I jumped up and exclaimed, “What did I do?! Did I get detention?! Did I get sent to the office?!” Everyone looked at me. “Okay, I take it that you are here Amalia.” I slouched down in my chair embarrassed. I heard kids muttering on every side of me. “What is she doing? Is she the new kid? Is something wrong with her?” I sank down even lower. I fell on the floor. Great. My first day at a new school and everyone thinks I’m an idiot. I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. I sat up quickly, and turned around ready for a fight, (School was rumored to be a dangerous place at my old co-op) but instead of a fight I saw a boy. He had chocolate brown hair and piercing blue eyes. They weirdly looked like they had little sparkles brightening them, though I might have just imagined that since I was kind of dazed. He had tan skin and he looked pretty tall. “Hi. Are you new?” he asked.
“Yes, How could you tell?” I responded sarcastically.
“Well I’ve been here since kindergarten, so I’ve learned to recognize newbies.” He said, apparently not picking up on my sarcasm (which made me feel dumb). I twisted one of my brown curls out of nervous habit. “Anyway,” he added, “Relax. It's just
Throughout the day, I met my fellow classmates and my teacher, Ms. Kidhusher (which sounds like a murderer's name but she’s nice). In English, a small girl with long black hair and gray eyes sat next to me. Her name was Windy Whee. She told me all about the school and the students. Apparently every grade only had one teacher. Rarely a kid will have a mysterious outburst and go to the office. They get sent home. “Why does that matter?” I asked. “It only happens to one student every six years.” she replied. “What do you mean by outburst?” I said maybe a little too loudly. Everyone glared at me (again). “Shhhh,” Windy whispered.
“Why?” I replied very quietly.
“Nathan's sister Katrina had an outburst once. When she came back from the office she couldn’t remember anything at all! Not Nathan, not her parents, not her friends, nothing.” she explained. “Why don’t the police help or something?” I whispered. “We’ve tried. Whenever we try to tell an adult they don’t listen.” she said sadly.
“Where is Katrina now?”
She pondered that. “I actually don’t know. She just kinda stopped coming to school.” she paused. “You ask a lot of questions don’t you?”
“Oh! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to pry or anything!” I said frantically. My first acquaintance and she probably thinks I’m annoying! “No that’s fine!” She laughed, “I like curious people. It means you aren’t afraid to ask questions.” I sighed in relief.
“Can’t kids ask their parents to pull them out of the school?”
“No.” she replied, but then thought about it, “Well, actually I feel kinda bad, but I haven't talked to my parents since I came here.” I hadn't talked to mine either. Changing the subject Windy told me about all the other students.
“Ok, so the first girl you need to know about is Dalia Thornlily.” she said motioning towards a blonde girl overloaded with makeup. “She is a total snob and she is always causing drama and bullying other kids. Then there is Kyla Kim. She’s basically Dalia’s slave and has no personality. She agrees with EVERYTHING Dalia says, no matter how terrible.” I noticed a small girl with glasses peeking out from behind Dalia. I assumed that was Kyla. “Bryce O’Sharkey is always being rude and picking on Drake, so watch out for him. I think he’s kinda jealous of him.” Windy gestured to a tall, muscular boy with angry red hair. He noticed and mouthed a rude word. She glared at him and moved on. “Ok him over there is Nathan Eggy. He is a total nerd, but he is also kinda emotionally unstable because of his sister.” I spotted a boy in the corner. He had long brown hair that hid most of his face and I caught a glimpse of his small box-framed glasses. “Ok, over there are Connor Winther Drake Verglas. They have been best friends since kindergarten- well at least for Connor. Drake became his friend in first grade.”
“Why?” I asked.
