The Body Snatcher - Chapter 3

"I don't want to talk about it" I sped up trying to get away from Murphy but he wasn't letting up.

He stepped in front of me, "Laura, what was that? What video was he talking about."

I don't know. That's what I wanted to scream but how could I explain to him why I didn't know what I clearly should know. I had never told anyone about me before, not like they would believe me anyway.

"I'm feeling overwhelmed right now" I said to him trying desperately to find a way out of the situation. "I'll tell you later okay? I promise"

He let out a frustrated sigh, "Should I not have stopped him?"

I rolled my eyes but didn't respond.

"Are you and Gino..." he shook his head slightly clearly trying to make sense of the whole thing. So was I.

"No, of course not... I just.." What could I do or say? I looked into Murphy's eyes. He looked so hurt almost like I had betrayed him.

Cool breeze blew past us, his short hair ruffled in the wind and a large chunk of

mine flew past my face.

With my index finger, I tucked my hair behind me ear. God I hated that motion. I hated his long hair, I hated the cluster fuck of a life that he had. I decided I didn't care anymore. He could pick up the pieces tomorrow.

"I'm sorry" was all I managed before turning to walk away. I listened for footsteps but there were none.

=^..^=

I was already in a shitty mood as I carried a tray and scanned for a table. Unfamiliar faces scattered the entire cafeteria. I spotted Valerie and her posse as well as Gino sitting with some wolverines.

Where would this kid sit? I hated this. Of course Murphy was nowhere to be found when I actually needed him. There were no free tables so I had to pick one. I spotted a table of nerds. There? No they weren't giving me the time of day. Artsy kids in the corner?

A sudden impact from behind my right shoulder knocked my tray loose and I stared in horror as my tray clattered on the floor. Fuck, and I was hungry too.

"Sorry" a voice said in between laughs followed by snickers from 2 other boys.

"Watch it asshole" I said sharply. When the entire cafeteria fell silent, I immediately regretted it.

The three boys slowly turned with a hint of disbelief on their faces.

"What was that?" the one who'd hit me said. His lips curled in what looked to me like an amused smile.

No going back now.

"You hit me. On purpose." I said standing my ground. The whole cafeteria was watching this unfold. So much for flying under the radar.

"And don't think I won't hit you again just because you're a girl now".

My eyes scanned the room, no adults except the lunch lady who didn't seem to care. I briefly thought about diffusing the situation and apologizing but that's not how I rolled. Old me could take this guy. This wimp definitely couldn't but backing down now would only make the bullying worse.

Never give a bully an easy target or they'll keep coming back.

"But that's why you're coming after me, isn't it? Cause I'm a girl and easy to hit?" Truth be told, I hated saying it but from the look on his face, I could tell it was effective.

"Shut up" he said. His smirk had been replaced with an expression that did little to hide his anger.

It was getting dangerous but I was in too deep now. "Or what?"

My gaze flicked over to the entrance where Murphy was just making an entrance. My gaze flicked back to the boy in front of me and his now clenched fist. He wouldn't hit me would he? The vein in his neck told me he would.

I got ready. I had been in quite a few fights in my years on this earth and honestly I was good at it. I watched his right leg flex and I knew he was going to try to close the distance between us.

As both his hands rose to waist level, I knew he was going to attempt to shove me. And hard. With over 100 pounds on me, I knew it would send me flying and I knew it was going to hurt.

I decided I was going to sidestep the shove and let his momentum embarrass him. Hopefully they'd leave this kid alone when they realise he wasn't an easy target.

I analyzed the whole scenario as if in slow motion. I had to sidestep at the last moment so he wouldn't have any chance of recovery. I waited and waited until that perfect moment and then started my dodge.

Unfortunately I hadn't accounted for how slow this kid was. His dainty body lacked the power to move out of the way quickly enough. Both hands hit my left shoulder and launched me off my feet immediately knocking the wind out of me.

