Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Episode Thirty Five
Cleanse
I'm sorry cause I'm to late
Oh maybe need some sleep
I'm not attending because
I lose my mind
I lose my sense of control
- Lady Gaga


Esther ran, fueled by panic, through the hall; chased but tiny wings and tinny voices. Disoriented, pain forgotten for the moment, she darted right at a crossroads and stopped dead. Panting she glanced at the walls, the doors to the classrooms. A tremor went through the hallway. The walls vibrated and buzzed with iridescent wings. Her breath caught in her throat and she felt her knees grow weak as reality slipped from her grasp. The school elongated, blurred, the sound of chattering multiplying.
Something grabbed her arm; preventing her from slumping to her knees. Esther gasped. Holon stood next to her, holding her in a firm grip.
"This way." He pulled her forward, releasing her from the panic. The walls jolted back and order sliced through the chaos.
They traveled quickly down the hall, turned right then Holon stopped. He opened a door to their left and pulled Esther inside. Esther blinked.
"Where...?"
"Music wing." Holon said, gesturing to the baby grand piano in front of a large bank of curved windows. An office with closed doors was in front of them, a door beside it. Holon headed for the door and pushed it open. His hand left her arm as he turned and bolted the door. Esther tried not to stare at the urinal. She went to the sink, looked up at the mirror and gasped.
“Turn.”
“Holon, what’s going on? What’s wrong with me?”
Holon took her shoulders, turning her from the sink. He stared into her eyes. He pulled her close.
“What are…”
“How do you feel?” 
Esther took a breath, remembering the sudden intensity of the anger. “Heavy...and...angry…”
“Influence.”
Holon set his hand over her eyes.A blue light trailed from his fingers. It felt warm on her face and seemed to wipe away something she hadn’t realized been there. It was as if the light had pushed away a thin gauze. Her face tingled. What felt almost like tears dripped from her eyes but they were thick, oily. The fluttery sounds faded. She her breath hitched as she rubbed her face. Holon’s hand lowered. Esther looked down at her fingers. They glistened for a moment with something unctuous but the color melted away before her eyes. 
“I don’t...Ugh…” The pain in her hand returned and she cringed, holding it close. 
“You need to get to Ro,” Holon said, unlocking the door. “Get her to see to that. The lunchroom.”
Esther frowned down at the quickly bruising fingers. “Ok but--”
The door shut.

-O-

    Esther held her hand against her neck; the pain shooting down to her elbow. She hurried down from the music wing to the cafeteria. Ro stood across from the soda machines, looking at her phone. 
    “R-Ro…”
    “Hey. What’s wrong?” Her phone vanished inside her backpack. 
    “My...My fingers…” Esther glanced down, opening her hand. “Rebeca and Sadie caught them in a stall door.”
“Damn!” Ro went to take her hand but Esther instinctively pulled back. “Ok, Let's get something for that. Hold on.”
Esther waited out of the way of the students as Ro went into the cafeteria. She returned quickly with a cup and a Styrofoam bowl.
“Ok, come on.” Ro started to lead the way from the crowded hall, but paused; glancing down the hall Esther had come from.
“Oi! Si! This way.”
The boy heading towards the cafeteria looked up, confused, but followed.
They went up a small incline to outside steps. Rain pattered beyond the roof’s awning. Ro sat, pulling Esther down with her. Simon set his pack down on the top step, frowning over Ro’s shoulder as she poured ice from the cup into the little bowl. 
“Some girls smashed her fingers in a stall door,” Ro explained. “Let me see.”
Esther bit her lip and lifted her hand. Simon’s breath hissed between his teeth.
“Oh man,” Ro shook her head. “You’re going to lose those nails, Es.” She turned Esther’s hand over and frowned. “What is this?”
Esther glanced down. The thin scratches could be seen on her wrist. “The door scratched me.”
“Huh…” Ro glanced up at her incredulously. “Put them in this.” 
Esther hesitated, but did as she was told. Ro shook more ice over her fingers. 
“Ah, ah.” Ro’s hand set on hers, keeping it in place. 
Esther stared down at her swollen fingers, tipped with red above the bruising. Three fingers were already turning purple, the middle bruised to the first joint. Her nails were badly scoffed and reddening.
“They’re going to fall off?” 
Ro glanced at Simon. “Yeah…I’m sorry.”
Fresh tears filled Esther’s eyes.  
“Shhh,” Ro put her arm around Esther’s shoulders. “It’s ok.”
“No! No...it’s not. It’s not ok! Why’d I even come back here? I hate it here. I h-hate…” Esther bent into her stomach, forehead pillowed on her uninjured arm. She shuddered, her hand slipping to her mouth to try to quell the sob. 
Ro turned to her backpack. “Easy. I have some Tylenol.”
Esther yanked her hand from the bowl, ice spilling. She glared at her injured hand. 
“Esther,” Ro groaned in exasperation. “Put your fingers back.”
“If the nails will fall off anyway what’s the point?”
Simon slowly sat next to her. He carefully righted the bowl in her lap. “Ro can you get the ice?” 
Ro plucked the cubes from Esther’s skirt and plopped them back in the bowl. Simon leaned closer to Esther. She glanced sidelong at him. He reached out for her hand, still holding her gaze. Esther let him take her wrist and guide her hand back to the bowl. He pressed the top of her wrist down to fully submerge her fingers.
“It will help with the swelling and pain.”
Esther sniffed, focusing on the freckled hand over hers.
“Better?” Ro asked. She had a small bottle of Tylenol in her hand.  
Esther took a shuddering breath, but nodded. 
Simon turned, a hand going to his back pocket. He pulled out a neatly folded handkerchief then handed it to her. “It’s clean,” he added.
“Thank you,” Esther said softly. 
Simon stood, but bent to his backpack. “And to take the pills.” He handed her a half full water bottle.
Ro took it for her. 
“Going to get some food. Want me to bring something back?”
“Esther?”
She shook her head. 
“I think we are good.” Ro smiled up at him. 
Esther saw his fingers clench in her peripheral. 
“Esther. I…” His fist fell open. “See you later.”
Esther nodded vaguely.  Simon picked up his backpack and climbed the steps.
Ro thoughtfully watched him through the door window. “Nice kid.”
Esther swiped the handkerchief over her cheek wiping away a strand of hair caught in the tracks of her tears.
          “God that slag,” Ro muttered, gazing down at the bowl. 
          “I think it was because I shoved Molly…”
          “You shoved her?” Ro opened the tylenol bottle. 
          Esther sighed, taking two pills. “I felt so angry, Ro.”

          Ro handed her the bottle. “I think that’s natural honestly.”
         “It doesn’t feel like it. It was so sudden…” Esther popped the pills under her tongue and took a drink.
        “Put some ice in that handkerchief and keep it on your hand, ok?” Ro watched her a moment. “I know you’re still adjusting. I know it must be hard, especially with those wastes of space. But you have to keep going, ok? I really do believe that coming back was best for you. Give it time.” 
         “I should just ignore it, right? I mean that’s what they say to do.”
         “I could always just break their pretty little fingers.”
         Esther shook her head. “I think I heard the bell.”
         “Yeah.” Ro stood, stretching. “Do you want to go to the nurse?”
        The ice rattled from the bowl into the handkerchief. “I don’t think he could do anything.”
“Probably not. Want to head inside?" 
 Esther stared out into the rainy parking lot. “Yeah.”
“Come on. And this weekend will be fun and food and games, and kittens ok?”
Esther tried to smile. “Ok.”







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