As I Wake

A Monster's Logical Asylum

I woke as the sun shined over the horizon. For the next week, my ass was up at the crack of dawn to make up for day one’s tardiness. I refused to be late ever again.

Still mortified from the first day’s series of events, I hesitantly opened the classroom door. Inside; however, no one was here yet. I debated whether to resume my current seat or steal someone else’s. In the end, I decided against stealing some poor sap’s seat. There was nothing wrong with the seating arrangement. I was not going to have a girl scare me off that easily.

As time ticked away, I passed the time reviewing last night’s assignment. It covered the different hand signs and their representation.

So, the tiger seal is for protection…

I was so engulfed in my work, I failed to notice Shiri-Sensei hovering over me.

“Good morning, Quorra. I see you’re studying. I like seeing students so invested in their work,” he said in a toothy grin. He was much more uplifting than usual, but he still gave me the creeps.

I faked a smile. “Yes, Sensei. I want to graduate as fast as I can.” It was the truth. I was honored to be here on the Hokage’s orders, but school was still school.

“Ah,” he replied. He sat at the edge of my desk, uncomfortably close to me. His breath reeked of coffee and mint. “I’m sure you will graduate in no time and top of your class, too. I just know it.”

I thanked him, even if he had no reason or evidence to believe that, as students began to file in. Shiri-Sensei grunted in annoyance as he made his way back to his desk.

Mae walked in and exchanged good mornings. The room was mostly full as Shiri-Sensei cleared his throat to start. The seat beside me remained empty. Maybe she will not come today.

I counted my blessings too soon when the walking destruction herself entered the classroom. Her sneer seemed to be a permanent feature. We made eye contact as her angered expression deepened, if that was possible.

Praying that Leda would simply ignore me, I kept my eyes forward. Pretending to pay attention to Sensei’s droning voice. I was in the clear until, at the last second, she swung her backpack toward me, skidding it across my desk. Papers scattered to the ground.

“Oops,” she said, taking her seat. “Sorry.” She threw her legs onto her desk and leaned back, comfortably.

I bit my tongue and held the edge of the desk, using all my will-power to keep my attention straight ahead. Bitch.


At lunch, I sat with Mae at one of the picnic benches outside like we have been doing for the past week. Mae had, as always, a neatly crafted bento box. This time it was with rice, vegetables and chicken dumplings. It looked so scrumptious, my mouth watered. All I had was a sandwich.

“Man, I’m jealous,” I said. “Your lunch looks so good.” I made an exaggerated, gawking expression.

The comment made her laugh. “Thanks. My mother made it.”

I stared at my shitty sandwich. Most of it was mushed from being in my book bag. Sighing loudly, “Damn.”

Mae offered to split our lunches. I wanted to decline, but I couldn’t help myself.

“Deal.”

She handed me a set of chop sticks as I tore my sad-looking sandwich in half and plopped it onto her dish.

“Bon Appetit,” I joked.

She took a bite. “It’s actually not that bad,” she stated, pushing her glasses up by the nose piece.

“No, it’s fucking terrible. I think someone could have made a better one with their feet.” We both laughed.

“Yeah, it’s pretty terrible,” she admitted which made us laugh even harder.

“Speaking of terrible,” she segued. “What are you going to do with Ms. Destructor over there?” Knowing exactly who she was referring to, we glanced at Leda sitting a few tables down.

I responded honestly. “I don’t know. I promised Kiba I wouldn’t get into any fights.”

Mae looked puzzled. “Kiba?”

Oh, right.

“Yeah, Kiba is my friend outside of the academy. He graduated already.”

Shocked, “Wait! You’re friends with an older boy? A shinobi boy?”

I didn’t understand the big deal. “Huh, yeah? Well I’m older than him, actually.”

“And you didn’t tell me? What’s he like? Is he good looking? Do you like him?” She shot off question after question, rapid fire.

“No, we’re just friends,” I clarified.

How could I explain what Kiba was like? I mean, he wasn’t ugly. He was a kind, caring boy but had a hot temper like no other. We were caught bickering and arguing over nothing more often than not.

