1×06: Lucas

The weekend went by quickly, and by the time Monday rolled around, I forgot about the person in the masquerade I’d seen outside by the buses. Rachel and I agreed to sit at lunch together, and Peter seemed okay with having a girl join us. At least he wasn’t completely freaking out. I thought my best friend wouldn’t like that, but instead, he was talking about another girl himself. One he was particularly interested in.

“Eden is just gorgeous,” he said that afternoon on the way to the lunchroom. “Do you think I’ll be able to get her to sit with us?”

I was starting to realize Peter needed a girlfriend. One who wasn’t Eden. I doubted she’d be into him, and it was kind of weird to me that he was so into her. “I’m not sure. But why don’t you try looking for someone close to our own age? She’s two year older than you.”

“One and a half,” Peter reiterated for the thousandth time.

“Not that it makes any difference,” I reasoned. “There’s no way she’s going to be into you. Maybe Rachel has a friend you can meet.”

Peter shrugged. “Maybe.”

The two of us entered the cafeteria and walked toward our spot to put our bags down. I saw Rachel across the room, heading toward us, with her long brown hair flowing over her shoulders, and her deep brown eyes staring right at me. She smiled. When she arrived at the table, she placed her bag town beside mine.

“We have a newspaper meeting on Wednesday,” she said. “The first newspaper comes out next month. Isn’t that crazy?”

“Yeah,” Peter said sarcastically, smiling. “Isn’t that crazy, Lucas?”

I glared at him. He knew that I was a terrible writer and knew that me joining the newspaper was a bad idea. Not only would I not know what to write about…I wouldn’t be able to actually write it. And once Rachel found out I lied about being an amazing journalist, she’d probably never speak to me again.

“It’s definitely something alright,” I said under my breath.

“What’s that?” Rachel asked with a smile.

“Oh, nothing. Just saying how excited I am for Wednesday.” Which was the biggest lie in history, but I didn’t have to admit that. “Hey, I gotta go to the bathroom. You don’t mind, do you?”

“Nope, we’ll be here when you get back,” Peter said, winking. I could punch him. I left the cafeteria and started toward the nearest bathroom when my phone buzzed in my pocket. Pulling it out, I saw that it was a text from an unknown number.

“Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off, they say. Maybe this applies to men, too.” -Masquerade

“What the hell?” I asked, glancing around to see who all was on their phones. Practically everyone. Looking back at my phone, I read the message again. Did someone know? Was the text from Peter? Or Rachel? Did she know that I was lying to her? Panic fell over me, and once in the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror.

Was it that obvious that I was lying? Someone knew, that was for sure. But the name from the sender was throwing me off. Masquerade. Just like the person I’d seen by the buses. Then I thought back to my sister and how she knew I saw the person. Was she playing a prank on me? Or was this someone else entirely?

It could have been anyone. That was the problem. And if it was really the person I saw by the buses that day, it didn’t narrow it down by much. It only ruled out my sister. But if it wasn’t the person by the buses, it could be her playing a trick on me.

After doing my business, I went back to the cafeteria. Lunch was strange the entire time, because I couldn’t help but wonder if the girl beside me already knew that I was lying to her. And if she was the one who was watching me out by the buses that day.

***

I couldn’t stop thinking about the message I’d received from Masquerade. At home I was lying on my bed, pondering the incident, when I decided that I just needed to ask Leslie. She was never really a good liar, and if it was her, it would at least clear my mind of worry.

I got up, went into the hall, and knocked on my bedroom door beside mine. She opened the door immediately, as if she were expecting me. “What do you want, Lucas?”

“Did you send me this text earlier?” I asked, showing her the message on my phone. Leslie took a long glance at it.

“No, I did not,” she said. “Was it an unknown number?”

“No, the person’s number was saved in my phone. That’s totally why I’m asking you,” I said sarcastically. “Yes, it was an unknown number. So it really wasn’t you?”

“I don’t even understand the context of the message, so no.” Leslie closed the door in my face, leaving me alone in the hall. The text could have been from anyone. Rachel. Peter. Heck, even Ruby could have sent that message to me.

I walked back into my room, throwing my phone down on the bed. This was ridiculous. Why was I getting so wound up over a text? That’s what I saw it. Outside my window. I headed closer to the window and looked out to see a person move behind the bushes. The sun was going down on the horizon already, and the shadow of the person was very obvious. Someone was outside my house.

I couldn’t tell if it was the same Masquerade I’d seen outside the buses because I could hardly see what they were wearing. But it had to be Masquerade. The same person who just sent me a text. I noticed that mom and dad were not home yet, so I decided I needed to do some investigating.

Once outside, I walked over to the bushes. No one was there. Had I imagined the whole thing? Was I becoming delusional? Then I heard footsteps crunching in fallen leaves behind me. Spinning around, I saw a figure in the backyard. The sun was going down fast, and I didn’t want to be out here too long.

“Hello?” I said. “Who’s there? Are you Masquerade?”

The figure stood there, waiting. Watching. I walked closer, and they didn’t move a muscle. As I got closer, I saw that they were wearing white. White hoodie, white pants–

“Hello?” I said again. “Can I help you?”

The person stepped forward and I saw that they were wearing a masquerade mask. Except this one was white. Everything they were wearing was white, and I wanted to scream. I was terrified. Something was wrong. Why had I come out here?

The White Masquerade lifted their arm up, and I flinched, expecting them to reveal a weapon. Instead, they went for their mask. As the mask was slowly taken off their face, I gasped.

“Oh my God.”

1×03: Lucas

There are a lot of things I never expected my freshman year of high school.

The hard work; the romance; the amount of electives. But one thing I definitely didn’t expect was the amount of horror I’d face. It was only a few weeks into school and I was enjoying it so far. I didn’t realize that soon everything was going to change.

