Titan Times

The Wanderer- Part Two

Sharon Niedringhaus, Writer

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This is the second part of an ongoing story. Here is the link to the first part if you not read it already: https://titantime.org/6727/lifestyle/creative-contributions/the-wanderer-part-one/

The next day, Jenna was walking to the office to turn in an excuse note for her absence. She had gone home after her strange encounter with the girl, and not long after, her mom came home from work. Jenna knew her mom was suspicious the minute she walked through the door.

“The school called my office today asking where you were,” she stated before she had even taken her shoes off.

“My stomach wasn’t feeling good this morning so I figured it would be best to stay home, considering how contagious stomach bugs can be,” Jenna explained, not liking the feeling of lying to her mother any more than the feeling she had when she skipped school.

“How are you feeling now?” her mother asked, concern replacing some of the suspicion in her voice.

“Okay. It must have just been something I ate yesterday.”

“Alright…” Her mother didn’t seem totally convinced, but went along with it anyways. “I suppose you’ll need to take a note tomorrow.”

“Yeah.” Although Jenna felt slightly guilty, she was mostly relieved that her mother believed her lie.

Her mother wrote the note and now Jenna was taking it to the front office. There had been no weird dreams or strange feelings that kept her out of the school building this morning. Everything seemed perfectly normal. In fact, Jenna had almost convinced herself that she really was sick the day before and that her experiences had just been some feverish hallucination. Almost. A voice in the back of her head told her that what happened was real and she knew the note from the girl was addressed to her was sitting on her desk at home.

As she went into the office, the woman at the desk looked up and set her emotionless gaze on Jenna. When Jenna handed her the note, the woman said “thank you” and then returned to her previous business after barely glancing at it. She left the office and walked to the spot where she and her friends usually waited for the first bell to ring. Her friend Lindsey was there waiting for her.

“Hey!” Lindsey greeted, a little too energetic for this early in the morning. “Why weren’t you here yesterday?”

“I wasn’t feeling very well,” Jenna replied. “I’m alright now, though.”

“Well, you sure missed a lot of excitement.” Jenna looked at Lindsey with a questioning look, urging her to go on. “There was a lock down. Apparently some sketchy guy was wandering around on school grounds. He left before school got out, though.”

Jenna felt a sudden chill. “Really? Did they found out who he was?”

“No,” Lindsey answered. Her tone was a little too casual for Jenna’s liking. “But Ashley said she saw him through the window before the lock down started.”

“What did he look like?” Jenna asked slowly. She didn’t understand it, but something about the situation seemed very important. She wondered if the off-putting feelings she felt the day before were caused by this person.

“She said he was wearing a black coat that almost brushed the ground. I informed her that it was called a duster jacket, but she just got annoyed. Then she said that he was wearing a hat that looked kind of like a fedora and that it was pulled down so low that she could only see his face from the nose down.” At that moment, the bell rang, telling the students that they had five minutes to get to their first block. Lindsey changed the subject: “I heard it’s supposed to be really nice this weekend. We should go hang out downtown on Saturday or something.”

“Sure,” Jenna agreed, not really hearing her. Her mind was more focused on the information Lindsey had just given her.

“Cool. How about we meet by the fountain at 10?”

“Yeah. Okay. See you then.” Jenna walked off to her first block, leaving Lindsey staring after her.

 

The rest of the day passed by without Jenna really noticing it. She was too busy thinking about the suspicious man and who he might be. A wariness was seeping into her and she decided to trust it. Something was wrong here, and she wasn’t sure if she would be able to figure out what it was. As she was walking home, she remembered the note that was sitting on her desk. She had been too afraid to open it yesterday, but now she felt that it was extraordinarily important for her to read it. She started running for no reason other than that she sensed that time was somehow moving against her.

When Jenna reached her house, she could barely hold her hands still enough to unlock the door. Once she got the door open, she threw her backpack on the floor and ran up the stairs to her room. She barely heard the front door closing behind her; she didn’t really care whether it did or not anyways. She came to a stop as she entered the room and stared at her desk, the envelope with her name on it staring back. She picked it up carefully, as if it might bite. She opened the envelope and pulled a yellowish piece of paper out of it. She was filled with fear as she read the words written on the page:

 

You may have escaped the One-Eyed Man this time, but I don’t think you’ll be able to avoid him for long. But don’t worry, it’ll all work out the way that it’s meant to.

-Piper

 

Jenna sat on the floor with a light thud. Somehow, the words  she imagined Piper had written to comfort her didn’t make the previous sentence any less disturbing.

 

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The Wanderer- Part Two