Now that I think about it, it had been a while since that shadow had wrecked chaos.
On the second day of school, I had gotten my school lunch all over me. The shadow had been sitting on the ground and I hadn't noticed until I had tripped over it. When I turned to see what had tripped me, it stood and ran off into the hallway. The day afterward, a couple of kids invited me to talk with them during our break. We talked for a while until a fish fell from the tree we were standing under and landed directly on my head. I could see the shadow through the branches and I had glared up at it, but the other kids had already left because of how awful it smelled. Then, the day before yesterday, my shirt had miraculously been tied to the flag pole right before school. When it was raised higher for the pledge, I went up with it. School hadn't even started for the day and I was already embarrassed out of my mind. I knew that the curse would gradually get worse over time, but I didn't think it would happen so quickly.
I searched for the shadow all day, checking under the tables at lunch and even searching through the trash can. I didn't pay too much attention in class as I scanned the outside world, looking for the shadow. My teachers were not impressed. Soon, the day was over and there was still no sign of that shadow anywhere. I waited outside the school for Abigail, leaning against the wall nearest to the entrance. While I waited, I thought over everything that had been happening. The shadow was probably planning something big to get me kicked out of this school. Two days was plenty of time to come up with a horrid plan, especially for a mind like that.
Eventually, Abigail came out of the building. She didn't even greet me, she just grabbed my arm and pulled me off towards the bus stop.
"You ride the bus home?" I ask her as we make our way to the other kids standing there. The bus pulls into the drive and parks just as we stop near the back of the bunch.
"Yeah," she says as the doors slowly open to let the other kids in. "My parents don't have the time to pick me up themselves and the only relatives I have live all over the country. I haven't even met most of them."
"Oh, I'm so sorry," I say, feeling guilt grip at my insides. "I didn't mean to-" She cuts me off before I can finish.
"It's fine, you didn't know."
We both clamber onto the bus and find an empty bench in the front. We take our seats and she starts up another conversation.
"So, you told your parents, right?" she asks me.
"Uh, yes? I wouldn't be here if I hadn't," I tell her, giving a nervous chuckle.
"Why not?" She looks genuinely intrigued. Her big eyes are full of wonder as she stares at me.
"I, uh. . . It doesn't really matter." I turn away from her to look at the aisle between us and a weird kid who leans down to look me in the eyes gives me a crooked smile. My eyes grow wide and I turn back to Abigail.
"That's just Travor, ignore him." I give him a sideways glance causing him to give me another smug smile and wave. I look back at Abigail and she presses, "Why not?"
"Why not what?" I ask, my mind still on Travor.
"Why wouldn't you be here if you hadn't have told your parents?" she asks again, sounding slightly annoyed.
"Oh, uh, I just tend to get really nervous and my parents can tell when something's up. I can't really keep a secret well," I confess. I had rambled all that without thinking, but now that I had heard myself I feel my cheeks go hot pink. Why had I told her all of that?
"That makes sense, I guess," she responds, turning back to the window. My cheeks return to their natural shade and I gaze out the window around her.
I find myself gazing at her reflection, instead. She had beautiful brown eyes, the color of the earth. And her golden hair looked silky as if she had used extra conditioner. But the most vibrant thing I saw was a pendant that hung around her neck. It lay atop her pink T-shirt, but I didn't get the chance to stare at it some more because she caught me looking.
"What are you doing?" she asks, an edge in her voice.
"Um, I was just, you know, looking out the window?" I stammer, losing my cool. "Sorry, I can look away." I turn back to Travor but, before he can do anything, I turn back around and face straight ahead.
"No, you were staring at me!" Abigail says, raising her voice a bit. It wasn't loud enough to gather attention, though. The other kids were talking even louder than her.
"I-I wasn't," I stutter but she wasn't having any of it.
"What were you staring at, Axel?" Her eyes narrow as she looks me up and down, trying to determine what I was hiding.
I couldn't take it, so I said in my quick, perplexed voice, "I was looking at your necklace! I'm sorry, it just looked so interesting that I couldn't stop myself." So, it wasn't the full truth. But how was I to admit I might have a slight crush on this girl? It was probably nothing, anyway. After all, I hardly knew her.
"My. . ." she trails off, her hand floating to her pendant. Her fingers lightly run over its surface. It was a tan metal, probably bronze. It was folded to look like a flower, with a blue gem in the center. It was gorgeous. "Whatever," she says, ripping me out of my wonder. I look up to see her turn harshly to the window and draw her knees up to her chest. I could swear I saw a tear run down her cheek in the window, but I realized that she didn't like me staring.
So, I turned away from her and just stared at the seat in front of us as the bus continued to thump down the road.
Author Notes: I hope you enjoyed! Be sure to give me feedback if anything sticks out to you.
As always, have a better-than-average day!