For the last ten minutes of lunchtime, Sienna
told Desiree of the way her parents reacted to her writing. Desiree’s reply
could have turned the air blue with the variety of swearwords she peppered her
Sienna was amazed and fascinated by Desiree.
The way she dressed, spoke, acted and thought seemed to different. It was
intriguing in one way and almost scary in another. It was as if she feared
nothing, already signed her soul over to ‘Satan.’
Church was mandatory but Desiree misbehaved
every time her parents managed to get her there. They mostly had to carry her
into the car and drag her, kicking and screaming into the church.
What puzzled Sienna, who had trained herself to
be more observant than the ‘clones’ as she referred to her classmates as, was
the murmured talk among the adults about Desiree being on the verge of being
She received a strange answer the one time
she’d broached the subject with Desiree.
“Remember Sienna, when I’m suddenly not here
anymore, the number to think of is 666. My number. My code. Just remember
Desiree had said in a low monotone.
Sienna wasn’t sure what this number’s
significance was but she vaguely associated it with the devil.
When the day of the bible-snatching plan came,
Sienna watched the clock carefully, as if it was hypnotising her. At exactly
half-past twelve she asked for a hall pass. The teacher signed his scrawly
signature on the pale yellow scrap of paper and Sienna rushed for Desiree’s
classroom, stuffing the hall pass into her pocket. Thinking back to the plan,
she realised how clever it was of Desiree to include the fire alarm in her
plan, as it would cause the teachers to forget about her leaving the classroom,
thus, bypassing any awkward questions.
“Desiree is wanted up at the office, Miss.”
Sienna told Desiree’s teacher.
Desiree winked, a mere flutter of an eyelid,
but it reassured Sienna that she was doing well.
The two girls walked deliberately slowly up to
the office, and as soon as the halls were thick with hundreds of students,
Desiree sidled up to the fire alarm and knocked her shoulder against the glass,
darting away from it as the glass began to crack. The siren began its metallic
shrieking, a lot like the normal bell for the normal end-of-lesson sort of
things, but human nature seemed to distinguish the difference. Mad panic swept
through the hallway and the principal ran from her office, forgetting to lock
the door. Desiree slipped in with the stealth of a master jewel thief and
Sienna was the lookout. Desiree stuffed the bible into her schoolbag and they
hurried after the other students to assemble in the schoolyard.