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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. - Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

Spring 2010

Come travel down the creative road with us.

cover photo by Mike Soo

ERIODICAL

PINNACLE


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Silent Wisdom I write poems. a few words tell a story of years. I’ve given up on speaking, no one speaks in extended metaphors. I can’t use a figurative analogy in everyday conversation, no one believes that stuff. The more words I attempt to use, the less I am trusted. so in my silence, I explain what I feel, each word bearing the weight of my heart, and if you look, anyone can see how I truly feel when I write poems. Kristen Boomer

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Love and Loss


Zoey Dektor – EN1B April 26, 2010 I watched as Zoey emerged from the depths of the ocean floor. Water droplets danced upon her olive skin as she flew towards the clouds; she was beautiful, and as if she were in a lucid dream she smiled at the blinding rays of the sun and proceeded with joy as she was robbed of her ability to witness the evil world in which she was contained. I watched in awe and caught a glimpse of light that shined off the the star of david that sat on her neck. My gut told me to cry out, but in that moment I had no control of my voice and no choice but to stand and watch her final offering. And when it was done, she’d become one with the sun. I can hear her plead for me to come in a distant hum.

Her How does it feel to look at me, wrapped around your pinky toe, comfortably suffering in limbo, waiting for the moment, I am invited to your hand, your touch? Can you see the strain in my left temple, desperately pulsing to match your heartbeat, and always a beat behind? The sores beneath my feet expose my tiring chase, just as you turn away… again. Kristen Boomer


Photographer: Erin Bettis, 2009 Grandpa’s hands

Photographer: Megan Schaub, 2009 6


My Greatest memory Danielle Bojorquez - EN1A Feeling you move inside my tummy, Desperately waiting for the day I become your mommy. Then one day, I have this crazy aching pain, I try to ignore it but it just won’t go away. I can’t accept the fact something’s wrong, So I deal with the pain and carry on. Then the pain just gets worse, So my mom rushes for her keys in her purse. On our way to the hospital I’m sobbing with tears, Praying to God, hoping he hears. Telling him to let my baby be alright, So I forget the pain and try to fight. As we get to the hospital, doctors say I’m miscarrying, Asking God why this is happening? Carrying my baby not even half way fully grown, Dealing with an emotional pain the world will never know. Starring at his little fingers and hands. Telling him he’ll always be my little man. Seeing how amazing that he’s just like you and me. He has eyes, a nose, and even little tiny feet. I wish I could hold you here in my arms. Keeping you safe and away from harm, And waking up in the middle of the night, To listen to you cry as I’m holding you tight. Because I’d rather struggle than not have you at all, I’d rather see you cry, make a mess, and crawl. But I can’t and it hurts so bad, It brings tears thinking about the times we could’ve had. It hurts worse than any physical pain, That not even medication could keep me sane. My baby is my greatest memory. I hope he’s in Heaven remembering me.

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Photographer: Michael Soo, 2009 8


Rise from the Ashes Vast my emotions swirl around me, Leaving me as some one I wish I wouldn’t be. They’re drowning me violently ‘til I can no longer breathe, As it holds me hostage it won’t let me leave. I see the light, the pathway for me to escape, In the end all I’m left to find is a closed gate. In anguish, once again life leaves me in betray. I’m so sick of this life I’m left to portray. Restrained, as I’m in my minds cruel sick mind games, This pain cutting through my skin with these rusty chains, As I slide down to the ground broken, beaten, and battered, I’ve become as numb as I’m thinking had it even mattered. Enraged, I clench my fist, tighten my grip, and close my eyes. I’m about to break from all these damn lies! Under so much pressure I constantly breakdown, Trying to be as perfect but, the closest I stand to is a clown. Now I’ve had it! Now I’m pissed! Now I’m indignant! I’m putting an end to this life of imminent. I take a deep stinging cold breath and I shed a tear, I kneel in silence and I pull away from all fear. I rip away from the chains that once made me stay, Hurt it did but, I’d have still be in pain if I’d had kept the other way. As I run towards the way out I see my life’s past in my eyes as it flashes, Letting it go as I past through, as I once again rise from the ashes. Nibia Rodriguez

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Thinking Rhythmically


Photographer: Michael Soo, 2009 11


Another day another dollar Ben franks and George Washingtons. Chasing money and not getting it only Destroys the human Emotional Factory. Good money isn’t all ways Happy money. In the hood? It dont matter where it came from. Just as long as you got it! Killing, Looting, Mugging. Nothing is to violent to a man on the edge with a million problems. Or even a rich man who jus wants more. Please stop the killings over dead presidents. Quadrillateral thinging will help us all succeed. Right? or Wrong? Struggling in This Unequal society only makes us more Violent when Waiting X amount of years. Your life is your life. We all want to be rich. But dont become another Zero. Walter Muhammad

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As spring/summer arrives, the weather changes. Birds come out of their hiding places. Children bring out their bats and mits for softball. Days get longer and warmer. Everyone’s munching on hot dogs and chips. Friends begin to make plans for approaching school breaks. Girls pull out their sandals and shorts. Homes are being cleaned for spring cleaning. Ice cream is being served everywhere you turn. Jean shorts and t-shirts are the daily attire. Ketchup drenched hamburgers are the food of the season. Laughter can be heard from miles around. Many people come from near and far to go to the crowded swimming pools. Noon is the best time to go swimming. Only the coolest kids swim in the deep end. Parents get a little bit of peace while their children play in the fields. Quarter candy is being sold at the candy store. Resting is unheard of during the spring/summer nights. Swings at the park are seldomly left unoccupied. Traveling for vacations is always a plus. Umbrellas are seldomly needed, but it’s never a bad thing to have one. Vibrant colors of the flowers and birds are eye catching. Watermelon seeds litter the ground. Xtra clothes are always needed,in case you take a dive in the dirt during an intense softball game. You’ll never forget the memories you made during the spring/summer. Zzzz is the sound you hear after a long day of play. Nittara Larue Elliot

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Interpretation of “Poppies in a Wheatfield”

Scrabble Quiz

Artist: Deanna Dominguez

Photographer: Megan Schaub (2009) 14


Urban Composers Brilliance, under a maroon and gold awning on the corner of Adams and State, just out of the way of herds of corporate lunches.. Sitting on emptied buckets flipped upside down, with another white pail between their legs, two eager smiles wail unconventional harmonies, only glancing up noticing a spare quarter or dime. Brattatat, rat a tat, glack, guh tah, on another man’s garbage. Dat, tick tick, guh tah dum of the imaginary high hat following the pulse of the adidas base beat. A woman struts by the corner in her knee length skirt and tennis shoes, driven by the plastic-meets-cement heartbeat, passing a gray haired executive who irrhythmically bops his head , while waiting for the light to change. The smiles crescendo as they see a flash of green. Arms become a blur between crowds of monotony and allegro rim shots grack a cack, dat dit da, dun. Kristen Boomer

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Senior Invocations Students have written their invocation as part of their mythology studies. These poems call upon the gods and muses for help telling the story of their lives.


Interpretation of “Starry Night”

Artist: Eric Bruhn

Sorrow sank throughout the world, until the Muse sang of a hero’s rising. Born of Zeus and a maiden below, Roberts rising soon came to rid the lands of evil. His enemies quivered at the site of him and with one fell swoop is hand could toss a hundred men with one swing of his club. Light would once again shine bright below the heavens with his father Zeus listening of his tales. Robert Hayden

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Oh god’s please help me tell this story

Inspire these written words dear Muse,

Happy -- From the time he smiled from the

with love and rapture from within

womb,

the very soul of writer Cassandra,

never without even in times of dark,

persist through the twist and turns of life,

joyful, optimistic, and enthusiastic Jeremy,

and bring forth a new found joy each day.

eager to help produce less sadness,

Bring happiness, Muse, to friends and foes.

