Lucas asked me out.

Not like a date or anything. He wants to spend time with me outside of school because he’s a real friend. He isn’t even embarrassed by my frumpy clothes.

But I am, and Lucas can tell. He spends money on me, so much money, “Because you deserve to feel good about yourself.”

I can’t stop staring at him.
“Melly Mel, you really gotta stop looking at me like that.”
I blink. “L-like what?”
“Like you want me to kiss you.”

Lucas makes me feel things I don’t understand, and I can’t stop thinking about what he said until he takes me too close to the slums of El Sol for dinner.

There’s a white rabbit outside, a street performer in a costume, but my compromised brain doesn’t know the difference.

I escape inside the restaurant and pub and lose Lucas. When I try to call him, an upbeat techno tune cuts through the ambiance and I turn my head to see the White Rabbit.

With one hand, the White Rabbit seals my mouth.
With the other, he grips my nape.
“I’m going to die” is the only thought running through my head.