W.I.T.C.H. Porn Story: Halinors Dark Side – Chapter 6

W.I.T.C.H. Porn Story: Halinors Dark Side – Chapter 6

Missing.

It’s dangerous to wander around late at night. Anyone is entitled to ask why, but the answers are just so simple. There are situations when one gets kidnapped, killed by a random person, and many more that aren’t mentioned. Since these kind of things don’t happen too much in Heatherfield, some people forsake their cautiousness. It’s too foolish to do that, especially in the case of a typical high school girl.

She’s currently taking the shortest route to her apartment, her middle and ring finger hooked around the handle of a shopping bag. The city was still teemed with darkness; the lampposts aligned on the sidewalks were not giving off too much light. The girl urged herself to hurry up before all clocks will strike nine o’ clock in the evening. The more she ran, the more she sensed incoming trouble. Even she could anticipate the future dialogue between her and her parents. It’s fair for them to scold her until their voices will run out of angry tones. She shouldn’t have lingered herself to unimportant matters, like stopping by clothing stores and buying whatever she desires. Then again, this particular girl can’t reverse her doings. Though, she wishes to see a time machine in real life, she believes that there are no supernatural things in this world.

Suddenly, the girl stopped running. She decided to rest her hands and shoulders, because the shopping bag was slightly heavy for her weak strength. Her legs were also aching for the need to relax. After a few moments of taking deep breaths, she heard footsteps making eerie sounds on the pavement. Instinctively, she stood on her ground, her eyes searching for the source. Strange. There’s nobody in here. Imagination probably tricked her sharp senses a while ago. However, she heard the footsteps once more and she felt like someone was approaching her. The girl looked around again. There are no people near the area she was currently standing, but she still couldn’t believe this. She slowly shook her head before sprinting away, the sounds of the footsteps haunting her memory.

She widened her eyes as she progressed the speed of her legs. Right now, she has to go home. Then she will have to forget about the scary moments she just experienced. Even though her parents might get mad at her for arriving so late, at least she will finally be safe. Unfortunately, her current intentions are impossible to be granted. A furry arm suddenly grabbed hold of her hand, dragging her back to the dim path she passed by. The girl called out for help, releasing all of the air from her lungs. Due to her fear, the loudness of her shout was supposed to be effective for people to heed her cry, but nobody came to rescue. She lowered her head, causing her to look down hopelessly at the dark pavement. The girl, by chance, finally saw a stiff positioning of pale legs, her gaze following steadily to recognize other limbs, and the head.

It was another female teenager, who was sorta far away from the girl. The person’s face was hardly distinguishable, with dark hair framing it marvelously.

“Please help me!” came the plea of the poor adolescent. And the grip of the furry arms around her tightened.

But the strange lady was just standing there, not stirring any kind of movement. The girl was completely shocked when she saw the face. She knew the visage too well. She hovered between the uncertainty of calling out for help again and continue studying the person. She suddenly felt the furry arms tighten around her neck, choking her a little. After a few moments, she felt herself forcefully being pulled into a blue light.

“Nooo!” she yelled out, prolonging the word. Her right arm was outstretched, hoping for any kind of support. It was the last thing she did before she was sucked into the bright light. Darkness returned once again. The lady who was standing a while ago finally lowered her head. Then she walked away from the area.

Her blond hair swayed behind her.

It seems like murder cases are still increasing.

Sheffield Institute, eight fifteen in the morning.

“I probably misplaced it somewhere,” Cassidy grumbled.

The russet-haired girl fussed her hands through her bag. She looked slightly damp because of the shower she had taken an hour ago. Rivulets of water were still tracing her fine strands of hair. Kadma was sitting down on her seat and adjusted her legs beneath her desk. She refused to interfere in Cassidy’s problem. The Water Guardian furrowed her brows in mild panic. She paused for a while, her expression not changing, as she tried to remember where she last placed her Biology book. Maybe on the study table? But she was not giving up, there is a possibility that her memory is failing her. Not to be confused with Alzheimer’s, really. Stress can completely dominate one’s brain without a moment’s delay. It would just vanish in a bit, just as long as she could just stop her job about saving the world from evil.

She continued to look for her stupid book.

“Hey,” Kadma abruptly called out her friend’s attention.

Cassidy glanced up from her crouching position.

