Alice groans as she comes to, her eyes flickering open. She flinches and her eyes close against the dim sunlight. Her head pounds, it vibrating through her. Her face feels heavy and the skin around her eyes feel tight. Her stomach rolls with nausea and she lurches upright, her hand flying to her abdomen. A scurry of footsteps, made her trail her eyes to a nurse. Her dark red hair is pulled into a tight bun and her emerald eyes shine with pity and sympathy. She holds a trash can in her hand, pushing it toward her. The nausea fades away, leaving a bitter taste in the back of her mouth.
“I’m fine,” she whispers, her voice croaking, “What happened?”
The nurse smiles softly and sets down the trash can beside them. “You passed out in first period. Mr. Murphy carried you here and wanted to stay. Mr. Kindrid made him leave.”
Alice shuts her eyes, leaning against the cool wall behind her, the memories of this morning replaying in her head. The dream, Parker flirting with the girl and then the heat attacks. She opens her eyes to see her best friend.
“Girl, you know better than to go to school sick,” Sasha scolds, her hands on her hips. Her green eyes glare at her as she helps her up. The nurse shakes her head and meets Alice’s eyes, they flash black and then back to the bright green. Shaking her head, she meets Sasha’s eyes, “Everything okay?”
Alice hesitates, her mouth ready to spill everything that has happened to her. Something stops her, the entire feeling of Sasha and her doubt in the world she finds herself in. She knows her best friend won’t understand and call her delusional and mock her, in a good way. Sasha isn’t mean by any standard, but she is a lot like her mother and Alice’s parents. Only believing in what they could see. She believes there is something more out there.
So, Alice smiles, her lips pulling back into a smile. “Yes. I’m sorry, I just had a dizzy spell again.” Her friend looks at her, with a knowing look and loops their arms together.
“School is over and with the page that eventually called my mother in, we have to walk home.” Sasha mutters, her voice dripping with fake enthusiasm. Alice chuckles and allows her friend to drag her out of the office. The school is empty, people already left or is leaving as they walk by. Alice notices Parker and the bimbo leaning close, whispering. Cheeks flushing with anger, she looks at Sasha. Her best friend’s eyes seem to blaze with rage, but she tugs and they leave.
Alice walks into her home, listening for the paws. Fiona bounds toward her, her pink tongue lolling out of her mouth. Sighing, she rubs the back of her dog’s neck as she kneels down. Fiona goes crazy, barking and jumping on her. Laughing, Alice stands, pulling her bookbag off her shoulder. She heads for the kitchen, setting the bag on the counter. She yanks out her notebook, filled with notes and homework that Sasha gathered for her.
She settles into the chair, her head bent over the notebook. Ready to not let whatever is affecting her, get in the way of her education. The granite top shows her reflection and when Alice glances up, just a mere second, her eyes flash golden. Scooting back, her heart beating frantically, she sucks in a sharp breath. Fiona’s head cocks, her amber eyes flickering in the light. Alice swallows, shaking her whole body as icy sharp shivers go throughout her body. She scoots to the countertop, bending over the notebook to catch her reflection, seeing her normal blue eyes watching her. Sighing, she backs down, laying her forehead against the edge of the counter.
Fiona whines, brushing against her legs. Alice reaches down and starts petting her dog. Fiona calms down and lays down at the base of the chair. She starts her note reading again, keeping her eyes on the pages before her.
An hour later, Alice nods off and slams her head against the granite top. Yelping, she groans and rubs her forehead. Sitting straight, she notices Fiona is missing by her feet. Shrugging, Alice stands, feeling the stiffness in her calves. She bends and rubs them, soothing the ache. She walks around the island and gets into the fridge, grabbing a water bottle. The cool air hits her skin dragging a relieved sigh escape her. Closing the door, she goes up to her room, where her shephard usually hides in.
Once she reaches her room, she sees her unmade bed and rumbled clothes laying on the floor from the morning. Walking in, she picks them up and shoves them in the hamper by the big open window. A gentle breeze slides over her and her eyes greet the sight of an open window. Her lips drag down into a frown as the memory of closing it that morning comes to mind. Carefully walking to it, she looks out and sees a three-foot drop. Alice nods as if in confirmation that maybe she forgot to close it, getting lost in the sights of the forest. The seven o’clock sun seems to drift further into the horizon. Grabbing the pane, she slams down the window and locks it shut. The dim light filtered into her room, lighting up the other side of her bed.
A warm body of fur is curled into a ball, in her bed. Laughing quietly, Alice makes her way to her dog. Her phone goes, like a church bell. Flinching, she waits for Fiona to wake up, but she seems to be sleeping peacefully. She grabs her phone out of her pocket and clicks the answer button. Putting the phone to her ear, she waits for the other person to start.
“Alice?” her best friend’s voice filters through.
“Sasha?” she asks, taking the phone and checking the time, “Is everything okay?” She sits on the edge of the bed, facing away from Fiona, allowing her dog some sleep. The bed creaks as it takes her weight. Waiting for the other girl’s reply, Alice takes off her shoes and socks, letting the cool wooden floor caress her feet.