Never apathetic about people.

Cassandra Gerber

Jeremy Olden

Joy-- Muse, tell me the joy of Rebekah Bolinger, extensive strolls in the park, grand family, immense house, reading countless hours the Bible that gives her this joy, the remarkable career with vast hours, But initiate, Muse, when she was just a senior in high school, trying to get all of her work done so she can graduate with her love. Rebekah Bolinger

Photographer: Megan Schaub, 2009 18


Strong-willed- determined, daughter of Tracy and grandchild of Judy,patient, free spirited, stubborn, wanting to spread my wings and fly, running through the trails and tribulations of high school, bound and motivated to get through, so much to do in so little time, with teachers wanting homework and papers in a deadline, oh how tell me, muse, the struggle of meeting such a deadline, Chelsea strong and brilliant of all students and family. Chelsea Weber

My View Gabe Trujillo I see my life of what would’ve been I see me enjoying my time with friends I see me driving out of town to view the country I see me becoming someone very important I see me with the perfect girl Everyday I wonder what could’ve been The fresh cut grass reminds me of years past My family reminds me of what’s important My friends show me to live life to the fullest Courage gets me through everyday I see my life now and wonder about the future I see my life now with no regret I know that my life will travel down the right road and will lead an excellent life

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It’s Not All Just Poetry


Photographer: Kristen Boomer, 2009

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Never to be Expected By: Gabe Trujillo The journey of life is both adventurous and unpredictable. There are so many things I want to do and so many things I have left behind. I don’t know where I’m going or what I will become; The road I have taken may not be the best path Or it may not be the road to success, All I hope is that it’s the road to somewhere. I may encounter the detours and crossroads of life, But one thing will always be certain; My hope and courage will never let me down. Things will never be easy or placed on a silver platter; With faith as my guide and perseverance as my compass, I will never lose my way. As I travel down this long and mysterious path, I know I will become a better person; As I look back on the journey I have taken, I see my life with no regret. My friends remind me to live life to the fullest and My family reminds me of what’s important; So as I prepare for the long road ahead, I simply look forward and smile with determination. I will encounter rough times and jagged curves, But I will never give up. Everything will never go as planned, So I will always expect the unexpected. As I sit and think about the past I can’t help but be excited about the future; For this was never to be expected…

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The wind is thrashing around, creating an eerie mist on the angry waves of solitude. The clouds over the confinement, this is where it ends. I wake up and see myself standing in front of a beautiful sun set with a light orange and a amazing pink color making me want to reach out and touch it. cold but yet so warm as the water stands still and calm with no motion yet I can feel the salt watch brush on my lips. From a far distance I see to lonely boats trying to find the way back to the shore well the others await for the others to return to their home. As they wait in a circle. shadowing a blanket of fear, awaiting us in the unknown. It’s waiting stalking you for just the right moment to overtake and swallow you into silence. No sun, no light, no hope only the deepest of despair. Drowning, fighting to survive. Salt burning your throat as you choke on the liquid fire. Slipping in and out of unconsciousness, trying not to succumb to the sleep that fights to consume you. Panic washes over you for the undying fear of floating off into the unknown abyss. Alone and cold this your Sabrina Baez.

Sabrina Baez

Interpretation of “At Rest”

by Alexis Rivas 23


Hero - Thomas Sawyer Spyro is the most courageous little dragon I’ve ever seen; saving the Dragon Realms from Gnorcs and a sorceress, and saving Avalar from a short red wizard thing named Ripto. His best friend is a dragonfly named Sparx, who follows Spyro around, acting as a shield, which is good, because otherwise Spyro would be doomed, he can only take one hit alone. The two have traveled through icy caves, sun-scorched deserts, lavafilled valleys, and...plenty of grassy fields. They have fought against armies of Gnorcs, ninja Rhynocs, giant fire-breathing turtles, and the ever-so-dangerous fluffy sheep that spout out butterflies when you kill them. Sparx likes to eat the butterflies. Spyro’s first heroic act was freeing all the dragons who were trapped in jade statues by Gnasty Gnorc. He started out where he lived, obviously, which was in the Artisan Homes. After freeing all the dragons, collecting all the stolen treasure and taking a couple eggs back from thieves, he moved on to Peace Keepers, where he did the same, and then went on to Magic Crafters, then Beast Makers, then Dream Weavers, and finally Gnasty’s Lair. There, he did the same as all the other lands, but at the end, he chased down two more thieves for the keys to get to Gnasty himself, while dodging projectiles fired by him. Gnasty ran off, so Spyro chased him down, and eventually defeated him, thus saving the Dragon Realms. The second heroic act was started just by luck. Spyro wanted to go to Dragon Shores to get away from the week-long rain in the Artisan Homes, but it turns out the portal actually lead to Avalar, because the Professor was rigging a portal to get the next dragon to go through a portal. Moments later, Ripto showed up, saw Spyro, and was about to kill him, but one of his own henchmen ended up eating Ripto’s staff before he could do anything. So, after that, Elora, who is a fawn, explained things, and Spyro went through the four lands, collecting treasure, but instead of freeing dragons, he was collecting talismans and orbs. The talismans and orbs were needed to power some portals and get to Ripto himself. After getting all the treasure, talismans, and orbs, he fought Ripto, who, a third of the way through the fight, brought in a robot mount, but Spyro destroyed it soon enough. After it was destroyed, Ripto flooded the area with lava and got on a pheonix; luckily Hunter (another resident of Avalar) was able to give Spyro a Super Flight orb, since Spyro can’t fly; he IS still a young dragon after all. Later, Spyro defeated Ripto, who fell into the lava, and Avalar was saved. The third of Spyro’s heroic acts started while he and all the other dragons were sleeping. The Sorceress sent her apprentice, Bianca, to steal all 150 dragon eggs. While stealing the final egg, she tripped over a dragon’s tail, which, obviously, woke him up, and the dragon chased after her, but she still managed to get away with the egg by jumping into a hole which was too small for the dragon to fit in. Spyro, who was also woken up, immediately scoured all the worlds (which, strangely, do not include the ones he went to during his first heroic act) looking for Bianca. Luckily, she had dropped every single egg trying to find her way back to the Sorceress’s lair in Midnight Mountains. Spyro collected the eggs, which, for some strange reason all hatched whenever he was near them, and collected all the treasure, which the other dragons should probably keep better track of, while trying to find her. The Sorceress, upon finding out that Bianca had dropped all the eggs, was furious, and sent her to track down Spyro, whom she already knew was collecting the eggs. When she found Spyro, who was walking with Hunter, she simply let them off with a warning not to gather any more eggs. Later on, she sided with them for helping her escape from a giant man-eating bunny; kind of ironic, since she’s a bunny herself. Eventually Spyro reached Midnight Mountains and confronted the Sorceress, and defeated her, twice, with the help of Sheila, Sgt. Byrd, Agent 9, and Bentley, all of whom Spyro had freed from Moneybags, the gemstealing bear, along the way. After defeating the Sorceress, Spyro got his revenge on Moneybags by chasing him down and flaming him until he dropped every last gem he had taken. I said it once and I will say it again; Spyro is the most courageous little dragon ever. Who else could be three feet tall, purple, not able to fly, and still save hundreds of people multiple times? I surely could not; especially seeing as how I’m almost twice as tall and a very pale peach-ish color. I can’t even fight, let alone take on a whole army of enemies and barely take any hits.

