"What?" I blink, a blank expression on my face. Something builds in Chris's eyes; but it disappears just as quick as it had appeared. He remains silent and just hands me a white flyer, and I scan the writing speedily. A name is written neatly at the end with ink: Kit Kat. I swallow, my legs feeling weak. I look up, but Chris isn't looking at me; he is gazing outside, looking even paler than before.
His eyes are wide and damp, as if he'd been holding back tears for a long time. A drop rolls down his cheek. Then another. I look away and shove the paper as deep inside my bag as I can. I don't dare break the silence, but I'm itching with thousands of questions running through my head at once. I hear shuffling and a loud shift, then a small creak as Chris sits down on an empty chair.
I sneak a glance his way, and he has his head cradled in his palms, rocking back and forth gently as if attempting to lull himself to sleep. I hold my breath as I pull up a chair and shakily sit beside him. He takes in a gust of air, as if about to say something, but falls silent again. My lips part, and before i realize it, a noise is erupting from my throat.
"What was what?" I say hoarsely. Chris doesn't even flinch, and the silence stretches. He suddenly looks up, gazing at the window again, and I trace his gaze to a girl sitting on the bench outside, her back to us. She looks so terrifyingly familiar that i almost jump; and when I look away, Chris is looking directly into my eyes. His blue Irises are cold looking, as if the color has faded from them.
His eyes are desperate, pleading, even. Then something clicks in the gears of my brain and I let out a sharp gasp, backing away as far as I can from the window and him. He disinterestedly watches me, dark circles under his eyes, and looks back to the window.
"No," I gasp, my heart in my throat, "NO." I repeat, back hitting the wall. I cover my mouth and press hard on it, as if trying to stop the guts from spilling out. My stomach takes a violent turn and I taste iron in my mouth. I'm biting my stinging tongue furiously. He doesn't look at me; his eyes are glazed over as if he is in another world. I claw at my throat and feel my knees wobble dangerously, black dots dancing in my vision. I lean into the wall and cling to it desperately.
"Stop," Chris mumbles, but I barely hear him, coughing violently. "STOP." He snaps, eyes clouded with something I don't recognize. But the vulnerability is gone from his features. I glare at him, gulping in air rapidly.
"What do you expect me to do, Chris? Calmly accept it? It's been 12 years!" He sits back down and cradles his head again, as if a pain had taken root there. I scoff and grab my bag, shaking slightly, and stumble out of the classroom. There's kids in the halls, chatting loudly and eating their lunch. The smell makes me feel like I would throw everything right back up; but there isn't anything in my stomach and I feel a lump growing in my throat. I want to run, but my feet have no strength left. I want to scream or cry out, but I have no voice left. Suddenly, I have nothing. And the emotions continue to snake their way into my head and eat me up where it hurts most. I hate this town, and I hate it's goddamn secrets, and I hope it burns down-
"Hi, Sidney. Long time no see." I freeze. I can feel my heart beating faster and faster, digging into my chest painfully. Oh, please don't let it be her, please-
And then I whip myself around, my voice catching in my throat. There she stands, everything that I had hoped she would be, with raven hair that barely reaches her shoulders and those bright green eyes that seem as if they're glowing- No. Something is different. Something in her eyes, something dark and empty; the same darkness I saw in Chris's blue eyes that flickered away. But hers was steady; it never faltered for a moment. I force myself to take in a breath and smile slightly.
"hey, Kit Kat." She searches my eyes, with a gracefulness that mesmerizes me. A tiny smile forms on her lips.
"In the flesh." And just like that, the strange emptiness in her expression disappears.
I suddenly don't recognize the girl in front of me, standing with an aura of something about to strike; like a snake coiling back as it readies itself to snap at its victim. I swallow several times, trying to push back the panic. I can't let her see it in my eyes. But whoever this is, it isn't Kat. There's something animal in her expression; something sinister as she stares with those silver eyes- wait, silver??
I blink once, and just like that the effect is gone. She tilts her head innocently, but I feel the predator-like gaze set on me, watching intensely. Something isn't right, and it's affecting Chris too. The whole fact that she was back had terrified me. It couldn't be, it must be a dream. That's right, isn't it? It has to be. She can't be back. She can't.
Because she is on the missing people's list.
Kat punches my arm playfully, grinning widely. I command every muscle in my body to not cringe away from her touch, and offer a forced smile back. Everything about her is the same. Her attitude, her expression, her eyes- no. It was definitely her eyes. They were different, no matter how much I stared into them.
"So, where's Chris? He looked absolutely terrified when I handed him the flyer for my poem. Has he been okay lately?" I pause for a moment, and feel a tingle of rage rise up in my chest. Why on earth is she acting like nothing happened?? She disappears for 12 years, and pretends that it was just a long-term vacation. Still, she is the only missing person of Oldemeadow to come back, and that in itself was chilling.
"He's in that classroom over there." I say before I can stop myself. My voice sounds distant and hoarse, and I realize my voice was barely audible. But Kat doesn't seem to notice, and seemed to have heard pretty well. She smiles at me one last time before skipping over to the classroom where Chris was sitting. I regret my decision immediately, but it was too late. I heard arguing voices coming from the classroom. They were yelling over each other, and then...silence. Absolute, utter silence. I feel my breath catch in my throat.
"Chris?!?" I sprint to the doorway of the classroom. It's empty. Chris is gone. And so is Kat.