"I'm going crazy," I told my friend Kayla at lunch that afternoon.
"How so?" she asked, picking up her green apple and taking a bite out of it.
"Well..." I told her about my nightmare and the boy I'd seen outside the lobby window. When I was done, she looked at me with a knowing expression.
"It was probably a trick of the light. Did you get enough sleep last night? Maybe you were just tired or something."
I shook my head, trying to clear it all. "Maybe," I said, not totally convinced. I dropped the subject, wondering what other things would be "just a trick of the light" or "just a dream." I was going crazy. I just knew it.
In science that afternoon, I was feeling the last few sleepless nights catch up with me. The teacher was droning on about atoms, but I couldn't care less. I was trying to take notes, but I couldn't get my hand to write in my notebook. I rested my head in my hand, feeling my eyeslids droop.
No, I thought to myself, Stay awake... stay awake... stay... awake...
I was back in the water. The black substance was all around me, pushing all the air out of my lungs. And he was there. He was always there.
"C'mon, Rose. You're not trying." He looked disappointed.
"I am trying," I said, irritated. "But you won't accept the fact that I know my limits."
"Your limits? Your limits? Where I come from, you push your limits until you fall over the edge. You aren't even close to the edge. So go farther."
"I don't even know what you want me to do!"
He looked at me as if what I needed to do was obvious. Then he sighed and rolled his eyes. "Seriously, Rose. This shouldn't be that hard."
"Please, be more vague. I love it," I shot back at him.
He raised his eyebrows in that annoying way he has. "Get out and fight."
"What?" I pulled back a bit, wondering if I'd finally made him snap. Which would be awesome, knowing that I'd finally gotten under his skin.
"No, get out. As in, find your way out of here and fight." He disappeared in a puff of black smoke, and I realized finally what he meant. Get out. Find your way out of the water.
I tensed, feeling as if I was choking. I shook my head and looked around me. I finally just decided that I would just go up, or at least what I thought was up. I started swimming, but the darkness seemed to get thicker. So I changed directions.
I swam for what felt like several minutes. I finally broke surface, looking around and gasping for air, wondering if it was possible for a human to stay under the water for that long.
Find your way out and fight.
I awoke suddenly, hearing someone calling my name.
I let out a short groan.
"Rose." Someone was poking me with their pencil.
"Rose, get up and go to the nurse's for crying out loud!"
Great. It was the teacher. My head snapped up and I looked around, confused.
"The nurse, Miss Peters."
"Right," I muttered, feeling my cheeks flare. "Now."
I left the classroom, feeling embarressment flare into something very much like anger.
The hallway was almost completely white. The floors were white and so was the ceiling, but the walls were replaced by endless lines of windows, letting in lovely sunlight. The lockers weren't in the opening hallway. They were farther on down, by the classrooms.
But either way, I walked down the hallway and stared at my shoes until I heard someone speak.
"Going somewhere?" said a voice that I hated a whole lot.
My head snapped up and I whirled around to face the speaker. "Yes," I shot back at the boy. "The nurse's. I have enough of you in my nightmares, so can't you just leave me alone in reality?"
He tilted his head to the side, as if amused by my answer.
"You aren't as annoying in your dreams."
"I am so sorry," I said sarcasticly. My hands balled up into fists at my side. "Why are you here?"
"To meet you. And to bring you to where you belong."
"Where I belong? I belong here," I said firmly.
He raised his eyebrow.
I scowled. "Did you know that you're really annoying?"
"I think you might have mentioned it." He smiled in a not-so-nice way. Then he stuffed his hands in his pockets, looking relaxed.
I scowled deeper. For some reason, every movement he made, every expression of any kind of emotion, made me hate him even more. He was there, watching my movements, lounging as he watched me stuggle. He criticized every wrong thing and told me how to do this and how to do that, but never actually praised me for the things I did right.
The anger of all the sleepless nights he caused bubbled just beneath my skin, threatening to boil over and make an appearance.
"You know what? I'm just gonna go to the nurse's like I was supposed to and then go back to class because there is nothing wrong with me. And you are going to go away and stay out of my dreams."
He actually smiled this time--not a fake, but an actual smile--and suddenly I didn't feel like I hated him. I felt like I wanted to know him.
But then I remembered that he was here to take me away from here--my home.
"Rose. You have to come with me. It's important."
My turn to raise my eyebrows. "Really? Well, I don't think so. I'm staying here."
He sighed, exasperated. "Fine. We could have done this the easy way, but I guess you chose the hard way."
"The hard way?" I scoffed, "How old do you think I am? Five?"
He smiled in the not-so-nice way again. And suddenly I felt my feet leave the ground. His shoulder was digging into my stomach, and I felt like a backpack or a sack. My left hand was pinned under my stomach but my right hand was free. So I used it to hit him, over and over again.
"Rose, Rose, Rose," he scolded. "Keep your hand to youself."
"Put me down," I growled, "and we won't have a problem."
"Nope. I said that we could've done this easily. But you didn't want to. So this is the hard way."
Scowling even deeper, he carried me out of the school, but I kicked and punched as hard as I could. He didn't even flinch, which made me hate him even more.
He carried me into the parking lot, bringing me to a black car. The windows were tinted pitch black. The car was a VW, but I couldn't tell which model, because he had dumped me into the front seat before I could do anything. He closed the door and somehow managed to make it so it locked from the outside. I was trapped inside the car.
He went around the front and sat in the driver's seat. He started the car, not looking at me.
"Buckle your seat belt," he muttered.
I did, feeling defeated. I crossed my arms over my chest and started pouting like a five-year-old. "What do you want?" I asked him.
"Nothing much," he said conversationally. "Just to, you know, bring you to training." He had started the car and driven out of the parking lot and was on the road.
"Training? You've got to be kidding me," I scoffed. "Who do you think I am? Alex Rider? My uncle is not a spy, if that's what you're wondering. And he's alive, too."
"Do you ever stop talking?" he asked, only one hand on the wheel. His right elbow was on the armrest. He cracked his knuckles loudly.
I closed my mouth, not wanting to dignify his statement with a response.
We drove in silence for a while, until my cell phone vibrated, telling me I had gotten a text message. I took my phone out and pressed "OPEN."
Where r u?
Sent from: Krystal
Time sent: 3:36 PM
I looked over at the boy, realizing I didn't know his name.
"Uhh... My sister is wondering where I am," I told him nervously. I scolded myself silently for being afraid of him.
"Why wouldn't she?" he asked softly.
I blinked, wondering if he'd disappear like he had all those times before. But he didn't, so I asked him, "What should I tell her? 'Sorry, some guy kidnapped me and I can't make it to dinner?'"
He just shook his head. "Tell her that you won't be there for a while but someone will tell her the details eventually."
I nodded one and hit "REPLY."
I wont be home 4 a while. Some1 will b there soon 2 tell u the details.
I hit "SEND," then looked over at the boy.
"Who are you?" I asked in somewhat amazement.
"My name is Daniel," he said, "But who I am is completely up to you."