Anne-Marie didn't think much of the chainletter she recieved. Then she found a bunch of anime characters in her kitchen.
“Isn’t Rory hot?” the girls around the lunch table squealed.
Anne-Marie sighed and reached for her iPod. She blasted some classical music at full volume and watched as her friends ogled the tall, handsome boy at a table across the canteen. Anne-Marie loved her friends and all but she really couldn’t stand it when they were like this. It wasn’t that Anne-Marie wasn’t interested in guys. She was fifteen for goodness sake, but she preferred guys who had more brain mass than a goldfish and if they were good-looking as well she had hit the jackpot. Michaela was looking at her and saying something, more like shouting by the colour of her complexion. If her lip-reading skills were correct her brunette friend was lecturing her about listening to music while they were in the middle of a conversation. Michaela was possibly the only one of her friends who didn’t like Rory. Michaela was too shy and sensible to go out with a jock like him. Her eyes wandered from Michaela to the other girls seated at the table. There was Rachel. She had blonde hair tied back in a plait and hazel eyes. She was small with fair skin. Mairead was seated next to her. She had dark brown hair; darker than Michaela’s and blue eyes. She was slightly chubby and was currently in the process of begging Rachel for some of her muffin. Anne-Marie rolled her eyes and looked at Orlagh. She had brownish-ginger hair with blue-green eyes. She was sporty and probably the most popular of the group but the world was going to eat her up, she was naïve and would never say a bad word about anyone. Marianne, another, brunette and Michaela’s cousin, in one word she could be described as ‘rich’. She was small like Rachel. Anne-Marie glanced down at her silver watch. She caught sight of her reflection in it. She had light blue eyes with unusually big pupils making her look like she was permanently high on drugs. Her hair was a brownish blonde, cut into a long bob; bangs at the front and short at the back. Ten past one the watch face said.
“Sorry people, but I gotta go to my locker, see you all later,” she said, interrupting Michaela in mid-lecture.
She grabbed her schoolbag and made her way out of the canteen. She walked down the gravel path, past the trees that were losing their leaves and towards the basement, where the girl’s locker rooms where. No one had bothered to come yet as there was still ten minutes left of lunch but Anne-Marie liked to get there before the post-lunch panic. She took her locker key from her black jacket’s pocket. She pushed the silver key into locker 71 and swung the door open. A small folded piece of white paper caught her eye as it floated towards the ground. She picked it up and unfolded it.
Once you start reading this do not stop, or something terrible will happen. Now that you have received this letter you must copy it and send it to 10 more people in 2 hours. If you do you will be transported into your favourite anime show. If you don’t then the opposite will happen.
Anne-Marie snorted at the chain letter. How stupid. Usually these things were at least interesting to read. She liked the ones about murders but an anime show? Seriously that had to be the worst attempted blackmail ever. She crumpled up the piece of paper and threw it into the nearby bin. Stuffing her Journalism folder into her bag she headed for the door. Suddenly a chill ran down her spine, like an icy finger. She could have sworn she saw a shadow from the corner of her eye. She spun around. The locker room was deserted. Heart thumping, she reasoned that it was just another student. The light bulb above her flickered. Anne-Marie shook her head and headed for her next class.
Journalism was one of the few classes she liked. She managed to pull A’s in all of her classes but that wasn’t the same as actually enjoying them.
“Hey, Steven, did you get much research on the history of newspapers,” Anne-Marie asked him casually.
“It’s supposed to be a wide topic but all the information’s useless,” Steven sighed.
The rest of their group walked in. They had a presentation on the history of print journalism due in a week’s time and if it wasn’t for Anne-Marie everything would have been a complete disaster. Tri (pronounced ‘tree’) and Steven settled down to do newspapers and John and Gary were looking at various comics. Anne-Marie’s partner Soniva had moved to a new city last week so she was on her own in a group of boys. Her eye caught one of the comics that John was handling.
“Hey isn’t that a TV show as well?” she inquired, inspecting the comic’s title.
“Naruto?” Gary asked.
“Yeah, it’s one of those anime shows. These are manga comics. They’re from Japan,” John informed her, pushing his black hair from his eyes with a gloved hand.
“I think my little brother watches that,” she said.
“Yeah I’ve heard it’s really popular,” Tri cut in, “How is Patrick anyway?”
“Still annoying, selfish and stupid,” Anne-Marie replied.
Tri smiled as he copied some notes from a text book.
“Aren’t you babysitting him this week?” Steven asked.
“Yeah, my parents are at a wedding in Italy. We weren’t invited.”
“That sucks,” Gary stated.
“My life sucks,” Anne-Marie snorted, “I’m used to it.”
