Writers (in order): CL, Alyssa Tang, Sophia H, Sadie Hicks, M.S., Esosa Zuwa, Andrea Esparza, Molly M., Niara Dagli, Stephany Handoyo. Editor: Ms. Wilson.
I crouch in the cramped space beneath my mahogany desk, knees pulled into my chest, and suddenly it strikes me just how loud my pulse rings in my ears. It’s a stupidly articulated thought, and I silently curse myself for sacrificing my last few thoughts on something so trivial. My sweaty hands readjust on the crowbar, ignoring the sticky fingerprints they leave behind. It’s almost amusing how clear my mind is given the current situation. Perhaps it’s a sort of rare survival instinct, only unleashed when faced by near death. Kind of like right now.
“Luce… Lucy-lu… ”
The cold of the metal seeps into my bones. The floor is hard and slippery under my bare feet. If I lift my eyes to the antique mirror hanging on the wall, I can see the vague shadow of a coat rack and the darkness behind the open door. I curl up further into myself, squeezing my eyes tight until the capillaries burst bright red against my eyelids. I don’t want to see her coming.
I tuck my head in between my knees, shaking with fear. It’s futile, but maybe if I don’t see her, she won’t see me. I think I saw something like that in a Doctor Who episode once.
Her dazed voice keeps repeating my name.
They took her body, then they stole her voice. And now they’re coming for me through her. I can’t help it; I muffle my small sobs and hiccups into the scratchy fabric of my sweats.
“Lu-lu, why are you always ignoring me?”
A small sob, louder than the rest, falls from my lips despite my efforts to muffle it. The footsteps stop. My hands fly to my mouth.
My mind sprints with fear while my eyes scour the room—the bed, the bean bag, the nightstand, the dresser—until they land on the mirror. Framed in faded Baroque-style trim, two glowing eyes stare.
There she stands in the mirror, like a porcelain doll left too long on the shelf. Her eyes are the same glistening amber as the last day I saw her, but something about them feels unfamiliar—they are cold.
I almost collapse to the ground out of sheer fear. I cover my glazed eyes with my sweaty hands.
It isn’t real. It isn’t real. I will this into my mind until it becomes automatic and lingering, like a prayer that will never reach some higher power’s ears.
“Why do you cry, Lucy?” She looks at me with her now tar-colored eyes that seem to search for meaning in mine. The same hands I held that day hang limp at her sides, and her curly black hair frames her dark face, eyes staring holes into me.
I reach out to touch her delicate face, hands ready to cradle it. My eyes close, basking in the moment, a single tear falling from my eye.
My hand stings with an unimaginable pain as a scream lurches from my throat and mars the air. Kara’s face has turned into a maniacal smirk, eyes turning black like a hellish infinity.
Kara had been taken by the Shadow. Kara had disappeared and I have no idea where the Shadow had taken her. I don’t know if I should take a risk and follow her, if that’s even possible. Could I save her? I am indecisive. Should I try, or should I not?
At this point, it is dark out and I know that my parents will be looking for me. But I don’t want to leave, knowing that Kara has been taken by the mysterious Shadow. I don’t want to abandon her.