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Thomas Sawyer (2010)

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Three people who influence my life are my dad and my uncle and life itself. I say my dad because he would always tell me stories about when he was a kid and all the stuff he did and went threw. He told me when he was 15 that was the first time he got jumped by 13 people, I bet you’re probably like 13 people? That’s a lie but it was 13 people because one person couldn’t beat him up so they got all their friends and jumped him on his way home. I can relate to that because I first got jumped on my way home when I was 12 for gangbanging. When I was done getting beat up I walked home limping and crying to my older brother and he started to cry because he never seen me hurt like that so he went to our room and got my gun out from under my bed and went out to go find who ever hurt me. But he never found them. But my dad made me change because life is to short to be fighting all the time. My uncle was the same way I am when he was a kid. He was into the Crip Gang just like I was but the only thing different was he got shot because of the color blue and I didn’t. Some Bloods which don’t like the Crips say him walking and said “What’s up Blood!” and he turned around and walked up to them and fought them both. But one was knocked out on the ground and the other one got up and shot him in the back of the neck and crippled him then they beat him with the gun. But he would always tell “Mike I should of ran that night I should of ran” and he starts to cry but now he passed away and we see it as he’s in a better place now he has no more pain to deal with. To me life is an influence on me because it opened my eyes to all the bad things about being a gangster or drug dealer or gangbanger. A few days ago I read in the newspaper a guy was 18 and was a great father to his kids but an enemy killed him and I realized I don’t want to die from a bullet or knife or anything I want to die because of old age the way you should die. I came close to death one time in my life. I was selling marijuana at my house and someone said I ripped them off and came to my house with a gun and took all my marijuana from me it was either give them the drugs or die at 12 years old what would you do? Then I gave that up and became a gangster gangbanger and was getting into more trouble because of a piece of cloth and a color. The day I got jumped in at school I came home and was outside working out and my mom saw bruises on my back and chest and asked me what happen and I ran inside and put my blue shirt on and said “ Nothing mom!” and she said “If you want to a gangbanger then get out of my house!!” so I grabbed my rag and left .Walking around town mad and I ended up at my friends house then we smoked marijuana and they said “Ay Lil Mike if you’re down for Crip go steal a 40 ounce beer” so I did and I was behind 711 drinking it and 3 Bloods came up and said “ What’s up Cuz” which was Crip slang so I thought we were in the same gang then the next thing I seen Was a big flash and I fell down against the wall and they all beat me up. Later on I went back to my moms house and snuck it threw the window and went to sleep with a pair of sunglasses on my face so she wouldn’t see it but while I was asleep she took them off me and cried because I was hurt. Then after that I just kept getting jumped and fighting rival gang members. Then I told my real family “You guys aren’t my family the Crip Gang is all I need “ and my family was hurt for a long time because of that. Then I finally got

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out of the gang when I was 14 and now in the present my own people from the Crip Gang threaten to kill me because I got out of the gang. They want to kill me because when I got jumped in they told me a saying for the Crips ”Once a Crip always a Crip there’s no way of getting out of it” and now they look for me everywhere most of them ill see them and fight them but they keep coming back. But that’s what made me straighten up and do good was I don’t want to die at a young age. I solved everything by throwing away all my drugs and my rags and leaving all that stuff behind me and now I’m a new me and I have more friends but still have enemies.

Michael S.

Photographer: Kristen Boomer 27


Destiny’s Knights By Cris Allan Pace

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For Mom & For Nathan and Kelli My oldest and closest friends, and the only two people insane enough to drive me from the real world into one of my own imagining.

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Chapter 1 Chance Meetings?

Bridget Hunt slept soundly not knowing that she was being watched. The sound of the alarm clock pierced into the deep sleep of Bridget Hunt. She had an hour before she had to leave for school. She groggily stumbled into the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and splashed cold water onto her face. The shock of the cold water woke her up immediately. She put on her glasses and started to comb her hair. She stopped suddenly and began to stare at her reflection in the mirror. She didn’t know why she did it, but this morning had a strange feeling to it, almost as if a great change was coming and this was the last chance she would get to look at her face. Her face was slender, with flawless tanned skin. All of her features were soft and delicate, from her small nose, to her smooth chin. The tomboyish look that she had held only a few years ago was gone, but not quite all of the attitude that came with it. Her wavy, dark auburn hair hung just below her shoulders. But her real attention focused on her eyes. They stood out more forcefully than any other feature. Dark emerald green irises glowed with a magical tone to them. There was an enchantment in Bridget’s eyes that a person could become lost in and never truly find a way back. They spoke of a person who was intelligent, clever, and strong-willed (although her parents would say stubborn). She quickly got dressed, the usual slacks and a plain light green blouse—bought and worn for comfort, with little care about appearance—and made herself a small breakfast. Her parents had already left for work. She grabbed her books and headed out the door towards school; they knew they could trust her to take care of herself. The streets of Fountainhead, California were simple and plain. Simple middle class houses lined both sides of the streets. Neatly trimmed lawns, trees, small well-kept gardens were visible but in no way stood out. Everywhere people were getting up and going to work and school in minivans and simple 4 door compacts, only a year or two old, for the adults; for the teenagers the cars were a little older. Halloween decorations lined the windows and front yards, but nothing garish or extreme. Bridget was constantly amazed that this conformity was just natural and not enforced by a homeowner’s association. It was a typical day, but still Bridget felt something odd about it. Every morning for the past two months, since her family had moved to Fountainhead, Bridget walked to school. It was not a long walk, only about three-quarters of a mile, and she enjoyed it because it gave her a chance to think. She was glad that is was a nicer place than New York City; still from time to time she did miss the life of the big city. She missed having a nice coffee shop between her parent’s condo and the school, having the nice jolt of caffeine in form of vanilla cappuccino rather than plain coffee from the kitchen; a warm muffin instead of cold cereal; the steady hum of the subway instead of the soft sound of her sneakers on the sidewalk. But she was overall glad to be out of New York, she just missed the small things. That morning was strange for some reason, she couldn’t see anything different in even the smallest detail, but there was just a feeling in the very back of her brain that said today was different. She looked around again to possibly see what was nagging her. It was the third week of October; the trees in the yards of people’s houses were shedding leaves of bright brown, red and yellow. Not quite as pretty as the New England version, she thought. The sound of some of the leaves crunching under her feet as she walked along the sidewalk filled the cool, crisp air. Nothing unusual, just like yesterday and the week before, and just like tomorrow will be, she thought. But still the feeling remained. Before she knew it, she reached the front gates of Fountainhead Academy. Faux marble facades on all the walls of the buildings surrounded by corrugated steel fences gave the whole building an austere, if not slightly pretentious feel. The front gate, now wide open had a high arch over driveway, with the school’s detailed crest with heraldry symbol portraying the cardinal virtues and the school’s motto—in Latin of course—COGITO, emblazoned over the whole crest. Best education money can buy, Bridget thought with wry analysis. It was still half an hour before classes, but already it was bustling with students. She slowly moved through the crowd. At her old school in New York, The Minerva School (another private school like Fountainhead), she would have spent this time before class with her friends, but she hadn’t made many friends in the past couple of months that she felt truly and completely comfortable with. In fact she would say she was close to only one person in the entire school, and she had no idea where Dana spent her mornings. Dana’s probably with Shawn, Bridget thought. Not to say that she didn’t have any new friends beyond Dana, it was just that she felt no strong connection with the people of Fountainhead. That and she tended to avoid Shawn if she could; there was just something about him she didn’t like. Bridget found it strange; she usually was very friendly and sociable, but ever since she had arrived in Fountainhead that had changed. She told herself that she was just giving herself time to adjust to her new surroundings; but it was more than that, the

