Veins

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Ziegler Reads
Olivia Miden, a mysterious classmate of Reed Tyler, begins acting stranger than usual, and Reed is thrown into a dangerous plot with a terrifying climax.

Submitted: April 14, 2017

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Submitted: April 09, 2017

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Olivia Miden had been an odd girl ever since I knew her. She sat in the back of the classroom; the teachers never bothered to tell her to move. She ate alone at the lunch table farthest from the windows. Occasionally, I approached her and attempted to be friendly, but she grew angry and pushed me away. We all knew she was watching us though. She watched from the corner as we talked, as we ate, as we passed notes in Hanson's class. Subconsciously, we all knew she knew everything about us. But she never said a word. Until today.

Olivia Miden came in completely different clothes that her usual jeans, t-shirt, converse, and hoodie. Olivia was in a flowy, teal dress with her hair down and makeup applied.

"Hey, yo, Reed! Check out the new girl!" said my utterly-piggish friend Victor. I'm only friends with the slimeball /future convict because I've known him since the first grade.

"Vic, that's not a new girl. That's Olivia..at least I think so," I replied. Vic whistled. I kicked him under the desk as class was about to begin. Someone had to grow up around here. Mr. Hanson was about to take roll when he noticed the beautiful girl in the back.

He cleared his throat to say, "Excuse me, Miss, but did you already register in the office?" She looked up,smiling sweetly. For the first time, we all heard Olivia speak. Now, I've never been a sappy person, but when I heard her voice it was like angels were singing.

"I'm Olivia Miden. I've been here since I was a freshman," she replied innocently, giving a million dollar smile and batting her eyelashes. Hanson was taken aback. We all were.

"Oh, well, please forgive me, Ms. Miden. I almost didn't recognize you," said one very embarrassed Hanson. Olivia gave a cordial look.

"It's alright."

Olivia saw me staring at her and gave me a wink. I quickly looked back to the front of the classroom. The girl I had known since preschool and always gave me the sense that she was demonically possessed was now making my heart beat faster than ever and my palms go sweaty. I didn't pay attention to anything Hanson said after that, something about the French Revolution and Marie Antoinette. And something about cake?

..........

When first period let out, I purposely lagged in packing up my books. I tried to get a glance at Olivia without her noticing but to no avail. I finally stepped out into the crowded hallway when something cold clasped my hand. Olivia whispered in my ear, "Smile and laugh." When I failed to do so, she squeezed my hand and said, "Reed, smile and laugh or I'll break your arm." I complied. We walked like a happy couple all the way to our next class, which conveniently we both took. Just before we reached the door, I yanked her aside where no one could see us.

"You're never gonna get away with this. They're not gonna believe we're dating considering I've never had a girlfriend, and you decided to show up today looking beauti- um, I mean, nice after who knows how many years of looking like a depressed outsider," I said.

"Look, Reed, I didn't want to do this either. I have no choice. I have to hide; I can't let them recognize me, and you're the only one I trust," Olivia said staring into my eyes intensely.

"Trust? Olivia, I've been in your class since forever, and you never once said a word to me. I literally heard you speak for the first time today," I retorted.

"I'll explain everything, just please help me," she begged.

"I'm sorry, but I can't," I said and started to walk away when Olivia grabbed me and put me in a headlock.

"Listen here, Reed, I asked you nicely, but now you leave me no choice. Either play along, or I'll make you wish you were dead, you got that?" I choked out a positive response, and she released me. I walked towards the door when she called out, "Oh, and, Reed? Give up the tough guy act. I know you've got a little crush on me. I saw you in Hanson's class; you're bad at hiding it."

Before I even thought of a dignified response, I blurted, "Does this mean you like me too?" She laughed.

"Why do you think I picked you? I only headlock certain people, you know."

"Yeah, no kidding," I said, playfully rubbing my neck. Despite the fact that she almost strangled me and mysteriously alluded to a third party that was after her (does that make her nuts?), Olivia still looked beautiful sitting in the back of science class, paying extra close attention on how to make chemical explosions.

..........

"Reed! Hey, wait up, Reed!" Vic called from the end of the hallway as he ran towards me.

When he caught up, I said, "Could you be a little louder? I don't think everyone heard you."

"C'mon, man, you gotta tell me what's up. I saw you this morning with Olivia. Seriously, dude, what's your secret. How'd you get her so fast?" he asked in not so hushed tones.

