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"So, did you find any new rumors?" As usual, Leo asked me, with excitement sparkling in his eyes.
"No, there's nothing very interesting nowadays. How about you?"
"Man, I guess it's the same for me then. How boring can this world be."
"Dude, don't be jinxing things. The last time you did that, it was your fault that you 'accidentally' broke that old man's window." I sighed.
Honestly, Leo somehow manages to jinx anything around him. Whenever he says something, it happens one way or another. Seriously, is he some kind of bad luck magnet? Either way, the five of us always gets away when something bad happens. Even when we get caught, Monica always does the smooth talking in our group. If one of us has to describe her, we would all agree that she's somewhat a devil behind her stunning beauty. But hey, it's how she uses her looks is the reason why none of us can't say no when she gives us something to do. In short, Monica isn't someone you don't want to mess with.
Jack leaned over the table and smacked Leo, who was rolling his eyes at me.
"Why'd you do that for," complained Leo.
"Leo, the first time I discovered why people tried to avoid you, I developed a sense of warning. That goes for every time you jinx something." Leo was about to say something, but did nothing. Livia laughed when he brought his head down.
"Got nothing to say, don't 'cha Leo?"
Once they start arguing, these two are like water and oil. For some reason, it amazes me that they're still friends.
A loud sigh echoed across the room.
"Come on guys, we're all here to find some good rumors. No fighting." Cyrus, with one of his hands in his face, said that. "If there's no occult-like rumors, why don't you make one?" I said it sarcastically.
"Hunter, shut up."
"Sorry," I mumbled.
Cyrus continued. "Anyways, find anything new Jack?"
Jack shook his head.
Cyrus sighed again. "Thought so."
Rumors, huh. Ever since this abandoned building was discovered by Leo, we made this our gathering place. Everyone here all had one thing in common: it was rumors. I mean not just any kind, it was rumors that had to do with the occult. When Cyrus and I were in middle school, I had some sort of rumor to tell him every day and he would always be fascinated with them. Now, he had form this rumor-loving group all by himself. Naturally, that made him the leader. I would guess that my influence resulted in this. Well, whatever may happen won't be stopped.
"Were you even listening?"
Cyrus took a deep breath. "I guess this concludes this meeting."
After that, everyone packed their bags and left for home. The funniest thing about going home is that all of us live close by to each other. It doesn't take longer than six minutes to walk to each of their houses. Luckily, we happen to live near the abandoned building, which is behind a narrow passage inside an alley. When Cyrus decided to use it as a gathering place, we put a round table and some chairs the next day. We even had a cheap T.V. and a radio set up there! The narrow passage is the only way to get to the building. Another thing about it is that there are certain turns you need to make before you can get there. After that process, there's a wide space. If someone manages that, they still won't be able to find it since the passage can easily be overlooked. Even some of us still makes that mistake.
The next day, I woke up early and did the same routine I do every morning, then headed to school. As I walked to my locker, one of my classmate, Claudia, walked with me.
"So, is there any news?"
Claudia usually talks to me if it's anything about Jack. I really don't get why she's obsessed with him for. Even Jack himself finds it disturbing.
I continued to speak. "But, I heard that there was some sort of disturbing rumor spreading around nowadays."
Her eyes shined with anticipation. "What? What is it?"
"No, forget that I ever-"
"Don't stop midway," she cut me off.
Alright, she took the bait. Inside, I was grinning to myself. Of course, I didn't show it to anyone. All I had to do was act natural.
"Well, just don't tell anyone, okay?"
Those words always work for people like Claudia, who can't keep her mouth shut. After all, that's how rumors easily spread and it'll continue to spread. I took a deep breath.
"Well, the other day, one of my friends told me that it happened to her last night," I said in a slow voice.
"What happened to her last night?"
"She was buying something for her boyfriend that night. So they went to go shopping at the mall."
"When they were next to a CD store, she told her boyfriend to sit at a bench and to wait for her."
"She made sure her boyfriend wasn't able to see her and went inside the store to buy him new headphones."
"So when she bought them and went out the store, she went to go and rejoin her boyfriend. She gave him the new headphone as am early birthday gift. But he gave her a puzzled look."
"He said "That was quick. Did you really went to the bathroom?" She asked him what he meant by that. He told her that she came back a minute ago."
"What did she say?"
"She said "Are you sure you didn't mistaken a different girl for me?" But she just ended it with that. As they were driving home, they stopped at a red light. At a short distance, she saw a girl that had the same clothes that she has on that night."
"Maybe the clothes she wore was a common brand?"
"No, it wasn't that. It happens to be that that girl she saw had the same face as her. She told me that it was looking at a mirror. She had the same hairstyle, make-up, right down to every last detail."
"No way! What do you think it was?"
I looked up for a bit.
"How would I know? It's rather scary, don't you think? Maybe it's an impostor?"
"It looks like there really are people who can look like our friends, huh?"
We reached my locker as the story ended.
"Thanks for telling me Hunter."
"Well, it's just a rumor, right? I heard that there are other people who claim to see themselves somewhere in the world."
"But still, it's downright scary. Anyways, I have to go."
With that, she left in a hurry. On the inside, I couldn't stopped laughing, but I gave a faint smile. An impostor, huh? What a laugh. There is no such thing. It's only but a lie. Obviously, none of that is the truth. To be honest, creating rumors is somewhat my hobby. The only difference about it is that no one knows where the rumors come from. Not even my friends know about this. But at least this rumor won't bore them.
