I tugged my luggage up the fancy stairs of the girl’s dorm room, heading for the one that I would be living in for the next 2 years. I passed the A’s and B’s, headed to the door at the end of the hall with C1 on it. The dorms are alphabetical; my name is Carter, Cara Carter.
I raised my hand to knock when the door swung open and a brown-haired girl in the burgundy-red uniform of St. Catherine Academy spared me a hateful glance before pushing me aside and ran out. I watched her disappear down the stairs.
“You must be Cara.” Said an Irish voice. I turned around. A girl―more like a woman―of African descent stood at the door dressed, too, in uniform; white button-down shirt, deep-burgundy skirt and blazer of a lighter shade, white socks, and black shoes. She was tall, nearly six-foot, and was all curves. She seemed grown up. Her eyes held a mischief glint and sisterly wisdom.
I shook her hand. “Cara; and you are?”
“Marianna Cate. That was Emma, she’s in an odd mood today, don’t mind her. Come on in.” She gestured me in and closed the door behind me.
The dorms were like apartments―or flats. This one opened into a circular hangout space complete with a couch, two armchairs, and sandy-coloured walls. There were six doorways, five of which had doors. The door-less one, I saw, led to an extremely small kitchen/dining room. And the two boxes mom mailed three weeks ago sat to the right.
“The first door to the right is yours, bathroom is through the kitchen, and the fridge is stocked by the housekeeper, Madame—that’s what we call her and nothing else-- every week. We are responsible for our own breakfast and supper; lunch is at 12: 15, just follow the herd of hungry students to the canteen, any questions?”
“Bathroom? As in singular?”
“Yes, I know; one bathroom for four people.”
“Classes start at nine till five-thirty, so you don’t have to wake up too early.” She glanced at the clock hanging above the kitchen entrance, “You have one hour to get ready. Have you eaten?”
I shook my head.
“I’ll make you an omelette while you unpack; are you allergic to anything?”
“Alright, go unpack.” She went into the kitchen.
“Wow,” I exhaled. My room was small but had midnight blue walls and ceiling with drawn-on constellations. The previous person in this room must’ve redecorated because from what I’ve seen of the school, so far, the cheap, ugly brown paint was all they could afford after building the school. I unpacked my suitcase of clothes and two boxes of blankets and school supplies, and then grabbed my iPad to check my schedule and memorize the school grounds; I had lost my printed schedule and map somewhere along the way from Netherlands to Ireland.
In my closet, there were five skirts, and two blazers and five white dress shirts with the school crest embroidered on it. The school regulations stated that students must be in uniform during school hours except for PE, so I had brought with me two dozen miscellaneous-lengths of white socks, two pairs of black shoe wear, two pairs of sneakers, and a dozen pants, shorts, and shirts that are notred―the uniforms are enough, thank you very much.
I dressed and got out of my room. Laid out on the couch was a guy in only boxers, head resting on his hands. The front―main?―door opened and in walked an ethereal blonde, holding some fabric in her arms.
The guy on the couch jumped up and gathered her in his arms. The two French-kissed and I, feeling awkward, quietly tiptoed into the kitchen.
“Marianna,” I whispered.
“Yes, hon?” She replied, not turning around.
“Please don’t tell me that those two out there with their tongues down each other’s throat are loud at night.”
“Who? Oh!” She turned around with a plate of omelette and placed it in front of me. “That’s Jill and Aiden out there; sorry I forgot to warn you. It’s a nearly nightly thing but unless you have super hearing you’ll sleep like the dead. They usually just talk and cuddle and sleep.”
“Why is he in only boxers?”
“’Cause Jill ripped my clothes off last night,” answered Aiden.
He―now fully clothed in the boy’s uniform but for the blazer―and Jill sat down beside me at the tiny dining table.
“Hi, I’m Jill.” She gave me her hand, “Sorry I wasn’t here for the welcome committee; I had to fetch clothes for this beast over here.” She pointed a thumb at Aiden. And he, in turn, grabbed her around the waist and placed wet, slobbery kisses over her neck and face, making her giggle and squeal.
I smiled, enjoying the couple’s joy, and dug into my breakfast.
“Pens, check. Notebooks, check. Tablet, check. Water, check.” I recited as I riffled through my bag. “Textbooks, check. Now where’s that map?” It was beside me on the bedside table and I made to grab it but I cut my nails last night so I had to drag and slide it―and it fell. I made to snatch the paper but it floated like a feather to and fro and under the bed. I bent down to get it and spotted something else under the bed. I grabbed the ‘something else’ along with the map of the school.
