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Authors: Christopher Pike

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BOOK: Monster
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I lost money on the Job. The foundation took us three times as long as we thought it would because the ground was so hard. Our engineers say the iron content of the soil was ten times what they thought it would be. We should have built a steel mill there instead of a high school. Maybe the geologists are right when they say the lake was formed by a meteor.

 


Poi
nt Lake was formed by a meteor?”
Angela asked.


That's what I'
ve heard,” Kevin said. “
At least the h
ole
in the ground was. T
he water came later, of course.”

“Where does Point High get its water?”


From
the lake. Didn't you know that?”

“No,”
she said.


Angie, there's nothing wrong with the water.
I
drink it.
You drink it. And there's nothing wrong with us
.
Besi
des,
they tested the water inside out when the students s
tarted to get sick. It's perfectly OK.”


Is that where my grandfather's water comes from?
” she
asked.

Kevin thought a moment. “
I don't think so
.
I think
he
gets it from a well high up on the hill, where my fa
mily
gets theirs. Lots of people on our side of the lake g
e
t th
e water from there.”

“Why get water from a well when t
he lake's sitting right
here?”

“I don't know,”
he said
. “Good question.”


You said that
some
people say t
he lake was formed by a
meteor. Do other people disagree?”


First off, it's not
that
unusual to have a lake

or any
body
of water, for that matter

formed by a meteor. They
say H
udson Bay was created by a meteor long ago. But as
far as
Point Lake is concerned, there haven't been any studies done to be sure. Personally, I think a meteor must
have
formed
it.”


Why does our young scientist believe that?

Angela
asked.


Because you can't get a proper reading on a compass
in this
town. The needles just spin. The iron in the ground here is magnetic, and meteors are often magnetic
.
But before we go too far with this, I must say again that the students' getting sick and Mary's going berserk has nothing to
do
with the water or the meteor. If
that
were the case, we'd
all
have been affected. In fac
t, thousands of people would hav
e been affected for the past hundred ye
ars, since this town was built.
Even before then

the Indians were here firs
t
. As far as I know,
the
water didn't bother
them.”

Angela shivered, although she didn't know why. Maybe it was just the thought of living beside a lake that had been carved out by something from outer space that made her fe
el
suddenly chilly. She remembered again how cold the
lake
water a
lways was — even in the summer.


I
s
uppose you're right,

she said distractedly.

 

 

CHAPTER
FOUR

 

Friday night found Angela at the football game
. There
had been talk all week long of cancelling the game
out
of respect for Todd an
d Kathy. But it was finally decided
that the contest could be dedicated to the two, rather
than
abandoned. It was the first game of the new school ye
ar,
and it was against Balton High, played in Balton's stadi
um
because Point High didn't yet have one of its own.

Angela had had an interesting week at school.
Every
where she went people talked in whispers at her back. S
he
had dual claims to fame: she had helped stop Mary,
and
she was Mary's best friend. She supposed one was g
ood
and
the
other bad, but she didn't know if they cance
lled
e
ach other out. Actually, she tal
ked to very few people
all
week. When she didn't see
Jim
Kline around, she assu
med
his leg was bothering him more than he had let on.

Yet Friday night he was starting quarterback.

Angela had gone to the game without Kevin. She
felt guilty about that.
When he'd asked her if she wanted to
go
to a movie, she had answered that she wanted to stay ho
me.
There was no chance he'd attend the game because
he
disliked football as much as he disliked football players.

Angela sat by herself high up in the stands after bu
ying
herself a couple of hot dogs and a large Coke. Mary
was
much on her mind, especially after she'd spoken to
her
parents briefly on Thursday

a difficult conversation
. It
wasn't as if Mary were recovering from an illness or
anyt
hing. Hi, how's your daughter? How's her cell? Does
she
like her striped pyjama
s? I hear she's got a rapist for a cell
mate. Yeah, that's tough when the warden won't
even let her call collect.
A
ngela hadn't known what to say.
Appar
ently
though, Mary had yet to have her bail hearing with
t
he
j
udge. Mary's paren
t
s didn
't
know why
i
t
was taking so long
. They s
ounded so sad
,
it
broke Angela's heart
.

T
he
game started. Angela tried to push away her gloomy
thou
ght
s
and enjoy it.
Ordinarily she liked football. She
pretty
much liked all sports and had hoped to go out
for
volleyball or basketball. She was disappointed that no t
eam
s had been formed yet and might not be until after
she
graduated.

