Another Life

"Do you believe there's life after death?"

16-year-old, Cecilia Woods only wanted to live her life normally like everyone else. However, she is unable to do so because of the tragic accident which happened to her 2 years ago. She had lost both of her parents - even her life. Miraculously, she revived and was granted special abilities which allows her to see and hear things that normal people can't. We're not the only ones living in this world and Cecilia knows it. With her abilities, it's now her task to banish the Unwanted Souls and prevent the darkness from devouring the world.

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3. Making Friends

      The cafeteria's crowded. I don't feel like eating, in fact, I'm not even hungry. I decided to go elsewhere, someplace quiet.. away from the commotion. I hung my bag across my left shoulder and walked around the academy, up and down the stairs giving myself a tour and the more steps I took, the more places I've discovered. This place is huge, I'm pretty sure I'd get lost easily. I paused for a second, Pfftt.. hahaha, like that'll ever happen. I'm good at finding my way back, all I need to do is turn - ... wait a minute. Which way did I came from? There's two hallways in front of me and I don't even remember which floor I'm on. Uh-oh. You're kidding me, right? This can't be happening. I was so confident that I weren't paying attention to where I was going. Plus, this floor looked deserted; there's nobody around. I'd recommend the teachers to consider closing this part of the area because somehow this place makes me feel like I'm in a ghost town. These furniture still looked new, the walls were beautifully painted without a single stain and the floors were shiny as if they were recently cleansed.

I decided to check my cellphone; it was almost 1 o'clock and I'm surprised that Aunt Meg hasn't even called me yet. I thought she'd be excited to know how it was for me on the first day like she always does but she's probably busy at the moment - tap tap tap.. suddenly, I heard footsteps. "Hello?" I instantly closed my phone and snuck it back into my pocket. My voice echoed through the hallway. Souls couldn't possibly touch the ground since they prefer hovering above them. I wouldn't mind arguing with a soul, since it doesn't harm me. However, if it was a person, who knows what'll happen? My legs began to tremble, should I walk further? I'm not really good at defending myself but I've bravery coursing through my veins.. well, sorta. I decided to continue walking and eventually stopped when I've reached the stairs. Phew.. finally. Before I could descend, suddenly someone grabbed my shoulder. No! Stay away! I slapped the person's hand hard; I couldn't care less to see who it was. My legs are striding further and further apart, breaking into a run and I quickly ran downstairs. 

      I didn't even bothered to turn around. I kept up my pace and continued running until I've reached the lowest floor in the building. Then, slowly.. I've stopped and gasped for air. Everyone's here, for once it was nice to hear noises; the laughter, whispers and screams. I'm worn out and my whole body's sweating. My heart's still racing, not sure if it was because of the encounter or the running. I could barely stand up, it felt like my whole body's paralyzed and all my energy's drained.

"Hey, are you okay?"

      I was a bit surprised to see a girl standing in front of me. She tied her dark blonde hair back into a ponytail and was dressed neatly in her school uniform. She's a lot skinnier than I am and quite shorter. 

      "I'm.. fine" I replied, still breathing heavily. "Are you sure? You don't seem okay. Here, let me take you to the nurse's office," she continued as she approaches towards me. "You look somewhat pale, you should follow me."

"I..." Suddenly, everything began to fade. I see dark patches clouding my view, the girl's face was no longer seen. I fell onto the ground with a loud thud. I could hear distant voices; panicking.

"Hey, hey, wake up. Somebody, help!.."

"Take her to the nurse's office now!.."

 

      For once, I felt peaceful even though I was shrouded in darkness. Nobody was in sight, just darkness everywhere. I sat quietly, not knowing what else to do or where else to go. "Cecilia," I heard an echo.

I stood up, trying to find where the voice was coming from. "Who's there?" I began to have goosebumps and the back of my neck tingling. I spun around to see if there was someone behind me. My eyes widened in terror and I quickly clasped my hand over my mouth, holding back a scream. Their eyes were like empty sockets, darker than the darkness. The foul smell of their rotting skin began to drift into the air and what terrifies me the most was their crinkling deadly sharp claws; dripping with blood. I couldn't stand the crackling sound of their heads turning; this was an unnerving sight. I began to walk backwards slowly and carefully, to make sure I won't tripped on anything, I wouldn't want to attract their attention. 

