Or is is just the beginning?
The Sky’s the Limit
CHAPTER
1
The Limit
Lyre stared at the water, observing the intricate ripples and the delicate flowers. The algae drifted by, riding on the waves and bowing the plants.
Eva never thought that this was how she’d meet a friend.
Lyre kept looking, an air of serenity surrounding her. She breathed in the sweet, brisk air as a breeze swooped by.
The first drop fell. Water dripped down in drops that soon began to grow in size and number. Each raindrop created a little ripple, disturbing the lake.
Pit. Pat. As each drop fell, the sky grew darker. As each drop fell, Lyre grew colder. As each drop fell, Eva began worrying about Lyre more.
The flash of lighting startled Eva and Lyre both. They saw the lighting reach down to the center of the lake. Thunder reached their ears soon after.
Lyre shivered and looked around. However, no cover was near. In the open meadow, she could do nothing but hope. Hope that the lighting would not reach her.
“Are you okay?” Eva asked, startling Lyre. Lyre whipped around, eyes wide.
“Who... are you?” she asked, observing Eva. Lyre’s breathing became shaky.
Eva stepped closer to Lyre. “I just want to help you. I have a big raincoat we could put over both of us. I can tell you what to do so that we probably won’t get hit by lighting.” Eva opened up her raincoat, inviting Lyre in.
Lyre tensed. “Okay,” she agreed. “But— but— nevermind.”
Eva tilted her head. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.”
“Oh, we can talk about it later. Just come in.”
Lyre stepped inside Eva’s raincoat. It was tight, but it was better than standing in the rain.
Eva smiled warmly. She wrapped the raincoat around them more thoroughly. “Here, let me show you what to do,” she said.
Knock knock. Knock. Knock. Knock knock knock.
It was their special code. Since so many years back, when Eva had protected Lyre from the thunderstorm, their bond had only grew. They became inseparable.
Silence. Nothing was there. No one. No sound. Lyre thought it felt eerie.
Lyre knocked the special code again. Still nothing.
Finally, Lyre gave up. Her shoulders slumped as she trudged back toward her own house.
“Mom, I’m back,” Lyre said once she had re-entered her house. “Eva’s not there. No one’s there. It’s creepy.”
Lyre’s mom turned her head to face Lyre. “Are you sure they’re not doing something? Going out? Traveling?” she asked.
Lyre thought for a second. “They’re definitely not doing anything,” she said. “This is the time every week that we meet up. Everyone knows that. She would never leave her house at this time.”
Lyre’s mom shrugged. “Then I have no idea,” she replied. “Why don’t you go call her or her mom?”
“Sure,” Lyre said. She picked up her phone and dialed Eva.
Beeeeeeep.
Beeeeeeep.
Beeeeeeep.
This is the automatic voice messaging system. (xxx)xxx-xxxx is not available. Please leave your message after the tone. Beep.
“Hey Eva! It’s Lyre. Why aren’t you at home? Please answer! Pleeeeeeeeease. Pretty please?” Click.
Lyre sighed. Eva never did this. She wondered what was going on.
Suddenly, Lyre’s mom barged in. She pointed to the TV in the other room. “Watch it. The local news said something about Eva Schmidt. I’d thought you’d like to tune in.”
Lyre’s eyes widened. Eva was famous? How else would she have gotten on TV?
Lyre walked in to the living room.
“—there’s been a break in the case, though. It seems that her last sighting was near the lake, on the east side of it. However, Eva’s current whereabouts are unknown.”
Lyre took a deep breath. She watched as a picture of Eva played on the TV. Lyre’s eyes moved slightly downwards to look at the title.
EVA SCHMIDT GONE MISSING
Lyre screamed. She stared at the title for so long, her eyes hurt. She read it, over and over again, until the words felt like nothing.
Eva. Eva. Eva. Eva. Eva. Eva. Eva. EVA. EVA!
Lyre couldn’t take her mind off of Eva. Eva, the one who saved her that thunderstorm-y day. Eva, the one who helped lift Lyre up by simply being there for her. Eva, the only true friend Lyre had.
Eva, the one who had gone missing.
Lyre turned off the TV. She took a deep breath.
The day we met was by that lake, Lyre thought. The day she leaves me is by the lake.
Lyre felt like something didn’t add up. It couldn’t have simply been a coincidence.
Lyre shook her head, though her thoughts were still shaken. She watched the news switch from Eva’s case to some weather thing. It was sunny for the rest of the week.
It was sunny yesterday. Lyre had seen Eva yesterday. That meant that the day Eva went missing was a sunny day. They had met on a stormy day.
Lyre switched her focus back to the TV. “Breaking news,” the reporter announced. “More information has been found on the case of Eva Schmidt, a girl who went missing. Her body was found dead at the bottom of the lake, and there seemed to be a note left by her. It reads:
Dear L,
I’m so sorry.