It was a yearbook, and it had a page bookmarked. I flipped to that page; just a bunch of photographs and names. Two of the names were circled: Jessa and Tessa. It probably belonged to one of the previous tenants of this room.
A knock sounded aT the door. Marianna’s rich voice flowed through the door “Cara, time to head to class.”
“Okay,” I replied. “Thanks!” I put the map in my bag and the book, too (I might need it) grabbed my blazer and off I went.
Author's note: there will be grammar, spelling, and plot error. This is the first draft and I will be editing once the book is complete.
My first class was PE, and at St. Catherine, PE classes are not split by gender. Lucky me, I had, in my class, one of those A-holes who hate losing to a girl. I was about to teach him a lesson.
We did some core strength training and a 10-minute lap, and then we played dodge ball. I had never played dodge ball with volleyballs before, only foam balls, but I knew how much it would hurt to get hit by a volleyball. And that was exactly my plan from the moment I saw the arrogance in Jake’s eyes and the way he sneered at the bosomed girls in the class. He and his posse are going down!
I took down Jake’s two shadows (his posse) with two hits; one in the shin, another with a stomach shot (not hard enough to do damage). I’m always competitive in PE class but I can say with certainty that I have never been this serious in a game of dodge ball before. I’d even saved one for Jake, and I’m gonna strike it here it hurts (I meant his pride, not his balls).
“Jake, you’re out!” Yelled Coach Melle.
“No, I’m not! That was a head shot!” Jake yelled back childishly.
“I don’t care, you’re out!” I knew Coach Melle despised Jake’s sorry behind, too.
“Bye, bye, Jake!” I sang cheerfully. He in turn glared at me as he stalked to the sidelines, joining his posse, who also glared at me but not with as much hatred.
The game continued for a few minutes and I began to enjoy myself with the physical excursion when a curve ball was thrown at me from the sidelines and hit my nose just as I turned.
Jake got detention for a month plus got suspended from PE until he finished a stack of written assignments Coach Melle assigned on the spot. I was sent to the Nurse’s office with an apology (albeit forced) from Jake down on his knees. The sight of him humiliated was worth the nose bleed.
Author's Note: I am trying to write as fast as possible, recording my ideas and what happens in each chapter, therefore some chapter will be extremely undescriptive and fast and make no sense to anyone but me (and use words...wrongly--see what I mean?) I will eradicate this problem in the 2nd draft.
“Well, the good news is your nose isn’t broken. The bad news is you’ve made an enemy on your first day of school.” Said the school doctor, Dr. Cate, also Marianna’s mother. She looks exactly like an older version of Marianna.
“An unworthy opponent, he is,” I responded.
Dr. Cate laughed, a rich, loud laugh resonating from the stomach. “That’s true!”
“There’s still 15 minutes left of class, do you want to seek revenge now, or keep your roommate company?”
“Emma, she’s your roommate, right? Last name, Catherine?”
I remembered the brown-haired girl this morning, “Yeah, I think―”
“Ugh! Shut up, I’m trying to sleep!” Came a voice from behind one of the drawn curtains in the doctor’s office.
“The meds not working, miss Catherine?” Dr. Cate commented.
The curtains drew back to show a scowling girl, who opened her mouth and seemed about to scream something but decided against it at the last second and instead said, firmly, “I’m not crazy.” She crossed her arms and pouted like a child.
“Your freak out this morning says otherwise.” Dr. Cate said as she wrote something down. She finished writing and ripped the page out, “Now, I have to meet with Madame McAllen, Cara, are you staying here?”
I looked at Emma, and decided that there was the look of needing someone to talk to in her eyes.
Author's Note: again, same as last chapter. Some of these chapters will not make sense or are too fast and undescriptive. Read on at your own risk.
“What did you do that for?” Emma screeched at me after Dr. Cate left the room.
“You’re welcome.” I crossed my arms and slumpe onto the bed beside hers. “There’s no need to be rude, I thought you looked lonely and needed someone who’s not a teacher to talk to.”
She froze, my word affecting her in some way, maybe bring back memories. But she quickly snapped out of it, “I don’t need your pity!”
“Why would I pity you?”
She shut up and turned away from me, giving me the cold shoulder. It appears Emma has a secret that everyone knows about but me. I don’t talk, just stare holes into the back of her head, knowing full well she can feel it―it’s one of my superpowers.
