Chapter 6 - Investigating the Dream
My mind was rattled the entire morning, even as I found myself standing at the bus stop.
The strange vision I had last night was still on my mind, giving me almost a hundred or so questions.
Dismissing it as only a dream at this point would be stupid. Somehow, I was able to perfectly recall a scene from the previous timeline with such clarity, it was almost as if I was experiencing it in person.
But what was more surprising was the contents of the memory.
One of the events that happened in the last timeline during my first month of school was a campus-wide evacuation due to a prank call informing the school that a bomb was on the school grounds.
Obviously, this caused the school to act quickly. The entire campus was told to move to the school lawn, and everyone had to leave their belongings behind. The police were called to investigate after everyone evacuated, and we were later told that our belongings were searched through when they were looking for the bomb.
That was all that I remembered before last night, but apparently, my vision showed me that there was more to the story.
A teacher calling out a girl due to something they did.
And not just any girl, but in fact, it was the person from my French class who gave me a pencil yesterday.
No wonder I couldn’t recall her from my memories. She couldn’t have been my classmate for more than a month before she transferred. But that just raised even more questions, like why she felt the need to transfer in the first place.
And why was this memory so significant that it took what looked like a supernatural ability to force me to remember it?
Speaking of which, that was something else that I had questions about. Since when did I have the ability to recall memories from the past like that?
Was that another thing that was the fault of the stranger from the text conversation?
“I really need to come up with a name for him,” I mumbled. “You know what, I’ll just call him Text until I learn what his real name is.”
So not only did Text have the ability to send me back in time, but he might also be the source of this new ability of mine. So far, my theory behind his identity is leaning away from the sci-fi genre and more into the supernatural one.
Too bad I couldn’t discuss this with my brother. He was still sleeping in by the time I left to go to the bus stop.
Speaking of which, I spotted my ride approaching me already.
The bus stopped right in front of me, and I quickly got on and paid the machine the fee. I took a quick peek and saw that there were already a couple of kids my age riding.
“Morning,” I greeted the bus driver, who grunted and didn’t say anything else. Seeing that there were only a few students on the bus, I quickly moved down the aisle to find myself a seat.
Hearing a familiar voice, I looked to my right and my eyes widened. “Maria?”
I seem to be running into her a lot lately, but this time it really was a surprise for me. I never expected to meet her outside of school like this.
"So you're taking the bus too?"
I sat at the empty seats across from her, allowing a casual distance between the two of us. "Yeah, I just started today. I didn't expect to see anyone I knew on here though."
Because I later remembered that none of my friends took the bus.
The two of us sat awkwardly in silence for the next few minutes as the bus began to move. Neither of us seemed to know what to do for a while.
She apparently decided to take the plunge first. "So... what do you think of our new school so far?"
"Huh," I was taken aback at her suddenly starting a conversation. "Well, I guess I don't really have a big opinion. Maybe I need a few more days to take it in."
She awkwardly laughed. "I guess I understand. I still don't feel like I'm a high schooler yet."
Maria seemed to not know what else to say, so I picked up the conversation for her. "So, are you thinking about joining any clubs?"
That seemed to give her confidence. "I'm not sure yet, but I'm a little interested in the dance club."
"Really? How come?"
"A few of my friends want to join, and they asked me if I would be interested in checking the club out." She shrugged her shoulders. "Besides, dancing seems pretty cool. I really want to learn how to breakdance."
An image of Maria doing the windmill appeared in my mind, causing me to crack a smile.
"What about you? Interested in joining any clubs?"
The memory of the time I joined the board games club in my senior year made me wince. God, was that boring.
"Nope, no clubs for me. I'd rather get a part-time job instead."
But not fast food. Or anything related to customer service in general. I wasn't willing to subject myself to that fresh hell ever again.
She quirked an eyebrow at that. "Are we even allowed to have jobs at our age?"
That... was actually a good point. I didn't think about that since I forgot how old I was for a moment there.
"I'm pretty sure we're allowed. We're just limited in how many hours we can work unless we get special permission."
But just in case, I'll check up on that later.
Soon, the bus dropped us off at school, and Maria and I said goodbye to each other as we left. While I wouldn't call us friends, I'd probably call us friendly acquaintances at least.
I headed towards my first class and found that somebody was waiting outside.
It was the girl from yesterday.
She looked up as I moved closer. "Oh, hello there."
"Hi," I stood a few feet away from her and leaned against a nearby wall. "I'm probably repeating myself at this point, but thanks a lot for yesterday."
The two of us waited together for the classroom door to open. Even though there were so many questions I wanted to ask her, I held my tongue for now. I still didn't know how I was going to approach her about my vision.
Then again, I should probably at least learn who it is I'm investigating.
"We never introduced ourselves yesterday," I mentioned suddenly. "My name's Wren, what's yours?"
She gave me a look. "Annalise, but I prefer Anna."
It looked like she was done talking, but at least I managed to learn what her name was. Progress...?
Time passed, and I found myself unable to say another word to her.
The rest of the day was honestly a bit of a blur. Nothing particularly special happened, with me just spending my break and lunch with the people I knew. Classes started finally teaching us, and a few even started giving homework.
Days passed and I found myself falling into the monotony of high school. Since I knew most of what my class was teaching already, with the blasted exception that was French, I barely struggled with finishing my schoolwork.
Meanwhile, I was frustrated with the fact that I've yet to discover anything about how or why I was sent here. Asking around about the football team only told me about who was in it or how well their team played during their games. Nothing that helped me figure out why there would be a fight in the future.
And Anna was another problem. Since we sat next to each other in class, we often got partnered up with our practice sessions during French. But other than the fact that she was almost fluent in French, I learned nothing new about her.
