"The door was meant for Matt, not for Roe."
"I don't think they like it when the living go where the dead belong, it sort of messes up the system."
"So? It's just like the Post Office. Worst comes to the worst, they'll just send him back."
"That's what I'm worried about."
The following day, a nervous energy surrounded the room - and I wasn't referring to Matt. It was Christa's and my last day of detention. The weekend was looming, and it was beginning to occur to the three of us just how much shit had happened in a week. I had gone from making a new start for myself and trying to keep a low profile, to finding a dead body in a store cupboard, snogging the face off of a werewolf, and pushing a mere human into purgatory.
We took our places in the empty classroom. Christa and I never sat next to each other; it was always at least three seats apart. Matt decided to sit on the other side of Christa. I suppose he thought that now he made it clear that he was madly in love with her, it would be less creepy...
There wasn't much time to chat, as bursting through the door and breaking the silence, was the wonderful Mr Swan.
"Right, you lot!" He yelled, even though he could only see two of us. "Mr Roe couldn't be here today-"
Matt coughed lightly in jest, and I had to hide a smirk.
"- so, I'll be taking the detention, alright? Now, being the pushover that he is, I'm guessing that he let you both talk and do what you want? Well, that's not happening with me! Get on with your homework and if I hear a peep out of either of you, that'll be another week's detention!"
"I get it," I piped up. "Just one thing, though. Is your head alright?"
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Christa silently scold me. Mr Swan lightly touched the side of his face, glaring.
"Shit happens. Now, focus on your work, Adam."
Well, that was great, wasn't it? It seemed that these detentions were the only way I could communicate with Christa and Matt without anyone else listening in...or, so we thought. There was no way we'd get away with it while Swan was lurking about.
Then, I had one of my usual sparks of genius. After flicking through to an empty page of my Maths exercise book, I began scribbling messages in there.
What are we going to do about this?
I passed the book to Christa. After she read it, she rolled her eyes. Nevertheless, she wrote back.
Great, so we've been reduced to passing notes, now?
"What are you doing?" Matt asked. He, of course, had the advantage of being able to talk as loud as he wanted to. The lucky prick.
Christa passed the book back. Although not wearing headphones, Swan was on the computer, so at least he wasn't staring at us the whole time.
I wrote something down and then showed it to Matt.
Christa and I have to communicate like this so we don't get caught. Anyway, I want to know what we're doing about this Roe situation?
"What can we do?" Matt shrugged. "He's there now, not here. It's out of our hands, there's no point worrying about it."
Visibly agitated, Christa took the book.
Like Adam said, he could come back. And what happens if he does? None of us know what's out there, behind the door. The man is evil, Matt. He KILLED you. Think about how much worse he'd be if he came back from the dead!
Reading that message made my stomach churn. Christa was absolutely spot on; Roe would be in a strange, dark, uncaring place where the wicked spirits viewed humans as sources of amusement. That would fuck anyone up. And we sent him there.
Matt, however, didn't seem at all bothered. "What could he do to us? I'm already dead! Christa, you're deadly when the full moon's out! Adam, you can drain the life out of anyone any time you want! Roe doesn't stand a chance."
The book was handed back to me. I ran a hand through my dark, unruly hair, hesitating if I should really write about what was on my mind. Rain was starting to pour viciously outside, splashing against the windows, and I watched it for a brief moment, letting myself get distracted.
I did not want to let them down. I had only known Matt and Christa for a week, and I didn't know if you could count them as friends. We had been through a lot together, though, in a short space of time.
There was just no way we could continue this. In just seven days, I had endangered the three of us and - quite possibly - the whole school. If I stayed, would I really be helping anyone?
I might leave.
Christa read it. The expression on her face was blank, unreadable. Anyone would've thought I had just shown her my actual Maths homework.
You can't, not unless you want Mr Swan to beat you senseless.
The way she misinterpreted it as something more lighthearted made me feel like even more of a knob. I didn't want to move away, but it seemed like the only option I had now.
No, Christa. I meant that I might leave this town and move somewhere else. I don't think I can stay here anymore.
Awkwardly, I passed the book back to Christa, who read it, along with Matt who was reading over her shoulder. The pair of them looked at me at exactly the same time, looking horrified.
Just then, all the lights in the room switched off, and so did the computer that Swan was using.
"No!" He shouted impatiently, slamming a fist down onto the desk. "This fucking storm! Now's not the time for a power cut!"
We all watched him as he headed for the door.
"I'll try and get the power back on, but this isn't an excuse for either of you to talk! Get on with your work!"
Swan walked out of the door, closing it forcefully behind him. The three of us quietly waited until he was out of earshot.
"Are you out of your fucking mind, Adam?!" Christa snapped suddenly, turning around to me.
