the school.
Melissa’s smile returned. The wind blew strongly, guiding the girl home; a storm was brewing. The gale rushed across the grinning face, pushing loose strands of auburn hair away from her features. After Melissa was sure her teacher had gone, she took off in a run. Trees rushed past the moving figure; birds raced after her, failing to catch up. Creatures peeked out of the undergrowth, watching the familiar routine, beady eyes wide. Finally, Melissa came to a stop in front of a fat willow tree. On top of the foliage, littered on the floor, was a dead phone, a sleeping bag, a knife and a half-empty water flask. Melissa looked around, a frown on her face. In the corner of her eye, she caught sight of a hedgehog, chewing on something long and stringy. Cursing under her breath, she hurried to the animal, prying what used to be her phone charger from its teeth. All of the plastic tubing of the charger had been chewed off, and the head was bent out of shape.
Her bag. With a groan, the unlucky girl realised she had left her bag at school. Taking a deep breath, the girl trudged towards the school for the sixth time that week; the broken charger hanging loosely in her hand.
When Melissa was back at school, she entered the building.
“LISSSSSSSA,” a high pitched voice screamed. A brunette sprinted towards the forest girl, engulfing her in a hug.
The brunette pulled back, her teeth in a ginormous smile. This girl was plumper than Melissa and was nowhere near as athletic. The girl raised a hand and subconsciously started playing with her frizzy ringlets. Freezing, she eyed the apparently tasty phone charger, then back to Melissa's scrunching her face up.
“What happened to your charger? It looks like it got eaten.”
“Something like that.” Melissa turned to the bin behind her; she dropped her useless charger in.
A small squeal sounded. Auburn hair swished round to see her best friend in the arms of her past. Crazed eyes started at the real target. He tilted his head to the side, a smile playing on his lips. Slowly, he lifted up a knife to the brunette’s throat, his smile widening; the innocent girl quaking in fear.
“Katrina, long time no see,” the raven-haired boy taunted.
“Nathan, don’t bring Diana into this.”
“Come quietly and I won’t.”
Instantly, Katrina started walking towards Nathan. Her face was stern, no emotion sneaking through; if she was scared, she didn’t show it.
“Melissa, you’re not a boarder. What have I told you about sneaking back into school... and who...?” As Nathan swivelled around the teacher, who was head of a boarding house trailed off. Her eyes flew wide as she saw her favourite student with a knife to her neck and Melissa standing beside her, emotionless; a blank slate.
Nathan ran a hand through his hair, cursing under his breath. Pulling his leather jacket back, he unholstered a worn gun. Holding a knife to Diana’s throat in one hand and pointing a gun at Miss Hall with the other.
“Look I’m not in the mood for this today,” the boy started, slightly lowering the gun. “I have eyes everywhere. If you tell a single soul... actually, tell as many people as you like. It’s not like it’ll make a difference. I have everyone wrapped around my little finger.” He stared at the terrified woman for a few moments longer, then put his gun back into the holster.
“Can we go now?” Katrina’s voice was barely above a whisper.
“I’ve changed my mind.” Katrina’s eyes flew wide. “I am bringing your friend into this.”
Horror struck both the girls’ faces like a fly’s expression, just before the spider licks it up. Katrina dug a hole inside herself and pushed all of her emotion deep down. She put a hand to her belt, feeling for a ghost. The girl took her eyes off of Nathan’s and peered down at her hip. There on her hip was an empty sheath.
“Shit.” The foolish girl had left her knife in the forest. Both she and the knife were now defenceless.
“Language, darling,” A mocking voice said with a wink, just louder than her string of curses.
Katrina stood there, like a mouldy pear no one wanted to eat. She swallowed the lump forming in her throat. She would not break down. Nathan trained her for a reason.
“Ladies first.” Nathan motioned towards the door. Diana started running, only to jolt to a stop. Diana had only gone a few steps when Katrina’s heightened reflexes reacted. She grabbed her best friend’s hand before she could get any further.
“Why the hell would you do that!? He literally just gave us a clear escape!” the innocent girl hissed.
“Nathan might not kill you, but the others would do so without a second thought. It is rare for them to miss.”
Diana turned around only to be met with the sight of a dozen men. Some twirled knives between their fingers, others with guns in their belts; a few had both. The brunette couldn’t stop her face from falling, a chuckle coming from right behind them. They walked outside with Nathan, all the others around walking beside and behind them. In the parking lot there were three cars.
“In the car, girls,” Nathan whispered softly, gest
Katrina grabbed the reluctant brunette’s hand, dragging her to the car. Katrina got in the car first, sliding over to the other side.
The plump girl felt helpless and lost in this abduction. She lunged at Nathan, no weapon in hand. Nathan, without flinching, unsheathed a dagger and buried it in the girl’s thigh, blade first, until only the hilt was showing. A scream protruded out of Diana’s tiny mouth; her tears were enough to make a river. Blood was seeping around the knife, staining the girl’s jeans.
Katrina’s mouth was hanging open, trying to form words.
“Did you just shank my best friend?” Slowly, anger started draining into her expression. She was out of the car before someone could blink, and Diana soon collapsed inside. Katrina took a threatening step forward; the men took out their knives and loaded their guns in a split second.
Nathan, signalling for them to lower their weapons, gave his old friend a knowing look.
“Now now, we both know it’s foolish to take me on, let alone all of us. You’d end up dead, and that would get us both nowhere.” He walked up to the girls, cupping Katrina’s face. “In the car now, darling,” he whispered, his eyes softening slightly. Katrina looked around at their company once more, then, reluctantly, entered the car, slightly blushing.
Katrina looked at her best friend who was eyeing the knife in her. The brunette lifted her hand to the knife.
“Don’t. You’ll just lose even more blood.”
Diana, her screams reduced to whimpers, averted her eyes from her thigh. Instead, she looked at her worried friend.
“WHO IS HE? YOUR BOYFRIEND JUST SHANKED ME.”
Katrina, cringing slightly, replied, “Would you believe me if I said that I stole something from a gang leader?”
“That ‘something’ being the thing that stopped another gang from trying to kill us, so thanks, Rina.” Nathan butted in.
Diana, like a goldfish, looked from the girl to the boy and back to the girl.
“Okay, three things. One: WHAT THE HELL?! Two: What d’you steal? Three: Are you two, like a thing? Don’t think I didn’t see you blushing.”
An awkward silence enveloped the car, Katrina stuttering over what to say.
“Wait a minute,” Diana frowned. “You stole something? From him? So you two aren’t together anymore? Awwwwww. Nooooo.” Diana leaned as far as she could towards Katrina without hurting her leg. “He’s super hot.”
Nathan raised an eyebrow at Katrina, who had turned from a mouldy pear to a beetroot. Katrina, having realised he had overheard Diana, blushed even harder.
An unknown voice sounded from the driver’s seat. “We’re here.”
“Thanks, Ryan,” Nathan mumbled, getting out of the car and opening Katrina’s car door.
Hello peeps. I just wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading my story. It means so much to me that you have taken the time to read my work. Please, if you have any constructive criticism I am very open to it, just please, no hate mail. I WILL NOT TOLERATE HATE!!!!!! Thank you, and I hope you enjoy my story.