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The 'K' Word

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In a bland town, Alice lives a simple, boring life. Being the only child, her parents don't let her do​ anything after eight; not even going to a movie with friends. That will change with him here.

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Chapter 1

She woke up with a start. "PANDA ICE CREAM!" the girl blurted as she was pulled from your dream by her annoying alarm.

Quietly, Alice Lake slipped out of her simple, blue bed sheets and trudged into the bathroom. Staring at herself in the mirror, she concluded that her hair looked more like a chestnut colored bird’s nest than actual hair.

She picked up her red toothbrush and started the daily routine. Like clockwork, Alice combed through her hair until it was just how she liked it and walked out of the bathroom.

Alice went to the closet and pulled on the clothes she picked out last night. A warm gray and white sweater, some jeans and a pair of boots. Tossing her pajamas into the dirty clothes bin as she walked out of her room and headed downstairs.

The girl made her way to the kitchen and made a ham and cheese sandwich. Alice ate the warm, gooey sandwich, a disinterested expression plastered on her face. Checking her phone's clock, she nodded. 6:22 am. Just as I suspected. She thought, heaving a big sigh as she got off the couch.

Alice went upstairs again. She walked to the end of the hall and hit the door. Three loud knocks sounded throughout the house. "Six twenty-two, on the dot! Rise and shine." The girl called. When Alice heard the rustling of sheets she made her way back downstairs to finish getting her things together and straightening the house up.

After five minutes, Alice decided it was time to go. If she left any later, she'd be late and that was not an option. Wasting no time, the girl headed for the door. Her black backpack was waiting for her there, right where she left it the day before. Alice grabbed the strap of the bag and opened the front door. Not even a moment later, she was met with a blast of cold air and snow.

Swiftly, Alice shut the door and tore a hat and scarf from the coat-rack. She was carefully wrapping the scarf around her neck when she heard light footsteps going down the stairs. As Alice pulled on her hat, she put on a vibrant, warm, smile.

“Good morning, Mom,” She said, her voice light and happy as she turned around. “I ate breakfast, made sure everything is in my backpack and as you can see, I’m putting on my winter gear now.”

Her mother nodded smiling as she made her way down the stairs. She scratched her sandy-blond hair lazily. “I know you have everything under control, you always do. I just want you to know that you’re curfew is 8:30 instead of nine now, okay?”

Alice’s eyes widened a bit, but her smile never faltered.

“I want you to be behind these doors no later than eight-twenty-nine.” Her mother continued. “I know you’re responsible, but there have been a few murders in this area recently. All your father and I want is your safety.” The woman's green eyes were filled with sympathy.

Alice nodded. “Y-yeah, thanks." The girl began to fiddle with the coat zipper. "Don’t worry, I’ll be home in no time!” she said before rushing out the door. Her smile vanished as soon as the door closed. “It’s not I’ll have any friends to stay out with after today…” she mumbled.

The wind was brutal. It kept hitting her face, no matter what way she turned. She hadn’t been outside for very long, but there was already plenty of snow sticking to her hair and clothes.

She had to squint in order to see the border between the sidewalk and the road. Luckily, that was all she needed. Alice would have to rely on memory to get to school. “This is going to be a long day,” She muttered over the howling wind, carefully making her way down the slippery, ice-covered steps.

Snow fell steadily. The overcast skies showed no signs of letting up, just like the day before. The sun hadn’t risen yet so the street lights tinted the snowy sidewalk yellow, orange and occasionally blue.

Alice took her time walking to school. The first bell didn’t ring until 6:30 so she could relax, maybe make this five minute walk an eight minute one. Just to be late for the sake of being late.

After a minute or two, Alice started getting cold. The wind had found its way into her jacket and it was not a pleasant surprise. Shivering, she tugged the scarf tighter around her neck and stuffed her hands into her coat pockets.

She sighed despite herself. Alice had been sighing a lot lately. Maybe it was stress or school. Whatever the reason, Alice didn’t really care. Sighing wasn’t a big deal. She didn’t mind the fact that it made her look like she was always brooding.

The sigh turned into a groan when the roof of the school building came into view. She fished out her silver phone and looked at the time. ‘6:27’, it read. Yet another sigh. Alice put the phone back in her pocket and recited a strange little motto she’d become fond of.

“Another day begins, another memory lost,” she said. “Let’s hope the new ones are better than the old.”

She jogged the last few blocks to school, thinking it’d be best to avoid teachers chastising her about tardiness. It took, at least, two minutes to get to there.

Alice’s school was average at best. Nothing special about it. The students attending were average as well. Not a thing to take notice of, in all honesty. The point is, Brockwell High school, was boring.

