Have you ever felt like you don't belong in the world?
That there is something deep inside of you that tries to extract you from the existence you know.
I must be going crazy. But this feeling keeps telling me that I will never fit in...
"Maura, can you answer the question, please?" A muffled voice echoed. The teenager blinked and slammed her notebook shut as she came back to reality. Her blue eyes rose to meet the aggravated face of her teacher. Chuckles and giggles from the other students created a sickening feeling in her stomach.
"Yes, Ms. Jennings." Her voice was soft. "The answer is 1865." A long pause followed her answer. Her teacher gave her a look of great disappointment. Maura glanced around the classroom as her cheeks turned red from embarrassment. The other students were glaring at her as if she was a monster.
A loud ringing suddenly filled the room. The other students hustled their supplies and books together and started filtering out of the classroom. Maura sighed and began to gather her things as well.
"Maura, I'd like to see you at my desk," her teacher sternly requested. Maura frowned.
"Yes, Ms. Jennings." The young student sulked while she walked up to her teacher's desk at the front of the room. Ms. Jennings sighed sadly and rubbed her forehead.
"Maura, this is the fourth time this week I have caught you not paying attention in my class. What has been going on? Is it something from home?" Ms. Jennings looked at Maura with concerned eyes. Maura's head fell; some locks of her black hair falling over her eyes.
"It's not that, Ms. Jennings. I guess I've just been really stressed out lately." Maura held her frown inside. She lived alone in a cramped apartment. Her mother and father were divorced. Her father was a crack-addict and he left town years previous. Her mother died just the past year from an alcohol overdose. Whatever inheritance her mother had went straight to her. It helped pay for food and bills. But she kept her private life quiet in school. No one knew she lived on her own.
"Well, I can understand that. But you need to try and relax and put more effort in participating and paying attention, otherwise your grades will plummet. Understand?" Ms. Jennings pulled out a pink slip of paper and scribbled on it. Then she handed it to Maura. "See you Monday." Maura nodded and returned to her desk to grab her things before dashing out the classroom.
The grey and blue hallways of Centray High School were as full of student traffic as ever. Maura clutched her textbooks tightly against her light purple dress, making sure to not keep her eyes on the other students for too long. She started to imagine herself walking through a darkened cornfield. The other students were tall husks of corn. And if she didn't watch herself, she would be forever lost. Her ankle-high black boots crunched against fallen husks. Chirping of birds above diverted her attention for a moment. She glanced into the deep purple sky and smiled as the bird flock passed.
"HEY FREAK! Out of my way!" Someone screamed. Maura felt a strong push and she fell to the ground. She shook her head as the cornfield melted away into the silver lockers that surrounded her. The grass below melted away into white and grey tiles. Maura picked up her books as two male students laughed above her. The young woman couldn't help but frown. She stood up and dusted off her dress, looking at the two who pushed her. One was a little on the pudgy side, with light brown hair that was shaggy. He bore baggy jeans and a black sweatshirt. The other was covered in muscles, with a clean-cut blonde hairstyle. A clean pair of blue jeans covered his athletic legs and his white t-shirt was overshadowed by his football-themed jacket.
"Luke and Jason. Why am I not surprised..." Maura muttered. The two grinned.
"What can I say? I can't help it if a dog gets in my way. You gotta do what you gotta do!" Jason smirked. Maura shrugged and stepped over to the side. Luke followed; blocking her way.
"Would you please get out of my way? I'm late to class as it is." Maura tried to make her tone sound tough. Luke groaned, looking over at Jason. Jason nodded and Luke got out of the way. Maura started to walk by, being nudged hard by Jason.
"Once a dog, always a dog, Luke." Jason laughed. Maura quickened her pace down the hallway, disappearing around the corner. Her eyes fell upon a ladies' bathroom and she made her way inside. Throwing her books into one of the many sinks, Maura stared at her reflection. Tears started to form but she tried her best to fight them.
"Why...why am I always the one singled out? What did I do?" She whimpered.
"Huh?" Maura looked around her. The bathroom was empty. She shook her head and glanced back at her reflection.
The voice was masculine. And was ghostly soft. Maura couldn't figure out where it was coming from. Looking around once more, she found nothing.
"I must be going crazy."
The lights in the bathroom began to flicker. Maura felt a cold chill run up and down her spine.
"What's going on?" She whispered softly to herself as she reached for her books.
Suddenly, the lights went out and it was pitch black all around her. Maura began to shiver with fear. Before she could try and reach out for the exit, a strange wind blew by her. A glowing green light flew out from one of the mirrors, making the entire room green-hued. Maura looked at where the light was coming from
"Maura...please...come and help us..."
"Who are you? What's happening?" Maura cried out. Her voice was shaky. She had to be imagining this. It just had to be one of her crazy illusions. The green light dissipated slightly as a strange shadow appeared in the mirror. It slowly took the shape of a young looked at his deep green eyes. His hair was silver and long; flowing over her shoulders. He wore a strange black outfit with a crimson cape. There was an intense paleness to his skin. He held out a hand and it started to sprout out of the mirror. As his hand came out, it caused a ripple in the glass as if it were water.
"Please...Take my hand..."
Maura felt herself being drawn in by the stranger's eyes. Everything seemed unreal. She had to be imagining it all. But...it seemed so vivid. Maura held out her own hand and took the stranger's. His hand was clammy and cold, but gentle as his slender fingers wrapped themselves around her' stranger smiled.
A lout banging from outside disrupted the green light. It faded away as well as the stranger. Maura froze as the florescent lights above returned to normal and the wind around her stopped. The mirror reverted back to normal. Maura tried to make out what just happened as one of the hall monitors busted down the bathroom door.
"What's going on in here?!" The older woman demanded. Maura glanced over at her.
"What do you mean?"
"I heard loud noises coming from in here. And a weird light. Were you doing drugs?" The old woman growled with a sinister glare. Maura shook her head and grabbed her books.
"No I wasn't! I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't see or hear anything." The hall monitor grumbled after a moment of searching the bathroom. After finding nothing wrong, she held out her hand.
"Where's your hallpass?" Maura flashed her the pink slip that her teacher wrote. The hall monitor huffed in satisfaction and shooed Maura out of the bathroom. Maura decided to worry about what just transpired after school. She hustled her way to her next class.