Slowly.. slowly. Calm down, Cecilia.. I told myself. I badly wanted to run but I can't. They were a lot faster and stronger, I wouldn't want to risk my chances of escaping. Don't make a sound. Just keep walking, you'll be fine.. I tried convincing myself.

      Just when I thought everything was alright, it turned upside down. My phone rang; shit.. I forgot to change the volume. The phone blasted with its loudest volume yet and I began to panic. My hands were trembling when I tried searching for the phone. Was it in my left pocket? Or the right? As soon as I've found it, I quickly pulled it out but just when I wanted to silence it, I accidentally dropped it onto the ground which made a louder noise. The Unwanted Souls snapped their head and locked their gaze towards me. Damn it! Start running! As expected, they were fast - too fast. A few seconds ago, they were kilometres away from me and now, they're probably only a few inches away. This is bad.. this is really, really bad. 

"No! Stay away! Leave me alone!" I shouted. One of them grabbed my wrist and squeezed it like a toy. It was too painful, it felt as if my bones were crushed. Red liquid.. is it blood? My skin.. they are falling off my bones. No, this isn't happening... This isn't happening!! Leave me alone!!

 

"Cecilia!!" 

My eyes instantly flew open. Where am I? I looked around from left to right, they're gone. That's a relief. Finally, I could breathe again. 

"Cecilia, are you alright?" I recognize that voice from somewhere. Cillian!! Oh how happy I was to have him here. If I could hug him, I would but that would be strange since we barely knew each other. "What am I doing here?" I decided to ask instead.

"You fainted." I've noticed we weren't the only ones in the room. I tilt my head to the right and saw a girl standing behind him; the girl I've talked to before losing conscious. "She was the one who informed the teachers and took you to the nurse's office." He explained. The girl stepped forward, "The nurse couldn't found out what was wrong with you. She said, you're probably just tired and trying to adjust to the atmosphere here."

"Oh.." Was all I could say. Although I knew it wasn't true, I had to pretend it was. "You probably shouldn't walk around too much, especially in a place like this. This place is ginormous, it'll easily tire you out." She sounded like an adult but I appreciate her concern. "Okay ladies. You two have a nice conversation here while I'll be heading to class now," Cillian interrupted. 

 

      After Cillian left, the room felt quiet all of the sudden. I'm not good when it comes to striking up a conversation, sometimes I think it's better not to say anything at all but I have to try. True failure is when you've given up. So, as long as you're still trying, you're not failing. 

      Hold up.. where's my bag? Where's my phone? I inspected the whole room, where did they put them? The girl pointed at the small oak table sitting next to my bed. "Your phone won't stop ringing when you were still unconscious. I believe it was your guardian. The school notified her of your condition, however, she wasn't allowed to leave her work place. So, she requested to take you back early today," her voice was formal. "If you were wondering about your bag too, even I don't have the slightest clue where it is."

I must've left it on the top floor. (Sigh..) I've got no other choice but to go back and get it. However, I'm still feeling a bit drained at the moment. I need to rest. My body's still aching, making it difficult for me to walk. No worries.. there's still time, I could come and get it before Aunt Meg arrives. In the mean time.. 

"I'm Cecilia Woods by the way." I gave her a friendly smile. She looked up and met my gaze. 

"I'm Lucie.. Lucie Everons," she replied. "So... you're the new kid huh?"

"Rumors do spread fast, don't they?"

"They surely do," she gave out a short laugh. Her face started to glow. "I was actually looking forward to meet you," she continued shyly. 

"You do? This is my first time hearing someone who's so keen on meeting me," my smile began to bloom wider. "I heard people say you seem pretty cool. So, I wanted to check you out myself," she said. Pretty cool, huh? Nobody has ever complimented me before. 

