In the Eye of the Beholder.
Chapter One.July 7, 1997
I watched you today, as you threw yourself into your car, and started to reverse slowly out of your apartment complex parking spot. I saw you take a look back at your apartment, and then turn to face the approaching road again. Were you looking for someone? Or was it someone was looking for you? I followed you with my eyes, leaving the parking lot, arriving at school, and storming up the steps to Lakeridge High School. Why in such a hurry? Could it be that school started in 10 minutes, and you were going to ruin your impeccable school record by showing up even close to late? I noticed your long blonde hair flow swiftly behind your back, like a veil of gold. Am I really that cheesy? I saw how it was tucked neatly behind your ear, as you ran to class after depositing your books. Your teacher really is boring…I saw you and your lovely gold locks once again tucked behind you ear, as you entered your locker combination into your padlock. You flung open your locker, and your books came tumbling out in an assortment of colors. English, Calculus 2, and German. Pity. I smiled when you bent down to pick them up. That part I liked. Sad that such a pretty girl should be put to such misery.
You'll survive; maybe not for long, though.
Amy's nose wrinkled as she reread the note for the second time.
Was this some kind of sick joke? Probably. Amy got notes all the time: some from her parents telling her to make her kid brother dinner because they wouldn't be home until late, and others from the various friends at school letting her know when the next pep rally would be.
Those kinds of notes, she expected. A crumpled, sloppy note taped to the inside of her window, was definitely not something she had seen coming.
And it wasn't just that fact that someone could have crept up into her room in the middle of the night and lodged the note on her window sill that sent Amy's stomach lurking.
No, Amy's mind was on something else.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Amy jumped as her alarm clock rang in her ears. Getting up before it rings wasn't one of the smart things to do. It was the first day back at Lakeridge High, after a three-month, excruciatingly hot summer in Florida. Amy was in her last year at Lakeridge, so she had a reason to get up early. Never be late on the first day.
She hit the sleep button with shaking fingers, still clutching the note in her other hand. Today was the first day of school. Her mind should be focused on school supplies, fresh new textbooks, smelly old teachers, and new friends. But it wasn't.
Three, red, horrifying numbers stared back at her from the eyes of her clock: 7:16 AM.
This meant the note had just been written a few minutes ago.
Shaking a bit more violently now, Amy lay the note down on her bed, but did not take her eyes off it. She had a feeling it was going to jump up and yell "April Fools!" at any second, so she thought it wise not to turn her back on it.
The words (along with her alarm clock) still rang in her ears.
You'll survive; maybe not for long, though.
She had to focus.
Amy rushed to the bathroom, took a shower, got dressed, brushed her pearly whites and her hair, and ran back to her room.
"Amy, are you up? School starts in half an hour! Let's move it!"
Her mom's voice pierced through the silence of the house, almost making Amy's heart skip a beat.
Somehow, Amy managed to muster a few words.
"Coming! Just…getting some books!"
She grabbed her English, Calculus 2, and German books from her messy bookshelf, and stuffed them in her even messier bag, before taking another look at the clock.
Wow, she really could get ready under pressure.
She yelled a hurried "See ya at dinner!" to her mother, and stumbled out the door. Throwing herself and her stuff in the car, she reversed as quick as she could without knocking something over, which apparently wasn't very fast.
Upon arriving at the road, she took a quick look back at her apartment. She didn't know why, maybe just for security, but she kept thinking of that note she had received this morning, lying on her bed. She turned back to the road.
"Cmon..cmon..I'm gonna be late!"
The cars just seemed to keep whirring by, until she found a reasonable sized gap that she could squeeze her hand-me-down Volvo into.
Twenty minutes later, ("Dang traffic!") Amy arrived at Lakeridge high, parked the car, and ran up the steps. She deposited her books into her locker, and ran to her first period: Economic Resources. Boriinggg.
Two hectic hours later, Amy was leaving the hustle and bustle of the classroom, and heading to her locker.
She skillfully twisted and turned the knob on the padlock for a few minutes, and pulled the door open.
The immediate sound of clatter shot through her ears as her books came tumbling out of her locker. Sighing, grumbling, and cursing, Amy bent down and picked all them up, one by one. She stopped in mid reach when she remembered the note.
You flung open your locker, and your books came tumbling out in an assortment of colors. English, Calculus 2, and German.
Embracing the shudder that went through her body at that moment was the hardest thing to do. Amy looked around the almost deserted hallway, and stared at a few kid's faces. It's hard to think she was having a normal day yesterday. And anyone who would have laid eyes upon her at that point would think she was having a perfectly psychotic note-free day. But she wasn't.
It's just a coincidence, right? That's all it was. A coincidence.
Her two other classes went off without a hitch, although the whole class period she was doodling pictures of herself receiving notes, and burning them. Fun.
She rushed out of Calculus to her last class of the day: German.
She had to get home and sleep. Maybe that's what this was. An overblown anxiety attack caused by lack of sleep. Maybe when she wakes up, it would be a dream. She wishes.
The moment she walked into German, she knew something was wrong. The class was deserted. There weren't many students in that class to begin with, but a few would at least be here by now. Amy sat on a desk and waited a few minutes for some students to arrive and bring her relief along with disappointment, but it didn't seem like it was going to happen.
Then she saw it. A note scribbled on the board by her teacher, Mr. Parson.
My wife has left me for my insurance agent. Classes are cancelled until further notice.
That would explain it.
I guess she would finally get her sleep after all.
Amy was about to depart for home, when one last thing written on the board caught her eye. It was a date. Today's date.
Amy flashed back to the note, and looked back up at the board.
July 7, 1997.