“We don’t talk about that. Anyway, Drake loves sports and practical jokes. He does parkour, swimming, soccer, basketball, track-”
“Alright I get it! He likes sports!” I interrupted jokingly. She laughed. “Ok. Next is Conner. He is super nice and charming if you get to know him. He’s a bit shy though.” She waved over to them and a blond boy waved back. She blushed. The other boy just stared at me. I realized that he was the guy who I met during roll call. “That’s Conner right?” I asked, motioning to the blond boy. She laughed. “No that’s Drake. Conner is the super tall brown-haired one.” I looked over at him and we made eye contact. His eyes did the little sparkle that I thought I had imagined before. He blushed and turned away.
“Anyway, that leaves you and me!” Windy said, snapping me out of my daze. “Want to be friends?” she asked. “Um, sure!” I replied; Maybe this day wasn’t a disaster after all.
Windy and I sat at the front desk waiting for our names to be called so we could be taken to our new rooms for the year. A short stubby man with an overly fuzzy mustache waddled over to us. He was balding and he had a grubby suit and tie. The weirdest part of him were his eyes. They were abnormally light, and seemed to watch my every move. “Hello. I’m your principal, Dr. Optic.” he said dryly. He walked us down several long corridors, up three flights of stairs, and into a hall with three doors on either side of it. He walked up to the third door on the left side and handed us each a key for the door. “Goodbye.” he muttered glaring at us. “What’s with him?” I asked Windy when he had left. “Um, nothing I hope.” she said as she unlocked the door to what would be our new room. I walked into the room not expecting much, so I was very surprised to see that the rooms were very deluxe. There were two cushy beds and I was surprised to see a kitchenette in the corner and a decent sized bathroom next to a big closet. I plopped down on one of the beds. It had a sea blue bedspread and clean white sheets.
“So, you should tell me more about you since we just met.” said Windy as she plopped down on the other bed. “Oh, well there's not much to tell.” I replied. “I was born in a city in Maryland but my parents moved me here. They had heard good things about this school and since I had been home-schooled ever since now they decided that a boarding school would be a good way of getting used to being without them.” “Wow” she said. “I’ve been here for two years just because I moved from that public school down the block.” “Now it’s time for me to ask you a question.” I said. “Can you tell me more about the students mysterious outbursts? Windy cringed and looked away. “And why is everyone in our class so sensitive about it!” I exclaimed. “Wait! You haven’t told her?!” Yelled a voice from the window. “Aaagghh!” Windy and I screamed. We looked out the window to see sandy-haired Drake hanging off the side of the three story building. “Why are you up here?! How long have you been listening?! Windy shouted. “How did you even get here?” she added. “Connor wanted me to...um...I mean...um...hi?” he stuttered, and then fast as lightning, sped down the wall screaming, “FULL RETREAT!!” and then he and Connor (who had been hidden in a bush) sprinted back to the boy’s dorms. “OK that was weird.” I commented as we watched them running for their lives. “What did he mean when he said you haven't told her yet?” I asked. “Alright Amalia, you deserve to know. We are the next in line for the six year curse.”
I went to sleep that night thinking about the six year curse. I tried to comfort myself. ‘Maybe it was all a joke, or just an exaggeration’ I thought to myself. Then I remembered the look on Nathan’s face whenever the curse was mentioned. Fear like that could not be mimicked. All of my hopes of having friends are shattered. Anyone in our class might have an outburst and be lost. I tossed and turned all night until I finally drifted into a paranoid sleep.