"Fuck" I thought to myself I'd even braced myself when I knew I wasn't going to dodge it and still. I hit the ground hard and an involuntary squeal left my lips. Fuck, that hurt.

I lay squirming on the cold floor willing myself to get up but my body wasn't cooperating. I took bigger hits than this on the daily when I played ball. When I played Running back, I learned quickly how to take hard hits and stay in control to prevent a fumble.

Laura's body wasn't at all equipped for any of this. I started to realise that I may have underestimated the difference between a boy's body and a girl's. I certainly regretted picking this fight.

Through half opened eyes, I saw the kid hit the floor with Murphy standing over him. What had happened? I was groggy. I tried hard to focus. The boy that had shoved me was on his ass. Did Murphy punch him? Shove him? I thought about how this must have been such an entertaining scene.

The old me would have been heckling from the sidelines. Maybe a little bit of instigating thrown in. Now though I lay flat on the smooth, cold, cafeteria floor barely able to keep my eyes open.

I watched with dizzy eyes as Murphy closed the gap between us. My gaze flicked over to the other boy who had picked himself off the floor but wasn't making any further moves.

Murphy was kind of cool actually, the way he dove in to protect me no questions asked. Kinda like how I would have done with my high school sweetheart all those years ago.

Did he like this boy? Well girl I guess. Nothing about her seemed remotely masculine so it made more sense.

I felt his arms go under me and a moment later, he'd picked me up into his arms.

Why was he doing so much? He was good looking, I can admit that. Probably athletic, strong and really sweet actually.

I'm sure he'd be able to get any girl at this school so why her?

I groggily rose my head to look at him. He was looking directly at me with a look of worry draped over his face.

"I'm sorry" I whispered. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't figure out why I said that.

He just shushed me.

=^..^=

I'd woken up sometime in the nurse's office who informed me that my mother was here and in the principal's office.

That filled me with dread. Parents coming to school was never a good thing. Then again I wouldn't be here tomorrow anyway so why should I care?

No doubt she was laying into them about letting her baby girl get assaulted.

After some tests, the nurse seemed satisfied, "No signs of a concussion. A bruised tail bone is the worst of your worries but nothing too major"

"Can I go?" I asked remembering to use Laura's voice.

"Sure, you can go see your mother in the office, she'll take you home". That was the first good news I'd had all day. At home I could lock myself away and await a new day.

=^..^=

When I stepped into the hallway, I realised I didn't actually know where the office was. Thankfully I spotted mother making a beeline for me.

"Hi mum" was all I managed before she pulled me into a bear hug.

No sooner had she finished checking me for harm did her worried look switch to a stern.

"Why would goad a bully like that? Are you trying to get seriously hurt?"

"It wasn't like that"

"This morning you were scared to come to school and then I hear got into a fight? Can you imagine how worried I was?"

"I'm sorry"

"No, I need you to tell me what's going on. Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention to you but I thought you were doing fine..." she paused "I don't even know".

When I didn't respond, she sighs and says we'll continue this at home with my father. Great, another thing to look forward to.

=^..^=

The drive home was long and uneventful. Occasionally, mum would turn to look at me with a worried expression before turning back to focus on the road. Sometime during the journey, she offered to stop for fast food which I declined.

Eventually I texted Murphy to let him know that I'd gone home so he wouldn't be too worried.

The modern SUV hummed quietly as it came to a stop followed by the engine shutting off. I heard the click of the doors unlocking then pulled the handle to open it.

I made a quick path through the front door, up the stairs and into my room locking the door behind me.

I hadn't had many eventful days since I died. Most of the bodies I'd 'stolen' lived very boring lives. Most were either still in school, working a shitty 9-5 or unemployed.

In most cases I could lock myself in their rooms and just browse the internet. When I wasn't watching a movie, I would be researching my old self - Eddie Russo or searching for other cases of body hopping.

For all intents and purposes, the world had forgotten me. My friends and family grieved for maybe a week. My girlfriend and side pieces had already started dating again not long after.

