Spring has finally arrived. A clear, blue sky with the sun shining down and the trees in full bloom. The blossom is a mixture of a dark, rich pink and a lighter pink all meshed with white blossom which little girls loved to put in their hair. It’s warm this morning " about 90o Fahrenheit. Sitting under an oak tree, pulling out strands of lush green grass, I’m dressed in my denim shorts and a short sleeved top trying to figure out how to do my math homework. Ugh, math…especially on a day like today. It’s torture!
That’s Eddie. He’s my best friend and the only other person who has been at ANON for as long as I have. We go way back. He’s tall, strong and well-toned. With his dark penetrating eyes, tanned complexion and light brown hair with a fringe that sort of flops to one side, all of the girls at our school are crazy about him " even some of the guys.
“Hey Eddie. How are you?”
“I’m good. Wait…are you doing math homework on a day like this?” Eddie asks with mock disbelief.
“Errmm… well, yeah I guess.”
“You’re insane.” retorts Eddie; a hint of a grin tagging to the corners of his mouth.
“Gee thanks, Eddie! Anyway, it’s not my fault. Blame Mr Salmon.” I respond.
Yeah, I know. It sounds like a fish. Whoever came up with this as their surname must have been drunk. Actually, now that I think about it Mr Salmon does have a fish-like resemblance but I’d say more catfish than salmon.
“Eddie, are you heading up to debate class?”
“Yes, and so are you. Come on.”
Holding his hand out, Eddie offers to help me up. I close my math book, put it in my bag and take Eddie’s hand, slowly rising. Seconds later I’m standing. The two of us head towards the debate room. I hate debate class.
“Hey Ash, Eddie!” comes a light bubbly voice interrupting the start of a memory from debate class, more commonly known as Origins 101.
“Hey Cass.” I greet her.
“Hi.” smiles Eddie.
Cass is one of my closest friends. I’ve known her since I was eight " not as long as Eddie, but I’d still trust her with my life. Cass is one of those girls who looks like she’s just stepped out of a magazine. She has perfectly straight white teeth, turquoise eyes, dark, curly brunette hair that fall past her shoulders and she is the perfect height and weight.
“You guys still on for tomorrow?” Cass asks excitedly. She is literally glowing.
“Yeah, of course.” I answer eagerly.
“Err… what’s happening tomorrow?” Eddie wonders with a confused look on his face, which makes him look cute even though I wouldn’t normally use the word ‘cute’ to describe Eddie.
“We’re going to the cinema, remember? Geez Ed, we only spoke about it a few days ago! Do you have short term memory or something?” huffs Cass.
“Only when it comes to you.” replies Eddie cheekily.
“Aww thanks, I feel so special.” sneers Cass sarcastically, before ending up in a fit of giggles.
Eddie doesn’t say anything. He just smirks and then looks at me.
* * *
The temperature seems to have dropped drastically. A gust of wind passes: not for long, but enough to make me shiver. I start to feel as though I’m being watched. Unable to hear a sound, it’s like the rest of the world has gone mute. The only noise I can hear is my uneven breathing and the pounding of my heart which is getting louder by the second. Ever so slowly, I turn around to face whatever is lurking behind me. My eyes dart up and down the street, yet I see nothing. Although I may not be able to see anything, I can sense the presence of something strange under the tree directly opposite me.
“Ash, are you okay?” Eddie asks curiously with a concerned look on his face.
“You look a bit spooked.” adds Cass bringing my attention back to her and Eddie, temporarily pushing the issue to the back of my mind.
“Uh.. yeah, sorry. Just blanked out for a moment.” I lie reassuringly.
“Phew, you had me worried for a minute.” Cass says, half joking. “Let’s head up to class.”
“You two go ahead, I’ll catch up with you.” I reply trying to sound as normal as possible.
Before Eddie can even open his mouth to speak, Cass is taking him by the arm and dragging him to class. As they turn the corner, Eddie looks back at me and stares into my eyes. He knows something isn’t right.
Whatever was there, it was like nothing I’d ever felt before. Whatever it was, it wasn’t human.