I woke up in the morning to the sound of birds chirping and a gentle morning breeze. Just kidding. I awoke to a loud beeping alarm clock set for 7:00 am, 30 minutes earlier than it was supposed to be. Must be Windy’s clock. I clambered out of bed and tried to go to the bathroom in the closet. Then I stumbled into the kitchenette to brush my teeth, and into the bathroom to get dressed. None of this was working for me, so instead I worked on waking up Windy. First, I shook her shoulder, then I plugged her nose, then I pulled off her blankets, then I shoved her off the bed, and finally I tickled her! Nothing worked! She was dead asleep. Wait, dead asleep? Oh no. With a flash of fear I screamed in her face, “Are you dead?!”. Then, I jumped on her as hard as I could and screamed, “WAKE UP!” She snapped awake and stared at me as I sat on her. It was awkward. We stayed still for about fifteen more seconds until we burst into uncontrollable laughter. Then we realized we had only fifteen minutes to get ready. We got dressed into our surprisingly soft uniforms and brushed our teeth and hair. We sprinted down the stairs and into the classroom. We were early. Dang it. As we were getting situated Connor and Drake walked in. They wouldn't meet our eyes as they walked to two desks next to each other. They started whispering and then they looked up and smiled at us. What were they talking about?! I looked at Windy. She did a smirk and signaled me to look to my left. I did. Connor was standing next to me. I jumped up and screamed. Then fell on my butt. Smooth. “Oops, I’m so sorry! I didn't mean to scare you! Um yikes, do you need help?” He stumbled. You could tell he had a little stutter when he was nervous, but it was cute. He took my hand and helped me up with surprising strength. We locked eyes. Mine brown. His sparkling. My heart fluttered in a way it never had before. The moment was broken when Bryce clambered in loudly, making a huge scene of knocking down Drake’s books. Then I realised that Connors hand was still in mine. I quickly let go and sat down blushing, but not making eye contact. Connor smiled and went and helped Drake pick up all of his papers. Dalia came waltzing in acting as if she owned the school. Like always, Kyla followed closely behind, picking up any trash Dalia dropped and occasionally collecting it in her pockets as if it were too good to throw away since Dalia dropped it. I looked around as Ms. Kidhusher came in and sat down. She started arranging papers on her desk oblivious to the fact that Nathan was late. Just as I thought that Nathan was going to get detention he came sprinting in out of breath, and absolutely flustered. “I’m sorry I came in late Ms. K!” he panted. “I forgot to set my alarm clock and woke up late.”
“You forgot?” smirked Dalia, “Just like your sister. Perhaps it runs in the family.”
“Shut up Dalia!” exclaimed Windy, Drake, and Connor and I at the same time. “Amalia! Windy! Drake! Connor! Detention! You can’t be so rude to your classmate!” Ms. Kidhusher hollered at us. “Did you even hear what Dalia said to Nathan?!” hollered Drake right back. “Now you're blaming your innocent classmate? Double detention for you Mr. Verglas!” said Ms. Kidhusher. In all the confusion nobody noticed Nathan sitting in the corner fuming. All of a sudden he got up and slammed down his desk. Was he having an outburst?! Ms. Kidhusher’s eyes glazed over staring into space. Nathan froze, tears running down his face. Then he ran out of the classroom. Ms. Kidhusher snapped out of her daze. “Oh dear!” she exclaimed, seeing Nathan’s stuff splayed out on the floor. “Where’s Nathan?” she asked. Nobody answered. “Did I faint?” she asked quietly as she sat down and put her head in her hands. Windy leapt up “I’ll go get the principle!” she said. Connor got up also. “I’ll find Nathan!” he said. “That will not be necessary.” said a voice coming from the door. The principle stood at the door leading a vacant looking Nathan by the shoulder. Nathan was still red in the eyes and the principal's little white eyes seemed to still stare at me. Everyone sat up in their seats in respect, or perhaps fear. Nathan looked pretty normal, so maybe he didn’t have an outburst. Nathan walked in shyly looking at his feet. “I’m sorry Ms. Kidhusher.” he said. “That’s quite alright Nathan. I’m just glad you're okay.” She replied sounding relieved. “Thank you for helping him back Dr. Optic.” she said gratefully. Nathan looked up, startled, as if he just realized that the principal was there. “Your welcome. Ms. Kidhusher. Please keep better control of your students in the future.” the principal said in farewell. Ms. Kidhusher looked down, ashamed. The room was silent as he left. Breaking the silence, Windy spoke up. “Amalia, do you remember what happened to us last night?” Everyone in the room looked at her, curious. I took the hint. “Yes Windy! We had some interesting visitors!” I replied. Drake and Connor’s eyes widened. Up to then, they had forgotten about their adventures last night. “Do you remember who they were?” she played it out. Connor and Drake shot us pleading looks. I decided to go easy on them. “Yes Windy. It was those girl scouts.” The boys looked thoroughly relieved. Windy looked disappointed. She wasn’t done with them yet. “Drake, what were you and Connor doing last night? Connor and Drake’s eyes shot up again. Conner was the first to reply. “We were visited by girl scouts too!” he said as if being visited by girl scouts was an extremely rare event. “Did you get any cookies?” she prodded. It was Connor’s turn to be startled. “Of course we did!” said Drake. “What type?” replied Windy. Drake looked stunned at the question so Conner butted in. “Tagalongs!” he said. “And Samoas!” added Drake. “That’s surprising!” Windy remarked. “I thought you were allergic to coconut Connor! And you to peanuts, Drake! Plus, you told me you were broke! She noted. Just as she had them cornered, Ms. Kidhusher (who had been utterly confused) broke into the conversation. “Alright class! Girl scout cookies aren’t a part of the lesson plan today!” she said cheerfully, trying to make a comeback from the dreary morning.
