The Quiet

I followed her gaze to the other side of the room, where there were two windows. One was closed tightly. But the other was opening slowly. I could see some kind of shadow come over the bottom.

Someone was coming inside.


13. Favor

“Where are we going?”

My gaze returned to the window after the question left my mouth. Clay hadn’t answered for a few minutes, but I didn’t feel bothered by that. But in the back of my mind, other things nagged me.

“This Cat’s Eye thing,” I started, “my mom told me something else about it.”

Clay turned his head toward me. “Go on,” he prompted.

I exhaled. “She told me that, similar to a cat, when the person wearing the necklace has an eighth near-death experience, the ninth is when they die.”

“It’s a fairy tale,” Clay said quickly. “What made you bring that up anyway?”

“You keep touching the necklace,” I said. “You probably don’t even realize you’re doing it, either, do you?”

“No,” Clay muttered. “I didn’t. It’s like a…have you ever had something you considered lucky?”

“A lucky charm?” I asked. “Like a rabbit’s foot or something?”

Clay smiled. “Or something. Do you have one?”

“No,” I told him.

I lied and he hadn’t called me on it. I lied a lot. I didn’t really mean to, it’s just what happened sometimes. The last time I lied to someone cost me a friendship. Actually, I just lied again. The last time I lied was to Clay, the day I met him.

“Come on, everyone has something they think is lucky.”

“Well, I don’t.”

If I told him the truth, he’d know I lied. And then what? He’d probably hate me. Then I’d be alone. So it all came down to one simple fact: the truth got you into trouble. Keep up the bullshit.

He drove more and the silence stretched. I still had no idea where we were going, and it bothered me that he hadn’t answered me when I first asked. So I tried again, and got a better result than before.

“I just wanted to get away for awhile. I don’t want Lena to come after me.”

“Why would she?” I asked.

“You saw her, she doesn’t know when to quit.”

“She was a little aggressive,” I muttered.

When Clay pulled into a fast food restaurant and parked the car, he turned and grinned at me. “You didn’t think I was kidnapping you, did you?”

“Not really,” I answered.

“Are you hungry?”

“You took me away from school for food?”

“The food there is no good,” he justified. “This is better.”

“I don’t believe this is why you drove me out here. So, what’s up?”

Clay sighed and leaned back in his seat. He looked at me for a long time before he said, “I need you to do me a favor.”

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