I took a deep breath and, as the police force and townsfolk gathered around me to watch, I stepped towards the large glass doors.
And I remembered.
They’d fitted me up with an earpiece and a microphone. I wished they hadn’t, I didn’t want them to hear what Taylor was going to say, but maybe it was for the best.
As I stepped into the school, Todd’s voice buzzed into my ear.
“She’s in room 107. Do you know where it is?”
How could I forget? Ms. Anderson’s old classroom. She used to be the second-grade teacher. That was where Taylor and I first laid eyes on each other. Fitting, don’t you think?
I grunted my assent as I moved past the front office, walking down the main hallway, my eyes darting back and forth, taking in all the sights that I’d thought once to forget.
It couldn’t have taken me more than two minutes to reach the first hallway, but it felt like hours. Everything about this was so surreal. Were they really the halls that I’d run down trying to make it to class on time? They hadn’t changed at all, so why did this feel so strange? Perhaps I was the one that changed, or maybe I really hadn’t changed and that’s why everything seemed wrong. It was like stepping back into a past where I didn’t belong.
Where I’d never belonged.
I turned right down the hallway and spotted the room. It was four doors down and to the right. It was easy to tell that it was my destination because all the other rooms were empty, their doors hanging open as though they’d been abandoned in a hurry. The only room that hadn’t been evacuated had its door shut, glowing with a light that seemed sinister. As my feet carried me towards the door, I wondered if this was the last light that I would see. This sickly yellow that cast a jaundice hue on everything around it.
I reached the door and thought about my family. I should have left a note. I should have called them. I should have warned them. Because for the first time this whole day, I was absolutely certain that whatever happened in that room would end in death.
Taking a deep breath, I pushed the door open.
One of the reasons that people go to high school reunions is that they can see how their old classmates have aged. Although, perhaps the age of reunions is over, what with the advent of Facebook. Still, you expect there to be some kind of change. So-and-so got fat, or rich, or super attractive. Something is different to let you know that time has passed.
Taylor looked exactly like the last time I had seen her.
She still wore grungy, second-hand clothing that always looked like it could use a wash. Her long brown hair and green eyes hadn’t dulled. She hadn’t grown or gained weight. She was just as she always had been, and she smiled at me as though she were happy to see me.
“I’ve been waiting for you, Lily,” she said.