After the school day, Windy and I went to the dining hall for dinner. I ate mac and cheese with a burger and salad while she had chicken soup with broccoli and bread. I was standing up to get dessert, when I saw Dalia trip Nathan and then scold him for being so clumsy, while Kyla laughed. That set me off. I dropped my food tray on the table, and made my way to Nathan and helped him pick up his tray. Then I confronted Dalia. “Dalia it’s not funny.” I said.
“Yes it is. Right Kyla?” asked Dalia.
“Of course!” Kyla confirmed. “You need to stop.” I warned.
“Says who?” she mocked.
“Says us.” replied Connor, Drake and Windy behind me.
“Whaa..? Hey! You can’t team up on...with...aagghh!” she screamed, frustrated. “Come on Kyla, lets go. These people are polluting my air.” and with that she stalked off.
“Thanks for backing me up guys.” I said, “Are you okay Nathan?” I asked as I turned around to face him. No reply. He was gone. “Where did he go?” I wondered aloud.
“Maybe he went back to his room.” answered Connor. We all sat at a table together and enjoyed dessert, then the boys walked with us to the dorms. We said goodbye and parted ways. Once again, Windy and I sat on our beds talking. At one point I got up to get popcorn and put on a movie. As I got up, I knocked over a box sitting by her bed. Paper spilled everywhere! “Oh no!” Windy exclaimed. We rushed to start cleaning up. “What is all this?” I asked.
“Well, I’m writing a story.” She explained.
“What’s it about?” I asked.
“You don’t want-”
“What’s it about?” I reiterated.
“Fine. It’s about a girl who gets super powers. She turns evil and kills everyone. Then one dude comes back to life and avenges everyone.” she explained.
“Wow! Does the dude join the Avengers? Does he meet Spider Man?” I joked.
“Um, I think that would be copyright.” she smiled back.
“Fine. You could change his name to...Spader Muhn!” I insisted joyfully.
“Wait. Is that the German name for Spider Man?” she asked seriously. We both just started laughing. Eventually we wore ourselves out. Then we started the movie. We watched Spider Man.
