Part 7 of Dead End!
“Can someone get a first aid kit over here?” Sky calls, turning back to the table.
There are four other people at the table. They’re all looking over at Chase and I. Actually, everyone is. I glance around the room, and see most eyes on us. Lots of them are coming over.
My arm is still around Chase, and he’s leaning against me. The piece of my ripped up cloak is pressed to his side.
“You okay?” I murmur to him.
He nods. “Yeah.”
Suddenly we’re surrounded by people. Chase gets pulled away to get his cuts fixed. There are lots of faces and names, and I can’t remember them all. They all seem friendly, though.
I end up telling them I want to walk around. I don’t want to be rude or anything, but I’m not used to this much attention.
The food court is huge, with abandoned restaurants around the sides. There are several sets of stairs leading to a second story, and I walk up one. It’s quieter up here. There are more booths and tables, but I don’t see anyone else.
I lay on my back on one of the booth tables, and look up at the old ceiling. I haven’t slept in a while. My eyes are heavy, and even though I try to keep them open, I can’t.
“Hey.” A voice says, a finger poking my side.
I yawn, and sit up to see a really cute boy about my age sitting by me.
I’m not on the table anymore, I’m in a small bedroom. There’s a desk, and the bed I’m sitting on.
“Who are you?” I ask him.
He smiles. “I’m Alpha. You fell asleep, so I brought you to my dorm room. You don’t want to be at the mall after dark.”
He has dark red hair, light skin, and freckles. He’s taller than me. He’s wearing a big black beanie that covers his ears. He’s wearing a long black jacket and jeans.
“Oh...thanks.” I say. “Wait-Chase. Where is he?”
“That’s your boyfriend, right? He’s probably staying with Sky and her roommate, Mac.”
“He’s not my boyfriend.” I tell him.
He raises an eyebrow. “He’s not? You guys seemed really close.”
“No, he’s not. We’re just friends.”
He smiles. “Oh, good.”
“Why good?” I frown.
He waves a hand. “Do you want me to bring you to them?”
“Yeah, sure.” I say, getting out of the bed.
He turns towards the door, and my eyes widen as the beanie falls off.
He has wolf ears the same color as his hair. He pulls the hat back over them, and smiles at me sheepishly.
“Maybe don’t mention that to Sky? We aren’t supposed to tell you.” He says, opening the door.
I follow him into the hallway. “What? You can’t just walk away.”
“Shh.” He whispers, putting a finger to his lips. He lets me catch up. “We’re in the school now. We can’t talk about it here.”
I nod. The hallway is lit with candles, so it’s dim. Nobody else is out here.
“C’mon, this way.” He says when we reach the end of the hall. There are two paths, and he takes the right one. This one is even darker than the last.
“Her room’s down here since the scanners don’t work right.” He says quietly. “There’s also a way to the mall down here.”
“What’s a scanner?” I ask him.
We turn a corner, and start walking down a set of stairs. “They’re like cameras, but way more advanced. Through here.”
We duck into a narrow hall, and I walk behind him. We reach a bigger room with several doors. He walks over to the one in the middle, and kicks the wall beside it once, then knocks five times.
After a second, it opens slightly, and an annoyed voice says, “Yeah?”
“It’s Alpha. Ari wants to see Chase.”
The door closes, and I hear voices. Then it opens again. “Fine, whatever.”
“C’mon,” Alpha says to me. “Mac is always in a bad mood. They hate everyone but me.”
“I heard that!”
“You were supposed to!”
“You’re an idiot!”
“Love you too!”
“Are you dating them?” I ask Alpha.
He shakes his head. “They're my best friend.”
We go in. The room is bigger than Alpha’s was, and there are two beds and a couch. I see Chase asleep on the couch. Mac drops onto one of the beds, and slides headphones on. They have short green hair, and palish skin. Sky is on the other bed, wearing a plain white hoodie and jeans. She looks up at me, and smiles.
“Hey, Ari.” She says. “Sorry I didn’t get to talk to you much yesterday. You’re here for your boyfriend, right?”
I sigh. “He’s not my boyfriend.”
I go over, and shake his shoulder lightly. “Chase, wake up.”
“Hm?” He mumbles. He yawns, and rubs his eyes with the heel of his hand. He smiles at me. “Oh, hey, Ari. Where’d you go yesterday?”
“Oh, I fell asleep. Alpha brought me to his room.” I tell him.
Chase’s eyes flicker over to Alpha who is in a heated argument with Mac. “What's with the hat?”
Luckily I don’t have to answer, because Sky comes over. “You guys need to go see the Glean today.”
“What’s she like?” I ask her.
“She never likes anyone. You should probably just listen to whatever she says, and don’t draw too much attention to yourselves. If you do, she’ll either hate you, or pay close attention to you, and you don’t want that. Also, she’s like a human lie detector. Her telepathy works differently.”
“Great.” I grumble.
“Can we get some new clothes?” Chase asks.
She nods. “You’ll have some in your new room. Jax should be here soon, he’ll take you to the Glean.”
We wait in here until then. Chase and Alpha talk, but they don’t really get along well. I get along with both, though.