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same inner voice that was bothering her this morning, kept telling her to try to keep to herself. She continued to cross the campus, heading to her first class. When her eyes caught a glimpse of something on the grass field she was walking on. It shimmered in the soft rays of the morning sun. She was attracted to it immediately; it almost felt as if it was calling to her. What is that? As she approached, she could see it was some kind of yellow, almost golden, coin about the size of a half dollar piece. She bent down to pick it up. Just as her fingers were about to grasp the coin her hand collided into another hand. It was larger than hers was and she began to trace the hand to its owner. Their eyes met in electric shock; dark emerald green starring at soft seablue, and he was staring just as intently as she was. She tried to take her eyes off him, but couldn’t. “Was that yours?” he asked her; his voice was deep and soft, though she only barely paid attention to what he said. “Well...” she tried to say something else but nothing would come out of her throat. “Sorry, I am not usually in the habit of taking the property of someone else.” He reached down again to pick up the coin for Bridget, but when his hand reached the ground the coin was gone. “That’s odd. I could have sworn there was something there a second ago.” His voice wasn’t filled with any kind of puzzlement; only because he was still slightly dazed with meeting Bridget but not bothered by the coin. There was something strangely familiar about him; that kind of déjà vu-ish feeling one got when something that they had dreamed about occurred. I know him? She was surprised herself to find the question at the end of the thought. I’ve met him? I know I have? she asked herself. Did I? But who is he? Is that what’s bothering me this morning? I don’t think so…I think. No that can’t be it, I’ve been feeling weird all day, but… The first bell rang, breaking the thought, signifying that they had ten minutes to get to their first class. “I must be going. See you later,” he said and headed in the opposite direction she was going. She noticed the tenor of his voice sounded as dazed as her thoughts were, he almost seemed to be uncomfortable with meeting her. Bridget didn’t find this odd as she was feeling the same thing. As he walked off she got, for the first time, a look at his whole face. It was hard and well defined. Every muscle and bone stood out on its own, from his high cheekbones to the cleft in his chin. His thin face seemed to have been chiseled quickly by a great sculptor from a piece of stone into the gaunt angles and planes of his face. His short sandy hair rustled slightly in the morning breeze. He was extremely well built: tall, broad shouldered, seemingly strong, and he carried himself with an air of confidence and power; or was that just arrogance? she thought. With his head held high he was suddenly and easily recognizable as Cary Serenity. He was a minor celebrity in Fountainhead for his achievements for the track and gymnastics teams, and some other activity she couldn’t remember at the time, as well as being the most likely candidate for the valedictorian for their class. He was in the same grade as Bridget, a senior, but she had never met him before that she could actually remember…or have I? No. I don’t have any classes with him…? Do I? Maybe. No…But— She spun around suddenly. She thought she had seen something out of the corner of her eye, but when she turned to see there was nothing there. What did I just see? She continued on her way, still troubled about the entire morning... The crowd had died down; everyone was now on their way to class. Four figures stepped out of the shadows where Bridget had thought she had seen something. The lead figure was flipping a coin with rhythmic precision—the same coin Bridget and Cary had seen. “They’re definitely two of the three. Get ready to test the third. Do we all share classes with those two for every period?” The others nodded to answer ‘yes.’ “The last test is this afternoon. After that we can move forward. Let’s make sure we keep an eye on them.” Three of the figures stepped back into the shadows and melted into thin air. The last figure continued to flip the coin. Abruptly he grabbed the coin in his hand and looked at it. “Bridget Hunt, Cary Serenity. Both of your fates have been sealed.” A smile crossed his lips, he nodded his head slowly telling himself that what he had come to do would finally be done, and then, he too, vanished. *** Bridget walked into her second period class, still strangely bothered by the morning’s events. For one thing, she knew she had seen a coin on the ground, but when she had looked down again there had been nothing there. She was sure that Cary Serenity hadn’t palmed the coin; his hand had never gone closer than a whole foot from the ground—the coin had just disappeared. She ran the scene over and over again. The coin had just disappeared. Which wasn’t possible. And then there was Serenity, she had seen him dozens of times, (she could remember even talking briefly with him on several occasions, but where or about what she couldn’t remember, which was disturbing in itself considering her near perfect photographic memory) but now she couldn’t seem to get him out of her mind. Oh well, she tried to tell herself, I should try and concentrate on class. She paused for a moment, and then realized that she was in Mrs. Lander’s AP English class. While it could be a challenging and interesting class (roughly as often as Halley’s Comet appeared in the sky), many also found it a good time to catch a quick nap. She sat down in her seat directly to the left of Lander’s lectern in the center of the class. What was it that I read last night for this class? She closed her eyes for a few seconds trying to remember. Oh, yeah, Hamlet Act 3. Let’s see how Lander will desecrate another good work of literature today. She opened her eyes to find Cary Serenity sitting directly across from her. This day is getting weirder and weirder…and how do I completely ignore someone who’s been sitting directly in my line of sight for months. She began to rub her temple, hoping that an answer to the strange events would come to her. This is not right. “Morning class,” Mrs. Lander said as she went up to the front of the class. Several groans were heard in response, some of

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them almost sounding like English. What does she expect this early, Bridget thought, coherent thought? “I’m simply going to assume everyone did their reading last night.” Assume whatever you want Quixote, common sense tells me that half the class didn’t do the reading. Bridget had to restrain herself from saying that aloud. Although she had personally done the reading, she knew a great many people in class hadn’t. She couldn’t blame them, considering how poor an English teacher Lander was, although Bridget would grant that she never had a really good English teacher. “Something really strange I found out from Hashim in first period when we read this book is that the famous soliloquy, ‘To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether its nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…’” Lander told the class, “is also an anagram for ‘In one of the Bard’s best thought tragedies our insistent hero Hamlet queries on two fronts about how life of’ turns rotten!’ Neat, huh.” Bridget couldn’t resist speaking this time, “That is so close to being even remotely interesting, not quite, but almost. How long did some lunatic sit trying to find a coincidence in Shakespeare where they could come up with something that stupid?” Lander shot a cold look at Bridget, but Bridget really didn’t care. She had learned long ago that teachers seldom liked her smart-ass, cynical comments, and it didn’t bother her since she did the work assigned her better than anyone else. On the other side of the room Bridget saw Cary lean over to the desk beside him and say to Arin, “Actually I’d be more interested in when Hashim actually took the time to read these books.” “Beats me,” Arin told him. Bridget had Hashim in a couple of her classes, so she understood the joke. Hashim was a walking encyclopedia, but had given up on doing a lot of the school work that was simply below his mental abilities; besides, as Hashim would often point out, you didn’t really even need to read any of the things Lander assigned to still get by, the fine art of BSing would fool Lander any day. Though a lot of things would fool Lander easily, in fact just about anything would fool that idiot. Bridget would agree with him in theory, but still found herself reading all of her assigned work, mainly out of habit more than anything else (certainly not out of respect for Lander). Bridget’s attention drifted to Arin. Arin was about Bridget’s height, although much thinner, with very fair skin and strawberry blonde hair. Arin was a friendly, intelligent girl, with a good sense of humor and was always willing to help other people out. Bridget somehow had always felt that given time she and Arin might become good friends. Yet, sometimes, Bridget found it extremely annoying that at one moment Arin wouldn’t have enough faith in her own outstanding abilities, then at the next have an exceptional arrogant attitude toward those around her, as if she knew something no one else did and was thus superior. At some level Bridget suspected that one, or both, faces were an act of some sort, but she wasn’t quite sure which. I should ask Dana, which one is the defensive mask, she thought as she pondered the situation. Not that Arin ever boasted about her abilities or belittled someone intentionally, quite the contrary, but Bridget had still seen Arin treat some people like she was superior to them; Bridget sometimes wondered if Arin even knew she was doing it to other people. Still, Bridget usually counted herself lucky to have Arin as a friend. But is Arin a friend of Cary’s. Why is it as if I completely ignored him for so long, but now can’t get him out my mind? God this is so annoying! She even found herself simply annoyed merely by Cary for being at the root of this disturbing feeling she felt. “Fine, lets get back to the play,” Lander told them. “Any burning questions about Act 3?” “Yeah,” James said in the back of the class. Bridget didn’t know much about James except for his name, his slave nature to ever fad fashion, and complete his inability to master proper English. Bridget had gotten the feeling that he was rather spineless, and generally not the sharpest tack in the box. Although he occasionally did say something clever, but Bridget just figured that it was just the odds that once in a while the dumb thoughts would by chance form an intelligent sentence (like monkeys given typewriters and an infinite amount of time being able to produce the works of Shakespeare). “Um…at the point when like Hamlet sees the ghost in scene IV and like the Queen don’t see it, it’s as if Hamlet like is imagining the ghost’s appearance, like since everyone could see the ghost in like Act I. So, is like Hamlet really losing his mind in that scene?” Or more importantly, Bridget thought, not even listening to Lander’s poor attempt at answering the question, am I going crazy? It’s almost as if Cary Serenity doesn’t even exist in my memory, yet I see him almost every day! Is it just something about his personality that has caused me never even to acknowledge his existence? Something is definitely wrong here! I feel it in my gut. Something bizarre is going on here. For almost the rest of the period Bridget went over every memory she had since the day she arrived in Fountainhead. She could recall nothing specific about Cary Serenity other than his name and random things other people had mentioned about him in passing. She found herself thinking about people she had only met once and never shared a class with, and she knew more about them than she did a person whom she had spent at least one class with for the year so far. There is something amiss here! I know I should remember at least something about him, yet I don’t recollect a thing about him personally! I at least need to talk to someone about this. Who knows just about everyone on campus?…Dana! Dana should know something about Cary Serenity. Maybe it’s just that’s he’s boring, and that’s why I’ve ignored him. Yet, Bridget knew that it wasn’t that Cary was uninteresting; she felt something truly strange was at work here. The worst part of it was not the agony of not knowing, it was that he hated the fact that she was getting perverse pleasure out of the fact that there was something totally unknowable being presented to her. The mystery was both infuriating and so attractive. It only caused her more aggravation.