It was the day after Damien went missing. While I didn’t know Damien personally, it was something that affected the entire school. Wellington was a large school, but nothing like this had ever happened before. Wellington was a nice town and violence was typically kept away. Of course, no one knew if there was any violence, but when a kid goes missing, typically rumors start flying around.

Considering Haven was missing, too, the rumors were pretty intense.

Maybe she killed Damien.

Maybe Damien assaulted her and took off.

Maybe her body will be found in a ditch somewhere.

Maybe they ran off together.

Maybe she’s pregnant.

The way people stuck their noses in other peoples’ business really frustrated me. Sure, I’d come up with a few theories myself, but didn’t really feel the need to voice them. As I walked into school that morning, my best friend Peter came up to me and bro-punched my shoulder.

“Hey man,” he said. “How’s it going?”

Peter was semi-tall, about 5’8, and had short blonde hair. Bright blue eyes. Not a single blemish. One would say he was attractive, but friends don’t admit that to each other.

I shrugged. “It’s barely 7 o’clock. Nothing eventful has really happened yet.” But as I watched all the people whispering in the hall, I knew the Damien drama wasn’t over. “Any more news on Damien?”

Peter shook his head. “Nope. Still missing. Haven, too. No one has any idea where they went.”

I couldn’t imagine anything like that ever happening to me. The thought sent chills down my spine, and I hoped that Damien and Haven were found soon. Everything about that situation sucked.

“Did you see the new girl?” Peter asked.

“There’s a new girl?” I asked. “I didn’t notice. Technically we’re new here, too.”

“No, we’re freshmen. There’s a difference. Look, there she is.” Peter pointed to a girl who looked like something out of Satan’s vomit. I mean, sure, she was pretty. But she definitely wasn’t my type, and the fact that Peter seemed into her was a little weird in itself.

“How old is she?” I whispered. “She looks older than us.”

“I’m pretty sure she is,” Peter said. “She’s a junior.”

“A junior? Why are you checking out someone two years older than you?” God, Peter was so strange sometimes. Didn’t he know that men were always supposed to be older in the relationship?

“She’s only about a year and a half older than me,” Peter explained. “Besides, she’s hot. And unique. I like it.”

The thought was totally grossing me out, but I kept that to myself. “What’s her name?”

“Eden.”

I snorted. How ironic, being named after God’s first garden. This girl looked as though she crawled out of the ass crack of hell.

The late bell rang and I headed off to class. The rest of the day was mostly boring, but when lunch rolled around, I found Peter sitting alone, watching Eden. Grabbing a tray to get some food, I stood in line, waiting patiently when someone came up behind me.

“Hi.”

I turned around and my jaw nearly hit the floor. The girl standing behind me was absolutely beautiful. With long brunette hair and glimmering brown eyes, she was one of the most gorgeous girls I’d ever seen.

“Uh…hi,” I said. Way to go, Lucas. Real smooth.

She laughed at me. “Are you going to move forward in the line or are you just going to continue standing there, gawking at me?”

Sure enough, there was a huge gap between me and the person standing in front of me. Feeling embarrassed, I ignored the girl and started walking forward. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be,” she said, holding out her hand. “My name’s Rachel.”

Was I supposed to take it? Reaching out, I said, “My name’s Lucas. Are you a freshman, too?”

“Sure am,” she said.

As we grabbed our food, I thought about what I should say to her. Finally gaining the courage, I asked, “Hey, do you want to sit with me and my friend Peter today?”

She actually frowned. “I wish I could, but I have a meeting with the school newspaper today. It’s the first one, and if I don’t go, I won’t get in. Maybe another time?”

Without even thinking, I replied, “Really? I totally forgot that was today! Thank you for reminding me!”

For a moment she looked a little confused. Finally, Rachel said, “You’re joining the newspaper? Today must be my lucky day.”

With that, the two of us walked out of the cafeteria, leaving Peter behind. Joining the newspaper wouldn’t be too bad. Only problem was, I couldn’t write worth a shit.

***

The day ended and I got on the bus to ride home. It was too hot for my taste, but at least it wasn’t humid. I sat down in the seat across from my sister, Leslie, and her friend Ruby. They were both sophomores and loved to pretend like they were mature adults.

Leslie leaned in to me and said, “So, how was your day little bro?”

“I’m not little, thank you very much,” I said. “And my day was fine. I, uh, joined the newspaper.”

Leslie and Ruby laughed like a bunch of prissy school girls. Leslie said, “The newspaper? When is the last time you actually read a newspaper?”

“When’s the last time you read a book?” Ruby asked, laughing a little too hard.

Ignoring them, I squeezed over by the window and looked out into the parking lot. As everyone got on their buses, I watched, wondering what Rachel was up to. The meeting had went fairly well, and I got the vibe that she was into me now. The newspaper would give us something to do. How bad could it be?

That’s when I saw it. And I blinked, revealing it to be gone.

“Les,” I said. “Come look at this.”

“Oh god, what now?” she asked. She came and sat next to me, looking out the window. “What is it?”

“Do you see anything unusual out there? In the parking lot?” I couldn’t find it again and it was bugging me. I knew I had seen it. Leslie just had to see it, too.

“See what?” she asked.

“Someone in a masquerade mask,” I said.

My sister snorted. “Why in the world would someone be walking around outside in a masquerade mask?”

“It wasn’t just that,” I told her. “They were wearing all black. Black hoodie, black pants, black shoes. The mask we even black. I saw them over by that bus.” I pointed to the one at the far end of the lot that was now leaving.

“You’re delusional,” Leslie said, going back to her seat.

But that was the thing. I wasn’t sure if I was delusional. I knew what I’d seen. Did that mean I was crazy?