Grim Beginnings

By dragonflame91 All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Mystery

Blurb

"I was the girl who only got attention when she was passed out in the back of the classroom." Tessa Byrne had never been what most would consider a "normal girl". From a young age, she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders, possessing what she saw as a curse but the rest of her family called a gift. Her classmates viewed her as a quiet loner who often fainted in the middle of a class, sometimes with strange (what they believed to be self-inflicted) injuries, earning her the nickname "that fainting girl". If Tessa was the quiet loner, then Fin Belmont, the charming rebel and son of the richest man in town, was her complete opposite. Knowing each other for years but never saying more than a dozen words between them, one night changes everything and soon, they are thrust into each other's worlds, both unfamiliar and daunting. With lots of hesitation, they work to solve a mystery that begins to unravel secrets about their town and both of their pasts, learning that some secrets are better left buried.

The Nightmare

“Dr. Baxter, I don’t think she’s breathing!”

The twenty AP Biology students gathered in a circle, peering down at the unconscious girl lying on the cold black and white tiled floor. That girl was me though I was having a sort of out of body experience like some twisted sci-fi movie. I glanced at my other self, my dark hair shielding my face like a curtain.

Whispers about what caused me to faint in the middle of our first exam passed through the crowd, ranging from the sensible ( “Check her bag for an EpiPen,” suggested Will, the resident ‘nerd’ of the senior class who had more knowledge in his head than an entire library and one of my best friends) to the ridiculous (“She’s just faking to get out of the test,” said Claire Hilton, co-captain of the cheerleading squad and a self-proclaimed Queen Bee, snapping her gum loudly while poking my side with the heel of her expensive boot).

Hilton’s rude remark earned her a harsh glare from Elena Hastings, a literal Miss Perfect with long blonde curls and a laugh that sounded like it belonged to a Disney princess.

No matter how much someone wanted to hate Elena, whether it was for being the daughter of the one of the richest men in the town of Belmont Falls or the most popular girl in school, it proved impossible since despite having all the makings of a mean girl, she was the complete opposite, with a heart of gold and a love for volunteering at animal shelters on the weekends.

The fact that she was such good friends with a literal harpy like Hilton was one of the town’s greatest mysteries. She treated everyone the same, even those considered the lowest of the low in the school’s social order like me, the girl who only got attention when she fainted in the back of a classroom.

“Sir, should I call for an ambulance?” asked Will, concerned.

A handsome man in his late thirties pushed through the tight circle of students. Looking more like a model in a magazine than an actual teacher, he was what girls and some boys fantasized about when imagining themselves in a lurid fantasy. Kids at this school could deny it a thousand times but it was a well-known fact that many purposely got themselves in trouble for a chance to be alone with Dr. Baxter for detention.

I personally never saw the appeal to him, thinking he was more of a pretentious snob. From the first day he arrived in my freshman year, he flaunted his PhD by insisting that every student call him Dr. Baxter but it soon became obvious that his own students had better qualifications. His lessons tended to involve watching movies and online videos instead of learning actual science.

Even our first exam of the year was a multiple choice test that could be passed by an eleven year old with ease. In my head, I often imagined that he received his PhD by paying an obscene amount of money to some 1-800 number.

Though he was inept at his job, it was rumored that the only reason he was not fired was because of his charm and the fact that Hilton’s mother, an older version of her daughter who was rarely seen out of his company, was the principal of the school.

Dr. Baxter lightly smacked my unconscious self’s cheek. “Laura, can you hear me?”

“Not Laura but I’m guessing you mean me,” I said, leaning against his desk. “Yes, I’m awake and smacking me around isn’t going to help. We’ve been through this how many times, doctor? Can you please just call my mother?”

“It’s Tessa, sir,” corrected Will.

“Thanks, Will.” I appreciated that even in a stressful situation, he had my back. “Maybe they’ll get it right by graduation. Probably not. I should start practicing standing up when they call me some other random name.”

