The New Girl – Part 2

The+New+Girl+-+Part+2

Hannah Newmark, Staff

My heart pulses in my ears, and my head goes fuzzy. I can’t get my feet to take another step forward. No, not this. I’d learned that most of life is a lie. An unlikely ally taught me that. But I wanted this so much it was painful. But unlike the others, I knew. I could tell. I remembered. My enemy standing beside me urges me forward, looking at me with faux confusion. “Take a step forward Sylvia, go on…” 

 

One year before

 

I open my eyes and immediately let them fall back shut, weakness flowing through every bone in my body. I hear a quiet whimpering a few feet away from me. I hesitantly open my eyes as I remember what happened. Klarisse. The name sends a chill down my spine. They should have listened to me. I knew something was wrong with her. I raise my head and look around. I spotted Adalynn huddled in a corner, hugging her knees up to her chest and quietly sobbing. 

“Adalynn?” I touched her arm softly. She wrenches away, out of my grasp.

“Why? I thought she was my friend! What is happening!” It was the first time I’d heard her raise her voice, yet it didn’t shock me. I understood a part of what she was feeling, my own questions of why? burning deep inside of me, begging for an answer. 

“I don’t know,” I quietly said, letting my eyes fall to the ground out of habit.

 I took a deep breath and surveyed my surroundings. We were in a dim room with dirty, bare, white walls and a cold, gray stone floor. There were no windows, so I couldn’t tell where we were. I shivered involuntarily before attempting to stand up. I swayed and put a hand on the wall beside me to steady myself. Instantly I recoiled from the touch of grime against my fingers and almost fell back down from the action. I couldn’t understand why all my strength had disappeared. With the last inch of willpower I had, I pushed myself to the other side of the small room. Adalynn watched me quietly, her tears flowing soundlessly down her pale face. 

“Whatever she injected us with to knock us out diminished our strength,” she muttered. “I’ve already tried to get to the door. It’s probably locked anyway. Klarisse wouldn’t throw us in here with an easy way of escape,” Adalynn spluttered.

Panic clouded my thoughts, and I shook my head in an attempt to focus. I knew that if I began to freak out I would never be able to escape. In my years of watching others quietly behind the scenes, I learned that the best chance you have of succeeding is thinking rationally. So I ignored her, and focused on taking a step forward. I fell forward a few feet, and caught myself on the wall beside the door. Shuddering from the touch against the wall, I moved to the side and stood directly in front of a wooden door. I pulled at the door handle, but it wouldn’t budge. Mercifully, Adalynn wasn’t one to say “I told you,” so and I huffed and sat back down on the icy ground across from her. 

“Sylvia—” Adalynn started.

A loud creaking sound interrupted her. The door swung open and Klarisse stepped in, dragging an unconscious Kaylee in. I shrieked and Adalynn put her head in between her knees, muffling her anguished cries. 

“Morning roomies; your last hostage is here.” 

My hands shook with anxiety, and my entire body trembled. So much for avoiding freaking out. Instead, I burst.

“Why! What did we ever do to you?” My voice is hoarse, but there was no mistaking my fury.

Klarisse met my accusing stare evenly. Her green eyes were full of pain. She deliberately avoided looking at the unconscious body at my feet. I couldn’t understand why. Why does she seem to despise this task almost as much as we do? The hurt in her eyes was undeniably so deep, without cure, as if she was forever broken, unable to pick up all her cracked pieces and make herself whole again. Happy again. I almost felt bad for her. Almost.

“Believe me, I’m helping you,” Klarisse claimed.

I was seething and unable to accept that answer. “Helping me!” I scoff. “You are the last person I’d trust to help me with anything.” 

“Be careful who you trust.”

But before I could open my mouth to protest, her emerald eyes flicked over to Adalynne who had started a new round of heart-breaking sobs. I rushed over to comfort her, wrapping my arms around her small, shivering body. 

Klarisse flitted her gaze back to me and shook her head. She turned on her heel and left the room without another remark.

I rush to Kaylee’s side, trying to shake her awake.

“It- won’t- w- work,” Adalynn stuttered in between sniffles. “It took you over- over an hour to w-wake up.” 

I sighed and leaned back against the wall, settling into a long, tortuous hour of silent waiting. 

 

The minutes bleed into hours and the hours into days. Klarisse visits us two times to give us meals in what seems like a day, though time is hard to keep track of with no windows showing the passing hours. Each time the door opens, Kaylee lets out a blood-curdling scream, trying to alert anyone to our presence. Klarisse just grits her teeth in frustration each time and begins her usual riddles, tormenting us with half answers to our questions and pleas. She has spoken more to us in this cage than she’d ever had in the few weeks she’d been at the school. Kaylee, ever the extrovert, is an equal match for her with sarcastic retorts that always make Klarisse wince. Finally, the day we’ve been waiting for comes, the day Klarisse forgets to lock the door on her way out.

