7.

-HER-

When I reach school, I realize that I am early. So early that the Janitor hadn’t unlocked the doors of the main building yet.

I sigh, my hot breath coming out as white smoke in this cold weather. I walk around the school premise and climb the small hill covered with tall pine trees situated just behind the school building. Since the pine trees cover most of the hill; it’s a good place one’d like to come when they don’t want to be seen by anybody.

I trek the small hill and find that old fallen log on which I’ve sat countless times and watched the time pass. I come here often when I don’t feel like attending a class or when I get bullied by someone. It’s a secluded place and not many students dare to stroll this father into the pine trees because the snow could be light here and easily swallow a person.

Since I have been coming here forever, I know where to step and where not to. One of the advantages of not being home most of the times is that I have a lot of experience with snow and trees. I could look at a new layer of snow and easily predict whether it’s safe to walk on it or not. I could look at a tree and tell whether the snow resting on its leaves is heavy enough for it to sustain or not. I could look at the sky and tell how many days it’s going to snow continuously.

I can tell many things.

Wish I could tell how many days I have left to live.

I silently occupy the fallen log and watch over the school building as a few students start to crowd in the parking lot. This hill is a good place to watch over the whole school premise. It’s a place from where you can see everything and everyone but no one can see you.

After some moments, I spot Grace, my twin sister. Her silver blond hair is easily recognizable from miles away. As soon as she steps in the parking lot, she’s surrounded by her friends. She’s the popular chick in the school and to be honest, I am quite jealous of her. I wish I could be like her. Liked and adored by everyone. She’s undoubtedly the Head Girl of our school and I am me. I am the Official Troublemaker.

I see her smile from ear to ear as she chirps with her friends as if nothing happened at home this morning at all. Soon, I hear the bell ring in distance signaling all the students to go to their first class. I get up from the log and brush my back before heading down the hill.

I put my hood on as I enter the school building and head for my first class this morning which happens to be English taught by Mrs. Sutton. As I enter the class, I find Mrs. Sutton already present. She eyes me from head to toe, her glasses resting on her nose bridge. I move into the class, occupying the seat at the very back of the room, away from most of the students.

The class commences and she starts teaching Shakespeare’s Sonnet no. 18 which I luckily read last night.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And Summer’s lease hath...” I hear her voice fade in the background as my eyes feel heavier. I don’t know how long I slept last night but I know whatever amount I managed to sleep last night wasn’t enough for me.

I bid back this strong urge to yawn like a cat but I contain myself because Mrs. Sutton doesn’t like to see anyone yawn in her class. I take several deep breaths and as soon as I see her turn towards blackboard, I yawn freely but shut my mouth quickly when she turns back.

“Now, I’ll take a short quiz.” She announces and I see several people scowl along with me.

“Okay now, let’s start with Nefret.” She says and I sit up straight from my slouching position.

“Who’s Shakespeare comparing a summer’s day to?” She asks briskly, her eyes trained on me from behind her full rimmed glasses sitting low on her nose bridge. She raises an eyebrow at me as I rake my brain for the answer.

“He’s comparing a summer’s day to his friend.” I say after some moments of silence. I see the whole class turn back to look at me and suddenly, I could feel everyone’s eyes at me. I spot Melisa and her minions sitting at the front, smirking at me.

“What’s the name of friend?” She asks.

“I...uh... I.” I mumble looking around, trying to remember what I studied last night.

“Try to be attentive in class, Nefret if you don’t wish to repeat this year again.” She says briskly before telling me to sit and continuing the class. After English, I go to the lockers to get my books for the next class which happens to be Physics.

As I open the locker and shove my English books in it, I feel a presence behind me and I instantly realize who the person is. Before she could do anything, I shut the locker with a loud bang making her jump back.

“Oh sorry, did I scare the shit out of you?” I ask sweetly batting my eyes at her. She glares at me before storming off with her three minions hot on her tail. I roll my eyes at her before taking out my physics book and heading towards the physics department.

I spot Grace in the hallways. She sends me a cold glare before going back to talk to her friends. I shake my head at her and go to the physics department. I enter the class and head straight to the last bench. The physics class passes in a blur and so does the rest of the day.

When the last bell for the day rings, signaling the end of the day, I feel like throwing a tantrum. I have to go home but I don’t want to. Home: it’s the place I dread the most. I just don’t want to face my family yet because I know as soon as I step inside the house mom will interrogate me.

I know that they haven’t gotten over what happened this morning and they won’t let the incident slip easily. I sigh deeply as I start to walk home, taking small steps, wishing somehow I forgot the way home. Wishing I die this moment and don’t have to face anyone.

When I reach home, I decide to climb the water pipe and enter my room instead of entering through the front door. I creep in the backyard before starting to climb the water pipe. When I reach my room, I open the window and swing myself inside, landing on my bedroom floor with a loud thud.

