The short story was meant for my editor. They put a call for short story entry but I guess this didn’t make the cut. The theme was #fear #psychoticmurderer #ghost stories. I put this one up so that you might enjoy it 🙂 Probably not as scary as you’d think. The whole story is about 5000++ words. I’m splitting it to 7 parts.
Cream of the cream, my ass.
My ears were ringing. Was it necessary to repeat it all the time? It sounded better in French but the word sounded horrible coming out from an unfamiliar windpipe. The nerve they had – not strangling the R.
Laila woke us all at 5.30. Her short, curly hair puffed in a large afro. I’ve never met such a light sleeper. The alarm clock barely whispers. My right hand inched towards the small basket of toiletries under the bed. It rattled a bit and three pairs of eyes hushed at the noisy basket. I grabbed my glasses beside my pillow and together we tiptoed across 24 single beds and took our shower. The bathroom is always vacant at this hour but it had an eerie quality when entered alone. The 8 cubicles seemed to conceal something. A careless shadow. A sudden, cold breeze. A gentle, little steps splashing tiny puddles under the sink. We were always told to go to the bathroom in pairs. We learned this in the first book. Everybody knew what happened to Hermione when she went to the bathroom alone.
The plastic grey doors were flung with colorful things, mostly towels. Wool, polyester, sarong, lacy bras, all bundled up on the top of the door. I hate it when you’re in the shower, enjoying your anti-dandruff shampoo’s bubbles and a towel smacks you in the head with such force that your daydream was discontinued. Unfortunately, the system worked. It’s an unwritten law that we knew a bit too late. You can only take a shower by booking the cubicle with your towel. Then, you memorize the towels before yours and that is how your turn is fixed. Juniors take their shower last.
I have met the many faces of dread but disappointment took the crown. Disappointment is getting up at 6.15 and having had to wait for your turn at 6.55 when the daily morning assembly is at 6.50. We ran around the tennis court twice until Laila proposed this plan. The whole school laughed at us huffing and puffing until we finished four rounds of punishment. Our brand new clothes reeked of sweat and recently dabbed perfume lotion. You have no idea how long you’re going to have to wait for the half moon circles under your arms to dry. Hours! Humiliation rubbed more salt to our injury. Never would I thought that emotional strain would stung me more than the physical exertion. The lesson was a valuable one.
After that day, we try hard to comply with all rules. Live in fear is better than death at the mercy of the firing squad.
They call it torture.
The dorm next door had this touch of event in the early hours of Monday morning last week. Separated by a corridor less than 100 meters, we didn’t miss much of the shrill conversation. I remember Zati and Una whispering to each other under the covers. I registered a sob or two. The seniors in our dorm joined in the fun. All beds were empty. Their shrieks bounced and echoed through the wall. Laila was rigid and clutching the corner part of my quilt. It’s not the kind of ‘torture’ that Vlad the Impaler would agree to but I would definitely categorize it as barbaric and unnecessary.
A junior (what everyone calls Form One students) did not initiate salaam with a senior (she was in Form Two.)
I know Sarah. She’s in my French class. Tall, dark and boyish looking, I would say she’s a rebel. The juniors were instructed to smile and greet the seniors adequately every time we pass each other (dorms and toilets are excluded) but I’m guessing she’s not the warm and friendly type. I, myself am not a morning person and smiling to a person that thinks about all the fun way to put you in a tight circle, pulls your hair, mocks your accent and spread the content of the dustbin on your head while laughing like Satan’s best friend definitely do not deserve anything nice.
So we lay low, trying to figure out how the teachers could ever feel proud that they manufactured such pesky monsters.
“Kom, kak!” I said at their shoes when I saw a line of them coming from the dining hall.
END OF PART ONE.
p.s. As I’m alternating every other day with amateurish haiku, tomorrow is no different. Part Two will be published on the 20th. Thank you.