“Mother and her boyfriend had another fight. She came home a little while ago, arguing with him,” Sasha explains, her voice deeper than usual, filling with depression, “He accused her of cheating and using me as an excuse not to go out.”
“Yikes. Did he know you were there?” Alice sucks between her teeth as her best friend continues.
“Not until after. He sees me and starts yelling at me, calling me a whore and attention seeker. The cat seemed to have got her tongue as she did nothing to defend me,” she rants, her voice has an edge in it, “He just left and my mother brings out the vodka, hoping to suffer in self-pity.”
“Damn, babes,” Alice whistles in a low tone, “Do you want me to come over?”
Sasha hums, the phone vibrating in her hands. “No. I should be okay. She will fall asleep in about an hour,” she sighs, the sound echoing the phone, “I just miss him, Alice.”
She knew who Sasha is talking about. Her father passed away three years ago, a car accident. Alice’s parents were away on a surgery and couldn’t help save him. Sasha never blamed them, only her mother. Who was in a bar, cheating when it happened.
“It will get easier, Sash. It has only been three years,” Alice tries to calm her best friend, but she hears the choked sobs that spill through the mic. She lays on her bed, her eyes trailing the cracks in the ceiling. She listens to the cries, knowing her silence and support will help her.
“Are you still there?” Sasha asks, her voice thick from crying.
Alice smiled briefly, as if the question amused her. “I never left.” Getting bored of lying there, Alice twists and slips her hand down to pet her dog. She comes in contact of something wet. Alice pulls her hand away and directs into light. Dark red liquid shines on her fingers. Breathing in heavy, she sits up, the phone falling away. She distinctly heard Sasha calling her, but the roar of shock washes over her as her hand reaches for the light switch on her lamp.
Alice hears the click, light floods the room and illuminates the scene before her. She screams, the sound high and panicked. She scrambled backward and she knocks her phone on the floor. She hears the crunch of broken glass, but she keeps seeing the blood pooling around her dog. Sasha’s voice filters through, panicked and strung thin. Alice realizes she is screaming for her.
With trembling hands, she gets her phone. She places it to her ear and listens to Sasha yell. “F—Fiona,” she sobs, her voice breaking as the words left her mouth.
“What happened?” Sasha pants, her voice raw from screaming.
Alice rounds the bed, going toward her motionless dog. Shaking with terror and pain, she pulls the dead weight toward her. Gagging on how wrong Fiona felt and sees the bloodless flesh of her neck dangling. Whirling around, she vomits, the gore and blood too much for her stomach.
“Oh, no. No, no no no—”
“Alice?!” her best friend’s voice channels through her again.
“She was sliced open, Sasha,” she gasps out, her eyes on the wet ground before her, her eyes never going to the cut on her dog, “She was murdered.”
“What the—” A huge crash sounds through the phone, earning a high pitch whine. Alice flings the phone away from her ear, her eyes zooming on the cracked screen waiting for it to end. A hiss fills the static, and a crunching noise appears. A hysterical scream echoes the mic and a crackling voice enters.
“—Cram—” the voice moans, a slithering disturbing voice. It sends spider leg chills down her spine as Sasha never answers. She hears the click and her eyes see the Call Ended appear. Her heart pounds in her ears, drowning out everything around her. Her thoughts go haywire, unsure of her next move.
Her eyes go the still form of her dog and her decision is made. Crying, she bolts down the stairs, her feet slipping here and there. Sobbing as she reaches the kitchen, she pulls on her shoes. Running out the door, it slams behind her as she takes off. She knows something is wrong, nothing is explainable to what had happened. The disgusting voice that now haunts her memory or the hysterical scream Alice believes belongs to her best friends.
During her sobbing and running, she navigates to the house in amazing time. The lights are off and the front door slightly open. Not slowing down, Alice bursts into the house, going straight to Sasha’s room. The door is closed and a foul smell seeps from the hinges. Gagging, she pushes the door open. On the ground, in a pool of blood, Sasha lays still. Her arms are jagged, bleeding profusely. A kitchen knife lays clattered to the side, as if it fell after she lost consciousness.
It looks like a suicide, but Sasha groans and moves. Alice went to her phone and calls the emergency number. Numbly, she repeats the encounter and the lady asks her to stay on the line while she sends a dispatch team. A white piece of paper lays on her desk, the end of day light cast upon it. She walks, like she is in a dream, her hand moves forward and picks it up. Her name titles it, in the familiar scrawl of her best friend. Her chest began to beat with pain and let’s loose a breath of air, subsiding the pain.
Pounding feet made her eyes flicker upward and catch the blue and red light, flooding the room. She slips the paper in her back pocket before she knew what she is doing. The door opens more, letting in police officers, taking in the scene. Alice sees the pity and sympathy as they look at her. They already think they know what happened, but she knew different. It isn’t a suicide. She heard that disturbing voice and her scream.
A police officer, dark skinned with the earnest brown eyes, came over and gently took her arm. He is cooing soft words as he leads her away from the scene. Her breathing became heavy and heat blossoms within her. The attack is towards her, the voice familiar and distinct. The dream. The voice from the dream.