Rian hesitated as she accepted the joint. Self-consciously, she brought the butt to her lips and slightly inhaled. She coughed, her body trying to expel the offending smoke from her lungs. Tears developed from her eyes and she continued to cough more violently, however the smoke was all around her. She got up and began to run through the cafeteria until she saw a familiar purse lying next to a inert body.
Pan!, Rian yelled as she ran to her older sister. She shook Pan, but her sister didnt respond. Rian pulled Pan over and stifled a scream as she saw the condition of her sisters severely burnt face. The smell of melted human flesh mixed with the thick smoke made Rian feel sick and she abruptly dropped her sisters corpse. Rian closed her eyes and put her hands over her ears to block out the fire and dying screams of everyone around her. Suddenly, she felt a cool breeze and she turned to see her mother standing calmly holding out a hand to her. Mom! Run and get help! Rian shouted, however her mother smiled and stepped towards Rian. Mom, what are you
? Rians words were cut off as a wave of fire and debris hit her mother. Rian blinked in shock, her mother suddenly had vanished. Rian turned around and her sisters face was even with her own. When Pans immolated jaw dropped open, it echoed Rians own as she screamed.
Rian woke screaming. She was still disoriented and whispered Mom, Pan
before she looked around her. The blood rushed to her face as she realized that her European history teacher was standing dumbfounded in front of the class. Looking around, all of the students had turned their attention to the girl who was shrieking a few seconds ago, some had begun to whisper to each other. Rian opened her mouth and a wordless sound came out. Luckily for her, the bell rang to mark the end of class and the school day.
Rian shuffled down the hall, trying to avoid eye contact. By morning, everyone in school would have heard about her antics in class. Rian wondered if even her bulletproof popularity could stand up to this. As she stepped outside school, she heard someone calling her name. She quickened her step, wanting to avoid any heckling. Hey, I said wait up. A young man grabbed her arm and stepped in front of her. Rians frown dissipated and she smiled as she saw the brown eyes and dark brown hair with a familiar silver streak.
Whats wrong? I called you like three times. You alright? Jason asked.
Yeah, I just had that dream again. Sorry. Rian said apologetically.
Poor baby, come here. Jason pulled Rian into an embrace. Gently, he stroked her head.
Rian rested her head against Jasons chest and listened to his heartbeat. Closing her eyes, she took comfort in his protective arms.
Thanks, I feel much better. Rian said as she stepped back.
No prob, its my job. Says so on page 31 of the boyfriend handbook.
Rian rolled her eyes and smiled. You coming by tonight?
Jasons smile faded a little. Sweety, I got church.
Rian disappointedly said Oh right. I forgot. Can I come?
Sorry babe, its a private thing. You understand right?
Rian didnt but she still said I guess.
Ill give you a call after though. Okay? Jason rubbed Rians arm.
Okay. She allowed Jason to kiss her.
On the way home, Rian made a stop at the florist shop to buy some flowers.
Hey guys, Im back. Rian said as she placed the bouquets at the two graves.
Rian spent an hour telling her mother and sister about her day. When she got to the part about falling asleep in class, she subconsciously spoke quieter, as if she was expecting a lecture. Brushing off the leaves from her dress, Rian stood up.
Well, Im off but Ill come again. Take care until then. She said as she walked out of the cemetery. She noticed that over a year had passed since the events at her sisters school and a few graves were less often visited and maintained. She reasoned that was how it was, memories fade and people continue to live their lives.
Rian tried again to focus on her English report, but her eyes once again were drawn to the cell phone on her desk.
Damn it, why hasnt he called? He said he would. She mumbled as she twirled her pen from finger to finger.
She finally decided to leave her paper unfinished, it wasnt due for another week, and crawled into bed. As she pulled her covers up, the phone rang, she quickly jumped out of bed and grabbed it. With self-confidence, she let it ring twice then she answered it.
Rian. Are you okay? Jason sounded concerned over the line.
Yeah. I was sleeping. Yup, deep asleep. Rian lied.
Oh. Im glad. I need to see you, can you meet with me? Jason said.
Its late, but I can get away. Where?
Im in front of your house now.
As soon as the car door closed, Jason began to drive.
Rian let ten minutes of silence pass before she asked, are you going to tell me whats going on?
Do you trust me? Jason asked, watching the street.
What? Yeah, of course.
Then, do exactly as I tell you. Im taking you somewhere safe, I want you to stay there until this is all over.
All of what? What is going on? Youre starting to worry me.
Rian please, dont ask any questions, the less you know, the better off youll be.
Fine. Rian sulked as the car continued the near silent path until it stopped in front of a house that Rian didnt recognize.
I want you to stay here with a friend of mine. I trust her to protect you.
Before Rian could say anymore, Jason stepped out of the car and went around to open her door. Rian followed Jason to the front of the house and Jason knocked. When there was no answer, Jason tried the knob and amazingly, it opened.
Jessica! Hello? Jason called into the house.
Rian, sit here and wait. Im going to look around. Jason pointed to some chairs in a neatly organized room.
Ten minutes later, Jason returned with a puzzled look on his face. Where did she go? Maybe I should try her cell? He opened his phone and began to dial when they heard someone shouting from outside the house.
Jason! Hey! We know youre in there! Hey Jason!
Shit. How did these guys find us so soon? Jason said through gritted teeth, he closed his phone.
Who are they? Do you know them? Rian asked.
Hey! Jason, why dont you send out your Gayut whore? Were real interested in getting to know her real personal like. The mans voice called out again accompanied by whooping and laughing.
Stay here, Im going to go talk to them. Lock the door behind me. Whatever happens, dont come out. Jason's voice had an unfamiliar edge to it and it made Rian nervous.