I started getting hungry and the girl in front of me was starting to look very delicious. She smelled like chicken, wait she’s starting to look like chicken. I close my eyes and thought this can't be real, there really can't be chicken sitting right in front of me during my dull class. When I opened my eyes it was still there, so I leaned forward, closed my eyes and opened my mouth real wide and…
“You-you-you!' I heard someone stammer.
“What?! What is going on?' I mumble to the red-haired girl.
I open my eyes to see the chicken was gone, and just I saw her looking at me bewildered. When I tried to ask her what she was staring at, I found that my mouth was clamped around her forearm. I pushed myself away, and crawled to the floor, hiding my face from my classmates. But I enjoyed what I had done, when I licked my lips and could taste some blood, it tasted like sugar.
“What were you doing?!' The teacher asked towering over me.
“I-I-was just hungry, and she looked like chicken.' I explained to her with tears in my eyes.
She picked me up off the floor and walked me over to her desk, she ruffled through the couple draws she had. And after a few seconds of doing so she pulled out a thing of crackers.
“Here,' she said and shoves them into my hands, “eat these.'
I opened the pack and start shoveling them into my mouth, but those didn't satisfy my hunger. I thanked her, took my seat, and the excruciatingly dull lesson began again. I tried so hard to pay attention, but it was so boring that I started to daydream out the window. I got so into my daydreaming that I thought that they were true. I saw a fire out the window. I stand up, run to the other side of the classroom and start yelling.
The class stared at me, with worry in their eyes, but in the end, they ignored me and went back to listening to the teacher ramble on.
I look back out the window and still see the fire roaring, it was bright, orange, and a dancing blaze that circled around the entire school.
“Fire! Fire!' I shouted again.
But this time nobody looked at me, they just continued, unaware of the immense fire burning outside. I look down at the gray carpet. Gray carpet?! I thought the carpet was supposed to be dark blue, they really could have been gray this whole time and I had just imagined it. I shrugged it off not giving it a second thought. Looking up out the window I noticed that the monstrous, dancing fire had vanished, and there was no trace that it was ever there.
The school day had ended. I didn't want to go home in fear my parents would scold me for my actions from this morning. So instead I wandered around the town. The more I wandered the hungrier I got, my hunger was never fully satisfied today. Other than this morning when I bit into that girl. It was strange because never in my whole life have I ever been this hungry before. I looked at my cell phone I had three missed calls from my mom, two from my stepfather, and a text from my best friend Jenny. I ignored the calls from my parents and opened the text it read: Hey Maddy what are you up too? I want to know what happened in class today. Text me when you can.
I texted her back: Hey Jenny. Do you want to meet at our secret place? I don’t feel like talking about it in a public place.
About 10 minutes later I got a text back: That sounds like a good idea, be there in 10.
I was waiting for Jenny at our secret spot. Jenny was never late, especially when it came to gossip, or me. And if it was about gossip and me she would have already been here by now. Jenny showed up 10 minutes late, her long, blonde hair was pulled up into a high bun with our school cheer bow behind it, she had her sweatpants and a warm up jacket on. Her blue eyes sparkled in the dim, streetlight. Her thin, twig like body was the perfect shade of caramel.
“Sorry I’m late.' She said in between breaths.
“Cheer practice ran late?'
“Yes, sorry coach made us run laps. Well, what happened this morning?'
“Nothing, I-I-I.' Stammered as I thought of an excuse to tell her.
“Well? What had happened?' She questioned me again, snapping me back to reality.
“I was just not feeling well' I responded.
I closed my eyes, then opened them back up. No! This cannot be happening, Jenny cannot be chicken. No! I am not eating my best friend. But, but I am so hungry, maybe just one bit. I sat there for several minutes staring at my beloved friend, who had a wonderfully, perfect life here. She had a loving family and amazing boyfriend, although that was supposed to be my boyfriend that she took. So maybe I should eat her, just one bite, one nibble.
Just like in class this morning I closed my eyes and opened my mouth wide, but this time I used more force when I bit into her arm. There wasn’t a scream, the taste of her sweet, sugary blood came to me lip. When I bit again this time the blood filled my mouth and a little bit of her soft, caramel skin came off. When I opened my eyes Jenny was gone, all that was left of her was her bow, warm up jacket and sweatpants.
When I walked through the front door of my house, as soon as I walked in I found my mom and stepdad waiting for me at the dining room table. They jumped out of their seats rushing towards me. I backed away, but they did not care instead they pulled me towards them, forcing me to embrace them.
“We were worried sick about you. Where have you been?!' My mom asked sobbing into my shoulder.
“I went to go meet up with Jenny this afternoon, that’s it. I’m sorry. Can I go up to my room? Please, I am not feeling very well.'
“Yes, that is fine.' My stepfather told me, as he pushed me away from him.
