I toss and turn around in my bed clearly irritated by the most annoying sound a person can hear in the middle of his sleep. “Shut up…” I mumble underneath my breath as I reach for my phone while still stuffing my face in the pillow. When I’m finally able to reach it I turn off the alarm and after mentally preparing myself for another day of school I get up groggily to have breakfast. As I leave my own room and get downstairs I come face to face with a very familiar sight: A note atop the dining table that reads “Sorry honey had to get to work early today. There are eggs in the fridge!” signed off with a smiley face next to the word “mum”. The reason I say familiar sight is because the past few years, after dad passed away she has been getting more and more busy with work that I barely even see her. Especially in weekday mornings like this. I whip up something quick to eat and head upstairs to take a shower. When I open the bathroom door I face yet again another familiar sight: My sleep-deprived face reflected on the mirror. ‘Well I know you played Elder Scrolls until 3 in the morning but damn you look miserable Jack…” I say to myself before taking off my clothes and jumping into the shower. As soon as I’m done I blow dry my hair and style it as usual: Curtained. I bet you’ve seen the Titanic so I’ll just go right ahead and say it that way. Jack’s hair. It’s exactly the same. Although my hair’s black it’s still pretty ironic, since my name is Jack as well. But don’t get me wrong I don’t have the whole female population fawning over me like him. But not because I’m ugly. Well I hope I’m not actually. I’m just pretty antisocial after a certain period of time in my life. And I’m not a fan of Leo’s either, It just happens to be a really convenient hairstyle for lazy mornings.
After I’ve worn my school uniform (pretty old-fashioned I know) which consists of a dark blue blazer with a white buttoned shirt underneath and a black pair of dress pants I’m fully ready to go to school so I step out the front door and casually follow the road leading to my high school, Kirkwalle Private High School to be exact. It’s basically the only high school in this rural town that I live in, obviously called Kirkwalle. But I didn’t always live here. As a matter of fact I grew up here up until I was 8, but then my family had to move so I had no choice but to leave. However, as fate would have it, I came back due to various reasons and now I’m attending high school here. Once I find myself on school grounds and past the school gate I make my way upstairs on the first floor, enter the classroom to my left, find my seat and sit down just like that. Without saying any word. Until… “Good morning sleepyhead!” I hear a familiar voice and turn my head with a frown to the source of the noise. “Good Morning Max.” I reply not looking entertained. “Why the long face dummy?” She throws back almost immediately after reading my expression. Which of course is to be expected since we’ve known each other for a good 8 years. Maxine Bell. She is basically a childhood friend, and the only friend I have. Our moms used to hang out a lot back when we were still in diapers and that’s how we became friends. “Earth to Jack..?” She says waving a hand in front of my face curiously. “Oh yeah sorry. I’m just sleepy that’s all.” I quickly explain as I stifle a yawn. “Figures! Did you stay up late playing games again?” This time it’s her turn to not look entertained. “Uhm... Guilty.” I hesitantly reply throwing up my hands in mock surrender. All she does is shake her head disapprovingly right after an exasperated sight. “Anyway do you notice something different about me today?” She asks as she waves her hair with her hand wearing a smirk on her face. “Uhm… You… dyed your hair?” I ask while squinting expecting her answer. “No dummy that was last month!” Max replies in a higher tone. “You changed your hairstyle?” I try to guess once again but I get shot down by a negative shake of her head. “I got new earrings come on!! That was easy!!” She playfully but disappointedly admits. Short shoulder length brownish hair, cheekbone freckles and hazelnut eyes. That’s the Max I know to be honest. It’s true I don’t really pay attention to smaller details but I can tell that she has grown up to be a fine looking lady. I wonder why she doesn’t have a boyfriend by now? “Damn I don’t think I could have guessed that. But they look nice if I’m being honest.” I snap out of my trance and say as I try to sound sincere and force a smile. “Thanks but you look kinda creepy when you smile like that Jack.” She says with a smoother but honest almost heart-breaking tone. Damn, Am I ugly after all? No I won’t admit defeat that easily! “Everbody take your seats class is about to begin!” The teacher said in a somewhat loud but firm voice, cutting off my inner monologue as Max takes her usual seat next to me. And of course I sit by the window, at the far end of the classroom. As soon as she had taken her seat I turn to look at her one more time. I know I should appreciate her more since she’s my only friend and is extremely nice to me, but it’s kinda difficult for me to warm up to people, especially after what happened… Not to mention opening up sounds like a major pain in the ass… “ Okay Listen up, class. Today we have a transfer student that only recently moved into our town.” Our teacher Mrs. Henderson announces with a polite grin on her face. “Please go ahead and introduce yourself Anette.” She continues while gesturing for her to step inside. Almost immediately after Mrs. Henderson’s introduction the door steadily slides open and inside steps a somewhat lean girl, with long black hair in bangs that fall slightly over her eyes covering her eyebrows. She is already wearing our school’s uniform, the female version of course which consists of a dark blue pullover wool vest a white shirt underneath and a grey checkered skirt. She’s also wearing high knee socks which I’m assuming is her personal choice since not all the girls are wearing them. For example Max only wears short white ones today. I’m not the only one in the class checking her out though, since everybody in here is dead silent and they’re looking directly at the new and unfamiliar face. “Hello my name is Anette Ross. I hope we can get along.” She says plainly in a somewhat soft voice her gaze fixed forward. “Does she look kinda pale or is it just me?” Max whispers to me with a hand over her mouth. “I don’t know… Maybe?” I reply in a lower tone than her without even caring to put a hand over my mouth, like Max did. To be fair, I don’t think she looks THAT bad. But maybe I’m the only one who thinks so since the whole class has already started whispering about her. Damn, I feel kind of sorry for her. I shoot her a glance as she takes a seat that’s unoccupied in the first row opposite from the window. Well at least she doesn’t look that bothered by it, if at all.
