Who is that new student? The black-haired girl?
Kyle looked over at the student that the One was pointing out. Nichole?
Lunaire. Nichole Lunaire.
The One made a thoughtful noise, then retreated. Kyle cleared his throat. “Alright, close your silent reading books. Today, we will be discussing the Shakespeare play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.”
There was a large number of groans from the class, but they obeyed, shoving library books and worn paperback novels into their bookbags. Kyle asked them to get out the literature textbooks from their desks. “The play starts on page...203.” The room was filled with the sound of lingering grumbles and flipping pages. While the students searched for the right page, Kyle watched Nicole Lunaire. Why was the One interested in her? She was a beautiful young woman. Maybe Kyle would get to have a taste of her. Of course, he was already having some fun with that talkative brunette who sat next to Holly in his fourth period class. The poor girl was always exhuasted to the point of unconciousness by the time he was finished, and it wouldn’t be long before the One would be able to get in and manipulate her, using her to get closer to Holly. Kyle still wanted to take Holly himself, but the One was insisting on keeping her clean.
Kyle turned his focus back on his class, looking down at the book in front of him. “Alright. Would anyone like to read?”
“Have you seen her yet?” Lauren pressed Holly at lunch.
Holly nodded. “Yeah, she’s in my chemistry class.”
“Oooh, lucky. I still haven’t- Oh, my God.” Lauren’s eyes went wide as she gawked at something over Holly’s shoulder. Holly turned.
Nichole had entered the cafeteria, and Lauren wasn’t the only one stunned by her prescence. Everyone in the cafeteria was gazing at the new girl in awe. Nichole stood, calmly surverying the cafeteria. Her eyes landed on Holly, and she smiled, turning towards their table. Holly glanced at Lauren, who’s jaw was practically touching the table. Holly nudged her best friend, and Lauren blinked, closing her mouth.
“Hi. You’re Holly, right?”
Holly turned. Nichole was standing by their table, waiting for Holly to reply. “Yeah, that’s me.” Holly responded.
Nichole beamed. “I love your name. Can I sit here with you guys? Looks like most of the other tables are full.”
Holly glanced at Lauren, who seemed to be doing everything she could to say yes without actually moving or speaking. Holly looked back at Nichole. “Yeah, sure.”
Nichole grinned and sat across from Holly. Her gaze moved to Lauren, and her eyes were suddenly filled with concern. “Are you alright?”
Lauren looked up from her salad, startled. “Me? Yeah, I’m fine. Just tired. I was up late studying.”
Nichole gazed at Lauren for another moment, then looked away and opened her lunch bag.
Someone’s arms suddenly wrapped around Holly, and she yelped, startled. Alex laughed in her ear. “It’s just me, jumpy.”
“Alex! Don’t scare me like that!”
“But it’s so much fun!” Alex replied, smiling innocently as he sat next to Holly. She scowled at him, then laughed, giving him a quick kiss on the lips.
You watch as Holly laughs with her friends. She is so full of life, life that will be gone if the One reaches her.
His best methods are sitting right next to her, laughing and smiling and goofing around. The One will use Lauren and Alex to get to Holly’s soul.
You know that from experience.
Your attention is suddenly captured by a girl approaching the table that you, Holly, and her friends are sitting at. The girl is clearly infected by the Othre, and getting desperate in her search for a victim. She walks up behind Holly and opens her mouth. “Holly Elizabeth.”
Holly turns, but before she can respond, Lauren is on her feet and in the girl’s face. “Listen, Queen Rachel. I don’t know what kind of stupid game you’re playing here, but you better leave Holly alone, and stop fucking with her head.”
The girl, Rachel, just looked at Lauren with her mist-filled eyes. “It’s in you already. It’s in you so It can get closer to her. The One is unstoppable.” Rachel paused, still staring at Lauren, who was speechless for once in her life. “You should stop meeting him. He’s the portal, the conduit. He is the reason why the One is inside you. If you want to protect your friend, never see him again. Never touch him again.
“You just might be able to save her.”
Rachel turns and walks away, and Lauren sits back down, stunned.
You watch Rachel walk away.
Everything she said was true.
But you know that it will take more than a decision from Lauren to save Holly.