Suddenly, disoriented by what she saw, she reached for the wall to steady herself. It was not that she didn’t know who she was looking at, that part was easy. Brandi Burges was one of the most recognizable girls in her entire high school. Her mix of Chinese and Caucasian blood made her beauty exotic. Her upbeat temperament made her a shoo-in for head cheerleader, and her scholastic ability made her top candidate for this year’s valedictorian. What confused Emily was what to do.
She saw Brandi lying against the back wall of the restroom in her cheerleading outfit, curled into a tight ball. Brandi’s eyes were wide with fear. She was making a small whimpering sound as her chest heaved, gasping to breathe.
Normally, Emily would have walked forward without hesitation
to offer assistance. But seeing Brandi Burges like this was not even in the realm of normal.
Emily looked around the room frantically searching for a hidden
camera. Or maybe there were some girls, hiding in a stall, waiting to laugh at the freshman who had fallen for their prank. She found no camera, and the stalls and small room were empty. Brandi stayed on the floor, her eyes trained on Emily. Slowly, Emily approached bending toward her and asked in a quiet voice: “Are you okay?”
Brandi gave her head the slightest shake. Emily began to panic.
Should she run out to get help, or stay here and try to help Brandi herself? Brandi’s eyes made the decision for Emily. She had seen this haunted look before. When Dawna came back home in the middle of the night last summer — her eyes had this same caged animal look.
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