“I’m going to get the nurse,” said Dr. Baxter, heading towards the door. “Keep an eye on her until I get back.”

“You know, Dr. B, I took CPR last year. I could try that,” I heard.

I buried my head in my hands. “Oh, please no. Anyone but him. I’ll even take Hilton. For once, someone see through this pathetic scam.”

Peeking through my fingers, my eyes flickered to a tall boy who stepped out of the tight circle. His well-coiffed chestnut brown hair was contrasted by his distressed leather jacket and combat boots. Dr. Baxter gave him a curt nod and left the classroom.

“I’m not sure that she needs CPR. She’s still breathing, Fin,” remarked Will, the only one with brains.

The handsome boy scoffed. “I think I know better than you, Nerd King. It was part of my lifeguard training.”

“Okay, let’s not pretend that you didn’t only get that job to pick up girls in bikinis, Belmont,” I countered, as the dumb jock knelt beside me.

Fin Belmont was the golden boy of Belmont High. His ancestors being the founders of the town, his family had three times the wealth of every other family combined. They flaunted that wealth by putting their names on every important building, from the school to the public library. He was the star player of multiple sports teams and loved to show off his athletic skill to any pretty girl within his line of sight. It was typical to find girls gathered around the fields to watch his practices, cheering for something as simple as kicking a soccer ball.

All that attention fed his already enormous ego but instead of dressing in a preppy style like the rest of his family, he claimed to be the ‘rebel’. He was always the one to do something forbidden, whether it was having his first beer at the age of ten or driving around in his father’s expensive sports car on the day of middle school graduation. Since fourth grade, he made it a habit to carry around a lighter, flicking it on and off during classes.

While he was the typical womanizer, never staying attached to one girl for longer than a month, he did fail in one area and that was his grades. He often skipped classes, confident that the school would never attempt to fail him unless they wanted to lose his family’s funding.

I grimaced as Belmont placed his lips on mine, though I was thankful that he was not my first kiss. Passing out in the middle of a lesson was a common occurrence for me, beginning when I was seven years old. The first time it happened, everyone went into a panic, thinking that I was dead. After the first fifteen times, the fear wore off and it turned into their source of entertainment.

I had gotten used to the jokes at my expense, the kids pretending to faint as they passed by my locker, and in eighth grade, Hilton began to post videos of the incidents on her MyLife channel, gaining her thousands of views. As I got older, no longer a little girl, the boys took advantage of my unconscious state though they were unaware that I felt their wandering hands on my skin.

Belmont was not performing anything remotely close to CPR though no one noticed that or his hand sliding under my hoodie. I tensed up, feeling his cold touch against my ribcage. His fingers crept closer and closer to the bottom edge of my bra and to make matters worse, I could hear his friends sniggering quietly. I nearly gagged at the taste of cigarettes and whiskey in my mouth.

“Ugh, Fin, you’ll get her loser germs. Stop,” said Hilton, disgusted.

When he finally stopped, pretending that his expert CPR had failed, I sighed with relief. “Hey, I tried. You’d think a kiss from me would wake up any girl.”

I rolled my eyes at the same time as Elena’s. “Jenna’s unconscious and you’re making stupid jokes?” asked Amy Lopez, one of Hilton’s less stuck-up minions.

“It’s Tessa!” I shouted in frustration, restraining myself from throwing Dr. Baxter’s laptop across the room.

“This always happens,” said Belmont, unconcerned as he lifted his hands from my body. “What are you getting all worked up about?”

Amy crossed her arms, not amused by his friends’ stifled laughter. “Because all it takes is one time for it to be something serious. She might not wake up.”

“Like that would be a tragedy,” muttered Hilton.

Dr. Baxter eventually returned with Nurse Simpson, a kind-faced, middle-aged woman who spent several minutes pressing two fingers against my wrist.

