Chapter Twenty

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The Fog

The following week feels like I'm sleepwalking.

Classes are still on, but the weather is growing increasingly worse and the feeling of normalcy declines with it. I drift from building to building, and bitter morning air washes over my skin as I swerve past policemen and strangers dressed in dark overcoats.

It's like a scene from one of those murder mystery movies my Grandad watched; mist hangs over our roofs, creeping in and out of buildings and windows, swirling thickly between the gaps of trees. I can't see more than five feet in front of me and clutching at the sidewalk railings quickly becomes my sole source of navigation.

Sounds are muted, shapes blurred.

If it weren't for the faint yellow light flaring from the streetlights above, the fog's darkness would have completely taken over. Even in classes it's present, and I quickly learn there is no such thing as solitude.

The walls have become damp, freezing to the touch, and no matter how many clothes I layer on before leaving my dorm, I can't escape it. I avoid sitting beside windows, which confuses Eden and Ellie, but I'm so acutely aware how the fog looms that I don't care.

It's thicker than ever as it presses against the glass, searching for a way in, but I'm determined to keep it out.

Least to say, by Thursday our classes are cancelled.

'The weather's always like this around October,' Parker says the morning we receive the email – as the only local in our dorm, I try to believe he knows his stuff. 'It won't last long,' he continues. 'Hell; the teachers probably just want a break from us. I don't get why they're making such a big deal out of it.'

'Or they want a break from those police officers,' Riley adds. She slouches back against the wall. 'I know I do. They've been stepping into my lectures all week.'

Eden looks at her. Maybe it's the look in her eyes, but before the words even leave her lips, I know what she's going to say. I barely have a second to brace myself before the argument starts. What is it, the fiftieth time now? I try not to roll my eyes.

'What,' Eden says, voice too kind to be genuine, 'afraid they're going to find your hidden stock of Mary Jane?'

Riley's eyes narrow. 'I told you that wasn't me. What the hell is your problem?'

'My problem is that I don't believe you.' Eden tilts her head and her ice-blond hair spills over one shoulder like a river of blood. 'The smell was coming from your room, for God's sake. Just bite the bullet and give me my money back.'

Riley's eyes grow impossibly narrower. 'It's not my problem that you have trust issues, Eden. Maybe you should get them checked out. Living with a psycho is getting bad for my health.'

I roll my eyes. Here we go again.

With nothing to do, we've all congregated in the common room. Even Wesley has managed to show up, though he remains cooped in the kitchen eating yet another microwave meal. I don't know how that boy does it. How is it fair that he gets to look like that, yet me eating just one bag of crisps adds an inch to my waist?

As Eden and Riley's voices get louder, I gradually begin to realise what a bad idea it was to have them in the same room. Considering what happened a couple of days ago, I'm surprised one hasn't killed the other yet.

You might be feeling a little out of the loop, so let me catch you up: the other night, we had a knock on the door from security, who could smell something (you can guess what) drifting from one of our windows. We were given an ultimatum: the person who did it can step up and take responsibility, or we all get fined twenty-five dollars.

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