I summed him up in asentence. “Kiba is a pain in my ass.”

We chit-chatted as lunch time slowly dwindled away. As it was about to end, Mae stood to throw away our finished lunches. Standing by the trash can was Leda, smoking.

Mae was returning to the table when Leda left her post and walked pass Mae.

“’cuse,” Leda mumbled as she simultaneously pushed Mae aside. Mae tripped and tumbled to the ground. Her glasses skidded across the dirt floor.

“I said excuse me,” Leda spat, not bothering to look back.

I rushed over to Mae, retrieved her glasses, and helped her to her feet. Few students giggled nervously, unsure what to do in this situation.

“I’m okay. Don’t worry about it,” she said. Her face was red from embarrassment. Silently, I guided her back to the table.

“It’s okay. Don’t worry,” she said, unconvinced. “Just forget about it.”

But I couldn’t. “I can’t forget about it,” I said, seething.

It was one thing if Leda picked on me. But, to purposely harm Mae, the sweetest girl who voluntarily ate my death sandwich was unacceptable.

“I’m going to get her for this,” I said through gridded teeth.

“Please, Quorra,” she pleaded. “Just let it go.”

She was still embarrassed and didn’t want the experience to be any worse than it already was. However, her pleading did not sway my feelings. That bitch had no right picking on others. I thought back to yesterday’s dinner conversation with Kiba…


“Come on, Quorra,” Kiba said, slurping. “She can’t be that bad.”

Stuffing my mouth full of noodles, “No, it’s really that bad. I heard people talking about how she once shoved a student’s head in the toilet and the kid ran out crying. Had to tell their Sensei that they ‘fell in’” I finished with air quotations.

“Damn, that’s pretty bad,” Kiba admitted. “What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know. I’m stuck sitting next to the bitch, too. She’s going to torture me,” I sighed.

“Whatever you do, don’t create a scene. You don’t want the Hokage to hear that,” he warned.

“But, if she bullies me I have to stand up for myself!”

Kiba placed his chop sticks in the bowl and stared at me harshly. “I’m serious, Quorra. The Hokage is putting his trust in you. Don’t screw that up.”

“I know that. Argh!”

That’s all I needed. I wasn’t about to have the Hokage hear how troublesome I was, not when he just allowed me to stay and study to become a shinobi.

“I’m fucked, man,” I concluded.

“Yep,” Kiba confirmed. “Ready for round two?”

“Hit me.”


Mae and Kiba were right. I should just let it go. I didn’t want to create drama. I was better than that.

“Yeah. You’re right. I’m sorry,” apologizing to Mae, calming down. She smiled sympathetically.

A commotion started up behind us. Curious, we turned to see a young boy, no older than eight, creating a scene.

“Hey! Give that back!” the boy yelled. He jumped, trying to reach an apple that Leda held just out of reach.

“Oh?” She exclaimed. “Was this your apple? I’m sorry.” She handed it back not before taking a giant bite. “Here you go, Short Stack,” Leda snorted, taking another drag.

The boy stared, dumbfounded, at the half-eaten apple in his hand. “Grandfather packed this special for me. He knows how much I love apples.” He sniffed.

Leda laughed harder. “Well, your little grandfather he packed me a nice lunch. Now beat it, kid.”

The boy tried to walk away, but couldn’t as Leda stepped on the boy’s long scarf. He tripped face first into the ground.

I stared at Mae, horrified. That’s it. I can’t stand back and witness that without doing anything. Sorry Mae. Sorry Kiba. Silently, I walked towards Leda. Mae called after me to stop, but I didn’t listen. Leda was not getting away with it.

In front of Leda, “Apologize,” I demanded.

Leda stopped mid-laugh. “Excuse me?”

I stood my ground. “You heard me. You need to apologize to that boy and Mae.”

“I don’t need to apologize to anyone actually,” she replied, taking another drag, from the cigarette.

Furious, I ripped it out of her hand and threw it on the ground. My foot smothered the ambers.