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Third period, AP Government with Mr. Lancing; it was quite possibly Bridget’s favorite class. She walked in the door and immediately spotted the person she needed to see. She was only a little shorter than Bridget. She had short, dark brown hair that covered the sides of her small, slender, and cute face. Her name was Dana, and she was the only close friend that Bridget had at the school. “Dana, you have a minute?” Dana looked up from the book she was reading and smiled at Bridget, “Sure, Bridge. What is it?” Bridget thought for the briefest of moments that Bridget that Dana was the only one who called her “Bridge.” No one back in New York had done; she had always thought that she would hate such a nickname, but from Dana she did not mine. “Oh, I was just wondering if you could tell me about somebody?” “Most likely. I know a good portion of the people on campus. Who is it?” “Cary Serenity. I met him this morning and he seemed...interesting,” Bridget hated that word choice, but nothing would come to her. The block in her mind around Cary Serenity seemed to continue. Dana gave Bridget a quick, almost mischievous, smile; Bridget wasn’t quite sure what it meant; she had never been very good at reading other people…noticing and remembering even the smallest details, she was exceptional at; even making conclusions about situations she was just short of Holmes in her skills of deduction—but people were an eternal mystery to Bridget. “He has that effect on people. Every time I see him I don’t know whether I should kiss him or slug him.” “You know him?” “Fairly well, I’ve known him for several years. He can be a little annoying at times, and he thinks highly of his abilities, but he has every right to; anything he does, he does it well. He is very kind, caring, and loyal to those he likes, which are usually any one who he believes he can talk with for any length of time, like myself, or those who he can simply respect.” “And what about those people he doesn’t like?” “He tries to avoid them, but if he can’t, he doesn’t hide his feelings. Why? How did you meet him?” “Oh, I bumped into him when we both thought we saw some strange coin in the grass, but it wasn’t there.” “Really, same thing happened to me a few minutes ago; I thought I saw a gold coin on the way here, but when I reached down to get it, it wasn’t there. Weird, don’t you think?” “Yeah,” Bridget said, her mind still too occupied with Cary Serenity to make any connection between the coin Dana had seen and the one she and Cary had this morning. “You all right, Bridge? You seem kind of distracted.” “Um…well, actually…” Bridget stammered. She was hiding her anxiety over the bad feelings she was having extremely well, so it came as even more of a shock when Dana noticed. I shouldn’t be surprised; Dana can read any person as well as those books she always has her nose stuck in. “Do you ever just have the feeling in your back of your mind that something just isn’t right with the world.” She knew that what she had just said didn’t perfectly convey the troubled feeling she was having, but she was so bothered by it to find the right words. “Yeah I get that feeling almost every time I turn on the evening news,” she joked. “I’m serious here.” “Yeah, I guess you are, because you’ll usually at least give me a sympathy laugh.” Before she could ask if this had something to do with Cary, the bell rang, and Lancing began telling people to get into their seats. Not that anyone actually started moving for anther minute or two. As Bridget went to her seat on the other side of the room, she started thinking about Dana. Dana was the first friend Bridget had made after she moved to Fountainhead. Do I even know Dana’s last name? Bridget suddenly asked herself. The answer was sadly: no. Why have I never asked? She came up with no answers. She realized she knew almost nothing about Dana’s personal life. What do I know about her personally? I know she’s skipped a grade and is still near the top of the class. I think she has an older brother who is also a Senior; who is her brother? Bridget found she came up with no more answers. The day is getting stranger and stranger. I know nothing about Cary Serenity and almost nothing about Dana. She sat down and momentarily put her head to the desk and closed her eyes trying to figure out what this feeling in her stomach was. Meanwhile, Dana Serenity was entertaining her own thoughts. Cary and Bridget? Dana thought. There are two people who were never meant to get to know one another. They’re both stubborn, opinionated and gifted but have personalities that would clash. She’s impulsive and cynical while he’s rational and optimistic. This might be interesting. Dana laughed to herself. Now the only question is whether or not Cary is thinking about her? Judging by the fact that Bridget had to ask her if she knew Cary, Dana came to the conclusion that Bridget didn’t know that she was Cary’s younger sister. Oh well, Bridget has always seemed to be a little scatterbrained at times. I guess she never associated the last names. Or does she not know my last name? No, that’s not possible; if there is one thing about Bridget, it’s that she’s highly observant. She may be scatterbrained but she notices everything. In the couple months Dana had known Bridget, she had always been amazed by Bridget’s attention to details, no matter how insignificant. It was more than just a photographic memory; she could remember almost word for word, a conversation that taken place over a month ago or every small detail in a room even days after being in it. But then why doesn’t she know anything about Cary? By now even she

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should have gotten an impression of him by now. He’s one of the most popular people on campus, let alone the honors classes they must share. She couldn’t have just not noticed him, or could she have? It’s just not possible. That could be what’s bothering her. But why would she have just ignored him for so long? Something is wrong with this situation.

