The young teen feels a hand pulling her to a stop. She finds Maria looking at her. For a moment, her friend searches her face.
“Nothing.” Amy turns to her locker and fiddles with the few things inside.
“Nothing? You’ve failed two quizzes and forgot your homework. You never forget your homework or get a quiz answer wrong. So what’s wrong?”
Maria scowls, “Don’t give me that. You’ve been all morning. And I’m not the only one noticing. Even O’Connelly noticed and you know how dense he can be.”
Maria holds the smaller girl as she tries to back away. An icy hand clamps down around her heart as she sees the fear in her eyes again. She narrows her eyes.
“Is he back? Did he talk to you?”
“What?” Amy whispers, “How did you know?”
“Uh. You told me. And I was there for when it all went down. I thought you had a court order against him. I can talk to my dad.”
Amy shakes her head, “No. No. He hasn’t talked to us for months now.”
“Good. Now. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Please.” Amy pleads as she pulls free, “I’m okay. I’m fine.”
The teen turns and practically runs down the hall. Maria sighs in frustration and slaps the locker.
“Miss Olympia. Please refine from aggressive behavior.” A professor intones as he walks by.
“Yes, sir.” After a moment, she pulls out her communication device, “O’Connelly. You there?”
“Hello? Maria? What’s up?”
“Something is wrong with Amy.”
“Nothing. Let’s meet up with her after school.”
“And how do you plan to do that? She leaves while we’re in advance physics.”
“Right. I’ll talk to Witwright. Maybe he’ll let us out.”
“Maybe. Offer to do an extra assignment.”
“Oh, good idea.”
“Let me know what he says.”
The call ends. Maria glances out the window as the bell rings.
“Amy. This isn’t like you.” With another long sigh, she turns to go to her class.
Out of the corner of her eye, she sees a dog-like creature wander through the school’s central courtyard. Maria frowns as she wonders at the unease she feels at its sight.
She looks over and sees two of her classmates.
“Oh, Hey Raven. Robin.” She nods to the teens, “Just got an odd feeling when I saw that Caninitis.”
“You mean that common monster from Dungeon Field?”
Maria nods her head.
“Why would you get a weird feeling about that? That game character has been around since they launched the Immersion System.”
“I know.” She shrugs, “Like I said. Weird feeling.”
“Let’s go!” Robin says as the bell rings again, “Or we’ll be late to history.”
“Right.” Maria glances down the hall and wonders what is troubling her friend.
Amy stops just around the corner of the hall. She leans against a locker. The small teen takes comfort in the cold metal against her back. Maria’s voice echoes down the hallway. Her back stiffens.
“Oh. Hey Raven. Robin. Just got an odd feeling when I saw that Caninitis.”
“You mean that monster from Dungeon Field?” Robin answers.
“Why would you get a weird feeling about that?” Her sister answers, “That game character has been around since they launched the Immersion system.”
“I know. Like I said. Weird feeling.”
The bell begins to ring, a sharp shriek guaranteed to wake any dozing student.
“Let’s go! Or we’ll be late to history.”
”History.” Amy thinks to herself, “That is what is happening here. History is repeating itself. What did I do wrong?”
Amy jumps at the sound.
A young girl with bright red hair. She smiles at Amy and gestures at the lockers. Amy stare dumbly at the redhead. She shifts her weight impatiently.
“I need to get to my locker.”
“Sorry.” Amy mumbles before turning down the hallway.
“It’s okay.” The teen quickly taps in her access code and pulls out a small folder.
Amy takes three steps down the hall when she feels herself being jerked into a side hall. Before she can make sense of what is happening, her head explodes in pain. A moment later, the world swims back into focus. The teen realizes that she is in one of the maintenance halls. She looks up and freezes.
The man from yesterday stands and grins at her.
“Imagine this.” He whispers to himself, barely audible, “Of all the people to happening to run into, I run into you.” He shrugs off the line of thought. In a clear voice, he focuses his attention on the small girl, “I see you behaving yourself. Haven’t told anyone?” He asks as he draws a long knife.
Amy shakes her head, her voice frozen in fear.
“Good.” He kneels down and places the tip of the blade underneath her chin, “I would hate to have to visit you like I visited your neighbor.” He runs his blade down the side of her neck.
Amy shivers and closes her eyes.
The man laughs and flicks his wrist.
The child yelps as the blade cuts into her flesh. Her hand automatically flies up to her throat. She feels a small trickle of blood running between her fingers. Panic feels her.
The man chuckles as he drops the blood-drenched blade into a plastic bag.
Without another word, he walks out of the hallway. Amy stays still as she listens to his footfalls echo down the hall. She finally moves long after the sounds of his feet fade into silence. The young girl opens the door and steps into the empty hallway. For a moment she debates whether to go to class or to go home.
Glancing at her hand she makes her choice.
To be continued…