Author's Note: Hello, hello, hello! Welcome to yet another attempt on my part to keep up with an on-going fanfiction… this is, however, my first attempt at an on-going Danny Phantom fanfiction… so maybe that means something? Maybe it doesn't?
As to the premise of this fic… amnesia is such a deliciously ambiguous ailment when it comes to fiction, isn't it? Believe me when I say I have never known anyone or known of anyone suffering from it to the extent most often portrayed, but I'm sure it must be possible or else so many people wouldn't assume it is. Well, whether it is or it isn't, this story is in fact fiction and I therefore claim right to take "amnesia" and make it as bizarre or drastic as any writer might, disregarding reality.
I don't know why I'm going on so, I usually hate lengthy author's notes. I bet you've skipped over this already. For those of you who haven't, let's get on with the story, shall we? And let's hope that I can continue to get on with it until it's finished. Wish me luck!
Disclaimer: I do not own it, Sam I Am!
Obligatory meaningful song lyrics:
Hey where did it go?
Everything we fought for, and everything it meant
Maybe we were just naive, but I still believe
There are only a few things that really belong to me
Who I am, who I was, and who I want to be
-The Bouncing Souls
Chapter One: Incidents at the Academy
Dr. Lin kept a watchful eye over her class. Loafers, wanna-bes, and troublemakers the lot of them, she thought, sniffing to herself. Some of the other teachers at Stoneborough Academy went easy on them because their parents were obviously wealthy or influential enough to dump their offspring into such a high-end boarding school. Not Dr. Lin, though. She was an English teacher, and it was her job to make sure the students learned. If they had to fail a few tests to realize that she was expecting true effort from each and every one of them then so be it.
At the moment, half of the students sitting in rows before her were probably doing just that.
Would it kill any of them, she wondered, to actually study a few nights a week?
English was the third language Dr. Lin had ever learned, but it was by far her favourite. The complexities of it, and of course the seemingly boundless amount of words never ceased to amaze her. And so it was difficult for her to understand how the teenagers before her, some of whom in this class were turning eighteen and legally considered adults in this country, could not appreciate that.
They slurred their words, she thought with narrowed eyes, they rarely went through a sentence without utilizing 'like' or 'uh' or all those horrible little slang words they had, the most incorrigible of which was certainly 'LOL'. Did Dickens say 'LOL'? Did Hemingway? The Bard himself, who indeed crafted so many words for his own use? Of course not.
And, she noted, as a good looking, Indian boy in the first row's eyes strayed towards the test paper on the desk beside him, their apathy was not only geared toward language. Oh no, it was a crucial attitude towards everything in their lives. Each child before her was so very, very lucky to have been born in a country where every child got an education, and where all of their parents had been able to buy them an extremely good one. With their colored hair and designer clothes… they'd all been granted the very best in life, and it irked her to no end to see them squandering it, listlessly passing their days in storms of gossip and promise-breaking and all the drama that went with so many teenagers living under one roof together for so long.
She glanced out the window, eyes glazing slightly as she remembered a different time, when she taught at a small, charitable private college that was running its funds into the ground. Her English classes were so-so, but at that point she had also taught a few courses on Medieval and Early Modern Studies. There she had found kindred spirits, students with a true curiosity and passion. It was a joy to share knowledge with others seeking it solely for their own satisfaction.
But, and this was the one thing she was forced to agree upon with her current pupils: when it came right down to it, money ruled all matters. When keeping her job at the college meant not having enough to live on she was forced to take a new position. This one, in fact.
She turned back to her class. No one had finished yet, although she had been previously worried that she'd made the test a bit too easy. Her glare settled on one student in particular, sitting near the back of the room, her eyes focused out the window as Dr. Lin's own had been not moments before. But Dr. Lin wasn't taking a test, and it annoyed her to see this girl distracted from it so easily.
"You will not be given extra time for this," she informed the class sharply. "I would stop dreaming and start working, Samantha."
