The Rot Within Bellview High

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"Are you ok?!"

Abigail snapped out of her reverie, panting and gasping from the vision's whiplash. Eli Cooper, one of Bellview's linemen, was gripping her shoulders tight, looking down at her with worry. After a few moments, Abigail calmed down, and looked up at Eli.

"W-what happened?" she shakily asked him. "I was talking with that lady, and then...I heard that train horn, and..."

"Lady? What lady?" Eli asked back. "You were the only other person here when I saw you a moment ago. You looked like you were having a seizure, you weren't budging a bit!"

"She-she looked like a business woman, a curt, ominous lady in a white and black uniform..."

Eli went silent, and whispered hoarsely, "You've seen her, too?"

"What do you mean?" Abigail asked him, trying to stop shuddering. "This lady's been here before?!"

Hurried footsteps resounded near the the gym ward's entrance, and running up to them came Enako Inoue, easily the kindest girl in Bellview's senior class. Enako looked Abigail up and down with what could've passed as big sisterly worry.

"Abigail, you look pale as a sheet. What happened to you?" Enako asked, bending forward and gently wiping away at a drop of sweat on Abigail's face.

"I...saw something. A woman in a black and white suit, telling me about the awful thing that happened here four years ago...and a vision of somebody named Nadia in the boys' locker room, telling Vinnie Bartek that he's a hypocrite."

Enako shuddered involuntarily, and told her, "Me and Eli have seen the same woman, and from what I've heard whispered around Bellview, the three of us aren't the only one. I don't know who this woman is, or what she's trying to accomplish by wandering through our halls...but I have the uncanny sensation that I've seen here elsewhere, working behind the scenes for some ulterior motive."

"Is she a ghost?" Abigail questioned out loud.

"Maybe," Eli answered. "But I guarantee you, she's not part of this school in any way, shape or form."

"What are you three doing here?" said Mr. Wilson, coming from the main hallway after his visit to the principal's office. "You should be heading towards your next classes."

He noticed how shaken Abigail was, and said, "Wright, you look awful. You should drop by the nurse's office for something, maybe a drink of water."

The gym teacher turned to head into his office, but Abigail asked him, "Mr. Wilson, was there another transgender student here four years ago? Somebody named...um, Nadia?"

The trio of students watched him go rigid, his back turned to them as Abigail pressed on.

"And...did she know Vinnie Bartek well?"

"Wright, I don't want to talk about this," Mr. Wilson hoarsely told her.

"Please, Mr. Wilson! If there was another student like me, I want to know-"

"Abigail," he said, finally saying her new name and provoking a collective gasp at the sight of tears beading up in his eyes, "please, I can't."

Abigail, Enako and Eli stood silent in shock as they watched their gym teacher shamble into his office, close the door and lock it behind them, sobs echoing out from within.

***

The three students somberly walked out of the gym section, entering the main hall and passing between the massive stone pillars supporting the ceiling above. Mr. Wilson's alarming bout of grief weighed heavily over them all, especially Abigail, who knew that it only served to confirm her vision.

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