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Chapter 5

The first three hours went by and that prickly feeling hasn’t gone away. Sure, there were moments when it did and when I thought I could finally relax it comes roaring back a bit more intense than before. It was to the point that I could hardly focus in any of my first three classes because of how unbearable it had become. Luckily, I was able to keep my winces to a whisper so no one would notice. I just hope this goes away soon or else this day will turn out to be a nightmare.

“Hey, Reggie?” Samantha spoke up as we strolled out of our psychology class. Her face was wrinkled with worry, “Are you okay? You look like you are in a lot of pain.”

“Ah! No, no I’m perfectly fine!” A sudden soft grimace escaped me and caught a glimpse of Samantha glaring at me. I exhaled, “Okay, I’m just having some real bad cramps right now.”

“Cramps? Like woman cramps?”

I nodded, “Yes.”

“Are you sure? I’ve never heard you wince like that for those before.”

“Well, these ones are deciding to be a bit more painful this time around.”

Samantha eyed me with a hint of uncertainty. “Okay? As long as you are sure.”

“Don’t worry, I am.” I’m not, but I can’t exactly tell her the truth, considering I don’t even know that answer myself.

“Well,” She turned still suspicious of me but waved, “I’ll be seeing you at lunch.”

“Yup, bye.” I replied before we went our separate ways to our next class. I released a loud breath and groaned when the prickly sensation tickled inside of me again. “Why won’t this feeling just go away?”

“What feeling?”

I gasped at the familiar, rough male voice. Whirling around, Zane appear beside me. “Zane?!”

What in the world? Why is he coming up to me?

“What were you just talking about with that blonde chick?” He continued to interrogate me.

“Uh-um...what-”

“Oh, don’t give that confused look! You know exactly what I’m talking about.” He aimed his finger behind him, “You were talking about some pain with her.”

Whoa, what? “You...overheard that?”

“How could I not? I was right behind you.”

Were we really that loud? Even though he says he was right behind us, but there were people chatting pretty loudly all around us. So how could he have possibly overheard Samantha and I?

“So spill.” Zane crossed his arms. “That pain you’re feeling-”

“It’s nothing!” I exclaimed a little more quicker than I should have. Clearing my throat, I went on in a calm manner. “Really, I’m perfectly fine.”

“Pfft, do you really expect me to believe that after what I had just heard? I also saw you wincing all last hour, so don’t go pulling that nonsense over me.”

What!? He saw that? But why? How could-wait! Is he...is he actually concerned about me? It almost sounds like it, but why...?

My body subconsciously flinched when an image flashed into my mind. I saw an image of another faded boy who stood in front of me. I couldn’t see his hair or eyes but I could tell by the rest of his face that he was determined and serious about something.

“Reggie! Get behind us! We’ll look at your injuries when we get out of here!” The boy called out in a voice almost similar to the one I saw earlier, only the voice was a little rougher.

Zane’s scowl snapped me out of my daze, causing that image to vanish. Hastily, I shook my head and refocused on Zane only to have my body tensed up when he opened his mouth to say something.

“Alright! That’s enough!” A girl hollered as she zipped between Zane and me.

I gaped, “Roxy?”

Hardening her expression on Zane, she warned. “You better not have said anything jerkish to her! I swear, if you did I’ll make you regret it!”

“Oh please.” Zane gave a quick eye roll. “You really think I’m scared of you. Besides, I had no intentions of hurting her.” He gestured his hand towards me, “I was just asking her a simple question.”

“And that question would be?”

“Why she was wincing all last hour.”

“Wincing?”

I tensed up, but met Roxanne’s hazel gaze.

“You were wincing last hour?”

“Uh-um, well.”

“Wait a minute!” Roxanne abruptly retorted and hurled her glare back on Zane. “When do you care? The last time I saw you, it seemed like you could care less about my cousin when she was passed out in your brother’s arms!”

Zane grunted and almost looked...pained by her comment. But that expression swiftly vanished as he scoffed out. “Hey, as long as she was breathing that’s all that mattered! Tyler didn’t need to go with you, none of us did, it was something you could have handled easily on your own.”

“Oh? Then care to explain why you are standing here in front of Ace and me, showing such concern for my cousin?”

I watched Zane’s body fidgeted when Roxanne reminded him of that. He lowly scowled as his face wrinkled up, looking like he was having a hard time figuring out what to retort to us.

“Alright, alright!” We heard Mr. Peters, our psychology teacher, call out to us. We snapped out attention towards him as he ran out of his classroom and towards us. Waving his hands, he went on strictly. “That’s enough you two, now calm down before you guys start a huge shouting match.”

“Hmph, don’t you worry about a thing!” Zane turned his head slightly to meet Mr. Peters gaze. “We’re done here.” He then cast Roxanne a blank stare, “I have nothing more to say to this pipsqueak.”

Roxanne let out a low scowl, which almost sounded like a groan as she returned his glare. Zane then whirled around and stormed away in the direction that Samantha had gone off towards.

Once he was out of sight, Roxanne let out a rough, disappointed sigh and looked at me. “Come on, Ace, let’s go.” She then walked away in the opposite direction.

It was my turn to release a sigh and looked over at Mr. Peters. “Thanks for that, I honestly don’t know how that would have ended if you hadn’t stepped in.”

He smiled. “Anytime, but,” He pointed his finger down the hall, “you better get going before you’re late for class.”

Hastily, I nodded, “Right.” I then ran down the hall to catch up to my cousin.

Dang, that was a close one. However, I can’t blame Roxanne for getting a little edgy with Zane, heck I’m still puzzled by him. I mean, seriously what was up with that?

“Oh!” I finally spotted my cousin as she continued to stroll down the hall. “Roxy, wait up!”

Roxanne stopped but didn’t look back as she allowed me to reach her side. Once I came up beside her, Roxanne spoke. “So care to explain?”

“Huh?”

She cast me a glance, “About that wincing Zane was going on about.”

“Oh, that. Well, um-”

“Is it connected to that prickly feeling that you had mentioned to your dad?”