The girl looked startled and briefly puzzled. For a moment her eyes met with Dr. Lin's. Though half hidden beneath the choppy row of bangs that topped off Samantha's long, neatly-straightened hair, Dr. Lin could still appreciate the rather bizarre shade of her eyes. Violet. Fairly uncommon.
As soon as the girl's head turned down to look towards her paper, Dr. Lin leaned a little heavily back on her desk. What a strange feeling… she mused. For a moment, as their eyes locked, it had been like both she and Samantha had truly understood each other. As if that girl too had been staring out the window without seeing the view, but rather an old life that she longed so much to return to even though she knew it was impossible.
That was foolish of course. Such detail couldn't be conveyed through just a few seconds of eye-contact, right? And then there was considering Samantha herself, who had been one of the most air-assuming and apathetic students of them all since she first arrived in her sophomore year. Chiding herself for being so unsettled, and wondering again if this indeed should be the year of her retirement, Dr. Lin took up her vigil once more.
The blue eyes staring into her own were flashing with anger. So bright… it almost reminded her of someone else…
"Samantha Manson, TELL ME it's not true!"
Trinda kind of had long arms, Samantha noticed vaguely. With her hands on her hips the girl's designer sweater, which had previously fallen loosely off of her shoulders, bunched way up to her collar bone.
"It's not true," she replied, deadpan.
But Trinda, nearing hysterics over what was clearly a very serious matter, was not in the mood. "Andrew asked you out," she said accusingly.
Samantha shrugged. She was perched on her bed in the same room she and Trinda had shared for the past two years. Her sophomore year at the academy she'd had a mousy sort of girl as a roommate. Linda was her name, coincidentally. What ever happened to her, anyway? Samantha found herself wondering.
"Andrew Parikh asked you out after the game on Saturday," Trinda clarified tossing her head in a way that gave her blown-out red hair a waterfall effect.
Still Samantha said nothing. Instead she looked down at her feet. A strange feeling was coming over her. A lump in her throat, as if she was going to cry…
"And you said no!" Trinda shrieked.
But no, she wasn't going to cry. That was the strange part. Her closest friend was pissed off, yelling at her, shouldn't she be getting emotional? Shouldn't she cry, and then Trinda would cry, and the two would make up again? Like always?
She looked up finally, her fists clenching at her sides. Before she even realized she had done it she was on her feet and squaring her shoulders.
"So what if I did?" she announced. The words were strange in her throat. She was, by nature, not particularly argumentative. It was hard to make friends at the academy, and an unapproachable disposition would do no good, after all. Or so her mother had told her, three years ago…
Trinda was also startled, but unlike Samantha she wasn't mysteriously pleased.
"What do you mean, 'so what'?" she asked defensively. "Andrew is like… sex on legs! And you know he's probably going to be valedictorian. He's perfect!"
"I don't care if he's perfect or not," Samantha retorted. Her heart was beating in her throat like a war drum, a strange adrenaline threatening to overcome her at any second. What was happening?
"Just what the hell are you thinking, Samantha? Don't you know there are girls who would kill just to have Andrew give them a passing glance, but he wants to go out with you? Date him, and you'll be the envy of the whole school! Why are you wasting such a—"
"Because I don't think that's what a relationship is about!" Samantha growled so fiercely that Trinda cut her speech short with a small yelp. "So what if he's good looking? And so what if he's going to be valedictorian? What does being cute or being good at math and English have to do with a person's feelings? Do you really think some one like Andrew likes me for who I am? Don't you think he's just looking for, as you put it, 'sex on legs'??"
Trinda, rather stunned, sat down quickly on her own bed. Samantha took a few steps closer to her, so angry now she was shaking.
"Do you think that if I dated Andrew I'd be happy? That I want all the girls in school to pretend to be friends with me to get closer to him, and hate me just because some hot guy decided 'Samantha' was this week's flavor? Andrew's smart, but only in the way that he knows he needs good grades, a nice car, and a pretty but brainless girlfriend for anyone to respect a heartless Ken-doll like him. Well I'm not brainless, and I'm not playing any part in it!"
