Only two students were so far unaccounted for, apparently. After a minute, Emiliana saw her own name there alongside her brother’s. And not long after, she was staring at helicopter footage of her own house and listening to the reporter talk about how the rest of her immediate family was also missing. The news line soon changed to, ‘Assault on Rainlord family?’
It did nothing to ease her mind. She didn’t want to hang up on Alicia, but she had to try calling her parents again.
A vain attempt. Her father still wasn’t answering, and the call still wasn’t reaching her mother. Her hands trembled as she made to try Cisco next.
Her vision began to blur, in and out of focus. She squinted at her phone as her fingers started to burn--and then, so did her face. She couldn’t hold back her pained groans, and she dropped her phone as she watched her fingers contorting strangely against her will.
‘Ch-Chergoa!’ she thought, hardly able to think straight. ‘What--?! What’s--?!’
‘Emiliana! Oh sh--! It’s okay! No, this is fine. Just try to calm down.’
It felt like thick needles were digging into her face. Or out of it, rather. Her forehead, both cheeks, and her left eye all burned like fire. ‘What is this?! What’s happening?!’
‘It’s okay. I’ll tell you exactly what’s happening, but first I need you to try and relax. Just close your eyes and listen to my voice. You’re okay. Do you understand? You’re fine.’
She did as the reaper said, or tried to. She could still feel her own racing heart and stunted breaths. And her whole body shook, small tremors running through her, up and down and back and forth all at once.
But after a spell, the feeling slowly melted away, leaving only a few lingering shivers.
‘Alright,’ said Chergoa. ‘Now when you open your eyes, you’re going to see some changes. You’re a little different now. But I don’t want you to panic, okay? I need you to trust me. I’ll explain everything. I promise.’