Lexi, Riley, and Annie are three ordinary girls. Or at least that's how everyone else sees them. The truth is, they have a secret. Their secret - if brought outside of their circle, would result in death.


7. Ummm…No Thanks


          Riley grudgingly slammed her locker shut. Just another long boring day of school. At least next class was English, which meant that she would get to be with Lexi. 

          Speaking of Lexi, Riley thought. Where is she? Class starts in a minute!

          Suddenly, her best friend came running down the hall, her backpack slung over one shoulder. "Hurry!" Lexi said. "We're gonna be late. Mrs. Brooklyn doesn't tolerate tardiness!"

          Riley stood there wonderingly as Lexi ran past her towards Room 201. After a few seconds of staring, Riley hurried after her friend. There was no way that she was going to answer to their elderly English teacher's harsh punishments, again.


          Riley wiped her brow. In gym class, they were doing gymnastics. Right now they were doing somersaults and cartwheels (or at least trying to, in Riley's case), but next they had to climb a rope hanging from the ceiling and jump about two stories down into a huge foam pit. She looked over at Annie and Lexi worriedly, already dreading the sure problems that were to come.

          "What are we gonna do?" Riley whispered to Lexi after tucking and rolling.

          "I don't know. Say 'no'?" She replied, executing a perfect cartwheel.

          "C'mon, Lexi!" Their loud gym teacher, Ms. Samski bellowed at them. "Stop bending those knees!"

          "Why me?" Lexi asked, breathing hard as she ran and twirled again.

          "She does that to everyone," Riley answered, avoiding their teacher's withering gaze.

          "Wow, I'm in bad shape!" Annie hissed at the two girls on the ground across from her. She was trying to do a flip on the trampoline, but her knees kept giving out from exhaustion. Blowing her hair out of her eyes, she said, "Who knew these could make your legs feel like Jello? Oh, and for the rope-climbing thing, how 'bout I fake like I'm sick and you have to help me?"

          Lexi took to the idea immediately. "OMG! Great idea! And then we would have to take you to the nurse, and probably skip all of class! Like, totes amaze!"

          Riley, on the other hand, took a more skeptical route. "But what if General Samski doesn't buy it?"

          "Uh, like, of course she's gonna buy it!" Lexi huffed. "She's a sucker for puking!"

          "Oh yaaa!" Riley agreed between push-ups. "Remember that one time? Haha, that was so great. But still - what if - " She was cut off by Ms. Samski's piercing whistle signaling that it was time to move on to the next circuit - the rope.

          "Hurry up, Princesses!" Ms. Samski bellowed from her position next to the rope.

          Riley gulped nervously. She was not​ a good lier. As she walked slowly over to the rope, she felt horrible. Her palms were clammy as she got in line.

          "C'mon Riley," Lexi called. "We're up next."

          Riley nodded several times. Just as they had previously arranged, Annie suddenly doubled over. 

          "Uhn," she groaned. "Ms. - Ms. Samski, I don't feel…so good."

          "What's wrong now, girls?" The gym teacher glared down at them from the raised platform next to the dangling rope. 

          "I think Annie's gonna puke!" Lexi said, her acting skills flawless.

          It worked. Ms. Samski's face turned a few shades greener. "She's what?"

          "I don't feel good at all," Annie groaned and clutched her stomach.

          Lexi felt her friends forehead. "She's, like, burning up!"

          "We need to get her to the nurse!" Riley said, putting her hand on Annie's hunched shoulders and trying not to puke herself.

          Without waiting for an answer from their teacher, the three girls quickly headed for the exit. But just before they could reach the door, Ms. Samski recovered and spoke. "Girls."

          The three girls stopped in their tracks but didn't turn around. Riley clutched Lexi's hand, her eyes wide. So close! She thought, depressed. So close!

          But instead of calling them back to the rope, Ms. Samski just hollered, "Hurry back, slowpokes!"

          Once they were out the door, the three friends heaved a sigh of relief.

          "Oh my gosh!" Lexi gushed. "I thought she was gonna call us back and we would have to make up another excuse and - "

          "I know!" Riley said. "I thought for sure that she was going to call us back!"

          "You actually didn't do that bad, Riley," Lexi said, putting her hand on her friend's shoulder.

          "Thanks," Riley said. "But Annie, you did really good! You should do drama!"

          "Actually, I am thinking of auditioning in the winter." Annie said.

          "Well, we should probably go change and get ready for our next class." Riley said. "C'mon, let's go."

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