Trinda closed her mouth quickly, belatedly realizing she had left it open. She'd been friends with Samantha for three years, and as far as she knew, knew her better than anyone else. She was also extremely jealous of her because Samantha was thin, pretty, and had sleek, black hair that fell straight to her mid-back without having to blow it out or straighten it, unlike her own naturally curly locks. And she got better grades. And boys like Andrew Parikh asked her out.
But in those three years Samantha had never acted this way. She got upset when a teacher chewed her out, or when she discovered a friend talking behind her back, but never so… angry.
No, it wasn't just the anger that was startling. It was the passion behind it. Did she really care about it that much…?
Tears slid down Trinda's cheeks. After all, her best friend had just completely flipped a lid at her.
"I'm sorry," she squeaked.
But whatever had awakened so suddenly inside Samantha had suppressed itself once more. "Oh my God," she said, looking startled. "I can't believe I just said all that to you."
And then she was crying too. She sat on Trinda's bed beside her, and they cried together. Eventually, they hugged, reconciled once more, and began making plans to go out in the evening like nothing had happened. Andrew Parikh was not brought up again.
In the back of Trinda's mind, she knew that since Samantha had never actually gone out with Andrew, he wasn't technically her ex. And that made him still Available to some one like her.
In the back of Samantha's mind, she was wondering what the hell had just happened to her, and why, for some reason, she wanted it to happen again.
Samantha was angry and not paying attention to where she was going. She'd had what seemed like the hundredth fight with Trinda since… well, she wasn't really sure since what. Since whenever it was she started fighting with Trinda so often. And it had been over something so stupid, a pair of shoes of all things. Her roommate had just ordered them from online, and they were pretty cute if you liked that sort of thing, but they were leather. Yuck.
It was too late to be wandering around the school like this. Definitely after-hours, though she'd first stormed out of her dorm room before curfew ended. Probably she should go back before she was caught. Maybe Trinda had gone to bed by now anyway.
Just as she had decided to head for the nearest staircase and go upstairs, an open doorway she hadn't noticed before beckoned her to go down instead. It was a weird desire, Samantha knew, to want to go down into the cellars. No students ever did, not even on dares, and the sign on the door clearly read "STAFF ONLY."
But why was the usually locked door open anyway? It seemed like more than chance that she should be passing by here at just the right moment, when some custodian or teacher had forgotten to lock the door behind them. What harm could there be in taking just a quick look around? She needed more time to cool off anyway.
And so Samantha Manson, heedless of what harm crawling around in dirty, centuries-old cellars could do to her hair and clothes and designer shoes, did indeed go down that night. What she found there was rather more than she'd bargained for.
The tapping noise was just enough to rouse Trinda from her dream. She was not sorry. She couldn't remember the dream-events, but she knew that she had been very cold and wet and miserable, and was relieved to find herself once more curled warmly beneath her comforter. Outside the mid-April air was cold, but rainless, and a new moon left the room entirely dark.
Even though she now felt completely awake, it seemed too much to ask to get up and see to the door where the chilly air would reach her bare arms.
The tapping grew more insistent.
"Go away," she grumbled, "People are sleeping in here, God!"
There was a pause. Trinda assumed the unwelcome intruder had given up and was momentarily proud of herself.
"It's Shannon," a testy voice hissed suddenly from beyond the door. "Let me in before some one comes!"
Trinda grumbled again, this time wordlessly, and dragged herself from the blankets. The air was just as chill as she suspected, and gooseflesh rose on her skin. The room was completely dark, but familiarity aided by a narrow beam of light flashing back and forth at floor level lead her to the door.
Shannon, lit eerily by the cell phone she was using as a flash light, looked very irate indeed. She wore large, uselessly fluffy slippers and her thin, blonde hair was done up in three lop-sided buns at odd angles on her head (dripping with scrunch spray, Trinda knew. Shannon's hair, unlike her own, was not naturally curly but she could never figure out why anyone would go out of their way to pretend it was). The combined image was highly amusing, but… you just don't laugh at some one with that kind of expression on their face.
