Chapter four – Complications and Consequences
For the entire next week, that thought haunted the back of my mind.
I had long since said goodbye to my sleeping pattern. The dreams intensified every night, and although I could barely remember them in the morning, they seemed to suck out all of the energy one normally gains during a night’s rest. I still hadn’t told dad about any of this.
A newsflash came the day after my nightly adventure, claiming the police had found Gerry Custard’s body. He had been strangled, and further details of the investigation were still being kept secret by the police. At that point I’d turned off the television. I felt so guilty. What if I’d talked to the boy when I saw him in the schoolyard? Would I have been able to help him? Could I have made a difference in his fate? I didn’t know.
But if I could have… it was my fault that he was dead.
‘MICAH ADAMS! Would you please pay attention to what I have to say?!’
‘Ah, yes, sir!’ I stuttered, returning from the back of my mind into the classroom. ‘Sorry, sir!’
‘Your absentmindedness is going to cost you this year’s graduation, young lady. I keep saying that every day, and you still won’t listen to me!’
‘I’m sorry, sir,’ I muttered again, a bit annoyed now.
‘I doubt it. But as I was saying before this rude interruption, class, I’d like to get your attention for a bit. We’re going to welcome a new student into our ranks today.’
Mumbling and whispers. Heather, the girl sitting in front of me, asked openly: ‘Is it a boy, or a girl?’
‘It’s a girl, Heather. She’ll be here for the remainder of the year.’
‘Awesome, a transfer student! I bet she’s hot!’
‘Dude, how can you know that?’
‘Haven’t you seen the movies, dude? Transfer students who get in halfway the year are always hot. Wanna bet?’
‘Enough,’ mister Tolson said, getting up from his chair. ‘I expect you to treat her kindly until the end of the year, as the polite class you are. Transfer student, please come in.’
The door behind us suddenly opened. Curious as I was, I turned my head as far as possible to see who was coming in.
Surely no one was expecting this.
A girl entered the room. Her tanned skin made a sharp contrast with the black leather she was wearing. Her thick, brown hair had been put in a braid and carelessly swung over her shoulder. Piercing, bright yellow eyes looked into the class from behind dark sunglasses.
The girl entered the room with a reckless display of self-confidence. Any other teenager would have at least been a little nervous meeting a new class, but not her. She marched her way through the rows of sims as if they were invisible to her.
This was the type of girl you didn’t see in high school.
And the rest of my class knew that. The girls immediately began to whisper amongst themselves, while the boys, including Ethan, simply gawked at her. The girl ignored them all.
I curiously followed her through the classroom, trying to look through the sunglasses. Where would she be from? She looked way too exotic to be from Twinbrook or Bridgeport. And how come she transferred after half the year had already gone by?
Then she turned around and looked straight at me- almost through me, and a chill ran down through my spine.
‘Class, I’d like you to welcome the newest member to our group. Please introduce yourself, miss.’
Tolson was not talking in his usual tone, as well.
‘Nile Cowen. Pleasure to meet you.’
A deadly silence in the classroom. Half the class (including Ethan and the boys behind me) were still gawking, and the other half seemed too intimidated to open their mouths.
‘Ah, yes, well, that’s that. I hope you’ll all get along with her. The seat at the far back is still free, miss Cowen.’
It happened again. As she walked back through the rows of tables, I could have sworn she tilted her head at my desk and looked my straight in the eyes…
But then that moment had passed and she seated herself at the back of the room.
‘No more talking!’ Tolson said, even though every single teenager in the room sat with his mouth shut. ‘We’re starting the lesson. Take out your books at page one hundred and twenty two, paragraph c.’
The usual attitude returned to my class. Jason and Victor were moaning in protest behind me, while Heather was already four pages ahead of the rest. I reluctantly picked my book from under the table and began to read, as well.
Focusing on my work as usual turned out to be an impossible task, though, and when Tolson finally said ‘class dismissed’, I was incredibly happy to leave. My eyes were having trouble staying open.
A ten-minute break. Maybe I could go refresh myself in the toilets. Or I could find a place to sleep. Both sounded very tempting. As I made my way into the school hall, I saw Ethan talking with Archie Daniels – one of the guys from our parallel class. Or rather, Archie was talking and Ethan was looking uncomfortable.
I smiled faintly at him and continued to pass by, but at that moment Archie put out his arm and almost hit me in the face.
‘Hold on for a bit, Freckles. We got somethin’ to talk to you about.’
‘It’s Micah,’ I said shortly. ‘And I’m kinda busy here.’
I wasn’t, but Archie Daniels was just not someone I enjoyed talking to.
‘Whatever. And make some time, we’ve got something to ask you.’
‘What is it?’ I asked, looking at Ethan, but he wouldn’t meet my eyes. This wasn’t how he usually behaved. What was going on? Did Archie talk him into doing something stupid again?
