It took me a little longer with this chapter but as the chapters get longer it will take me longer to get them down and everything. Pluse this one was a hard one for because I wasn't really sure what to do with the chapter and because it was from Tori's point of view. So, enjoy and let me know what you think.
Between the dream I couldn't remember and the boy I couldn't have seen, I was spooked.
Who wouldn't be; I thought but didn't say it aloud.
Until I got at least one question out of my head, focusing on my Spanish test was out of the question. So I called Aunt Lauren.
"If your aunt had already known that you were a necromancer and also knew that you were already showing signs of strong powers; it makes me wonder why she didn't take you and run." Derek said cocking his head deep in thought. "Because of my dad," Chloe whispered. Derek grumbled something I couldn't hear and then nodded for me to continue.
When I got to her voice mail, I said I'd phone back at lunch. I was halfway to my friend Kari's locker when my aunt called back.
"That was fast," Simon commented.
"Did I ever live in a house with a basement?" I asked.
"Straight to the point," Simon said. "I taught her well," I bragged and Chloe smiled at me. "And Derek added a little influence too," she said.
"And good morning to you, too."
"Sorry. I had this dream and it's bugging me." I told her what bits I could recall. "Ah, that would have been the old house in Allentown. You were just a tyke. I'm not surprised you don't remember."
"Barley," Chloe snorted taking to the story version of her aunt.
"Thanks. It was-"
"Bugging you," Simon said to Chloe. I laughed to myself when I read the next line.
Simon made a face, "Oh, now I'm thinking like your aunt. Chloe giggled and Derek made a noise that sounded like a chuckle but I wasn't sure.
I can tell. Must have been a doozy of a nightmare."
"Something about a monster living in the basement. Very cliché. I'm ashamed of myself."
"Monsters?" Simon looked a little confused. Probably too much for his brain to handle, I thought.
"Monster? What-?" The PA system on her end cut her off, a tinny voice saying, "Dr Fellows, please report to station 3B."
"The Edison group?" Derek said looking at Chloe with his eyes narrowed. She shrugged, "It could have been but I'm not sure."
"That'd be your cue," I said.
"It can wait. Is everything okay, Chloe? You sound off."
"How can anyone sound off when they just watched a kid ran out in front of their car." I said with an eye roll
"No, just… my imagination's in overdrive today. I freaked Milos out this morning, thinking I saw a boy run in front of the cab."
"Oh, now she freaks out," I murmured.
"There wasn't a boy. Not outside my head anyway."
I saw Kari at her locker and waved. "The bell's going to ring so-"
"I'm picking you up after school. High tea at the Crowne. We'll talk."
I looked up at Chloe. "High tea?" She rolled her eyes at me. "Aunt Lauren was into it, besides I couldn't just say no." "Hum, yeah you could have."
The line went dead before I could argue. I shook my head and ran to catch up with Kari.
School. Not much to say about it. People think art schools must be different, all that creative energy simmering, classes full of happy kids, even the Goths as close to happy as their tortured souls will allow.
Simon chuckled and I kicked his foot.
They figure art schools must have less peer pressure and bullying. After all, most kids there are the ones who get bullied in other schools.
"Very true," I said. "No it's not." Chloe said. "An art school maybe different from what your used to Tori but if you could go to one you would see what I mean.
It's true that stuff like that isn't bad at A.R. Gurney High, but when you put kids together, no matter how similar they seem, lines are drawn. Cliques form.
"High school is always going to be that way. No matter if it's an art school, boarding school, or a regular public school." Simon sighed and Derek nodded in agreement.
Instead of jocks and geeks and nobodies, you get artists and musicians and actors.
"Maybe we should consider going back to school. We could go to an art school in fact." I frown at Simon's idea but I wasn't the only one who opposed. Derek made a disapproving sound that was probably a no.
As a theater arts student, I was lumped in with the actors, where talent seemed to count less than looks, poise and verbal ability. I didn't turn heads,
"I don't know Chloe you turn my brother's head pretty well." Simon said while Chloe just blushed and Derek scowled. "Can continue?" I asked getting annoyed for all the interruptions, they nodded.
-and I scored a fat zero on the last two. On a popularity scale, I ranked a perfectly mediocre five. The kind of girl nobody thinks a whole lot about. But I'd always dreamed of being in art school, and it was as cool as I'd imagined. Better yet, my father had promised that I could stay until I graduated, no matter how many times we moved.
Chloe sighed and muttered, "That plan didn't fall through."
That meant for the first time in my life, I wasn't the "new girl". I'd started at A.R. Gurney as a freshman, like everyone else. Just like a normal kid.
"We're never normal," Derek said. He hadn't been talking much throughout this chapter.
Finally. That day, though, I didn't feel normal. I spent the morning thinking about that boy on the street. There were plenty of logical explanations.
"You're just crazy," I said. Earning a scowl from Derek but why I would care.
