The sun was setting, casting colors of pinks and purples over the horizon. Waves crashed against the shore, the cold water hitting my ankles as my toes dug into the wet sand with every step I took. I wrapped my cardigan tighter around my body since it was a bit chilly out, occasionally moving hair out of my face. It was beautiful this evening, calming, as I watched everyone get ready to pack up and leave.
A sigh of contentment passed through my lips. I stopped where I was at, looking up and watching as birds flew by. They were probably heading home; a place I wish I could go back to. The whole reason I was here because my parents were fighting again. It was a common theme for the past couple of months ever since my mom found out my dad was having an affair. It surprised me she hadn’t left him yet or kicked him out.
“Beautiful out, isn’t it?”
The random voice startled me. I placed a hand over my chest as I whirled around, my eyes coming into contact with a pair of green ones. The man before me smiled, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes. There was a pool of sadness in them, something broken about him, and I wanted to ask him what was wrong. But I didn’t know the guy and he probably wouldn’t tell me. Not like it was my business anyway.
“Yeah, it is,” I finally answered him, turning back around. “And peaceful.”
He sat down, and when I glanced at him, saw him pick up some sand. He let it slip through his fingers, and he sighed. Why was he so sad? I sat beside him, curling my toes in the sand. I felt him glance at me, but it didn’t last long. He was back to staring straight ahead, and we stayed silent. The only noise between the two of us was our breathing.
Fifteen minutes had passed before my phone went off, the ringtone indicating that my mom was calling me. She was probably wondering where I was at and wanted me to come home. But I didn’t want to. It was hard listening to them fight all the time, my mother throwing things at my dad, curse words being thrown back and forth. Maybe they had both calmed down, and it was getting late. It was dark out now, and I couldn’t really see.
My phone stopped ringing, and I sighed in relief when my mom didn’t call back. Unfortunately, it was time to go home, and I was getting tired. I had school early in the morning. I stood up, using my hands to help me push myself off the sand. The man beside me looked up, and honestly, I forgot he was even there. We were both quiet and minding our own business, that he probably forgot about me too until I stood up. I smiled softly at him, which he kind of returned.
“It was nice meeting you…” I trailed off because I didn’t know his name.
“Marcus,” he finished for me.
“Well, it was nice to meet you, Marcus. My name is Adalyn.”
“You too, Adalyn.”
I held my body with my arms and began walking off. It was then that something didn’t feel right, but I couldn’t quite place what it was. But it didn’t take too long to figure it out, because once I turned around, the one thing I never expected to see, just happened. Marcus had a gun pointed at his head. Before I could even utter a word or make a move to stop him, he had already pulled the trigger. A loud boom sounded, and I had to cover my ears because it was so loud. I screamed and ran toward the man.
Falling to my knees, I reached forward, but I didn’t touch him. I was too scared to. How did I not notice that he was planning on doing this to himself? How did I not notice the gun on him? How did I not notice something was wrong? A tear slid down my face, followed by a whole lot more, and I sniffled as I wiped them away with my cardigan sleeve.
“Why?” I asked, a sob getting caught in my throat. “Why did you do this? Why around me?”
There was a noise behind me, and I quickly turned around, falling on my butt. A man was coming toward us. I couldn’t see his face. Just bright red eyes. He wore a black cloak, and there was something in his hand. He was a little too far for me to notice what it was, but as he got closer, my heart started beating faster.
“S-stay away,” I screamed, but he ignored me. I began crawling backward, but it wasn’t me he was after. It was Marcus. When he reached us, he put his hand on Marcus’s forehead and whispered something. I couldn’t understand what. “W-what do you want?”
He snapped his head toward me and snarled his teeth at me. I didn’t even have time to react. Not a scream. Not able to get up and run away. Nothing. Instead, my world went black.
I wake up screaming, my forehead wet from the sweat dripping down my face. Looking around my room frantically, I try to see if there is someone here. There’s nobody. My breathing is uneven, my heart pounding, wanting to jump out of my throat. When I get everything under control, my gaze shifts over to my alarm clock. 3:15 in the morning. I groan.
Great. Now I’m going to be up for the rest of the night. Reaching over my nightstand, I turn the lamp off. The light momentarily blinds me, so I slowly blink until my eyes adjust to the brightness. It takes me a minute to get used to it, but when I do, I get out of bed to go run me a hot shower. After the nightmare I just had, one that felt all too real, I need to wash my body and shake it off.
The bathroom steams up shortly after I turn the water on. After I undress myself, I push the curtains back just enough so that I can step inside the shower. Once the water hits me, I let out of the breath I didn’t realize I was holding. I tilt my head back and let the water hit my face, pushing my hair back. I try to shake off the dream – well, nightmare – I just had, but it stays engraved in my mind.
Why did I dream of something like that? What was the point of it? Who was Marcus? More importantly, what was the meaning behind it?
But it was all just a nightmare. No matter how real it felt, it wasn’t real.
With a deep sigh, I shut the water off and step out of the shower. I grab the towel and wrap it around my body, and then using another one to wrap around my head. With a dry rag, I wipe all the condensation from the mirror so that I can have a good look at my reflection. Red, puffy eyes from the lack of sleep. Face pale. Bright blue eyes void of all emotion. It’s been a long week of packing and moving and unpacking. In just a couple of short hours, I will be starting at another school.
