Chapter 17: “Audrey Kennedy”.
“And using geothermal energy from the earth, we can convert it into electricity to power many forms of machinery.”, Ms. Kennedy explained to the class, “Isn’t that right, Emilia?”
Crap. She caught me not paying attention again to her lesson.
It was hard to focus at school as coming back from my two-week suspension revealed that Erica had to change schools and Mr. Kingly was no longer employed at the school. Not to mention Erica’s boyfriend apparently can’t come to school due to “severe injuries”. I was honestly starting to feel guilty about the whole thing, asking myself if it was worth it to relieve some of my own sorrow and anger. At least Dad gave me some kind of punishment, most likely he could tell I’ve been through enough already.
“Well, Emilia?”, Ms. Kennedy was awaiting my response to her question. The entire class tried not to look at me. Not because they were bored of Ms. Kennedy’s lesson, but because they still remember the kid that got an upperclassman in the hospital.
“Yes, that’s right.”, I confirmed.
The school bell suddenly rang to signal the end of our classes for the day.
“And that’s it for today.”, Ms. Kennedy informed us all, “Have a nice weekend and don’t forget to read the ‘Understanding Potential and Kinetic Energy’ article I handed you today for next week’s class.”
Everyone including myself packed our stuff from our desks. I put up my pink messenger bag over my shoulder and made my way to the classroom door. But just as I was about to leave, Ms. Kennedy called out to me.
“Hey, Emilia. Can I see you for a sec?”, She asked.
I made my way to her desk where she sat.
“You seem quite distracted today.”, she said. “You’re usually quite focused. Is what happened the other couple of weeks still bothering you?”
Audrey Kennedy, also known as Ms. Kennedy at school, was a friend of my Dad’s. Since she and my father knew each other, she’s been looking out for me since she started teaching here this year.
Call me crazy, but her getting a job here after another bullying incident that happened to me last year seems way too convenient. I’m sure Dad sent her here to keep an eye on me to make sure trouble didn’t follow me, but considering what happened, it would seem Dad’s plan isn’t going as planned.
But even if she’s here by some act of god, she’s actually pretty cool and stops by to visit my Dad and I. She was a young, science teacher in her 20s. Her brown hair complimented her similarly coloured glasses. Audrey was the only teacher in Almond’s Secondary who seemed worried about my “wellbeing”.
“No, I’ve gotten over it”, I lied, wondering if I should divulge my thoughts about Erica and my suspension. Audrey was cool and all, but going into too much detail could be more of a hassle than it’s worth. However, she looked at my face, doubting my words.
“Are you sure? With what happened, it’s understandable if you’re upset. If I knew what was happening, I would have helped”, she spoke with concern.
“It’s okay. I didn’t really want any help”, I told her.
Audrey sighed. “I swear you’re just as stubborn as your father sometimes”. She pouted childishly and I couldn’t help but smile a bit. She saw me and chuckled a bit to join in on her humorous expression. The atmosphere felt so much lighter now.
“You have your father’s smarts and stubbornness”, Audrey said looking at me “But that fire of bravery? That’s only something you could have only gotten from your mother.”
My heart skipped a beat for a second. I almost forgot that she knew about my mother. She didn’t know much though, as she only got to know my mom for a certain amount of time. But with that said, she doesn’t really talk about her while Dad is around…or sometimes when I’m present. I’m pretty sure Dad told her to not talk about mom, as if it’s some kind of dark secret.
It’s weird too because Dad isn’t too much of the secrecy type with me. Besides work stuff, he usually keeps me in the know of anything I ask him. Maybe there are even things Dad doesn’t want me to know.
“Tell you what, kiddo”, Audrey spoke, grabbing my attention, “I’ll stop by later when your father is home and play some of your favourite games with you.”
My face lit up with a smile. Audrey was great at games, which is weird since you would think teachers are the last people on Earth who would play video games. Not to mention it does get lonely when Dad is occupied with work stuff.
I hugged her immediately. She returned the hug warmingly.
“Thanks, Audrey”, I said.
“You’re welcome, Emi”, she replied, “I’m always here if you need a friend.”
The hug ceased. “Now hurry up before you’re late for the bus.”, she smiled.
“Right!”, I smiled exciting as I went to turn the door. However, when I tried turning the knob, it was stuck. It was strange, and even with more force, the knob still wouldn’t turn to open the door. I turned around.
“Audrey, something is wrong with the-“, I stopped as I realised she was completely gone from her desk.
Audrey was gone without a trace like she wasn’t there at all. She just vanished out of thin air.
Something wasn’t right. I felt a growing uneasiness in my chest. Everything was starting to get dark as the sunlight from the windows faded away. Creepy and unworldly shadows started invading the classroom.
I turned left and right, feeling an ominous presence getting closer toward me. I was scared. I desperately grabbed at the doorknob of the classroom again, hoping it would unlock on its own if I tried again.
“Help!”, I shouted in a fright, “Please! I’m trapped in here!”. At this point, I was banging on the door hoping someone from the other side would hear me.
Whatever was coming my way from behind me, I could feel it getting closer.
I looked behind me and the shadows had almost consumed the entire room. They were inching towards me and I was starting to panic as I rigorously tried turning the doorknob, again and again, to get out of this nightmare.
And then suddenly, the door opened. But with me pushing against it, I fell onto the hard floor of the classroom hall…or at least, that’s what I initially thought.
I had closed my eyes for a brief moment, but when I opened them, I saw nothing but a pitch-black void. It was like I was standing on nothing, yet a hard surface was clearly beneath me.
I stood on my feet and gazed around.
Nothing but darkness. Wherever I was, it wasn’t at Almond’s Secondary. Even the classroom door I came through disappeared without a trace. I was completely bewildered.
“Did you enjoy that little memory?”, a girl’s voice sounded in the darkness. It came from behind me, so I naturally turned around to see who it was.
What stood before me was a girl who radiated a presence of darkness, but what caught my eye the most was her crimson hair and dark red outfit.
“Nice to finally meet you, Emilia. You can call me Athena. You may know me as the leader of T.U.R.F.”