I'd been staring at his lunch box, so I'd misjudged where he'd been running. He'd jumped into a waiting car at the curb. Or swerved at the last second and vanished into the crowd.
"Not likely unless he had a supernatural power of supper speed." Derek said "That would be awesome," Simon told us we all just gave him an odd look.
That made perfect sense. So why did it still bug me? "Oh come on," Miranda said as I rooted through my locker at lunchtime. "He's right there. Ask him if he's going to the dance. How tough can that be?"
I looked a Chloe my eyebrow raised, so were Derek's. Simon was too busy digging through a bag of Bugles to pay attention.
"Leave her alone," Beth said. She reached over my shoulder, grabbed my bright yellow lunch bag from the top shelf, and dangled it. "I don't know how you can miss this Chloe. It's practically neon."
I wrinkled my noise up, "Neon? That's hideous, Besides yellow isn't even in this season."
"She needs a stepladder to see that high," Kari said.
I banged her with my hip, and she bounced away, laughing.
"Nice friends," Simon commented. "They were just kidding," Chloe said. "Really," Simon gave her a look. "Didn't sound like it?"
Beth rolled her eyes. "Come on, people, or we'll never get a table." We made it as far as Brent's locker before Miranda elbowed me. "Ask him, Chloe."
Derek kept quiet but it was obvious he was jealous. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Chloe squeeze his hand for reassurance.
She mock-whispered it.
Brent glanced over… then quickly looked away. My face heated and I clutched my lunch bag to my chest.
"So you did like him?" Derek asked and Chloe shook her head. "You'll see." The she gestured for me to keep reading.
Kari's long, dark hair brushed my shoulder. "He's a jerk," she whispered. "Ignore him."
"No, he's not a jerk. He just doesn't like me. Can't help that."
Derek gave Chloe a puzzled look now confused. Then he reached over and took the bag of Bugles from Simon before he ate all of them and handed him back an apple in return. Simon started to complain but Derek quitted him with a look.
"Here," Miranda said. "I'll ask him for you."
"No!" I grabbed her arm. "P-please." Her round face screwed up in disgust. "God, you can be such a baby. You're fifteen, Chloe. You have to take matters into your own hands."
"Well she seems like a great friend," I said sarcastically, and earned a look from everyone.
"Like phoning a guy until his mother tells you to leave him alone?" Kari said. Miranda only shrugged. "That's Rob's mother. He never said it." "Yeah? You just keep telling yourself that."
Simon cringed and I looked at him. "What?" "That kind of sounds like you." I took the writing pad and hit him with it, and Chloe had to pull me away.
That set them off for real. Normally, I'd have jumped in and made them quit, but I was still upset over Miranda embarrassing me in front of Brent.
Derek scowled once again. Then again I'm not surprised his face isn't already permanently set in scowl since he does it so much.
Kari, Beth, and I used to talk about guys, but we weren't into them. Miranda was- she'd had more boyfriends than she could name. So when she started hanging out with us, it suddenly became really important to have a guy we liked. I worried enough about being immature, and it didn't help that she'd burst out laughing when I'd admitted I'd never been in a real date.
"So does that mean I was your first date?" Simon asked and Chloe smiled sheepishly. "Yep you should feel honored."
So I invented a crush. Brent.
"Smart yet stupid." "Tori," Chloe said her eyes narrowed.
I figured I could just name a guy I liked and that would be enough. Not a chance. Miranda had outed me- telling him I liked him. I'd been horrified. Well, mostly. There'd also been a little part of me that hoped he'd go "Cool. I really like Chloe, too." Not a chance. Before, we used to talk in Spanish class sometimes. Now he sat two rows away, like I'd suddenly developed the world's worst case of BO.
"Fake crushes never work Chloe," I said with a sigh. "I don't need a fake crush." She said he gaze locked on Derek's. "Hum, other people in room." They dropped each other's gazes blushing.
We'd just reached the cafeteria when someone called my name. I turned to see Nate Bozian jogging towards me, his red hair like a beacon in the crowded hall. He bumped into a senior, grinned an apology, and kept coming.
"Sounds like a spunky guy." Simon
"Hey," I said as he drew near.
"Hey yourself. Did you forget Petrie rescheduled film club for lunchtime this week? We're discussing avant-garde. I know you love art films."
I fake gagged.
"What's so bad about an art film?" Chloe sighed. "Because Simon there practically a snooze fest." He looked a tad affined.
"I'll send your regrets, then. And I'll tell Petrie you aren't interested in directing that short either."
"We're deciding that today?"
Nate started walking backward. "Maybe. Maybe not. So I'll tell Petrie-"
"I don't like him," Derek stated. "Why?" Derek shrugged, "Just don't."