“Wow. Thank goodness for that nursing degree or you’d never figure that out” I said, listening to her assurances of a steady pulse.

I followed them down the hallway as he carried my unconscious self to the nurse’s office. He laid me down on a cot, gripping my waist a few seconds longer than necessary.

“Her mother’s on her way,” said Nurse Simpson, placing a thermometer in my mouth.

Dr. Baxter sighed as I grabbed a cherry lollipop from her glass jar, hiding it in my pocket. “This is the fifth time just this month. Don’t they take her to a doctor? There must be something wrong with her.”

“Genius deduction, sir. You should be a detective,” I replied, sarcastically.

Nurse Simpson merely shrugged. “I’ve spoken to them plenty of times. Her mother says that the doctors haven’t found a cause for it. Did you notice anything strange before she collapsed?”

“No,” he said, shaking his head. The students were taking a test and the next thing I knew, she was on the floor. She’s a bit thin. Maybe she hasn’t been eating.”

“Oh, because all thin girls must be starving themselves, doctor?” I said, sitting on the edge of the cot.

Their conversation was interrupted by a dark-haired woman in her late thirties rushing into the room. Her hands were stained with dried paint, indicating that she was in the middle of a session.

Panting heavily, she clutched her side. “I came as soon as you called, Alice. How is she feeling?”

“She hasn’t woken up yet,” assured the kind nurse. “Besides that, nothing to worry about...but I was hoping—”

"I rushed to get Nurse Simpson as soon as it happened. I wouldn’t want your daughter in any danger, Mrs. Byrne,” said Dr. Baxter, his eyes blatantly straying lower than her face.

“Is it possible to vomit in your sleep?” I asked, repulsed.

My mother grinned. “Thank you very much, Dr. Baxter. I know it must not be easy to deal with Tessa’s...incidents.”

“It’s no trouble at all and please, call me Brendon.”

Nurse Simpson received a call about a sophomore girl puking in the second floor chemistry lab after breaking a flask. I had no doubt that she wanted to avoid the awkward tension in the room. Unfortunately for me, I was always forced to watch my own teacher’s pathetics attempts at flirting with my married mother. He conveniently forgot that my father was still around, not the deadbeat that he imagined in his mind.

“I heard your husband left town again,” he said, barely able to contain his joy. “His work must keep him busy.”

“Well, he loves it and far be it from me to keep him away from a dig site.”

He crossed his arms, showing off his biceps strained by his tight dress shirt. “I bet it gets lonely in that house all by yourself.”

“Not at all. Tessa and Ryan make sure I never get a moment’s rest,” she replied, brushing a strand of hair off my face.

“All that time spent taking care of others...makes me wonder who takes care of you.” There it was, the flip from sympathy to shameless flirt. “I uh saw your piece at the gallery this weekend. I think it was your best yet.”

“Thank you,” she said, being far too kind. “My husband thought so too.”

“Do you ever give lessons?” he asked, as I contemplated jabbing the pointy end of the lollipop stick into his throat.

My mother feigned a smile, not fooled by his charm. “Yes, I teach children at the recreation center every Saturday.”

“I was thinking of taking a few lessons. I’m no da Vinci but I’m not completely hopeless. The classes at the gallery are a little too expensive,” he said, feigning interest. “Maybe I could take lessons with you instead, Kala. That’s a very pretty name. Is it Brazilian?”

I scrunched my nose in disgust. “Mom, can you please give this moron a black eye already?”

My mother turned towards him, still maintaining that smile. It was evident by the fire burning behind her dark eyes that she was getting irritated by his advances. Behind her back, she poured a cup of brownish-yellow liquid into my mouth.

“Indian actually and I think that you might stick out among the children.”

“A private lesson, then,” he proposed, closing the gap between them.

As the herbal extract flowed down my throat, I returned to my physical body and my eyes fluttered open. I sat up, feeling lightheaded, and clutched the side of the cot.

