beginning of chapter 2 in The Golden Amulet

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Monday morning Alexander Malcolm couldn’t help but watch the unknown girl relentlessly. She barely noticed as she remained inattentive to the teacher. He thought it was interesting and odd at the same time. Her head and body slightly faced the windowed wall where a perfect scene of a perfect city was displayed with billboards advertising new perfumes and bubbly designed umbrellas. Her posture was slumped in her chair with her small booted feet elevated on the chair in front of her. Her arms were crossed, but regardless of her position, her face wasn’t twisted up, but was emotionless. No one sat around her in the far back of the classroom. Alex was surprised that he hadn’t noticed the abnormality of her attire of a grey sweatshirt and green jacket before. It was so unusual especially since the school was ordered to wear identical uniforms until graduation.

A tap on his slightly bruised back woke him up. He turned to see Michael extremely upset with him.

“You’re not even paying attention,” he said jotting things down on a digital tablet. He squinted to see the board, and looked back at him.

“And I told you, watch my back. It still hurts like crazy.” He peeked over his desk to see Michael’s Scan-tron and began taking answers. Michael snatched his tablet up to his face and a slightly shocked Alex stared up at him.

“And if you didn’t run away Friday, you wouldn’t have that nasty bump on your lip. I mean, why would you even try to take someone’s bike to get home, fall and hurt yourself so bad, and not use your school ID to take the bus home? The whole thing sounds janked.” Michael slowly turned his head to see Alex nodding his head in agreement. He was right though; the whole story was preposterous and if he hadn’t run away to chase that girl, she wouldn’t have beaten the crap out of him. There was no chance Alex was going to tell Michael the truth. He was a squealer, and would definitely get him into more trouble.

Michael grimaced, “Besides, I’m still panked at you for leaving me. I wanted to play Blasteroids 7. By the way, you’re copying down my directions.” He pouted unnecessarily until the teacher started speaking.

“Okay everyone get in your pairs. We’re entering stage 4 of the project. Answer the questions on your Scan-tron tablets. Every time you get an answer right, a green mark will appear on the right side of the screen. When an answer is wrong, it will beep red and you have thirty seconds to get it right before it counts as wrong. Understand?” He instructed, stepping around the electronically charged floor, “Now, get to it.” He dismissed. The obedient students stood up at once and went to their partners except Alex who remained seated.

“Come on, let’s work man,” Alex pressured, turning in his seat facing Michael. He rose from his seat.

“Don’t you remember? Nikki and I work together. We are sort of going out, remember?” Nikki showed up behind him with her button-up shirt inappropriately halfway together with the other half flared open, revealing b-cup cleavage.

“We’re not together,” she half-joking stated with an arm on his shoulder.

“Well, who am I supposed to work with, everyone is paired up already.” Alex looked up at them, but his eyes unwillingly reverted back to Nikki’s chest every other second. Michael then chuckled and pointed to the back of the room.

“She doesn’t have a partner.” Without looking Alex confidently knew who. He glanced back to see a evenly brown girl with long soft looking hair where half of it was smoothly pulled into a ponytail and the rest of the black locks unraveled in front of her chest. She sat no longer staring out the window, but staring blankly at her empty desk.

He stared at her until he spoke, “Okay…” Alex replied, cutting Michael’s snickering short. He grabbed his tablet and began walking toward her, the floor beneath him shifting to steps as he walked.

She didn’t look up at him until he sat next to her, so when he turned to face her, her confused expression alarmed him. He gasped loudly, and then quickly controlled his breathing again. Her eyes remained squinted and her eyebrows arched downward on a slender slant. Alex had never seen her face so close up before. She had little darker brown speckles under her eyes and on her slightly curved nose bridge.

“My partner quit on me.” Alex blurted. Her expression changed to contentment and glanced out the window again. She pulled her worksheet tablet from beneath her desk and used the touch screen to write her answers down. They kept blinking red, and she finally gave up and set it down. Alex watched her solemnly as she crossed her arms again and stared out the window. He glanced over to Michael who sat next to the door and next to Nikki. Like a mime, Michael acted out that he had a beautiful babe and Alex had a creep and he inaudibly mocked and laughed at him. Alex rolled his eyes and faced the girl again.

