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Vivienne wasn't sure if she was dreaming again. There he was, sitting next to her, very much alive and intact. Sitting there, lazily resting his chin in one open hand, he looked like any bored teenager. It took Vivienne a while to notice the girls were giggling at her for staring at the new boy. Vivienne quickly focused her eyes on the black board where Mr Macker was scraping away with his chalk. Vivienne started jotting down notes about Mozart and Bach but her attention simply wasn't there.
Her eyes drifted back to Blake. He was still there. Sitting beside her. It wasn't a dream. He sighed and crossed his legs at the ankle. He still wasn't the studious type. Some things never change. He was jotting something down in his notebook. At least his notes should make more sense than hers at the moment.
Then, as Mr Macker left the room to find a recording of The Magic Flute, Blake turned his notebook to her. He had only written down a single sentence.
Vivienne nodded but as she opened her mouth to speak, she was reminded that they weren't alone. She didn't want the girls to think she was even crazier than they already thought she was. Vivienne turned her pen to her notebook and scribbled down a note.
What do you know about Satan's Hollow?
Blake's eyebrows furrowed momentarily. He began to scribble something into his notebook but before she could see what he had written an alarm began to blare overhead. The principal's voice came over the loudspeaker. The woman sounded breathless and panicked.
"All students are to evacuate to the school immediately. They are to use all exits except those leading to the football field. All classes are dismissed for the rest of the day."
Mr Macker returned to the room in a hurried gait. He slammed his book of lesson notes and lifted his hands for everyone to remain calm. That gesture immediately triggered all the students to begin chaotically yelling questions as to what was going on. Zissa and Sam were already out of their chairs, cheerfully gathering their notebooks and make-up products into their designer backpacks. They seemed too lost in their own perfume and powder worlds to care what had triggered their sudden dismissal.
"Please, exit the school in an or-orderly manner, k-kids." Mr Macker said, his face as white as ghost. "Don't panic!"
Vivienne stood up from her chair. She noticed that Blake had not moved from where he was sitting. He curiously glanced at her as though he was waiting to see what would happen next. She gestured to door and motioned that she wanted to meet him outside. As Vivenna reached to gather her books, she heard it. There was a scream in the distance, it was a boy. It was a scream that no one else heard. Then she felt it, a heavy vice-like feeling in her chest as though someone was squeezing all the life out of her heart.
Vivienne suddenly felt like the room was spinning. Her knees felt weak but at the same time she felt drawn to the direction of the ghostly scream. It came from the direction of the football field. As she took a step in that direction, she felt a pair of arms grab her from behind. She was enveloped into a firm embrace. Her cheek was pressed up against that gray t-shirt she had been admiring moments before. He still smelled of the forest and of the flowers of the night. Blake's arms held her in a cage-like embrace. His voice, deep and melodious, came soothingly into her ear.
"Stay here with me," he whispered as his pale fingers caressed her hair. "Ignore the rest of them."
Momentarily, she felt herself give in. In the midst of the chaotic student stampede out of the classroom, Vivienne ignored them as commanded and felt a second of peace. She could lie in his arms forever, warm and safe, like she once had in the gardens of of the past.
The scream came again in the distance. It pulled her back to the present. She had to find the source of that scream. Vivienne broke out of Blake's embrace. She saw confusion in his pale gem-like eyes, his blond brows furrowed in a perplexed fashion. In that moment, Vivienne saw a spark of Blake's old anger, the beautiful rich boy to whom no one ever refused anything. Perhaps, all along she had been one more delicate treasure for him to keep in his magnificent mansion. His long fingers tried to catch the sleeve of her cardigan but she slipped beyond his grasp. In a second Vivienne's sneakers were pounding down the halls towards the back doors.
The other students were running in the opposite direction. Vivenna heard them yelling to each other about something huge and dangerous in the football field. She threw the full weight of her body against the double doors to the outdoors. Her knees momentarily buckled under her. Vivienne clenched her fists to her chest. She felt it again, like she was being stabbed in the chest although there was no wound she could see.
Vivienne gasped as she entered the football field. There was a giant gaping hole in the chain link fence surrounding the school yard. In the distance, she heard the snorting of a monstrous hog. It was a wild boar that was the size of a school bus. Its hairy hide was as black as oil and from its snout came a pair of vicious tusks. One of them was dripping with blood and from the other tusk there was impaled a boy.
Vivienne wasn't sure what it was that she recognized first, whether it was his wide boxy shoulders or his square-ish Frankenstein-like head. Perhaps, it was his shaggy hair that flopped from his open life-less eyes. They were the same eyes she had glimpsed into only yesterday as she desperately tried to save his life.
"Calbert!" Vivienne screamed. Now she knew whose voice she was hearing inside her head and why she felt her chest being crushed from afar. He was linked to her. Perhaps, not for too much longer. He was clutching to life by a thread.