“What happened?” I asked, putting on my usual clueless act.

My mother embraced me, cradling the back of my head. “You fainted again, little bird. Brendon, could I have a moment alone with my daughter?”

“Of course. La—Tessa, class is almost over by now so the exam will be rescheduled for tomorrow. I’m sure Principal Hilton wouldn’t mind if you skipped the rest of the day.”

Once he disappeared down the hallway, my mother lifted up my hoodie. She checked for any signs of an injury.

“No stab wounds this time,” she said, thankful. “That’s a good sign.”

“I think it was a drug overdose.” With her help, I climbed down from the cot, feeling a bit woozy. “Could’ve been worse. Remember in seventh grade when it was a gun shot through my stomach? That took forever to explain to the nurse. Are you sure there’s no way to skip the fainting part?”

She cupped my cheek. “It’s part of what we are, little bird.”

“I don’t mind the rest,” I said, unwrapping my hidden lollipop. “It’s just the constantly fainting in front of everyone that’s annoying.”

“Don’t fret,” she said, writing my name on Nurse Simpson’s sign out sheet. “Soon, you won’t ever have to deal with it again. Your grandmother and I went through the same thing. It’s never easy. Those boys didn’t get handsy again, did they?”

“Of course they did,” I mumbled, not wanting to relive that horrible moment. “This time, it was Fin Belmont.”

Putting her hand to her heart, she gasped. “A Belmont? How lucky. Did he taste like money?”

“You’re hilarious,” I said, with a playful glare. ”I’m the one who’s scarred for life.”

“Why don’t you get your things and I’ll take you home? Ryan should be off the bus at any moment and you know if we’re not there, he’ll be stuffing his face with cookies. I’ll be waiting outside.”

Leaving the nurse’s office, I headed down to my locker. I hoped that everyone else would be sitting in the cafeteria for lunch but with my luck, they all decided to enjoy the sunny weather and eat out in the courtyard. Whispers followed me down the hallway.

After all these years, I learned to tune them out but sometimes, one or two whispers caught my attention. In a way, my fainting incidents did make me popular. I was known as ‘that fainting girl’. Kids would stare at me as if I was a horse on its last legs, about to collapse any minute. Opening my locker, I grabbed my books and placed them in my checkered backpack.

“Just ignore these idiots. By the end of lunch, they’ll find something else to talk about,” she heard.

Elena was leaning against the locker next to mine. “I don’t care if they talk about me.”

“Oh, look at me,” she teased. “I’m Miss Cool.”

A small smile tugged at my lips. “I’m just used to it by now, I guess. It’s like my mom said before. Soon, the fainting will stop...but I might prefer that to what has to happen next.”

“Maybe you won’t have to do it because he’s not here,” she said, giving me her daily shot of optimism. “I’m sure they can make an exception for someone as adorable as you. Just bat those big doe eyes at them...maybe flash a little cleavage.”

“I’d sooner become Claire Hilton’s best friend,” I remarked, making her laugh.

I jumped at the sound of a loud banging noise. The senior football players were gathered around one of their lockers, laughing obnoxiously. Belmont repeatedly threw a basketball at the space above a freshman boy’s locker, purposely striking it a few inches from his head. My nails dug into my backpack when Parker, one of his more crude friends, bragged about the incident in AP Biology.

“Fin can cross it off his bucket list now. He got to second base with a sickie,” he joked. “You could’ve gotten ten more points if you managed to unhook her bra.”

Elena gripped my shoulder. “Ignore him. He’s an ass.”

“I’m fine,” I said, pretending, like always, that they were invisible.

For a split second, as Belmont caught the basketball, he made eye contact with me. It felt as though my entire body shut down and my feet were glued to the floor. Panicking on the inside, I quickly turned my head and grabbed my biology notebook. I sensed someone standing on the other side of the locker.