When Lancing started talking, Dana’s attention immediately shifted to him. She started copying down everything from the Power Point slides shown on the two TV’s mounted on the front wall. Dana, and just about everyone in the class, had learned almost everything that would be on one of Lancing tests was on those Power Point slides he had so much fun making. “Today we start on Congress. As one of the founder’s said, ‘One useless man is an idiot, two are a law firm, and three or more are a congress,’ or something close to that effect.” “John Adams?” Alaric asked. “Yeah,” Lancing said, a little impressed someone knew where the quote came from. Alaric was the closest thing to a teacher’s pet the AP classes had. He didn’t suck up to the teachers, in fact he was downright rude to them sometimes, but he was always the most eager to answer any question put to the class; it was more to test himself than to impress anyone. Now there’s someone Bridget might get along with, Dana thought. They both were extreme cynics (although deep down Dana suspected both of them had a Pollyanna like optimism that they didn’t usually show) and they both believed that they weren’t opinionated, just always right. But all in all, Alaric was a very likable guy. Dana had dated him for the whole of the previous year; their relationship had just died, but Dana was grateful they were still close friends. Yeah, they’d make a cute couple. Although if she’s attracted to my brother, blonde haired, grey eyed, and non athletic Alaric might not do it for her. Alaric wasn’t unattractive, she thought, but he wasn’t anything like Cary. For the rest of the period Dana became increasingly bothered by the fact that Bridget didn’t know she was Cary’s sister. She wasn’t hurt by it, but it just wasn’t in Bridget’s meticulous attention to detail to never pick up on something like that. As she began to think about it, this unusual behavior of Bridget wasn’t the only thing bothering her. Since the moment she awoke this morning there was just an odd feeling about the day. Only since talking to Bridget had she actually acknowledged what she had been feeling all morning. She had no idea what it was, but all day she had felt that something was wrong. Is this why Bridget asked if I ever just feel if something in the world is wrong? Probably. I’ve got a hunch Cary has this same feeling. But it can’t be just Cary, there is something larger going on here. As Dana entered her fourth period Calculus class she could see Cary approaching her almost immediately. That answers the question about his interest in Bridget, Dana told herself. “Dana, I have a question for you.” “And what would that be, dear brother?” As his younger sister, Dana knew her brother better than he knew himself. In fact, she knew most people better than they knew themselves. It was a gift she had, to read people easily. She was often thought as one of the few people (if not the only person) in the school who could rival her brother’s intelligence. Dana would usually agree with this observation, except for the fact that she recently realized that Bridget was far more Cary’s equal in that department than she was or ever could be. “By pure chance, I met someone today. I was wondering if you knew her? I think her name is Bridget, or something like that.” “I think I know who you’re talking about, Bridget Hunt?” “I believe it’s something like that,” the look on his face indicated he was in a state of complete confusion, a state he wasn’t used to being in. “Why do you ask?” “When I bumped into her today, there was just something terribly unusual about her. I can’t really describe it in words.” “I really wouldn’t know, I only know her in passing.” True, it was a lie, but Dana thought that this might be interesting to watch as her brother and Bridget get to meet on their own. This also confirmed a suspicion of Dana’s: Cary, who was only slightly less observant than Bridget, had somehow ignored an entire human being for two months. “I thought she was in band, isn’t she?” She could easily tell he really didn’t know. “Is she?” Dana was almost taken aback by the look of confusion on Cary’s face. He was never this confused about anything, even when he didn’t know something; she had never seen him affected like this. He was

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bothered by not knowing; bothered by the fact that he should know this. “What instrument does she play?” “I think trumpet, but I’m not sure,” she lied again, she was quite sure that Bridget played the trumpet. “I’ll have to try and spot her. Thank you, Dana.” “No problem, what are little sisters for.” “Stop the chatter,” Mr. Stevens told the entire class. Slowly the students ended their conversations and made their way to their seats, although not necessarily in that order. Dana sat down in her seat in the front of the class. As she ran what she had just learned from Cary’s face she became increasingly worried. Something is not right about any of this. Bridget should have known who Cary is and that I’m his sister. Cary should have known who Bridget is, and for that matter that she’s a close friend of mine (why doesn’t he know that! I’ve only mentioned her a hundred times). And why, in a school this small, have the three of us never been in the same area at the same time? As the questions mounted, and every fact that occurred to her only confirmed her suspicions. She realized that they all were troubled by not knowing things they should know. She could see that they all could feel that this was more than just ignoring some one. She didn’t know how they all knew this, or even how she knew it; but in her soul she could feel that there was something else at work…Something that for some reason filled her with dread. Where Bridget slightly enjoyed the mystery at a deep level, Dana did not. Each layer she dug deeper into the illogic of the situation she lost even more of the puckish delight that the idea of playing with Bridget and Cary in a relationship. Cary tried to ignore that haunting feeling in the back of his mind. He pushed the thoughts out of his mind that had been disturbing him ever since he had seen that coin…and Bridget. He focused his attention on Mr. Stevens as the class started. “Today will be starting off with something we don’t usually do in here.” “Learning something interesting,” Alaric ventured hopefully, yet sarcastically. “He said something new, he didn’t say he was going to perform a miracle,” Hashim corrected his friend from the back of the class. “Put a sock in it, Hashim, or I won’t tell you the meaning of life.” Hashim, lackadaisically put his head down on the desk, to resume his nap, only his black hair was visible to the rest of the class. “And when did you learn the meaning of life?” Michaela asked before her friends could. “Yeah I would like to hear this one,” Alaric said. “Me too,” Hashim threw in his vote without raising his head. “Like I care whether you guys want to hear it or not.” Stevens picked up the Calculus book from his desk. “The meaning of life is in there? What is it? ‘Do Calculus and don’t complain?’” Michaela said in disbelief. “Close. You’ll find all the answers in Calculus.” For a second before opening the book he chanted, “Ommmm…” then read a quote from the book, “the meaning of life: ‘The knowledge known is finite, while that unknown is infinite, and for a man to have a truly meaningful life he must make some of the infinite, finite.’ Now that I have told you the meaning of life, I don’t want to hear any more complaining about Calculus.” “Just when you thought derivation and integration were about as dull as this class could get,” Alaric commented. “Does that quote mean we get to learn something new today?” Hashim asked. “No,” Stevens said without hesitation. The scene had very briefly taken Cary’s mind off his troubles. Michaela, Hashim, and Alaric had the tendency to entertain most of the classes they were in, with their almost nonstop smartass remarks. Michaela was by far the most interesting of the three. She was exceptionally intelligent although a bit lazy, extraordinarily quick witted but she used most of her mind simply to aggravate teachers. The greatest class clown ever might have been a good description of her except for the fact that it didn’t convey her rapier wit adequately. Hashim was the kind of person who could sleep through all his classes, never do any studying, and still get straight A’s (actually that’s what he did do for most of his classes.) With his seeming knowledge of almost everything, and a very cynical outlook on life, he could easily get on a person’s nerves (especially teachers), but a more loyal friend a person would be hard to find. Alaric was possibly the one person more loyal than Hashim to his friends. He was nowhere near as funny as Michaela or as smart as Hashim (though still above average in both areas). He was very friendly, a great person to discuss things with, and was in possession of an unusually contagious laugh. Why am I thinking about Michaela, Hashim, and Alaric? Cary suddenly realized. Is it that they have some connection to this feeling I’ve been having since waking up? Deep down he felt that there was some connection between them and this feeling. But how could they have anything to do with it? It’s not like they have made me simply ignore Bridget for two months. “Cary, are you all right?” Darby asked. Cary almost jumped by the unexpected sound of her voice. The shorter girl sat directly in front of him. Although in front of him, he seldom saw the back of her head and long brown hair, as she was often asking him for help with the Calculus problems. “Yes, I’m fine.” “Good, you looked bothered by something.” “No, I am perfectly fine,” he lied. No need to bother her with my problems. “Great, then you can help me with this problem. What am I doing wrong?” Cary glanced at the problem Stevens had just

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put on the board. He worked it out in his mind for a second then turned to help Darby with the problem. Darby, a French Horn player like Cary, was friendly, happy, and highly enjoyable to have around as a friend when she was in a good mood, but she got stressed out easily (some feared she would have a nervous breakdown one day) at which point those around her would have to try and calm her down. She had been one of Cary’s closest friends for the last few years; she always had a way of cheering him up (although Cary was already usually very cheerful). As he began to show Darby where she had made a minor mistake, his mind began to drift back to the dark feeling inside of him. Something is about to happen, I know it, don’t know how I know it, but I do. And I don’t think I’ll like it when it comes…