"Too bad my first impression didn't really go too well," I admitted. "Didn't matter, you still seem pretty cool," her eyes anticipating with excitement. I laughed; for the first time since the accident. Now, I can finally see the brighter side of life.. how come I've never noticed this before? I was always too busy avoiding the bad, that I hardly even noticed the good. My life would've been so much colorful. 

"Hey.. um, Cecilia."

"Yeah?" I looked at her. "If you don't mind, I'd really like to be your friend," she confessed. My friend? I've never had a friend before, only because I was afraid. I'm afraid that they'd someday found out about the horrifying truth of me, that I was never ordinary. I wasn't like them."Stay away from us, you freak," are most probably the common words I've received. But, hey, I'm used to it.

"You sure? I've to warn you, I'm not like everyone else."

"I'm pretty sure I could handle it," she answered confidently. "I mean, what could go wrong?"

Lucie, everything could go wrong.. Everything.. "Come on. It's not like I'll be clinging onto you 24-7." I looked into her glittering eyes; this is a tough decision to make. As badly as I wanted to push her away, I still needed someone. So.. "Sure."

"Thank you, Cecil!" she wrapped her arms around me and gave me a hug - which made me felt uncomfortable since I'm not used to these physical interactions. What surprised me the most was the nickname she gave me, 'Cecil'; my very first nickname. My lips curved a smile, maybe life has finally decided to give me a taste of happiness by giving me my first friend.

 

      "Aunt Meg, I'm fine. Don't worry about me. You don't need to rush yourself to get here, I could just take the bus. If you're still worried, I'll explain when I get home." I decided to send a quick text to reassure her. It only took her a few seconds to send me back a reply, "You sure you okay? I could come and get you if you want. I've already told the principal that I'll be taking you home early today.

"Like I said, I'm fine. Don't worry. Meet you home for dinner. Love you Aunt Meg xxx"

      Now, time to get my bag. "You're not attending your next class?" Lucie appeared next to me. "My books are in my bag. I must've left it somewhere, so I'll have to go and get it." 

"You sure you don't want me to come along?"

"No. It'll only take a few minutes. You should head to class first," somehow that answer made her felt unsatisfied. "Okay then. Don't skip classes," she warned before leaving. As soon as she left, I took the stairs and walked upwards. This time, I know where I'm supposed to go and I'm paying attention as to which route I'm taking. My footsteps echoed through the empty hallways; a place as empty as this, I don't get why the Lost Souls wouldn't come up here - I mean, this could be their personal hangout place.

      The ray of sunlight bursting through the windows made this place less scarier. Couldn't imagine how it'll look like during the night, brrr.. that thought sends shivers down my spine. I poked my head out at one of the windows - they're still there, waiting for something even I'm unsure what it is. I was startled when one of them saw me. That's strange.. usually, they'd flew towards me but somehow they seemed scared for some reason. I've never seen them being afraid of anything, aside the Unwanted ones. There couldn't possibly be one out during daylight since I've witnessed them writhing in pain as they began to burn and blasted into pieces; they can't stand the sunlight. What else are they scared of? "Cecilia," I heard a familiar voice. I turned my head sideways, looking puzzled. Who else is here beside me? I quickly turned around. A familiar figure stood in front of me, holding a bag in one hand. "Cillian!!" He had a crooked smile on his face.

"What are you doing here?" I asked.

"I should be the one asking you."

"I was looking for my bag. I kinda le -"

Before I could've explain further, he lifted the bag. "This one?" 

"Yes! That's my bag." He gently gave it back to me. "Where'd you find it?" 

      "I found it when I was on my way upstairs." He scratched his head. "I.. uh, you didn't showed up in class. The girl (Lucie) told me you were searching for your bag, so, I thought you'd probably be around here. Plus, I heard footsteps, I knew it was you right away since everyone's in class." Was he worried about me?.. Come to think of it, when I was in the infirmary, he was also there. Is he, somehow, interested in me? Naaah.. I shook my head, that's too good to be true. 

"So, ready to go back to class now?" he studied my face. "Y-yeah," I smiled.

"Let's go."

 

 

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