Episode Eleven: Interludes: Scene 3

The school was almost back to normal by now. They’d fixed most of the fire damage and reopened the affected classrooms. The teachers were still tense, though. They might have arrested and charged the person they thought did it, but…

Plus, it was a good excuse to treat us like we should be wearing orange jumpsuits. So, I wasn’t that surprised to hear sobbing from one of the classrooms. I was slightly surprised to feel a faint disturbance associated with it.

Slipping inside, I realized it was a freshman. She had her head on the desk.

“Are you alright?”

She jumped about six feet into the air. “Eep.”

“It’s okay. I don’t bite.” Which I thought was pretty much accurate. I tried not to bite, anyway.

“I’d taste bad,” she managed.

“So, what’s wrong?”

“I hate this place. I wish my parents could homeschool me. I just…I want out, you know.”

“Any particular reason?” I sat on a desk nearby. “Go ahead, you can vent. I have days when I want to shake the dust off of my feet too.”

“Only days?”

I shrugged. “I’m a little more resigned to it, I suppose.”

“I just…I mean, I’ve only been here a few months and I just feel…tired. Tired of being told who to talk to and what to wear, and that what I’m wearing is going to distract boys. Like it’s more important that they get an education than me.”

I shook my head. “I know what you mean.” I’d never really been tempted to break dress code, but she had a good point about how it did seem that it was more important to not distract boys than to study yourself. “It’s an insult to boys, too. Most of them actually can keep their eyes off your shoulders.”

She laughed a bit. “Thanks. You’re helping.”

“I try. My name’s Jane.”

“Clara,” she introduced.

It wasn’t a surprise that I’d never really noticed her before. I didn’t pay much attention to freshmen, any more than anyone else did. But why did I get that odd sense that there was something about her.

“Just bear with it. Worry about your studies and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Let’s get to class before we’re both in trouble.”
She murmured something about her studies being pointless, but scurried off in what I assumed was the direction of her next class.

I made a mental note to keep an eye on her.

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