March 9th, 2009

legend of hero

Crissy: Act III

The Sunlit World

Fourth period: Crissy took notes ... and doodled. English involved actual brainpower, but she still had margins and boredom.

In her notebook, a mustachioed magician poised his hand above a hat, pulling out a blobby rabbit. After a moment's thought, she filled the bunny in black, gave it big white eyes, and added some gratuitous claws. She erased the magician's smirk and added in a terrified face.

David wasn't in English, either. But Kevin was. When the bell rang and they got up for lunch, Crissy reluctantly went over to his desk.

"Hey," she said.

Kevin avoided her eyes. "Uh, hey."

"Um," she stalled.

"So, er," he said, "I'm sorry about yesterday."

"Oh, it's okay," Crissy said. "You had a rough day. I'm sorry I missed you guys over at your house, though."

"You did?" He looked up, startled.

"Your mom didn't tell you when you got back? She gave me your card."

"Uh, no, she didn't." He shifted uncomfortably and changed the subject. "You heard anything from David today?"

"No. ... I was going to ask you that."

"... Oh."

"I saw Darren in the hallway, so I guess they didn't all die in a plane crash," Crissy said, flailing for a little humor to ease the tension.

"He didn't ... call you this morning or anything?" Kevin ventured.

"No ... why would he have?" Crissy narrowed her eyes suspiciously.

"Uh, 'cause you guys are on the phone all the time," Kevin said. "Hey, can I ask you for a favor?"

"What?"

"Can you double-check with Darren? I'll go see if Trent's seen him around."

Crissy stared at Kevin in horror. "Are you serious? Go give Darren some excuse to pretend I'm interested in him? No! Just ... no. Darren's got all the personality of a wood tick and none of the redeeming social qualities."

"Never mind," Kevin said. "I'll go ask him myself then."

Crissy bent down and craned her neck to look at Kevin's face. "What's going on? Seriously, Kevin. What's happened to David? Are you that worried that you can't just check on him after school?"

Kevin turned away and arranged the books in his backpack. "Naw. I'm overreacting. I just thought --" he considered, choosing words -- "with something he said last night, maybe he felt like he had to leave. But you're right. It's nothing."

Crissy sighed and picked up her backpack. Kevin was definitely hiding something. She turned to leave, felt weight shift on her back, and realized in horror that the zipper on her pack had come undone.

Crissy reached behind her back too late, as textbooks and notes flew out, blanketing their corner of the classroom. "Oh, crap!" she cursed, diving to pick up her papers.

Kevin knelt to help her. He reassembled a pile of loose school handouts, then stopped and stared at her government notebook, which had fallen open to one of her pages of sketches.

"Hey!" Crissy said, face flushing. She snatched it away and snapped the book shut.

Kevin looked sheepish. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to look. But those were really good. Why didn't you ever tell us you were an artist?"

"It's just something I do to pass time in Mr. Henderson's class," she lied, feeling her cheeks burn. "You know how he is."

"Yeah."

Crissy glanced around the room to make sure the other students had all left, and pressed back into her original subject. "Look, Kevin," she said quietly to keep Mr. Elrich from hearing. "Level with me here. You've been acting really weird, and now David's not at school and you're freaking out. What happened last night?"

She saw Kevin's cheeks redden to match her own. "We ... talked. Stuff I'm not sure I should repeat. We had to get out of the house so we walked for a little while."

"Is David alright?" she said, slowly emphasizing each word.

"Yes, I'm sure of it," Kevin said, too quickly. It was an obvious lie.

"Where is he, then?"

Kevin stood up. "I'll, uh, check with Darren and Trent."

Crissy zipped her pack and stood. "I'll call his house. If he's not there --" she said, making sure she looked as angry as she felt -- "I need to know the truth. I'm his friend too ... and I thought I was yours."

As she stormed off toward the office, she shoved her hands in her pockets -- and found her fingers brushing the card Mrs. MacArthur had given her. Kevin's card, with a phone number having something to do with "learning magic." He'd gone out of his way to get her that information, and yet he was being so evasive about David! She exhaled, confused.

Wait. Maybe that meant there was something he couldn't say. Curious, she quickened her pace.

She let herself in to the school office. "Hey, Mrs. Wallace," she said. "Do you mind if I borrow a phone? I need to call my mom."

"Sure," the administrative secretary said, offering her a handset. "What's your number?"

"It's, um, kind of private," Crissy said. "Could I maybe use the one in the nurse's office for a bit?"

The secretary looked around to make sure they were alone, and waved her around the desk. "Alright, Crissy. Just don't make it a habit."

Crissy smiled in gratitude. There were occasional advantages to being a quiet, nerdy kid.

She stepped into the office, quietly closed the door behind her, and dialed David's room. The phone rang. No answer.

"Well, Kevin," she muttered, "you'd better not be jerking me around."

She pulled the card out of her pocket. In a simple, compact serif font, it read:

W. Weaver
Archon Enterprises
Consultant

Crissy flipped the card over. In precise handwriting, with a thin red pen, it had only the number: 555-4263.

The phone number wasn't even real.

"You've got to be kidding me," Crissy said.