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Chapter 8

Monday, February 26th, 2029


I look to my right as I make my way down the hallway. I notice some straggler kids who have no intention of going to class, they lean against their lockers with muscle shirts and ripped jeans on. Yeah, nice winter apparel guys. I bet you the ladies love seeing you shiver. I hear one of them whistle as I pass by, “Woah, the new girl has a nice ass.” I didn’t need to hear his thoughts to know that was what he was probably thinking.

I shake my head and try my best to ignore them. I turn into the door, opening it revealing the inner staircase. I look upwards at the bottom of the upper tier of stairs and take a deep breath. This is where I first saw John…well, outside of my dreams, that is. Now that I think about it, he did look pretty spooked when he saw me. I guess that must have been because of his dream. I look back up at the stairs and then I begin jogging up.

I push on the handle of the door and it swings open. I pass by rooms 236 and 237. I stop by to look inside of the windows of the door and they seem to have a U.S. History class going on. I also notice that the doors have the same kind of keypad as the front of the school. I guess this school is really uptight on its security measures. I walk by room 238 and I bring out my student I.D. once more. The keypad unlocks the door and I step inside.

Right as I do, I can hear the teacher, Mrs. Trine I’m assuming, stop in what seems to be the middle of a lecture. She turns around and stares right at me. She is a somewhat plump woman and she is wearing a blue mini coat with white frills. She looks overjoyed and her round-framed glasses almost slide down her thick nose. She pushes them back up and she makes a hand gesture as if to come in. The first thing that catches my attention is Mrs. Trine herself. I can see that her left hand is adorned in several rings of varying sizes and colors. She opens the door and looks at me with a look of excitement.

“Well, hello there! You must be the new girl!” She says, in a very ecstatic voice. “I’m so glad she finally arrived. There were an odd number of students and now that is all fixed,” her thoughts say.

“Hi, my name is Sarah.” I say, extending my hand.

“Why, hello Sarah! I’m Mrs. Trine!”

She turns to the rest of the class.

Feel free to sit in any open seat, m’dear!” Mrs. Trine calls out and then returns to the front of class. “Sit in the front seat, that way there’ll be an even amount of students on each side of the room,” her thoughts come in.

She must have some sort of OCD for balance.

I look out to the seats to a dozen pairs of eyes staring at me. A girl in the front row moves her bag off of the long black table and onto the floor. She has long brownish-red hair. I think she has realized that she is the only one sitting without somebody next to her. I sit beside her and put my bag on the floor beside me.

“Hey, thanks for the seat,” I say.

“No problem.”

“Hey, what’s your name?” I ask.

“It’s Iris,” she says quickly, returning her attention to the front of the class. “Damn it today is already pissing me off.”

“Well, mine is Sarah,” I reply.

“Yeah, the teacher kind of already made that clear,” she responds.

“Oh, I guess she did, didn’t she?” I laugh nervously.

“First class here?” Iris asks me.

“Yeah, it’s kind of a new thing for me.”

“You meet anybody else here?” she asks.

“Yeah, one guy, John Baker,” I reply.

I see a marker fly across the room between both of us. I turn my head slowly and I’m facing a seething red face of Mrs. Trine.

“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t talk in my class!” she tries to not scream, but it comes out in short bursts.

“I-I’m sorry, ma’am,” I say nervously.

“Don’t let it happen again.” “Don’t be a delinquent student.”

She turns back around and breathes deeply.

“Meet me after class in the hall,” Iris whispers to me.

I nod quickly and return my attention back to Mrs. Trine.

This is going to be a long day.

The class drones on for what seems like forever. Mrs. Trine is talking about Hamlet and how the disappointed she is that nobody had done the assigned reading for the night, but she ultimately caves in and re-assigns it for tonight. Almost immediately after I’m passed a copy of Hamlet, but it looks like the kind of book you’d find in a museum.

I can nearly just feel the age of the book by just holding it in my hands and it seems to be all but dangling off of its spine, the pages begging to be freed from their paperback confinement. I’m staring down at a paper that Iris is doodling on. It seems to be various shapes and sizes interconnected like a spider web.

