Teri couldn’t get out of Aiden’s house fast enough. Even Morgan didn’t want to stay. The TV was dark now, but Teri could still see the video playing over and over, burned into the screen like an afterimage. Aiden gave the coffee table with the empty case a wide berth.
“I’m going to take the disc and run the footage through a few programs,” Max said.
“Are you nuts?” Teri asked. “Sorry, I’m just a little weirded out.”
“Well you already lived through it, how bad can a recording be?”
Those were the kind of famous last words you always hear from the next character to die in a horror movie, but Teri didn’t say anything to Max. The sophomore ejected the DVD from Aiden’s player and put it back into its case. Teri clenched her fists to keep from shivering.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to drive you?” Aiden was mainly talking to the girls, but he included Max with a final glance.
“I really need some air right now,” Teri said. Even though her body felt like an icicle, the air around her was warm and stuffy. It didn’t want to enter her lungs.
Teri bundled up as much as she could in her coat. The door opened and the wind blasted her. She might as well have been wearing a short sleeve tee-shirt. Still, she grit her teeth and walked outside. Aiden had let slip that his dad was coming home soon and he might ask questions if Aiden’s car wasn’t here. Also, Teri wasn’t lying about needing that air. Her throat was tightening and she had the urge to cough.
The air outside didn’t help exactly, but the cold was enough of a distraction that Teri wasn’t thinking about her breathing anymore. Once the door closed behind them, she allowed herself to start shaking. Morgan came up and grabbed one of her arms.
“Geez, it’s like grabbing a jackhammer,” Morgan said. “You’re shaking worse than I am.”
“Are you two going to be okay?” Max asked. “Maybe Aiden should drive you guys.”
“No, we’ll be fine,” Morgan said. “We’ll see you at school tomorrow.”
“Let us know what you find out with that disc,” Teri said.
Max turned left out of Aiden’s driveway and started off into the night. Teri and Morgan turned right, clinging together for warmth. They made it three and a half house before Morgan whispered in Teri’s ear.
“Man, I wish Max had forced us to get a ride.”
“Yeah,” Teri said. “Aiden should’ve insisted too.”
“I know right?”
The air was crisp in Teri’s lungs. Car windows and lawns were still frost free, but she knew it was only a matter of time before a fine white dust coated them. She saw Morgan’s head turning from side to side in her peripheral vision. She was doing exactly what Teri was trying to avoid. Looking into every shadow for the outline of a girl. Teri’s over chilled brain imagined that too familiar outline everywhere, behind bushes, under trees, and at the far ends of driveways. She even saw the shape watching from the other side of curtains.
Teri was just thinking to herself how great it was that there weren’t any mirrors on streets when she heard a crunch under her foot. Looking down, she saw spider-web cracks running through a thin sheet of ice. The water underneath must’ve flowed away after the top layer froze. The ice was smooth, smooth and glassy.