“You’re searching for that thing?”

“Yeah.”

“Then if you are, why are you searching in my bag?” Kadma asked, her voice already in a growling edge. Cassidy didn’t realize that she’s currently rummaging in Kadma’s backpack. She immediately zipped it close, carefully choosing between words she needed to use.

“Sorry about that,” she said half-heartedly.

Cassidy was still a little intrigued of the news she watched yesterday. She was not sure if she will explain her curiosity to Kadma, considering that they often build up the pressure of arguing.

“Which would seem more like a suicide? Falling or jumping?” she finally asked after a short while.

There was a long pause before Kadma answered.

“If you mean suicide, then jumping. Because through falling, it’s not usually done by a person’s free will.”

“I guess. But it’s not so different for me. What if the person was trying to achieve something, but failed and fell in the end? Then her intentions weren’t really suicidal, and you can tell that it was just an accident, too.”

Kadma, who was staring at Cassidy, blinked slowly, then decided to play this further.

“If that’s the case, then what would she possibly want to achieve?” she pressed.

“I don’t know. Maybe… fly?”

“Idiot.”

“No, seriously. It’s probable,” Cassidy protested.

“What a childish way of putting it. Committing suicide by jumping. Does it count as an accident?” Kadma retorted.

Cassidy grunted, glaring at her bag. If she will respond to that kind of question, then it would mean that she also has to admit defeat. She racked her brain for a decent answer.

“There were rumors saying that a high school girl was just walking around last night. Then she mysteriously died. The shopping bag that was left on Caroline street evidenced her presence,” she said, looking for a shift of topics, but this was related to what she was saying about the “suicide” thing.

Kadma suppressed the urge to speak, resorting to just give Cassidy a harmless stare. The russet-haired girl returned the gaze with a bored one of her own. They both stayed like this for a moment before their musings took toll once more.

“I think it’s still strange. She didn’t even leave a suicide note or a letter. Maybe somebody killed her,” Cassidy said.

“Maybe,” Kadma agreed.

“It’s not really our business. Suicide is a very personal thing,” she added.

Cassidy seconded that statement, but being as stubborn as she is, she was thinking that something was incredibly abnormal about what the girl just did. There’s probably some kind of meaning in the occurrence. Suddenly, she glanced at the classroom’s large windows. Kadma followed her friend’s gaze, then a thought alarmed her. Cassidy always had this irritating tendency to just barge into some stranger’s life, and offer help as if she was an old comrade. It’s not wrong, really. But it always had her getting into deadly consequences in the end. And that bothered Kadma a lot.

“Are you going to”

“Yeah. I’ll check the street out this afternoon,” Cassidy interrupted. There was a tone of finality in her voice that even Kadma was afraid to disregard.

“I’m coming with you,” she said.

Sheffield Institute; Recess – 10:00 a.m.

There were bags under Richielda Dickerson’s eyes, indicating the lack of sleep for the past few nights. As one could see in them, her pupils looked kinda empty; almost as hollow as a bottomless pit. Surrounding this girl were gossips and whispers, concerned if there was something wrong with her. Their thoughts were not mistaken, everything wasn’t right for her today. Nothing was. Whenever she talks to Walker, he only utters short and cold responses, so cold she began to think of herself as an incompetent fool. It was hopeless to depend all her hopes on a relationship that wouldn’t just work the way she wanted to. No matter how much she tried to appeal to him, she finds her heart feeling as if something bad was going to happen. With a depressed attitude, she roamed around silently, absorbing in the tense atmosphere.

“Richie!” a voice called out to her.

Her eyes caught the features of her friend, Mirany, who walked towards the spot she’s standing on. The girl was carrying many papers under one armpit and she looked like she needs to do something important. It’s not like she’s even a true friend or anything like that, but even though her company is not needed, she just hangs out with Richielda a lot in school. She doesn’t mind either, so there’s nothing serious when they accompany each other. Richielda, not willing to talk to anyone today, waved at her black-haired friend, then she turned to continue walking. Like a determined puppy wanting attention, Mirany caught up to her once again.

“Hey, what’s wrong? Are you still worried about Walker?”

At the mention of his name, something inside of Richielda snapped, and she glared at Mirany. Her blood suddenly sparked with anger as a painful feeling sunk in.