"We need to talk," she said, entering the room and flicking the lights on. Trinda winced as her pupils were forced to adjust. If it affected Shannon at all she was clearly too pissed off to show it.
"You're gonna wake Saman—" Trinda started angrily, but in the newly lit room, it was glaringly apparent that Samantha was not in her bed, nor had she apparently even disturbed it at all.
"Huh. Where's the roomie?" Shannon asked. Her tone was over-sweet, but it was clear by her smirk that she had not expected Samantha to be there.
"Just like, what is your deal, Shannon?" Trinda asked, crossing her arms. Inside her mind was buzzing. Where was Samantha? They'd snuck out after hours before. They'd even gone to the midnight showing of Elizabethtown and managed to sneak back in at three in morning without getting caught. But they were always together, or they at least told each other where they were going. This wasn't like her…
Shannon crossed smartly towards Sam's bed and sat on it as if further proving its vacancy. "You don't know, am I right?" she said. "And here I thought you two told each other like everything."
Trinda felt her hands clenching. She wanted to dispute Shannon's (albeit true) statement, but knew if she said anything at all her voice would shake. It always did when she was about to cry.
"Look," Shannon said, appearing suddenly tired, "I don't mean to get you all upset Trinda, I don't have anything against you or anything."
Trinda remained all silence and a pointed glare.
"It's Samantha," Shannon clarified. "I wanna know what's up with her."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Trinda managed, her voice only squeaking slightly on the last word.
"Stop with the denial!" Shannon scowled. "She's been acting… weird. She's stopped eating, like that girl needs to lose weight, GOD, she won't really talk to any of us anymore… And whenever we TRY she always looks scared or annoyed. She keeps going off on her own like… like she's better than us or something… And Andrew is—"
"So that's your problem with Samantha," Trinda realized. "The more she pulls away, the more Andrew goes after her. You're jealous."
"And you just admitted Samantha's pulling away," Shannon announced triumphantly. Trinda cursed herself inwardly. Shannon was her friend, but if there was anyone in the world who could make her feel about as tall as an ant it was her.
"We've all done shit to get boys to like us…" Shannon continued, "But I can't stand Miss I-get-picked-up-for-summer-break-in-my-parent's-private-jet walking around like she's better than everybody else!" She turned herself and flopped back on the bed to punctuate this point. Trinda winced as the girl's sticky hair hit Samantha's pillow. Her wince couldn't compete with Shannon's own, however, as it scrunched up her entire face with half pain and half fury.
"Oow," she moaned, "What the hell…?" Reaching beneath the pillow, her hand reemerged clasped over the spine of a thick book. The cover was black leather, or at least imitation leather, and was doodled on in silver sharpie. All Trinda could make out from across the room were a series of spider webs drawn in one corner.
Shannon held it up carefully, looking for all the world as if she'd discovered the lost city of Atlantis.
"Oh my God…" she breathed, flipping through the pages. "She keeps a diary."
"Put that back!" Trinda cried. Shannon shhed her quickly, glancing hurriedly at the door before returning her gaze to the prize in her hands.
"It's okay," Shannon insisted, turning back to the first page. "I know where Samantha went. She's in the cellars. She's done it before and she won't be back for like hours."
"The cellars?" Trinda repeated, blanching. Students weren't allowed in the cellars. No one went into the cellars of the Academy unless they absolutely had to. They were rather extensive, containing huge storage areas and the boiler room among other things. The lights always flickered, no matter how many times the bulbs were changed, so staff and custodians had to use flash lights and lanterns to work down there.
And, of course, they were said to be haunted.
Shannon nodded carelessly, "God knows what she's doing down there! But look, since we know she won't be back for a while, why don't we read just a few pages? It wouldn't hurt, right? And you know you want to know what's going on with her."
Trinda bit her lip. She didn't feel like crying anymore. She was actually kind of mad at Samantha for daring such an adventure without her, and for not telling her what was wrong and why she was being so weird lately, and for snubbing Andrew Parikh and making Shannon so jealous, and a million other things that all seemed to be piling up against her at this of all moments, when Trinda was truly being tested as a worthy friend or not…
"Okay," she agreed stiffly, "We'll read a few pages. JUST a few, though, and then we're putting it back."
