Chapter Eight: Hostilities

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"we boil at different degrees."
-clint eastwood

✵✵✵

School had been canceled the entire next week due to the traumatizing fire, meaning that everyone would return the week of Halloween.

Every day of the week we have off I stay in my bedroom, strictly bound to my bed due to the haunting threats from homecoming.  The only time I get out of bed is to eat and start small conversations with my friends.

It isn't until the last day before we return to school that someone visits me in my room.

After two gentle knocks on my bedroom door, it opens to reveal January standing in the doorway.

"Hypaeria?" she says. "Are you okay?"

With my head between my legs (due to my bewilderment and somber), I remain sitting there silently. "Hypaeria?" she repeats.

I finally look up at her. "Yeah, I'm fine," I lie. She sits down on my bed next to me, her arms crossed in concern.

"No you're not," she replies, clearly aware that I had lied. "What's the matter?"

"Nothing," I answer. "I'm just...really tired, and so many concerning things have occurred since we've arrived."

"Hypaeria, we'll all be okay. This next week will be a lot better."

"Yeah, but what about Pyris? He loathes me now," I say, my voice shaking with sadness.

"He'll get over it," assures January.

"You don't understand, January. He's not going to let go of it so easily, he won't be completely fine in a matter of seconds."

She purses her lips as she ponders.  "You could try talking with him to settle things," she finally suggests.  "Is his anger all because of Adrian?"

"I think," I reply.  "It's idiotic, honestly."

"Well, caffeine will help you, so let's go downstairs and enjoy our last day off."

✵✵✵

January was right. Just one sip of a latte was all I needed to start the day.

Discussions of Halloween and the return to school fill the morning, and it isn't until late in the afternoon that I finally work up the courage to talk to Pyris in private.

After everyone starts their own conversations with one another, I pull Pyris aside politely.  He looks at me with his hazel eyes, suspicious and annoyed.  I bring him outside, and we walk down the neighborhood street until we find a nice place to sit, under a willow tree.

We sit cross-legged in the grass, and after a few seconds of silence, he says, "What do you want?"  His rude tone already digs the nail deeper, and I haven't even started talking yet.

"I..." I begin, but my voice trails off immediately. 

He stares at me irritably.

"I'm sorry, Pyris," I finally say.  "I never wanted you to be hurt by me."

"It's kind of late to say that..." he replies venomously.

"I know, but tell me, is Adrian's emergence in our lives the thing that is bothering you the most?"

"Somewhat," he answers.  "I'm not mad that he's here with us, I am mad—sad, actually—because I fear that he is going to make you forget about me."

"Why do you say that?" I ask curiously, but end up sounding rude.

"Because it feels as though you really like him."

"Are you kidding?!  I loathed him just weeks before, because I thought he had murdered my mother!"

He looks away, avoiding my eyes.

"Do you still want to be with me?" he asks.

"Yes," I reply.  "Of course I do."

He smiles for what seems like the first time in an eternity.

"Hypaeria, I'm sorry for accusing you," he says.

"It's fine—I know the transition from Eravale to Earth must be difficult, as it was for me."

We stand up, and he pulls me into a tight, loving embrace.

"Now, I need some serious help on that calculus homework," I say after pulling away. "That derivatives worksheet is lethal."

✵✵✵

Pyris and I accompany our friends back at my house, just in time for the beginning of the last-minute homework session.

After an abyss of calculus worksheets, an essay on semicolons, three worksheets on the Mississippi River, and a physics chart are all finished, we are all flooded with relief and accomplishment, and then we all head upstairs, perform our nighttime routines, and go to bed.

Despite my assumptions of having a dreamless slumber, my eyes close and are met by an untimely nightmare.

The bedroom around me fades into a dark forest filled with wizened and towering trees.  The canopy of leaves overhead contains the thick veil of fog beneath it; a fog so ominous that it feels as though merely touching it will infest you with sorrow and fear.

A shadow traverses across the forest, and after emerging from the fog, it morphs into a figure, then into a human.

The frightening realization of their identity haunts me.

It's Calysta Moonquake.

I feel the blood drain swiftly from my face in bewilderment.

"Calysta?" I say incredously. 

She looks at me, her eyes gazing at me venomously.  Her hands curl into fists, and her eyebrows knit in anger.

"You cost me my life," she hisses murderously.

She charges towards me, anger supplying her sprint. She reaches me, and clamps her two hands around my neck, pressing on it in an attempt to asphyxiate me. "YOU'RE A MURDERER!" she hollers, her voice so loud that it sends a tremor throughout the forest. My breaths seem to dissolve into the thin, foggy, air. Black spots enter my vision, and the last thing I see is Calysta's murderous face.

I awaken with a shrill scream, with the haunting image of Calysta still lucid in my mind.

END OF CHAPTER EIGHT

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