CHAPTER SEVEN: HIS FILE

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Something about the scenery gave me odd vibes, so I hurried toward the tainted glass doors behind the librarian's desk that read: STUDENT RECORDS. "Guard the door while I look for it. I won't take too long," I said.

Nodding, he stepped back toward the entrance doors, keeping an eye out through the window in the middle.

Please don't be closed, please don't be closed. I tried pushing the door lightly, but it didn't move. I did it again, this time pressing harder against it, and a comforting, low creaking sound echoed through the library as it opened.

I knew how crazy all of this was, but I stepped inside and let the door close behind me before I could talk myself out of it. Flicking the switch on, I was greeted by two tight shelves of cabinets and boxes.

There was no going back now.

They were organized alphabetically—last name first—and I walked all the way to the back where the NEW ADMISSIONS section was. The first three cabinets were tagged A-B. It opened one of them smoothly, another light cloud of dust swaying into the air with the sudden movement. How often did they use these? Weren't these supposed to be new?

The line of files stretched like an accordion, each labeled with a student's name. I went through them carefully, making sure I didn't skip it by accident. "Abrams, Acosta, Acker..." I skipped through some, closing back the cabinet when I noticed all of the ones in it began with the letter A.

I opened the next, and my eyes bumped into the name almost instantly. "Black, Hunter." I took the manila folder out carefully, hesitating before I opened it. There were only two outcomes to it: either it was empty, or I found a completely normal profile.

Neither of them would sooth the uneasy feeling that spread inside of me.

Outside, I heard Jared asking something along the lines of, "Have you found it?", and I whispered as loud as I could, "Just give me a second."

That's all I needed. One second. To calm my heartbeat and process what I was about to do. I had some sort of right to know why this guy was different in my eyes. Without any more hesitation, I opened the folder, and a vacuum replaced my stomach. I felt as empty as his file.

We were back to square one. "Fuck."

Trying to decipher him was like running through a maze, only that every time I thought I had the slightest of leads or advantages, every time I thought I took the right turn, the walls shifted into a completely different order.

I put the folder back inside where it had been and closed the cabinet in a hurry. Jared was patiently waiting outside the door. "What did you find?"

"Nothing."

"It wasn't there?"

"It was," I said, sighing. "But there wasn't anything inside."

"No alien records?" I shook my head, and he smiled faintly, his arms bringing me close into a hug. "We'll figure what's up with him, Liv. We simply have to find another way."

I was about to reply when Stephanie's voice echoed outside the main doors. Our heads snapped on the direction of her heels' clicking sound, and Jared dragged me with him by the hand without warning. "The back doors," he whispered.

We moved quickly, hearing Stephanie approaching the library. Jared pushed the back doors as quietly as he possibly could, and I crouched under his arm to get out. He followed me close, and we heard the doors opening on the other side. She strode inside, phone in hand, with a fuming glare in her eyes.

"I swear I thought they were in here, Phillip," she spoke on the phone, scanning each and every corner of the library. "They were acting really strange...." She paused for a second, lips pressed into a thin line. "It was just the two of them: Olivia and her little munchkin Jared, the son of Mr. Can't-Keep-My-Dick-In-My-Pants."

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