That night’s sleep wasn’t good. After seeing the video of Josh and I being watched, I was ready to have a heart attack. Finally morning came, my body was aching, and I had a migraine from hell. How fun.
Climbing out of bed, I pulled out my phone. No new messages. No new emails. Thank god. What did this person want? Who was the masquerade? Why were Josh and I, who had no connection until yesterday, being targeted? So many questions, hardly any answers. When did my life turn into a mystery novel?
I knew I should tell my dad about what was going on, but I wasn’t sure what to say. Hey dad, I’m being stalked some person who wears a masquerade mask. This person also attacked me in the school parking lot. Oh, and they’re stalking my new friend, too.
Yeah, that sounded like it’d go well. Josh and I would just have to figure this out together. I messaged him, asking if his night went well, then went to the bathroom to get ready, hoping this day didn’t turn out to be weird.
My wish did not come true.
The day started out normal. In fact, I was actually starting to enjoy Wellington. Josh and I sat together at lunch discussing the masquerade situation.
“What should we do about it?” he asked.
I shrugged, picking at my spaghetti. “Honestly? I have no idea. I can’t think of any reason why this would be happening, other than the fact that I’m new. But why you? Nothing makes any sense.”
Josh pulled out his phone and said, “I wonder if they’d respond to me if I emailed them back.”
I doubted it. Whoever this was clearly didn’t want to talk with us. They wanted to talk to us. Wanted us to know they were there. Watching. Waiting. For what? “You can try. Anything might work.”
Josh typed viciously at the keyboard on his phone, then it send. He looked at me, his face straight. “Now we wait.”
We ate in silence for a few minutes. Right before the bell rang, Josh’s phone dinged. As did mine. The two of us exchanged a glance and pulled out our phones. It was an email. From Masquerade.
“In time you’ll know the truth. In the meantime, let’s play a game.” -Masquerade.
“Oh my God,” I said. Reading the email over and over, the words rang in my ears. In the meantime, let’s play a game. That didn’t sound good. What kind of game? “What do we say to that?”
“Nothing,” Josh said. “We say absolutely nothing. I’m not giving into this.” As he stood up, his phone beeped again, a different sound. It wasn’t his email. It sounded as if it were a text. He read the text, then looked at me. “They know.”
“What?” I asked.
“They know about me,” Josh whispered. He showed me the text. “Look.”
“You don’t have a choice. How would you feel if everyone knew your little secret? I’m sure Damien would love to know.” -Masquerade
The words sent chills down my spine. The text mentioned Damien. I could tell Josh was thinking the same thing, but he didn’t vocalize his thoughts. Masquerade made it sound as thought they knew where Damien was. That Damien might still be alive.
Then the thought occurred to me. Haven. The girl who disappeared along with Damien. Could she be Masquerade? It seemed possible, but I wasn’t entirely sure if the person who assaulted me was male or female. Whoever it was definitely was strong enough to knock me over.
The bell rang and the two of us headed off toward class, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched. But with all the people in the hallway, I couldn’t figure out which one it was.
At home, Josh and I were talking on chat. I’d yet to bring up my theory, but I knew I had to. Deciding to just come out and say it, I typed it as quickly as possible. Listen. I’ve been thinking. Is it possible that Haven could be Masquerade?
It took him a moment to reply. Why would you ask that?
How could I explain this to him without him getting offended? It’s not like I knew him all that well. Or knew his friends at all. But I couldn’t just let this go. Both Damien and Haven were missing, and Masquerade made it sound as though they knew where Damien was. And that Damien was alive. Masquerade seemed like they knew Damien, that’s all. I can tell you thought the same thing earlier.
Yeah, well, it can’t be her, Josh replied. She wouldn’t do that. I know her. It has to be someone else. It just has to.
I decided it was best not to argue when suddenly my phone beeped. A text message. I pulled it out, reading the text I received.
“Trying to figure out this mystery, huh? Why are you trying so hard? Was it because you couldn’t figure out your mom’s?” -Masquerade
My heart stopped. Goosebumps ran over me. The Masquerade was trying to get to me, and it knew just where to hit. My stomach did flip flops and I tried not to vomit. Why would someone use my own mother’s death against me? Who the hell was this person? And what did they want?
I couldn’t respond because it was an unknown number. Untraceable. Of course it would be. Looking out my bedroom window, I saw someone standing there.
Watching. Waiting. Watching.
Even though I couldn’t see their eyes, I knew ours locked. They knew I had seen them. And from the looks of it, they didn’t give two shits. My hands balled into fists, and I tried to keep from hurting them. This person, whoever they were, knew where I lived. They knew my number. They knew my email. Hell, they probably knew my social security number.
A car drove down the road, passing in front of Masquerade. When the car was gone, so was Masquerade. Just like that. Vanished.
“Damn, you’re fast,” I muttered to myself. Where did they go? I went back to my computer and messaged Josh really fast.
Masquerade was just here. Across the street from me. They know where I live. They might know where you live, too.
Which meant they might have been here Wednesday. They might have really been outside my bathroom. They were in my house. I had to tell someone. Dad needed to know. I couldn’t handle this myself.
“Dad!” I yelled. “Can you come here for a minute?”
He burst into my room, looking a little worried. “Is everything okay?” he asked.
I opened my mouth to speak but my phone dinged. I knew who it was before I even looked. Unable to resist the temptation, I read the text.
“Speak a word of this to your father and he’ll be lying in a coffin next to your mother. The game is just beginning. Rule #1: No one knows about the game but the players.” -Masquerade
“Eden?” Dad asked. “Are you alright?”
My palms felt sweaty, and I put the phone down, plastering a fake smile on my face. “Oh, nothing. I just…wanted to tell you how much I loved you. You’ve been great since…Mom. and I just want you to know I really appreciate you.”
Dad smiled at me. “Thank you, honey. I know it’s been hard on you, but I’m glad you’re making an effort. Dinner will be done soon, okay? We can maybe eat together.”
I smiled, despite my fear of Masquerade. “I’d like that.”
As he left the room, I went back over to the window to see if I could see Masquerade. I could not. But that didn’t mean they weren’t still there.