I couldn't tell if he had a disappointed or a scolding look on his face. I've never been able to read my stepfather’s faces as much as I've been about to read my mother’s. As I head up to my room I began to think: I could just eat them both then they won't have to worry about me anymore. But I don't think I could do that, it was hard to eat my best friend. I sat in my room, pondering my actions, Mrs. Hardwell will be wondering what happened to her beloved Jenny. And when she calls my parents I know they will come up here questioning me as to where she went after our met up. What should I say to them? That I ate her, no that won’t help. While trying to think of an explainable excuse for why Jenny had not returned home, there was a soft knock on my door.
“Can I come in?' I heard my mother ask.
She pushed open the door, standing in my doorway wearing her neon pink robe, and her pink bunny slippers. “Why are you not in your pajamas?'
“Oh, I wasn’t paying attention to the time.' I explained to my mother. That was much easier to say, than “Oh, I was trying to make up an excuse on why my friend had not come home.'
“Well it is time for bed, do you have any homework?'
“Yes actually, I need to talk to Jenny about it. I totally forgot how to do this math.' I pull out my math notebook, math book, and my cellphone.
“Ok, finish it up then head to bed, you have school in the morning.' And with that my mother closed the door to my bedroom and made her way up the stairs to her room.
Without even thinking about what happened this afternoon, I open the message I had with Jenny and texted; Hey goofy, home from cheer? Have you started the math homework, I’m stuck on number 4 and you are the math genius between the 2 of us and I figured you could help? Love Maddy.
About 5 minutes later I received a text back from her, but how, how could this be? I ate her. Hello twinkle toes, yes, I got home from cheer a little over an hour ago, and of course I finished number 4, here it is. Within the text was a photo of Jenny’s math homework. I text her back; Um. thanks Jenny. This might sound silly, but I just want to make sure I am texting the real Jenny, but what did I do in fourth grade? I waited for a reply, Jenny is the only person in the world who knows about fourth grade. The fourth grade you kissed Jeremy Mellencamp behind the bleachers during the DARE assembly. Jenny replied. It was her, it really was Jenny. But how could this be possible, unless-unless today was all just a dream and I never ate my best friend. I closed my math homework, walked over to my dresser picked out my polar bear floor length pajama bottoms and the matching shirt. Turned off my light and crawled into bed, hoping that everything that had just happened today was a figment of my imagination.
I woke up in a cold sweat, from the dream that I just had. It had been the same dream nearly every night for the past year. Just like I did every time I had this dream, I shook it off and went back to sleep.
When I looked over at my polar bear alarm clock. Jenny had always said it was weird that I was able to sleep with that staring at me all throughout the night, I guess I just got used to it being there that it did not bother me. I got out of bed and moseyed my way to the bathroom, which had become all mine when my brother moved out two years ago. Since my brother’s absence in the house I had redecorated, instead of it just being boring old gray, mom let me paint it sky blue and have polar bears scattered around. I took my shower and got ready for school, when I am was almost done mom called me downstairs for breakfast. She made me chocolate chip pancakes, just like she did every morning since my brother had left. She loves to spoil me with these sorts of things. I drenched my pancakes in syrup and scarf them down, while I was eating my breakfast I had totally forgotten about yesterday, but that was until I realized I had eaten two platefuls of pancakes and still wanted more. By that time my mom and stepfather were gawking at me in confusion.
“I’m sorry, I must have been hungry.' I explained awkwardly in-between bites of my last pancake. And with that I kissed my mother in the cheek and hugged my stepfather as I hurried to the door, to catch the bus for school.
I was on the bus sitting next to Jenny, the same Jenny who I had eaten alive yesterday. But by now I had pushed what had happened yesterday to the back of my mind and just sat there next to her as the bus got closer and closer to school.
When the bus pulled up to the school, it was quiet, very quiet which was unusual for a Wednesday. But I did not think much of it, when I pushed the black double doors that lead to the lobby of the school. The front desk which is always bustling with noise, was closed shut and was quiet. As I got deeper and deeper into the school, I came to notice more strange things. My light blue butcher paper locker poster was now black. I wanted to rip it down, run around the school and find him. Jeremy, the boy who I was pretty sure was put on this earth to ruin my life. He had chosen Jenny over me, and he enjoys messing with my things. As I thought of Jeremy I became hungry again, but not for chocolate chip pancakes, but I was hungry for blood. Jeremy’s blood.
First period is where I would find Jeremy, and his sugary blood. When I took my seat behind him, a giant whiff of chicken smell came off his body. Twenty minutes into class and the sound of my grumbling stomach and the smell of the chicken was becoming too overwhelming. So just like yesterday, when I ate Jenny, I closed my eyes, opened my mouth and bit right into his thin, scrawny shoulder.
I opened my eyes. I was no longer in Mr. Right’s room. Which room was I in? It did not look familiar; the walls were salmon colored, the once tan colored desks have now been turned into long brown tables. I was not in Mrs. Wilbur's office either, I do not even think that I am in the school anymore. I reached for my cell phone to see if I could phone out of this place, inside my pocket I did not find my cell phone, but Jeremy’s finger. I was not frightened that I found his finger in my pocket, instead I was excited to see that he was dead, being dead meant he was out of my life. In the distance I hear a car pulling up, then the hinges of a door, then it slams shut. It almost sounded miles away, but the person, the person who had slammed that door shut was standing beside me.