“Shhh” I quiet my cell mates, one bursting with excitement, the other with nerves. 

I slowly pull on the handle, turning it ever so slightly. Adalynn is smart, and she kicks the metal wall while I turn the lock to muffle the click by the echoing bang. We quietly shuffle out the door. A window open to our right provides us a breeze and we inhale, pulling the fresh air down to our toes. 

I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding. We grin at each other, triumphant and climb up the creaky, winding staircase. My eyes fall to the stairs, counting each one. 20, 21, 22. I’m a bundle of anxiety, my intertwined hands shaking. That was too easy, too predictable; surely we wouldn’t be able to escape just like that. I hear the quiet thudding of footsteps, and look up in alarm a second too late. A tall, muscular man in all black stands a few steps above me, a gun trained at my forehead. I scream, but a flash of motion in my peripheral vision stuns me into a state of frozen fear. Kaylee throws her body in front of me. I hear the bang of a bullet making contact with flesh, and I fall to my knees. Kaylee clutches her chest, breathing shallowly. There is no time for hysterics, no time for hesitation. I pick her up and sprint as fast as I can up the rest of the stairs. Normally, the extra weight of carrying a person would slow me down, but in this case the adrenaline only makes me run faster. I’m fueled by the drive to save Kaylee, and don’t slow down. Adalynn and I turn hallway after hallway, lost, but not caring. I drag Kaylee into a room and slam the door shut, Adalynn following at my heels. I set Kaylee down gently on the floor and Adalynn retreats to the corner. I look around briefly at my surroundings. The room is bare, and dirty, with a window letting in a little light on one wall. I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding when I hear no footsteps outside in the hallway. We lost the man who shot Kaylee. I hear a sound, painful, tortuous, full of agony. It’s coming from me. My eyes prick with tears.

“Kaylee, you’re going to be alright.” I move my hands around her helplessly, unsure what to do.

She laughs weakly, wincing as she does so. “I thought I was the optimistic one.”

Adalynn stands quietly in the corner, averting her eyes. Surprisingly, her eyes are dry. She doesn’t sob. Shock and fear, I assume, are overruling her sadness. Kaylee heaves a breath, and then coughs, blood splattering on the cold tile. I’m frozen, unsure what to do, afraid and consumed by trauma. I realize after a minute that Kaylee feels cold beneath my fingertips. I look down at her face, her eyes are lifeless, her coloring on her skin off. I choke back a sob, bringing my hand to my mouth. I bite down on the skin, but the pain isn’t enough to distract from my dead best friend in my arms. Finally, Adalynn moves.

 

“Sylvia,” Adalynn starts, hours later in our dorm room. She avoids looking at the empty bed across from her. 

I stay quiet. My arms wrapped around myself, afraid that if I let go I will fall apart. Luckily for us, we were met with no resistance the rest of our way back. The room that had become our cell was a large storage closet in the basement of the school, forgotten, hidden. It’s a surprise Klarisse was able to find it in the first place. My tears had run dry after crying silently for ten minutes in that room, with Adalynn at my side. She helped my hide Kaylee’s corpse. She hid her under a couch in one of the other abandoned rooms in that hallway while I looked away. I couldn’t bear to watch. I rerun the moment Kaylee was shot over and over again in my head. Her body flinging across the steps, arms outstretched, determination clear on her face.  

She was protecting me

My heart aches with the realization, and I don’t move from where I am sitting on the corner of the bed. Adalynn hesitates before getting up to sit next to me. As she approaches me, an emotion I can’t decipher flickers across her gentle features. She puts an arm around my shoulders, and I lean into her, biting my lip to stop the tears from flowing. We stay like that for a while, clutching each other, alone in our own pain, our own trauma, our own loss.

 

The days pass slowly, but I barely notice them, and can barely enjoy my freedom. Klarisse hadn’t returned, fortunately for us. I stay numb, doing my schoolwork, following the orderly routine each day, hour by hour. Night is the one time I can’t escape, and I lay still on top of my bed, not moving, filled with grief and anguish. 

Adalynn shifts in her bed, reading her book before lights out and the exchange of good nights. I don’t pay her any attention, though she deserves it. Adalynn has been the one helping me get through this week, the one making sure I eat. She never leaves me unless she absolutely has to, which I’m grateful for. Her presence is soothing; she is the only one who understands. 

The door creaks open, but I stay rooted to my bed, my back facing the door. I stare blankly at the beige wall, my eyes roaming over all the indents and cracks. I am about to bid goodnight to Adalynn when a trilling, familiar voice halts my efforts, my body going cold with dread. 

“So we meet again, roomies.” 

 

To be continued…