The New Me

After a bad experience at her old school, Hayden Flack moves to Bradley Stoke determined to change everything about herself.
She knows how act, what to wear and from past experience, what to expect.
But on her very first day, seeing a long-lost childhood friend was something she definitely didn't see coming. Hayden quickly recognises Ellis but he can't even remember her... or does he? Why is Ellis acting so strangely, and why is he so different from what he used to be?
After a few months at her new school, Hayden seems to have settled in quite well and is living what appears to be a stereotypical popular girl's life. But not everything is going as 'well' as she thinks it is. Her 'friends' are acting weirdly suspicious, and when her long-lost brother suddenly comes in contact with her, she can't help but feel like there is something going on that she doesn't know about. How long will it take before she realizes what is going on beneath the surface? (PG-13)


12. Flesh-Eating Zombies

Cole and Aaron left later that evening.

     Due to earlier events the pair of them weren’t too keen on staying over - understandingly (and thankfully) they admitted they rather they thought about the incidents that evening alone.

    By this point I had passed the exhausted stage, and all the remaining beer, misplaced items and broken objects seemed to only form a blurred mess in my vision. I returned to my room, thankful that I was actually going to spend the night in the comfort of my bed and not the floor, as appealing as it was.

   But I still slept poorly, constantly waking up disturbing dreams.

   But I wasn’t that sure whether or not they were really nightmares because nothing unrealistic and scary was happening; I wasn’t being chased by bloodsucking vampires. But they weren’t realistic and scary either, like my usual dreams.

   I think I must have wandered downstairs some time in the night to get some water, because I woke up the next morning on the kitchen floor.

   Trying to recall the dreams I had the night before, seemed almost impossible because they are seemed to be bizarre, distorted illusions of random faces of people I knew and places I’ve been to. The one thing that actually stuck in my mind, probably wasn’t a dream in itself, but a thought I had between these weird phases.

    Who was I?

    And as bizarre at it sounded, I couldn’t help but picture the image of Simba staring up at the sky, just like he had done in the film yesterday, wondering who the hell he was. As cliché as it was, I couldn’t help but think the same for myself.

   Although of course I knew what I was: a popularish, newish teenage girl, although to others I’m often referred as something else (yet that’s completely false). But more importantly, who was I – personality wise?

    I lay on the floor staring at the ceiling for a long time afterwards wondering who I was and about universe and life and what the hell was I doing here.

   It took me a while afterwards to realise that I was in fact, still lying on the kitchen floor with an increasingly more prominent back pain; surrounded by admittedly less mess than the night before; but more importantly, Evelyn was still upstairs and surprisingly, seeing as it was around eight am, clearly not up.

   I grunted as I rolled over uncomfortably over a beer can, stumbling to my feet nauseously and half-crawled up the stairs, calling Evelyn, and sounding very much like a flesh-eating zombie.

   But she was still not awake and I decided that it was probably because she was still tired out.

     I hoped she’d be convinced that last night was a dream, although Evelyn was a pretty smart person for her age.

    I made my way to the sink, this time closely resembling a zombie as made myself a glass of water.

    I wasn’t too sure how I tidied the house afterwards, but either way, I wasn’t really in the right state of mind to care whether or not I’d be able to sort everything out before Mum and Dad got home. And sure enough they arrived, early enough to come to a conclusion of what had happened.

   I don’t know whether they were more annoyed about the fact that I had the party itself, or the fact that I didn’t really care at all when they told me off. And I know this probably makes me come off as some bad-ass teen who doesn’t really give a shit about anything (I’m probably not in comparison to Sophie). But it was mainly because other thoughts occupied my mind.

   Like: why had I not realised the tension between Cole and Morgan before?; or the tension between Sophie and Morgan because Morgan liked Sophie?; or the tension between all of them and me?

   Somehow they all knew something weren’t too keen on sharing.

   But I was also becoming more significantly aware that at the very back of my mind, a small worry about my dropping school grades and rapidly approaching GCSE exams began to grow. And although I hated to admit it, the thought was starting to scare me a little.

   I wasn’t too sure how much I could remember of last night - most times out were a challenge to remember in the morning. But there were certain things that stuck in my mind more than others; the image of Cole glaring at me, exchanging awkward glances between Aaron, Morgan and Sophie giving sly glances to each other when they had spoken to me. It was something that I probably overlooked earlier due to the influence of alcohol, yet now the expressions haunted me.

   At first the thought seemed bizarre to me, seeing as I had been friends with them for quite a while now.

   But did they even like me?

   Did they know something about me?

   I tried to block out my thoughts, forcing myself to believe that I was as usual, over thinking about nothing. For a start, Cole was annoyed with Morgan, not me. And I was certain that there was nothing worrying being spoken about me behind my back. Nothing worrying that they knew about anyway.

    As a result, after hoovering and cleaning up the house (my punishment due to last night’s party) I send a text to all of them asking what they were planning on doing on the weekend.

   None of them replied.

   I shrugged, trying to ignore the thought that something was clearly wrong and began to get ready for work, impressively early – usually it was a last minute rush-around-the-house sort of thing.

   But few customers came in that day and there was little to do but wander around the shop, listening to Declan’s music. My lack of sleep had quickly gotten the better of me, and seeing as nobody was coming in and Myra had stupidly trusted me enough to look after the shop on my own, I lay on the counter, playing music that was clearly too loud and inappropriate to be playing in your town’s local gift shop.

    The sound of ringing as the gift shop door opened, caused me to roll of the desk and scramble to my feet. The sight of the posh, snooty-looking customer standing near the door, made me leap at the music player and slam the off button.

   “I’m so sorry-”I exclaimed hastily.

   But the customer smiled politely. “Bored, I see?” She asked. “I’m guessing it’s not been a very busy day.”

   I stood there awkwardly, unsure of how to respond.

  “What were you listening to anyway?”

  “Oh it’s nothing…”I paused. “Well it’s just my brother’s music.”

   “Ah, is he in a band, I’m guessing?”

   “Yeah,” I replied. I couldn’t help but smile proudly.

   She nodded, looking almost interested, and I began to regret what I thought about her at first glance.

   “Has he released any albums? I’ll be quite interested in buying one.”

   “He… hasn’t really reached that stage yet,” I fidgeted uncomfortably.

   “Well what’s their name?” She asked.

   “Walking In Slow Motion.”

   More fidgeting.

   She nodded, with a strange expression, making me wonder whether she was really interested or whether she was just being polite.

   I couldn’t help but glance at her curiously, as she inspected the shop, until she left without buying anything.

   Just in that moment I received a text from Sophie and I let out an unexpected sigh of relief.

   Yeah sure, let’s meet up this weekend.

I decided that I wouldn’t ask her about last night, seeing as it probably wasn’t the most sensible thing to do.


* * *


I arrived home, just as unpopular with certain family members as I was when I left; receiving several glares from Dad, who I guessed had just unblocked the toilet upstairs. I think Morgan had tried to flush one of the living room ornaments down it. Mum also couldn’t help but make occasional remarks during dinner in hope she’s trigger a reaction from me so that she had yet another opportunity to tell me off.

     Cole says he’s not friends with Morgan anymore, Sophie texted me later that evening. But I was unsure how to respond, so I left it and decided to retire to bed significantly earlier than usual. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t bother me as much as it probably did with Sophie. Seeing as she had been friends with the two of them for so long, it must have been devastating for her, but their fall-out scarcely passed my mind as I lay in bed.

     Instead, the thought about my exams that I was going to have to inevitably take in a few months lingered in my mind: Why was I worrying about this? I’d always been smart; I was going to ace my exams.




    ...Was I?

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