Shannon smiled. When she wanted to she could have a very pretty smile. Right now, it was not pretty at all. She patted the bed beside her, and Trinda sank down on it wearily. Then the two put their heads together, and began reading…
March 1, 2009
Dr. Lin is always saying, "If you want to understand something, try writing it down." I know it's just hardcore English-teacher stuff, but I decided to give this a try… a diary, I mean. Already I feel weird. God knows I don't usually show my true feelings.
Does anybody, I wonder?
I think I'm going to have a hard time with this. I don't understand it to begin with, so how am I supposed to be able to put it to proper words? Lately I've just felt different. It's so hard to explain. It's like… there's me, and I know who I am and what I like, but then it's like there's this other me, who's completely different and likes different things.
Does that mean I'm schizophrenic or something?
It wasn't so profound at first. It was just kind of this nagging feeling that I wasn't quite being myself. Things I said just started to sound fake to me, or wrong, or mean, or other things I wouldn't normally have thought or even noticed…
I think the one of the first time this happened was when Trinda, Wes, and I were at the football game (us vs. Hawks, last of the season). We weren't paying attention to the game or anything, duh, but occasionally watching the girlz do their cheering thing and all the guys getting sweaty. At first I was having a good time, and then suddenly I just felt really gross being there. Like "Look at all those beasts jumping at each other and beating each other, all to throw some stupid ball around." I know it's stupid, I mean no one really cares about football, as long as our school wins, but the way I thought it… It's like it wasn't me thinking it, but some one else. But at the same time, more like me than I've ever been.
I'm not making any sense. Maybe this wasn't a good idea.
Right now I feel normal, and I am going to BED.
"Oh my god, she thinks she's going crazy…" Shannon said, sounding of all things amazed.
Trinda was worrying her lip again, staring at the familiar handwriting on the page. Of course it was Samantha's, and there's no reason she would have it under her pillow unless it was hers, but she couldn't believe her closest friend could have thought things like. That she was, as Shannon put it, 'going crazy'. Couldn't you tell if some one was crazy or not? And what did she mean when she said there was "another her" inside her?
"Hey!" she snapped, as Shannon flicked ahead a few pages.
"What? You're saying you don't want to keep going?" she asked slyly, already knowing the answer.
Trinda leaned her head in once more in a resigned way, hating herself.
March 20, 2009
I can't even stand to eat in the dining hall any more, around all the vicious and ignorant slobs gnawing away greedily at their burgers and tacos like it's nothing. I can't believe I ever joined them. Every time I try again I keep picturing those poor cows and pigs and chickens, all lined up for the slaughter. It really doesn't make sense for humans to eat other animals like that. We're not carnivores, and there are plenty of ways to get equal nutritional supplement.
For example, I had this spectacular tofu dog in town today from a little place on the corner of—
"What the heck is she talking about?" Shannon wondered, exasperated.
"That explains why she hasn't been eating much lately…" Trinda said, half to herself. In a way she was relieved that Samantha didn't have some gross eating disorder as she'd been beginning to suspect. But she was also deeply unsettled by the tone of the passage. It was much more collected and confident than the first one they'd read. As if Samantha were accepting whatever weird changes she was going through….
March 21, 2009
Black box stage and no way out
I'm a puppet dangling from broken strings
Wisps of former happiness tangle them, and tease at my tears
I wonder when they will leave me to my
Splintered by the puppeteer's cackle
It is my soul's own darkness laughing
I'm forever forced to dance
Fought with Trinda today. Again. I can't seem to help it anymore. I don't mean to hurt her feelings. Out of everybody here, she's the only one I can really stand to be around anymore. But she can still be so damn annoying. We used to get along so well, but now I feel like I can't connect with her at all. I mean, I don't tell her anything I write in here. She wouldn't understand. They all think I'm some perfect little rich girl around here, and I know I'm screwed if I act any other way.
