Chapter I: In the Beginning

It was second period the first day of my senior year when I met Ana Fairchild for the first time. When she entered the classroom, everyone hushed and stared. I saw Claire Sachs raise an eyebrow and June Andrews pull out a smirk.
    Ana ignored them all. She took her seat in the alphabetical order, just like the rest of us. She dug out a notebook and pulled a pen out from behind her ear.
    I had never met her before, but I knew so much about her. Everyone did.
    When the teacher entered, he nodded to us all and started role call. He blindly waltzed through the A-Es, but stumbled on Ana’s name.
    “Anna Fairchild?” he asked.
    “Ana,” came the clear, tinkling reply. The whole class seemed to hold it’s breath when she spoke.
    “Excuse me?”
    She spoke again. “It’s Ana. Like, ‘on a shelf’.”
    Mr. Harris nodded succinctly. He never made that mistake again.
    That was the only time I heard Ana speak for weeks. She was a quiet girl, unexpected given the stories about her. Vivacious and outspoken, captain of the cheerleading squad, freshman homecoming princess.
    But she didn’t speak.
    She was a brain. That much was clear. By the time second semester rolled around, rumor had it that Ana had already been accepted, early decision to Stanford. I doubted that teachers even looked at her papers anymore. They probably just automatically stamped them with an A.  
    Yes, Miss Fairchild was quite the deal.
    The first time I heard about her was my first day at Myles Lyman High School.
    And by then, she’d already been gone an entire year.

The End

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