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The Elmore Hex

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"Are we sure that this is a good idea?" Jamie asked, surveying the group. It was currently 1 in the morning, and a group consisting of Penny, Rob, Masami, herself, and Carrie were standing at the end of the street as Penny looked both ways. The four girls were having a sleepover at Penny's house before Rob snuck in through the window, having a crisis.

"Yeah, of course I'm sure." Penny turned back to everyone. "Alright, you ready? Just hop on." With this, she shifted into a dragon form large enough to fit everyone on her back.

"Thanks again for doing this." Rob said, climbing on.

"Trust me, I completely get it." Carrie said, floating up next to Rob. "I mean, if I had all eyes on me, 24/7, asking questions about something like that...I just couldn't."

"But are we sure casting a hex over the entire town is the way to go?" Jamie asked.

"It's the best plan we've got so far." Masami replied. "I mean, we could go for the honor system where people agree to not acknowledge it, but I think we all know that someone would violate that code."

"Yeah." Rob nodded. "Besides, since you're helping cast it, you wouldn't be effected by it."

Jamie sat on Penny's back, quietly. "Hmm...well, I guess that's a good point."

Taking off, Penny flew everyone to the center of Elmore, landing on top of a building. They all took a moment to stare out at the eerie stillness of the town, a single truck driving down the street being the only sign of life.

Barreling across the town.

Shooting down the road.

Just like Rob himself had done a few hours ago.

Everyone squeezed in wherever there was room, praying that the car coming up to them wasn't one of hers-

"We should probably get this done." Masami said, cutting off Rob's train of thought. "Rob, you said the cops are looking for you?"

Rob shrugged. "Maybe? Not sure. But I'm sure that once they get information out of the kids, they'll be looking for me. Besides, Penny, won't your parents be looking for you?"

"I don't think so. I mean, not unless my dad starts sleepwalking. But that probably won't happen. He's got medication he takes for it, and it hasn't happened a whole lot since he started on it."

"Good. Now then, let's begin." Carrie replied, nodding. "Rob, I'm going to need you to think about the events."

Rob scoffed. "Trust me. That won't be an issue."

Carrie held out her arms, hovering above the group. "Everyone, hold onto him. Imagine an invisible wall surrounding him as he stands inside a group of people, but nobody sees him."

Everyone else wrapped their arms around Rob. Carrie began to hum ominously, beginning to glow as the moonlight hit her at a perfect angle. Rob continued to stare out at the town, imagining every day of the incident with perfect clarity. The fear, the forced cooperation, the various escape attempts...

The ground beneath the group began to glow. In surprise, Rob gave Penny a look. The other girl nodded. "That's supposed to happen. Keep going."

Rob took a deep breath, mentally returning to everything that had happened. The day she saw him, the complicit boyfriend, the battered, broken down looks of everyone else as she looked him in the eye with that evil, smug smirk on her face as she said those four words...

"You're the good one."

A ring of light surrounded them all, shooting out across the town, stopping at the city limits. It began to grow taller and taller, only stopping after forming a dome over the entire town. After this, it faded out of sight.

"...I dunno why, but I thought there'd be more to that." Penny said.

"Yeah, me too." Carrie said. "But it'll get the job done."

"That's what I'm hoping." Rob replied.

"What are you gonna do about your dads?" Jamie asked Rob.

"What about them?" Rob asked back.

"Well, I'm pretty sure that what happened will have lasting effects on you." Jamie pointed out. "What if you encounter something that ends up resulting In a panic attack?"

Rob opened his mouth, but ended up closing it again. He couldn't think of a reply for that. Eventually, he shook his head. "I'll cross that bridge when I get to it."

"I don't think that's such a good idea..." Masami said, hesitantly.

"I wasn't really able to think that far ahead. Look, let's just work on getting home." Rob said.

Sighing, Penny shifted into her dragon form. Everyone got onto her back, and she flew over to Rob's house.

As he slid off her back, Jamie leaned over to him. "Hey, you need help getting in? I can break a window if you want."

Rob shook his head. "No, I'm good. My bedroom window is never locked, and it never fully closes. I can get in easily enough."

Jamie shrugged, sitting back up. "Suit yourself. Back to yours, Penny."

With this, Penny took off with the others, leaving Rob alone. For what felt like forever, he just stood on the front lawn, his knees shaking as he stood there. The events of the past 24 hours were only just beginning to hit home. He had to stuff his fist in his mouth to keep from laughing in exhilaration. Everything was so surreal, he couldn't believe it was him that lived through it all.

Rob walked to the backyard, climbing on a vine that snaked around one of the back patio's support beams to get to the back awning. Carefully, he snuck over to his window, slipping his fingers through the crack between the window and window frame. He was careful to only slide it open enough to barely wiggle his body through and into his room, nervous that the squealing of the window sliding open and closed would wake his dads.

He dropped to his feet on his bedroom floor, sliding the window as shut as he could get it. As soon as he did, he sank to his knees. His had been so long since he was able to be here, he could cry.

Rob sat down on the edge of his bed, running his fingers along the blanket covering it, taking a moment to relax just the littlest bit. He was home. He was safe. And yet...

Rob walked over to the bedroom door, opening it a slight crack. He really didn't want to be alone at the moment, but he didn't want to wake up his dads and ask to sleep in their room. It relaxed him a little bit to know that there were people in the vicinity that he trusted, that he knew would protect him.

He laid down on his bed, wrapping himself in his blanket. Hopefully he would be able to get some sleep.