Anne-Marie dragged her feet to Religion class, the bane of her existence. She had nothing against Religion and God and all that stuff but her teacher, Mrs. Farley, was an absolute nut. She once gave them 500 questions to do for homework that had to be in the next day. What was more she had took a disliking to Anne-Marie. She walked towards her seat in the front row. How unlucky that they had seats assigned to them by the teacher. Rachel greeted her as she took her bible and text book from her bag. Mrs. Farley strode into the room with her pointed nose stuck high in the air.
“Take out your bibles and copy the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel into your exercise books,” she demanded, chewing a piece of gum.
“Are you serious?” Anne-Marie retorted, “What’s the point in that? We get to keep the bibles and we wouldn’t be learning anything.”
“Do you know who the teacher is here?” Mrs. Farley spat.
“Why? Don’t you?” Anne-Marie smirked.
“Get. Out. Of. My. CLASSROOM!” she shrieked as the class began to laugh hysterically.
Anne-Marie quickly put her books in her bag and headed for the door as the furious teacher threw a glue stick at her. She slammed the door and strode down the corridors. There was only half an hour left of school. Perhaps she’d just ditch. Yeah that’s what she’d do. She headed for the front door of the school, vigilant for teachers. Luckily she only lived around the corner so it was almost a clean break. She kept in the shadows of the grey stone walls once she was outside. Checking the security camera was turned the other way she made a break for the green hedge that ran around the school. It was about an acre away. She made it just in time, diving through it and onto the footpath outside she was at the entrance to her street. It was a cul-de-sac and she lived in a five bedroom house right at the bottom of it.
Her little brother, Patrick, was already watching the TV when she pushed open the front door. She wasn’t surprised as he got out earlier than her. He was small and skinny for his age with spiky blond hair and blue eyes, brighter than hers. He was very popular but very stupid.
“Make me some food!” he yelled.
“Shut it, asshole! I’m in charge this week!” she shouted back.
Patrick was quiet after that, realising she’d had a bad day. She shoved some chicken burgers into the oven for twenty minutes as she went to take a shower.
“Yes, Granny, he’s had his dinner and he’ll be in bed by nine. He’s done his homework too. All the doors are locked. I’m sure. I’ve already checked. Ok, fine I’ll check again. I…pshh…think…breaking…pschhh…up,” Anne-Marie slammed the phone down.
Sometimes her grandmother could be a real pain. She jumped down the stairs two at a time and walked into the sitting room.
“Hey, Patrick, turn the news on,” she said.
“No way, I’m watching Naruto!” he complained.
“Oh yeah, that stupid anime junk!”
“It’s not junk!”
“Whatever just give me the remote.”
She tried to wrestle the remote from his hands. It wasn’t working he was as strong as a bull, despite being so small. Before long it was a full out fight with biting, scratching and name-calling. Anne-Marie gave one final tug and the remote was thrown across the room, straight through the wide screen TV.
“It was your fault!” the two siblings shouted simultaneously.
Anne-Marie looked at the crackling screen. She was so dead. Of course it was going to be her fault. She was the eldest, after all. She groaned and walked out of the room and towards the phone book.
She watched the repairmen bring the television away as she clutched a bill, £2000? That was her life savings. This was going to be a great week!
She never thought she’d be so glad to see her bed. She tried to banish the worries from her mind as she laid her head on her pillow.
The shrill ringing cut through the silence of the autumn morning. Anne-Marie rubbed the sleep from her eyes and groggily got dressed. She ambled towards the kitchen.
“Hey,” she greeted the people sitting at her kitchen table. She poured the coffee into her favourite cup and retrieved a cereal bar from a cupboard. She drank a mouthful of coffee. She stopped mid-swallow as her eyes fixed on the crowd of people in her kitchen. They varied from teenagers around her age to middle aged. There were eight of them. Two of them were wearing black cloaks with red clouds. One was wearing some sort of kimono with a purple belt tied around it. One boy was wearing an orange and black ensemble; the girl he stood next to was wearing pink and black. A man who looked middle-aged but had silver hair was wearing some sort of military uniform. The two remaining people were a woman who looked to be in her thirties and a man who was in his fifties. The female was wearing ¾ length trousers and a green jacket. The male was wearing short trousers also with a red jacket and wore Japanese shoes.
There was a brief silence as Anne-Marie swallowed her coffee. She put her mug in the sink as the group looked at her with curios eyes.
“I’m obviously dreaming,” she said to them, “So I’m going to go back to bed and when I wake up again you people better be gone.”
She dragged herself back up the stairs, lay down, closed her eyes and sauntered downstairs again. The group was still there. There goes the dream theory, she thought.
“Ok,” she started, “How do I say this nicely? WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?”
A few of them fell off their seats in shock. The rest remained silent.
“What are you doing here!?” Anne-Marie demanded.
“We were hoping you could tell us,” the silver-haired man said.