Briskly, Alice walked through the glass double doors, trying her best not to touch the freezing cold metal with her bare hands. She made her way to homeroom a little in less than a minute and sat down at her desk. As soon as she set down her backpack the bell sounded and the day began.

After three uninteresting classes, it was finally lunch time. Alice wasn’t particularly excited about the food. She’d eaten breakfast. The girl was more interested in meeting up with her friends.

“Al!” someone yelled from across the lunch room. It was Hannah. “Happy Friday, now get your butt over here!”

The corner of Alice’s lips quirked up. “Yeah, I’ll be right there!” she called back. Quickly, Alice weaved her way through the tables and sat down where her friends were.

Three girls looked at each other, wearing identical, mischievous smiles.

“So,” Hannah began. We’re going to see that new horror movie tonight. You in?” finished Grace.

Alice’s smile, small as it is, faltered. “Oh, uh, sorry girls. No can do!” she said. Her friends groaned. “Look, you know I have a curfew.”

Zoey leaned across the table, grabbing one of Grace's cookies. “Oh! It's fine. We can go around eight!”

The brunette gave her a weak smile. “I am so sorry, but my mom changed it to eight-thirty. No excuses, no exceptions.” She said, holding her hands up in defeat.

Her friends sighed. “We know you do, but it's so fucking lame! A teenage girl should go out all the time! How can you live, not being able to leave the house after eight!?” Hannah ranted. “All the good stuff happens well past then!”

The rest of lunch of lunch was just like this. Alice and her friends mocking her damn curfew and talking about how stupid it all was. The only this is, they weren’t joking. It was more like complaining. Complaining about her.

As soon as Alice started high school, her friend count dropped drastically. After about a month, everyone realized there was no point in inviting someone to a party when you knew they couldn’t come.

Some understood she was in a bind and distanced themselves from her and others thought she was avoiding them and lying about a curfew to hang out with someone else. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t hold down even one friend!
It was like a game of Where’s Waldo. It was so easy to find him, but if you lost him he was gone forever.

For the remainder of school Alice just went through the motions. The lessons went in one ear and out the other. She didn’t care if she got behind, she could just come early and catch up. Because that’s how school works. They tell you what to do and you do it.

The final bell rang and a flood of students rushed for the doors. Alice followed the flow and somehow managed to get out. The snow hadn’t let up at all since she was last outside. The wind was still blowing, cold and unrelenting. It had that nasty habit of finding every nook and cranny, every possible opening and wiggling inside her coat.

Alice walked home in silence, staring at her wet, snow covered boots. She had to get new, taller ones this weekend. The ones she wore now were too short. Snow kept getting in them. Alice was pretty surprised that she hadn’t gotten sick yet.

She passed the time looking at random objects and thinking about them. Just random thoughts that were bound to linger in her mind long after she passed.

When Alice finally got home, she didn’t bother checking if anyone was home. At this time, nobody ever was. She flung her shoes into some random corner, slid her backpack off of her shoulders, letting it drop to the floor.

Just like every day, Alice was exhausted by the time she got home. Her hair was damp, as well as her clothes, but all she wanted to do was take a nap. The girl trudged to the couch and settled into it, ready to drift off to dreamland.

Alice was jerked out of her thoughts by an excruciatingly loud noise that cut through the silence like a knife through water. Her green eyes shot open as she got into a sitting position.

There it was again. The noise was coming from upstairs, a resounding, metallic clink. She cautiously got off the couch, careful not to make any noise. Alice crept up the stairs, ever so slowly.

The noise came again, twice this time. It was coming from her room. What on earth is happening!? She asked herself, beginning to panic.

After what felt like minutes, but was probably only a few seconds Alice reached her bedroom door. She reached for the door knob. Twisting the knob, Alice pushed the door open, almost tripping over her own feet as she burst in.

What she saw, was not a tree scraping against her window. No, that would be too easy for her to just shrug off. It wasn’t something as rational as that in the slightest!

Sitting there at her desk, with her headphones on, listening to music on her iPod was a boy.

He looked to be about the same age as Alice. He had shaggy, black hair that was styled so that only his crystal blue right eye was showing, pale white skin, wearing a black or navy blue shirt, despite the weather, and some jeans.

Not that the boy’s presence wasn’t a problem, but that was not what Alice paid attention to. She was more focused on what the stranger was doing. In his hands were throwing knives. Back and forth, he scraped them together with so much force the friction made a spark.

The door slammed against the wall, carried by the momentum of Alice's charge, making a loud bang. It seemed that the racket was loud enough to make it through the headphones because the boy looked up. Beneath his jet-black bangs, Alice could see a glimmer of green. That one eye widened when he saw her.

His gaping mouth broke into a nervous smile. “H-hey there…”

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