“You got out of there pretty fast.” Clutching the basketball, he rested his head against the locker to my right. “Be honest. Did you fake it to get out of the test? I mean, I wouldn’t blame you. Tests are lame.”

“No.”

“Well, you should thank me, Cara.” He flashed that stupid crooked smile, the one that made all the girls weak in the knees. “I think my CPR helped you out a little.”

“It’s Tessa,” I muttered.

“What?” he asked, absentmindedly staring at a passing junior girl, specifically her short skirt.

“Just throw his basketball down the hall so he’ll go away,” said Elena, annoyed.

“Nothing,” I replied, keeping my eyes on the inside of my locker.

“I uh wanted to give you this.”

Belmont handed me a check for a thousand dollars. I glanced up at him, unsure why he was giving me money. My confusion soon turned into anger as he explained that it was for my operation.

“A thousand is like small change for my family,” he said, twirling the basketball on his finger. “I just figured it would help. Claire said you’re one of those make a wish kids.”

“I’m not,” I hissed, gritting my teeth.

“Oh.” His reply was simple, not the least bit apologetic. “Well, maybe the money will get you on the list or whatever they do. I mean, you do pass out a lot. That can’t be normal. Maybe they can fix you.”

I was nearing my breaking point. “There’s nothing wrong with me and I’m not some broken toy.” Ripping up the check, I threw the pieces at his face. “Just leave me alone and tell your jock buddies that if you keep playing that little game with me, I’ll tell the cops.”

“You could feel that?” he asked, surprised. His lips curved into a smirk. “If you want, I can remember that for next time and move my hand a little lower. You should know what that’s like before you go to college. Not that I’m assuming you’ve never...it’s just that you don’t leave your house.”

“Drop dead.”

I slammed my locker shut and stormed out of the school. My mother was waiting by her minivan, the back doors decorated with childish hand-prints and drawings, and immediately noticed that I was in a foul mood. Joining me in the backseat, Elena explained what had happened with Belmont.

I never cared much about the whispers but getting an actual work for an ‘operation’ put me in a foul mood. “Everyone probably thinks the same thing...that I’m like one of those dying kids on TV,” I lamented, trying to distract myself with Calculus homework.

“Tessa, it doesn’t matter what they think,” she said, knowing that these incidents added to the stresses of high school. “They wish they could be as gifted as you. I’m not surprised that the Belmont boy was that clueless. No one in his family is known for their intelligence. If he says something that vulgar to you again, I want you to tell me. I’ll teach him some manners.”

She parked in the driveway of a two story house, blue with white shutters. Upon entering the house, I was tackled by a tiny blur. A young boy around five had his arms wrapped around my waist.

I smiled, ruffling his mop of dark hair. “Did you miss me, little bear?”

He nodded. “Mommy said you fainted at school. Did it hurt?”

“No,” I said, my little brother already lifting my spirits. “It was like falling asleep.”

“Is Ellie with you?”

“Right here,” she said, tapping the top of his head.

Ryan chased her around the house, waving his hands wildly in front of him. Stifling a laugh, I followed my mother into the kitchen to help her with dinner. As I diced the tomatoes, she sifted through the spice cabinet in search of the paprika.

“This is your father’s doing,” she muttered. “I put these spices in alphabetical order and then he messes it up when he’s making his midnight snacks. I think he enjoys throwing me into this chaos.”

“It’s probably in the back, next to the cayenne pepper. He likes to hide the spices that he thinks are gross,” I said, secretly tasting a strand of spaghetti.

“Honestly, sometimes I wonder if he’s a child stuck in an adult’s body.” My mother’s head popped up from the cabinet at the sound of breaking glass. “Tessa? What’s wrong?”

The shattered bowl and diced tomatoes scattered across the floor. I did not even notice the pieces of glass stuck in my own hand, too distracted by the girl standing by the refrigerator. She was not much older than me, maybe a sophomore in college.