E
Authorities haven’t found out who ‘L’ seems to be, though the handwriting is confirmed to be Eva’s. There will be more research, as authorities believe there is more behind Eva’s case. It is unclear how Eva got into the lake, though it is confirmed that she drowned. No other harm seems to have been made against her body.
“Now, onto our next story. There’s been some activism against against a proposal by the city—”
Lyre switched off the TV again. She was tired of all this. Lyre knew the note was to her, but there was no way she was telling the detectives that. Lyre was going to find out the truth behind this herself.
First step was obvious: go to the lake. Unfortunately, the east side of the lake was roped off. Lyre knew that there was no way she’d get pass the barrier without getting in serious trouble. Lyre weighed the risk and the benefit, then decided against ducking the tape.
Lyre thought about what she’d do next. Lyre tried to see where the end of the roped off area was, but it was too far to see anything useful. There wouldn’t be any luck in trying to find out any info by peeking in from the side. Lyre walked the edge of the lake.
Lyre didn’t know what to do, really. She was just trying to find something. If there was a murderer, Eva would have fought. So whatever happened, Lyre knew that the murderer had to be powerful.
Sighing, Lyre sat down on the soft grass. She closed her eyes, trying to smell the same sweet scent she’d smelled the day of the thunderstorm. It wasn’t there. All Lyre could feel was fear.
There are so many places to start, Lyre thought. After all, really, the sky’s the limit. I have no idea where to look.
Lyre began looking around her. The sky, the grass, tape holding her back, the few wisps of clouds floating in the air. The small shrub, lonely in the open field. Herself.
Lyre decided to look up.
After all, if the sky’s the limit, why not start there?
Lyre looked at the shape of the clouds. One was like... a wave. Another seemed to resemble a five-pointed star. A third cloud was shaped like a crescent moon.
Lyre couldn’t think of anything from this. She looked back at the ground. She noticed a frog near the edge of the water. It ate something in the swampy ground before hopping into the lake and disappearing.
Whatever message nature was trying to give Lyre, she couldn’t figure it out. With the sky as the limit, Lyre had so much to look for.
It. Was. Absolutely. Ridiculous.
Lyre felt embarrassed and lonely. She hadn’t felt this way since the day Eva protected Lyre from the thunderstorm.
Lyre didn’t want to be lonely. She didn’t want the feeling of vulnerability. Lyre realized why Eva had said sorry. She knew that Lyre would be left alone.
Lyre felt tired from being alone. She lied down on the soft grass and closed her eyes, the warmth of the sun calming her.
Yesterday night
Eva took a deep breath. She kept taking deep breaths. Breath after breath after breath, yet Eva still couldn’t calm herself. She hated what she was about to do.
She hated everything, really. Everything except Lyre. Eva felt sorry for Lyre, mostly. She felt sorry that she could no longer be there.
Eva steadied her hand as she began to write her note.
Dear L,
Eva didn’t know what to write after the greeting. She couldn’t think of anything meaningful enough. Eva hoped that Lyre would understand, no matter what.
I’m so sorry.
E
There was something special about this note. Even though it was short, it held a lot of meaning.
Eva knew that, eventually, Lyre would understand.
The note drifted out of Eva’s hand and landed in the grass softly. Eva clutched her pen and reread the note.
Dear L,
I’m so sorry.
E
Eva threw the pen as far as she could toward the water. The pen landed in the lake with a plop.
Eva ran toward the waterside. She looked around, hoping that at this hour no one would be here to witness her doing this.
Lyre opened her eyes. She noticed the sun setting. Lyre realized that she had been napping.
Lyre hopped to her feet and began thinking about what happened. The body, the note, the clouds, the frog. The nap, maybe even.
All of it had to have some meaning. Lyre knew that it had to. She thought about all this for a moment.
The sun dipped below the horizon. Lyre whipped out her cellphone and texted her mom, saying she was okay. She hope that her mom wouldn’t be worried about her staying out for so long.
The crescent moon showed up in the sky. The cloud, Lyre thought. It was a moon, wasn’t it?
Lyre kept staring at the sky. Stars dotted the dark blue expanse above her.
The sky grew darker every minute. Lyre kept staring. Kept staring.
Lyre heard some footsteps behind her. She tried to see where it came from, but it was too dark to see anything.
“Lyre?” the footsteps grew closer. Lyre looked around frantically. “Lyre, where are you?”
I hope this isn’t the murderer, Lyre thought. I hope— well, I hope Eva wasn’t murdered at all. Why am I thinking this? Eva couldn’t possibly have been murdered.
“Lyre?” the voice repeated. “Lyre?” There seemed to be a harshness in the voice.
“I know you’re here because of Eva—”
Lyre screamed and ran.
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