I nodded. “Yeah, it’s actually that feeling that’s causing me to wince.”

“Really?” Roxanne’s eyebrows rose in shock. Sudden concern glistered in her gaze, “Is it getting worse?”

“Yes.” I held my hand over my abdomen. “It’s like someone is really rubbing that Velcro against me and that Velcro is really sharp.”

Roxanne grimaced with sympathy. “Sounds very unpleasant.”

“You have no idea.” I grunted indifferently.

“But what could that prickly feeling possibly mean?”

I shrugged, “Your guess is as good as mine.”

We then fell into a moment of silence as we made our way to our 20th Century Literature class.

Softly, I winced when my head continued to slowly pound, causing it to feel intensely sore.

Great, not this again, it did this when that imaged appeared this morning. Luckily, I know it will pass, it did earlier so I’m sure it will go away soon. But just what is going on? Why did those images abruptly appear like that? So randomly and right when Tyler and Zane had walked up to me? Who were those boys anyway? Wait...boys? Why am I already assuming that the boys in the images were different from each other when they could easily be the same one?

But there’s something about those images that felt...very familiar. Why though? Why on earth did they feel so familiar when it’s the first time I’ve seen them? Ugh! Just what is going on with me lately? If it’s not one thing it’s another.

“So?” Roxanne spoke up again once we stepped into the classroom. She smirked at me, “I heard you’ve been talking to Tyler this morning.”

“What? Where did you hear that?”

“Practically every single person in this school. But I think the main people who had been talking about it were Alivia and Jenna and they were saying some very unpleasant things about it.”

I groaned in dismay.

“So, I take it by that reaction that you did and those two saw you?”

“Yes,” I sighed, “they did. You see I was talking to Sam, Taylor and Chester when Tyler showed up. We kind of started up a conversation when Jenna and Alivia appeared and began to talk to Tyler.” I rolled my eyes. “They were being flirtatious as usual and when I motioned to walk away Tyler followed me and we talked until first hour started.”

“I bet those two weren’t happy about that.”

I shook my head, “No, they were not.”

When we sat down at our normal spots at the table, I furrowed a brow. “But why is everyone talking about it? Sure, I can see Alivia and Jenna doing that, but everyone else?”

Roxanne shot me an obvious gaze. “You really need me to answer that? You know those two have hardly been social since they moved here. So you can bet that the day they start to socialize with someone that everyone will be talking about it and with it being you that they’re socializing with that’s even more of a reason to gossip about it.”

“What? Why me?”

“That’s because whenever someone sees you, you have your nose stuck in one of your books.” She shrugged like it was no big deal. “Although, I really can’t blame you for that since books are just so addictive and hardly any guy in this school is remotely interesting. But no one as ever seen you socialize with any guy beside family and Chester. You also don’t normally talk to guys unless they talk to you first. So if any guy starts randomly talking to you, especially a new one, and you start talking back it’s going to be big news around this school.”

I exhaled, “Guess I can’t argue with that. But it’s still a little weird.”

“I imagine it would be. However, I’m sure it’ll come to pass, especially if Tyler continues to do this. Then it’ll be old news in no time.”

“You really think Tyler will keep talking to me?” I asked, a little perkier than I thought I would.

Roxanne spread her hands, “I don’t see why not.” A smirk suddenly appeared and she pinched my cheek as she teased in a baby tone. “You are one of the sweetest girls in this entire school.”

“Ack! Don’t do that!” I gently smacked her hand away and rubbed my cheek. Grumbling, I eyed her blankly. “Did you really have to do that? Couldn’t you have said that without pinching my cheek.”

“But it’s more fun that way.”

I murmured, “Not for my cheek.”

“Whoa!” A boy and girl yelped over by the classroom door.

Everyone in the classroom looked to spot Stephanie and Tyler who appeared to have just entered the room. But to our surprise, Stephanie was bent over Tyler’s arm, like she was about to take a tumble into the classroom. Although, it seems Tyler was on guard and allowed his fast reflexes to shine once again and he caught her. However, Zane didn’t look too pleased with this turn of events, considering he stood beside Tyler with his typical annoyed, irritated expression.

“That was a close one.” Tyler sighed out in relief. He got her to look up at him as he went on with immediate concern. “Are you alright?”

Stephanie didn’t answer, she just stared at him with raised eyebrows and appeared to be in complete shock. Not sure if it was because of how fast his reflexes were or that a guy actually caught her and had shown deep concern for her. Although, I’m speaking through my perspective here, Stephanie could be an entirely different story.

A sharp gasp came out of Stephanie as she finally snapped out of her trance. Hastily, she jerked away from him, “L-Let go of me!” Her fast withdrawal and demand caught Tyler off guard, but she disregarded it as she shooed him. “N-Now get away from me and don’t ever touch me again!”

“What? But-”

She whirled around and tried to walk away but her foot must have got caught one something because she suddenly fell forward. “AH!” Stephanie yelped and grimaced in pain when she smacked herself on the floor.

My fellow classmates stood up from their chairs and began to mutter to themselves as I, on pure instinct, shot up and darted towards the end of my table. Once there I took note of Stephanie basically on the floor with her school materials scattered all over the ground. I glanced over by her feet to see what she could have tripped on, but I grumbled when I learned that she was wearing a pair of high heeled boots that didn’t have a thick heel, it was actually pretty thin.

“Honestly, how can any person walk in those things?” I muttered to myself. “Hm?”

I also took note that she had a long sleeved shirt underneath her tight, green t-shirt. Why on earth was she wearing long sleeves? It’s still decently warm outside where even I’m wearing a short sleeved shirt and I’m usually the cold one in my family and friend circle. So why-?

“Hey!” Tyler carefully walked up to the redhead. The worry still gleamed in his gaze and he motioned to kneel down beside her. “You okay?”

She gasped again and quickly scurried back into a sitting position. “Yes, I’m fine! Don’t touch me! I can...I can get up on my own.”