She dressed in a preppy style similar to Elena’s, with a peter pan collared blouse, white belted cardigan, white and blue plaid skirt, knee high socks, and ballet flats. Her pin straight blonde hair, adorned with a blue headband, was wet and straggly and her eyeliner was smudged, running halfway down her cheeks. Puzzled and shivering, she looked around the messy kitchen.

“Tessa, is that her?” asked my mother, watching the girl hug her cardigan close to her body.

I nodded. “They put her in the shower to try to wake her up. Casey?”

The girl snapped her head towards me. “H—how do you know my name? How did I get here? I was...the last thing I remember was going to the bathroom.”

“To get your caffeine pills so you could keep studying for your organic chemistry test,” I said, remembering the images that flashed in my mind shortly before fainting. “You thought it wouldn’t hurt if you took a few more...but a few became half the bottle. It wasn’t your fault. You were just worried that if you didn’t keep studying, you’d get a B on the test and for you, a B is like failing.”

“T—that doesn’t explain how I ended up here.” She glanced around the small kitchen. “This isn’t a hospital. If I passed out...”

“You did,” I replied, dreading my next few words. “Your roommates found you and called an ambulance. They tried to wake you up in the shower but you weren’t even breathing. The doctor called the time as soon as you arrived at the hospital. There was nothing he could do.”

Her eyes widened. “A—Am I...t—then how are you...but you can see me. I can’t be...I’m still here.”

I shook my head, holding back tears. If fainting on a regular basis was the worst part, then the impending conversation with people like Casey was a close second. After ten years of giving the same speech, it never got any easier, especially when the other person was not expecting it or too young to understand its meaning.

I looked at my mother, hoping that she would take the burden from me at least once but she simply gave me a reassuring nod, one that said This is your duty.

“I’m the only one that can see you,” I said, choosing my words carefully. “Well, my mom can too but I’m the one that has to talk to you.”

“About what?” she asked, confused.

“What you can do next. The choice is always up to you. I can’t force you to do anything that you don’t want, Casey. You can choose to pass on and let fate decide where you go. You seem like a nice person so I’m sure you’d end up somewhere nice. Your second choice is to...stay behind. Most kids your age choose that because they’re not ready to leave. If you decide to stay, it comes with a price. You can still see the people you care about and interact with things in this world but you’ll be invisible and once you make that choice, you can’t ever pass on. You’d be stuck in between the two worlds.”

She looked at me like I was insane. “I—I have to choose now?”

“No. I can give you a couple minutes but the longer you wait, then it’ll be harder to leave here, no matter what you decide,” I said, hoping it softened the blow of such a tough decision.

Casey paced around the kitchen, whispering to herself. With each passing minute, she was slowly descending into madness, afraid that either choice could be a mistake. I listened to her worry about how her overdose would reflect on her family’s pristine reputation, showing little concern for herself.

After ten minutes of pacing, she faced me. “I think I know what I want. I want to...what did you call it? Pass on?”

“You’re sure?” I asked, needing her to be certain.

She bit her lower lip. “Not 100% but if I choose to stay, I might never see my family again. You’re not alone when you pass on, right?”

“No. You’d never be alone,” I said, positively. “I promise that it’s quick.”

I reached out for her hands. The raven-shaped birthmark on my wrist turned solid black and seconds later, a faint golden glow radiated from her body. Her hands slowly dissolved into mine.

Seeing the terrified gleam in her eyes, I swore to her that she was safe. Piece by piece, she began to disappear, becoming one with me. For a moment, as her face faded away, I thought that I saw a dark shadow clinging to her back. Flashes of Casey’s life, from her birth to the minutes before her overdose, passed through my mind.

“We’ll need to chop up more tomatoes,” said my mother, moving around the counter. “Though I don’t doubt your brother wouldn’t mind eating the ones on the floor, I don’t want any of you getting sick. I’ll clean up this mess.”