“I said, you need to apologize. This is my last warning.” My voice spoke, eerily calm. It was the calming before a storm. The kettle that was about to lose its top.

Everyone stared in silence.

“No,” Leda said.

“Apologize!” I yelled.

“Make me!” She screamed back.

And I did. Fluently, my fingers curled to a fist and slammed into her cheek bone. Everyone gasped. I’m sure no one had ever talked back to Leda, let alone physically touched her before. But I was not an ordinary no one.

Leda was shocked as well as she rubbed her already swelling face. “You hit me!” Leda was flabbergasted.

“Slapping is too girly,” I said, matter-of-factly. “Now, you need to apol—.”

Before I could finish, a solid punch laid smack dab in my eye socket. Clear shock registered across my face. My eye pulsated, angrily. My mouth hung open.

“Slapping is too girly,” she mimicked.

Why this bitch…

We jumped into an all-out brawl. It was a ball of screaming, punching, slapping, hair pulling, eye gouging, you name it fight. No one dared to stop us in fear of being sucked into the inferno we created.

Iruka-Sensei must have heard the commotion because before I knew it. He was between us.

“Girls!” Iruka yelled. “What in the world are you doing?”

“She’s a bitch!” we both screamed simultaneously as we tried to continue our brawl, climbing over Iruka-Sensei.

Iruka-Sensei pleaded for us to stop but it was muffled by the sounds of our own screams and fury. We both grabbed the closest objects to us, both happened to be a student’s glass of water and proceeded to dump it on each other.

“Girls! I said that’s enough—” Instead, Iruka-Sensei got the blow. He was soaked as his hair fell out of place.

“Oops,” I said, innocently. Leda smirked.

Iruka-Sensei wiped the water off his face, red with fury. “To the office. Both of you.”

Leda and I stood like stone, incapable of comprehending what he was saying.

“Now!”


Leda and I sat in detention, silently, listening to Iruka-Sensei tear us to pieces.

“We take safety very seriously here,” he reprimanded and continued giving us a lecture but I honestly wasn’t paying much attention. I placed the ice pack over my eye. I could feel it swelling under the ice.

Leda didn’t look like she was paying attention either as she leaned on her cheek, ice pack in hand.

“…do I make myself clear, girls?” Iruka asked.

We both monotonly agreed to whatever he was telling us. Sensei seemed unconvinced, but calmed down.

“Good, now you two think over your actions,” he said as he huffed out of the room, leaving us alone.

I took the ice pack off to feel the damage. It was sore to the touch. Got to hand it to her, she had a pretty good punch. Judging from her scowl, my punch wasn’t half bad, either.

I couldn’t believe this happened. Yes, I initiated it but who could blame me? She was physically hurting and picking on people. How was I supposed to sit back and watch that?

The ice pack covered my eye once again. Man. The Hokage was not going to be happy to hear about this. I would have to explain it to him without sounding like I was a crazy, impulsive person. Even though, I kind of, sort of, definitely was.

I laughed out loud. I always have the best of luck.

“What’s so funny?” Leda asked, annoyed.

“It’s just that trouble always seems to find me.” After laughing, I finished by saying, “That and I’m stuck in detection with a psychotic bitch,” directing the comment towards her.

Leda stared at me evilly before laughing as well. She seemed to agree with some part of it. “I like you.”

I was taken aback by the absurd comment. “Well, the feelings aren’t mutual,” I bit venomously.

Unaffected, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a carton of cigarettes and a lighter. She placed one between her teeth and lit it. Smoke surrounded her.

“Want one?” Leda asked, tilting her pack towards me.

I turned her down. “Nah, I’m good.”

“Oh, come on,” she rattled the box. “You’re not one of those pussies who worries about lung cancer and bullshit, are you?”

“No,” I replied. Truth be told, she was right, but wasn’t going to tell her that. “I just don’t want one right now.”

Leda nodded, “Sure, yeah, okay.” She took another drag.

“If people give you that lung cancer crap, why do it?” I asked.

She took a deep hit. “At least, this way, I’m in control.”

I nodded, not entirely sure what she meant by that.