After a while she spoke, “How did you get that nose bleed?”
“Jake Perverto. I hurt his pride in PE.”
“Perverto?” She turned around and raised an eyebrow at me.
“I think his last name is―”
“I know who you’re talking about,” she cut me off. “I wish I thought of that name first.”
“It’s not that great a name, and I do feel a bit guilty for being mean, but I was just so angry at him. He said something to one of the girls in class and she looked near tears while she nodded.”
“In my opinion, no one likes him. I don’t even know why he tries so hard to be cool―”
“Stop! You’re increasing my guilt levels!” I yelled as I covered my ears.
Emma looked at me like I had 3 heads, “You’re a crazy kid―what’s your name?”
“Cara Carter.” I said.
“You’re a crazy kid,” she said again. “Cara Carter.”
“Enough about that jerk, what bring you here to my lab?” I added a bow just for the heck of it.
Emma looked around Dr. Cate’s office, an almost entirely white room with several shelves of disgusting looking things in test tubes, beakers, and bottles.
“She decorates it this way on purpose. She’d sometimes even wear a mad scientist wig.” Emma told me. Even the books were covered with cloth and paper that made them look old with titles like How to Preserve Eyeballs and other Organs and 1001 Ways to Cook It, the sequel.
“Don’t worry, they’re all fake and harmless,” she added. “The reddish-black liquids in the jam jars are Coca Cola and Pepsi mixed together.”
“OMG! Can I drink one?”
“Yeah, for a doctor, she doesn’t eat very healthy for the most part. Each jar equals one can of soda and are fresh. I don’t know how she does it but they’re fresh, tastes like it they’re unopened―get me that light brown one, and a straw from that basket on the top shelf, will you?”
I grabbed a Coke-Pepsi mix for me and a light-brown liquid in a jar and a straw for both of us. “What is that?” I asked.
“It’s milk tea. I make them and she stores them here.” She said as she opened the lid.
“Why didn’t you tell me there was milk tea?” I had already opened my jar.
“You want some?”
“Nah, I love Cola- Pepsi more, it’s the nectar of the gods. Though I do harbour a deep love for tapioca pearls as well,” I said as I eyed the black stuff at the bottom of Emma’s jar I now recognized as tapioca pearls longingly.
She shrugged and we toasted each other for no reason at all, and sat in comfortable silence, sipping our drinks until I remembered my question.
“So, what are you here for?” I asked.
“I guess I had a panic attack,” she replied, looking down at her drink, her tone indicating more to the story.
“Care to elaborate?”
She sighed, “You’ll think I’m crazy―it’s been a crazy day!”
“Does it tie to your rude welcome to me this morning?” I asked.
She frowned, thinking of what I meant by that. The light bulb when on, “Oh, this morning…yeah, it does.”
“Look, you don’t have to tell me if―”
She cut me off, “It’s my sisters, Tessa and Jessa. They’re missing.”
“What…they’re missing?” I repeated the words, and, in my mind, something was tugging at me.
She nodded, “And the weird thing is, no one knows that they’re missing―don’t even remember who they are. It’s as if Jessa and Tessa never existed or their minds have been whipped.”
I wasn’t sure if she was playing a joke on me, preying on the gullible new kid, or if what happened only in fiction was happening to me. I needed proof, I told her, that what she was saying was true and that she wasn’t crazy.
She glared at me, “I’m not crazy! See, I knew you wouldn’t believe me! Ugh! You’re useless!” She got off the bed and stomped for the door.
Hey, now, that was not nice, I thought. At that moment, the thing that was tugging at my mind showed itself.
“Wait!” I said as Emma was exiting the room. “I’ve seen them!”
She froze and turned around, her eyes wide, “What, where?” her voice shrill and anxious.
I got my bag from where I hung it on a hook by the door and took out the yearbook I had found that morning under my bed and flipped to the bookmarked page and showed it to her.
“Theresa (Tessa) and Jessica (Jessa) Catherine, tennis, girl’s double, silver medalists at nationals.” Emma said the words with awe. “I’m not crazy.”
“Perhaps you’re not,” I agreed, still a bit skeptical, a little puzzled, but the thing that I wondered at the most at the time was not the fact that two girls might be missing and that everyone―excluding Emma’s―memories of them were wiped (which is highly unlikely, like, come on!). What my mind was stuck on was this: “You’re last name is Catherine? And you go to this school, St. Catherine Academy?”