I entered class the next day chatting to Windy about “Spader Muhn” and all the homework we had for science. Today I would be going to Science, Geography, Math, and English. I finished all of my homework and even worked ahead on my science outlines. I was ready to have a really good day. Plus, I had an awesome dream last night. “Alright class, listen up! I have an important announcement. This year the grade is having a Thanksgiving dance. It will be in the gym on November 21st. As you know, today is October 30th so it is in about three weeks. You can choose to go with friends, couples or whatever.” added Ms. Kidhusher. The rest of the day, all I could think of was the dance. You could tell others were preoccupied with the thought of the dance as well. You could walk down the hallway and hear people muttering to their friends stuff like do you think he’ll ask her? Does she like me? What will it be like? What are you wearing? That night, long after curfew, (10:30 for 9th graders) I settled into bed. Windy still wasn’t back. I hadn’t seen her since we walked our separate ways after dinner. She had said she needed to study but I found that suspicious. Windy never studies directly after eating. She always claims it ‘upsets her brain’. She could be on library duty but then again she only does that on Thursdays. Should I tell a teacher? No, she might get in trouble. I had to find her myself. I crawled out of bed, tiptoed to the door and snuck out. Windy couldn’t have gone far in a school this small. I scurried down the corridors to the library dodging teachers, making sure to be as stealthy as possible. Not many teachers were on guard after I got down to the library. I saw a faint light coming from the inside. Could she have had an outburst? The thought passed my mind before I could block it out. No she didn't. I’m just being silly. I swept the idea out of my mind before I could think more about it. I twisted the knob of the door. It swung open with a creak and I stepped in. I took a relaxing breath. The smell of the pages of old books was soothing, and I managed to calm myself enough to take another step. I headed towards the light almost tripping over a stray book that was on the ground. I picked up the book and held it near the light. The light was too faint to read the cover so I got closer. I heard faint whispering and shuffling. I took another step and I regretted coming. What if I got caught? I moved another step and just as I inhaled, someone grabbed my arm and yanked me behind a bookshelf. I managed to let out a little squeal before a hand covered my mouth. “What was that?” said one of the voices by the light. I froze. “Probably just a mouse or something.” replied the other. The voice was young, masculine, and somewhat familiar. I removed the hand from my mouth by elbowing my captor in the stomach and whipped around to see who it was. “Owwww.” Connor moaned as he clutched his stomach, “Wh-what was that for?” he inquired.
“You grabbed me!” I said in a harsh whisper, “It was self defence!”
“Sure. Wh-why are you even down h-here?” he asked moodily.
“I could ask the same.” I retorted.
“F-fine then. Drake is missing. I came here to find him.”
“Why here?” I asked, suddenly on guard.
“He said he needed to study.”
“So did Windy.”
“I think we have apprehended the chatterboxes in the library, Ms. Kidhusher.”
I whipped around to see two of my superiors glaring down at me. “Yes I agree, Dr. Optic.”
“I found two more culprits.” said the ninth grade teacher Mr. Chan from the other side of the room. He came around the bookshelf leading Drake and Windy.
“Hey!” Drake complained.
“Why are all of you in here?” questioned Ms. Kidhusher. I let my eyes stray from Windy to Drake to Conner. “Ms. Kidhusher asked you a question!” reminded Mr. Chan. “I’m sorry sir, we just wanted to research the six year curse!” burst out Drake. The teachers eyes glazed over again and a lifeless vibe spread across the room. We glanced in each other's direction. Drake was first to speak, like always. “Is there something weird about the teachers?”
“Yeah! There definitely is!” exclaimed Windy, “They have blank expressions!” she said waving her hand in front of Ms. Kidhusher’s face. The teachers snapped awake. “Ms. Kidhusher asked you a question!” said Mr. Chan. “You just said that sir.” I said timidly. The teachers looked at eachother uneasily. “Okay we’ve all had a long night, lets just go to bed. I’ll escort the girls to their dorm. Will you handle the boys Mr. Chan?” asked Ms. Kidhusher. Mr. Chan nodded and we walked down the hall to our rooms. “Are we in trouble Ms. Kidhusher?” asked Windy. “I don’t think so dear, there have been some odd things going on this week. Teachers forgetting things, me in class, I think that we’ll be able to let it slide this one time, but you’d better be careful.”
“We will, Ms. Kidhusher. We will.”
Windy, Drake, Conner, and I had made a habit of sitting with each other at lunch, and today it was no different. We all took our trays and sat on the cold benches. There was an awkward silence until Conner piped up. “Guys, what happened last night?” Windy and Drake looked at eachother. Finally, Drake said “Okay, y’all deserve the truth. We really were trying to find records of the six year curse. We noticed that every time somebody mentions the curse, the teachers kinda, I don’t know, phase out.”