“Leave me alone! I don’t care, alright? You just talk with me everyday like I’m some kind of long lost friend of yours — when I am not. If you hate me, same here!” she growled. Afterwards, she gasped and covered her mouth with two hands. She looked at the astonished Mirany with apologetic eyes.

She’s really in deep torment lately, and she can’t even manage to control herself anymore. Ever since she found out that Walker really fell in love with Halinor, she was not in a good state. Back then, she always knew that he was just playing with the blond, like he often does with some other girls (including her). Richielda assured herself that she will be his girlfriend someday, but that was too ambitious of her — if one would think about it. He also flirts with Halinor and teases her most of the time, fooling everyone in the process of doing so. This really ticks her off. Last night, she remembered the saying that when a boy teases a girl, it means he likes her. It’s unbelievable for Richielda, but it seems true in a way. She didn’t relish the idea to go and talk to him again, for she could imagine herself looking at his sober figure, which used to be bustling with high-spirited movements. Not only was she humiliated through that, but this was also bringing her confidence and hopes down to nothing.

Annoying Richielda is one of the most spiteful things a person could do to her. But she had to admit that she missed him pestering her to do her work as a President. She is a lazy girl, after all. He, Halinor, and Mirany, who were her fellow class officers, are the only ones who keep on urging her. His enthusiastic personality was gone in a split moment by the betrayal of Halinor that greatly assaulted his pride and determination. All he does in the classroom is to watch the window, incapable of thinking clearly to get used to his sudden grief.

“Sorry, but I just have to let you know that there will be a meeting tomorrow at exactly twelve noon,” Mirany said, after a few moments of brief silence between her and Richielda.

“Ok. I’m so sorry,” she said. Then she went away, preventing herself from saying another word.

Her entire body was showing signs of weariness; while her face remained blank as she walked past many people unknown to her. Unexpectedly, her shoulder bumped against someone else’s, causing her to nearly lose her balance. Stabilizing herself, she looked at the person who half-collided with her. Walker. She stepped back suddenly, her eyes staring at him.

“H-hey…” she greeted, her voice muttered barely above a whisper. She was trying to pull herself together in order not to do embarrassing movements in front of him.

“You look horrible, Richie. You alright?” he inquired, furrowing his brows. He wanted to ask her all sorts of questions, but he decided to ask one at a time.

His frown deepened, seeing how miserable she really looked. Basically, she didn’t look like herself. Richielda also didn’t sound like she was having a good day, but he decided to solve things out for her.

“I’m fine. I’m just… really tired. By the way, would you like to have some cookies? Me and my classmates baked some during the Home Economics Class today.”

She fussed a hand through a pocket, then she handed a small plastic of three cookies.

“Thanks. I’m really hungry,” he said, snatching the aforementioned plastic away from her. While he was doing so, he took a short moment to study her face.

“What’s wrong?”

There he goes again, trying to act like himself before. Loitering around and talking a lot are one of his hobbies, but nowadays, he just sits down on his seat most of the time. But even right now, he’s still having a hard time, because he couldn’t adjust to Richielda’s new attitude. She lowered her head, not sure of what to say next.

“Nothing. I’ll go back to my classroom. I’ll see you soon,” she said, her aura still somber.

He decided to leave her alone this time. Walker approached his locker and opened it, but three letters fell to the floor as he did so. The blond boy picked them up, then he noticed that these were written by female students, judging on the very neat hand-writings. He has been getting a lot of attention from the ladies lately. Since curiosity got the better of him, he opened the first one. He read it, didn’t care about it, and did the same thing to the next letter. He was mostly engrossed on the third one.

The four last words on it made him feel guilty.

I really like you!

He didn’t know who the sender is, since it was not stated anywhere. If he will reply to this, the girl might get hurt. Besides, things just got driven into a worse state ever since the murder cases increased. Walker just dropped the letter, and a draft of wind immediately caught it, then it was blown away; outside of the school.

He can’t let everybody know that he really likes somebody else.

School Campus; 4:00 p.m.

