The air was biting, but the breeze was almost warm as Kris made her way down the street.

A yellow caution sign stood at the end of the snow-covered sidewalk – School Bus Stop.

A small group of kids of varying ages gathered there.

Most she noted were probably middle school age.

Except for one girl who appeared to be about fifteen or older.

A bit shorter than herself, the girl had brown hair with huge professor style glasses.

When Kris arrived at the site, she cast a smile to the girl.

“Hi.” Kris said.

The expression on the girl’s face was one of surprise as she hesitantly returned the smile.

‘Um, hey.”

The girl wore an oversized coat which made her appear to be a bit chubby.

Before she could say anything more to the girl, the bus arrived.

When Kris stepped inside, she immediately spotted Anya who was sitting near the front.

There was an empty spot beside her which Kris took as she sat down on the freezing surface.

The girl’s face held a scowl as she walked past Kris.

Confused, Kris forced herself not to look back.

Anya leaned into her shoulder and whispered. “Did your parents say anything to you?”

Kris nodded. “Oh, they sure did. Yours?”

“Yeah.” She replied. “I’m grounded. You?”

“Same.”

“Three weeks.” Anya rolled her eyes. “Like I’m going to go that long without shopping.”

“Two weeks for me.” Kris said. “Going to feel like an eternity.” She hoped she sounded convincing as a typical teen girl should.

“It’s pointless.” Anya said. “I mean, Jaff said we weren’t there so why ground us, right?”

Kris didn’t know what to say and shrugged instead.

“Leia’s parents didn’t ground her so why should ours?” Anya continued her rant as she crossed her arms in defiant. “No one going to stop me from doing what I want. I don’t care who they are!”

Kris remained quiet as she glanced out the nearby window.

They just crossed the one-lane green bridge and were going down the main street of town before turning left onto the same road where the Community Center was located.

“Deanna gave you a dirty look after you got on.” Anya said. “What’s up with that?”

 “Who?”

“You know, four eyes?” Anya’s voice lowered.

Deanna must be the name of the girl at the bus stop.

“Um, I just said hi is all.” She replied.

Anya’s nose crinkled as she gave Kris a stern look. “You spoke to her?”

Kris felt her face growing warm.

“Yeah. What? Is that a crime?” She said trying not to sound annoyed.

Anya cocked her head as her blue eyes darkened. “Girl, did you hit your head? You know we have a pact to not mingle with those outside our Popistas group.”

Popistas? What in the world—?

“And she would be what then?” Kris’ eyes narrowed.

“She’s a geek who wears only second-hand cheapo wardrobe.” Anya replied. “We do not stoop to their level. I mean, they’re nearly as bad as the nonpersons.”

There was that word again.

Kris’ head began to throb as she closed her eyes and focused on steadying her breathing.

If she could get through this day without clobbering someone it’d be a miracle.

“I wonder if they’ll be there.” Anya said.

As she pressed her fingers against her temples, she mumbled. “They?”

“You know, Marc and Jaff.” Anya replied as she set a designer name bag on her laps. “I mean, with being caught and nearly arrested, I assume that Principal Sharpe might try to suspend them.”

“If I were them, I’d lay low for a few days.” Kris said as she glanced out of the window once more and saw that the bus had pulled into a parking lot as a large building loomed ahead.

“Jaff maybe but not Marc.” Anya smiled as she applied maroon colored lipstick to her full lips. “He’s no pushover to any so-called school official. I mean, his parents are real good friends of Leia’s parents.”

“And that’s relevant why?” Kris asked as the bus parked in front of a multi-story brick building.

“Girl, you’re so daff today!” Anya let out a half laugh. “Leia’s parents are part of the Council so as long as Marc doesn’t do anything really stupid, Principal Sharpe won’t be able to boot him out of school.”

The Council?

Kris shook her head.

Her head might explode by mid-day while attempting to keep up with all the new and odd information.

With the bus at a complete stop, everyone inside stood up and began filing out.

Kris peered ahead and saw streams of bodies moving toward and inside the building.

She felt sick as her heart thumped furiously against her ribs.

All sorts of curse words filled her head as she was pushed down the steps and out into hell.

Under Another Sky – Landing Page