Annie sat on the bench in between Lexi and Riley. "Ya, I agree that it's good that no one took Mark seriously, but what if he took it seriously?"
"What do you mean?" Riley asked.
"I mean, what if Mark takes it seriously? What if he goes and tells some scientists or whatever and they hunt us down for experiments or whatever?" Annie asked.
Lexi burst out laughing. However, Riley seemed to understand the importance and possible truth of what Annie was trying to say. And for that, Annie was thankful.
"I get what you're trying to say, here, Annie, but I don't think that some sophisticated scientists are going to take a fifth grader seriously." Riley said.
"Okay." Annie agreed uncertainly, but the matter was far from over in her mind. As Riley and Lexi continued to talk, she looked behind her and saw a small dark clad figure on one of the swings. But when she faced her friends to mention it to them, it was gone when she turned back. The girls continued to talk, and Annie soon forgot about the entire incident.
Annie started. As she sat up, she looked around hurriedly. No one noticed. She thought. She had accidentally fallen asleep in the middle of English class. In my defense, Annie thought, It is a Friday afternoon. This is the last class of the week and we only have thirty minutes left!
"Annie - what happened after Bilbo put on the ring?" Mr. Henry's voice shattered her thoughts.
"Uh," Annie desperately tried to think up an answer. She had forgotten to do the reading, since she had gotten home so late from the park last night. And now she was paying for it. Oh well, Annie thought, defeated. I'll just give him a stupid answer and he'll move on.
Playing along with her plan, Annie said sarcastically, "He disappeared."
"That's right!" Mr. Henry said, then moved on to another question.
Annie slumped gratefully in her chair and went back to daydreaming.
Suddenly, the loudspeaker crackled. Will Annie Donohue, Alexis Garcia, and Riley Parker please report to the office. Annie, Alexis, and Riley. Please report to the front office.
Annie froze. Never in all her years of school had she been called to the front office. Never. And now, her name had just been blasted across the entire school!
Oh no! She thought worriedly as she made her way to the door. Her face reddened in humiliation. A collected "Oooooooh!" went through the room as Annie hurried through the rows of desks. Finally, she made it to the door and pushed. Unfortunately, it was a "pull" door, so she just ended up banging into the metal door. Snickers traveled through the class. Thoroughly embarrassed, she hurried to pull the door open. She flung herself into the hall and breathed a sigh of relief.
Up ahead, Lexi was making her way to the office.
"Lexi!" Annie hissed. She hurried to her friend, careful not to run.
Lexi whirled around. "What?"
"Do you know what this is about?"
"No!" Lexi replied in agony. Suddenly, Riley appeared in one of the doorways and joined them in their terrifying march to their doom.
Eventually, despite their dragging feet, they wound up directly in front of the principal's office.
"Well, here goes nothing," Annie said miserably. Together, the friends stepped into the fateful room.