Even though it’s already late in the afternoon, there are still more than a dozen of students loitering around the school; probably waiting for their parents to fetch them. For three hours, Kadma sat cross-legged on a bench, hearing a fine blend of voices from afar. She mostly heard the sounds of vehicles traveling to their destinations, and bugs whispering tunes in whatever manner they had. It’s almost Halloween, but the eventual occurrence coaxed slowly into the gloomy weather, and into the minds of high school students. Soon, it would be October thirty-one, and it would mostly mean to people that scaring each other would begin. A sigh sifted from her lips, wondering why she had to jog desperately towards this area when in fact Cassidy is always late. Kadma is normally punctual in every appointment and in every event she attends.

She stifled a short yawn, feeling sleepy. There were so many days that required homeworks, busy hours cramped in the library with books, and late nights with a pen in hand. And, not to mention, she stopped talking to some of her friends here. Nowadays, she resembled a worn-out person. Sometimes, she would shun her inward suggestion about relaxing for a bit. Her grades are also slipping lower to the point that she’s probably going to fail. She doesn’t even know how to play a single sport anymore, much less do athletic activities. She took frequent C.R. breaks, she was late for school almost every other day, and was sometimes caught talking suspiciously to Nerissa, Cassidy, and Yan Lin on the campus. But just watching the usual scenarios of this town, she was wondering if the people just acted like nothing bad happened to this world.

It was really getting dark, but the change was not enough to be noted by anyone. Unexpectedly, a raindrop fell to her cheek, and she could feel it streak down her face. She brought a hand up and rubbed a finger on the small, wet drop of water. After a few moments, there will be a drizzle, and she anticipated this immediately. She stood up and decided to seek protection from a tree that is thick with green leaves. Maybe Cassidy is not planning to meet her anymore. Maybe the red-headed girl finally went home. Kadma was not that angry, but she shrugged her thoughts away, and assured herself that she doesn’t need to do things she didn’t have to. Thus so, at the current moment as she wandered towards the exit of the school, she could feel that someone was following her. He or she was poking her from behind as well.

Kadma turned around — no one was there. She sighed in frustration as she glanced back at the exit. But suddenly, she saw Cassidy right in front of her, and the redhead practically stared blankly at her.

“Boo,” she said.

“Gah!” Kadma shrieked.

“Cool reaction. I think I’m really getting better at spooking people’s wits out,” Cassidy laughed.

Everytime Halloween approaches, she tries to frighten others in simple ways. She invented a lot of scary plans before and some of them were successful. Even right now, she made Kadma react negatively, indicating her that there was an eerie paradise during the attempt.

“What took you so long, anyway?” Kadma asked impatiently.

“I was still finding my book. It’s nowhere to be found, really. If I can’t find it, then I’m dead,” the Water Guardian whined.

“Right. So anyway, what were you saying a while back? We’re going somewhere?”

Cassidy didn’t announce her depart as she approached the exit. After a few moments, she stopped to glance at Kadma.

“Come along.”

Random streets leading to a bookshop; 7:00 p.m.

“Cassidy, it’s really getting so late now! My parents are going to kill me!” Kadma yelled for the hundredth time.

The redhead ignored the constant complaints, since something else captivated her attention. The moon was bright and full, evanescent rings appearing around its figure as they wandered through the streets, their footsteps belonging in the echoes it created that sent shivers down their spine. It’s also very annoying once a person will try to venture through the darkness of tonight. The rain had stopped; thank God for the mercies. Having the dark clouds around would’ve proved their movements extra difficult, since it would be blocking out some of the lunar rays of the moon. Cassidy was tired, but she was determined. Kadma too, but her intention was different. She’s determined to go home.

They looked around, sauntering off together in various streets, browsing and losing themselves in the bright, vivid lights that engulfed the buildings whole. They found a new bookshop, though, one that they had never seen before. They entered it and found an empty floor, looking deserted. There were only bookshelves aligned in rows. Cassidy heard about this. This was one of the most popular bookshops here in Heatherfield. Cassidy and Kadma scanned the place for any strange signs, and then they found a staircase that lead downward to an unknown area. Now, going there without knowing what’s in store for you isn’t the best choice anyone can have.

They can’t save themselves if an enemy will be here to destroy them or something. These two are currently not in their Guardian uniforms, anyway. They should have consulted Nerissa about this, but involving her would make things difficult in some ways. Cassidy and Kadma spared a glance at each other, before they silently nodded in agreement. They didn’t know why though. They were acting purely on instinct, and this was what their reflexes tells them to do; act like they are in a movie. It was a crazy thought. Cassidy made her way down first, with Kadma in close pursuit. They were actually in a dusty basement. It didn’t take a while for them to register the rest of the surroundings.