As I got my textbooks out, the bell signaling the start of school rang. It's hard to believe that so much time had passed by just talking. Closing my locker, I headed for my first period class.
After school ended, I went to the abandoned building. When I got there, only Livia and Cyrus was there.
"So, is there anything new to talk about?"
Cyrus's eyes were sparkling in excitement. It was probably because he might've heard of my recent rumor. He tried his best to suppress his excitement.
"Wait until everyone shows up."
Five minutes later, everyone was here. Jack also had excitement in his eyes, but was obvious because he had a habit of tapping his fingers on the table. Cyrus took a deep breath. "Have you guys heard of the new rumor?"
Monica joined in. "Oh, you mean that rumor of a girl who saw herself?"
Leo raised his head. "That's what I wanted to say!"
Jack rolled his eyes. "Who hasn't?"
"I wonder if it really is an impostor," I unintentionally said.
"Hey, that's what I want to know." All of us started to chime in on the conversation. Without noticing the time, it was already 5 o'clock and we all went home.
When I got home, I headed straight for bed. For some reason, I felt really tired. it wasn't unusual for me to feel that way, but my tiredness felt for of a fatigue. I didn't hesitate to wait and quickly fell asleep.
Inside the dream, I dreamt of my childhood. It was before I met Cyrus. I was eight years old at that time. I remember walking with a girl at my age. Chelsea, I think, talked about how things were different here compared to where she lived. It went on for what felt like hours. At some point, without me noticing, we stopped walking. She then talked about something. Something? What did she talked about? I tried to focus what she was saying, but it was as if someone had mute the sound. Everything was in total silence. Chelsea laughed as she propped my arm and held on to it. Slowly, I felt dizzy. Simultaneously, I had a bad headache. I lost my sense of balance and fainted.
I woke up, still feeling that same dizziness. I didn't feel so well anymore. After lying on the bed for a few minutes, it disappeared. As usual, I got up early, did the same routine, and went to school anyway.
I went to my locker to get my textbook for first period. My hands struggled to close the locker. That same headache came back to me. I don't know if I fainted, but everything around me was pitch black. Even the noise around me faded away and I couldn't feel a thing at all. It felt so numb. Both of the colors, sound, and feeling started to return to me. The next thing I knew, I found myself lying on a bed and blankly stared at the ceiling. Getting up, my body shook a little. Other than that, I felt fine.
"What happened," I whispered to myself as I rubbed my eyes.
This time, I took a careful look at y surroundings. I was back at home, in my own room. Was going to school a dream? No, that's wrong. I got my cell phone out and checked the time. It was 6:21 PM. If it wasn't a dream, then how did I come back home? I decided to call Monica first. The other line connected. There was a long silence.
"Help," was what I heard, but I wasn't sure since it was whispered softly.
"Monica? Monica, can you hear me?"
There was too much of a buzz through the phone. Monica said something, but I couldn't here it at all.
Before the line was cut off, she whispered something faintly.
I was puzzled by those words. Fake? What was she trying to tell me? A chill ran through my spine. Now I was worried. I tried calling the others, but either none of them answered the call or all of their phone was turned off. I tried calling Cyrus again. For a fact, he never turns his phone off at night.
"Come on, pick up the call already!"
There was still no answer. I tried calling him four more times, but none of them were answered. If this was some prank of theirs, it wasn't funny. A prank like this is going too far. By the fifth time I called, the line connected. Just like how I called Monica, there was a long silence.
Cyrus sounded scared. His voice was shaking a bit. What's going on?
"Cyrus, what happened?"
I could hear him take a deep breath before speaking again.
"I'm sorry, everyone. Hunter, everyone's dead."
Dead? Everyone's dead? Was this some kind of sick joke?
Cyrus continued to speak.
"I'm beyond scared right now. I'm gonna be killed!"
"Calm down, I don' know what you're talking about."
There was another long silence.
"You impostor," he whispered.
Then the line was cut off. Just what was going on? What's happening to them? There were too many questions I wanted to ask.
A violent shock ran through my body. For some reason, it became harder for me to breathe and it felt as if someone was staring at me, quietly watching my every movement. In an instant, I became scared. Extremely scared! The feeling of being watched kept increasing. It was to the point where it drove me crazy. Footsteps echoed outside of my room. My body was paralyzed with fear. I wanted to check it out, but I just stayed on the bed. Just simply stayed there, unmoving, doing nothing at all. It was then that I realized that my parents was staying somewhere else due to their jobs. I wanted to get out of here. I wanted to get away as far as possible. I was all alone here and yet, someone else was here.
I recalled what Cyrus had told me.
That had to be a lie! This is just some bad joke, right? There's no way that could be true. I kept repeating this silently in my head. I didn't want to believe it. The door opened slowly. I never learned what true fear was until now. I felt beyond scared. It was a feeling that can't be described in words. No, there was no word that can describe what I'm feeling right now. I shut my eyes tight and hugged my knees. That dream from this morning. I finally remembered what Chelsea had said that day, before that accident.
"Where did the other me go?"
Those were her last words before she died.
I finally understood what happened. I tried to convince myself that this was all just a bad dream. I didn't want to accept this as reality. But the facts I gathered up so far proved me wrong. I wanted to cry, scream, anything to distract myself from this reality. But there was nothing I truly could do. I was too scared. No, it was beyond scared. It was something I could never accept. This was a lie! A fake! A nightmare!
"This is the truth."
What I heard was my own voice.