School dragged. The teachers all spoke nonsense and gibberish and the clock seemed to be moving backwards. The afternoon crept in like a daze. Finally, finally, the last bell rang; freeing me from the endless torture of X equals Y problems.

Today is the day. I told myself as I maneuvered through the crowded hallways, keeping to the edge of the teeming mass. Wet sneakers squeaked over the tile and a miasma of sweat and body odor hung thick in the air. Nervousness fluttered inside of me. You can do this. Don't think about it. Just go in and get it over with.

Dodging students, I wove my way down the hall and peeked into the computer room.

There he was, sitting on one of the desks with his feet propped up on a chair. Castiel Valentino, quarter-back of the Sweet Amoris Spartans. Gorgeous Castiel, King-of the-school Castiel. He wore a red and black letterman jacket that showed off his broad chest, and his once black, now dyed red, hair brushed the top of his collar.

My heart pounded hard. A whole hour in the same room as Castiel Valentino, with no one to get in the way. Normally, I could never get close to Castiel; he was either surrounded by Amber and her cheerleader groupie or his football buddies. Other students were in the Computer lab with us, but they were the major academic types that exceeded my own knowledge of Computer programming, beneath Castiel Valentino's notice. The jocks and cheerleaders wouldn't be caught dead in here if they could help it.

I take a deep breath and stepped into the room.

He didn't glance at me when I walked up beside him. He lounged in the chair with his feet up and his head back, tossing an invisible ball across the room. I cleared my throat. Nothing. I cleared it again a bit louder. Still nothing.

I suck in an irritated breath of air and built up the courage to step in front of him, waving.

His slate-cloudy grey eyes finally jerked up to mine. For a moment he looked startled. Then he raised a lazy eyebrow, as if he couldn't figure out why I wanted to talk to him. Uh-oh, say something Zella. Something intelligent. "Um…" I stammered. "Hello, I'm Zella. I sit behind you in computer class." He was still giving me that blank stare and I felt my cheeks getting hot, my hands shook nervously and I clasped them tighter around my books.

"Um…I think you're an amazing quarterback. I think you really know what you're doing. I go to all your games, you know? I'm usually in the back, so you probably don't see me." Oh god, Zella. Just stop. Shut up now. I clomped my mouth shut to stop the incessant babbling, wanting to crawl in a hole and die. What was I doing agreeing to this? Better to be invisible than to look like a total moron, especially in front of Castiel!

He blinked lazily, reached up and pulled out an earphone from his ear. "Sorry babe." He drawled in that wonderful, deep voice of his. "I couldn't hear you." He gave me an once-over and smirked. "Are you supposed to be the tutor?"

"Y-Yes" I straightened and smoothed out my remaining shreds of dignity. "I'm Zella, Mr. Faraize asked me to help you out with your computer programming project."

He continued to smirk at me. "Aren't you that hick girl who lives out in the swamp? Do you even know what a computer is?"

My face flamed red from being criticized. Did…he seriously say that? My stomach contracted into a tight little ball. In the face of Castiel's criticism, I worked up enough courage to reply back.

"I-I don't have the greatest computer at home, but-but I know enough! And yes I know what I computer is." He gave me a dubious look and I felt a sting of wounded pride. "Here, I-I'll show." I had to prove to him I wasn't some backward random chick he thought I was.

Something weird happened when I reached for the keyboard however. The computer screen blinked on even though I didn't touch anything. Words scrolled on the screen all of a sudden.

Zella Lucious. We see you. We are coming for you.

The words kept going and going across the computer screen.

"What is this?" He asked, scowling. "What the h*** are you doing, freak?" I pushed him aside to take control of the mouse, shaking it and punching Escape, and pressed Ctrl/Alt/Del to stop the endless string of words.

Nothing worked.

The words continued, but without a warning, they stopped.

Then in giant letter, another messaged popped up saying:


I gasped and stepped away from the computer in shock, seeing the message pop up on the other computers. The students paused in confusion, then turned around and pointed fingers at Castiel and laughed at him.

I could feel knives in my back form his glare and I slowly turn to him. His face was beet red from anger or embarrassment and he jabbed a finger at me. "You think that's funny swamp girl? Do you?! Just you wait; I'll show you what's funny. You just dug your own grave, B****" He stormed out of the room with the echo of laughter following him.

A few of the students applauded and gave me a thumbs-up, one of them even winked at me.

My knees shook and I collapsed into the nearest chair, staring at the screen in disbelief. The screen faded black, taking the offensive message with it, but the damage had already been done. My stomach twisted and roiled and there was a stinging sensation behind my eyes.

I buried my face in my hands. I'm so dead. I'm so…so dead. That's it, game over, Zella. I wonder if Auntie will let me move to a boarding school in Canada?

A faint snicker cut through my bleak thoughts, and I raised my head.

Crouched atop the monitor, silhouetted black against the open window was a tiny, misshapen [i]thing[/i]. Spindly and emaciated, it had long, thin arms and huge bat-like ears. Slitted red eyes regarded me across the table, gleaming with intelligence. It grinned, showing off a mouthful of yellow razor sharp teeth before it vanished, like an image on the computer screen.