Chapter Thirty Four

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I have uploaded the re-written CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO and CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE at the same time. Please make sure you read them in order!


The concept of time became distant to me.

Once I woke up from my seemingly drugged stupor, the first thing I heard was the sound of the alarm blaring in my ears. But once my vision cleared up, my heart jerked in my chest as I realized who stood over me. When Mr. Johnston's finger traced my cheek, a cold shiver ran down my spine. I wanted to scream, turn away from him, and run as fast I could. But my body wouldn't respond. My eyelids were heavy, my mouth was sticky, and my limbs were like lead. My body was so dysfunctional and unresponsive to my mind's commands. Confusion consumed me as I lay there, immobile.

"What...the hell?" I managed to wheeze out.

"Ah, finally! The young Hayley Larson is finally awake."

"What's going on?" I mumbled, my eyes stinging with exhaustion. He lightly slapped my face to effectively wake me up. He was still hovering over me. Now that I was more alert, I realized I was still in my dorm, but Imogen was nowhere to be seen. Instinctively, I wanted to reach out to her. I wanted her to help me.

"Don't fall asleep on me now," Mr. Johnston threatened.

"Did you...drug me?" I asked groggily. I still couldn't speak properly.

"Me? Never!" he exclaimed in mock horror. He slapped his palm to his chest for dramatic effect. "A nice, friendly guard did the deed in exchange for a little, shall we say, incentive. Imogen should be finished with him soon enough to join the party."

His words were swirling around my brain. It was hard to process what he was saying when I felt so utterly exhausted. He had a charismatic smile stretched all over his face as he stood over me.

"What's that sound?" My words sounded incoherent to my own ears, but fortunately, Mr. Johnston seemed to understand.

"Oh, that? Just the fire alarm. I needed a distraction that would evacuate everyone out of the building and drown out any noise we make in here," he said casually, as if he did this every day. He rubbed his hands together with excitement evident on his face. "You see, Hayley, this has been my plan for a while. We needed to get rid of Colin. At first, we thought just putting him away in isolation would work, but no, we needed to get him completely away from you. It took John to convince Derek, who then had to convince Miranda to sign Colin out of school. Apparently, that was easier than anticipated."

His words weren't making sense in my groggy brain. Colin. My body ached for him. Panic shot through my veins as soon as I realized that I had no one to help me. I was so frustrated that I couldn't move to get away from him. And to make things worse, my mind felt so cloudy.

"Also, the fact that you found out about Imogen and I helped speed up the plan. I see you're probably confused. Let me explain," he said and sighed theatrically, falling elegantly on top of Imogen's bed. "I am the boss of a very large and powerful underground operation. To put it bluntly, I buy and deal drugs. Imogen's stepfather—who you met at Colin's, I hear—is an employee of mine. A very loyal and highly esteemed employee, may I add."

As I struggled to keep my eyes open, very slowly, his words were slowly sinking into my brain. I felt sick to my stomach. What did any of this have to do with me? Slowly, I began to sit up. He made no movement to stop me. I felt like I was drunk. Although my mind was cloudy, it was functioning somewhat, whereas my body was not.

"You see, your father borrowed money from us lots of money. But he couldn't pay back his debt. So...Well, I think you can fill in the rest," he resumed casually, looking down at his fingernails. My heart dropped into my stomach. Icy tendrils of fear slithered through my chest. My eyes burned with tears as I felt bile rise in the back of my throat.

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