"None of your business," I shrugged off. Vic persisted.

"How'd you do it? You only had one class period? The best I've done is three, maybe two, and I'd consider myself experienced," Vic said. Just then, Olivia passed us. She gave me an icy glare before changing it into a perky smile when she noticed Vic was there.

"Like I said, it's none of your business," I stated. As Vic was about to reply, we turned the corner and ran into Principal Vandermeer.

"Ah, hello, boys. Staying out of trouble I hope?" We casually laughed and muttered yes. Vandermeer continued, "Mr. Port, I do believe I'll see you in detention after school today?"

"Yes, Mr. Vandermeer," mumbled Vic resentfully.

"Good day, Mr. Port, Mr. Tyler," the principal said nodding to both of us.

"Why'd you get detention this time?" I asked.

"I turned in an essay in English class about why I thought Vandermeer should be fired and thrown in prison," said Vic.

"Why would you do that?"

"It was an opinion essay!"

..........

I was standing in line for lunch when someone poked me from behind. "Hey, cutie," said Olivia.

"You really need to stop sneaking up on me like that. Someone could get hurt," I said. "And what's with the nicknames?" Olivia's expression turned dark.

"Just go with it. They won't believe it's me if I act differently," she said coldly.

"Who's they?" I asked. Olivia hesitated.

"No one," she answered. She followed me to my normal seating spot instead of going to her usual dark corner. Of course, Vic and his girlfriend Nina had to join to join us.

"Hey, Olivia. Decided to come out of hiding today?" Vic joked. I looked at Olivia, but she just laughed.

"So tell us, Olivia, did you win a free make-over, or was the grunge, old man look not working like you hoped?" said Nina viciously. Vic and some of the other kids at the table snickered. I glared at Vic. I always felt compassion for Olivia ever since I knew her, and I had always tried to defend her. Whether she was my fake girlfriend or not, I was going to stand up for her.

"Guys, back off. Don't be stupid," I inserted.

Suddenly Olivia blurted,"Tell me, Nina, are you dating Victor because you have feelings for him, or because you need a date to Prom after your old boyfriend text dumped you, claiming you didn't give him enough attention and devotion?" The other kids burst out laughing while Vic turned pale, and Nina became furious.

"I never told anyone. How do you know that?" Nina demanded. Olivia simply smiled.

"I know more than you think. The grunge, old man work actually did work as I hoped," she smirked. I nudged her to stop. She rolled her eyes and mouthed the word fine. For a while the table was silent with the occasional small talk. It was then that I noticed Olivia had stopped eating and was clenching the table, blinking her eyes as if trying to get rid of blurry vision. Her breathing became rapid and heavy. I looked around the table, but no one seemed to notice.

"Olivia, are you alright?" I inquired. She gripped the table harder, ignoring my question. Olivia raised one hand and touched the back of her scalp. As she brought her hand back down, there was blood on her fingers. She stared at the murky red ink and then turned to me with a look of terror on her face.

Before she raced out of the cafeteria, Olivia whispered in a raspy voice, "They found me."

..........

I couldn't find her anywhere. I searched the entire school grounds; I even sent scouts into the girls' restroom. Olivia was missing. Vic approached me after school.

"Chase her off already, Reed?" he joked as he clapped his arm around my back. I pushed it off in annoyance.

"Have you seen her? In any of the afternoon classes? In the hallways? Anywhere?"

"Not since she dashed out of the cafeteria, no doubt to get away from you," said Vic, cackling at his own joke. I had had enough of him.

"Shouldn't you be in detention?" I asked, turning to face him. On cue, Vandermeer's voice came over the P.A. system.

"Victor Port, please report to room 13A, Victor Port to 13A." By the time Vic turned back around, I was already gone.

..........

It was cold. The room was unnaturally chilled.Olivia blinked at the dim light bulb dangling a few feet from her bed. Her bed.This wasn't her bed. It was a hospital bed. She glanced at her arm only to see it was, in fact, hooked up to an IV. She knew she wasn't in a hospital though. The walls were stone with no windows. She knew at once she was underground. What had happened? All she remembered was that she had come out of the bathroom and was headed back to the cafeteria when suddenly, there was Perry. Perry, she thought, Perry's behind this, he must've brought me here. Olivia saw a small chair next to where she lay. On it was a pile of clothes. Olivia closed her eyes, grit her teeth, and pulled out the needle in her arm. As her arm throbbed, she changed into the clothing, conveniently dark-colored and long-sleeved. This way she could cover up her arms whose veins were now aglow with a supernatural blue.