“How do you do it?” I whispered, frozen to the same spot.

Grabbing a broom and dust pan, she swept up the broken glass. “Do what, sweetheart?”

“You act like that was nothing. I’ve been doing this since I was seven and I still—it doesn’t even faze you. Someone’s dead.”

“People die every day, Tessa,” she said, simply. “You know that...you feel it. It’s our duty to guide them when their life is at an end. When you’re my age, this will all feel normal to you.”

I picked the glass from my hand and grabbed a band-aid from the cabinet under the sink. “I don’t think I’ll ever feel normal.”

Dicing another batch of tomatoes, my mind was cluttered with the memories of Casey’s past and the fleeting image of a shadow on her back. I had helped others pass on hundreds of times but no one ever carried a shadow with them. Passing it off as a figment of my imagination, I focused on helping my mother with dinner then working on my pile of homework, including a six page essay for AP U.S. History, ten questions for AP Calculus (though each question had five parts), and reviewing my biology notes.

Elena sat beside me on my bed. “Why are you studying for Baxter’s test? A monkey could ace it.”

“I want to keep myself busy,” I replied, my eyes on the alarm clock, the screen flashing 1:00 AM.

“Don’t want to think about overdose girl?” she asked, braiding my hair.

“Her name was Casey,” I said, always remembering the names of those who died. “She didn’t do it on purpose...or maybe she did. She was under a lot of pressure from her parents. They freaked out if she got less than 100 on anything since she was in kindergarten. I could see why she would do it. She didn’t want the pressure anymore.”

“Have you ever thought of...”

“Maybe once or twice.” My honest answer made her uneasy. “It’d be nice to just escape and not have to deal with constantly fainting and being mocked by everyone who thinks I’m some loser or a girl on her deathbed.”

She rested her head on my shoulder. “I don’t think you’re a loser. You’re—”

Her words were drowned out by a sharp pain in my head. I winced, clutching my bird patterned blanket. My eyes squeezed together tightly to block out the pain but it only seemed to get worse as my head was flooded with brief images.

Elena guided my hands in front of me carefully and I felt a pen and sketchpad between my fingers. My eyes still shut, I moved my right hand at a rapid pace until the pain and images ceased simultaneously. I glanced at the sketchpad, which now bore a drawing of a wooden bridge near the titular Belmont Falls.

The Falls were the most famous thing about the town, tourists flocking to the site to see the water that glistened as if mixed with diamonds and crystals. It was particularly beautiful in the winter. For the teenagers in Belmont Falls, it was a popular hangout for parties, hook ups, and the occasional dare to jump off the bridge. In the drawing, a beer bottle and varsity jacket were floating in the lake, surrounded by a pool of blood.

“Whose jacket is that?” asked Elena, peering at the grisly scene.

I took a sip from the water bottle on my nightstand. “I didn’t get a good look but it happens at night. I saw someone, definitely a guy...he was standing on the bridge.”

“Probably some drunken idiot,” she said, dismissively. “You’ll know at school tomorrow.”

“It doesn’t always work that way,” I said, my eyes skimming over the drawing. “Sometimes, I get a feeling but other times, I don’t know find out until it’s already happened.”

After a few moments of intense thinking, Elena seemed to have an answer. “Fin is having a party this weekend there. Maybe it happens then. Should we tell your mom?”

“No.” Grabbing the sketchpad, I placed it under my bed. “She’ll just tell me to be ready for them. If it does happen at the party, at least I won’t have to worry about fainting in the middle of Biology again.”

I heard a faint knock on my door. “Tessa, I know you’re awake. It’s one in the morning. Time for bed.”

Tossing my biology notes in my backpack, I clicked off the lamp and laid my head down on the pillow. Elena snuggled up beside me. I drifted off to sleep, thinking about my vision and the peculiar shadow.

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Creative-Writer: It's actually a nice story but sometimes a little confusing... And the ending is a little... strange

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