Tyler and I gawked at her. This was really the first time I’ve or I guess we’ve ever seen her act like this. She’s almost acting like she’s afraid of him.

“But-”

“Oh will you just drop it, Tyler!” Zane barked at his brother. He appeared behind his twin and gave him a stern glare. “If that twit wants to be rude and refuse your help then damn it just let her! If she’s able to stand up she’s fine.”

Tyler stood up with his attention now on his brother. “But, Zane.”

I caught a glimpse of Stephanie gathering up her materials. Once she had everything she motioned to stand up but noticed that I was watching her, she glared at me. “What are you looking at, bookworm?!”

I fidgeted, “Uh-um.”

She snarled, shot up and shoved herself pass me. “Get out of my way!”

A surprised yelp escaped me and had enough force in her shove to make me slam against the table. I grimaced sharply, not just at the pain but the prickly feeling suddenly got aggravated and it became more intense.

“Whoa, that was a bit unnecessary.” A male classmate commented, shocked with what he had just witnessed.

“Regina!” Tyler zipped up beside me, set his books on the table and grabbed my shoulder. “You alright?”

“I...I think.” Please, you prickly feeling die down a bit so I can go back to my seat.

“What the hell, Steph?” I heard Roxanne demand furiously as she shot up from her seat. Glancing over towards her, I found her as she hurled a piercing glare at the redhead. “Was that completely called for?”

Stephanie scoffed. “It’s her fault for standing there like a spaced out idiot. If she wouldn’t have been standing there then she wouldn’t have gotten shoved.”

“That’s still no excuse!”

Well, excuse me for being concerned! Sure, maybe I should have said something but I truthfully didn’t know what to say. She obviously didn’t want anyone to touch her so what else was I supposed to do besides stand there? AHH! That prickly feeling’s going up into my head! GAH, it really hurts!

“She was just concerned about you!” Roxanne continued to defend loudly and murmured loud enough for everyone to hear. “Although, I really, REALLY don’t understand why. But she was just making sure you were okay!”

“I don’t need anyone’s concern!” Stephanie hurled back, “Especially not from a stupid bookworm like her!”

Suddenly some type of prickly pressure built up in my eyes, instinctively my eyes shot wide open. The outer part of my eyes flashed yellow and somehow all the school books and papers on the other side of the room flew off the table. It was like some type of harsh wind just blew them right off, this caused everyone to gasp, startled by the sight. However, just as quickly as it happened the yellow in my eyes disappeared.

“Holy fudge! What the heck was that?!” Another male classmate hollered out. He had jumped up from his seat and was up against the wall.

“Was a window open?” A female student questioned, hoping to find a logical solution.

“No, not a single one of them.”

“What? But a window or door of some kind had to have been open in order to get that type of wind!”
“I’m telling you, woman, no blasted window was open!”

Chatter soon filled the air and everyone abruptly forgot about the argument that had transpired between Stephanie and Roxanne. Even Roxanne and Stephanie forgot about it as they watched their fellow classmates pick up their school books and papers.

Wha-What just happened? Why did that-? Oh that prickly feeling...it has died down a bit. But why and so suddenly?

“Regina?” Tyler shook me gently. I looked up as he made a perplexed face mixed with alarm. “Are you alright?”

I furrowed a brow, finding his expression odd. Heck even Zane shared Tyler’s look, which made it even stranger. However, I sighed and answered, “Yes, the pain has died down a bit.”

“A bit? Wait!” Tyler pointed at me. “Have you been dealing with pain earlier?”

I opened my mouth to reply.

“As a matter of fact, yes.” Zane intervened and strolled up beside his twin. He had his arms crossed and his attention on Tyler. “This pipsqueak was wincing all last hour and her and that blonde chick were talking about some type of pain afterward.”

“What?!” Tyler darted his thunderstruck gaze in my direction. “Really?”

“Uh...” Tilting my head, I eyed them strangely, “yeah?”

“How long have you had this pain? Did it start just last hour or was it longer than that?” Tyler asked.

“Um....”

BRINGGGGG! We jumped at the bell and looked towards the classroom door as Mrs. Allen came rushing in.

“Alright, alright! Let’s get this party started.” She cheered humorously with a hint of excitement. “Hm?” She took note of the other students picking up their school materials from the floor. “Or have you guys started the party without me?”

“Oh, no, Mrs. Allen, we wouldn’t dare start a party without you.” A different male student assured her.

“Yeah, we honestly have no idea how this happened. But we’ll be ready to go shortly.” Another female student reported with a small smile.

Mrs. Allen eyed the students with slight concern. However, she shook her head and smiled. “Well, whatever happened I’m glad no one was hurt. Anyway, this will give me the chance to take care of the attendance, so once we finish that we can get started on today’s lesson.” She then strolled over to her desk to get her classroom sheet.

“Ace!” I heard Roxanne call out. Looking over at her, I saw her usher her hand towards my seat. “Come sit down.”

“Ah, right!” I nodded and motioned to walk towards her.

“Wait, Regina.” Tyler grabbed my arm and gave me a stern glare. “Just what-”

“It’s just a stomach ache!” I blurted out, causing him to jerk his head back in surprise.

“Stomach ache?”

Chuckling lightly – I wasn’t expecting to say that so loudly – I titled my head and reassured. “Yeah, I didn’t really eat all the much for breakfast this morning so my stomach is just upset with me about it. So really, don’t worry about.”

“But-”

I didn’t give Tyler and chance to finish as I rushed over towards Roxanne and sat down. I peeked over at Tyler to see that he still had his attention on me but exhaled and averted his gaze towards Zane. Zane merely shrugged with a perplexed expression, the two then placed their school books where they normally sat and took their seats.

I sighed in relief, I truthfully didn’t know what to tell Tyler if I should tell him anything more than that. This pain is just as much as mystery to me as it is to them. Although, I’m starting to wonder if it possibly just gave me a hint of something. I mean, with the way that prickly feeling escalated and how it calmed down slightly when those books and papers flew off of the tables and...did I truly see a yellow light at the corners of my eyes? Or was that just my imagination?