Olivia was surprised to see the door was unlocked. All of her mental radars were going off, telling her she was walking right into their trap. Despite her better judgment, she stepped out into an empty hallway filled with doors exactly like the one leading to her room. She could hear faint cries and shrieks echo throughout the interior. Olivia pulled the dark hood over her hair and plunged into the dark maze.

..........

I tossed and turned in my bed that night. I was still clueless about the events that occurred that day. Olivia appeared today looking completely different and acting like a typical high school girl. Then she used me as part of her cover as "the boyfriend." When I questioned her, her personality flipped into a dark, scary girl, similar to how she always acted before today. Olivia kept referring to "hiding from them." Was "them" supposed to be mad scientists trying to capture a runaway experiment? Were they men in black trying to find a rogue agent? Were they policemen after a criminal? Was I trapped in one of those dystopian simulators where scientists test how I react to people like Olivia? None of these scenarios seemed realistic. Then at lunch, Olivia demonstrated that she knew things about each of us that no one ever knew or should know.

The weirdest part happened after that. Olivia started grabbing the table and blinking hard. Was it a headache? Was she going to puke? Worst of all, when she brought her hand back from her scalp, there was blood? Why was there blood? Had someone hit her? Olivia ran away before I could ask, and I was stupid enough to not run after her. Now, I had no clue how to find her, and I felt the creeping sense that it was all my fault.

I grabbed my phone off my nightstand. The time read 12:30. It was pitch black outside except for the stream of moonlight which pierced the darkness and landed on my bedroom floor through the window. I rubbed my eyes and sat up. What was there to do? Sleep was not an option, and I still had no idea where Olivia was.

Thump, thump, thump!

I turned to the door. Maybe it was just Mom sleepwalking again? My curiosity still drove me to see who, or what, it was. I cracked open the door and peered into the dark hallway. My heart skipped about twenty beats when I turned to the window at the far end of the hallway and saw a shadowy figure standing there. It started to run towards me. I shut the door and pressed my body against it. I really need to get a lock on this door, I thought.

"Reed! Open up, it's me." I paused.

"Olivia?"

"Who else, idiot?" came the reply.

"How do I know it's you?"

"Open the door, or I'll snap your head off."

"Yup, it's you," I said as I opened the door. Olivia barged in, dressed head to toe in black nightwear. "How do you know where I live?" I asked.

"The same way I know where you went at least year's Winter Formal when everyone thought you were in the restroom sick," she answered. The blood drained from my face. She knew about that? "Are you gonna just stand there, or are you gonna help me?" she asked.

"Why do you need my help?" I asked.

"The President was busy, so I had to go to Plan B," Olivia said sarcastically.

"Fair enough. What do you need me to do?" I said as Olivia was practically ransacking my room. Not that I cared at this point. She turned to me.

"I need your computer." I led her to the living room where my mother's laptop was still sitting on the coffee table. Olivia flipped it up, and her fingers flew. She went to some strange web address and began furiously typing digits and letters like there was no tomorrow. In her case, there probably was no tomorrow. After about ten minutes, she shut the laptop and said, "They blocked me. They won't let me in, and now they know exactly where I am." Olivia burrowed her face in her palms, and I heard soft cries. Unsure of what to do, I put my arm around her. I finally worked up the courage to say something.

"You alright?" She shook her head in despair. "What are they going to do to you?" She looked up at me.

"Terrible, terrible things."

I asked, "Why do they want you?"

Olivia said," I've always been different, and they never like that. They want to replace me." Replace? Is she a robot? A psychic who knows too much? Olivia pushed up her sleeves. I saw her blood veins glowing blue. I could see the bright blue blood (was it even blood?) coursing through her arm.

"What is that?" I asked.

"The reason they want me gone. There's something inside of me they need, but as long as I'm alive they can't have it." She paused to take a shaky breath. "It didn't used to look this bad. They didn't look like this, that is, they didn't start glowing until earlier tonight." Olivia continued, "If I could just get in and erase my file, I'd be free. I could live a normal life, and they'd never find me. She paused and looked into my eyes. Laughing lightly to herself, she said, "I could actually date you for real." I laughed.

