Thirty minutes later, Leia walked cautiously towards Skippy's Pizza. Her anxiety slowly grew as she got closer to the front door of her workplace. She still hadn't seen Misha anywhere on campus. But that wasn't entirely unusual in a bustling student population, especially as distracted as Leia had been today.
"Hey, Leia!" Misha waved enthusiastically as Leia entered Skippy's.
"Misha...hey," Leia replied, confused. "Everything okay?"
"Sure, why wouldn't it be?"
Leia tried to smile as she looked at her friend. Misha Breyer was shorter and thinner than Leia, with short curly brown hair and amber eyes. This time of year, Misha sported a deep tan. She was always a bundle of barely-held-in-check energy, making food in a high-traffic pizza joint. It helped that the customers liked her, and she always showed up early to the job.
"Um, so...last night—" Leia started to say.
"Oh, it's cool," Misha interrupted. "I didn't mind covering for you. It was a slow night anyway."
Leia blinked twice, unsure she'd heard Misha correctly.
"What?" Leia asked.
"Wow, you really were out of it, weren't you?" Misha added. "You told me you weren't feeling well, asked me to cover as manager the last couple of hours and you went home."
That's not what happened! What in the world?
"You still kinda look under the weather, Leia. Are you sure you're okay to work today? I can handle it if —"
"I'll be fine," Leia insisted. "I'll go change into my uniform."
As Leia changed clothes in the ladies’ restroom, she tried to make sense of things.
She doesn't remember last night! No, that's not right. She just remembers it differently! How is that possible?
"Do you really want to know the answer to that question?" the voice returned.
Do you ever leave my head, lady? I feel like you’re stalking me! I don’t get any privacy, you can just butt in whenever you want!
"I'd think that you'd find some comfort in having someone with you who understands you. Besides, I try not to be invasive. I only talk to you when you need to know something."
You did this somehow, didn't you? You changed Misha's memories about last night!
"Not just Misha's," the voice said. "Everyone who witnessed it, including the police who were called. I even fixed the counter you smashed, so there’s no evidence of anything unusual happening last night. You have nothing to worry about anymore."
Who are you that you could do that? I know you helped me, and I'm grateful, but you messed with all those people's minds! You even made Josh forget!
"Would you rather I killed them all? Because that was my alternative. I've done it before."
Suddenly, Leia could tell the presence behind the voice had departed.
And just like that, she’s gone. But now I know she’s a murderer...who’s stalking me and talks to me in my mind. She’s a bigger threat to everyone than I am! What am I going to do?
Leia walked to the counter and visually confirmed what the voice had said, that the surface had been completely repaired. It looked as if the entire counter had been taken apart and reformed from scratch with the same materials. Technically, it was impossible, but there it was in front of her. She decided to take Misha up on her offer to cover for her that evening. Leia was starting to feel sick after all.
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian, happily interracially married since 1995. Father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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