good writing is there more coming
|Dim lighting lit up on half of the room, shedding light on a figure that shuffled wearily across the woodwork. It was late; the alarm clock had bleeped the hour of midnight some time past.
The girl discarded her khaki coat with a heavy sigh, wearily dragging her hand through her hair. She didn’t look old, except for the dark bags deeply etched under her eyes. Her hair was a bright lime-green, the dark roots a dramatic contrast. The eyes that were visible just barely under her curtain of hair were a dark, inky brown, the pupils barely visible.
She glanced down at the tabby cat that brushed against her feet, a slow smile spreading across her face. Just as she scooped the cat up with her hand, the phone rang. The girl started, nearly dislodging the cat from her lap. After the surprise subsided, the girl suppressed a yawn and picked up the phone off the receiver.
“Hello?” she answered, stealing a glance at the clock. 1:37 AM. Who would call this late?
The voice on the other line hesitated, then spoke into the mouthpiece. “Hi… is this Briella?”
The girl frowned at her full name. “Rhia,” she corrected. “Who wants to know?”
“This is Kyle, from Foundations Chemistry class. I was wondering if I could ask you to do me a favor…”
Thirty minutes later found Rhia trudging through the snow towards the school, muttering curses all the while. Why had he called her? It wasn’t like she had the highest grade point average in the class; she only just got by. With a sigh, she kicked at some of the ice with her boot, upending the slush in folds. The day had long since faded, and now the only light remaining was the dim thread from Rhia’s flashlight.
When she arrived at the familiar-looking old brick building, all she could do was grimace. No one should have to go to school this early, she thought with a scowl. No one.
Her face pulled back even more in distaste as she pulled open the door, and was enclosed in darkness as it shut. She flicked the flashlight back on, directing the beam of light at the doors that lined the hallway.
As she walked down the hallway, her combat boots clicked on the floor, a deafening sound in the silence. Her eyes were riveted on the room numbers. One side of the hallway had even numbers, the other side odd.
When she saw a light in one of the windows ahead, she stretched her arms above her head. So much for getting a decent amount of sleep, she thought grumpily, pushing open the door and stepping into the room.
It was a science lab, she saw immediately. Of course, she hadn’t expected that they would use the actual Chemistry classroom– there weren’t any available microscopes there.
As the door shut closed, a boy hunched over a microscope in the corner looked up, pale blue eyes locking with her charcoal ones. There was a brief pause, and eventually he spoke. “Oh… it’s you.” And with that being said, he turned back to the slide he was looking at.
Rhia felt anger rise within her, but quelled it. If he was going to treat her like that, it gave her license to treat him in the same manner. “Look, I don’t want to be here any more than you do. You’re the one who made me come here at one in the freaking morning!”
His eyes riveted on the slide, he remarked dryly, “I never figured you for the type to refrain from cursing.” If said by anyone else, it would have been taunting and with a sharp edge of mockery. When he said it, however, it came out as a flat fact, without the smallest trace of interest.
She frowned at him, dragging up a chair and sitting backwards on it so she could observe what he was doing. As the minutes ticked by, the silence was only broken by her corrections, or his occasional questions on how to record the data.
By the time two hours inched by, Rhia’s eyes were heavy with sleep, and she couldn’t stop herself from releasing a prolonged yawn.
Kyle glanced over at her, eyes as cold as before. “Thanks for helping me. You can leave now.” Without a word, he unplugged the microscope and wrapped the cord around it to put it away in the closet.
Startled by the sudden movement, Rhia jumped up, tipping her chair forward on the tile floor. “Oh,” she said, suddenly feeling awkward. “Right.” She didn’t move, however, standing in the same place and watching him as he put away the rest of the lab equipment in the door across the hallway.
When he came back through the door to collect his coat, she slid her gaze away guiltily and reached out on the nearby table to do the same. She followed him as he went out the door, and even as he weaved through the hallways. Somehow, standing behind him was comforting, lifting some of the unease that pressed upon her from the darkness of the school.
Just before they parted ways, he held open the door that served as the entrance and exit from the school, and looked back at her. For a moment, just a moment, she could have sworn that there was something in his eyes besides apathy.
Just for a moment.
But as they walked back to their separate backgrounds, their lives, their pasts, she felt sure that she had just imagined it.
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