It made me sick how little people cared. Even the cops. From what I could tell, the case had been closed. No one else had died in the accident, just me so no harm done I guess.

I wanted to get these clothes off now that I'd made it into the privacy of her room but I didn't want to look at her.

So i just lay in bed and tried my hardest to fall asleep. 3:12pm. Nighttime couldn't come soon enough.

=^..^=

I awoke to soft knocks on the door followed by a man's voice.

"Laura, open up".

I didn't respond. I knew it was probably her father but I didn't want to talk to anyone and maybe if I ignored him, he'd go away. I checked the time on her phone. 6:50pm. Missed call from Murphy. Only a few hours to go.

"Don't make me get the key" the voice rang out again.

"I'm coming" I managed. I lazily got out of bed and dragged myself to the door, turned the lock and greeted the middle age man on the other side.

'You must be Peter Hill. The dad.' I thought to myself. Why did he look familiar?

"What's this I'm hearing about a fight?" He asked as he made his way past me.

'Hardly a fight' I thought to myself.

I didn't respond. I just followed as he made his way to a chair.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"Yes sir" I replied. A mistake. A spill over of my relationship with my own father. His raised eyebrow confirmed that this wasn't normal.

"And this boy you fought?"

"It wasn't an actual fight. He just pushed me, that's all".

He seemed disappointed.

"Your mother said you were provoking the boy?" It wasn't actually a question "Listen... Laura. I know girls can usually get away with saying that kind of stuff to boys but you need to realise they're not going to give you the same treatment they give the girls"

His expression seemed to me like he was asking if I understood him.

When I didn't reply he continued, "you can't say things like that and expect to get away with it."

I didn't disagree but it still hurt. He wasn't even pretending to be on my side.

"Do you understand?" he asked this time relying on the more direct means.

"Y..yes" I managed.

He sighed. "Get some rest, you have school tomorrow".

I didn't care about that. '3 more hours' I thought happily.

No matter how I looked at it, I failed. This kid is going to wake up tomorrow absolutely dumbfounded about everything that happened today.

The clusterfuck with Gino as well as the whole thing in the cafeteria with the other kid whose name I still didn't know. But I didn't care.

If he talked about it, about not being himself, nobody would believe him anyway. Thinking of the Gino, my mind wondered about the video he'd been talking about. I had a few more hours, I decided to satisfy my curiosity.

I first started looking through her contacts for Gino's name but it wasn't saved and I found nothing of interest in her messages either.

Checking the gallery yielded no results either. Still not giving up, I started checking every app in alphabetical order. It wasn't until I made my way to Telegram that I found what I was looking for. A single message from a user named "him" with a video.

I clicked play and stared with horror. The video was a mirror recording of Laura and a man in a fox mask behind her. The man had the camera in one hand and the other on her waist. I closed the app hurriedly and said under my breath, "that was CP".

What had this girl gotten herself into? What could I do? Even worse, her face was in full view. Should I tell her parents? Should I atleast tell Murphy? He seemed to care for her. That wasn't him in the video right? Was it Gino? That made the most sense right?

No, I had to stick to my rule of leaving their lives how I found them. I'd done enough damage for one day.

No, I wouldn't do anything. I closed the phone and put it face down on the bed. Two more hours now.

=^..^=

I don't remember falling asleep but I was glad to be waking up now. I smiled internally. The nightmare was over. I had never been so happy after a switch before.

But everything felt too familiar. I felt the same long hair, soft bed, tiny appendage between my legs. My hands frantically came up to my chest and I felt the same mound of flesh.

My eyes opened and searched the room. The same four walls, the same vanity, the same phone in the exact same spot where I'd left it.

I hurriedly picked it up to check the time, maybe it hadn't happened yet. 6.17am.

Fuck.

I swiped the phone to unlock it. 061122. The phone pass code, the date she started HRT.

Math was my first class of the day. Liam was her dead name. Noah was the boy that shoved her yesterday.

Fuck.



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