20th Century Literature went by like it normally does with us discussing the chapters we’ve previously read and the class ending with Mrs. Allen handing us essays for us to write to summarize those chapters. However, other than that nothing really happened, which of course you won’t hear me complain about. The only thing that kept itself present was that pesky prickly feeling, I swear I thought after that supposed wind incident that it would settle down. Boy was I ever wrong, sure it calmed down a little bit, but once Mrs. Allen started the discussion the prickly sensation came roaring back and it was more intense than it has been this entire morning. It became difficult to even focus on the discussion, which was bad news for me considering Mrs. Allen kept calling on me to answer some of the questions she had in regards to the chapters, since she knew I was part of the group that truly reads the books she gives us.

Fortunately, regardless of the pains, I managed to answer or there were times where Roxanne and Tyler answered for me. Heck, even Zane had stepped in to answer as well, which caused both Roxanne and Tyler to cast him shocked and confused stares, but they got used to it after a while. Their quick interventions caught me off guard a couple of times, but I was gradually getting used to it and mentally thanking them for it, especially when that sensation kept intensifying. So now it was lunch time and Roxanne and I had gone our separate ways to drop off our school materials and to grab our lunch money from our bags, but we agreed to meet up in the lunchroom.

I groaned in agony as I walked into the lunchroom. Holding my hand over my abdomen, I muttered to myself. “Damn, this is annoying.” That prickly sensation just wasn’t lightening up, it was getting the point that I started to wonder if I should eat anything considering how much my body was aching because of this feeling. “Ugh, why won’t this just go away.”

“Hey, Reggie!” I heard Taylor call out behind me with excitement. She then playfully smacked my back, which caused me to immediately wince sharply in pain.

“Ah!” I whimpered out as instinctively grabbed my shoulder. What’s with this? Normally that wouldn’t hurt, but now it does? Why? Why is this feeling making me feel this way?

“Reggie?” Taylor spoke up with immediate alarm. I caught a glimpse of her coming up beside me, she gently placed her hand on my back. “Are you okay? I’m sorry, I didn’t know I hit you that hard.”

“You didn’t.” Casting her a glance, I gave her a small, reassuring smile. “My body’s just being a pain right now.”

She furrowed a brow with the concern still written in her face, I merely shook my head and waved my hand at her.

“Don’t worry about it. So,” I changed the subject, “how was your morning?”

“Uh-um, not too bad I guess.” Taylor stuttered out, still puzzled by my comment. But she shook it off as she tossed me a teasing smile, “But how was yours?”

I took note of her tone. “What are you-”

“Oh, come on, don’t go thinking I didn’t hear about you talking with Tyler practically all morning before your first hour.”

“Oh!” I lightly smacked my face into my palm as it dawned on me. “Right, I almost forgot that everyone was talking about that.”

“Oh? So you heard the gossip as well?”

“Not exactly, Roxy was the one who told me about it.”

“Ah, I see. So?” Taylor playfully nudged me, wiggling her brow at me with interest. “What did you two talk about?”

My cheeks flushed as I stuttered out. “N-Nothing, not anything huge anyway. Just about how our weekends went.”

“Oh? What did they do?”

“Not much, both Tyler and Zane applied for jobs and helped their parents organize their home.”

“Ah, so they’re looking for some employment? What places did they apply to?”

I spread my hands, “Basically any place in Mukwonago. Like Walmart, Home Depot, some of the restaurants there, fast food joints, Pick n’ Save, and such like that.” Of course that did explain why Tyler and Zane were at Pick n’ Save together. They had also mentioned that they were getting stuff for their mother and their sister Kailey tagged along, because they went to apply for jobs right after school.

“But, come on, you must have learned something about them from that. Even about their family life, since you did mention that they helped their parents out.”

I just shook my head, “No, not really that’s basically it. By the time we got to my class and got to at least that part of the conversation we ended up having to part, because the bell was about to ring.”

Taylor exhaled roughly, “Of course that had to happen before any of the juicy details could come out.”

I rolled my eyes, “Not like it would have been that interesting.”

“Hey, you never know sometimes.”

“Hey, Reggie, hey Taylor!”

“Hm?” We averted our attention towards the cafeteria entrance as Samantha and Chester made their way towards us.

We smiled at them. “Hey.”

“You guys ready to eat?” Samantha quizzed with a bright smile. “I don’t know about you guys,” She rubbed her abdomen, “but I am starving!”

“I know I am.” Chester chimed in. “To the point that I might consider going for the hot lunch today.”

“Oh?” Taylor tilted her head with curiosity. “What is today’s lunch anyway?”

“A cheeseburger, mixed vegetables, a dinner roll and some mixed fruit.”

“Oo, that does sound good.” Taylor waved her finger at him. “I may go for that as well.”

“Well, I’m going to go for their salad bar.” Samantha commented. “I’m in the mood for lots of veggies.” She cast her stare in my direction, “What about you, Reggie?”

“Um, I’m not exactly sure.” I haven’t even thought about it, I’ve had other pressing things to worry about. “What’s the other bar choice?”

“Soup, and it’s tomato today.” Chester answered.

“Hm, I think I’ll go for soup.” Maybe if I eat something warm it might calm down the pains...at least I hope that works. Either way I need to get some sort of food in my system.

“Holy crud, everyone got here before me?” Roxanne’s voice echoed humorously. We met her gaze as she came up to us with a smirk. “Jeez and here I thought I would get here before all you guys.”

“Haha, guess we were a little punctual today.” Samantha chuckled out lightly.

“I guess, but I blame my backpack!”

We arched a brow at her.

“Why?” I quizzed her in an odd tone.

“It took me forever to find my money.” Roxanne crossed her arms and pretended to pout. “So I blame my backpack for hiding my money on me.”

Chester chuckled. “Either that or you need to find a better spot to put it in your bag so you always know where to find it.”

“But that makes sense!” Roxanne joked. “Who in this day of age ever makes sense?”

