THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 355

Mirage

It could have been only a rumor.
If I had learned anything that year,
it was that the majority
of what people talk about
is totally insignificant
and may not even be true.
At this point, I didn’t care.
I tumbled down the hill,
shoved through the crowds,
and moved closer to the smell
of smoke
coming from
the storage shed.
Flames shot from the back.
The air around it shimmered
with heat like a mirage.
Where is the fire truck?
“Get away from there!”
someone screamed at me.
I ignored them.
I thought I heard someone
calling—screaming
from inside the shed.

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THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 354

Hill

Panic filled the air.
So many voices spoke at once,
making it impossible for me
to determine
what was really happening.
I slipped through the crowds,
invisible as usual.
Snatches of rumors
floated in one ear and out the other.
I had a hunch
that needed confirmation.
I stood on a small hill,
above all but the tallest students,
and scanned for Maddy and Amanda.
They were missing.
It could have been a coincidence…
or my hunch was correct.
I heard a shout.
“The shack! Where the Boogeyman hides!
That’s where the fire started!”
The storage shed.
I came down the hill.

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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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