At a glance it was cl
ear Balton High was the favourite. As
both
teams lined up
f
or the k
ic
k-off Angela could see how
much
bigger Balton's players were. The reason was simple.
Bolton
High had a student body five times Point's size. Five
times
as many kids to draw from. Angela stood and cheered
as
Point received the kick-off. She hoped it would be a good
game.
Point ran the ball back to the twenty-yard line, and
t
he
offensive unit, led by
Jim
Kline, came on to the field.

“Then Jim w
ould pas
s. He
would throw tight, clean spirals that
you could hardl
y
see.
When they
hit the receivers the guys
would
double up as if they had bee
n shot. Tho
se
passes would hur
t,
and
I mean hurt.”

In the next six minutes, on the opening drive of the
g
ame, Angela watched
Jim
throw five complete passes, the
final
one thirty yards in
to the end zone for a touchdown.
A
ll
of them were tight spirals, but none of his passes
made
his receivers double up in pain. He did appear
to
throw them hard, h
owever, and accurately. His performan
ce was amazing, to say the least. But Angela did
not g
et the impression she was watching a superhuman
play.
In
f
act, she hardly thought about what Mary had
sai
d
once she was into the game.

And a fine game it was, from Point's perspective, Balton
mi
ght
have been bigger, but they weren't as quick or as
c
o
ordinated. Point quickly jumped to a two-touchdown
lea
d. By the end of the first half the score was
21
to
7,
and it
seemed as if Point was just getting warmed up. As
the
players jogged to the lockers for th
e half-time break,
Angela hurried down to the bleachers toward
s
the
fence
that separated the stands from the playing
field.
Jim
was o
ne of the last players to leave the field. Three tiers
up
still, she was able to call down to h
i
m as he passed by.
She
hoped she wasn't dr
awing undue attention to the act.


You're killing those guys,

she said.

He removed his helmet and raised his head. Right
then,
at that moment, he did
n't look anything like a clumsy jock.
He looked more like a conquering gladiator. He
flashed
her a quick smile.

Are we
still on for tonight?”

“I'm on if you're on,”
she said.


I'll meet you outside the s
howers twenty minutes after the game.”

“I’ll be there.”
It was sounding more like a date all
the
time.

The second half was a repeat of the first half, exce
pt it
was more devastating. Point ran off two touchdowns
in a
row before Balton could respond with a field goal
. There
was nothing supernatural at work
.
Balton was simply
being
outplayed, both offensively and defensively. They were
also
being outcoached. Only two players came out with
inj
uries,
both on Balton's sid
e. Two was not a lot to lose in a football
game, Angela thought.
It was probably below average. The
second player, though

hurt in a pile-up in the last minutes

did have to be carried off the field.

The final score was
42
to
9.

Jim
had completed over three-quarters of his p
asses.

She met him outside Balton's showers long after
the
twenty minutes h
e had promised. She didn't mind. He was quick to apologiz
e and
l
ooked so handsome with
his
wet hair and equipm
ent bag thrown nonchalantly over his
shoulder that she considered herself lucky. She had to
re
mind herself that the purpose of their date

she had
begun to
call it that in her mind

was to discuss a tragic
matter.
Jim
, though, elated by his team's victory, appeared to
have
thrown off th
e gloom of last week's incident.

“I
think we scared them in the first
few minutes,”
he
said
as they
walked towards the parking lot.
The night was
warm; may
be they'd have another one of those long summers.

They ju
st rolled over and played dead.”


It
looked so easy
I
was afraid I'd get bored,

she said.

He paused and turned to her.
“I
hope
I
didn't bore you.”

She
laughed quickly, embarrassed. “
No, you were incredible. I don't see how yo
u guys lost a single game last year with you at the helm.”


I
improved a l
ot since last year. We all did.” He added quietly, “
I think playing this game
f
or Todd and Kathy
gave us an extra spark tonight.”

She nodded. “I'm sure they appreciate it, wherever they are.”

Jim
raised his head to the stars. “
Yeah,

he mu
ttered. Then he shook himself. “
Are you hungry?


I
just ate two hot dogs.”


But you haven't had des
sert. Let's go somewhere to eat.”


OK.

She
gestured to the far end of the l
o
t, where her car was parked. “I have my car. Would you like to meet somewhere?”

H
e grinned.
“Afraid to come with me?”

She was glad it was dark and he couldn't see her blush. She poked him in the chest, feeling hard, smooth muscle.
“You don't scare me, big boy.”

BOOK: Monster
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