"Gotta run," I said to my friends and hurried to catch up with him. The film club meeting started backstage as always, where we'd go through business stuff and eat lunch. Food wasn't allowed in the auditorium. We discussed the short, and I was on the list for directors- the only freshman who made the cut. After, as everyone else watched scenes from avant-garde films, I mulled through options for an audition tape. I snuck out before it ended and headed back to my locker.
"I was too busy thinking to pay attention," Chloe said shaking her head.
My brain kept whirring until I was halfway there. Then my stomach started acting up again, reminding me that I'd been so excited about making the short list that I'd forgotten to eat.
"How could you forget to eat?" Derek asked and Chloe laughed, "Not all of us have stomachs made fore a bull."
I'd left my lunch bag backstage. I checked my watch. Ten minutes before class. I could make it. Film club had ended. Whoever left the auditorium last had turned out the lights, and I didn't have a clue how to turn them on, especially when finding the switch would require being able to see it. Glow-in-the-dark light switches.
"That would be awesome." Simon said, "And handy too." "Thanks," Chloe said smiling.
That's how I'd finance my first film. Of course, I'd need someone to actually make them.
"Maybe somebody could make them for me?" Chloe said giving Derek big baby blue doe eye. I chuckled to myself; yep I taught her well. He looked away and said a gruff, "No."
Like most directors, I was more of an idea person.
I snorted earning me another round of looks.
I picked my way though the aisles, bashing my knees twice. Finally my eyes adjusted to the dim emergency lights, and I found the stairs leading backstage. Then it got tougher.
"You should have went and got a teacher to help." Chloe shrugged, "It would have taken longer."
The backstage dissolved into smaller areas curtained off for storage and makeshift dressing rooms. There were lights, but someone else always turned them on. After feeling along the nearest wall and not finding a switch, I gave up. The faint glow of the emergency lights let me see shapes. Good enough.
"Not good enough," Derek muttered.
Still, it was pretty dark. I'm afraid of the dark. I had some bad experiences as a child,
Oh, here we go; I thought.
-imaginary friends who lurked in dark places and scared me. I know that sounds weird. Other kids dream up playmates- I dream up bogeymen.
"That weird," Simon said. Chloe nodded, "I guess it was a necromancer thing." "Or maybe it wasn't," Derek said.
The smell of greasepaint told me I was in the dressing area, but the scent, mingled with the unmistakable odor of mothballs and old costumes, didn't calm me the way it usually did.
I wrinkled up noise again. "Those smells calm you?" Chloe smile insolently.
Three more steps and I did let out a shriek as fabric billowed around me. I'd stumbled into a curtain.
Simon and I snickered and I could tell Derek was trying to hold in his laughter for Chloe's sake. "It's not that funny," she said crossing her arms.
Great. Exactly how loud had I screamed? I really hoped these walls were soundproof.
"What if they weren't," I said sending all into around of snickers. Chloe gave us a mean star.
I swept my hand over the scratchy polyester until I found the opening and parted the curtains. Ahead, I could make out the lunch table. Something yellow sat on top. My bag? The makeshift hall seemed to stretch before me, yawning into darkness. It was the perspective- the two curtained sides angled inward, so the hall narrowed. Interesting illusion, especially for a suspense film.
"Do you make every situation into a movie scene?" I asked Chloe who shrugged. "Not just when I terrified."
I'd have to remember that.
Thinking about the corridor as a movie set calmed my nerves. I framed the shot, the bounce of my step adding a jerkiness that would have made the scene more immediate, putting the viewer in the head of our protagonist, the foolish girl making her way towards the strange noise.
"That's the part were the adduce yells don't go to the strange noise," Simon said. I took the writing pad and hit Simon in the head with it. "Hay!" "Stop interrupting me."
Something thumped. I started, and my shoes squeaked and that noise made me jump higher. I rubbed the goose bumps on my arms and tried to laugh. Okay, I did say strange noise, didn't I? Cue the sound effects, please.
"Maybe you were hearing thing," Derek suggested but Chloe shook her head 'no'.
Another noise. A rustling. So we had rats in our spooky corridor, did we? How clichéd. Time to turn off my galloping imagination and focus. Direct the scene.
Our protagonist sees something at the end of the corridor. A shadowy figure-
"Shadowy figure?" Simon said but shut up when I gave him a look.
Oh, please. Talk about cheap thrills. Go for original… mysterious…
Take two. What's that she sees? A child's lunch bag, bright yellow and new, out of place in this old, condemned house.
Keep the film rolling. Don't let my mind wander-
A sob echoed through the silent rooms, then broke off, dissolving into a wet snuffling. Crying. Right. From my movie. The protagonist sees a child's lunch bag, then hears eerie sobs. Something moved at the end of the hall. A dark shape-
I flung myself forward, racing for my bag. I grabbed it and took off.
I chucked the book at Chloe, probably not the nicest thing to do but oh well. "You can read now." Simon made a choking noise and we all glanced at him with raised eyebrows. "I wanted to read again." Idiot, I thought as Chloe handed the book over to him.
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