"I'm sorry," I sighed. "It's too much of a risk."
"So, you'd rather abandon us than help, is that what you're saying?"
"You don't need help!" I protested. "You're a werewolf!"
"I'm not a werew-" Christa began to argue, but instantly dropping it, biting her lip in anger. We'd been through that whole charade before, of her denying the fact that she was a werewolf. She couldn't keep doing it now that both Matt and I had actually seen her change.
"You can't do this, mate." Matt chimed in. "If it weren't for you two, I would never have found out who killed me. We're a team, and we need you here with us."
"Look," I said calmly. "The only reason I came to this shitty school was to try and abandon my past and at least attempt to be human. I don't need to be here; I am forty-six, after all. But, since being here, I've probably drawn more attention to myself than before, when I was with my mate, George. I nearly killed Brandy Mulligan!"
"Crompton." Christa retorted. "Anyway, Adam, like it or not, you've helped make this mess, you need to help us clear it up! You can't just keep running away when you realise that your actions have consequences."
That last comment didn't sit right with me. It wasn't the fact that I was worried about the consequences. I just didn't want to kill anyone, or worse, make any more vampires. When I was bitten at the age of sixteen, I relied on the blood of my dad to keep me alive until he passed away. That is not a way for anyone to live.
If Mitchell can live on the wagon, then so can I. But I had to try again somewhere else, as there was too much damage done in this sunken hellhole.
"Where are you planning on going?" Matt asked.
"No idea, really."
"You can't do this, especially without a plan." Christa told me.
I cracked a small smile. "I'm sorry; just then it sounded like you might actually care about me?"
"Oh, don't be ridiculous!" She yelled quickly. "You're the most powerful out of the three of us, that's why we need you here."
"So, you're not still hung up on me, then?" I winked at her.
"Don't make me vomit again."
Matt looked at me. "Seriously though, mate, it's a bit selfish of you."
"For once, I actually agree with you." Christa said to Matt, before turning back to me. "Couldn't you at least have a bit more time to think?"
"I've been thinking about it since we pushed Roe through that door! I'm going and that's that!" I said abruptly, making them both flinch slightly.
Later on, after Swan had switched the power back on and detention was finished, I was about to head out of the school. Christa and Matt waited in the sheltered doorway, solemn expressions on their faces. The rain was still relentless.
"This is goodbye then, is it?" Matt looked at me sadly.
"It seems like it is," I told him.
He pulled me into a tight hug and I wrapped my arms around him, patting him on the back. I didn't want to admit it to myself or anyone else, but I would miss him.
"Hey, now that you're off, do you mind if I go out with Christa?" He whispered as I hugged him.
"She's all yours." I replied back, rolling my eyes a bit.
When I let go of him, Matt disappeared onto the other side of the door. I was left alone in the doorway with Christa.
"You're a twat for doing this."
"I was thinking more along the lines of genius, but whatever." I grinned. However, my smug smile faded when I realised that Christa was so upset with me that she couldn't meet my gaze.
"I didn't want to tell you," I said quietly. "But it seems like the only way. You and Matt'll be fine."
"You don't know that," she said with a weak tone of voice. "Then again, you won't know if we are alright either, seeing as we're never seeing you again."
"I'm not trying to betray you, Christa."
"I know you're not trying to, but you are." Christa said coldly. "You and Matt are the first and only people I've met who actually understand me and my...condition. Even if you both piss me off a lot of the time. I just hoped that things would have continued."
"I don't care if you're a w-"
"Watch it, Adam."
"Not human," I finished carefully. "You're a good person, Christa. You will meet others who understand you and even go through the same thing. You'll be fine."
She looked up at me with misty brown eyes. "What about you?"
"I'm immortal, I'm sure I'll manage."
"You're a wanker, you know that?"
"Yeah, well, I'm easily influenced by my surroundings." I chuckled, about to step out of the doorway. "So, good luck with everything, look after Matt, and give Roe a good kick up the arse from me if you see him."
In that moment, just as the slightest bit of rain splashed against my hair, I felt a hand grip mine and pull me back.
I turned around, and before I could have time to register what was going on, Christa pulled me in and kissed me. She ran her hands through my dark hair, and I began to kiss her back, wrapping my arms around her waist. We could have been stood there for seconds or hours, and I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference. I was in a mixture of shock and euphoria.
Eventually, she pulled away and I stared at her in awe. "Had I known you were gonna give me one for the road, I would've just asked."
"You're still a knob." She told me, with a hint of a smirk. "I hate you."
"Yeah...I hate you too." I said in return, trying to hide my smile.
I walked away from the school and didn't look back, as difficult as it was suddenly appearing to be. Maybe I was making the worst decision of my life, or maybe it wasn't, but I couldn't back out now. I needed to run away and start again.
Third time lucky...