“So…” Alex began. Her squinted eyes even more pulled together.

“So what?” She asked confoundedly.


“Don’t you think you owe me an apology?” He displayed his bruised lip, “I did keep up my end of the bargain. I didn’t tell anyone that I saw you in that regular ominous looking alleyway.”

“Sorry.” She apologized in a monotone. Her apology surprised Alex. He wasn’t expecting it. It was a joke, really.

“Uh, no problem,” he scratched the back of his puffy brown curls. His habitual smile returned to his face.

“Well, I don’t think those questions are supposed to beep red. Want to borrow my answers?” He slid his Scan-tron over to her desk. She cocked her head to the side, but took it anyway.

Her head bowed down and she buried herself in her work. Alex dazed into her soft black hair. The sunlight from the window exposed highlights of a darker brown and little white glares danced around every time she shifted her head. Alex’s hand was beckoned to touch it. He unthinkingly reached out to pat just once. He dramatically moved his hand outward slowly, almost contacting the top of her head. At the last minute, he snapped into reality and as he reeled his hand back, her head jerked up with one of her famous expressions of confoundedness.

“I-I was just getting my Scan-tron.” He stammered.

“Well, relax;” she smiled for the first time, “It’s right here, I’m done.” She slid it back to him and her tablet lit green in checkmarks lined down the screen.

“What’s your name?” Alex asked glancing down at her Scan-tron noticing that she left the name field blank.

“Not important.” She answered casually. Alex sucked his teeth playfully.

“That’s not fair. Here, my name is Alexander Malcolm. And you are?” He formally introduced.

“Not important. My name’s not important.” She answered seriously. Alex raised his eyebrows.

The teacher noticed that they had not been working and began walking up to them with his hands behind his back. When he reached them in the back of the room, Alex hadn’t noticed him. Who is this weirdo? He thought to himself. At the same time though, as he stared at her profile and her glum face released a sigh of boredom, he had an inkling that she was way more than she put on.

The teacher’s clear of the throat woke Alex up. He glanced back to see his average looking teacher that wore gray pants and a black buttoned up shirt. On him, he looked sophisticated and ought to teach at a university rather than a private high school. He wore a gold pin on his chest that read: Culpatus Lord “Praise Him”.

“Ms. Cherish,” he began, “are you going to work today and be cooperative?” His voice very stern and instructive.

“Actually, I finished already Mr. Butterman.” She responded icily followed by an indirect stare out the window. Mr. Butterman scoffed.

“Sure you did.”

“No, sir, she did. See?” Alex backed up, sliding her tablet toward him. He skimmed over it through his reading glasses and set it back down. Without another word, he turned back around and headed back to the front of the classroom. He glimpsed back once more before going around and checking on other groups.

Her name is Cherish? It’s like the complete opposite than how she lets the world perceive her. She smiles so brightly, but yet she has this dark demeanor. Like she doesn’t care about where she’s at or anything about life…Listen to me, I’m making conclusions about this girl I hardly know. Cherish…it’s so simple, but exotic. She definitely has a certain complexity to her though.

The teacher walked and occasionally glanced back at them. Alex tried to act as if he hadn’t noticed, but Cherish glowered toward him. Of course, Michael raised his hand to ask for help on questions and Mr. Butterman reluctantly went to him. The moment the teacher had his back to them Cherish’s attention shifted to Alex, and wasn’t angry, but sweet and attentive.

“Yes?” Alex asked. He glanced over the classroom to see his classmates busily working without a peep. The fact that they were so far back from them was good because their voices would’ve been too much of a distraction. He felt a faint vibration from his desk and turned his head back to Cherish. Her head fell slightly down, along with her hair, and her hands were tightly folded together. Her leg shook vigorously under her desk.

“Hey, can I trust you?” She questioned. She still looked at her tightly formed fists on the desk. Her question was so artless, it caught Alex off guard. She looked up to see his answer on his face. His head moved ever-so-gently to the side, indecisive on whether or not to answer.

