Home > Night School (Night School #1)(17)

Night School (Night School #1)(17)
Author: C.J. Daugherty

6. The identities of those involved in Night School are secret. Anyone who attempts to find out their identities will be punished.

7. ALL Night School activities are secret. Any member of Night School found to be divulging the details of those activities will be punished severely.

Suddenly she heard again the noise that must have awakened her. It was a kind of scrabbling on the roof. She switched off the lamp and moved the papers aside so that she could climb up on the desk and look out.

At first she heard nothing, and then in the distance a shout. Then a few seconds later, a faint scream. Allie leaned forward to peer into the darkness. There was no moon tonight, and clouds obscured the stars. She could see only darkness. Suddenly, very nearby, a noise – a creaking sound, like footsteps on old wood.

What the hell was that? Whatever it was, it was on the roof.

Down below, she thought she saw something dart across the grass into the woods. She held her breath to listen. Was that … laughter?

After a few minutes she heard a voice whisper so faintly she wasn’t sure she hadn’t imagined it: ‘It’s OK, Allie. Go to sleep.’

She looked around the room. She was alone. She shook her head fiercely, trying to determine if she was awake or asleep.

‘I’m going insane,’ she muttered, and closed the window, locking it firmly, before climbing into bed.

As she fell back asleep, she could have sworn she heard the same voice chuckle very faintly.

FIVE

The alarm’s jarring ring woke Allie from a deep sleep the next morning at seven. Groggy, she swatted it several times before finding the off switch.

Sitting up in bed, she stretched languorously. Another weird dream. What was with that voice? It had seemed so real. She blamed The Rules.

This school is just freaking me out.

After a quick breakfast, she made it to class with a few minutes to spare. Jo was already in her seat. Carter, she noticed, was not in his. Jo bubbled with questions. She barely waited until Allie was at the desk.

‘What happened last night after we left? What bad luck that he walked up while we were talking about him. Gabe felt really awful about putting you in that situation.’

Allie wondered how much to tell her. She remembered Carter’s maxim: ‘Never be afraid to be honest’.

But then, Carter is a dick.

‘We talked for a while, but all he seemed to want was to find out what I was doing at Cimmeria.’ She shrugged. ‘I got pissed off and walked out.’

Jo looked surprised. ‘Why did you get pissed off?’

Allie tried not to sound sulky and juvenile. ‘I don’t know. It just seemed to me he didn’t think I should be here. Like I’m not good enough to be here.’

Jo leaned forward and lowered her voice to a whisper. ‘Allie, I’m no fan of Carter’s as you know, but that really doesn’t sound like him at all. He’s sort of the last person to be snobbish about anything. He thinks everybody’s too stuck on themselves here. He’s always going on about it. It’s one of the reasons people don’t like him.’

Jerry called the class to order. Reluctantly, they both turned towards the front. Jo pulled out a piece of paper and wrote furiously. As he began drawing lungs on the white board, the door opened and Carter walked in.

Jo slid the paper across the desk to Allie. It said, ‘You must have misunderstood. I promise.’

Allie lifted her eyes from the paper to find Carter watching her as he walked by. She dropped her eyes instantly and covered the paper with her hand.

She sighed and shook her head as if to physically clear it of crazy thoughts, and twirled her pen around her fingers.

One, two, three times.

And then at the bottom of the note she scrawled, ‘OK. I believe you,’ and passed it back to Jo, who looked pleased.

Allie tried to tune in to Jerry’s lecture. She could not spend every single class distracted by Carter West.

*

‘He just gives me the weirdest looks all the time,’ Allie said. ‘He’s always staring at me.’

She and Jo were sitting in the dining room as the lunch crowd waned, twirling salad leaves around their plates and talking about Carter.

Jo wrinkled her pert nose. ‘He probably just wants you to fancy him. He wants everyone to fancy him.’

‘Well if that’s the case, then he’s kind of failing,’ Allie said. ‘God, can you believe the energy we’re giving this conversation about some guy we don’t even like? Tell me about Gabe. How long have you two been together?’

Jo brightened. ‘Let’s see. We’ve been together more than a year now. When I first came here I was going out with this guy Lucas, but then I met Gabe and it was just … like, forget it. He’s the coolest guy I’ve ever known. The funniest. The sexiest. The … everything.’ She laughed at her own giddiness.

‘I can’t believe you’ve been going out a whole year,’ Allie said. ‘I don’t know anybody who’s been together that long.’

Jo set her fork down. ‘Cimmeria’s funny that way. People who get together tend to stay together. That’s why everybody talks about Carter so much. It’s kind of not done, the whole one-night-stand thing. I don’t know why. Maybe because we’re here so much of the time. I mean, some kids here, like, never go home. They’re just always here. Like this is their home. And we’re their family.’

‘Who does that?’ Allie asked curiously.

‘Well, Carter. And Gabe. And, well, me, I guess.’

   
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