7: The League

Carrie's green eyes were locked on mine. The combination of the fluorescent lights and me being right in her face revealed a shimmer of blue in them. They reminded me of marbles. I was pissed at her for looking so damn cute. She hadn’t said a word, but I felt like she was trying to use her adorable ponytail and form-fitting green tee to make me let my guard down.

The intensity of the hand mark on her face against her usual milk-white flesh made me realize how rough I’d been with her. Her chest pushed in and out as she took quick, uneasy breaths through her long lips. She didn’t move, didn’t speak. I figured she was still in shock from me kidnapping her and forcing her into the clinic. But as much as I wanted to find some compassion for her, I couldn't forget the fact that she had something to do with why that monster had attacked me at the pool.

I pressed the end of the pen back against her neck. If she had powers like Seth, she might take the opportunity to pin my ass against the wall, and I wanted her to know the moment she tried something, I'd tear into her. As cute and innocent as she looked, that wasn't going to keep me from ripping her in two. That whole not beating up girls rule goes to shit when you start getting attacked by monsters.

"Listen bitch," I hissed through clenched teeth.

She gulped.

"I don't know what you guys' game is, but I was just attacked by a fucking skeleton Grim Reaper with a chain fetish, so you'd better talk. Cause if you don't, I'll make you!"

Fear flashed in her eyes. They grew as wide as they'd been when I'd come at her with the soccer ball the week before. "The slasher," she whispered so softly I almost missed it.

I hadn't made the connection till then, but once she said that, I realized that the monster was the Lawrenceville Slasher everyone had been talking about since I’d arrived at St. Lawrence. What I had assumed was just another psycho serial killer was actually that…whatever. And these crazies were sicking it on anyone who bothered them.

"You assholes tried to kill me!" I exclaimed.

"No, no," Carrie insisted. Her normal voice was nearly as quiet as her whisper.

"What...the hell...is going on?" I forced out. I was nauseous with confusion, and she still wasn’t giving me answers. What was wrong with this fucked up school? Why the hell did Brad and Seth have powers? Why was there a big monster in the pool? When did I start living in a world where things like that happened? And when was Carrie going to tell me something that made some sense? My mind raced in every direction. The confusion fueled my rage.

Carrie's eyes wandered. Not like she was trying to avoid looking at me. More like she was trying to make sense of something. "We...I..." she stammered, struggling for words. "It was an accident."

An accident my ass!

"Don't bullshit me! Brad made my nose bleed. He knew that I'd have to stay late. He knew I'd be in the showers. He and Seth set me up so that they could get that thing to go after me."

"No. They can't," she insisted.

"If you have a better explanation, I'd love to hear it." My words were filled with the kinda sarcasm that woulda made me want to punch someone's lights out if they used it on me.

"It's not us. I mean, it is, but..." She seemed confused. I didn't know if it was real or an act, but if she actually was, I knew that she was nowhere near as confused as I was. "...it's not something we can control, we just...we—" She stopped, looked me directly in the eyes. "I'll explain. Please just let me sit down."

To say I was reluctant is an understatement. Was she trying to get away? And if she succeeded, would she go back and get Seth and that creature and bring them back here to get me?

"Sorry," I said with no sincerity. "Not happening."

Her confusion morphed into irritation. She took a breath and pouted through her mouse-nose. Her long lips tightened. "Listen," she said, straining to make her voice louder than usual. "I'm not against you. I just need to think."

"You're not against me?" Her words were convincing, but the facts didn't add up. "Are you saying you aren't in on this with Seth?"

She rolled her eyes. Her roll was just as mousy as her nose, her hands, and her voice. "You're asking the wrong questions."

I was pretty straightforward, and now was not the time for her to be telling me that I was wrong about anything. If she'd seen what I'd done to Dax back at St. Luke, it would have been easier for her to understand why she should be a little more careful with her words.

"I don't give a fuck about the right questions. You know what I want to know, so talk!"

She eyed me with contempt. Since I'd been following her and seen her in classes, I'd never seen her make an expression like that. Usually she was focused on a task, like when she read papers, or uneasy, like when she was goalie in soccer or avoiding the ball in volleyball. Then of course, there was fear and terror I'd seen when I'd first captured her. This anger was new to me. I didn't like it. I kinda wished I could knock some of that fear back into her so she'd get on with it.

She took a breath, as if to calm herself. She looked to the floor and shook her head. "Seth couldn't have sent it after you."

I stared her down impatiently, awaiting some other explanation.

She locked eyes with me again. "We're not as strong as you think we are."

"Who you kidding? I saw what happened to Seth. His leg was mangled. And then he came back to the dorms and lifted me right off the floor and threw me against the wall. And then he had something—or I don't know—he strangled me."

"Seth didn't fix his leg."

"Oh yeah?" I said. "Then what happened?"

"I did."

She did have powers!

By then, I’d backed the pen off from her neck a bit. I hurriedly pressed it back against her skin, my arm muscles stiff and ready to lunge forward.

My quick spring to action took Carrie off guard. She jumped back against the wall. Her body tensed up, and her hands shook at her side. She held her breath as she watched me with terror-filled eyes. She was just waiting for me to make the first cut.

I watched her carefully. She couldn’t tell, but I was just as scared that she was going to pull some of her powers-shit out and have me crawling across the ceiling. We stared into each other’s eyes, each of us waiting for the other to make a move.

As she realized I wasn’t going to cut her open, she started to breathe again, but slowly, as if she was trying to keep from making any movements that might provoke me. And that was very smart.

“I’m…not…going to do anything,” she drew out, in an extra soft voice.

“I’ve seen what you guys can do.”

"What Seth did back at the dorms was a show to scare you. He and Brad started working on it at the hospital. It took them hours to do a trick that probably lasted two minutes. If they had the kind of power you're talking about, you woulda been in a lot more trouble. It was a lot worse in your head than—"

"Worse in my head? I was floating, for Christ's sakes!"

She tensed up even more, fearing that in my outburst I'd accidentally cut her.

“I promise…” she said, almost like she was pleading. “…I can’t do anything right now.”

“Why should I believe you?”

She looked at me with sincere eyes. A part of me knew that was answer enough, but I didn’t know if it was a part I could trust. “You don’t have to,” she said. “But it’s not like you think." There was a certain confidence in her voice. She was starting to get used to having that pen at her throat. "What we do isn’t much. And none of it has to do with the Slasher."

"None of it?" Pardon me for being a skeptic.

She tapped her front teeth together. "Okay, it has something to do with it, but not the way you think."

“So…what’s…the…deal?” I said, emphasizing each word so that it was clear that now was her chance to clear things up.

I pulled the pen back just far enough to give her some room, but close enough that to get a good attack in if I needed to. I woulda thought she’d relax after I let up, but she didn’t. She anxiously stroked her hand against her arm and gazed at the floor. It reminded me of an expression I'd made when I'd drawn a picture of a shark on my desk in the fourth grade. My teacher at the time, Ms. Greene, had been pissed. She'd badgered me till I explained why I'd done it. Like me in the fourth grade, Carrie didn't want to talk about it, but I was the belligerent teacher who wasn't going to back down till she spilled the beans. Hopefully, her answer would be a little better than, "cause I like sharks."

"We call ourselves the League…" she began.