Lori felt like something was looking at her. She couldn’t tell who, but she could feel eyes on her. “Can we go somewhere else? I don’t feel good.”
“Yeah, alright. Cafes open, wanna go there?” Connor asked.
“Okay, that works. Come on,” Lori said, already walking away from the lawn. She needed to get out of there. Even though they were outside, she started to feel like she was suffocating.
“Lori, hey, talk to me. You look like you’re going to throw up. What’s up?” Conner asked, opening the door for her.
“I-I think it was watching us. I felt something staring at us. I didn’t see anyone, but I felt someone staring at us.”
Connor swiped them in, and they made their way upstairs to the cafeteria. Students packed the room—all of them minding their business.
“I’ll go find somewhere to sit. Can you grab me some pizza? Cheese.” Lori asked.
“Alright, I’ll be right back,” Connor said, walking away.
Lori found a spot near the back of the cafeteria. She made sure no windows were nearby. Lori looked around the cafe then closed her eyes. “Everyone here is so lucky. They don’t have to worry about spirits and murderers. Why can’t there be someone else who can deal with this? Why did I think I could handle this?” Lori thought. When she looked up, everyone was looking at her. They all stopped what they were doing and stared right at her. She rubbed her eyes then looked again. The room went back to how it was before. Everyone was talking to each other.
“Hey, I got your food. You didn’t say how much pizza you wanted, so I grabbed four.” Connor placed the tray down. “Oh, come on, that’s funny.”
“You didn’t see that?” Lori asked.
She put her head on the table. “I think I’m going crazy.”
“I wish I could help you. If I could take this pain away from you, I would. I wish I could do something. I hate feeling useless.”
“You’re not useless. You just being here helps a lot.” Lori grabbed some pizza. “So good.”
Connor grabbed his phone and started typing in his notepad. “Okay, let’s go over everything we have so far. Three deaths have happened in one week. Thomas, Heather, and, um, Matt?”
“Right, Mike. We know Heather and Mike’s deaths happened on campus. Where did Thomas’s death happen?”
“I don’t know. It was in an alley, I think? Could’ve been anywhere.” Lori looked around. “Huh, I don’t see him anymore.”
“My bad, Heather wanted to talk,” Thomas said, appearing next to her.
“Don’t do that!” Lori shouted. A few heads turned in their direction. “Did she say anything else?”
“Not much, she went to go look for Mike. She hasn’t seen him since they died.”
“Is Thomas here?” Connor asked.
“Yes, he said that Heather went to look for Mike. His spirit isn’t around the crime scene. I guess it’s possible he moved on.”
“Not likely. Unless he didn’t care about who killed him, I guess I could see it,” Thomas said. He grabbed Lori’s phone and tossed it to Connor.
“Whoa! Not cool, dude.” Connor said, reading the message. “Oh, ****.”
“What? What did he type?” Lori asked.
“I thought it would be simpler to write so he could understand better. Hope you don’t mind me using your phone.” Thomas messaged Connor’s phone while he talked. “Heather said when she caught a glimpse of Mike’s body, he was missing his right hand.”
“Ew. Is this thing building a body or something?” Lori said. “First, Thomas’s heart, then Heather’s eye, and now Mike’s hand. What’s the point?”
“Is there a term for a murderous spirit?” Connor asked. “From what you told me, spirits are friendly. For the most part. Is this like a Phantom? Or maybe a Poltergeist?”
“You sound like you’re enjoying yourself,” Thomas wrote.
“I’m just interested. Not in people dying but the whole ghost thing.”
“I don’t care what it is. I just want it to stop killing people,” Lori says, eating another piece of pizza.
“Wonder why it chose here to start killing people? Nothing happens here. Maybe that’s why? If I were a killer, I would choose a bigger city to start in. Like Charlotte or something. Okay, even I know that’s ****** up,” Connor said, grabbing the other two pieces of pizza.
“You don’t think it’s me, do you? I attract spirits to me. Is this my fault?” Lori asked. She couldn’t help but feel guilty. It made sense. It felt her presence and came here. It can’t be a coincidence.
“Stop it, Lori. You don’t know that. Horrible **** happens everywhere. This one just so happens to involve a murderous ghost.”
“This isn’t making me feel better.” Lori looked at the time. “I gotta get going. I got another exam in a few. Can we meet up later?” Lori asked.
“You can’t be serious. We got bigger things to worry about than a Spanish test,” Connor said.
“What do you think we should do?” Lori asked.
“Go back to my place and take a nap. You look exhausted. After that, we can re-group. Sound good?”
“I guess. With everything going on. I’m sure I can try to ask for a retry later.”
“Good! Let’s go. I can’t wait to sleep. I’ll tell Joel we’re coming,” Connor says, texting Joel.
“It has been a while since I’ve seen him. How’s he doing? Is he still trying to change the world with his music?”
“Yep. To be fair, he’s good. I went to one of his guitar exams, and he blew everyone away. Dude has skills. Ah, cool. He says he will buzz us in. Good, I forgot my keys anyway.” Connor laughed.
“You’re terrible.” Lori got up and threw the tray away. “Let’s go. I’m starting to feel better.”
“Pizza always makes me feel better. Let us go! We have naps to take!” Connor said, walking down the stairs.
“Hey, Thomas, I haven’t forgotten about you. I need rest. Do you mind holding on a little while longer?”
“Sure. I’ve only been dead for a week. What’re a few more hours? Thank you again. I may have come off a bit pushy. Don’t push yourself. I don’t know what this monster is really like. It’s strong. We all need to save our strength. Especially you. I feel like this is only the beginning.” Thomas says, disappearing again. Leaving Lori standing there wondering how much worse things are about to get.
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