I think I jinxed myself. Ben's gone now. My own cousin. His dad doesn't even know who he is.
"Uncle D," I whispered while Mr Carter wasn't talking to anyone. "Where's Ben?"
Mr Carter lifted his marking pen off of the paper.
"Ben who? How many times to I have to tell you to stop calling me uncle at school?"
"Ben - your son."
"I don't have a son."
People denying the existence of their friends is one thing, but fathers thinking they had no son; you can't say there's nothing going on.
The bell went, cutting yet another conversation short. I could see a pattern emerging here.
Pippa pulled me aside when I got out the door.
"I believe what you and Max are saying about these people going missing."
"What?" I couldn't quite believe that someone had finally decided to listen to me.
Pippa brought a few photos out of her backpack.
"I came across these. It's pictures of Wyatt and I."
I looked at the pictures.
"Wee need to see if we can get Skye to believe our story. I don't know who might be next."
"I don't understand what exactly we need to tell her though."
"Neither do I, Pip, neither do I..."
We never got to tell Skye our theory. She had been standing right in front of us, and we were about to confront her when she just vanished. Literally gone in the blink of an eye.
Our classes were getting emptier and emptier. At one point there were only five people in one (that's including the teacher).
On the way home that day, Max explained a confusing concept to me.
"What do you know about magic?" he had said to me.
I stared at him. "Uh...nothing?"
"Well, no time like the present to tell you that I'm the one doing this."
That took me by surprise.
Max shushed me. "It's not me exactly...I can't really explain."
I backed away from him. "I can explain it alright; you're a freaking nut job. What's your excuse? Split personality? Insanity?"
"Technically those are the same thing."
"Shut up. What are you doing to all these people? Who you planning on taking next?"
"I don't plan this Avril. Like I said, it's not me! It's like someone else takes over me...Or my subconscious is sending me on a killing spree."
My eyes widened and I backed off slowly. "You're killing these people?"
"No! No...It just...It came out wrong," Max suddenly fell to the ground.
I was caught between helping him and seizing my opportunity to run.
I stayed, and immediately wished I hadn't.
Max got up again, his eyes a deep, endless black.
How was he doing this? What was he even doing?
How could he just get rid of all of his friends? All of my friends?
And then it occurred to me; I was the only one left.
That's when I ran.
When I reached my house, Max was there at the gate. I made for the back door. It was always open. I hurried through the cluttered garden, running for the kitchen door. He was there when I got inside. I considered screaming but what would that achieve? I dropped my bag, weighing up my options: stay here and try to calm things down, or run.
As appealing as door number two looked, I went with the level-headed approach.
"Max...What are you going to do?"
Max dragged a sharp kitchen knife out from behind his back. I was frozen to the spot. He was in front of me in a flash. He plunged the knife into my chest. I fell to the floor. The last thing I remember was Max's pained expression as the spirit flew out of his body and he realised what he had done.