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 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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