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The Phantom of the Orchard
I picked up my head form the soft, over-grown grass. I picked a wildflower. It looked pretty in the shady spot I was sitting in. I heard a rustling in the trees above. I jumped, snapping my head towards the sound. Was it a bird? A chipmunk? No, there was nothing in any of teh trees. (I had the best eyesight in the family and my class). I had probably just imagined it.
I checked my watch. I had to meet Ryan in a few minutes. It wasn't our first date, but I was still nevrous about it. We were meeting up at an ice cream parlor. It's beeen here since before I was born, and it's a town landmark. But, as I got up, A leaf fluttered down, landing on my shoulder. I went to brush it away, but realized it wasn't a leaf. It was a note.
More than a littel shaky, I glanced around. No one was there. I opened the note. It read: Don't meet him. Not unless you want to miss a lesson. You've always wanted to be published?
I wanted to run. My brain screamed it over and over. But my muscles were frozen with fear. I had wanted to be an author for two years now. "Wh-who are you? What do you want?"
"To help out," I screamed. Where had that voice come from? Hadn't I been alone. I reached for an apple that had fallen off one of the trees. I held it up, ready to hurl it at the next thing that moved. "Don't worry, I don't want to hurt you," The voice reassusered. It was soft... gentle... sweet... hypontic. I snapped myself out of it. No. This was a stalker's voice.
"Oh, yeah? Then how'd you know-"
"I'm smarter than, what's his name? Oh, yeah, Ryan. You're just used to dumb guys, Christie. Does he even know that?"
WEll, he didn't. But I wasn't about to let this.... voice know that. "Just tell me who you are? Am I being punked?"
"No. Just a word of advice for your first lesson. Listen. Listen to the way people talk. How they react. Dialouge is key."
The second he finished, I built up my courage and bolted. Eching laughter followed me, but nothing else. I didn't stop runnning until I got home.
I told myself I would just enjoy my date, and worry about Mr. Creepy Stalker later. I touched up my makeup and put on soem body spray to cover up my cold sweat. Soon enough, the doorbell rang. I sprinted to anser it before anyone else in my (potentailly screwed up) family could. I called to my mom that I was leaving and slipped out the door. "Hey, Christie. I like your, uh, skirt."
"Thanks," I answered, a little akwardly. "So..."
"So," A brief pause. "How's youe summer going?"
"Good. I can't wait until the Fourth of July party!" Every year, my best friend Jamie Scott held a huge party. Almost everyone in our school was invited. She had a lot of older and younger siblings.
"Me neither," By now, we had reached the ice cream place. I got a vanilla cone and he got choclate. WE mostly made small talk, a little nervous. He offered to walk m home ,and I accepted. Now, a little more comfortable, we flirted and stuff. But it only took ten minutes to get to my house, so soon we were exchangign goodbyes.
I tossed and turned all night. I checked each and every corner, closet, and window before falling asleep. Even then, I had nightmares. But, at the end of the dream, I heard his voice. I was entraced.
I woke up, a little sad that the voice had gone with it. I got up, realizing with a start that it was the Fourth. Pary time! I threw on a blue skirt with a red shirt. It had a sequined flag on it.
But, before I went to help Jamie set up, I decided to walk to the orchard. MAybe I could find out more about this guy....
Not fifteen minutes later I was walking the the orchard gate. I went to the shady little alcove. "Hello? Anyone there?"
"Thought you'd come back. Something told me you were brave enough not to get the cops," Or stupid enough. I decided to try and trick him into telling me about him.
"What's your fake name?"
"I'm not pulling anything on you," The voice echoed evenly throughout the secluded area. "My name's Edan. It means flame, fiery."
"And you somehow already knwo my name. You aren't a physo, are you?" His voice melted my mind, I couldn't help being blunt.
"No. Now, did you bring a journal?"
I always carried it with me. But it was personal. I told him this. "How am I supposed to help you if I can't read your work?" He question with gentle, and I finally gave in. I pulled it out from my little tote. He instructed me to read. As I did, he was silent.
I finished a minute later. "Good. Nice imagary. Just limit it, give it in small pieces. Love your dioalouge. You've been observing, listening..." He trsiled off. It feel silent for a moment.
"Hello? You still there?" I looked around, pointlessly searching for this faceless boy.
Something wrapped around my waist. Sreaming, I looked down. A rope. I was pulled upwards. A hand covered my mouth and eyes. Hypervenilating, I felt myself being picked up and carried away. Would I survive this? The next thing I knew, I was sitting down. A cloth replaced the hand. Amistd my freaking out, I heard the voice and stopped dead. "It's okay, I'm not gonna hurt you," I could feel him getting closer and closer. I felt his hand and tensed. He eased off the cloth that concealed my face.
I blinked. It was dark, only candles lit the room. It was an earthen wall, with complex tunnels branching off to our right. I saw roots to the left. But, then, my eyes feel on the boy. He worea full face mask. It was plain white and cut off at the mouth. He wore a black cloak, which he was strating to shrug off. Under, he was wearing a black underarmor tee and black jeans. His brown hair was messy, but not exactly dirty. With an equally gentle voice, he said: "This is my house, I guess. Like it?" I glanced around at the wooden desk, candles, and bed. Too afraid to speak, I nodded. "I'm not hear to hurt you," He asssured. "But, if you let me, I can help," He offered me a hand and helped me up. The boy lead me to the desk. "Give me your journal, please."
I held it to my chest. No one had ever touched it but me. I made sure no one was around when I wrote, so not one person knew about it. But, after he flashed me a grin, I handed it over. He leafed through it. A "hhm" and "interesting" escaped his lips, but otherwise he didn't show any emotion. (Which is hard when you can't see the person's face). I glanced down, my eyes catching on my new watch. Crap! TJamie wanted me over in half an hour. And that's when I came to. I frantcially looked for an exit. What if he was one of those killers that turned early? A sex offender? Heck, what if he wasn't even a kid? I scrambled back, terrified. Soemthing grabbed my leg. I screamed. I looked down. I was tangled in roots. I fought to get out of their hold, I tripped, twisting my ankle. Edan rushed to my side, gingerly getting me out. "What happened? Are you oksy? Can you move your ankle?" I tried. It stung, but I could. "Okay, good. You didn't sprain it, but it's a bad twist. Here," He slipped an arm under my and helped me to my feet. "Why don't we get that taken care of?" He opened a trapdoor and took out soem ice. He gave it to me and I put it on my ankle. Good, that was fixed. But one problem. Would I ever get out of here?