Before they could conclude that nothing seems to be suspicious here, Cassidy caught sight of a portal near an unnoticeable corner. Kadma stared at it as well, familiarized with the brightness of the blue light it gave off.

“I wonder where this thing leads,” Cassidy pondered.

“You’re not planning to go there, are you?” Kadma slyly inquired. This was always something that made her lose her temper.

The redhead paused just enough for her to observe her friend’s cautious face. Then she glanced back at the portal. Cassidy twitched an arm hesitantly towards it. She stayed like that for a while, before she went through the blue light.

“Hey, wait!” Kadma called out, also going inside.

They found themselves in an unknown location. Just like that, the portal vanished behind them.

“C-Cassidy, it’s gone! How are we supposed to go back?” she panicked, her voice pretty loud.

“Look, just quit yelling, alright? We’ll find a way. Sheesh! I’m just trying to find out who’s behind this. Aside from Halinor, of course. We need to solve this stupid problem once and for all,” Cassidy said, her tone of voice the same as Kadma’s.

“What are you talking about? You’re yelling, too!” the Earth Guardian reasoned.

“Anyway, as of now, just help me find a way out. If we will see someone in here, we’ll run away, whether that person is an ally or not,” Cassidy instructed.

“Not gonna happen,” Kadma persisted.

“Well, that’s nice. So I guess this is how you treat a person who’s trying to help you,” Cassidy stated sarcastically.

“You didn’t even help me in the first place. You dragged me into trouble!” Kadma protested.

“Why don’t you just shut up and cooperate, pal?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Kadma finally gave in.

Heatherfield; Emily, Cassidy, and Billy’s house; 7:25 p.m.

Billy wasn’t sure how much time had passed. Emily was already done cooking dinner. The meals were perfectly set on the table, and the reason why they didn’t eat yet was because they were waiting for Cassidy to go home. It was really getting late, and he had a weird feeling that she was doing something in a different place; probably a place he does not know. Nevertheless, he was hungry. His stomach started to make music during the last class period. After the bell rang, signaling the end of classes, he was planning to wait for Cassidy so they can go home together, but she wanted him to go first for some unknown reasons. That girl, which is his twin sister, is getting weird. She seems to be so disturbed lately. He knows that the Biology book is not one of her major problems — at least not now.

It’s just a feeling, though.

But then, he shouldn’t have left her.

“Mom, I’m so sorry about Cassidy,” Billy blurted out.

“Dear, there’s no need to apologize. She’ll be back soon. She does not like to worry people. I know her,” Emily said.

His stomach grumbled once again, and he was certain that she heard the unwanted sound. Even so, he strained himself from touching his food or his eating utensils. To him, every minute was pure torture. He and Cassidy did not eat breakfast this morning, because the fear of being late for school overtook them. The important thing is: he and his mother should wait for her. If they don’t, it’s slightly unfair for her, if one would strictly think about it. Billy lowered his head in total regret, then he spoke.

“I know we’re hungry right now, mom. But it’s okay if we don’t eat dinner tonight. We’ll probably save these meals for breakfast. For the meantime, we’ll wrap them in plastic and place them inside the refrigerator. What do you say?” he suggested, a light smile on his face.

“Good Lord, I wonder what happened to her?” Emily pondered softly.

Billy did not smile anymore, his expression almost resembling hers.

7:40 p.m.

It’s too early for him to sleep. Emily decided to go for the suggestion he made a while ago, and just seeing the sad look on her face made his hunger go away. Maybe his mother is sleeping soundly now. However, a half of him doubted this, since she’s obviously worried about Cassidy. Eventually, he decided to get up, acknowledging that trying to get any rest at the moment was futile. Billy ventured down the stairs, trying to keep his steps as quiet as possible. He didn’t bother to change his clothes; after all, he would probably end up going back to his room sooner or later anyway, so he remained in his pajamas. And they were soft and warm, too, so changing into other clothes would have been useless.

