“She was right behind me,” Max said. “I just kept running and running but she was always right behind me.”
“Time to toughen up a bit,” Aiden said. “It was a just hallucination.”
“Ease up,” Morgan said. “What’s gotten into you?”
Aiden didn’t answer, but Teri was pretty sure she knew. When Teri had started doing unexplainable things, it’d been new and exciting. It’d been harder for him to take Morgan’s freakish strength, but he’d managed. Now Max, the lowly sophomore, was teleporting all over the place and Aiden was still just a regular old teenager.
“I think it’s about time we get out of here,” Teri said. Hopefully a change of subject would defuse the situation.
“In my dream, I was sure the key to understanding what’s going on is in the school,” Max said.
“Not to be too blunt,” Teri said as she helped him to his feet. “But taking advice from a nightmare is pretty much the worst idea ever.”
“Well, when you put it that way…”
“Seriously. There are bad ideas, and then there’s that.” Teri gave it her best total deadpan. Max smiled and relaxed a little. She could still feel the tension in his arm muscles.
The rumbling storm clouds over Aiden’s head even shrunk a little. Morgan led the way to the stairs. Max and Teri went next, with Aiden bringing up the rear. Teri looked back to make sure he was doing okay. She tried to scream, but her throat seized up, clamping down on her windpipe. The closed door that Max had appeared in front of had disappeared into a swirling vortex of shadow. Reaching out of the darkness were a pair of cold, gray hands.
Aiden’s eyes went wide as the hands clamped down on him. He wrenched backwards, starting to disappear into the darkness. Teri threw herself forward and grabbed one of Aiden’s outstretched arms. She pulled as hard as she could, and inch by inch more of Aiden came out of the shadow.
The darkness clung to his body, peeling off in tendril-like strands. One of the ashen hands let go of Aiden and grabbed Teri’s arm. Teri’s fear took over and she tried to tear her way backwards in time. Something was wrong. Everything seemed to slow down. Everything except the face rising out of the pool of shadow.
Its eyes were the same color as its sickly flesh, except for the jet black pupils. Teri couldn’t think of it as a she. This close, she could see that the eyes didn’t reflect anything, not even a glint of moonlight. The face and eyes were expressionless, but Teri could feel hate coming off of them like heat from a fire.
Teri pulled and pulled. Time around them was moving slower and slower. Her screams hit a wall of jelly as soon as they passed her lips. But the creature pulling her in didn’t slow down at all. Teri realized her power wasn’t helping her at all. She let go of it and focused all her energy on pulling her and Aiden back.
Time rubber banded back into full gear. Her screams were warbled, pressed one on top of the other. They definitely got Morgan and Max’s attention though. Max put one hand on her and the other on Aiden. He pulled as hard as he could, but it didn’t seem to do anything. Then Morgan got a grip on them.