There’s a kick, then someone knocks on the door five times. “It’s Jax.”
Mac sighs heavily, but gets up and lets him in before flopping back down on the bed.
“You guys ready?” He asks us, standing in the doorway.
We nod, and follow him out into the hall. But before we can go anywhere, someone says, “Ari?”
I turn to see Alpha standing by the door. I turn to Chase and Jax. “Just a sec.”
“I was wondering,” He says when I go over. “If I could show you around later?”
“Sure, I’d like that.” I say, smiling.
He smiles back. He has a nice smile. “Alright. I’ll come by your room later.”
“Okay, see you then.” I say.
I go back over to Chase, grinning. Jax starts down the hallway, and we walk behind him.
“What was that about?” Chase asks me, eyebrow raised.
I tug on one of my curls. “Nothing.”
“Are you sure?” He says, putting a finger on my arm. “Because it feels like you’ve got a huge crush.”
“What? No, I don’t like him like that. I just think...maybe he’s kinda really cute.”
“You definitely like him.” He says.
“Why are we talking about this? Let’s talk about this freaky school.”
He drops it, and we talk about the test and the school’s decor as we follow Jax down the halls, and up the stairs, and down more halls, and up more stairs, and down more halls, then down some stairs, then up some stairs, the through some halls that looked like tunnels, then through a big room, and finally stopping at big doors with THE GLEAN painted above them in big golden letters.
“I'll be waiting out here.” Jax tells us. “Good luck.”
The door opens inward. It’s dark except for a light shining onto a desk. I can barely make out the shape of a woman sitting in a chair.
We walk through the doors, and I move closer to Chase. It’s cold in here, and it’s really freaky. We stop in front of a desk, where the woman leans forward just enough to let us see her face.
She has curly jet black hair and green eyes. She has an intimidating look, her hair is pulled back into a tight bun. There are two files on her desk, and she picks one up.
“Chase.” She says, glancing at him. “No last name?”
“No, I don’t like to use it.” He says.
“You have all your powers, other than force fields?” She says, scanning the page inside. “But you’re a very good Empath. This says you’ve been dead for a while. Why are you only coming here now?”
“I got tested, but the result was complicated so I didn’t come here.”
She scans the page again, then picks up the next one.
“Ari Renes…” She murmurs. “Hm. No powers but shapeshifting?”
I nod. “I got it during the test.”
“From what I was told, it was impressive shapeshifting. Nobody has been able to change that easily. And I don’t know of anyone who can turn into an animal other than me. Interesting. Could you show me how you did that?”
“Now?” I ask nervously. This seems like she’s paying special attention to me. Sky said that’s not a good thing.
“Yes, now, please.”
I think of an animal. The first one that comes to mind is a cat. Suddenly I’m shrinking. I look down, and see I have furry paws.
Chase smiles down at me. The Glean glances over her desk.
“Very nice. I’d like for you to take some classes with me to work on that.”
I change back slowly, and lean against Chase. He puts an arm around my waist, holding me up. That did take a bit of energy. I wonder why it didn’t last time.
“That’ll be all. Jax will take you to the room you’ll be sharing. Give him this key.”
I let Chase help me out the door to where Jax is waiting.
“So?” He asks. “Was it terrible?”
I shake my head, handing him the key. “No. She actually seemed pretty nice.”
“Are you sure you aren’t dating? Cause-”
“We aren’t.” I interrupt.
“Hm. Well, let’s go to your room.”
The room is bigger than Sky’s was, and the beds are huge. It looks really nice. There’s a big closet with clothes and white cloaks. There’s also a huge bathroom.
“What did you guys do to get this room?” Jax asks, frowning. “Nobody gets these rooms.”
I’m about to say we didn't do anything, but there’s a knock on the door. Chase opens it.
“Ari, it’s Alpha.” He says.
I spin around. He smiles at me. He's wearing a big blue hoodie with ALPHA across the back. “Hi, Ari. Is this a bad time?”
“No, no, you’re fine.” I say. Chase goes to one of the beds, rolling his eyes.
“Do you want me to show you around now, or later?”
I glance at Chase who shrugs like, “It’s up to you.”
“Uh, yeah, sure. Just let me change real fast.”
He nods. I grab some clothes from the closet, and go change in the bathroom. I come out two minutes later to see Chase and Alpha glaring at each other.
“So you aren’t dating Chase, you’re dating Alpha?” Jax smirks.
I ignore him, and walk to the door where Alpha’s waiting for me.
“C’mon.” He says.
We go down some hallways, and he shows me the cafeteria, then more hallways, and up stairs, then the classrooms, then more hallways, and other rooms, then more stairs, then hallways, then the roof.
“This is my favorite place here.” He tells me. “It’s quiet up here. And the view looks great.”
I look over the side, and immediately step back. I don’t do heights. We’re in a tall, tall castle, and all I can see is a narrow path. There’s bottomless black all around it.
I stumble into Alpha. “Sorry, it’s just...really high.”
“It’s okay.” He says, his hands on my shoulders.
We sit by each other, and talk and talk. I like him. A lot.
Out of nowhere, he leans over and kisses me.