Ch 27. High School Ritual: Lost and Found (SepSceneWriMo)

Four high school students encounter an evil spirit. Thoroughly cliched and hopelessly derivative.

Mikhail’s father paused by Mikhail’s bedroom in the morning, carrying his mug of coffee in one hand and a newspaper under his other arm. The kid hadn’t even bothered to get up for school. No wonder he didn’t make it through a week of junior officer training. He continued on his way to the living room.

Mikhail’s body still appeared asleep with a smile on the face. But the spirit which had traveled to Vanessa’s dreamworld was very much serious as he walked along the bank of the old river, its dirty brown current still rolling along. He stopped to watch it.

What was on the other side of it? He remembered hearing in class once about an ancient Greek myth about a river that dead people crossed which made them forget everything.

He picked up a piece of broken stone and tossed it into the river. Would the stone forget? Stones had no soul, no feelings, but what distinguished them from him? Simply that he breathed and they didn’t? Two weeks ago he would have called that a distinction without a difference. But now, he wasn’t so sure. He watched the ripples melt into the current and the current flowed on, oblivious to the rock’s fate.

The few remaining stars dotting the black sky blinked on and off as they slowly zig-zagged across the cloudless expanse. Some of them never blinked on again, others stopped traveling and only trembled once or twice. The land too seemed to be breaking down—rocks were turning to the sand, the grass to dirt.

Something was rustling in the scanty, dead grass, which normally stood stock-still in the total absence of wind or breeze. He stooped down to search through the grass to see if there were some life and discovered a small hole. Excited, he cleared the dirt around it. A pink nose emerged, then sweeping whiskers, and then finally, two beady eyes in a white face.

Amazed, he held out his cupped hands and the creature marched into them—a white mouse with a grey spot on his back. Mikhail held the mouse up and watched him wash his face and whiskers and sniff the air.

So this was Mr. Squeaks.

He cautiously stroked Mr. Squeaks between his ears. He wondered what Natalie would say when she saw Mr. Squeaks.

“You miss—you miss Natalie, don’t you?” Mr. Squeaks stopped and sniffed the air, paws dangling. “Don’t you—Mr. Squeaks?”

He looked into the mouse’s eyes. The mouse stopped moving and gazed back at him. He seemed to impart some sort of untranslatable message, yet the meaning, at the same time, was clear. “Push on.”

He slipped the mouse into his t-shirt pocket and stood. He knew that as long as he had the mouse, he would ultimately reach Vanessa’s marble palace. He realized it was the roof he had been jumping off of, not a cliff, and was certain he’d appear indoors this time. For whatever reason, Vanessa wanted all of them, including the mouse. His goal was to hand over the mouse to Natalie, and then whatever was gonna happen, would happen. Mr. Squeaks held the edge of the pocket with his tiny paws and looked around calmly as they journeyed onward.

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