Some days you’re just bone-tired and all you want to do is go to bed. That’s how Maxe felt. She was in bed by 8:30 – good thing it wasn’t Saturday night!
Maxe really liked to read graphic novels before she went to sleep, but tonight, she couldn’t seem to concentrate. She’d just turned off the light when her phone alerted her to an incoming text. She stretched out to check the device. The message was from Leo, her best friend forever.
“I can’t see the photo,” Leo wrote.
“The photo you just sent me.”
“I didn’t send you a photo.”
“Yeah, by email. I keep clicking on the icon but nothing happens. The photo won’t pop up.”
“Leo, I didn’t send you any photos! Stop clicking on the icon. Hands off! It must be a virus…”
No reply from Leo. She sent her message again. Nothing. Oh well, she’d talk to him tomorrow. Maxe put down the phone and fell fast asleep the second her head hit the pillow.
She tossed and turned all night, waking to total darkness. All of a sudden, a ray of light appeared and a form took shape. She could see Leo, right in front of her. He was in a cage, and he was yelling at her: “Help!”
Maxe couldn’t stop herself from crying out, loud enough to bring her father and mother running into her room.
“Maxe, what’s wrong?”
“Leo – over there.”
She pointed to the spot where she thought she’d seen Leo. There was no one there.
“Leo was right there, in a cage!”
“You must have been having a bad dream.”
“I wasn’t sleeping. I was texting with him and…”
There was no trace of texts with Leo. Everything had vanished.
“You see?” said Maxe’s mother. “You must have fallen asleep while you were reading and dreamed the whole thing.”
“Now turn off the light and get some sleep.”
“Not till I go see Leo.”
“It’s nine o’clock….”
“This won’t take long.”
Maxe slipped on her robe and headed for Leo’s place, next door. She hadn’t been dreaming, something had happened and she knew Leo was involved. She imagined the worst. Leo must be dead, and his ghost was asking her to help him…
She rang the doorbell. To her great surprise, Leo answered the door himself.
Thrilled to see her friend, Maxe gave him a big hug.
“Leo, are you okay?”
“Um… yeah, sure,” Leo said, a little coldly.
“Did you erase the email with the fake photo?”
“The one I supposedly sent you.”
“Sorry, Maxe, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Okay, let’s drop it. My parents were right. It must have been a bad dream. Good night.”
Right before she said goodbye to Leo, though, Maxe noticed something strange.
“How come you’re barefoot?”
“Yeah, sure, I like it. Why?”
Maxe went home, deep in thought. She knew Leo had always hated going barefoot.