step into heaven.

She had eaten her breakfast as fast as possible, and was scurrying out the door as fast as possible, mind racing.






" Vidaaaa, do you have that cheat sheet for the test-?"

" Please, Klaude, it's a study guide. The one we got from the teacher."

He was real.

He was real, and he was standing next to Honora, drinking a watermelon soda. His skin was not sallow like a ghost, but glowing like a painting, and his hair was somehow much longer than it'd always been in the River Hell, and he was dressed in a silly patterned button-up shirt that looked like an antique wallpaper, and he had silly high waisted jeans like a Seventies mom. And he was there, real, alive, with Honora.

" If you forgot it, it's no big deal. I hate that bitch teacher anyway."

Vida couldn't properly form a cohesive thought for a moment, and she felt like she was about to fall over and die. Klaude was real.

" Ah, um, I'll check my bag," she said, feeling like she'd just been knocked in the head. She unzipped her little tote bag and rummaged around in it. Most of the handwriting looked like hers, even though she couldn't remember filling out the papers. Honora took out a cigarette and lit it.

" You feeling okay, Vida?" she asked.

Vida looked up from checking the little headers at the top of the papers.

" Yeah, I'm just feeling a bit, um, frazzled, from the crash still..." she said, hurriedly excusing herself. Klaude's expression changed momentarily but he said nothing. Honora looked distinctly uncomfortable.

" Y-yeah, that's... I understand that," she said, and checked her watch.

Vida found the page that said 'Study Guide, Test One' at the top and handed it to Klaude.

The first few lines weren't in her hand. The name at the top had been scratched out.

" Thanks, Vi," he said with an almost unusual soft edge.

... Had Klaude always been soft?

She had to remind herself that the ghost wasn't real and that she hadn't known him before and that it was all coincidences and brain damage.

They walked to the subway station and rode the train together. The forgotten time was only a phantom hovering at the edge of Vida's mind.

Vi. He hadn't called her Vi before.

" It's un-fucking-fair that that bitch Rivers put me in a group with Nate and Roxie. You know how hard it is to do a project when your partners won't even look at each other, much less talk? It's bullshit," Klaude said plaintively, seated between them. He was looking over the test guide.

" Yeah, but can you blame them? Roxie pulled that creepy shit on him last year in front of everybody. That was social suicide," Honora replied. She had unfinished math homework on her lap.

Vida was looking through her bag and trying to get a grip on what exactly she was going to be tested over. Her ears pricked at the mention of Nate and Roxie. She remembered Nate and Roxie.

" Yeah, well, then why haven't they gone and told Rivers they can't work with each other? I did the entire project for them while they were off doing like. What the hell do they even do, man?"

" I think Roxie's in volleyball," Vida offered up, trying to find something to contribute to the conversation.

" Yeah, but all the other girls hate her, so it's not like they hang out or anything," Honora pointed out, tapping her pencil on a blank space in a word problem.

Klaude suddenly sat up straight and looked over to Vida.

" Oh! Right! Vida, you're staying after for office aide hours, right? Will you let me into the break room?"

Was she an office aide? She couldn't remember.

" I think so," she said nervously. " I'll try."

" You three are..." Honora started a sentence but it trailed off.


" You two are totally out of control," she repeated, in a tone that was trying to be teasing.