"I'm not so sure you'd like that," I said jokingly. Olivia wiped her eyes.

"Yeah, maybe not," she said smiling. "I like you though, Reed. I know you've always stood up for me, and I appreciate it." I looked down, probably turning red. Of course, she knew about that. Olivia then turned and kissed me. She whispered, "Goodbye, Reed. I'll miss you." I looked at her; she was starting to scare me, but she just had a look of peace about her, as if she knew what was coming and had already accepted it.

"How sweet."

I flipped behind me. A tall man stood there with a gun in his hand, the moonlight reflecting its silver barrel. The man spoke again. "I hate sweet." Olivia's hand was trembling in mine. "Ms. Miden, they're ready for you. Hopefully,you won't run away this time." Olivia stood up, a look of defeat painted on her face. I couldn't just sit there and do nothing. I refused to make the same mistake twice. I ran in front of Olivia and pushed her on the couch. I attempted to punch the strange man, but he caught my fist. He twisted my arm around my back. I was sure he was going to break it when Olivia tackled the man, giving me a chance to get away from his clutches.

"This is between you and me, Perry, not him!" Olivia said as she fought with the man. The two gravitated to the kitchen. Olivia grabbed a knife from one of the drawers (of course, she knew exactly where the knives were) and began slashing it towards Perry. Perry, however, caught Olivia off guard, threw the knife on the floor, and put her in a headlock. Perry held up the gun at me.

"What did she tell you?" he asked. Crap, he's talking to me, I thought. My silence provoked him to say again, "What did she tell you? Tell me, or I shoot the girl!" He jammed the barrel of the gun into Olivia's temple.

"Don't say anything!" said Olivia, gasping.

"Three seconds to tell me or I shoot her, then you," Perry threatened. "Three!"

"Reed, don't do it!"

"Two!"

"Trust me!"

"One!" As I was about to speak, Olivia jabbed her elbow into Perry's stomach and snatched the knife from the floor. As Perry recovered, I raced to her side.

Before I even had a chance to ask, Olivia said, "Yeah, I'm fine." She then lunged at Perry, but her was ready for her this time. He grabbed her and banged her head against the counter top. She crumpled to the floor, dropping the knife. I stretched to grab it when Perry hit me in the stomach and punched me in the face. I sank down, tasting blood and vomit in my mouth. Before I blacked out, I saw Perry dragging Olivia by her feet, while Olivia plunged the knife into the hardwood floor as a way of resistance.

"Run, Reed!" she cried.

After that, the world turned dark.

..........

I woke up with a massive headache. It was morning, and I found that I was back in my bed, like nothing happened. I groggily grabbed my phone to see if anyone called or texted. There was one text from Vic, asking what the assignment in Hanson's class was. I sent him the page numbers. Vic, always being on his phone, immediately replied with a lame "Thx." I wrote back saying, "Dude, weirdest thing happened last night. Olivia came to my house." As I hit the send button, panic rose in my chest. Olivia. What happened to Olivia? As I jumped out of bed, my phone buzzed. I froze when I read the incoming text.

"Who's Olivia?" I called Vic instantly.

"Why are you calling me?" he asked.

"Don't play games with me. You know who Olivia is," I said angrily. He literally saw her yesterday.

"No, dude, I swear I'm not messing with you. I don't know you're talking about," he said.

"Olivia Miden? She's been in our class through all of elementary? She came yesterday looking way prettier than normal? She insulted Nina? She was my-" I paused for a second, "girlfriend?" There was a moment of silence on the other end of the line.

"Nope, doesn't ring a bell. But hey, congrats on your first girlfriend. You really needed one," Vic said. I hung up. He was no help.I quickly went to my closet and pulled out my old yearbooks, leading all the way back to the first grade. Sure enough, there she was. I texted Vic to send a photo of our class picture in his first grade year book. After a couple of minutes, one came in. I couldn't believe what I saw. The very same photo, where Olivia should have been standing, showed nothing,an empty space. Instead, it just showed the tree she was standing in front of.

I ran out into the living room. There were no signs of a struggle from last night. I went to the kitchen. Everything looked perfectly set. No one would have ever known there was a fight there. Except for the big gash mark in the hardwood floor.

..........


© Copyright 2017 Lancaster Wood. All rights reserved.

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