He did not know why he couldn’t sleep, but it probably had something to do with Cassidy’s lack of presence now. Other than that, he had been cold all day, despite the sweater he had worn. Maybe he had a cold. If he did, though, it mustn’t have been that serious, because his nose was neither stuffy nor runny, and his throat was not sore. He was just cold. And that could have attributed to the fact that it was just chilly outside. Billy suddenly paused after he took the last step of the staircase. He was also wearing his slippers, and one could see that he’s about to do something. Out of the blue, he opened the door of the house slowly, pulling it close behind him.

It was cold.

But nevermind. He has to find Cassidy.

Unknown place; 7:25 p.m.

They had lost all sense of time in their pointless wandering, and every pathway they took seemed to lead them to the same area; no one was around, so there was no one from whom they could ask directions. The only noise they had heard for what must have been hours was the soft shuffling of their tired footsteps, so it was natural for them to be surprised and somewhat happy when they heard a few boys talking in the vicinity. Cassidy’s ears perked up at the sound. They seemed to be in conversation with one another. And, before she could realize what she was doing, she ran toward where their voices were coming from and rounded the corner, nearly colliding with the people that stood there. She backed up a few steps and looked up to face them. Kadma went beside Cassidy, staring at the intimidating-looking boys.

“Sorry to bother you. But you see, we’re –” the Water Guardian started, but she suddenly halted when she saw them grin at each other.

They walked over to them, each step slow and agonizing. Cassidy continued, however, but with a softer tone this time.

“–but we’re lost.”

They looked sort of… well, malicious, as their eyes never moved from Kadma and Cassidy, who happened to be the innocent targets that had stumbled upon these guys. The redhead considered apologizing again. Maybe they were mad at her for speaking to them at the wrong time. But then, one of them spoke, his voice malevolent, his expression decidedly angry.

“The Guardians became lost wanderers, I see.”

Laughter enveloped the area, the annoying sound creating a sort of echo, which only served to frighten Cassidy and Kadma more. They have powers to show them off, but they are in a weak state, since they are not in their Guardian uniforms now. They decided to run away, even though it’s the last cowardly thing they have to do. However, recognition suddenly shoved that decision aside, staring at the boys. There were four of them in all. Basically, they were the enemies Nerissa, Cassidy, Halinor, Kadma, and Yan Lin encountered last year. They have the same height as the boys when they are in their Guardian uniforms. It’s no surprise that Cassidy and Kadma are shorter than them now.

One year ago, these aforementioned boys had jokingly called themselves the Fantastic Four, a sort of gang that claimed that they are King Sullien’s loyal servants. Nerissa, Cassidy, Halinor, Kadma, and Yan Lin defeated them once — alive. Afterwards, the girls sent them to Kandrakar and the Oracle imprisoned them in Mount Thanos. They were released, but the culprit was unknown. However, the most probable person was King Sullien. He was just a typical cold-hearted guy back then and he’s also a powerful being. The more he learned various abilities, the more he became merciless and greedy. Halinor’s completely (and unusually) altered personality may be because of him.

But Nerissa, Cassidy, Kadma, and Yan Lin are still uncertain.

What had they gotten themselves into?

Another boy stuck his right index finger out at the two girls, letting out threat in a form of a yell.

“Well, you just asked the wrong people, girls. Perhaps it’s only fate that made us meet again. You’re not in your Guardian forms. So now, we should use this advantage while we still can,” he sneered.

And yet again, another guy slapped his right fist onto his left palm for added effect. Cassidy was not sure whether that was meant to scare her and Kadma, or it was meant to help increase his own self-confidence. The russet-haired girl only opened her mouth, raising her head as she shot back a simple, yet effective, comment.

“Oooh, really?”

That certainly angered them.

There was a roaring sound as the one who last spoke threw a fireball at Kadma. The fifteen-year-old’s head shot up, her black eyes gazing at it. Bending her knees, she prepared herself to move, but heard a shifting sound to her left. The Shadow Bender. Her feet were unable to move. Not good. Letting out a soft grunt, she kept her knees bent, but she leaned her upper body back, making it almost parallel to the ground. The fireball soared over her. She noticed an stone to her right and grabbed it quickly. Pulling her body back forward, she twisted her hips and threw it at the Shadow Bender. The stone hit him, bouncing off his forehead. Having lost his concentration, his shadow pulled back, releasing Kadma’s.

Now was her chance.

