The whole table was quiet as the words Karalee had just spoken set in in. They all looked at each other.
"Uh, how can we solve a mystery?" Ja asked. "We all have busy school schedules. When would we have time to do it?"
"And," Swirl added, "we could get in trouble."
"How can we get in trouble for just listening?" Karalee asked.
"What do you mean?" Lost said.
"I mean, right now, we can't do anything. We just have to keep our ears open. Listen for clues. Then we can try to piece it together," Karalee declared.
"Well, as long as we do something, I'm good with that," Lost replied. "I hate feeling like I did something but I don't even know what."
"Hmm, let's start by going over all the details," Karalee said.
"What exactly did Headmaster Clark and Mr. Greely say?" Swirl asked, looking at Lost.
"Well," Lost said, thinking back, "they said that there was a serious problem. And that if they told anyone, the school could look bad. Headmaster Clark sounded really upset."
"Anything else?" Sarah asked.
"They also said they had to be calm. But they also said a sister might notice whatever they were talking about. And then they mentioned that because this sister was new, it might be a huge misunderstanding," Lost said. "Does that help?"
"Well, whatever it is, it sounds big and bad," Ja said, chewing on fry, thoughtfully.
"And it sounds like the school might be in trouble if more people found out about it," Swirl said.
"We don't have enough information. So for now, let's just make sure to listen to people around us," Karalee said.
Lost nodded and finished the last of her poutine. Just then, the overhead speakers crackled to life.
"Good evening, Jamaasian High! I hope your day was wonderful and full of education," Headmaster Clark said. "Right now, you have a couple hours of free time so feel free to go to the games room, library, or your dorms. Also, the art room is open, so you can go over and paint some masterpieces! Be sure to be back at your dorms at lights out. Jam on!"
The speakers fell silent and the room filled with chatter again. Lost stood up and looked at her friends.
"What do you guys want to do now?" Lost asked.
"I was going to go meet up with Gfox and hang out in the games room again," Karalee said. "Do any of you want to come with me?"
"I'll come!" Ja said, quickly moving over to Karalee.
"Well, I guess we'll see you later," Swirl said as nobody else went over next to Karalee. "Bye, guys!"
After Karalee and Ja left, Swirl turned to look at Sarah and Lost. "Now what?"
"The art room sounds good to me," Lost said with a shrug.
"I'm good with that! Let's go!" Sarah said, leading the way.
Just as Lost was about to follow, she bumped right into someone who let out an "OOF!"
"Oh, I am so sorry!" Lost cried. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine, thanks," the girl said, wiping her large glasses with her sleeve. "It happens all the time."
"I'm glad you're okay!" Lost said, relieved. "Well, see you later!"
"Bye," the girl called as Lost started to run after Swirl and Sarah.
Lost hurried out of the cafeteria after her two friends. Together, they wandered down a couple of halls to the art room.
As soon as they stepped inside the empty room, the smell of old paint became overpowering. Lost wrinkled her nose a bit and sat down at a large easel. Swirl and Sarah went to two other easels a little further.
"What are you guys going to paint?" Lost asked, getting comfortable on her stool.
"I'm not sure yet. Probably a cat," Swirl grinned, looking over her paints and brushes. "What are you guys going to paint?"
"A horse!" Sarah said, as she got a dreamy look in her eyes. "A nice, big, brown, beautiful horse. She's going to have a star between her eyes and a brown, gorgeous mane."
"Wow, that's a great description!" Lost laughed. "I don't know what I'm going to paint yet."
"I want her to look like the horse I ride sometimes. Her name is Jazz," Sarah explained.
"Oh, cool!" Lost said.
As Swirl and Sarah began painting, Lost looked around the art room, trying to get inspiration. The room was full of trinkets, paints, and all sorts of random things. She noticed a blue glob of paint on the floor was still wet.
Suddenly, the lights flickered a few times before going out completely. The whole school went pitch black.