“You got a damn good arm.” Leda admitted. “I’m going to feel this for the next week.”

“Thanks,” not flattered. “You do too. But did you have to deck me in the fucking eye? I look like Kung Fu Panda.”

Leda began cracking up again, “Kung Fu, who?”

“I don’t know. I made it up.” We both laughed hysterically envisioning this character and how I could resemble it.

Leda was downright satisfied with her smoke has I accomplished getting lung cancer via second hand. I was not in the mood to complain, however.

“You know Shiri-Sensei has the hots for you, right?” Leda said, completely off topic.

I choked from both the news and the smoke clouds. “He does not have the hots for me!”

But Leda was not having it. “Oh, he so does. Please, that man has been talking to you all puppy-eyed since the moment he saw you.”

My face heated up, causing my sore eye to pulsate even more. “That is not true! He’s an instructor. It’s his job to want his students to do well.”

Leda snorted. “Yeah, Okay. He stares at your ass because he wants you to do well.”

“He does not stare at my ass!” I shrieked.

“Honey, he stares at you with lust in his eye. He has to keep his mouth close to prevent himself from drooling,” she cackled.

I was completely horrified. Even if she thought this and Shiri-Sensei had been touchy-feely, doesn’t make it true.

“I don’t believe that,” I lied.

“It’s your funeral then,” Leda sang, finishing off the cigarette and fishing for a fresh one. “He’s a sucker for the innocent ones.”

“I am not innocent!”

The door to the classroom opened. I expected it to be Iruka-Sensei but to my horror, I find him.

“I don’t think that’s right,” Iruka said to Shiri-Sensei.

But whatever they were discussing, Shiri-Sensei was not having it. “Of course it is! She would have never been in here if it wasn’t for her.”

Shiri-Sensei found me and immediately locked eyes. All the anger he had moments before melted away. “Quorra! I’m so sorry you are in here. That one can corrupt anyone she laid her finger on.”

Leda snorted in response and gave an ‘I-told-you-so’ look.

Fuck! Fuckity-fuck!

I tried to pull it together without screaming. “Actually, I stared the fight, Shiri-Sensei.” Saying his name make me want to hit myself in my good eye.

My statement went completely over his head. “She can twist your story, too,” staring at Leda maliciously.

Leda smiled. “I’m flatter by your kind words, Sensei.”

Ignoring her, “Come on, Quorra. We’re leaving.”

Iruka interrupted. “Shiri-Sensei, she can’t leave. This is detention.”

“I don’t care what this is,” he said. “Detention is no place for a lady especially with that monster.” He pointed to Leda.

I felt sick. The disgust in the pit of my stomach was more painful than my throbbing eye. I gave Shiri-Sensei a look of pure hate. If he wanted to see a lady, I’ll give him a lady.

Without permission, I pulled a cigarette out of Leda’s carton and stuck it between my teeth. “Light me.”

Leda gladly lit it and I inhaled sharply.

As smoke clouded my lungs, I kept inhaling. My eyes began to water but I refused to cough. I exhaled a storm cloud with pride, the room was swimming in smoke.

I rose from my seat, bud still in my mouth. “What we waiting for, Sensei?”

Without waiting for permission, I walked out of detention. Shiri-Sensei didn’t say anything, but he looked bothered by my scene.

Good.

He escorted me to the courtyard in front of the academy. “I’m sorry you had to go through that, Quorra. You’re such a fantastic student. I would hate for something like her ruin that for you.”

Huffing another tobacco laced drag, I blew it in his face. “Don’t worry, Sensei. I can take care of myself. Starting with fulfilling my week-long detention Iruka-Sensei gave me.”

Shiri-Sensei tried to ignore the smoke but couldn’t as he coughed, swatting the fog away. “But you don’t need to,” he said, lovingly.

“But I want to,” I said, rudely. “I started it and I will finish it.”

I walked away without being dismissed. Waiting to be dismissed was for ladies.

Shiri-Sensei called out to me. “You’re gonna get a respiratory disease if you smoke that much.”

With my back against him, I said, “At least I control it,” and walked away.

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