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The Codex: Chapter Two

The period slowly drifts on slower than a melting stick of butter down a hill. After what seemed to be years in this hell-like room, the bell finally gives off a loud ring, signaling that it is time to move on to 3rd period. In other words, English III.

Luckily we are given a long break between the two classes, so I can talk to Lucas then. I slowly walk out when I hear a loud voice from behind my back.

“Thought I’d forget about you, Shay? No. You are going to speak with me. Now.”

I groan and amble toward the man’s desk. He gives me a stern look as the last student leaves the room. He quietly shuts the door.

“Shay,” he says. The look on his face nearly melts. “What is the matter with you? At the beginning of the year you were a star pupil, but now…” He sits down silently and pulls out a folder. “Look at this. You’ve been acing all of my tests but fail the class participation grades. You have been cheating, and—”

“I wasn’t cheating,” I cut him off.

“Look, Shay, I saw you eye Lucas’s paper. I know what happens during class. I’m not an idiot.”

I sigh heavily. He’s right. Normally I would be called a genius. I just have to finish that book, and when I do, I’ll…

And Mr. Burns seems to have understood what I was thinking. “Let me see that composition book of yours, Shay.”

Crap.

I slowly hand the book over to him. He smiles and begins to open the pages.

Then the smile wipes away from his face as his eyes become wide.

“Shay, I…” he begins. His surprise isn’t invisible. “I can’t believe this. Where did you get this?”

“I wrote it…” I say. “Well, sort of.” I didn’t really write it, I mean… it isn’t my composition.

“Shay. Look at me. You need to go home. There are three periods after this. As soon as you leave my classroom start shredding those pages. Once you get home, burn them immediately.”

“But—” I say.

“No. No buts. You are going to destroy that book. Now go.”

Now I get angry. My face begins to turn a deep reddish color. “Look, Mr. Burns, I’ve worked on this book for over three months, and there is no way on earth that I am going to burn it!”

Mr. Burns looked at me with a stern face, his eyes dead-locked on mine. “This is no game, Shay. This is a matter of life and death. More specifically, your life. I suggest that you cooperate with me. Now use my paper shredder and start shredding.”

I stare at him with confused eyes. My life depends on this? It didn’t seem possible. Reluctantly, though, I ripped out all of the pages one by one and sent them into the shredder as the fragments were washed into the bin.

“Thank you,” Mr. Burns says. He stands up from his desk and pulls out a box of matches. Finally, he lights one and throws it into the trash bin, letting the pile of paper burn to ashes.

“I know this may not seem reasonable,” he states, slowly sitting back down on his chair, “but it is necessary. Thank you for doing that, Shay. You’ve saved your life.”

I start to head out to the door, but Mr. Burns stops me.

“Shay?” he asks, full of concern. I turn to him. His eyes are inquisitive, and his face is splashed with just the right amount of nervousness.

“I know that this whole thing doesn’t seem to you like serious business, and I know that you doubt the fact that it’s important, but trust me, Shay. It is.” Mr. Burns then turns to his computer monitor and starts typing. I suppose it is my cue to leave, so I go.

I go down the hallway to a vending machine, which is where Lucas and I decided to meet during breaks. I turn around to see him leaning on the wall with his eyebrows raised.

“So,” he says, nearly grinning through his fake-seriousness, “how was your talk with Mr. Burns?”

“Interesting enough,” I reply. “Most of the discussion was about the Book, though.” Lucas frowns.

“What happened? What did he say about it?” he questions me.

I sulk. “He shredded it and burned the pages.”

“What? Why would he do that?”

“I don’t know,” I say. Which is true.

Lucas’s eyebrows wrinkle. I know when he is confused, which he is… but it seems to be mixed with something else. Like… frustration.

I don’t know. Call it one of my special gifts, but I can see what someone’s emotion is, even if they’re hiding it. I just… know.

“What’s the matter?” I ask. Lucas smiles.

“Nothing,” he lies. I am about to get on to him when he is saved by the bell.

Daniel.

Lucas scowls. It’s like dog and cat with them. Keep them separate and they are happy. Put them together and they hate each other.

“Hello, Lucas,” he says menacingly.

“Daniel,” Lucas replies, refusing to say anything else.

“Please don’t do this today. Please,” I beg. But I know they aren’t listening to me.

They never do.

“So, Daniel, why are you here?” Lucas asks.

Daniel scowls. “I was going to give a present to Shay, but since you’re here, I might as well leave.”

“No, no,” says Lucas. “Go ahead. So sorry to interrupt.” His sarcasm bleeds out of his pores. Lucas walks away and starts talking to another girl. Daniel smiles and gets something out of his pocket.

“Here,” he says, handing me the box. I open it and see its contents.

A diamond encrusted necklace.

I gasp in excitement.

“Oh, Daniel,” I say, hugging him, “how did you get this?”

“It took a while to get it out of my dad,” he says. Which I know isn’t true. The Miller clan is rich beyond belief, so I’m sure this was just a petty trifle. Still, though, it’s… breathtaking.

I give Daniel another hug, but then a warning bell signals that we only have five minutes to go back to class. Daniel is the first to separate from my hug and starts to walk away. His next period is across the campus, which means he has to hike down to the D-Building.

I stare in amazement at the necklace. It’s stunning, shimmering in the rays of the skylight. Mesmerizing almost.

I wrap it around my neck and begin my walk to the C-Building, which is used mostly for the language arts. It isn’t far away from here – probably two or three minutes worth of walking – and nothing out of the ordinary happens.

So I open the doors and walk into the building. It takes only a few steps before I see my newest enemy: Katherine Hawkins.

I’m not a big fan of the bullying type, and she is no exception. Her red curly hair make her look like a giant, even without the fact that she is six feet tall. Her jade-colored eyes that seem always furious stare into my own. I realize that this girl is quite an opponent.

Don’t get me wrong – I’d only met her a month ago. Still, she seems like she has been holding a grudge on me since the minute she was born.

“Hello, Katherine,” I say, trying to bring a condescending tone into my mouse-like voice.

“Hey, loser,” she says, looking at my face with her own mocking one. Then her eyes shift down, and it only takes me a second before I realize what she is looking at.

But, it’s a second too late.

“Nice necklace, slut,” she says. Fire and fear both burn in my eyes like stinging needles. “Where did you get it? Your pretty little boyfriend got it for you?” She chuckles, but it sounds like a pig dying.

Katherine yanks my necklace from my neck, and the chain snaps. She holds the necklace Daniel gave me into her chubby hands.

“Hey!” I yell. “Give it back!”

“Must’ve cost a lot of money,” she says.

I try not to smile. “Not really,” I lie. “They’re not real diamonds. Cubic zirconium.”

“Oh,” she says, changing her tone to a posh eloquent voice, “that’s rubbish. Won’t mind me throwing it away, then, would you?” She throws it into the trashcan in the hall. Immediately I go dumpster diving for the diamond necklace.

Katherine snorts. “See you later, loser!” She walks toward her class.

I grab the necklace with my left hand, but as soon as I do, the bell rings that signals the end of the break period.

Which means I’m late.



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