First period came and went without anything out of the ordinary happening, which is to be expected actually. “Come on, let’s go grab lunch!” Max says as she bolts out of her seat and grabs my arm like a baby koala. “You sure are energetic…” I reply in a lot less enthusiastic way. “Oh I forgot to mention that I need someone to take Anette on a tour around the school, make sure she learns her way around it. Is anyone up for it?” Mrs. Henderson asks right before she is about to leave class, doorknob in hand. But, of course there is no response by anyone as they completely ignore her. “So you want to play it that way…” She hisses and I swear I see a vein pop up on her forehead. “Jack. I’m counting on you.” The teacher announces with an evil smile as she leaves the classroom before I can even protest. “Are you for real…?” I whisper so that no one but me can hear. Seriously why me of all people? Max would be a lot more suited in this sort of thing. “I guess I’ll go have lunch with the girls then.” Max states as if adding fuel to the fire, with an apologetic smile. “Whatever.” I bluntly reply as I rub my forehead with my palm and head towards the still-seated transfer student. “Hey.” I come out and say to her. “Hello.” She replies in the same tone. Well she sure is a talkative one. Not that I am one to speak of but still. “I’m Jack Carter. As you noticed I’m supposed to show you around campus. So shall we?” I explain, trying to sound somewhat friendly. “Nice to meet you Jack. Let’s go.” She replies blatantly yet again, making me ponder if I’m actually talking to some sort of advanced human-looking robot.
Since I’m the guide, I take the lead and show her around the school exactly like I was asked to. ”Our school has three floors. You might expect the classrooms to be organized in some way, but they really aren’t. You’ll get used to it in no time.” I explain to the best of my ability as we walk down the hall of the third floor. I continue talking about the classrooms until I realize that Anette isn’t following me anymore. She’s only standing a few steps behind staring into one of the empty classrooms. “Anette?” I voice as I get closer to her and turn to face the direction she stares into. I take a look inside the room and I almost jump up in surprise. Someone is standing at the far corner of the room looking directly at us. His face… he seems furious. I blink furiously wiping my eyes in the process but the man that was looking at us is nowhere to be seen. A shiver runs down my spine but I quickly snap out of it as Anette speaks up. “Did you see that?” She asked me looking genuinely curious while staring into my eyes directly. “I guess? Must have been a trick of the light, haha!” I reply in a hurry scratching the back of my head awkwardly. “No… something is wrong I can feel it.” She says while looking off in the distance. “There’s something dark… I sense darkness in this school…” Anette continues with her gaze still far away. “Darkness you say? Care to elaborate?” I ask her while the chill from earlier comes back and I gulp hard. “I can’t really explain it. I just feel it.” She replies furrowing her eyebrows, clearly deep in thought. Sheesh, too many anime maybe? I hope so. The last thing I need is a ghost. “I… I see.” I reply as I try to sound composed. “Sorry. I didn’t really mean to scare you.” She speaks up while snapping out of her trance. “No it’s okay. Wanna continue that tour we were on?” I finally regain my composure and ask. “Sure.” Anette says, with her words accompanied by a nod. I continue to lead her through the halls and she trails after me. “So if you take those stairs you’ll find yourself on the roof so-“ I try to get back into my role but she cuts me off mid-sentence and I stop to look at her once again. “Uhm… Jack?” She raises a trembling finger over my shoulder and I basically spin around. There’s nothing there… There’s nothing there but the hairs at the back of my neck prickles all the same. “What was that all about?” I ask while taking a heavy breath. “Nothing… I just felt something and…” Anette replies and looks like she is about to get lost in thought once again. This has to be some kind of joke right? I bet she’s enjoying creeping me out. “Look I’m not really into these jokes so I’d appreciate it if-“ I try to explain once again, this time slightly irritated but I’m cut off once more. “No no it’s not a joke… I felt it I really did!” She says like a kid trying to explain itself to its parent after doing something wrong. “I’m sorry I need to get back to class… Thanks for the tour!” She says running past me, descending the stairs and ultimately leaving me all alone on the third floor. Of course I don’t plan on sticking around here for long, especially after what happened so after heaving an exasperated sigh, I take my own leave. Seriously… what was that all about?