“Yeah,” Windy added “it’s like they don’t know that it even exists!”. We all looked at each other. “Is that the only reason you didn’t invite me and Amalia?” Conner pressed. Drake blushed. “Wait Drake, I told you that we should invite the others but you said they told you that they wanted to sleep!” Windy exclaimed. “Yeah, why would you do that unless… wait!” Drake cut in before I could conclude my thought. “Okay, okay! I was gonna ask- well might as just show you…” he got down on his knee and drew a pink tulip out of his pocket. “Windy, will you go to the dance with me?” he smiled. “Aww, Drake my favorite! Of course I’ll go with you!” she blushed. While they talked about what they were wearing, Conner and I went back to class. After Ms. Kidhusher’s long lecture about microscopic tear structures I walked down to my room. It was almost dinner hour, but I had a few minutes to chill and think by myself. What was this whole thing about the curse? By the end of the year one of us will be gone. What if its Windy or Conner? Even if it’s Dalia or Bryce that would still be terrible! Also is anyone going to ask me to the dance? What if I end up just sitting alone in a corner somewhere? Windy came waltzing in the room humming her favorite song, something about to hummingbirds. “Um, hi Windy.” I said. She jumped but realized it was just me. “Don’t scare me like that! What are you doing here?” she asked.
“This is my room! Since when have you come here during free hour?” I retorted accusingly.
“I was just getting my water bottle!” she said defensively.
“Then get it and get out!”
She stared at me shocked, and then said “Fine then.” and stalked out angrily. I immediately felt terrible. Why had I snapped at her? Was I angry that she was asked to the dance and I was not? Was I jealous? I tried to run after her but she was already gone. “I don’t think I can go to dinner after that.” I shuffled to the kitchenette for the first time and made a quesadilla and dipped it in taco sauce (my favorite meal back at home). I curled up in my chair and watched Spider-Man, but had to turn it off because it made me think about Windy. Instead I just sat and cried. Then I went to bed early to escape into the world of my dreams. I woke up later and all the guilt washed over me again. I could tell Windy wasn’t asleep. Her breathing was irregular. She was crying. “Windy?” I asked quietly. She became silent. “I know you’re awake. Please talk to me.” Silence. I sighed and turned in my bed and tried to sleep the rest of the night.
After a long night I finally fell asleep. I woke up to see that Windy had already gone to class. I slumped out of bed and got ready for the long day ahead of me. Windy acted icy in all of our classes. Lunch time came and I was ready to stop this craziness. I went up to the table that Windy was sitting at and sat down. Windy glared at me. “I’m sorry Windy.” her face softened. “I was so worked up and jealous that I let it get in the way of our friendship. I want Conner to ask me to the dance. There’s no denying that.” I closed my eyes and leaned back against the wall. “Hey, I was acting a bit rude earlier. I’m sorry about that. Honestly I think he might like you!”
“What?! Why would you say that?!” I exclaimed
“Haven't you noticed the way he looked at you in English! He always sits next to you at lunch, and he always blushes when you talk to him in Spanish!”
“Hahaha noooo! That is not true!” I retorted.
“Is so!” We both collapsed onto the table laughing and had continuous giggles for the rest of the lunch period. As we got up and stacked our trays on the kitchen window for the lunch lady to wash, Conner and Drake came up behind us. Drake tapped Windy and presented her with a locket shaped as a heart. He helped her sweep her hair out of the way to clasp the necklace. I stood a bit awkwardly to the side and Conner came and stood next to me. “They’re cute together.” He stated kind of offhandedly.
“Yeah” I chuckled uncomfortably. I looked at him, waiting for some sort of show of affection. Suddenly, he looked at me and said, “Hey, I have a question.” Was this the question I was waiting for? “Yes?” I inquired. He looked away and took a deep breath. “Um, nevermind.” I squinted, waiting to see if he was kidding.