I had got to get my priorities straight.
Author's Note: the scene in the middle where they discuss boba milk-tea is due largely to the fact that I was craving boba milk-tea at the time and could not think of anything other than milk-tea while writing that scene. I know it's boring hearing about nonsense things but this is just the first draft so please bear with me.
The morning I met Cara was just another ordinary day, except my sisters were missing; MIA; nowhere to be seen. That was not unusual since they liked to camp out in the thick woods East of campus where there was a small stream of drinking water and usually didn’t show until first period, smelling like trees and earth, and looking perfect. I used to worry, even though they were the older sisters and they’d laugh a good-natures laugh and told me they’d be fine and I could tag along if I wanted but that I couldn’t stop them. I had a bug phobia and a fear of wild animal―all animals, actually, that weren’t dead―so I let them go and they always came back by breakfast or first period.
And on that ordinary day, I wanted to borrow an earring from Jessa, a handmade one that she designed and created, and she never minded me borrowing anything of hers so I went into her room―and nothing. There was nothing. Well, not completely nothing: there was the bed, the dresser, the mirror on the wall, the desk, and the closet. But everything of Jessa’s―everything that spoke of her existence―was gone except for the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling that she added when she moved into that room, but I didn’t notice that until later that day.
I quickly checked Tessa’s room, hoping that maybe, after years of thinking on it, they finally decided to share a room together, as if it wasn’t enough that their rooms were right beside each other. When I opened Tessa’s door I froze. The decor was still the same, everything as it was yesterday, semi-organized, sports equipment in one corner and the walls lined with signed sports poster. I could have let out a breath and felt relief for a moment, but I couldn’t, not when there were two figures on her bed. One was Tessa’s boyfriend, and the other was most definitely not my sister, with that silk of yellow hair on her head.
I was in shock, which usually meant that my brain was scrambling for a reaction, so I did what I always did when I was in shock: I left to find a quiet place to sit until I could think again, until I understood what was going on.
I sat in my room, my brain unscrambling and forming coherent
thoughts, again. What I knew to be true: my sisters were missing, Jessa’s things were gone, Tessa’s still here, and Brandon, Tessa’s boyfriend, was cheating on her in her own room.
I heard a door quietly open and close, gentle footsteps, then the main door opening and closing. This had gone from an ordinary day to wacky Wednesday.
After a while, I got up and knocked on Marianna’s room.
She opened the door and asked “Yes?”
“Do you know where my sisters’ went?” I felt a tear slid down my cheeks. I hated crying, it always made me angry.
Marinna furrowed her immaculate eyebrows, “Your sisters? Emma, you don’t have sisters.”
“Bullshit!” I felt the anger rising in me.
She admonished me about my language, but I was having none of it.
“Cussing is the least I’ll do when I get my hands on Brandon and the girl he cheated with!”
“I don’t believe Brandon was ever your date-mate, dear.”
“He’s not my boyfriend! He’s Tessa’s!” Marianna stared at me like I’d gone cuckoos. “How do you not know this? She ate with us and slept in that―” I pointed to the door across from here “―room! And Tessa slept in that―” I pointed to the room beside it “―room, which was empty! Everything of Jessa’s is gone and there was a stranger in Tess’ bed this morning with her boyfriend!”
Marianna put a comforting hand on my shoulder and another to my forehead, “Honey, you’re running a slight fever, maybe you should skip today and sleep.”
“You don’t get it―”
She cut me off, “Forget whatever it is that’s bothering you. Just sleep it off and all will be right when you wake.”
She pushed me along to my room, “I’ll make you some tea. Drink it all before you sleep; it clears the mind of confusion.”
I wrenched away from her with a scowl, “I don’t want tea, and I want answers and this wacky Wednesday to be over!” With that, I stomped out the door, scowling at a girl with yellow hair at the door holding a large, pink suitcase, mistaking her as the one in Tess’ bed that morning. I resisted
growling at her like an animal, pushed her aside and ran down the stairs, ignoring the ‘No Running’ sign, out the door, and to the woods East of campus.
Author's note: like I've said, this is the first draft and unedited. Any spelling and grammar error, plot holes, and wavy facts (opposite of "get your facts straight") are read at your own peril. This is also an (very) early update. I might be updating several more times this week since it's the long weekend and I'm in a writing mood more and more often now. But I might end up being too busy so this will count as next Tuesday's update.