“I said can I trust you?” She repeated, indistinctly angered. Alex shook his head smoothly.

“Wait, how do I know if I can trust you?” Alex responded without mulling over his words. Her deadly gaze suddenly cut right into him.

“I told you before; I am not the evil one.” She retorted sharply. Shortly alarmed for a second, Alex regained his serenity and shrugged and rolled his eyes.

“You’re acting like that makes sense,” He sucked his teeth, exposing the dimples on each side of his cheeks. He had a sudden remorse for his last comment when he saw her glumly posed in her chair with her chin in her palm and she liberated air from her chest.

“What?” He uttered. She flashed him an unexpected smile, and he was pretty sure that when she talked she was elated.

“Can I see your hands?” She held her hands out to get them. She quickly glanced over Alex’s shoulder to check if the teacher was still busy with Michael.

“You’re weird.” Alex brought his hands up from under the desk with a suspicious eyebrow raised above his honey colored eyes. She ignored his insult and took hold of his limp hands. She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled something out. Alex felt the vibration under his desk quicken. Why is she so nervous? Alex thought to himself.

He couldn’t see what she’d engulfed in her tiny hand, but he spotted a sliver of gleam when the sunlight from the beautiful day outside shone on it at the right spot. The silver glimmer shone in his eye, making him squint.

“What is that?” He said rubbing his eye. She placed his hand back down, opened it up, and positioned a diamond figurine in his palm and cased his fingers over it. He worriedly glanced back up at her only to get her heart warming smile in return.

“Relax…” she soothed. Before Alex had his eyes completely closed, he caught Cherish looking over his shoulder to spy on Mr. Butterman. Her sweet and smoothing voice convinced him to keep his eyes closed.

“Now, Dear Lord of Heaven that made the Earth and Skies, I pray that this young man may wake up and see the dark and light and verify what is real…”

“Is this…” Alex interrupted, eyes still shut.

“Sshh…and what is not…also…” Cherish’s entreaty was cut short when Michael shouted past Mr. Butterman’s body to Alex, whose head was bent down forward and hands were clapped together.

“Alex! Don’t give in to her wizardry!” Michael yelled from across the large room, panicking the students in the classroom. Mr. Butterman snapped his head back looking directly at Cherish, his face pink with fury.

“I warned you child. You’re through, you hear me. You’re through!” He stomped down to his desk and pressed a button that hid underneath it.

Alex was quiet. He sat in his chair, looking at the classmates who were gawking at him and Cherish. She sat without an emotion. Michael obliviously stood from his seat, staring at his best friend in distress. Alex was so upset that he ruined it, but he also didn’t know what he was ruining. Maybe Michael had saved his life. But the situation seemed more than vaguely familiar to Alex. His growing animosity toward Michael that sprung out of nowhere. A silent room where the students held their breath in anticipation. His fist tightened and he had forgotten about the small figurine in his hand. He seemed to be blocking out Mr. Butterman’s tirade against him and Cherish, but when he looked at her she appeared to be doing the same thing. She sat, looking straight forward, tranquil and motionless.

He attempted to gain the same attitude because it looked to be working for Cherish; but his mind was racing too much to be at ease.

Everyone waited fretfully for five counted minutes until their classroom door beeped green and slid open. Four security guards barged through and marched their way up the shifting steps to get to Cherish and Alex. Before they got to a hearing distance, Cherish brushed the back of his hand.

“Hide it.” She barely budged her lips. Obediently, Alex discreetly snuck it into his breast pocket of his collared shirt. He had a faint déjà vu as two security guards gripped Cherish by the forearms and brought her to her knees. She stared contently into Alex’s face as the other two bulky security guards seized him. He strained to remain calm, but he showed too much panic and fear to seem under control. They pinched Alex’s forearms as he was brought to the ground, hurting his already bruised lip and back.

A tall middle-aged man entered the classroom dressed in a matching gray jacket and pants ensemble. Everyone followed him as he strode in Alex’s direction. He held out a slightly withered hand in front of Alex’s lowered head; his honey eyes pleading for answers.





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