Samantha merely shook her head lightheartedly before looking over at me. “So, Reggie, are those cramps still bugging you?”

I fidgeted when she reminded me of that. “Oh-um.”

“Is that what that was?” Taylor arched a brow at me. “Cramps?”

“Uh, well-”

“What?” Samantha cut in and cast a glance at Taylor. “Was she wincing before we came in?”

“Well, I playfully smacked her back,” To demonstrate, Taylor smacked her back like she did with me, “like that and she suddenly winced with intense pain.”

“What?!” Samantha hurled me a glare. “What’s with that, Reggie? That really shouldn’t have hurt!”

“I don’t know!” I raised my arms in dismay. “My body’s just being stupid right now.”

“So that wincing in psychology class,” Crossing her arms, Samantha eyed me like I was a child, “was that truly cramps or were they not?”

“I-”

“She didn’t know, Sam.” Roxanne intervened as she appeared between Samantha and me. “That’s probably what she thought it was at first, but that’s obviously not the case anymore.” She cast a worried glance in my direction, “Although, I’m starting to wonder if you should go home.”

“Go home?”

“Yeah, you were hardly able to focus at all last hour and that’s so unlike you. Literature classes are your favorite, so you always, always pay attention in those. So that alone tells me that you should call it quits for the day.”

“Whoa, seriously?” Chester voiced in while him and the two girls gazed at me in shock. “She couldn’t focus at all in 20th Century Literature?”

“Nope.” Roxanne shook her head. “Not in the slightest.”

“I also agree with that.”

We flinched at the sudden voice. The five of us were stunned to find Tyler and Zane walking towards us.

“If that pain is being that much of a nuisance....” Tyler positioned himself between Roxanne and me. His face was soft but his tone was stern. “Then it might be a good idea to go home.”

“But-”

“Oh, just go home would ya!?” Zane hurled at me with minor annoyance, his harsh demand caused me to jump slightly. Grunting, he crossed his arms. “Look, if you go home you can allow your body to focus on whatever it is that’s causing the pain. But if you stay here you’d only cause more damage.”

We all gawked him while Roxanne and Tyler looked at him with raised brows. Those brows Zane caught notice of, which caused him to scowl.

“What?”

“Do you really need me to explain?” Tyler bluntly replied.

Zane snorted and opened his mouth to retort.

“Well, Ace.” Roxanne gestured her hand towards Zane. “If Zane is actually deciding to agree with us then I think you should consider it.”

Zane grumbled, not looking like he appreciated her words. However, he didn’t say another word, since he knew what the replies would be.

I lowered my gaze, taking their suggestions into consideration. It probably would be a good idea to go home, since I’m really not sure how much more I can take of this pain. Sighing, I looked up at them. “Do you think the people in the office will believe me?”

“I don’t see why not.” Taylor reassured with a mere shrug. “You’re not a troublemaker and you are hardly ever up there so I doubt you’ll have a problem.”

“Absolutely.” Samantha agreed with a nod. “So there’s no need to worry about it.”

“Besides.” Tyler moved closer to me and placed his hand on my shoulder. When he did that, I winced sharply before I peeking up at him. He sighed with worry. “How can anyone not be convinced that something is severely wrong when you wince like that and make that type of face?”

I was silent for a moment before another grimace came out of me. “Alright, I’ll head up there.” My gaze shifted towards the lunch line. “But first I want to get something to drink, I want to at least get something in my stomach, even if it’s just milk.”

“Then I’ll get it for you.” Roxanne volunteered. “Knowing you it could take forever for you to decide what type of drink you want.”

“Hey, I wouldn’t take that long to decide!” I lightly argued. “AH!” I immediately yelped softly and tightened my grip around my abdomen.

“Well, at this point might as well be on the safe side.” My cousin commented gently. A bright smile then appeared on her face and pointed at herself. “Besides, I’m your cousin and best friend, so therefore,” She patted my shoulders before she waved her finger at me, “It is my job to take care of my best family buddy. So just stand there and look pretty and I’ll be right back with your drink, okay?”

“But Roxy-”

However, before I could even finish my sentence my cousin rushed through the line to go to the drink vending machines that were tucked in the kitchen area of the cafeteria. I merely sighed before I groaned and squeezed my eyes shut as the prickly feeling rubbed its way through my body and I could have sworn I felt my veins pulse against me.

“Reggie?” Samantha reached her hand out to touch my shoulder. Anxiety gleamed in her eyes. “Do you need to go sit down?”

“No, no.” I shook my head. “Once Roxy gets back I’ll leave so there’s no point in sitting down right now. But you guys don’t have to stay by me if you guys are hungry you should go eat before you run out of time.”

“You sure?” Chester’s face wrinkled with uncertainty.

I nodded. “Yes, now,” I ushered them to leave, “go eat, I’ll be fine.”

Samantha, Taylor and Chester just continued to eye me, unsure if they should go or not.

“Alright.” Taylor began to walk past me. With her eyes still on me, she went on. “If you are sure. I guess if you’re not here by the time we get out of the line, I hope you feel better.”

“Yes, and we hope we’ll see you all well again by tomorrow.” Samantha added, following Taylor with Chester right beside her.

“Yeah, I hope so.”

With that the three followed the line until they were out of sight.

“Hmph, well I’m getting my food.” Zane walked past his twin only to peer back at him. His gaze narrowed slightly, “You coming, Tyler?”

Tyler cast me a quick glance before he looked back at his brother. “I’ll stay with Regina until Roxy gets back.”

“What? Oh, no, you don’t have to do that!” I hastily reassured him, ignoring the light flutters in my stomach. I got him to look at me. “You-You don’t need to stay with me, I’m serious I’m really fine. Besides, if you’re hungry I don’t-”

“Don’t worry I’ll be fine.” Tyler tucked his hands into his pockets. “I want to make sure you get to the office okay.”

“Huh?” Wait, he wasn’t actually implying that he might...go with me to the office? No, no, that can’t be my imagination is probably reading too much into this.

