The first girl was named Tessa Knight. I didn't know her personally, but I heard about it in the hallways everywhere I went. Whispers and gossip and a few of her friends crying by the lockers. Tessa had gone missing. From what I picked up while walking from class to class was that she had gotten into a fight with her parents over a car and had stalked out of the house. She hadn't come home and was still missing. A lot of us weren't taking is very seriously because she could be hiding out at her boyfriend's house who was in college. But her friends were scared because they said she would never do that, and her boyfriend was just as scared as she was.
So either he was a very good actor or she was gone.
I sat down in chemistry fourth hour, my stomach growling and begging for lunch. I had woken up late this morning and hadn't had time for breakfast so I was ready to get this class over with and eat.
My best friend since kindergarten sat down on my left. It was Tyler Albee, a strong member on the swim team, a genius with the civil war, and an idiot in all other categories. He wasn't the most attractive guy in the world, but he wasn't ugly either. He had thick brown hair, that fell past his ears and glasses that reminded me of the 3D ones they gave you at the movies. They were apparently the "in" thing right now but I thought they looked ridiculous.
"Hey." he greeted. "Hear the news?"
"About Tessa?" I asked. "Who hasn't?"
"No, not about Tessa, about my math grade."
"You have something above a D?"
"No, I was kidding. I was talking about Tessa." he sneered. I rolled my eyes, shuffling a bunch of papers so they were all even. It was one of my biggest pet peeves. "Did you know her very well?" I asked.
"No, she was in my biology class last year but that's it."
"Think she's actually missing? Or she just ran off for a while?"
"Dunno. Her friend; Mackenzie, who sits in front of you, claims she would never have run off all night. Scary isn't it?"
I gave him a look with my eyebrows raised.
"Sorry." he apologized. Tyler was one of the few who knew about my condition. He knew I was unable to feel fear, and that if he were to punch me in the face, I would be aware of it, and I would probably be offended he would do such a thing, but It wouldn't hurt me. It was a pain mostly, when I was five, I broke my leg when I fell off my bike. I had no idea and so I couldn't understand why I kept falling over when I tried to walk on it. When I finally told my parents the next day, they rushed me to the hospital where we learned that the condition was a lot worse than it would have been if I had come in the day before. It was the stupid things like that, that made me hate this illness other than looking at it as a blessing.
"I'm just used to saying that." Tyler justified. I shrugged.
"whatever, I suppose it's defiantly something that would be described as scary, but I'll have to take your word for it." I said. He gave a short laugh as the bell rang and rested her head on his desk.
"I'm sure it's nothing." he said. "I bet it will blow over by the end of the week."
We were about five minutes into class when the door opened and Mackenzie walked in late. The teacher gave her an annoyed look and marked her down tardy on the roster. Mackenzie was never late but today she looked like a zombie. She had thick lilac circles under her eyes, which were half closed. Her hair was messy and she had dirty tear stains on her cheeks. Next to me, Tyler learned over and whispered;
I nodded in agreement. Mackenzie always went out partying on weekends and sometimes staying home from school for weeks with hangovers or constantly puking her guts out. But today I knew this time she had gotten wasted over the "disappearance" of her friend. She slowly slid into the seat in front of me, letting her purse drop heavily to the floor and pulled her knees up to her chest, resting her head on her torn jeans. It was such a sad sight, I reluctantly reached out to give her a reassuring pat on her shoulder.
Big mistake, she instantly broke down. Her shoulders shaking as she sobbed into her hands. The class stared awkwardly, none of them knew what to do. It's not every day a girl bursts into tears in the middle of class.
"Miss Lyon, do you need to go to the restroom?" the teacher asked, pushing her glasses farther up her nose. Mackenzie shook her head. A shy girl in the front of the classroom cautiously raised her hand.
"Sorry, um, she's friends with the Tessa girl. You know, the one who went missing?" she said quietly. At the mention of Tessa's name, Mackenzie only cried harder. This teacher obviously didn't get around much because she gave the girl a puzzled look. "Tessa? Tessa who?"
"Tessa Knight." Tyler spoke up, making me jump. He had such a deep voice I always forgot what it sounded like. Plus I thought he had fallen asleep or something.
"She's missing?" the teacher asked. The class nodded. This seemed to allow the teacher to give some sympathy. She walked over and knelt down next to Mackenzie.
"Miss Lyon, I think you should go to the office. Call home and get some rest all right? Things will be okay."
"I can't, I have to be in class." Mackenzie mumbled. "I have too many absences."
"I won't count this one against you." the teacher whispered. "Take a worksheet from my desk and go on."
Mackenzie nodded and got up. Tyler and I exchanged glances. She had never really been the most dramatic person. So maybe this was more seriouse for her than we had thought. I could see the rest of the class looked worried and so I did my best to copy their expressions. No one else in the class knew about my condition so I did my best to fit in. Although deep down, I felt nothing at all.
