My name, she wanted to know my name. I stumbled for a minute, trying to remember the name that Mr Steath had given me –Al-something?
It slipped out before I even noticed. I tore my eyes away from hers in a jerky motion that probably aroused more suspicion than it avoided. “Listen, do you have the time? Because I think I’m meant to be in a class pretty soon.” I was aware of how quickly the words were tumbling out now, and I just wanted to get away as fast as I could.
The girl glanced at her wrist, though it was bare. Pulling a face, she shrugged a shoulder at me. “Probably about nine. The bell hasn’t rung yet, though. You’ve still got plenty of time.” She smiled. “Don’t panic so much.”
I really wasn’t the sort of person who could take her advice that easily. I looked up to meet her gaze again briefly, my body already physically aching to get away. I turned to scout the corridor that we were standing in. It was small and blockish – a few inbuilt windows and doors, nothing that would let me escape ground for a little bit. I swallowed and turned back to face Rain.
As I did, I noticed another girl standing not so far away from us. Compared to Rain’s striking sunlit hair, she looked pretty plain – brown and grey against the colourless backdrop of the school. She reminded me of some of the girls I’d used to know, though I doubted she was anything close to them. She was standing there, sure-footed, whereas I could still feel the ground swaying underneath me.
I tried to smile at Rain. “Listen, she looks like she’s a bit lost, too.”
Rain followed my gaze and stared for a long time, as though sizing the girl up.
“I’m sure you can find the office together, and we can, uh, chat later. I’ve...got to go. I don’t know where my next class is, and I don’t want to be late.” I turned around before she could reply, and made my way as quickly as I could down the corridor, keeping one hand on the wall for balance.
I only fell once.