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Chapter 2 Afternoon at Fountainhead Bridget made her way through the tidal wave of the people at lunch. She tried to get through it as quickly as possibly, since there was something about the herd mentality of large groups of people that had always made her uncomfortable. She was a solitary kind of person who enjoyed the company of only a few people at a time; crowds inspired a mild claustrophobia in her. Most recently large groups had given her the feeling that she was being watched. She was trying to find Dana in this mess but couldn’t find anything. Where is she? She looked through the crowd trying to find Dana, she had the feeling that somehow she had forgotten to ask Dana something about Cary. For some reason she had suddenly felt that there was some kind of relationship between Cary and Dana, but Bridget had no idea what it was. About 10 yards away she spotted the next best thing to finding Dana: Dana’s boyfriend Shawn. He was about five-eleven, thin, with gaunt sharp angled features. She had never liked Shawn very much, although he had always been extremely friendly to her. She really didn’t know why she disliked him; she could never find anything wrong with him, no matter how hard she tried. Maybe that’s it, he’s too damn perfect to be likeable. Whatever the reason, she would have always preferred not spending time with him. However, he and Dana were often joined at the hip, and if she followed him, he would probably lead her to Dana. She followed Shawn through the crowd for about twenty feet, when he abruptly stopped and turned. “Is there a reason you insist on stalking me, Bridget?” “How did you know I was there?” “Ever get a sixth sense kind of feeling when you’re being followed?” “Yeah, all the time,” Like right now. “Well, there you go. So, why were you following me?” “I wanted to talk to Dana, I figured you were probably heading towards wherever she is.” “Good assumption. But why the need for cloak and dagger?” “No reason, just didn’t want to bother you really.” More like I didn’t want to really talk to you, but I won’t say that to your face. “Well, I think she’s eating lunch in Stevens’s room.” “Lead the way.” Dana looked up from her lunch on the table at the sound of the door opening. Dana’s face brightened as she saw two of her favorite people step through the door and into Stevens’ classroom. Bridget had already been on her mind almost the entire day, constantly bothering her. But seeing Shawn relieved almost all that had been distressing her thoughts. From the day she had met him she had fallen in love with him. He was a hopeless romantic. He was always caring, had a wonderful sense of humor, and was always honest (which was a good thing because she had once seen him try to lie, he didn’t even come close to having a straight face). And what she considered best of all was that their minds worked almost identically. Everything about him made her feel better when he was around. Even though she had only known him for six months she was deeply in love with him. Dana wasn’t the especially “girly” type—certainly more feminine than Bridget’s cool standoffish demeanor—but when it came to Shawn she knew she was little more than the archetypal love-sick teenage girl hopeless in love with her boyfriend…and Dana was comfortable with that. “Hey guys, what’s up?” “I wanted to talk to you,” Bridget said. “I have no idea what he wants though,” Bridget added motioning towards Shawn. Dana remembered that Bridget had never been that friendly towards Shawn; why that was Dana had never been sure. “Well, as always I just loving spending time with you,” answered Bridget’s snide comment. He sat down next Dana and kissed her on the cheek; as he did all Dana’s worries simply disappeared. “Well, Bridget, what did you want to talk about?” “Ummm…I forgot.” What was I going to say? Something about Cary, but what? Why is my memory so bad today? “I had it on the tip of my brain.” In her frustration she began waving her hands trying to come up with the thoughts she had just had. “Something to do with that bad feeling you said you had earlier?” Dana asked. The same feeling I’ve been having all day. She considered for a second that she should tell Bridget she wasn’t alone in this feeling, but quickly she dissuaded herself from doing that. If I do that I would also have to mention that Cary is bothered by something and that will just make Bridget even more worried and frustrated. Having only one of us know that something is wrong with all of us is enough. “Yes…no…I don’t know. My mind suddenly went blank.” She took a step back in desperation, hoping that movement might help her jog memory. As she stepped back she felt her leg bump into another person’s leg, accidentally tripping whoever was walking behind. She turned around to apologize, only to hate whom she saw. Of all the people, why did it have to be Lilith?

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“Watch were you’re going b-Bridget…” Lilith stuttered as she saw Bridget. As if this day couldn’t get worse, Bridget thought, I have to accidentally trip the one person in the entire world with a shorter temper than my own. Lilith was the kind of person that sane people tried to avoid; she had an exceptionally short temper and a violent streak. She had few friends that Bridget knew of due to the fact few were insane enough to even think of tempting Lilith’s wrath. However Lilith had never actually physically harmed anyone (that Bridget knew of), but her verbal lashing were as bad as being beaten to a pulp. The only reason Bridget was annoyed and not afraid, was Lilith was afraid of her. Bridget remembered about a month ago, after school she had been talking to Dana, Shawn, Arin, Jane, and Merle when Lilith was walking by. Bridget had said hello to Lilith, which, for reasons Bridget felt she would never fully understand, Lilith took offense to. Lilith began to yell at her for making fun of her (which Bridget wasn’t) and had actually tried to hit Bridget. Bridget quickly responded by ducking and then tried to apologize for any unintentional insult. Lilith calmly responded by not listening and tried to hit her again. At that point Bridget quickly pushed Lilith up against a wall and reminded her that she was one of the only two people on campus that had a black belt, and that Lilith wasn’t the other, thus any attack made by Lilith would be futile. She then had let Lilith go unharmed, and ever since Lilith had watched her temper out of fear of Bridget. “Lilith, I am so sorry. I…I didn’t know you were there, I’m sorry.” “Yeah right,” Lilith snapped. “Are you all right? I’m so sorry.” “I’m fine, no thanks to you.” Bridget rushed her hand out to help her up. She was surprised when Lilith actually took hold of her hand; usually Lilith’s overwhelming hatred for all people even extended to never accepting help. Maybe she is actually becoming a bit friendlier. As she helped Lilith to her feet, Bridget could feel Lilith intentionally driving her finger nails deeply into Bridget’s wrist. Then again, maybe I’m overestimating her. Bridget just gritted her teeth and then apologized again, all the while thinking, If it wasn’t my fault for this accident, I’d hurt her for this. Lilith really does need to be slapped down one of these days…and I will enjoy it when that day comes, whether I’m the one to do it or not.

“Watch were you’re going next time, twit,” Lilith curtly said before storming out the door.

“Bridget? Is that blood on your wrist?” a concerned Dana asked. “A gift from the ever kind Lilith Eves. Don’t worry, it’s more like a scratch; it’ll clot up in a few seconds.” “What is wrong with her?” “She’s evil. She hates everyone she meets and tries to treat everyone like an inferior.” “You don’t think maybe she’s just trying to hide some fear or insecurity by always being so mean?” Shawn asked her. “No. She’s just cold and mean. We’ll see her on the news one day, being led off by the Feds, the neighbors telling the press ‘she was always so quiet, never bothered anyone’ while the camera catches the multiple corpses being hauled out of her basement.” She usually tried to see the best in people, and might be willing to agree with Shawn in theory, but the fact was that Lilith was just without any redeeming value. “You’re too cynical,” Shawn stated. “And you’re too naïve,” she responded without missing a beat. “How my best friend can tolerate someone so unable to grasp the basics of the runnings of the universe is beyond me.” Dana cocked her head and raised her eyebrows; Bridget took the hint to shut her mouth. “Maybe so,” he simply conceded. There was just something about the way he said it that really annoyed Bridget although she didn’t have the slightest clue why. For that matter, I still don’t have the foggiest what I was going to ask Dana. “But I’m probably happier,” Shawn finally added. “Dana, I’m sorry I just can’t remember what I was going to ask you,” this was driving her mad she knew she wanted to ask Dana something but couldn’t think of what. It infuriated her so much she almost felt the need to break something. “If I can think of it I’ll find you again. Otherwise, sorry for bothering you.” She left still trying to remember what she had been thinking. As she walked out of the Stevens’ room she caught sight of Jane and Merle. Like almost everyone else in Fountainhead they were, in Bridget’s opinion, a little eccentric in their behavior. “Hey guys, what are you doing?” “Not much, Bridge.” “We’re trying to figure out how much of the marching show we play,” Merle told her. “W-What?” Bridget stammered. That made no sense to her, but with Jane and Merle that was nothing new. “We, the baritone section, for instance, play forty-seven point eighty-six percent of time during the opener of the marching show.” “Uh-huh,” said in disbelief. They are so strange sometimes, she thought. I know they’re serious. I know they just like to come up with the strangest stuff intentionally. I know they’re really quite sane (deep down), so why am I always so stunned by their nutty behavior? “Okay, how much do you play in the rest of the show?” “We don’t know yet. We’re still calculating all the notes. Jane remember the number forty-six point five,” he said as he went back to counting individual notes on the sheet of music he was reading.

