Chapter Two: Nowhere to Fall
My tiny taste of heaven was, well, pretty tiny. Those days of freedom and tinkering with my Christmas presents went by too quickly for my liking, and then I was back in first period French class, highly anticipating spring break, learning useful phrases that would obviously bring me further in life. Bonjour, madame. Salut monsieur, comment allez-vous? Je suis très bien!

What a bore to use such proper manners. But then you get to phrases French learners like to utter in midst of an unpleasant conversation with an unsuspecting victim, and things get interesting. Tu es completement debile. On t'a bercé trop près du mur? Vos enfants sont très beaux. Ils sont adoptes? Voulez-vous cesser de me cracher dessus pendant que vous parlez?

"Late again, Sky?"

I looked sheepishly at Mr. Agnew, who peered at me sternly over his glasses. Maybe I shouldn't have tried to sneak in while he was busy slicking his mustache. He whipped out a clipboard, shook a pen out of his hair, and began attacking the wooden board with it.

"That's seven times this quarter, Castor," he continued. "No valid excuses, no note from your parents explaining these tardies; keep this up, and you'll be in serious trouble. Go find a seat."

Mr. Agnew cleared his throat. "Anyways, back to our exercise before Castor interrupted ... "

I scuttled to the back of the room, as everyone else became engaged in repeating, "I'm hungry" in French. Feeling slightly dejected, I slung my backpack onto the floor, found a chair to sit in, and immediately began daydreaming.

Then, when the recitations went from, "I'm hungry" to "Je dois aller à la salle de bains," I noticed that another person was also paying no attention; a girl named Kathryn in the front row had her head turned and was watching at me with a small grin.

What's with all these girls looking at me funny? I wish they'd stop.

Not knowing what else to do (as I usually do not when it comes to the opposite sex), I gave a quick smile and switched my gaze to the window.

Crazy stalkers.

But it wasn't until after school that this notion became true.

I'd missed the bus after school and was forced to walk three fourths of a mile in the slushy snow, dodging angry red men in angry red cars as I crossed various intersections. Then, at the last crossing before I reached my house, I seized the opportunity as the 'You may now walk' symbol turned white. I sped so I wouldn't get run over -

I couldn't believe my eyes. There, on the other side, was same girl I'd tripped over before break, seemingly looking at - no ... through me. It was as if she'd just - appeared.

I stopped dead.

But ...


I jumped. More angry red men in angry red cars were honking their horns at me, so I went the only way I could go: forward. She grew larger, and larger, until we were face to face. My first suspicions were confirmed. The same gray eyes, the same long brown hair ... Autumn. I moved to the right to avoid her, but she blocked my way. I gave a nervous smile and switched to the left, but again, she blocked me.

"Sky Caster," she said.

I wiped a droplet of sweat from my brow, muttering, "Actually, it's Cast-ooorr, not Cast-errr." I don't think she cared. Instead, she walked slowly forwards, looked into my eyes, snatched my backpack, and ran the heck away.

"What the - hey!"

She dashed down the sidewalk, still lugging my backpack. I shook my head, and sprinted after her, knocking into several innocent bystanders.

"Females are crazy, females are crazy, females are crazy ... "

I continued to chase her, weaving through streets and yelling hoarsely, hoping in vain that she would trip and let go of the darn thing. Then, when almost a half an hour had passed, I'd lost her; kind of a shock for me, because I'm pretty speedy. She'd turned a corner, and when I followed, she was gone. Maybe I should file a theft report.

Shit. I looked around. I'm tired, I don't have my backpack, and -

I looked around.

I'm lost.