“What do you got there good-lookin?' A voice said peering over my shoulder.
It was a man’s voice, a man’s voice that I had heard once. Once in my entire life. About a year ago, on a street corner. I was not easily swayed by the pretty jewelry that he had displayed on the table, but instead I was interested in the geodes in the back. Or at least that is what he told me was in the back, we weren’t even gone 5 minutes. But that was just enough time for him to get what he wanted from me and leave me there. I went through months and months of therapy, was scared to walk the streets alone. Scared to talk to any man, even men that I knew.
“I said what do you got there good-lookin?!' The voice sounded sharp, mean almost. Like he might strike me again. Just like he did that day a year ago, in the back of his shop when I tried to run from him. When he struck me then, it left a big, purplish bruise on my check. That knocked me to the floor, and I did not fight him again. To please this terrifying man, I hold out my hand.
“Well open it up.'
I open my hand and sitting in the middle of my palm is Jeremy’s finger. He takes it from me, examining it, trying to grasp what he was looking at it. He places it back into my hand.
“Aw, how cute. Why are so scared to show me that?'
I stand there quietly, looking at the finger.
“I asked you a question!' He screamed at me, with his hand in a fist, above his head.
“I thought you'd be frightened of the finger, scared of what I have become.' Then he started to laugh, not an evil maniacal laugh, but one Jenny and I would do when we were talking about cute boys we saw walk by.
“What? What is so funny?' I quietly ask him, in fear I was not supposed to speak.
“There is no finger.' He said stroking my arm trying to comfort me.
“But it is there, look, see it's in my hand' I hold it up to his face, so he can look at it closely again.
“Yes, I see it, but that’s not a finger, it’s a candy bar,' he said pulling me close to his body. I could smell the whisky from his shirt. It was the same smell that I had smelled a year ago. I froze in fear as I relived the moment not knowing what he would do next. Those next couple seconds of being in his arms were hell. The next thing I know he is aggressively pushing me away. I pick it up and bring it to my face to look at it. To my surprise it was indeed a candy bar, but how could this be?! It was Jeremy’s finger, I could have sworn it was. When I pulled the candy bar away from my face and placed it back in my hand. I found I was no longer in the salmon colored room, but instead in my sit. Listening to Mr. Right boringly, talk about fractions. And sitting in front of me was, Jeremy, fully alive and well, with all 10 fingers attached. But where did this candy bar come from? What happened to the salmon colored room? Most importantly what happened to the whisky smelling man?
“Miss Thompson? Miss Thompson?!'
I hear someone calling my name.
“Miss Thompson?! Are you ok, Miss Thompson?'
“Yes! Yes, yes. Mr. Right I am ok. I was just thinking,' I answered.
“Will you share with us what you were thinking?'
“Um...no thank you'
“Well then in that case will you please come up to the whiteboard and solve this problem,' he said holding the blue colored marker to my face. I take the marker from his hand, stand up, and make my way to the board. In red marker was written You are dead. I turn to face Mr. Right, and he just smiles and encourages me that I can do the problem. When I turn back to the whiteboard the red words were gone and instead was a math problem reading: ¾ divided by 7/5 times by 24/25. I get to the board, solve the problem and turn to Mr. Right. He smiles at me, walks to the board, collects the mark from my hand and tells me to take my seat.
When the bell rang to let us out of our first class. I walked down the long, dark, black hallway. It was quiet, very quiet especially because first period had just let out. But I continued to make my way to my locker, when I reached my locker, everything was back to normal. It was like a switch was being turned on and off, the hallway was now full of noisy students, the walls were back to their blue and purple colors. For the rest of the day nothing strange happened.
I had texted mom and had told her I was going to walk around town with Jenny for a couple of hours, so she need not worry. As Jenny and I walked across from the school I spotted a maroon Buick, nothing about this car was out of the ordinary, but something about it grabbed my attention. I swear I had seen this car before-and suddenly all the memoirs rushed in like a sucker punch. Suddenly, I was back at the scene of the accident. I relived the moment as I looked up just in time to see the headlights of the maroon Buick. The next few moments came in flashes, as I drifted in and out of consciousness I remember laying in the middle of the road unable to move. I looked up to see a huge crowd gathered around me, many of them screaming:
As I glanced around I spotted a woman, who I assumed to be the driver, in her mid-60s with a tear stained face. The next moment there was a paramedic, with his ear to my mouth listening for a breath. In a loud voice he asked me, asking if I was ok. I responded to him, but he just kept asking. As he kept asking and asking I kept responding:
“Yes! I’m ok!'
“Can you hear me!? I’m ok I promise.'
Now his voice was getting farther away as he just kept asking me, the next thing I know I am sitting in my seat at school. Staring at the clock as it read