Or at least that’s what she thought.

“Look out!” Cassidy yelled out, pointing at something behind her. Then everything went black.

Heatherfield Streets; 7:50 p.m.

“Cassidy!”

Billy called out desperately for his sister, stopping in his tracks once in a while to hear a response. Every effort he exerted failed. He was worried, and he never ran this fast before. He always flunks in P.E., but at this particular moment, he’ll probably be given an A. Not only that, there is also a big change in his personality. Before, when he was younger, he never liked Cassidy. She seems to be the only one who got all of the family’s attention. They argued a lot back then, but when they became teenagers themselves, she and Billy began to understand each other. They are also getting overprotective. Along with Emily, they go to church on Sundays. Their dad’s too busy, and the family is not his first priority. Emily doesn’t seem to mind that much, but Cassidy and Billy are iffy about his attitude.

He even left Heatherfield, not telling them the reason why.

Meanwhile, the streets were still full, densely packed with cars. The people inside were probably eager to finally drive away from the horrors of business. At least for the night. Billy’s the only one who’s not using a vehicle here. He just ran, as fast as his legs could take him. His breathing was rugged as he continued on for what seemed like hours. Hours were actually many, many minutes, as one person could not go on for so long, no matter how crazy this male teenager actually was. But still, he would run as if his life depended on it, like there was someone chasing after him. His eyes wildly searched in all directions, crossing through streets, not even caring if a car will bump into another all because of him. His current insensitivity towards the environment seems to be harsh, but he focuses on one thing at a time.

All of a sudden, Billy slowed his pace down. He didn’t understand what was going on. Why did his lack of knowledge continue to torture him so much? Why does it seem like Cassidy hid a lot of things from him all along? He stood up straight, coughing. Then he began to walk this time. The effort of running so hard and for such a long distance had worn him out. Naturally, a body like his would wish to stop and rest for an eternity, but Billy pressed on further. He has no destination, but he somehow found himself stepping on… sand. He looked down as he felt that his slippers sank against it. Then it only took him a short while to realize that he was in Cassidy’s favorite place.

“Shell Beach is cool!” her voice rang out in his head, nostalgic memories dominating his senses.

Of course. Shell Beach was really a sight to see. With its warm sand and cool water, paradise was found. It was a rhythm, the tide would always rise, then sink back in. Sometimes going farther than the last, sometimes barely going up at all. But never would it not move back up the shore. The thing is, no one ever knew why the beach was so relaxing, so calming, so peaceful. How could one find enjoyment out of watching the waves rise and fall? No one knew, they just did. That was the magic of it. The beach has the ability to calm a person’s nerves, no matter how stressed they feel. A lot of people would flock here on summers, the sand underneath the toes of visitors is always warm. The last time Cassidy, Billy, and Emily went to this place, many people seemed to be set into groups or pairs, it was hard to find one person alone.

For the most part, that is.

“Cassidy, where are you?” he whispered, looking at the sky, hoping that an answer will come at any moment.

But a part of him knew that there’s no hope for now.

Sheffield Institute Library; Recess; 10:20 a.m.

The Library can’t be any gloomier than it is now. It’s a mystery how other people here can endure this kind of setting Nerissa had subconsciously created. Bright as it may be due to the rays of sun that pierced through the salmon-colored curtains, there’s a certain air around that could really bring a person’s mood down. By the full-length window, Nerissa sat silently, observing the outside world from inside the Library. She’s been like this for days. Though this kind of action is normal to most — after all, everybody has their days, so to speak — it’s quite alarming because her attention is not too focused on classes anymore. Normally, her concentration is balanced between school and Guardian business, but she really is stressed out this time. Her mind is even numb to think about anything else.

A lot has happened to the black-haired girl for the past few weeks, physically and emotionally. She couldn’t possibly be blamed for her current actions, but to most people, thinking like this is just too much.

The librarian is not here today. He’s probably doing something not related to Library business. Nerissa was shocked by the sudden increase in temperature as more students stepped inside quietly. Most of them are just wasting the remaining time, waiting for the bell to ring.

“Hey, are you alright?” Yan Lin’s voice interrupted her thoughts.

It was good to see one of her good friends at a time like this, but it wasn’t enough to make Nerissa as enthusiastic as the rest of the students here. She looked at the table.

