The New Girl – Part 1

The+New+Girl+-+Part+1

Hannah Newmark, Contributor

Another dreaded school day that is nowhere close to being over. I stare at the clock, my eyes following the ever slow minute hand as it ticks closer and closer to the end of the day. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. The bell rings but I don’t move, for I am already sitting in my seat. What else am I supposed to do? I’ve got no one to hang out with, people to be with laughing by my lockers, no place to be. I get weird stares as I pass people in the hall. I shouldn’t be surprised; I’m the odd, new girl. I’d be getting even weirder stares if the people here knew about my past. So instead of dwelling on something I can’t go back and change, something I will regret for years to come, something I looked forward to that was all a lie, I continue staring at the clock. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock

2 years earlier 

 

My best friend Kaylee hurried down the hallway with me as the late bell rang. She never stopped talking, her bright ocean blue eyes flashing brightly with joy. I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen her frown, (she was the definition of optimistic) her curly platinum blonde hair as bright as her disposition. I wasn’t really paying attention to the words flying out of her mouth at lightning speed, for I was trying to remember if I had completed the homework or not. I let out a quick breath of relief as I recalled doing it the night before, and entered my homeroom classroom with a grin on my face. There would be no punishment for me today, but I knew others wouldn’t be as lucky.

 I was the opposite of Kaylee: quiet, with deep brown eyes, and straight hair the color of caramel. Opposites attract apparently, which was probably why Kaylee and I were such great friends. 

I sat down at my desk with a sigh and dropped my books. They tumbled to the floor with a thud, and I resisted the urge to scream in frustration. I bent over and my hair fell automatically, shielding the looks my classmates were giving me. I quickly gathered up my books in my arms and stood up, brushing my hair behind my ear with the back of my hand. I could hear the footsteps echoing down the hall as my teacher neared the room, but something was off about them. They seemed to be accompanied by another pair of shoes…

“Good morning Class!” I scrambled up from my seat as everyone murmured a chorus of greetings, my eyes casting downward. Attention only brought shame and regret in this school. I have read stories about other schools, but none of them seemed realistic. They were nothing like the school I’ve lived in for the majority of my life. Polar opposites, actually. The thought had crossed my mind that maybe our school was the odd one, not the other way around, but that seemed impossible. Eastview Boarding School for Young Girls, a school I hadn’t stood foot outside of in eight years. I arrived here when I was six, my parents dropping me off and leaving without so much as a glance back. They tell us we will see them when we turn sixteen, when we graduate. I hold on to the hope that in two years I will see my family again, that they still care about me. 

Ms. Wilson entered the room with a small girl by her side. She had long, wavy black hair, and deep green eyes that were wide and alert, surveying us. She was gestured to a desk directly behind me. My back stiffened as she passed by me, a sudden chill tingling in my bones, running down my spine. I stayed facing forward, disturbed and confused by the feeling, a warning that something wasn’t right. 

 

I hurried back into my dorm room after I showered many hours later. My moist skin glistened as I sorted through my drawer for a baggy shirt and sweatpants to wear to bed. I pulled on my clothes and ran a brush through my tangled, dripping hair. Suddenly I was aware that the diminishing sunlight was no longer pouring out of the open window. A dark shadow stood in front of it, and the hairs on my neck raised in fear. I slowly turned around to meet cautious eyes the color of kale. 

“I’m Klarisse,” a high, trilling voice said. “I’ve been assigned to this room.” Klarisse smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. 

“ I’m – Syl- Sylvia.” I stammered. Wow great first impression Sylvia! A voice in my head complimented sarcastically. God, why did I have to be so awkward. If only Kaylee were here, she could brighten any uncomfortable situation.  

Klarisse watched me warily as I muttered something about needing to finish some homework for English and hurried over to my bed eagerly, glad to remove myself from the embarrassing situation. I hunched over my book, trying to focus on the words, but I could feel her eyes on me; watching, always watching.

 

The next few days were uneventful, but I couldn’t seem to get over the uneasy feeling I had around Klarisse.  Neither Kaylee, nor our other roommate Adalynn seemed bothered by her presence. Kaylee teased me about my worries, saying I was reading way too many mystery novels. Life continued on normally, but the warning in my head still stayed. Klarisse wasn’t to be trusted.

“Sylvia, earth to Sylvia?” A hand waved in front of my face, snapping me back to reality. Kaylee was grinning at me, a small box in her hand.

“Sorry, daydreaming again,” I apologized sheepishly.

“Happy Birthday!” she burst out, unable to contain her excitement. Shocked, my eyes flew to the small calendar in the corner of the room. April fifth was circled in a red marker. How had the time gotten away from me so easily? But then realization hit. One more year. One more year until I was 16 and I would be reunited with my family. A smile grew unwillingly across my face, and Kaylee wrapped her arms around me in a tight hug before handing me my present.

“Open it, open it!” She was practically bouncing in anticipation, and I giggled before pulling at the ribbon tied to the top. Inside the box sat a small red fox, woven from yarn. 

“You made this?” I gasped in astonishment. The details were so intricate, I couldn’t even imagine the amount of time and effort this had taken. 

“Yes! During entertainment hours!” She clasped her hands together with glee, pleased with my reaction to her gift. Grinning, I held up the fox high in the air. 

“ I hereby name you, Sir Fox!” I laughed as I pretended to perform a ritual, a clear, pinging sound that I hadn’t made in weeks due to my anxiety over Klarisse . At this moment, all my fears about her seemed silly, an overreaction to a quiet and unfriendly girl who just happened to walk by me when a cold bust of air went through the room. As soon as I thought those words I knew I was right, and I laughed again, a stress free sound that was lined with real joy. I felt as if I didn’t have a worry in the world.

Of course at that moment Klarisse rounded the corner and stood at the doorway, Adalynn by her side. Her eyes narrowed, and shot acidic daggers at me. I was stunned. What did I do wrong? I thought, as all my concerns from the past few weeks came rushing  back. The carefree joy diminished, and was replaced with ice cold distress. 

Adalynn furrowed her brow in confusion at Kaylee and I, and glanced at the calendar. Understanding flooded her gentle features, and she walked toward us to sit on my bed.

“Happy birthday Sylvia,” She said, smiling warmly. Adalynn was a soft-spoken, compassionate girl, but I wasn’t close with her. I couldn’t fathom why she would be friends with someone as eerie as Klarisse. They had been joined at the hip for the past week, a sudden and puzzling action. She squeezed my hand in an affectionate gesture, before heading over to her own bed. I smiled at her back as she slowly walked to the bed across from mine. Whatever was going on with her and Klarisse, she was still the same Adalynn I had known for the past eight years.

Klarisse flipped off the light switch and quietly moved to her own bed. The standard good nights were exchanged, and I felt myself drifting off into sleep. When I awoke the next morning, Adalynn was gone. 

Panicked, I slid out from under my blanket and looked around the room. Kaylee was still sleeping, but Klarisse was sitting on the edge of her bed smiling softly to herself. Her eyes met my frightened gaze and she stood up and crossed the room to stand directly in front of me. She was a head taller than I was, and I tried not to cower beneath her intense scrutiny. 

“Where’s Adalynn?” I forced the question out of my mouth, trying unsuccessfully to sound strong.

Klarisse didn’t answer, her eyes trained on me with frightening intensity.

That’s when I felt a sharp pain in the side of my neck, and the world around me plunged into darkness.

 

To be continued……