To say that I was underprepared would be an understatement.
A newspaper is thrown on the kitchen table, causing me to look up at my mother. Her long, blonde hair is pulled up into her a tight bun, make-up done beautifully, wearing a pin-striped pants and a white button-up blouse. She looks great for her first day at her new job in this new town.
“It’s sad hearing about these young teenagers killing themselves. Makes me wonder what’s going on in their head that makes them think it’s okay to run from their problems. To leave their parents and siblings without a child or brother or sister.” She shakes her head. “This is the second child this week. I hope it wasn’t a mistake moving here.”
I sigh. We just moved here about four days ago, right at the end of summer, and it turns out that suicide is at its high in this town. “Maybe they have a lot going on and they just can’t seem to deal with it.”
“What can be so bad going on at the age of fifteen, sixteen, that they can’t deal with?”
My shoulders lift up into a shrug. “I dunno, mom.” She opens her mouth to say something else, but I cut her off and change the subject. “Dad already left this morning. He told me to tell you he’d be back late.”
She mutters something under her breath. I may not know exactly what she said, but I can sort of guess what she’s thinking. It’s the same thing he did at the old house – a reason for their fighting. He stays at work late, and mom assumes he’s having an affair. Of course she has no proof, but she’s pretty damn certain. It’s why we moved here in the first place. For a fresh start. To get my mom to forget about her accusations. She thinks he’s doing it because he’s guilty. Me? I’m indifferent.
My mom doesn’t say anything else. She snatches her purse off the counter and storms out the back door, not even telling me goodbye or to have a nice day. I sigh, not even ready for my first day at a brand new school. It’s never been easy for me to make friends. People don’t jump out of their way to talk to me, calling me a freak and a weirdo because I like to keep to myself. But then again, I don’t try to talk to them, either.
I look at the clock on the wall. Its an hour until school starts, which means I need to get there so that I can get my schedule and figure out where all my classes are. On top of being late on my first day, I want to get lost either. That will be a great way to stand out. And another reason to have other kids bully me. I sigh. It’s something I’m used to, so it shouldn’t bother me too much.
Grabbing my bag, I head on out, making sure to lock the door behind me. I wrap my cardigan around my body tighter since it’s a little cold out this morning. The walk to work is surprisingly only ten minutes from the house. I could have taken my car, but what would have been the point if the school is in walking distance?
When I finally get there, the parking lot is already bustling with students. A few guys are throwing a football back and forth, a group of cheerleaders not quite far behind them, laughing and probably gossiping about other people. Someone calls out to a girl names Ashley, and the blonde cheerleader runs towards the voice, jumping in that person’s arms. Probably the quarterback of the football team. So stereotypical that I roll my eyes.
I stop checking out my surroundings and walk up the stairs that leads to the school. Thankfully, nobody spares a glance in my direction, nobody whispering or pointing at me. That was the part I was dreading the most. Being the new kid most of the time meant being the center of attention. Glad that’s not the case with me. At least, I hope not.
When I first enter the building, the first thing to hit me is the smell of lavender and honey. I’m immediately taken aback because I’ve never known a school to smell this good before.
Pushing the thoughts from my mind, I look around. Of course, the walls are made of white brick – much like my old school – but all the lockers were either red or black. In the middle of the entryway that starts the corridors of the hallways in four directions, is a big statue of a warrior made of beautiful marble, which I’m guessing is the mascot. After all, it the Cherokee Warriors. I can’t help but stare at it in amazement. Definitely much better than the mascot we had my old school.
After mesmerizing how nice this school seems, I walk to the door where a sign above it says Main Office. Straightening my shoulders, I enter the room, a bell chiming above my head. The lady behind the desk looks up at me and smiles. “You must be Adalyn.”
“Yes, that’s me.”
Her smile remains. “We’ve got your class schedule ready and everything for you, dear.” She slides me a piece of paper that has my classes on it and sets a key on top of it. “That’s for your locker, and your locker number is 325. To get to it you will take a left right as you leave this office, take a right at the first corridor, and it’s the first locker on your right. Now if you’d like, I can call up a student here to show you where all your classes are.”
As much as that would be nice, I’m such a loner that I don’t even want any help. “No thank you. I think I’ll manage.”
Finally the smile leaves her face, and I can already tell she’s disappointed. “Well, all right, dear. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
I shake my head and grab my schedule, giving it a quick look over.
1st Period : AP US History – Baker (1136)
2nd Period: Algebra 2 – Watson (1180)
3rd Period – Gym (Gymnasia)
4th Period – AP Literature – Miller (1125)
5th Period – Lunch (Cafeteria)
6th Period – Forensics 1 – Caldwell (1115)
7th Period – Painting 3 – Johnson (1200)
With a deep breath, I mentally prepare myself for my first day at this new school, hoping it goes well. Even if I’m not too certain that it will, I’m determined to make sure it is one. So, with that thought in mind, I tell the lady at the front desk thank you, walk out of the office door, and make my way to my first period class.