Tears were dripping down Trinda's face. She thinks I'm annoying…
"It is my soul's own darkness laughing?" Shannon read, looking perturbed. "What is that? Since when does Samantha write poetry?"
"I-I don't know…" Trinda murmured.
April 1, 2009
Maybe Dr. Lin was right. I think I finally understand what's happening. It's so weird to think it, or even dream of thinking it, because they said it would never, ever happen.
But it all makes sense! This past month I feel like I've become so much better at reading people, and when I went back and thought about them, I realized what they were truly doing. How all their 'good intentions' and 'nudging me in the right direction' were really designed to get me to be the kind of daughter they'd wanted all along. They said they were helping me become myself again.
Lately I've been wondering…would I really NEED help to become myself again? Myself is just… myself. It's not something you can teach to a person like algebra, it's something you discover on your own. I didn't know that then, I mean, I was so scared and confused, and I thought I could trust my parents, of all people.
What I mean to say by all this, is that I think the reason I've been, well, changing, the reason I 'suddenly' became a vegetarian and lost my taste for gossip, and can't stand my friends any more… It's because I'm beginning to REMEMBER!
I hate thinking about it, but it's true that my first memories are of waking up in the hospital, confused, alone. Afraid. Some nurse with a smoking problem telling me my name and age because I didn't know them. For three years, I've been building new memories, starting with that one.
But now that all this has happened, I think that might all change. I might remember what happened before the accident. What I liked and I what I didn't like, my old town, my neighbors, my old classmates… and maybe even my friends? Mom and Dad said I didn't have any, but was I so horrible a person?
Now that I've finally met myself (that's a weird way to put it, but totally true) I don't think I'm TOO unlikable. I must have hung out with some one now and then.
Staring, hollow, glowing eyes
His fingers lace with mine,
Cold like death
And that. That keeps happening to. Did I like poetry before it happened? This is so exciting!!
Samantha's clogs made awkward 'squelching' noises as she walked along the mildew-y, cement corridor. The light from her cell phone revealed that the ceiling was hidden above a mass of pipes heading in all directions, most of which were in some way leaking. She did not want to think what it was that might be dripping from them, only pressed forward. This was her first exploration of this portion of the cellars, and she was excited to see where it led. Serious looking metal doors appeared on either side of her as she walked, but she wanted to start at the very end and work her way back.
She kept on, even though the brief circle of light her phone provided showed no end or turn-offs forthcoming.
A bare light bulb, hung above (probably dangerous beneath the leaky pipes, she mused) flickered on and off a few times. She had not bothered to turn on the lights herself when she'd come down, so she wondered if some one else had taken the initiative (and therefore might discover her at any moment) or if it was just… whatever it was that caused the lights to malfunction.
Strange how she was hoping for the second option, even though just thinking about it made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end.
It took her a few moments to realize that there were footsteps coming from somewhere behind her. She froze, disbelieving. What was some one doing in the cellars at this time of night? Usually even the staff didn't come down here after dark, let alone nigh on two in the morning.
She kept walking, wondering if whoever it was had noticed her yet. They must have, they would see her cell phone. Maybe she should turn the light off before…
But wait… wouldn't the other person… also need a light…?
She froze, heart pounding in her chest, ringing in her ears and accompanying the pipes' consistent dripping. The air was cold and the floor fell soggy beneath the soles of her shoes.
The footsteps were not nearly as far off now. Definitely coming closer, towards her… For a brief moment she considered convincing herself that it was just some pipes rattling, or the echoes of some one walking on the floor above.
Except no one walking around upstairs would make the same horrible squelching sound her own steps had.
Stay calm, she ordered herself, and promptly turned off her phone-light.
Instantly she was plunged into total darkness. It didn't alarm her further, mostly because she knew the 'enemy' had now lost his advantage over her, but also because… it was sort of comfortable. Like she'd spent a lot of time just sitting around in the dark before, thinking…
But of course she hadn't done anything of the sort. Well, at least not recently, she reminded herself, thinking of her latest revelation.
