Skipping school seemed like the best medicine. Mom hadn’t been out of her bedroom for several days. She didn’t notice my comings and goings. If she even had a feeling of emotion for anyone, other than herself, perhaps she would ask about the blood on my clothes or the bruises. New step-dad was out-of-town and she was feeling lonely. Michael came over after work those days, though he would leave later for his trainings. Grabbing a good book I found that I too was locking myself in my room, the other room.
For the first time I sort of understood how my mom felt. I was getting used to Michael coming over more often. Now that it was less frequent things felt quieter and even more alone than I remembered. Michael was meeting at another secret place with his sister. They were starting to share a language with one another. She would poke him or pinch him on the side, look at him at a certain way, and somehow Michael just knew what she was thinking. It was creepy and sort of reminded me of my brother. Feeling jealous sucked and was absolutely ridiculous. I should be happy that Michael found his family, especially since the one he actually remembers doesn’t exist.
Alice in Wonderland wasn’t chasing away the thoughts in my head. Catching a glimpse of my screen I decided to do some more digging; though everything had been nothing but serene and normal every time I viewed the channels. I started thinking at that moment just how normal everyone in this town was. There was no one designated as the class clown, or the misfit. There were some petty drama issues but they were so down to a science that the thought of them being scripted wasn’t so far-fetched. This town was very new development for the most part. There were no news articles about the town until 5 years ago, which was odd. Maybe the town didn’t exist before than. Was that such a crazy thought. If that was than the Sophia debacle, where she tried to kill me then mysteriously ran off not understanding what she was doing, must be way normal. I don’t think so.
Flipping through the houses I found Joey’s. Pausing for a moment I looked at the driveway and the road to see if there were any bright pink cars. There weren’t. I clicked through the cams finding Joey walking through the hallway and going into his room. About to look for Sophia I paused when his phone rang. Only it wasn’t his cell phone. He grabbed another, slimmer black one out of his pocket. I had never noticed this phone before.Turning up the audio I tried to understand Joey’s responses.
“The target has not been accessible.” He paused. “Yes sir, when it is in view.” Putting the phone back into his pocket he walked over to his desk, opened a drawer, and pulled out a false bottom.
Zooming in with the camera I saw a blank folder. Joey opened up the folder and there were dozens of pictures of Michael and a few with me. Some were in my car, outside my house, in my bedroom. Chills went up my spine. Michael was in danger and Joey wasn’t the boy I thought he was. He intently stared at the photo as if waiting for it to move. He laid down on his bed, turning on his TV. With a few clicks of the button he stared at a cam much like mine. Staring right into Michael’s room. I stared at the TV through mine, looking at Michael sleeping so peacefully. Joey pulled his blankets over him and shut off the lights.
My heart was pouncing almost out of my chest. I had to talk to Michael Turning the channel to his room I saw the same image only I knew how to see beyond the fake video Michael placed whenever he went to meet me, and now his sister. Overriding his controls I saw his room, and he wasn’t in it. Texting was out of the option Jessica had said that phones were another means for a tracking device. Not wanting to leave this safe haven I passed out in the secret room after hyperventilating with the infinite ideas of what Joeys plans were.
By the time I awoke school was about to start. Looking at my phone there were no missed calls or text. Michael probably assumed I wanted to stay home. He of course wouldn’t dare stay, knowing his father had eyes everywhere and that someone had to see if Sophia would crack again. I remembered last night, and Joey. This wasn’t good. Jumping to my feet, I ran into my room and threw on a clean tank top and some jeans with my combat boots. Grabbing the keys to my Hummer I fled. Seeing Michael get off the bus I parked in the farthest parking spot knowing running would be faster than waiting for everyone to move through the lanes.
“Michael,” I screamed weaving around cars.
He was typing his shoe and when he stood up and turned I felt so relieved. There was no danger that I could see, I just had to warn him. We could leave and make plans.
“Skylar.” Panic was in his eyes. “Wait!” He screamed out.
I stopped for a moment confused. Turning my head I felt my heart drop as shock ran through me. Joeys bright red car was driving at full speed toward me. Michael wasn’t his target. I was. And it was too late for me to move or even turn.
Closing my eyes I felt the wind being knocked out of me as I heard tires squealing. Only it wasn’t head on like I expected. There was no torturous pain, just the impact of the pavement against my body and a slight bruising around my waist Opening my eyes I was in Michael’s arms on the ground in between a few cars.
“Are you okay?” He whispered out of breath.