The girl was dramatic, he’d say that much for her. Sam Delany took in her ankle-length black dress, black shoes, very black hair, and dark eye makeup. Why she was staring at him, he had no clue.
“Who is that?” he asked.
Jason looked over his shoulder. “Teri Perry. And she hates her real name. Goes by Agatha when she can get away with it. Full on goth, I guess.”
“What’s the deal?”
“My sister claimed she tried a seance at a party once. Really into spirits and demons and stuff.”
Sam rubbed the back of his neck. “She’s creeping me out. She’s been staring this way for an hour or more.”
Jason shrugged. “You’re the new guy. Someone who isn’t on to her tricks yet.”
He gave up on watching the baseball game and went back inside to get his books out of his locker. Switching to a new school midway through his senior year was not his idea of a great time. At least his cousins were here. That was something, right?
He was half-way to the parking lot, his mind tallying up which books he’d need to take home, when he turned a corner and there she was, head to toe black and barely as tall as his chin.
She seemed to be looking past him, but she said, “You’re new here, right?”
“Yes. From Wilmington.”
“I’ve been waiting for you for three years.”
She blinked, looking a little vague. “Not what I was expecting.”
“What is going on? I saw you watching me.”
“Your aura was surprising. I wasn’t sure until I got close up. But you’re the one, all right.”
“The one what?”
He took a step sideways. “Okay. I was told about your tricks. Just lets not get crazy.”
She smiled tolerantly. “You can fight it, but you’ll come around. It’s destiny.”
He nodded, humoring her. “Okay. Destiny. Right. Later then.” He waved and headed out as fast as he could without actually running.
She didn’t follow. He was grateful for small favors.
He waved at Jason in the stands on his way out, but he wasn’t really in the mood to share the latest revelation.
He got in his Jeep and headed home.
The next morning at school, there was a page on pink paper, ripped out of a small spiral notepad, folded in half and taped to his locker:
Teri Jo Perry A.K.A. “Agatha”
5’2” - 102 lbs. Birthday 1/12
It went on for two paragraphs, detailing her phone number, her favorite colors, her favorite foods, etc. She had an IQ of 132, she had her appendix removed when she was 14, and she was on the birth control pill. There was a list of favorite musicians and favorite authors. She didn’t go to movies and was an only child.
It was more information that he knew about anyone, let alone a girl. It was much more information than he wanted to know.
And it struck him that it was hazardous for it to be out there for someone to discover. Didn’t she know about identity theft? He folded the paper carefully and stuck it in his wallet. He wouldn’t want random people knowing all his medical history and favorite foods and stuff. He was surprised she didn’t just go ahead and include all her accounts and passwords while she was at it. Really!
Did this dingbat really believe her auras and destiny and stuff?
He chuckled. Am I being stalked? Flattering, but he could do without.
He needed to find Steph.
When lunchtime rolled around he searched for his other cousin and finally found her.
“Hey, Steph, can I borrow you for a minute.”
She introduced him around to her girl friends at the table. There were a few speculative eyes watching him as he pulled her off to talk in private.
“What do you know about this Agatha person?”
She chuckled. “Sam, don’t tell me you’re interested in her?”
“No. It’s not that. I think she’s following me around.”
“Maybe. I don’t know. I only talked to her once, in the hallway. She said something about auras.”
She waved her hand. “Don’t mind that. She got on that aura thing, oh--years back. She does a fortune telling schtick when we’re at parties.”
He frowned. “Is she...could she be dangerous?”
Steph shook her head. “Naw. It’s all an act. Other than the goth stuff, she’s pretty ordinary. She’ll even wipe the eyeliner off when it’s time for the two-act play contest. She played a cute little Betsy Jones last year. Nobody could believe it was her.”
He nodded. A trickster and and actress. Good to know. “Okay, just ignore me, and don’t spread any rumors. I’m just trying to find out who is who around here.”
She looked a little puzzled. She nodded back towards her table. “I can probably fix you up with a date for this weekend, if you just say the word.”
“Maybe next week. I’ve still got stuff to do at home.”
There was another pink note taped to his locker. He snatched it off with a growl.
Julie Smith has an erratic spike in her aura. Danger. Don’t get her pregnant.
What in the world? Who is Julie Smith.
And he was seriously angry that she would think he would get anyone pregnant. Who did she think he was?
He went looking for his dark nemesis. He stalked through the hallway and out to the parking lot. He was halfway across the athletic fields when he saw a figure in a black dress. He changed course.
She saw him coming, her face serene.
He clutched the paper. “Don’t leave notes on my locker!”
She blinked, then nodded. “Ah. Okay. How do I get messages to you?”
He was almost speechless. “Why do you need to? We don’t know each other. We’re not friends. And don’t say a word about auras and destiny!”
She nodded again. “I understand your concern. How about you give me your number. I can send texts. Would that be private enough?”
He shook his head. “Why don’t you just leave me alone?”
She spread her hands. “But I can’t leave you in danger! That doesn’t make sense. You’ll trust me eventually, but until then, why not texts?” It was again as if she wasn’t looking directly at him. He was tempted to brush his hair or something.
She was so frustratingly dense. Off in another world.
“Okay. Texts only. No locker messages, no meetings in the hallway. Got that?”
He gave her the number and she immediately entered it in her cell.
“Good. We’re making progress.” She smiled.
He didn’t know whether he’d made a big mistake or not. But he couldn’t have her leaving possibly scandalous messages on his locker for anyone to intercept. Without another word he stalked off.
This late in the year, it was impossible to join any of the sports teams or start to learn an instrument or anything like that. There was chess club, and he was good at that, but it was reluctant to open that can of worms again.
He was spending far too much time with his cousins, as much as he liked them.
And it was too easy to spot his stalker wherever he went. Like sitting in the entrance to the library eating an apple and pretending to read a book. Her eyes tracked his every move.
“Jason! There you are.”
“Sam. What’s up?” He had his hands full with one end of a large banner. The other end was being tacked up on the wall. “Beat the Wildcats!” it said. Jason was one of the beefy guys who got to throw the cheerleaders into the air at games.
“Not much. I thought I’d have trouble getting up to speed in my classes, but I was wrong there. I’m at loose ends.”
He nodded. “I wish I could help, but I’m booked solid. Go talk to Steph. She was pestering me about some project. Let her pester you.”
Steph practically rubbed her hands with glee. “Yes, I can use you. Come with me.”
She led him into the stage area, where three girls were hammering away at some boxes. “I brought help”, she called out. They all set down their tools and came to meet him.
“This is Sam, my cousin. Girls. He’s all yours.”
She wandered away.
The large dark-haired one took his hand. “We’re building stage sets for the play.”
The little one, a bit chubby, but cute, said, “We’ve got the plans, but they’re not going together very well.”
The one with the light brown hair said nothing, but smiled.
He took a look at the plans.
“Do we have a budget for the materials?”
“Not much. We’re supposed to re-work the stuff from last year.”
He nodded. “Show me.”