“Holly, get up! You’ll be late to school!”
Holly sat up with a start, blinking wildly. Her mom was standing in the doorway of the bedroom, scowling. “Did you forget to turn on your alarm again?”
Holly looked over at her clock. Sure enough, the “ALARM” switch was firmly sitting in front of “OFF”.
“Aw, crap. Yeah, I guess I did. Sorry, Mom.” Holly said, turning to face her mother again. The older woman’s eyes widened just slightly, looking somewhat shocked. Then her face broke into a smile. “Just don’t forget again, okay, honey?”
“I won’t, Mom.” Holly promised.
“Good. Now hurry up, you only have fifteen minutes before the bus comes!”
Holly juggled her coffee and bookbag as she made her way towards her locker, and struggled to turn the combination lock to open its cold, metal door.
“Here, Hol, let me take something.” a warm voice said from behind her. A hand reached out and took her coffee cup just before it slipped out of her grasp. Holly successfully turned the lock to the last number, and her locker popped open. She shoved her bag inside and turned to face Alex, taking her coffee. “Thanks,” she said standing on her tip-toes to give him a kiss. After a couple of seconds, they finally seperated, and Alex smiled. “You’re looking better than you have in a couple of weeks. I was starting to worry.”
Holly shrugged. “I guess I was just really tired and stressed. I’m fine now.”
She didn’t mention that she barely remembered anything from the past two weeks. All she remembered was a large number of concerned looks, and numerous inquiries about her well-being. She didn’t know what it was that had made her act so strange.
“Omigod, Hol, have you seen Rachel Harte?” Lauren popped up beside Holly, abruptly yanking her back into the present.
Holly shook her head. “No, I was too busy trying to not drop my coffee.”
Lauren shook her head sadly. “Oh, man...the girl’s like, zombiefied. It’s so creepy! She’s acting like, like...” Lauren suddenly stopped, looking closely at Holly.
“She’s acting the same way you’ve been the past couple of weeks.”
Holly felt her eyebrows shoot up. “That’s...weird. Well, I’m better now, back to myself...maybe it’s some kind of weird cold. It might be contagious.”
Lauren shrugged and took a sip of her coffee. Holly could smell pumpkin and caramel wafting from the hot liquid. “I don’t know, Hol...but it’s pretty dang creepy. But, hey, I’m glad you’re feeling better! And your eyes are normal again!”
A sudden hush fell over the hallway. Holly, Lauren, and Alex turned, wondering what had happened.
That was when Holly finally saw Rachel Harte.
The queen bee really did look like the undead. Her hair was dull and limp, her clothes boring and the exact opposite of Rachel’s normal glamor, and her face was blank, emotionless. And her eyes...they were dull, and misted over in a way that was eerie and unnatural.
Holly suddenly had a flash of being in a dark room, filled with mist, and seeing Rachel twisting and writhing in the air like she’d been struck by a bolt of lightning. The vsion quickly faded.
Rachel looked at Holl as she shuffled past, and Holly shivered as she met the fallen queen’s eyes. They were hollow, yet somehow full of contempt as they looked at Holly. Finally, Rachel turned away and continued on down the hallway.
The startled silence of other students followed her, and the growing noise of gossip gradually filled the empty space.
Lauren turned to Holly. “Like I said...totally creepy.”
Holly nodded in agreement, shivers still running along her spine.
It’s always frightening for the recently cleansed, meeting the eyes of the recently infected. They don’t know why it is that they get chills down their spine as the infected looks upon them, don’t know what they’ve done to receive that look of contempt.
The Gryphon cannot help but smile as Holly Elizabeth meets the eyes of her victim and shivers.
Yes, little girl, look what you did. You don’t know what it is, and you don’t know you did it, but you know that it’s bad.
But the Othre is nothing compared to the One.
And if the One finds you, you will have to be destroyed.
You are the soul that the One is looking for.
I will not let It find you.
Or will I?
It has been so long since the Gryphon last killed.
And he truly does enjoy playing with his prey.
Gregory Kyle. Wake up, Gregory Kyle.
I have a job for you.
Kyle opened his eyes and whispered into the darkness, “I’m awake.”
The One showed Kyle an image of a high school. Go there. Find the girl by the name of Holly Elizabeth. Gain her trust. I will help you.
Kyle nodded, sitting up. “Yes, my master.”
Good. Soon, you will be free.
“And I can go home?”
The One chuckled. Yes, Gregory. You can go home.
Kyle grinned and swung his legs over the side of the bed. “I better not waste any time, then.”
Do not forget your loyalties, Gregory. Right now, you are still mine.
“I know, master. I won’t forget.”