The school parking lot seemed to be becoming emptier every passing day. Nia parked her car in the front lot with only about 30 other vehicles. She walked into school, listening to the whispers about the latest disappearances.
“I heard about Mariah Vankil, yeah. But Kyle Pive was taken this morning. I don’t know who’s going to be next, but it’s been kind of going within cliques.”
“But Nia hasn’t been taken and she was friends with Mariah. I don’t think she has anyone of her clique left, but Kyle was taken.”
“But…what if she is the Keeper of the Voices? Haven’t you heard about that?”
“Yeah, of course I have, but-” They moved out of earshot as Nia halted in the middle of the hallway. Again, with that damn Keeper of the Voices business. Angered, she turned around to go to the library to make use of her fifteen minutes before the first bell.
The librarian, a short, stout older woman watched her as she entered and came up to the desk.
“Hi, yes, I need a book or a computer or something,” said Nia nervously.
“Well, you’re in the right place, dear.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t really know what I’m looking for, but I need a book on the Keeper of the Voices or just something like that, because I know that these disappearances happen every hundred years or something, and I didn’t know about the Keeper of the Voices until…last night.”
“Okay, dear. Well, we don’t have any of that right now. Students have been checking things out to try to figure out who it is. But I can tell you this…” She moved out from behind the desk and put her delicate arm around Nia. “The Keeper of the Voices is the one that must save them. In the end, he or she will be the only one left.”
Nia whispered, “But what sets that person apart from the others?”
“He can hear them. All the voices. They haunt that person until they are saved. They must be saved within 10 days of the last disappearance.”
Nia gulped, her throat tightening. “And how does this person save all of them?”
“Finds the places. The places they fear the most. The poor victims are placed in the places of their worst fears and with their worst nightmares haunting them there. The Keeper must find them and convince the people that their fears are fantasy. While the Keeper is doing so, the fears will mount, will increase, and will become so terrifying that it’s almost impossible to convince them. But if they aren’t saved, they die of fright.”
Unable to believe what she heard, Nia swallowed. “Thank you.” She left the clutches of the librarian and began to find her way out of the library, feeling as if she might be in a trance.
“Thanks for coming in, dear!” the librarian called after her.
The warning bell rang, which told Nia she had five minutes to get to her first period. Standing in the hall and staring at the nearly vacant school, she took a deep breath. For a minute, she watched the clock tick by, remembering how she had felt about Mariah’s kidnapping. She peered down the hallway both directions, and once she saw that no one in sight, she darted out the front doors to complete her duty.