I stood in the sweltering heat of a mid-August day and looked for people who seemed to be interested in what I had to say. I came up with... Nobody. Everyone on campus was going about their day like normal, not paying me a second glance. I sighed, took one of my green flyers about saving the environment, and started fanning myself melodically with it.
“Arella George,” I heard a voice call my name.
I jumped out of my skin at the sound, but as I swiveled around, I quickly realized that it was just Maryse, one of my best friends.
“Oh, hi Maryse. Aren’t you supposed to be in Economics right now?” I questioned as I attempted to shove a flyer in someone’s grasp. They grabbed it, but quickly balled it up and tossed it back to me. I scowled and watched as Maryse flung curses rather loudly at their back.
When she recovered from her temporary madness, she turned back to me with a bored expression. “I am. But I’m not.”
I shook my head. “Skipping classes is bad,” I warned her.
She didn’t heed me, shrugged, and fixed her attention to studying her hair. “You know I should really get this touched up. This dye is starting to fade.” In truth, her blonde hair was starting to peek through from the black dye.
“Stop looking at your hair and make yourself useful.” I teased her as I thrust a wad of flyers into her hand. She mimed my scold for a few seconds, then proceeded to chase a few people to hand a flyer to, even though they seemed to have no interest in A, the environment, as one of them just tossed their trash on the ground, B, dealing with Maryse’s craziness, and C, slowing down to receive a flyer.
Maryse came back a short time later with only three of the brightly colored flyers in her hand. “I see you still have all your flyers,” she noted. She chuckled a bit and took half of my stack. I felt my face grown hot and red, and for no apparent reason, I felt my whole body stiffen. I knew that it was a joke, but I still felt a little offended.
I observed that the schoolyard had thickened tremendously with students in a short period of time. I glanced at my watch. It was 6:00 exact. Since three murders have surfaced in Waterloo, no one has been too lenient on going to class after it got dark. Even the teachers were packing up early.
Shrugging, I continued to hand out flyers to the people exiting the campus. Maryse started fidgeting and looking around nervously, the stack of flyers she had taken from me still as thick as it began.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her.
Her worried gaze transfixed me. “It’s just that- You know... The time...”
“Go.” I pried the flyers out of her hands and gave her a small push towards her car. She beamed a smile toward me.
“Thanks, Ella,” she said with a goofy grin. She gave me a bear hug before she started her car. As I watched her skid out of the parking lot, I began to wonder if I should leave too, but then quickly remembered a request from a new teacher to help unpack a few boxes.
I began to scour for 1117, the classroom belonging to the new professor, and after a few minutes, I found it. The room itself was cozy, tucked into a corner of the hallway. I barely had the chance to knock once before the door flew open, and in the frame stood a burly man with thick coke-bottle glasses and untamed scarlet hair.
“Are you here to help?”
Still in disbelief of the door opening so quickly, I nodded curtly. He widened the door enough for me to step inside.
The room, so far, was a complete and utter mess. Desks were toppled into a corner, the chairs stacked high beside the desks.
“I have actually just begun to start setting up the room. If you want to, you can take to organizing the contents of my desk from that box,” He pointed to a brown moving box resting on the white tiled floor. “If you have any questions about where anything goes, just let me know. I already labeled each drawer.”
I silently moved to the desk and began shuffling things out of the brown box. It seemed as if everything was already in order, all that was left to do was pack them in the metal drawers. Then, I heard the most awful screeching noise. I whipped my head to see it was the new professor dragging a desk across the room. He caught my eye and smiled.
“Pardon me, I never caught your name.”
Such smooth manners, I thought to myself. “My name is Arella, but people usually call me Ella.” The thought that I was completely alone with this man just struck me as I saw him give me a quick, but lingering once-over. I quickly turned my attention back to filling the desk.
“Ah, I see. Such a pretty name, Arella. It means ‘messenger of God,’” he noted.
I paused and looked at him out of the corner of my eye. I drew in a sharp breath. He was still staring at me. I heard his heavy footsteps pad across the area until they stopped in front of the desk. I was starting to feel that coming here was a bad idea.
I dug into the box once more to retrieve an item for the desk, and I drew back my hand sharply, hissing as my finger pricked against something silver in the bag. I was sure that I was bleeding, but when I looked at my finger, it was perfectly fine.
I peered into the bag and fished out a book, but it was no ordinary book. Instead of cardboard or similar material, the book was bound with heavy metal, the edges as sharp as razor blades. Glancing at the title, ‘Atlas,’ across the front, I sprang up from my crouching position next to the box, on the floor.
“I should get going. My parents are probably worried.” I stalked past the professor, but he caught my arm and pulled me toward him. The scents of tobacco and cheap cologne drifted to my nose, and I struggled against the death grip he was holding me in.
“You don’t have any family here. All of your family is back home.”
My eyes widened in shock. How could he possibly know that? Unless he read...
“You read my college application?!” I struggled even harder to escape him. This guy... He hadn’t asked anybody else to help him, except me. That’s why I was the only one who showed up.
“I did, and it was so captivating. All I did was imagine how you would look, how you would sound, how you would-”
At this point, my rage really started to well, and my cheeks grew flamed. My fists curled into balls, and I suddenly lashed out, interrupting the professor’s tirade. My right fist connected with the much-larger man’s jaw and his head snapped to the side.
This maneuver gave just enough of a distraction to throw the man off-guard and allow me to elude his clutch. I swerved to the door, grabbed my bag, and rushed out the door.
However, I didn’t quite get through the door before a giant mitt snatched my balance from me, and I tumbled to the floor. I was dragged back into the room and heard the door slam just inches from my head.
“Pretty little Arella. That punch was strong. Hit me again. I want you to struggle.”
At that, I stopped moving entirely and thought of a brilliant plan. My eyelids fluttered closed, and my head lolled to one side as I relaxed my whole body, pretending to be dead.
“Hmm. You must have hit your head when you fell. If you had just stayed...”
I felt myself being hauled over the man’s shoulder, and I heard the door creak open. With every step he took, my heart beat quicker and quicker. I willed it to slow to make it seem as if I really was unconscious, but the man didn’t appear to distinguish the difference.
I heard a car door open and felt him lay me down on a velvety cushioned seat. Most of the victims of rape never survived after they were taken to a secluded place. The door closed, and I fixed my leg from under my body. I opened my eyes and looked around for my bag. It was nowhere to be seen.
A different car door, one in front of me, unlocked, and the car dipped to the driver’s side, paired with the professor’s voice.
“Oh Arella, the fun we will have when you arise.” I gulped involuntarily and listened as the car came to life with the roar of an engine. My body jolted with the inertia of the car speeding out of the parking lot, and down the highway.
Slowly, I started to inch myself up so I could open the car door and roll out. Glancing at the rearview mirror, I saw that the professor was distracted, so I rose from the position I was laid in, and I snaked my arms behind the headrest of the driver’s seat.
The car swerved vigorously to the right as the professor began to realize I was choking him. I squeezed my forearm further against his throat, and the car jerked to a stop. The last thing I heard before cold darkness enveloped me was the sound of a car horn, and the screech of metal colliding with metal.
Hey, guys! Prologue up, what do you all think? I hope Arella wasn’t too annoying for you all to read about: her personality will be brought out more in the next few chapters. Love y’all, peace!