Zane, on the other hand, gruffly snorted before he followed the line to get his own lunch.

Tyler sighed roughly. He shook his head with his eyes still on his brother, “So stubborn.”

I motioned to reply when the sensation abruptly sparked up again, causing me to wince. That sharp Velcro feeling now felt like it was stabbing each ounce of my body as some type of wind like pressure appeared, plumping it’s way through my veins at times making it feel like it was choking my veins.

“Regina?” Tyler must have noticed my sudden distress because the concern came back in his voice. He motioned his hands towards me. “What’s wrong?”

My body began to tremble as these sensations grew more and more intense to the point that I wasn’t sure if I could even stand anymore. I had hunched over as my grip around my abdomen tightened and I held my eyes shut, subconsciously thinking that would somehow subside the pain.

“Regina, hey, what’s-”

“Tyler!” Two familiar voices called out as the two figures zipped between Tyler and me. The two figures shoved me aside, which caught me completely off guard as my bottom fell onto the floor.

“Ahah!” I shot out as the two sensations flared up at the action. The prickly feeling suddenly felt like millions of needles had just pricked me all at once while the wind like pressure just blew harshly inside of me. Holding my body even tighter to subside the bizarre and painful sensations and with my one eye open, I glanced up only to scowl when I saw Alivia and Jenna.

Of course! Who else would do something like that? Those two are the only girls in this school who would literally push another if they were interfering with their plans. AH! Damn it, these sensations are just getting too unbearable!

“Regina!” Tyler had his hand held out. He looked like he was going to try and catch me, but unfortunately the two girls prevented him from doing that. He appeared to be growling at the two as they stood in front of his hand.

However, the two just smiled like they did absolutely nothing wrong. “Hey, Tyler. What are you getting for lunch today?”

“Yeah, I heard it’s cheeseburgers or something like that. But I-”

“What the hell is wrong with you!?” Tyler practically roared out.

The three of us practically jumped an inch at his loud, booming voice while everyone in the cafeteria abruptly became silent and looked in our direction. However, I, on the other hand suddenly winced at his voice as it gradually sounded like someone had somehow turned up the volume to make him sound louder than he was.

“You don’t just go and shove someone like that!” Tyler continued to scold furiously. “Seriously, do you two have any consideration at all?”

“Of-Of course we do!” Alivia reassured him while she started to panic. “We just-”
“We just didn’t see her there!” Jenna finished in their defense.

“Like hell I’d believe that!”

“But it’s true, Tyler!”

The sensations shot up into my head while some of it still lingered in my body. My fists automatically clenched some of my hair in agony. My head and ears felt like they were literally pounding, so strong and loud that I could have sworn I felt my own skull vibrate. The prickly feeling spread into my ears while the wind like pressure blew around inside of my head.

Suddenly the chatter around me got louder, almost like everyone was yelling at one another. Everything around me began to spin it was to the point that I almost felt light headed by the sight. The voices, unfortunately, continued to get louder and louder almost like everyone was now screaming instead of yelling like they were before.

“I don’t care!” Tyler went on loudly. “Look, I’m in the middle of something and I don’t have time to mess around with you nut-so girls!”

“AH!” I practically screeched myself, gripping both sides of my head tightly. “Shut up....” I managed to whisper very quietly.

“Regina.” I heard Tyler say urgently before a warm breeze rushed down in front of me.

“Tyler!?” Alivia and Jenna gaped out in shock.

Tyler’s hands slide onto my shoulders and got me to look at him. “What’s wrong?”

I grimaced at his seemingly loud voice, “I-” Abruptly a loud, high-pitched whistle painfully echoed in my head. “AH!” I shrieked.

“Regina!” Tyler reacted in alarm.

Suddenly we caught a glimpse of the fluorescent lights flicker on and off as they started to give off this static like sound.

“Whoa, what the heck’s going on with the lights?” A male student nearby questioned.

“I have no idea.” His friend replied.

“Regina?” Tyler very warily said my name but his tone was stern with a hint of fear in his voice.

I then managed to plea softly without a second thought. “Stop...make it stop!”

“Stop? Make what stop?”

The sound abruptly exploded into my eardrum while the excruciating pains shot through me like a sharp knife. This caused me to scream from the top of my lungs. “JUST MAKE IT STOP!”

At that moment the cafeteria fluorescent lights exploded with the sound of static. Light, quick screams echoed throughout the room, I gripped my head tighter as the chatter continued to sound like high pitch screams. My pulse and veins throbbed against me like a wild Indian drum. My head was pounding fiercely which caused the pain in my skull to increase.

Just what the heck is going on? Was that strange event happening again? No, this is different from the last time. But yet...why does this feel familiar somehow...can that be possible? Oh, whatever the case just make it stop! Please, this needs to end I can’t take it anymore!

“Tyler?!” Roxanne and Zane hollered in unison.

“What the hell’s going on?” Zane demanded in urgency.

“I-”

More pops and static were heard as I finally looked around the lunchroom to find the lunch tables flying around and crashing into the floor, walls and into other tables. Lunch trays were also soaring throughout the room, smacking into people and crashing on the floor and walls. The students and some of the adults were scurrying around from the objects as the tables and trays crashed on the ground.

“What the hell is this?!” A random male student screamed as he ran away from a flying table.

Cringing at the sound, I managed to stand back up. Tyler followed in quick pursuit. “Regina, you need to stay down!”

I disregarded him and his soft gasp that followed soon afterward as I refocused my gaze towards the flying objects. That’s when I finally noticed that the outer part of my sight was light yellow again. My vision also looked… dizzy, it felt like the whole room was spinning. I don’t get it, just what on earth is happening? Who’s doing this? Or is something doing this? Was...Was I doing this? Or is this even real? Is this a dream, because it certainly feels like one? This can’t seriously be all real can it? But...I wonder...why does this feel so...so familiar?

