Chapter Four: A Day of Surprises - Izzy
Izzy had never, ever –ever– cut school before. It had never even entered her mind before. What would her parents do if they found out? The shame would be unbearable if they found out. She just hoped Lauren would pipe her name up during rolecall.
She kept to the backstreets to avoid being seen by anyone. Althought, it was just after nine o’clock, so almost everyone was either at work already or were still in bed.
Bed sounds good right about now. Izzy hadn’t slept a wink for fear of the nightmare returning.I should have taken a “sick” day and stayed at home.She kicked herself for thinking of the solution when it was too late.A great lot of good it does me now.
Her schoolbag was heavy. She had all of the book she’d needed for homework the night before, and all of the books she’d needed for her last three classes in school the day before – she’d been too terrified to return to the locker room after school. In fact, she’d fled the building so briskly after the final bell that Lauren didn’t know what had happened to her, and had called her mobile three times to make sure she was okay.
She plopped down on the sidewalk of a quiet road just outside a quaint little estate. She reckoned only old people lived there. In fact, she had a feeling there was an old folks’ home near this area. Izzy had never known any of her grandparents, and she was always nervous around the elderly – she never knew what was expected of her, how she should act, or what she should say.
A footstep nearby made her jump, made her stomach tighten into knots. She leapt onto her feet, and pulled her laden schoolbag up from the sidewalk, before she even registered what she was doing.
Calm down, you’re not at school anymore.
Yeah. But that just meant that whoever the footsteps belonged to could catch her and turn her into the school – or worse, her parents. She looked up the road, but found that there wasn’t anybody there.
Oh.Crap. Maybe the ghosts are following me after all.
Heart pounding as hard as it had the first morning the ghosts had spoken to her, Izzy started to run.
The voice came from behind her, not above her. That was somewhat comfroting. Izzy stumbled to a stop, her glasses falling from her face and skittering across the road.Great.
Izzy stooped and squinted through her hazy vision, feeling along the ground. She heard the footsteps again.Oh God. I’m not even going to get to see whatever is about to kill me.
“Found your glasses, kid.” There was a tap on her shoulder.
Izzy stood up and spun around. Someone was standing in front of her, though all she could make out was that he or she was a lot taller than she was. Her glasses were put into her hands.
Trembling, Izzy put them on, and suddenly the world came zooming up to her face in all its highly-defined glory.
“You okay?” asked the tall, red-haired boy standing in front of her. He smiled, dimples appearing in his cheeks, the skin around his soft blue eyes creasing.
“Yeah,” Izzy stammered, practically craning her neck to look him in the eye.
“You’re on the hop, aren’t you?”
Izzy’s face reddened. “Yep.”
Izzy nodded, her shoulders rising up towards her ears. “How did you know that?”
“Well, you’re out in the middle of town, and still in your uniform,” the boy pointed out. “Complete with schoolbag and everything. You obviously haven’t got much experience.”
Izzy blushed even deeper as she realized how stupid she must look.
“Thank you for my glasses,” she murmured, nervously clutching the shoulder strap of her schoolbag. “I’d better go.” She turned away and started to walk – to where, she didn’t know. She just knew she couldn’t stay next to that boy any longer.
“Why?” he asked, his long strides catching up to her easily.
“I-I dunno,” Izzy stuttered desperately. “Why are you following me?”
He shrugged, still walking alongside her. “Gives me something to do while I’m not working.”
Izzy wondered what it ws he worked at, but her tongue had become tangled so she didn’t ask.
“I volunteer at the nursing home with my sister,” he said, as though reading her mind. After a moment of wondering whether hehadactually read her mind, Izzy decided he was probably just making conversation.
“That’s really nice,” said Izzy.
The guy laughed. “I was being sarcastic. I’ve never volunteered a day in my life. The sister just drags me along to the home. Probably afraid I’ll eat all the food in her flat if she leaves me alone there.”
“Still, since you don’t go to school, it must feel good to know you’re doing something to help people,” said Izzy.
Izzy looked up sideways at him to see the cheekiest grin she’d ever laid eyes on.
He met her gaze for a moment, before she quickly looked away.
“Are you hungry? I’m starving,” he said randomly.