Mrs. Ross laid out the table and poured Ryan some hot Indian chai.
”So, what was the running all about?” she asked.
“What running?” Ryan said, letting the fumes from his hot tea come between them to avoid eye contact.
“Judging from how you were gasping for air when you got home today, I can tell you were running for some reason. And while you were at it, you tripped and fell…” she reached across the table to gently rub Ryan’s chin where the skin was slightly damaged.
Ryan sighed. Sometimes it was inconvenient to have his dear mother be so perceiving.
“Yeah, I tripped over our neighbours flower pots. Those weren’t there before…” he said, playing around what was really bothering him.
“Didn’t I tell you about our new neighbour? I invited her over for supper today. Anyway, how was your day?”
“Soccer practice. And your day?”
He was planning to tell her anyway. He told his mother everything.
“I saw that girl. Frankie. From yesterdays nightmare.”
It took Mrs. Ross a minute to remember. “Oh?”
“I swear it was her, I even felt hot around the eyes!” Ryan claimed, starting to scare himself with the memories again.
“I think” said Sarah, contemplating the possibilities. “You had like...um, how to put it?”
“She’s out to kill me?” he tried to stop freaking out over nothing. But he was just having this strange feeling of impending doom…and he couldn’t shake it away.
“No…you saw her in your dream, how or why can not be explained. Its just one of those weird things that happen. And when you saw her today, it was somewhat like déjà vu. You probably imagined the heat or whatever ‘cause your dream was so vivid.”
Ryan thought about that. It made sense and seemed more likely. It also made him feel much better than the thought of someone wanting to kill him. Besides, what could a strange girl with those creepy eyes want from his death? She had nothing to gain from it.
But what if she’s one of those serial killers who only kill geeks with brown hair? Ryan shook his head,what the hell am I thinking…
By the time Paige arrived home, only a little tired but in a bad mood after the tedious soccer practice, Ryan was asking his mother advice on dealing with Katy’s newfound friendliness.
“Ryan,” Paige growled happy to take her grumpiness out. “That Katy is a skunk.”
“Um, so are you.”
“YOU WANT A TUSSLE?” Paige balled her fists playfully.
“What Paige means is,” said Mrs. Ross pulling Paige to her “you should be careful…”
“No, I mean he should hate her because I hate her.”
“Well, that’s one reason I shouldn’t hate her.”
“Ryan, even a freak like you can do better.”
Before they could further the argument, the doorbell rang once.
“Oh that must be Miss. Miller…” said Mrs. Ross, excitedly clearing the empty tea cups. Both Ryan and Paige gave her a vague look and she rolled her eyes at them. “Our new neighbour.”
“Oh, I thought you joined a sorority or something” said Paige starting the TV while Ryan went to get the door.
But when he opened it, he saw the last person he ever wanted at his doorstep looking into him with huge dark blue eyes.
Ryan bolted before anything strange took place. Mrs. Ross re-entered the room to see him positively fly past her.
“Excuse my son’s behaviour- he’s paranoid sometimes.” Said Sarah, looking at the flight of steps that led to his bedroom, confused and bothered with Ryan. Paige one the other hand was controlling hysterical laughter for the second time today.
“He does not like me.” Said Miss. Miller bemused and slightly dejected at his reaction to her. “That’s the same thing he did at School today.”
Sarah started and looked at her.“You go to his School?”
“Yes. I’m only a senior.” Laughed Miss. Miller at Sarah’s surprise.
Pieces fell into place. So this is the girl haunting him. Interesting.
“No wonder you look so young.” Said Sarah wondering what about this girl frightened Ryan. She did seem to carry a strange air, but everything about her screamed ‘harmless!’ “Have some tea with us, then you can go upstairs and meet Ryan” she added, smiling slyly.
Half an hour later when Ryan was lying languidly on his bed reading Dickens when he heard footsteps nearing his door. Assuming it was Paige coming up to tell him he had acted like a total moron, he said “Go away, Emo.”
“Hey Ryan.” Said a scarily familiar voice.
Ryan’s head jolted up. “No, not you…” he moaned letting his book fall to the floor.
“Tried hard to run away from me haven’t you?” she murmured, walking toward him at an unrushed pace.
Ryan screamed as she touched his arm and immobilized him.