In my mind another image flashed, revealing where I stood in the middle of a forest. I had my arms held out with a yellow, misty light engulfed around my hands as I watched a wave of leaves fly around with my hands guiding them. I then heard young, child like voices echo out.

“But what was with the leaves?”

“Yeah! That was weird!”

“It was not weird! That’s what the leaves did in Pocahontas and I wanted to do that!”

Another image followed, finding myself standing in what appeared to be a rundown factory. Standing in front of me were blurred images of a few adults and some that appeared to be the size of children...maybe preteens. With my arms still engulfed in that yellow, misty light I used them to throw things at the group that ranged from objects to some sort of light balls that I made in my hands.

“Reggie, snap out of it!”

“It’s no use! She will not hear you! She is my slave now and all ours! So attack! Attack with all your might!”

Feeling strangely drained and light headed, I took a step back hoping to get away from this horrible commotion. I heard Tyler say my name before my foot suddenly slipped on something that rolled. The yellow instantly faded from my eyes as I yelped and fell backwards. Oddly, I didn’t hit the ground; instead I was lifted up into someone’s arms.

I gasped sharply, “Tyler!?”

Tyler didn’t say a word as he held me up in his arms. He just stared at me with astonishment and concern. I also could have sworn I saw a sliver of fear in his gaze as he tightened his hold on me. It honestly made my heart pump a bit.

Crashes were heard as the flying objects came to a halt and fell onto the ground. Everyone screamed as they scurried away from the falling items. Shrieking slightly, I jumped and impulsively wrapped my arms around Tyler’s neck. Once all of the objects were settled on the ground the students and adults gradually stepped forward with slight caution. They glanced around the room stunned and slightly petrified by the sight. This was an experience that no one wanted to go through ever again, unless they were in a movie or something.

“Whoa.”

“Holy cow.”

The lights were all out and looked like someone completely tore them apart. The tables were now smashed on the ground; some were broken in half while others were tumbled on top of each other. The trays of food were scattered all over the place. The floors, walls, and some of the students and adults were covered with food. The cafeteria, in short, was a complete mess it really looked like someone was literally trying to rip this lunchroom to pieces.

“Holy crap.”

“Shit, look at all of this.”

“What the hell just happened?”

“Aw man! I paid my last two bucks for that food!” A male student complained loudly.

“This is not the time to be joking around!” A girl scolded him.

“Who’s joking?!” He shot back, lifting his arms up in the air. He sounded offended by her comment.

“A-All right everyone!” One of the teachers voiced in with assurance. He continued with attempts to calm the students and him down. “This is no time to be barking at one another.”

My gaze drifted around the lunchroom. I just couldn’t believe this. Just what in the world happened?

“A-Are you alright, Regina?” Tyler asked me with hesitation, snapping me out of my trance.

Huh, why did he hesitate like that? Breathlessly, I replied, “Y-Yes, I’m fine.” Just a little freaked out, but I’ll live.

He gradually eyed me with uncertainty. “You sure? You don’t sound fine.”

“R-Really, I’m okay.” At least physically, although I have no idea why I’m panting or why I’m so exhausted all of a sudden. But I suppose those painful sensations and that piercing whistle took a lot out of me. That’s when I realized that the pounding in my head had finally stopped, well mostly, but it wasn’t as painful as it was before. Heck, even those sensations were gone too! Even my hearing was back to normal, well there was some echoing going on. However, for the most part none of the voices sounded like they were screaming anymore and that blasted whistle was gone as well.

Sighing in relief, I rubbed the side of my head. “Yeah,” Closing my eyes, I lowered my head, “I truly am fine.”

It was his turn to exhale softly, sounding doubtful. “Alright, if you say so.” Meeting his stare, Tyler told me tenderly. “But I’m glad that you’re okay.”

Whoa, was he actually worried about me? Oh, come on, Regina, this really shouldn’t surprise you. Tyler has shown he would be the type of guy to be concerned about something like this.

However, that didn’t stop me from feeling a little shy. “Y-Yes...thank you.”

“No problem.”

A thought came to mind, remembering that I had slipped on something. I looked over my shoulder to see if I could pinpoint what I had tripped on. When I found the culprit, I groaned in disappointment. It was an apple! Someone must have dropped it or it must have fallen off of one of the tables when the whole commotion started.

“Stupid apple.” I grumbled very quietly. Who knew that one of these days my favorite fruit would actually try to kill me.

“Ace!” Roxanne cried out with Zane walking right behind her. She rushed up beside Tyler and grabbed my arm with immediate fear. “Are you-”

“Reggie!”

We looked over towards Taylor, Chester and Samantha as they raced towards us.

“Are you alright?” Samantha urgently asked.

I gave her a slow nod and puffed out. “Y-Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Good!” Samantha placed a hand over her chest in relief. “We certainly don’t want you to pay another visit to the hospital.”

I grunted as she reminded me of that. “Me neither.”

“But what the hell happened?” Chester shifted his perplexed stare at the smashed tables. He gradually shook his head. “I swear in all my years of being here I’ve never seen something like this before.”

“Neither have we.” Samantha reminded with reawakened fear in her face.

Tyler’s sudden groan caught my attention. He kept his eyes on the cafeteria as he murmured loud enough for only Zane and me to hear. “This is so bizarre.”

“You got that right.” Zane muttered out.

“Do you think the school could be haunted?” Taylor asked with sudden horror.

“I doubt it.” Chester remarked with high disbelief. His eyes scanned the cafeteria. “This school doesn’t look that old to have ghosts haunting it.”

“Actually,” Samantha spoke up in a matter-of-fact tone, “this school was built between the 60’s and 70’s, so a lot could have happened between then and now.”

“Really?” Tyler spoke up, startling my friends a bit. He disregarded their reaction and raised a brow, looking a little blown away. “This school really doesn’t look that old.”

“Uh, well...” Samantha snapped herself out of her stunned trance. “I heard from the faculty that this school was remodeled between 2004 to 2006.”

“Oh, that would make sense.” Tyler replied, while Zane stood and listened with slight interest.