With a sudden spurt of courage, she continued on down the hall. One hand groped until it found the wall, and she slid her fingers along it as she walked, grateful for the guide despite the fact that it was kind of… slimy.
The pace of the footsteps behind her (which did NOT, to her surprise as a teen well-rounded in popular movies, match her own strides at all) continued steadily, apparently unconcerned with the fact that they no longer had a visual to follow.
Unless it can see in the dark, she thought, and then wondered when the presumed 'he' she had imagined was following her had become an 'it'.
Her hand warned her of the hallway's finish a second before she would have crashed into the dead-end. How anti-climactic, she thought. Oh, and now I'm trapped.
Feeling around helplessly, she discovered that it was not a dead-end after all, but merely a doorway leading somewhere else. She found the handle, slightly wet like everything else in this part of the cellars, and knew, not sure quite how, that just as she was turning it whatever had pursued her this far had finally caught up.
Shaking fingers turned the handle. This door was her only escape route.
It was locked.
"Well, here we are," said a calm voice from behind her. The lights flickered once, then off again, but even so there was a strange soft glow lighting the area. Sam could now see that not only was the door handle apparently locked, but there was also a huge, rusty padlock holding it shut at both the top and bottom. She'd never be able to make it through without the key.
Or, apparently, the help of a ghost.
"Let me get that for you," the ghost said with an impish smile. Before Samantha could protest, icy fingers had interlaced with her own. She felt her whole body acquire a strange, weightless feeling, and then her feet left the ground as the ghost pulled her through the door.
"Wes! Wes!" Trinda was shaking the sleeping girl perhaps just a bit too violently, but she herself was trembling from excitement and not a little fear. Shannon looked non-plussed, a careful expression she'd been keeping up since they'd first read Samantha's most recent diary entry.
"It's too bright…" Wes muttered unhappily, pulling her quilt over her head. Trinda and Shannon were two of the few people who knew that 'Wes' was actually short for 'Westenra', a name that they agreed was weird and kind of ugly and certainly not a very fitting girl's name. Wes had tiredly explained to them again and again that it was some literary thing her eccentric aunt had insisted on in exchange for full payment of Wes's entire education, which her parents had agreed to on the spot.
"Wake up, this is important!" Trinda assured her, cruelly pulling the covers away. Wes immediately curled up in response, her arms hugging her knees.
"Go away," she muttered. "It's cold."
"We found Samantha Manson's diary," Shannon said suddenly, a hard edge in her voice. The book in question was hugged beneath her arms as if she was afraid to let it go.
That got Wes's attention. She sat up immediately, blinking in the bright light but unfazed by it as her eyes immediately fell on the book. A knowing smile graced her lips.
"Anything… interesting?" she wondered. Her eyes darted to the alarm clock on her bed-stand and her expression grew unpleasant once more. "There'd better be, it's two in the frickin' morning."
Shannon smiled, sitting down on the bed beside the other two girls. "Like you wouldn't believe," she assured her. Taking care to be slow for effect, she began turning the pages, one at a time, until she reached the latest entry. It had apparently been written that day, sometime after dinner but before curfew since Trinda had returned to their room at eleven on the dot. She cleared her throat lengthily, causing the other girls to grow impatient, before beginning to read in a whiny and not-very-accurate imitation of Samantha:
"April 3, 2009
No memories yet, but I can feel them. I know they're there, just waiting for me to find them. Maybe if I look at something the right way, or sense a familiar smell, hear a familiar voice… I know before when my parents asked the doctors they said that triggers like these wouldn't do any good, but it's different now. Before my mind was a blank slate, like I'd never had any memories to begin with. Now they're bubbling at the surface, just waiting to break free…
I know my best bet is in the cellars. For almost three years I've gone to this school, and it never even occurred to me to go down there. I mean, they're huge, dark, scary, gross, and not to mention it's against the rules. But something compelled me just to the entrance that first time… now I can't get enough of them. Every time I'm down there, in the dark, with that little bit of nagging fear that comes with not knowing what's in front of you or behind you, I get this sense of familiarity. If I keep trying, I'll remember something, I KNOW it!
