THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 353

Slither

My ex-crush’s words
were as immaterial as the smoke.
The more I thought about what he said,
the less sense it made.
“But why would she set a fire
to evacuate everyone,
then go in the school
and start shooting?
There would be nobody
to shoot,” I said.
My ex-crush bit his lip.
He was lying.
I knew it.
I wanted to shake his broad shoulders
and yell at him
for thinking I was stupid—
or so infatuated with him
that I believed his lies.
“Stop lying.
Tell the truth!”
He failed to make eye contact
and slithered away into the crowd.

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THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 352

Distraction

Someone touched my shoulder,
startling me.
“It’s only me,” said my ex-crush.
“You know what happened?”
I had no patience
for his questions.
“Obviously
a fire,” I said.
“You know who started it, right?”
I played dumb.
“Who?”
“Lindsey. She escaped
from West Campus
and created a distraction,
so she could go shoot up the school.”
I searched his face for any sign
of insincerity, but as always,
he was difficult to read.
No light of even black humor
danced in his eyes.
Behind our heads, the smoke
had begun to settle thickly
over the school in an inky haze.

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THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 351

Cloud

I smelled smoke
before I saw it.
At first, the odor was so faint,
I might have imagined it,
but the deeper I breathed,
the more it filled my lungs.
Then I saw a cloud rising
above the school.
A breeze blew,
dispersing the cloud,
so I could not pinpoint
exactly where it rose from.
Is this an accident?
Or did someone set this fire on purpose?

The fire trucks shrieked
as they rushed over the speed bumps
in the parking lot.
I continued toward my school,
although common sense said
to head the other way.

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