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A gentle breeze brushes my cheeks. My hand slowly finds it's way into my fathers hand. He squeezes it playfully, and I squeeze back. I laugh and run from him and yell behind me "come catch me!" He runs after me and scoops me up in his arms. He tickles me and I giggle. He lays me on the grassy hill and lies next to me. We lay, side by side, in the sunlight while we make pictures out of the clouds while the brilliant sun sets in the western sky.
It’s late now, and the stars are out. I must have fallen asleep. Dad wakes me up and he carries me to the car. Why did this day have to end?
That was nine years ago. I wake up. The same dream as before. I dread when this dream ends. It seemed too short. I pull on my favorite jeans and a lime green shirt, pull up my hair into a pony tail and run down the stairs. Mom’s making scrambled eggs and toast. I sit down at the table with my brother Noah. Noah is three years older than me. He’s a senior in high school. I’m only a freshman. My dog, Daisy, lies beneath the table, hoping for leftovers.
It’s been a difficult time for my family and I. My father, Matthew, died suddenly five months ago. No one is sure why. He was perfectly healthy. I have a feeling that mom knows something… Noah too.
My mother, Sara, has been struggling to pay the bills. Noah works as a waiter in a diner, and I answer the phone at our church. Both of our paychecks helps just a little, but we can tell Mom’s grateful. She is an author, a very good one at that. She has sold many books, but they’re not that famous. Still, it keeps us going.
“Mia, stop daydreaming” Mom tells me. “Eat up quickly or you’ll miss the bus.” I gobble down the rest of my egg, grab my backpack, and race out the door.
I arrive at the bus stop just as it rounds the bend. Perfect timing. I live with my family in a small town called Olina. We live by the ocean, and it’s absolutely beautiful. There are many trees, but not palm trees, which make the area very serene. Everyone knows each other. It’s like were a family, and a very large one at that.
I hear something rustle in the trees behind me. I turn and look, but there’s nothing there.
The bus arrives and I climb on with my brother, and our neighbor Elaina. Elaina is in my grade and we’re best friends. She is one of those people who are very quiet and school, but a totally different person at home. I love her to death. We’ve known each other since first grade and we’re really close friends.
Elaina grabs a seat for us in the front of the bus. I hate the back of the bus. It’s really loud back there and for some strange reason it smells. So Elaina and I sit in the front.
We reach Valley High School, otherwise known as VHS. Everyone thinks that the name is ridiculous. Once, someone sent a petition around to change the name, but the principle wouldn’t change it. “It’s just one of those things,” he said.
My locker is next to Elaina’s. We grab our books and I head to Algebra 1 while she goes to Chemistry. On my way, I see Harper Maude. She has got to be the most annoying person in the ninth grade. When she walks, her blond curls bounce and almost every boy thinks she adorable. Her “designer” clothes are way too tight and she always makes fun of Elaina just because she doesn’t shop at some expensive store. I don’t shop their either, but ever since I stood up to her in fifth grade, she left me alone. Sometimes I feel so bad for my friend. I always tell her she should stand up for her, but she always relies “but that’s your job.” Believe me, I do stand up for her, but I won’t always be there for her.
“Hi, Mia. Where’s you’re little friend?” Harper asks in her obnoxious little voice.
“I don’t know, but I know where you are. You’re in my way,” I reply. Anger flashed across Harper’s face.
“I guess I’ll have to think of some comments for her during History class.”
“Don’t you dare,” I say with rage.
“Watch me,” she says with a sneer. She flounces off through the hallway. I wish I wouldn’t have to see her again, but I would when the dreaded English class came. Why do we have to be in the same class?
The bell rings. Finally. English class is over. For some reason, Harper wasn’t in class. Maybe she ditched school and went to the mall with her evil minions, Claire and Megan. I’m not surprised. She’s known for that.
I find Elaina in the hallway. We greet each other and walk to the lunch room. Elaina buys. I brought my lunch. She gets her food and we sit at an empty table. I look at her food.
“Hard waffles. Yum,” I say. “Wanna cookie?” I ask.
“No thanks,” Elaina says. She’s ‘watching her weight’. Yeah right. She’s not fat, and she’s not skinny. She’s the perfect size.
“I had the dream again,” I say.
“Really? I wonder what it means.” Elaina changes the topic. “Hey look it’s the new boy, Leo.”
Leo is so cute. He has light brown hair and crystal blue eyes. His tall body is slightly muscular and he’s not one of those boys who only talk about girls and sports and who’s head is filled with sawdust. No. He is PERFECT! Not only do I like him, but I think he like’s me!
I look to where she’s pointing. Just as I am about to reply, my head spins. I’m sweating, and I feel like I’m going to throw up.
“Bathroom,” I mutter. I get up. Blackness closes around me. The world is spinning. I fall. Someone screams my name. I’m falling. Falling. Falling.
I groan. I open my eyes to a blinding light. I quickly shut them. Cautiously, I try again. I look up to see brownish dreadlocks above me. No one in my school has dreadlocks. It’s a mop. I sit up and realize I’m in the janitor’s closet! How did I get here? The last thing I remember was… the lunchroom… Elaina pointing to Leo. I quickly get up and open the door. I peek outside. No one’s here. I run down the hallway. I hear voices shouting my name. I hear a familiar voice behind my shout “I found her!” I turn around to see my cousin Lily’s worried face. Lily’s a senior, like Noah. She’s like my role model. I don’t know what I’d do without her. She’s like the older sister I never had.
“What happened?” I ask her. She doesn’t say anything but just looks worried. A little frightened too. “What’s wrong?” Everyone in the lunchroom has formed a circle around us. Elaina make’s her way through the crowd. Her face is like everyone else’s: scared. “Will someone tell me what happened?” Elaina looks at her feet.
“We need to talk,” she says. “Privately.” She makes her way through the crowd, and as I go through, everyone keeps their distance. It’s like I’m an alien from Mars. What happened?
Since it’s the end of lunch, we make our way to the bathroom. We’ll miss the beginning of our classes, but it doesn’t matter. This is urgent.
No one’s in the bathroom, so we’re alone and free to talk. I say nothing but give her a questioning look. She still looks odd.
“Mia, when you… fainted, you kind of like… well…”
“Well what?” I ask impatiently.
“Well… you… disappeared. It was really odd. As soon as Leo walked in, it happened. I tried to catch you, but you just… turned invisible. Disappeared is more like it. You weren’t even there anymore. I felt a faint breeze, and then I shouted your name. Everyone started freaking out, and well… I was scared.”
Oh my gosh! Disappearing? Into thin air? That’s impossible! It’s too much to handle. I want to scream. I want to run! This is SO not happening!
“I’m sorry. This probably make’s me look like a terrible friend,” Elaina says. I look up at her. Her cheeks are stained from tears. She had been crying. Now I feel horrible. I reach over and hug her.
“You’re not a terrible friend. If you were, you wouldn’t have told me what happened. At least not the entire truth.”
“There’s one other thing that happened,” Elaina said wiping her tears. “As soon as it happened, Leo sort of smiled and looked as if he had just succeeded in doing something and ran out of the room. I’m not sure why or if anyone else noticed.” This breaks my heart. If something like this had happened to him, I would have been there in seconds to help him, not run away. Maybe he doesn’t have feelings for me. But still, why did he run? Does he know something about what happened?