I can't wait until night time when I can go again. I usually wait until Trinda's asleep, but I don't think I can stand it tonight. I really think this might be the night!
Oh man, my heart is racing! It's been so long since I've had any certainty in my life, ever since that stupid accident it's like everyone's been living it for me. My parents, my friends… Everything's different now though. When I go down into those cellars tonight, I really think I'll find myself again."
Shannon ended, having added perhaps just a few too many dramatic pauses. Trinda looked uncomfortable and Wes… Wes had that gleam her eyes sometimes took on when her sharp mind was figuring something out, or more accurately, figuring out how a situation could be turned to her advantage.
"Samantha… has amnesia?" she wondered. She sounded amazed and disarmingly pleased.
"That's what we thought too," Trinda affirmed, but clearly she was the only one taking the situation very seriously.
"I know, right?" Shannon said, "I can't believe she never told us! Or that nobody found out or anything. But then Trinda and I were thinking, we know Samantha, but has she ever really said anything about her life back home…?"
Wes grew thoughtful, before shaking her head. "No, not really. She lives with her parents in some big mansion or whatever, right?"
"Yes," Trinda confirmed, "In somewhere called Amity… Amity something… Amityville sounds familiar…"
"Oh my God, like that movie?" Wes asked, looking mildly horrified.
"It's not Amity Park, is it?" The three girls were startled to find the voice had come from the other side of the room.
"What do you know, Ashley?" Wes asked, rolling her eyes. Ashley was a petite girl with dark skin and hair kept in corn rows that reached her waist. Most of the girls at the Academy agreed that hanging out with her was more like 'putting up with her' since she tended to be arrogant and something of a wet blanket.
Trinda, however, faced her seriously. "What do you know, Ashley?" she breathed.
"I thought everybody knew," the other girl began haughtily, obviously somewhat miffed at having been woken in the middle of the night for what she considered useless gossip. " Amity Park is the most haunted town in the country."
"You're nuts," Shannon declared icily. Ashley only shrugged, indicating Shannon's opinion made no difference to her.
Surprisingly, Wes said, "No, she's right." Wes was the most apt of them all to have it out with Ashley, despite the fact that the two had been best friends since they were twelve. "I saw it on the news a couple of times. They were interviewing some ghost hunters… a man and some woman, what were their names…?"
"Who cares?" Shannon wondered, glaring between the two of them, "Ghost hunting? This is stupid. Trinda didn't even say that's where Samantha is from."
The three looked at Trinda expectantly, and she grew immediately nervous. "Um," she began, chewing her lip, "I, uh, I don't really remember. That might have been it."
The other three groaned, and Wes prepared to whack her with a pillow.
"Hey!" she cried defensively, "You said it yourself, she doesn't talk about it! I mean when did she tell me that, like sophomore year?"
"I don't know about you guys, but I don't think it really makes a difference," Wes grumbled. "Can we get back to the fact that Samantha apparently like lost all her memories in some accident and has been hiding it from us this whole time?"
"That's not the point!" Trinda argued. "Didn't you hear what she wrote? She's been, like, remembering stuff. That's why she's been acting so strangely! It's not strange at all it's just like… how she used to be…"
"And she thinks she'll find out more in the cellars," Shannon recalled, sounding suddenly uneasy.
"Ridiculous," Ashley said with a wrinkled nose.
Before any of them could comment in return, the lights shut off, effectively leaving them in total darkness. Thoughts of power failures and circuit breakers fled their minds and were replaced with cold, reasonless terror.
One terrified and continuous scream echoed through the halls of Stoneborough Academy.
To be continued…
Post A/N: HAH. It's not often you'll find THAT at the end of anything I write! I'm sorry if anyone is bored with all the talking and backround info and OCs... I hope I've at least gotten you all curious and you'll give me a chance to make things more interesting.
NEXT TIME: Sam's gotta save some one. Hopefully she's not too rusty in the hero department!