“My name is notFred!”
“Ha ha! Yeah, right, Fred. Don’t worry, a lot of people have funny names. Yours is just a little…original.”
Voices seemed like they were yelling and I didn’t even understand what they were talking about. My head was pounding and I felt like throwing up. My eyes peeled open and I saw I was in a room. A room that looked very much like the one I had at that freak place, the one with…Arcaena.
Of course, knowing me, I would only do one thing. I jumped out of bed and ran to whichever door I saw first. I would not stay at this crazy place. Strong arms guided me back to my bed and a voice said, “Hey, it’s okay. You’re not at that place, anymore. You’re with me.”
It was Peter. And for the first time since I had woken up from the old place with Ms. Harber, I cried. I cried my eyes out. I didn’t care if I was leaning into Peter’s chest (actually, I wouldn’t have minded at all) and crying. I just wanted to go back home, wherever that was. Finally, I stopped sobbing and looked up in Peter’s eyes. He released me, and I wiped my eyes. “Where are we, if not at that…that creep place?” I asked.
“We’re at Fred’s house,” Peter replied.
“Fred?” I asked. Then I saw him and remembered.
“Like I said, my name isnotFred. You may call me Rensen,” the fake Fred said. His appearance had completely changed. He no longer looked monotone. In fact, he looked like someone’s happy uncle. Lines formed around his eyes, showing that he had laughed a lot in his earlier years. Now streaks of silver were in his brown hair. He had dark eyes that twinkled as if he was always happy.
“Hello…um…Rensen,” I said. I didn’t mean to sound rude or anything, but I had never heard of the name Rensen. It seemed like some weird name from an alien movie. He smiled at me in return.
Rensen told me I had been knocked out from all the exhaust and I had been burned severely.
“Now, fire affects you more because you happen to have the element water, am I correct?” Rensen asked. I nodded my head. When I looked at the burns on my leg, I saw they were minimum, but they hurt as if they were the biggest burns in the world. After Rensen had told me everything that had happened in the past few hours, I decided to clean myself up. Luckily, this bathroom was much like the one I had before, and I was happy. I had liked the dolphins and the designs on the walls. I cleaned and changed myself, then petted the dolphins. They seemed to like me fair enough. I walked out and saw that Peter and Rensen were still there. “This is my apartment, isn’t it?” I asked. I wanted them to leave so I could go over the recent events.
“Yes, of course. I wanted to give you a tour of my house before you had time to yourself,” Rensen said calmly. I blushed. Of course he needed to give us a tour. I would get lost otherwise.
I followed him as we all walked out the door. Rensen led us throughout the entire house. Into his own quarters, the main kitchen and dining room, Peter’s quarters, three different bathrooms on the main floor, the main living room, a guest room, and finally, two rooms which must’ve belonged to…
“JENNY! Are you okay? Did you get all better? Peter wouldn’t explain anything to me!” I heard the familiar voice of Natalie and I felt relieved. I had worried about her. Her bright, green eyes were large in anxiety. I was knocked over with the tightest hug I’d ever experienced. When I finally sputtered, “Natalie, I need to breathe!” that was when she let go. Ryan came by after her and also gave me a hug. I barely knew him, so I was a bit confused. “Um, Ryan? No offense, but I barely know you. So why are you hugging me?” I asked.
He replied, “If you had...If you had died, it would’ve been my entire fault. I should’ve been stronger. Instead, I became scared and let her take over me. I’m sorry.”
Ryan, I realized, was the type of guy who you would want to be your best friend. He was always nervous for other people. He was the caring type of guy.
“All right, I think all of us need to take a rest. Explanations can wait until tomorrow. We’ll talk over everything in the morning,” Rensen said pointedly to Natalie, who seemed as if she wanted to blurt out everything that was on her mind. At this, we all left for our rooms.
I reclined on my bed, going back into the past. I remember how I had felt when Peter had caught me. I didn’t know how I felt about him. Sure, he was hot and sure, he was decent. But I felt like he wasn’t for me. And then I remembered the horrifying transformation of Ms. Harber. I shivered. The vision still scared me out of my wits, even though I knew she was gone. Or was she? I knew that she had been killed, but she was a demon. Was it possible for demons to die? Flashes of Ryan and Natalie on the floor and of Arcaena roaring row of fire at Peter flipped through my mind like a movie. With those flashes, I fell into a restless sleep.
Something large and green was in front of me and I reached out. “OW!” I heard an aggravated voice. “You didn’t have to do that, you know!” Of course, it was only Natalie. I sighed and replied, “You have got to stop doing that.”
“Making me wake up and look into something green like your eyes.”
“Fine, whatever. Let’s go down to the main dining room. Everyone’s eating breakfast.”
I followed Natalie down two different staircases until we reached the dining room. We each went to the breakfast buffet bar and filled our plates like we had in Ms. Harber’s place. We each sat down on either side of the table, and I was stuck beside Peter while Natalie was beside Ryan. The only difference between us was that she looked perfectly happy with the seating arrangements. Peter glanced at me. I ignored him and concentrated on my sausage. It was actually quite tasty. Then, as Rensen began to talk, I focused completely on his every word. Peter seemed to be hurt. I felt guilty, but he couldn’t make me like him. Rensen began, “We each want an explanation. I cannot quite explain, because I only came when Peter was attending to Jenny.” He looked at us intentionally. “Jenny, how about you start us off?”
“Ok. Peter, Ryan, Natalie, and I were all told to follow Ms. Harber, and so we did. We thought we were in trouble. When we got in the classroom, something happened when she stared into my eyes. She paralyzed me with her eyes. It was like I couldn’t even breathe. Then, she finally looked away when Ryan and Natalie were trying to escape. I’m sure they were going to come back for us. Peter then tried to distract her. She turned into a demon; queen demon she said. She called herself, Arcaena. I was scared, really scared. At first, all Peter and I could do was dodge her. But finally, we knew what to do. We used our combined powers to try to destroy her. I don’t know what happened after that. I fainted.”
Peter looked grateful that I had left out some of our private moments. I didn’t even try to give him any of my own looks. Rensen looked back and forth between Peter and me. “Do you have anything to add, Peter?”
Peter shook his head. His face had begun to change from grateful to something between anger and seriousness. “I see,” was all Rensen said.
Natalie was holding Ryan’s hand and looking worried for me, but her eyes said, “I’m sorry for you, but right now, I’m happy with Ryan.”
It made me feel so depressed. She could get Ryan just like that, even though they had just recently met. But I understood. After the incident with Ms. Harber, we had all been brought closer together.
Rensen told us that the place Ms. Harber had kept us in was called “Phylaca”. I realized it was Latin for “prison”. That was a bit scary. He explained that he was spying on her, trying to figure out who she was working for. He believed the demon queen was working for a man named Kragtige. He was a man who supposedly wanted power and was going to work as he could possibly could for the rest of his life. He was set on working on this goal since he was your age. After his parents died, he believed that the whole world had killed them, so he was set on killing everyone in turn. Kragtige was the scariest terrorist anyone had ever met.
“So this Kragtige person is like the main guy?” I asked out of plain curiosity.
“Yes. In fact, he owns a castle. He declares himself king,” Rensen replied.
“King of what?” Ryan asked.
“King of the land we happen to be on. But don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll be all right.”
A booming knock echoed through the hallway.