“Nefret is that you? Are you home?” I hear dad call out and I mentally curse myself for being hasty. When I don’t answer him, I hear footsteps outside my door before the door opens and I see dad standing tall at my door.

I slowly get up from the floor.

“How many times do I have to tell you not to climb the water pipe? You could have slipped and fallen.” He says annoyance and frustration decorating his face as I stand up.

“Sorry, dad.”

“Is she home yet?” I hear mom ask from downstairs and start to mentally devise a plan to run away. I shouldn’t have come home in the first place.

“Yes, our imp is home.” Dad says and steps inside my room while I place my bag at my study table. His gaze keeps trained on me. I know the look on his face and what the intensity of his eyes means. They’re screaming only one thing at me: START SPEAKING.

“I...I am sorry for what happened this morning.” I say dropping my gaze and tugging the hem of my jacket.

“Don’t apologize to me. Go downstairs and apologize to your sister.” He says patiently crossing his arms on his chest. At the mention of apology and sister in the same sentence, my head shoots up and I feel a scowl finding its way to my face.

“But why?” I shouldn’t be the one apologizing. She should apologize to me for raising false allegations against me. Dad doesn’t answer me. Instead, I see his gaze getting more heated on me and the Alpha vibes start radiating from his figure.

Okay, I get it. Whatever I say, can and will be used against me. I know how it works. It’s not the first time something like this has happened. I sigh and look at him straight.

“Dad, I swear on myself that I was home last night and that Grace was lying this morning,” I say looking him in the eye with a straight face. I want him to know, I want everyone to know that I was home last night and that I wasn’t lying this morning.

I know that I’ve lied many times in the past. It’s become a major part of my behavior. I tell many lies which make it hard for people to believe me. The situation I am in right now, I don’t blame it on anyone but me. It’s all because of me. I am the person who’s responsible for being like this.

“Just come down for dinner and apologize to your sister.” He says sternly and leaves. “Don’t run away.” I hear his voice boom from the staircase when I find my eyes unconsciously drifting to the window through which I just climbed in a few moments ago.

I sigh and head down, ready to face everyone. When I step inside the dining room, I see everyone already seated, waiting for me. I see dad who nods at me. I look at Grace, her eyes shining with amusement.

“I am not sorry for throwing the cup on you this morning, Grace.” I say and see her eyes grow wide while a thundering growl rings throughout the room. I knew instantly that it belonged to dad. I did not take another moment as I sprint upstairs and lock myself in my room whilst another growl rings throughout the house. This time it was mom.

I pissed them off at the same time. Great!

I’ve to miss dinner. Not great. At all.

“I’ll deal with her.” I hear mom growl and I shiver. I have to make sure to sneak out when she comes for me.

I lay on my bed and hear them talk downstairs while eating. My stomach growls and I mentally curse myself. I should’ve eaten first and then ran away, this way wouldn’t be hungry. Anyway, once everyone goes to sleep, I’ll sneak into the kitchen and get some food.

I didn’t realize when I fell asleep because when I wake up and check the time, my digital clock read 1:03 A.M. Suddenly, I feel something wet under my head. I check to find that my pillow is drenched with my sweat. When did I sweat so much?

How did this happen?

Soon I start to feel hot. I unzip the jacket that I fell asleep in, followed by taking off the sweater that I was wearing under it.

I still feel hot but why?

I feel sweat trickle down my forehead and my hands shoot up to touch my hair only to find it wet as if I just walked out of the shower. Suddenly, my stomach growls painfully and I remember that I slept without eating. I decide to go to the kitchen and get some food in my belly before inquiring about my sweat.

As I climb downstairs, I feel hotter and suddenly my senses sharpen. I can see clearer in the dark and hear every twist and turn of the wind just outside the window. My nose picks up several scents, both fresh and faded. I am surprised to find the scent of coffee linger in the air that our cook made yesterday morning.

I shrug and sneak into the kitchen. I open the fridge and as the cool air from the fridge hits me, I feel hotter instead of the cold.

What’s happening?

I feel the hotness increase. It feels like my body is on fire and I can’t ignore it anymore. I feel a strange tingling all over my skin and Oculus Reaper which is always wrapped around my arm, tightens.

My breaths shorten and suddenly, my vision changes. I don’t see normal colors anymore but my vision is decorated with shades of orange, red, yellow, green and blue.

I feel hotter and suddenly, I see fire. The whole kitchen has caught fire. The flames rise high, touching the ceiling and soon, smoke appears. I panic and as I try to exit the kitchen, the door catches fire and I hear the fire alarm ring whilst celling sprinkles start to water the fire.

Instead of going off, the intensity of the fire increases, surrounding me. I try to scream but no sound comes out of my mouth. I feel trapped and helpless.

I think this is my end.

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