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“So what have you been up to today, Bridge?” Jane asked. “Well, Going out of my mind slowly…but surely.” “Aren’t we all,” Jane consoled her. “Well I’m usually not, Jane, so it’s really bothering me.” “What exactly is wrong?” “Oh, I’m finding there are large gaps in my memory where there shouldn’t be.” “What? Did you forget a few facts and miss a couple of questions on a test?” “No, recently I realized I haven’t been noticing someone who I spend a lot of time around, at least I think I did, even though I know I should have paid more attention to him.” “What do you mean notice? You’ve been rude to them when they’re around.” “No, I mean I did not realize he existed until today.” “Unusual. But you seem to be taking it a little too seriously for just not paying attention to someone. I mean I cross paths with a lot of people each day; doesn’t mean I’m good friends with each and every one of them. I don’t think I can even name every person I share a class with, even though I spend a lot of time with them.” “I know, but…I’m just,” she sighed trying to figure out the words to describe the rotten feeling in the pit of her stomach. “I’m just feel that something is wrong about this situation. I can’t explain it other than in the back of my mind something is simply out of joint.” “Huh, Dana Serenity was mentioning having the same kind of feeling this morning.” “Dana…Serenity?” “Yeah, Dana, your friend, Cary Serenity’s sister. You know, Dana.” Dana Serenity! her mind screamed. That is what I wanted to ask her about. I knew she was his sister! Why couldn’t I think about it back there? What is wrong is wrong with me. “Oh, yeah, Dana,” she laughed and tried to cover up her shock. “Uh, I am losing my mind, I can’t even remember the names of my friends.” “You’re just stressed, probably having a bad day that’s all. We all have them.” “It’s just weird; I’ve never felt anything like this before.” “Oh well, such is life. Just try to make the best of it,” Jane reassured. “I guess. Well, I’ll see you guys later.” “See ya.” Bridget walked away. As she did she heard Merle state that he and Jane played forty-two point five-eight percent of the time in the second song. She knew that this feeling wasn’t just a bad day. It was a deep feeling one felt before something horrible happened. It’s like the feeling one gets when you’re being watched and followed. From a distance she was being watched and followed. *** “Are you okay, Cary?” Darby asked as they ate lunch, sitting on the grass courtyard with Arin. It was a daily ritual that they found very comforting. “Yes…I’m fine,” he simply automatically said, not even thinking about his answer. “Yeah, like I believe that,” Darby responded, obviously worried about him. “What’s wrong?” “Do you know Bridget Hunt?” “Sure, what about her?” Darby seemed a little shocked by his question, as if to say ‘Why care about Bridget Hunt?’ “I just get this really strange…almost sickening feeling…when I was around her today.” “Ah, like butterflies in your stomach?” Arin jested as she suggestively raised an eyebrow. “Your palms get sweaty and you feel a little light headed?” “No! It’s not that kind of sick feeling!” Cary quickly rebutted. Why do I only have women as my close friends? “It’s the kind of sensation that something horrible is going to happen in the immediate future.” “What? You think she’s going to hit you in the head with her trumpet during marching practice?” asked Arin jokingly. “She plays the trumpet?” Darby and Arin looked at him, their mouths half open in shock. “Yeah, Cary, she plays the trumpet. She sits directly behind the two of us in band,” Darby told him. “Have you been living on another planet this whole year?” “I’m beginning to wonder, myself,” he told them. He looked up and saw Dana and Shawn approaching. Dana, Bridget, and myself. The three of us are all involved in this somehow, but I wish I knew what this feeling was, he thought. “Hey guys, how’s it going?” Shawn asked as they approached. “Well, Cary here thinks the end of the world is coming and Bridget Hunt has something to do with it,” Darby told him. “I never said that,” he protested, but this feeling in the back of my mind almost makes me wonder if the world is going to end. “Well it’s only a slight exaggeration.” “How has your day been, Dana?” Cary quickly changed the subject.

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“Pretty much the same as before, just kind of a typical day.” she stated. She did not want to announce to the others that she too had the terrible feeling in her gut. What is it that’s going to happen to the three of us? God, how I wish I had the ability to see the future with perfect clarity. “Oh, I don’t know how typical it is,” Shawn said, “I mean it’s not over yet. Anything could happen, and if Cary has a feeling that something bad is going to happen maybe we should keep our eyes out.” “Thank you, Shawn, I’m glad somebody is on my side.” Cary thought about how much he liked Shawn. Dana had always had exceptional taste in men (in that as her older brother Cary had never had to worry about looking out for her), but there was something about Shawn that stood him apart from anyone else. He could easily tell that Dana thought that Shawn was the one for her, but that was not the reason that he liked Shawn. There was something about him that endeared and made him a good friend to almost everyone. Everyone but Bridget, he thought. He sighed, suddenly frustrated by the fact that once again the name “Bridget” intruded into his thoughts, and with it that dark feeling. “Well, despite the fact that I hate to leave, I have a presentation to make in my next class that I have to prepare for,” Shawn stated. “So unfortunately I have to go.” He leaned over and kissed Dana on the cheek. “Goodbye, my dearest. I’ll see you later.” Cary tried running through his thoughts only to come up with only blocks in his memories “Oh, that reminds me Arin and I have to go talk to Mr. Johnson about some of our music.” “Anything I should be concerned about?” Cary asked. “Don’t you have enough to worry about? But to answer you question, no, just few questions about the show we have for Johnson. If we change anything we’ll tell you,” Arin said as they got up and gathered their stuff. “Very well, I will see you in the band room.” They left Dana and Cary by themselves. The siblings stood in silence for a moment to collect their thoughts and try to work up the courage to broach the topic they knew they had to discuss. Finally, Dana broke the impasse. “So, have you figured out what this feeling is that the three of us have?” Dana asked her brother. I have to tell someone about this, she finally decided, maybe the only way to get rid of this feeling is to get the three of us together. “The three of us?” Cary tried one last time to dent the block, but to no use. “Yeah, Bridget is experiencing the same feeling.” He turned and looked her in the eyes. “Only that the more I think about it, the worse I feel this situation is. It’s like I feel this dark force all around us. Something bigger than our teenage lives is coming.” “Anything else? Maybe some more cryptic phrases of doom?” “It’s just a feeling I have, and I know you have it too…after all, I’m not a powerful psychic, Dana.” Cary told her. “No, you’re not,” she admitted. “What do you think about it?” “I know it has something to do with the fact that the three of us have never once been together.” “True. Further, whatever it is, it’s coming soon.” “I know,” the words were barely whispered. There was silence between them for almost a minute until the bell rang, ending lunch. “I’ll see you at home?” “I look forward to it, maybe we’ll make some headway on whatever it is bothering us. Shall I bring Bridget?” Cary nodded his accent. The two siblings parted, not noticing the shadowy figures that hid just around the corner. There were two of them, and they watched Dana and Cary like a lion watches a herd of gazelle. “They’re the ones. The question is now, how exactly do we go about eliminating them?”

To be continued...

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Pinnacle Periodical - Spring 2010 Edition