"Um, guys? What happened?" Sarah asked cautiously.
"I have no idea," Lost replied back, trying to see her friends in the darkness. Her eyes weren't used to the sudden change of lighting.
"I think the power went out. It sounds like a thunderstorm is going on outside," Swirl said.
Lost listened hard. She could hear the crash of thunder and the wind roaring. "That's probably it. Let me see if I can find a flashlight somewhere around here. Do you guys remember seeing any closet or something? Maybe a flashlight is in there."
"I think I saw one on one of the shelves by the door. Be careful though, I don't want you to walk into anything," Sarah said.
Lost got up and walked slowly over to where she thought the door was. Instead, she crashed into an easel, knocking it to the ground.
"Lost?! Are you okay?" Swirl asked.
"I'm fine," Lost said. "I don't know if the easel is though."
Lost moved to the left to avoid walking into the fallen easel and moved her hands out in front of her as she walked, trying to find the door. Her hand slightly brushed the cold doorknob.
As Lost's eyes got more adjusted to the dark, she looked up and saw a few shelves close to the door. Lost moved her hand around the shelves, feeling the objects on it. She pushed past some of the trinkets and felt around the back corner.
"Aha!" Lost said, grasping a flashlight. "I found it!"
Lost fumbled to turn the flashlight on. All of a sudden, Lost heard a noise coming from the other side of the door. Like someone accidently knocked something against the door.
Lost whirled around, shining the light at the window of the door. Nothing was by the door. The hall was strangely dark and Lost couldn't see very much because of the dimness.
"Did you guys hear that?" Lost asked, glancing at her friends.
"Hear what?" Sarah asked, squinting as Lost shone the light over to her friends.
Lost flew the door open and stepped a little into the hallway. She looked down the hall and saw no one.
"What's going on?" Swirl said, walking over to Lost, paintbrush in hand.
"I thought I heard someone out in the hall but no one's here," Lost said. "It sounded like someone was watching us."
"Uh, that's spooky," Sarah said. "What if you heard wrong? Maybe it was just the wind?"
"It sure sounded like someone hitting something on the door," Lost answered, walking back inside.
"Well, no one is out there so there's no way we can find out who it was," Swirl said, closing the door behind her. "Maybe it was just some student who likes playing tricks on others."
"Maybe," Lost replied doubtfully.
"Let's just keep painting and try to forget about it," Swirl declared.
Lost nodded and walked back to her empty easel. All possible inspiration was gone.
"I think I'm going to go back to my dorm," Lost said, standing up again.
"Wait, we can come with," Sarah said as she started to get up.
"No, no, it's fine. You guys keep painting. I'll catch you later, alright?" Lost said, handing the flashlight to Swirl. "You can keep the flashlight."
"If you're sure about going alone," Swirl said, sounding unsure. "You aren't going to try to find who hit the door, right?"
"Oh, no. I'm just tired and figured I could use some extra rest," Lost replied. "See you guys later!"
Lost hurried out of the room and down the dark hall. She glanced up at the overhead lights.
I wish these were working tonight! It's creepy walking in a dark hallway when someone may or may not be spying on you.
Lost picked up her pace, trying not to let her overactive imagination get the best of her. As she turned the corner, she heard a noise.
Lost stopped and held her breath.
Someone was nearby.
Lost hurried further down the hall, fear gripping at her.
Don't look behind. Pretend you heard nothing. DO NOT LOOK BEHIND YOU.
Just as she was about to go up the staircase, her curiosity got the better of her. She turned around and looked back down the hall.
A dark shadow moved down the hall.
Lost bolted up the stairs, taking two at a time. Lost tore down the hall and hurriedly unlocked the door of her dorm. She whipped open the door and slammed it shut. After locking it, Lost sunk down onto the floor, breathing hard.
Lost had no idea who that was or why they had followed her.
Why were all these mysterious things happening in Jamaasian High? And why did it include her?