Lunch was always an interesting part of my day. I eat lunch with Tyler, his friend Daymen, and my two friends Kimberly and Avrie. We have our own special bench near the vending machines that we've sort of claimed as our own. It's first come first serve. If you stay after class and the bench is full by the time you show up with your food, you eat on the floor. But it's really not such a big deal. Today, me, Daymen and Avrie had the bench. Tyler and Kim sat cross-legged on the ground. But no one was really eating today. I picked at my food while the others talked about Tess's disappearance and what they think could have happened.
Avrie was small and could easily still pass as a middle schooler. She had long curly hair that was so blond it looked pink in the sunlight and pale blue eyes. She was very outgoing and silly, we once went to the store and she pretended to be blind because her eyes are so pale and people fell for it. That's just the type of person she was. Kim on the other hand was a beauty queen. She joined all the city pageants and had the best make up, the cutest cloths, and was pretty critical of other people's fashions. If she didn't like what you were wearing that day, she told you. We learned to to take offense because really, she was sensitive and really sweet.
Daymen was just the laid back sort of guy who didn't care about anything. He didn't have a passion in like other than video games and didn't bother to agree or disagree with people. We were an odd group hanging out together but opposites attract I guess. But today no one was really joking around or laughing. Along with the rest of the school. It was awkward and I felt bad that I wasn't scared like everyone else. Spruce Hills was normally a very quiet and very safe town. This wasn't something that happened very often.
“What do you think, Addison?” Kim asked me. I shrugged, twisting off the stem on my apple.
“Dunno. Her boyfriend is a college student right? Maybe she’s staying with him.”
“No, I knew her in elementary school. She’s not the type of person who would do that.”
“People change when they get into high school.” Daymen stated boredly. “I don’t think your word counts for much. Mackenzie’s would, she knew her longest I think.”
“Mackenzie went home.” Tyler said. “During fourth hour. Had a mental break down.”
“I don’t blame her.” Avrie sighed. “The poor girl.”
“She’ll turn up by tonight.” I said slowly. “You guys are just overreacting.” All of them but Tyler gave me funny looks. None of them understood why I was never afraid. They didn’t understand what was really going on though. Then again, neither did I.
After lunch was history, then French was last. I never really got into French much. I mostly just took it for college credits. I didn’t really like the teacher, a thin little woman who said “Um” about two million times a day and a bunch of students who were taking it for the same reason I was. Then I walked home. The cool autumn air was nice and the breeze smelled like maple trees and pumpkins. It was probably the most enjoyable time of the day. Living in Spruce Hills, Colorado; there was a lot of forest and mountains for parks and camping trips. Normally, I walked home with Tyler and Avrie, but Tyler had swim practice today so it was just Avrie and I. As we turned the corner away from the school, she asked me if I knew Tessa at all.
“No.” I said. “Not really at all. I just know she’s on the basketball team right?”
“Softball.” Avrie corrected. “It just seems so scary to me. You don’t think there’s a murderer in the town, do you?”
“Of course not.” I answered, popping my back and pulling my long, boring, dirty blond hair over one shoulder. I always envied people with the thick black brown or blond. Mine was just so normal and usual. The only features I was really fond of; were my eyes and my figure. I thought I was pretty well curved, and my eyes were a dark blue in the center and a light brownish green along the outside.
“I just wish I knew where she was, and all the girls who knew her would stop crying, then I wouldn’t be so freaked out.” Avrie sighed, shifting her backpack to the other shoulder. “Want to go to the mall today?” she asked. “Get our mind off things, by torturing ourselves with looking at things we want, but can’t afford?”
I laughed out loud. “I would love to.” I said. “But I have a lot of homework today. Tomorrow’s Friday though. Want to go then?”
“Alright. You drive?”
“Okay.” I agreed mostly because I knew Avrie wasn’t very comfortable with her car yet. It was a stick shift which she wasn’t really good at so I normally drove her places in my Honda pilot.
As we reached the street where we had to part ways, we both agreed on a time that was good for both of us, then agreed not to tell Kimberly. She was fun, but she was a pain in the butt at the mall. So we would just keep it to the two of us. Then we separated. And I walked the last two blocks home by myself, lingering deep in my thoughts.
The next morning, I woke up early and took a shower in the dark, which was like my extra ten minutes of sleep. Then, pulling on my robe, I padded down the stairs to eat breakfast with my parents and my twin older brothers. Kimble and Cooper.
All four of them looked very grave as I arrived. My mother gave me a soft look as I sat down in front of my plate.
“You’re not going to school today, Addy.” She stated. “You can go back to bed.”
“What? Why?” I asked. And judging by the look on my dads’ face afterwards, I regretted asking.
“Because they found Tessa Knight a few hours ago.” My father informed me. “She’s dead.”