And why the hell was she taking French if she was already that good? Was she just taking it because she wanted an easy grade?
The only one who could listen to my frustrations was Clovis.
"I'm not sure what you want me to say," he told me after another rant of mine. "This isn't like your stories where the main character runs into an incident after another. You're still stuck with the mundane things that make up reality, despite the supernatural origins you're investigating. You'll just have to be patient and hope for the best."
And like always, my brother was right. Seriously, how come he was so much wiser than me compared to when I was his age?
I still kept my super list and added a few details every time I was able to recall something. I even started writing down the events of the next few years, but there were a lot of big gaps between most events that I didn't think knowing about them would be useful yet.
Still, I knew that something would happen soon. What I didn't know was that I remembered the order wrong.
Almost two weeks have passed since the school year started.
Recently, I've been missing hanging out with the group at lunch to prepare for the upcoming fight. All I wanted to do was see if there was anything special about it, and figure out if it had anything to do with why I was sent here.
But honestly, I was pretty sure it wouldn't be anything more than boys fighting amongst themselves. Nothing related to my supernatural origins.
I still didn't remember the exact date the fight happened, but I knew that it would be sometime this week.
Still, after the first two days being a miss, I was feeling a bit stressed out from the anticipation. Especially since I never got another vision after the first day.
On the third morning, I sat down at my desk with a heavy sigh. Anna was already at her seat next to me, and she took a glance when I sat down.
Suddenly, she spoke to me. "Wren, may I ask you a favor?"
Hearing her talk to me out of nowhere shocked me, especially since she's never attempted doing so outside of schoolwork. "W-What?"
"I have a favor I'd like to ask of you."
"O-Oh, sure. What is it?"
"I want you to tell me what color my eyes are."
"What color?" I took a quick look before turning away. "I guess they're a nice shade of brown. Maybe black if you look at it a certain way."
She seemed disappointed in my answer for some reason. Even though I was confused at why she asked that, she never brought it up again once class started.
For some reason, my mind kept replaying that question over and over again in my head.
What color were her eyes?
There was no doubt that I saw a warm brown color. Her eyes were droopy in a way that made her look like she was always sleeping, making it hard to stay awake the longer you looked at her. Almost as if you wanted to fall asleep forever.
Why did that question bother me so much? Did it have something to do with my vision?
The rest of the day passed by quickly, and I found myself sitting behind Maria again in class. Usually, we just greeted each other before talking about a couple of minor stuff before doing our own thing.
She turned around and opened her mouth to speak—
The intercom suddenly became alive as someone spoke in a hurried voice.
[Attention all classes, local law enforcement has just informed us that a criminal just robbed a convenience store in the nearby area. He is reported to be carrying a gun, and we have been informed to issue a campus-wide lockdown. All students are to remain in their classrooms and quickly close the blinds. Any students not inside should enter the nearest classroom as soon as possible. Your teachers will give you instructions on what to do next.]
Everyone began speaking loudly around me, and I finally realized that I remembered the order of events incorrectly.
My phone vibrated, and I found that my brother had apparently texted me. Looks like he's also under lockdown as well.
For some reason, everyone in the classroom suddenly went quiet. I looked up and was confused at what I saw.
"What the heck...?"
Everyone around me was frozen in place. Students had their mouths wide open, several were frozen mid-action, and one person was even floating in the air with both feet looking like he was running when he froze.
The sound of my phone getting a notification told me something was wrong. After all, it should've been on silent.
Looking down, my blood froze.
Unknown - [Looks like you've failed. Next time, do better with the clues I've given you.]
And it was at that moment that I realized the cruel truth.
If Text could send me back in time once, what was stopping him from doing it again?
I cried out in pain as I suddenly felt my eyes burn with a thousand suns, the world around me distorting in a flurry of lights and flashes.
Unable to handle the pain, I fell unconscious.
I woke up with a start in my bed, sweat rapidly accumulating on my forehead.
Feeling something come up my throat, I hurriedly ran out of my room and straight for the restroom. Bending over the toilet, I hurled the contents of my stomach into the ceramic bowl.
It took me several seconds afterward for me to finally feel like I was okay again. I still had a headache once I was done, and I gasped for fresh air while quickly flushing the toilet. Hopefully, I didn't clog anything.
"W-What—," I slowly began. "—the heck was all of that?"
No seriously, after two weeks of nothing, I suddenly get a message from Text telling me I failed? And this time, I was able to witness the instant I traveled back in time.
But why? Why all of a sudden? What exactly did I fail?
I hurriedly turned on my phone and stared at the date. My eyes widened as I realized that I had returned by two weeks into the past, right to the morning of my second day at school.
"What in the world is going on?"
Now, there was no doubt that I was here for some nefarious purpose. I was stuck under the control of an unknown, almighty being who would force me to go back in time as many times as it took to complete whatever objective he had in mind for me. And I had no idea how to get out of my current situation without doing what he wanted.
I gritted my teeth. Damn that bastard.
So now what?
I checked my phone again, and couldn't find the message he sent me before he sent me back in time. In fact, none of my messages from the past two weeks returned with me, which made sense.
But I recalled what he told me. He mentioned something about giving me a clue before.
The vision. That must have also been his fault.
But what was so important about the vision? I spent two weeks trying to figure out its meaning, and all I knew was that Anna was an important reason why I had to experience it.
Wait a minute, no. Something about what she said right before I was sent back in time.
For some reason, she asked me what color her eyes were. I recalled that they were a warm and sleepy-looking brown color.
Suddenly, I realized what Text meant when he said he gave me a clue.
Because that wasn't what I saw in the vision. Because in the vision, her eyes weren't brown.
They were blue.