‘Hurry up, dude, or I’ll ask her.’
Ethan looked up again slowly.
‘Ah.. I, umm.. err… I’d…’
‘Dude, are you a guy or what?! Straighten up!’
That seemed to work. A little, at least.
‘I was umm… wondering if you’d maybe gike to go.. no I mean loke to gi… I…’
‘Too late!’ Archie grinned. ‘Hey Micah, wanna go on a date with me?’
‘Hey! What are you doing?!’ Ethan protested. ‘I was supposed to say that!’
‘First come first get,’ Archie pointed out. ‘It’s your fault for being a chicken.’
‘I’m not a chicken!’
‘You so are!’
They seemed just about ready to get into a fight, and that was the last thing I needed. It was time to flee.
‘Sorry. Have to go. Bye.’
With those words I turned around and made a run for it.
‘Hey! Micah, Wait! Come back, I’m sorry for calling you freckles!’
I didn’t stop running until I was four hallways further. Archie’s yells had long disappeared, and luckily the rest of the hall was empty.
Great. As if I didn’t have enough to worry about. Now I had to add Archie messing around with Ethan, as well. There was no way he’d say embarrassing things like that himself, after all. I’d have to straighten him out later.
But right now, I couldn’t deal with it. The second bell rang, but I made no attempt to get back inside and instead walked over to one of the benches in front of the building. They looked comfortable. I was so tired…
Just a few minutes of shuteye wouldn’t hurt…
I violently pushed myself up from the bench. Another dream – a car crash! Someone had gotten into an accident! Where? What had happened?!
I exhaled deeply and tried to recall the details of the dream. There had been a road… and flowers… the park! Was that where it happened? Did it happen while I was asleep? Or before? I had to rescue this person, whoever it was, I could do it if I acted now!
I started to get up from the bench, when I noticed I wasn’t alone.
The girl called Nile stood right in front of me.
‘What do you want?’ I asked with a hostile tone in my voice.
Nile looked at me silently for a second, and then go so close I had to press myself against the wall not to touch her.
‘You’re walking a fragile line, Micah Adams,’ she spoke, with a voice that made chills run down my body. ‘Are your friends and family important to you? Do you want to keep them from being hurt?’
‘I- of course! What are you talking about?’
‘Good. Then don’t do anything. It was just a dream.’
I felt my blood turn to ice. Did she know? How the plumbob could she possibly know? It had to be a bad choice of words… right? That’s what it was. Just a weird choice of words.
Then why did I feel like those piercing yellow eyes knew everything about me?
‘I have to go, class has already begun,’ I said abruptly, getting up and pushing Nile out of the way. My skin was crawling all over because of what she’d said. ‘Sorry.’
I walked away from her quickly, refusing to look back over my shoulder. I had to get back to class. Tolson was going to kill me if I skipped again… which I already had, counting that nap on the bench.
Yes. That was what I was supposed to be worrying about. My grades, and my teacher, and Ethan. Normal teenage worries. Not any of this weird stuff that had been going on lately. That had nothing to do with me. Why couldn’t I just be a normal kid? And what did Nile have to do with all this? Because she was involved, that I was already sure of.
Of course, class had already finished over an hour ago. The hallways were empty as could be. There was no sign of Ethan, Archie or anyone from my class.
Great. Tolson was going to kill me.
But not quite yet. It had been the last day of the week, and unless we bumped into each other, I wouldn’t see him again until Monday. Plenty of time to come up with an excuse. With that thought in mind, I exited the main hallway and headed for home.
Before I could even make it out of the front door, though, a number of things happened. The doors of the hall leading to the exit opened, showing two guys that were obviously agents in disguise. At the same time, my phone rang. I paid the men no attention and took out my phone. It was a single text message, from an unknown number.
“Micah Adams – suspect in the murder case of Gerry Custard”
I stared at the screen, dumbfounded, and felt my blood turn to ice for the second time in two hours. Who was this?! How did they know? Was it just someone teasing me, or did the police somehow find me out?
This wasn’t fun anymore.
And then it really wasn’t fun anymore. Just as I proceeded to call the number, I saw the two men in suits walk straight up to me. They showed me two identical, official looking badges.
‘Good afternoon, miss Adams,’ the dark agent to the left said. ‘My name is secret agent Davies, and this is secret agent Johnson. We’re from the FBI, and we’d like to ask you some questions. Would you come downtown with us?’
Oh my plumbob.
I gave no reaction. Agent Davies put out his hand and grabbed my arm.
‘Come on, girl. You’re coming with us.’
I still don’t know why I did it. I knew it would be logical to cooperate, but all logic had disappeared from my brain. It was only screaming one thing.
Instead of going with him-
I hit him in the face with my phone and ran.