Her afternoon classes went by quickly. An endless parade of notes and worksheets drove the events of the morning to the back of her brain. Even the thing she’d seen in the bathroom became the result of her stressed out mind. Morgan kept trying to text her during English, but the teacher was watching like a hawk so she couldn’t sneak a peek. By the time the final bell rang, Teri’s half eaten lunch was coming back to haunt her. She was starving.
Chowing down on a candy bar and a bag of chips, Teri watched the yellow buses lumber away through the lobby windows. She shivered as she looked out into the frigid air. A light dusting of frost covered the windows of the cars in the parking lot.
“I’m so jealous right now.”
Morgan was staring longingly at the junk food disappearing into Teri’s mouth. Teri gave her friend a guilty shrug.
“I was hungry.”
“If I ate like you do, I’d never stop gaining weight.”
“You know I can’t help it. I have a fast metabolism.”
They started walking toward the auditorium. Mr. Oliver, the chorus teacher and musical director, liked to start rehearsals as quickly as possible. Morgan was in the chorus. They were going to be working on one of their dance numbers today. Teri would be off in a nearby classroom with the main cast practicing lines for a scene in the first act. No moral support in the shark tank today.
Teri dumped her stuff in one of the seats in the auditorium and started dragging her feet as she moved toward the side doors. Morgan and the rest of her group were already stretching. The seats looked even darker when she turned back from the brightly lit stage. To her right she saw the light and sound board. She couldn’t remember the name of the student in charge. He was a sophomore and he’d just moved to the district in the middle of the year, so she felt like she had an excuse.
As she bumped her shins moving past the stadium seats and piles of books, backpacks, and purses, she saw something at the end of the row next to the doors. That corner of the auditorium was completely shrouded in darkness except for the red light drifting down from the Exit sign. She saw a figure leaning against the wall, and her brain itched like it should be familiar. It was a girl, probably around her height, slouched over so she looked even shorter. At least Teri thought it was a girl. It was hard to tell in the poor light.
The only thing she could really make out was the tangled mass of hair framing the face. Teri’s footsteps dragged even more as she got closer and closer. This time, the eyes seemed dark red under the Exit sign as the head snapped up to look at her. She recognized those eyes from the mirror in the third floor bathroom. Teri let out a scream and caught her foot as she started to turn back.