Iris catches me staring and then she covers it up with her arms, not looking at me. I return my attention back to Mrs. Trine and try to refocus. Just then, the bell rings and Mrs. Trine lets out a small noise of surprise.

“That bell is going to give me a heart attack one of these days and then they’ll think to change it.”

I’m packing my notebook and folder back into my pack and I get up. I look at Iris next to me who is doing much the same. We walk out of the room and she turns to me.

“So, you said you’d met John Baker?” she immediately asks.

“Yes, what about him?” I reply.

“That guy is kind of weird. He doesn’t talk to anybody else, really.”

I think back to John at the park, when he’d had that wound on his head. He did seem sort of reserved.

“I also heard that his dad beats him, but that is just rumor,” Iris says.

“What?” I ask.

“He’d come in with black eyes every so often last year and never wanted to explain to anybody how he’d gotten them. I mean, he didn’t tell anybody, but he might as well have.”

I’m silent.


“Are you sure you want to tangle yourself up in that mess?” She asks.

“What do you mean, tangle?” I ask.

“Hey, I’m not trying to sound like a jerk, I’m just trying to give some advice,” she says.

“I don’t see how it is any of your business,” I reply.

“Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any offense by it, honest.” Iris says.

I sigh.

“I don’t want to talk about it, let’s change the subject,” I say.

“Okay, which class are you headed to next? I have art,” Iris says.

I pull my schedule out of my bag and scan it over. “Me too, are you in Mr. Dabney’s room?” I ask.

“Yeah, let me show you the way,” she says and begins walking.

I follow, struggling to keep up at first, but then I keep to a pace right beside her. She looks over towards me.

“So, where did you go before here?”

“I, uh, didn’t go...I was home schooled,” I reply, feeling my nerves setting in.

“Oh, that’s neat. I’d always wondered what it was like to be home schooled. No drama from other kids and I bet you that you had it pretty relaxed,” Iris says.

“Well, it’s different, definitely. There aren’t any other kids, so I guess there isn’t any drama, but there aren’t any friends either,” I reply.

“Oh, right.”

“Did you live here, or just move from somewhere else?” she asks me.

“I...I’m from Colorado. If you don’t mind me asking, what’s with the sudden game of twenty questions?” I ask.

“I’m just trying to get a reading on you, that is all. You can tell a lot about people in how they answer questions,” she replies.

“Really? What if those questions just yield in yes or no answers? How do you tell from that?” I ask, interested.

“Well, obviously I can’t from that, but if people put a lot of thought into their answers, then I can tell they aren’t brain dead. If people answer questions with stories upon stories of their life, I learn that they love to talk about themselves. Or, if people answer questions with another question…”


“They’ll probably be the cause of many headaches to come,” Iris finishes.

My interest has then turned into a sudden silence.

“Hey, I never said that the person behind the question wasn’t worth the headaches, come on, lighten up,” Iris begins chuckling.

We turn the corner and pass by some other students who are making a mad dash in the opposite direction. One of them who looks to be a few grades below runs directly into me and nearly knocks me over. I’m saved from my fall as Iris grabs my arm and pulls me up.

“Hey! Watch where you’re going!” She calls after the running underclassmen. “Hey, are you alright?”

She says you can tell a lot about how people answer questions. You can also tell a lot about a person in how they act in a crisis. While this certainly wasn’t any state of true emergency, it is nice to know I have someone I can count on, thank you Iris.

“Hey, Sarah? Are you in there?” Iris asks, shaking me out of my thoughts.

“Huh, what?” I say, confused.

“Are you alright? You kind of froze up on me right there.”

“Y-Yeah, I guess it was just the shock of being run into is all,” I say.

“Well, we’re here, do you want to sit by me? I’m sure I could persuade someone to make room,” she asks.

“Uh, if it isn’t any trouble to anyone else,” I say.

“Don’t worry, it won’t be,” she winks at me.

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