“Yup,” Taylor waved her finger at him with a matter-of-fact tone, “which makes the whole ghost theory very plausible.”

“I agree.” Roxanne replied as she still stood beside Tyler and me.

“No it doesn’t.” Stephanie abruptly argued as she finally came to our sides. She was smeared with ketchup and random food sauces as she propped her hands on her hips. Her eyes were narrowed on Taylor. “Why would ghosts even bother to haunt this school?” Crisscrossing her arms she quizzed. “As far as I know nothing major happened at this school, nothing that would bring up the possibility of it being haunted. So in order for a ghost to haunt anywhere don’t they need a reason, like they died in that specific place?”

“Not necessarily true.” Chester disagreed. “That is true in some cases.” He shrugged his shoulders, “But we can’t really assume any of that, since no one has any clear evidence of it.”

“Yeah, and if you ask me,” Taylor eyed us knowingly, “I think ghosts have the ability to haunt whatever place they want regardless if they died there or not.”

“B-But...” I impulsively blurted out through my fatigued puffs. Even though my body was completely exhausted – for whatever reason is still unknown to me – it still managed to become tense when everyone’s eyes met mine. Still puffing I stuttered out softly. “Could this...really be a ghost?”

“Uh, duh!” Taylor practically threw her arms towards the cafeteria. “How else would you explain all this?”

“Can’t argue with you there.” Chester concurred. “Just seeing all of this really makes that possibility very probable.” He sent us a doubtful glance, “Unless this was someone’s sick idea of a joke?”

“Pfft!” Samantha scoffed, disgusted that he even suggested that. “Well if this was just some stupid prank then it was obviously not funny!”

“Keh!” Zane abruptly snorted, eying our blonde friend sullenly. “You think?”

Tyler, Samantha and the others merely grumbled at Zane’s rough response. While I was wheezing like a madman, my body felt so weak that I had a difficult time just moving my arm. My eyelids also felt heavy, but I fought to keep them open since that last thing I wanted was to pass out in Tyler’s arms. But man, this was honestly the strangest feeling. I’ve never been this exhausted before in my life.

“Regina?” Tyler’s worried voice rung into my eardrums. I cocked my head up faintly, however, my vision became very swirly when my gaze came upon his face. However, even though my vision was blurry I could still see the alarm written all over Tyler’s face. “Are you sure you’re alright?” I heard him ask.

“Y-Yes,” I wheezed out softly, “I’m fine.” I eyed him strangely, “W-Whatever-”

“Yes, Tyler!” An angry voice intervened, grasping our immediate attention. Alivia and Jenna were now at Tyler’s other side with their arms crossed and gazes hardened. Alivia gestured her hand towards me. “Reggie is obviously fine. So you can put her down now!”

I caught a glimpse of Stephanie rolling her eyes at the two. “How can you two say that?” The toothpick glared at the two. “Reggie is panting like a madman over here and I highly doubt she’ll be able to even stand if Tyler sets her down.”

“That’s not Tyler’s problem!” Zane barked at her. He then hurled a glare at his brother. “Look, she’s not in any immediate danger anymore. So just put her down and let her friends take it from here.”

Tyler’s chest rumbled as I heard him scowl lowly.

My eyebrows rose when I also heard my cousin growl beside me. I peeked over at her to find the flames burning in Roxanne’s eyes. She sneered, trembling in anger, “You can’t be serious!”

Once I saw those expressions I knew I had to move it, even though my body was practically begging me not to. But I certainly didn’t want a fight to breakout right now.

I purposely began to reposition myself in order to get Tyler’s attention. “Y-Yes....” I managed to puff out, getting everyone to look at me. I kept my attention on what I was doing. “Please...put me down.”

“What?” Tyler replied in disbelief. He motioned to stop me from moving. “But Regina-”

“Please, Tyler!” I desperately pleaded. My eyes landed upon his reluctant face. “Please...just put me down. I’ll be fine...I promise.”

“But Reggie.” Samantha came closer to Tyler and me. Her face was stained with anxiety. “It might be a good idea for Tyler to take you to the office.”

“Yeah,” Chester shared Samantha’s worried expression, “you really do look like you could pass out if Tyler puts you down.”

“I agree!” Roxanne barked, giving me a stern glare. “Ace, you are not in the best condition to walk. So let Tyler take you to the office, since he’s already carrying you.” She shot her furious gaze in Zane’s direction, “And if anyone objects to that I will punch you right in the face!”

Zane snarled at that, almost looking a little pained by her comment. But he remained silent.

“Well I object!” I argued. “Look, Roxy I will be just fine!”

“No, you are not! Ace, I have a feeling that once he puts you down that you will collapse right then!”

“I will not!” Roughly, I moved and got ready to place my feet on the floor. “I’ll prove it!”

“Regina, don’t!” Tyler pleaded, trying to keep his hold on me.

“Just put her down!” Alivia and Jenna abruptly shouted, causing Tyler to jerk in surprise instinctively releasing me from his hold.

Finally, I set my feet back on the floor. However, I immediately regretted it, once my feet touched the floor I became dizzy and light headed, to the point that I could barely see anything that was in front of me. I was even debating if I should even move my foot, because I was afraid that I might stumble over. My huffing had also begun to increase to the point that I almost feel like I ran a mile or two. My graces, it was like all of my body’s extra fatigue fell on top of me like a ton of bricks once my feet touched the ground.

“Reggie?”

“Ace?” Roxanne and my friends cautiously said my name. I could hear the apprehension in their voices, which told me that whatever I was feeling was reflecting on my face. Unfortunately I couldn’t respond and reassure them, because I was too occupied with trying to keep myself steady, considering I was feeling very disoriented.

“Regina?” Tyler warily said my name and I could feel his presence inching closer behind me.

However, just has he said my name my exhaustion came to its limit. My vision grew black as I felt my eyelids close and a slight breeze came from behind as I fell backwards. The last screams I heard were Roxanne, my friends and Tyler calling out my name before I slipped into my unconscious mind.

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