“Yeah,” she said rather glumly. If one would notice, her former attitude (the shy one) has come back, and it couldn’t be helped. She didn’t know what to say anymore.

There was an awkward silence, and then she spoke in a low voice: “Where’s Cassidy and Kadma?”

“I… thought they were with you,” Yan Lin said hesitantly, blinking.

“Let’s go. They’re probably absent,” Nerissa responded, making her way towards the exit, with Yan Lin following behind her.

A yell made her stop in her tracks. She stole a glance behind her and saw Billy running. Most particularly, he was approaching her. When his distance between her was enough, he panted.

“Nerissa. I couldn’t find Cassidy anywhere!”

Her eyes widened while Yan Lin stared at him in astonishment.

“W-What…?”

“You know where she is, right? I know you do! She’s your best friend!” Billy said, his voice low at first, then it unintentionally raised higher.

A pause. Nerissa’s face was blank.

“Who knows where? I don’t know myself,” she answered absentmindedly. Billy’s veins sparked with anger. He took a fistful of her shirt and brought his face a tad bit closer to hers.

“Quit screwing with me! Nowadays, you keep on excusing yourself and tell me that you have to talk to Cassidy privately. What are you hiding from me? Is it about something I shouldn’t know? Nerissa, this is my one and only last request: tell me what’s going on.”

Nerissa felt ignorant inside, but even he was starting to irritate her — in a way.

“This doesn’t concern you,” she emotionlessly told him.

His eyebrows dangerously furrowed with anger. He slowly relinquished his grip on her for a while. After a few moments, he unexpectedly sent a well-aimed slapped across her face with his free hand. The force sent her staggering. The impact made her lose her balance and hit her head against the wall. She was too shocked to even react. Nerissa half-collapsed on the floor.

“Are you ok, Nerissa?!” Yan Lin inquired in a panicked fashion. She then assisted the black-haired girl in getting up, but that meant only touching her shoulder as Yan Lin watched her stand.

This also caused a lot of students to stare at them. Walker, Richielda, Mirany, and Brian suddenly went behind Billy and held him back.

“Watch it, Bills, why did you do that?” Walker demanded angrily.

“My thoughts were undeniably mistaken about you. I’m being nosy for the sake of trying to know what made Cassidy feel uneasy all the time. I have the right. I’m her brother, I will always have the right!” Billy said, ignoring the people that were restraining him.

Nerissa lowered her head, still feeling the stinging pain on her reddened cheek.

“I don’t know where she is. It’s the truth,” she admitted, her voice innocent, making some of the students think that Billy is the bad one in this incident.

“Please, Nerissa, at least tell me where you last saw her,” he begged.

“We were talking here, then she said goodbye and went away,” she answered.

“That’s it? She just said goodbye?”

“She didn’t say anything more.”

Billy lowered his head, staring at the floor. Tears rolled down his cheeks, even though he didn’t intend to cry.

“I’m sorry. Brian, Richielda, Mirany, Walker, please take care of Billy,” Nerissa whispered.

“You know what? We should go now,” Brian said, running out of words to say.

“Sorry about that, Rissa. He shouldn’t have slapped a lovely lady like you, but forgive his overprotectiveness,” Walker whispered for only Nerissa to hear. She didn’t move or reply. The more he looked at her, the more he felt the urge to state the words he wanted to say.

“But… I guess I agree to what he said all along,” he suddenly added and started to walk away.

Richielda went in front of her, then she snorted. “Hmph. Come along, Mirany.”

Mirany also studied Nerissa, wearing a face with fear and pity altogether. Afterwards, she followed Richielda, helping Walker and Brian budging Billy out of the spot.

“You just act like you don’t care. You think you’re better off with life without feeling regret? You don’t look affected at all! Don’t you know that you always make things hard for her?”

Nerissa raised her head. “Whatever the problem is, don’t involve yourselves. All of you made things harder for me.”

There was a pause.

She started to walk away. Yan Lin hesitantly followed, casting a cautious glance at the people they just left behind.

The next thing she and Nerissa knew, Walker, Richielda, Mirany, and Brian were trying to calm Billy down — aside from holding him back.

Author’s rating of chapter: 3/10.

Writer’s block pressure: 140/150.

Next promised update: Somewhere in December.

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