In a desperate attempt to at least reach double figures before the month (and year) is out, here we go again - the next wholesome-to-the-bone installment of The New Girl! By the way, I won't be around from the 27th all the way till the 30th - yups, it's that time of the year again: Youth Camp! Don't think the absence will be very much noticable though, with the slew of breaks I've taken so far...see ya around for New Year's Eve!
"I know it feels awfully weird that I'm here." Saras' words mirrored the exact thoughts in May's head.
"Um...pretty much. Where're the rest of your friends?"
"Most of them need to help out with their parents' businesses after school. I'm only able to be here because my elder brother is back home for this month."
"Mm," May nodded. "By the way, you must be wondering how I grew fifteen years older in a day."
"Not really. I've seen it happen before."
May sat up, very much more interested now. "You mean that girl Misha?"
"Yes. But she took a lot longer than you. Say, three months."
"And you saw it all?"
"They sent her to the hospital at about the same age you got to, 30 or so. Maybe later I think. It was when the changes became too great to ignore. I only saw her once more after that in the hospital, and it was terrible. She'd become all shrivelled up and bedridden, almost like a grandmother approaching 100. Her mother kept crying, but there was nothing the doctors could do. She didn't make a single sound; all she did was stare at us like we weren't there."
"Did...did she die in the end?" Her hands had strangely become clammy all of a sudden.
"I don't know. Her parents took her out of town, vowing to find a cure."
A very scary question raced through her mind over and over like a sadistic carousel - Will the same thing happen to me? She dared not ask it however, for fear of an answer even worse than the question.
"And I should let you know this," Saras continued. "Jean's missing."
"Missing? Where is she?"
"How would I know? Her aunt came to school this morning and said that she didn't come home last night. She's worried sick."
Don't tell me she's still in the secret garden.
"I think I know where she is," May got out of bed. "Come, we've got to look for her."