Nikki paused, peered around and down the hallway, and waited for her follower to appear.
"Nikki," whispered Lauren. "Nikki, come on! We can't just wait for him." Nikki jogged after her friend down the corridor, occasionally looking over her shoulder. They followed the studios many passages, passed through several doors and finally stopped in hallway 176.
Nikki turned to Lauren and asked, "What was that all about?" Lauren smoothed out her costume, pushed her short dirty blond hair behind her ears and shrugged. Nikki looked down at her ripped performing dress and faded jeans, groaned and took a deep breath. Last week, five boys from Nikki's school were shot and killed near the acting studio. People say they had seen someone who looked like Nikki run from the scene with a gun in her hand. She told the police when they questioned her to search her house from top to bottom; they found nothing. Yet every day since then, a man stalked Nikki and Lauren as they walked to and from the acting studio. Before long, Nikki got suspicious looks from everyone in Redwood Springs. Lauren told her that people kept saying things like "Nikki Chancellor shot those five boys", or "Stay away from that Nikki girl". She quickly became one of the most hated person in the town of Redwood Springs. Only Lauren, a seventeen year old dancer enrolled at Nikki's school, refused to believed the rumors because she knew that Nikki would never touch a gun, nonetheless take some ones life. Nikki was especially gifted in acting and was enrolled in Redwoods Performing Arts School.
Suddenly, footsteps echoed off the corridor walls, knocking Nikki out of her memory. They heard the heavy breathing of a man, his slow hesitant steps on the concrete floor. "I can hear you." He whispered. The man's shadow appeared, growing on the wall as he approached. Lauren and Nikki slid back quietly, their socks gliding on the cold cement. As his footsteps came closer, the girls turned and ran.
"You can't run Nikki," a cold voice said. "Everyone knows it was you. Those people are dead because of you." Nikki stopped. She breathed in and grabbed her mother's silver necklace dangling around her neck. Then she turned and faced him. The man stepped into the clearing of the hallway and stood with a smirk on his dirty face, noting the teenager's slender features. Nikki glared back at the man, anger, fear and adrenaline coursed through her thin body. She pushed Lauren behind her and kept her gaze on the stranger.
"They say you went mad, crazy with anger." He grinned, revealing pearl white teeth. "They say you didn't want to do it but the boys drove you insane." He dropped his gaze to the ground and pivoted on his heel, strutting around the bend in the hall. "So I heard you want to be an actress. It's a wonderful career. Challenging, fulfilling, and dangerous from what I've heard." he added calmly, changing the subject and ignoring the girls glare. Nikki didn't reply. She stood her ground as the man came closer and closer.
"I didn't kill them! I would never kill anyone!" Screaming in rage, Nikki stepped forward, confronting him. Lauren grabbed Nikkis' shoulders and held her back.
"Now now," he replied, holding up his hands and taking a step back. "No need to scream. I'm just repeating what I have heard." The man held his hands behind his back and waited for Nikki to break.
"You have no proof." Anger poured out. "No one does! You don't even know me. Yes they drove me mad. But, it was not enough to pursue such a ridiculous act." Nikki pulled her long black hair out of her face and planted her feet on the ground.
"Please understand." He calmly began. "I don't mean to blame you, Nikki. First, let me introduce myself-"
"I don't want to know who you are!" Nikki interrupted him. "I didn't do anything! They were my friends! Why would I kill my own friends? What do you want with me?" Anger turned to fear and she moved back and grabbed Lauren. Her voice echoed off the brick walls.
"Now now." He chuckled and locked his blue eyes on the girls. "You should know it is rude to interrupt someone. I just want to know the truth." His voice remained calm as he avoided Nikkis questions. He tried to convince the girls he was there to help but they could see right through him. Before he could speak again, Nikki shrieked.
"ANSWER ME! I will not let you talk your way around me! Don't lie to me! What do you want with me?"
He stepped back in surprise. Never had he been talked to in such a rude manner. "I'm not trying to-". Nikki interrupted him once more. She tore off the navy blue dress, which concealed her well muscled body covered by jeans and a tank top. Nikki sprinted towards the man at full speed. Lauren called out behind her but she didn't listen. The mans' reaction was slow and wasn't able to move away in time. Nikki leaped off the ground and tackled the man. He fell against the concrete, slamming his head hard. Nikki somersaulted over him, spun around and grasped his neck with both her hands. He reached up to grab her shoulders but was suddenly restricted by Lauren. Lauren sat on his hands and grinned. The man kicked Nikki in the side and knocked her off. Landing against the wall, she lay still. Lauren screamed, turned to the man and pounced on his chest. A sound like breaking bones filled the immediate silence that fallowed. Lauren stumbled over to her friend.
"Nikki! Please wake up!" Lauren carefully picked up her friend and gently shook her. Nikki woke with a start. She grabbed her side and leaned against Lauren, groaning in pain.
"Is he dead?" She asked.
"No. I think I broke his rib cage though." Lauren placed her arm around Nikki and lifted her up.
"Lets' go before he wakes up." Lauren kept her eyes on the fallen man as they slowly walked out. Both were shaken and injured, unaware of the two silver eyes watching their every move.
"But Sir! She's stronger than she looks!" The man winced as he took in a deep breath. His ribs were splintered in several places, blood dribbled down his back from his head.
"I don't care! You failed your mission Phox! You have failed me!" Silver eyes pierced through the man on the ground. A black paw raised and fell a foot from the man, knocking him down. He whimpered silently as its retractable claws dug into the soft clay.
"Please give me another chance!" Phox pleaded, kneeling on his bruised knees. "I won't let you down!"
Phox waited in dreadful silence, too scared to move from the paw. Without notice, Sir pulled his paw back into the shadows but he still didn't say anything.
Finally, the reply came. "Fine. This is your last chance, Phox. Do not disappoint me! You have until dusk on the night of the full moon."It turned away and disappeared. "You know what will happen, Phox! I will not hesitate to do so!" Sir added, than fell silent.
"Thank you Sir!" Phox called out, chills swept over him. "You will be pleased with me!"
Phox bowed, lifted himself up and exited the cave-like room. The night of the full moon was only three days away. Phox had very little time.