Peter Pan Among the Shadows

Classroom

Fairies flew in the margins of her notepads. Every so often, when the light hit the blackboard in just the right way, chalkdust turned to floating gold on green leaves. The lines on her paper turned to tree branches and rooftops, rivers and horizons.

The teacher's questions flew over her head like tiny little birds as she saw Tinker Bell flutter around her head. Only the clap of the teacher's wooden shoes could awaken her from the daydreams.

Since seeing the little fairy with her new friend awoke her days of night-time stories and days in the park. As she remembered those days, she saw little specks of light floating around the bushes nearby. She could've sworn she saw them...

Clap. Clap. Clap.

Those blasted wooden shoes again. She awoke from her daydream, only to see new numbers on the board while new symbols danced around on chalked legs. With the humiliation of not wanting to ask and the hopelessness of following what was going on, she went back to her dreams.

Then the plus sign grew skinny arms and lanky legs, a mop of auburn hair, upturned nose and a warm smile. He shook his head and chalk dust flew in all directions. He watched his footing and leaped into the air of the chalkboard. Numbers, symbols, and words took cover as the boy broke through the wooden frame and soared across the ceiling.

She almost giggled aloud as she saw the shape of her friend sailed across the windows, balancing his feet on the window locks and yellowing glass before jumping across the room to the cubbies. From there, he began tearing papers out of knapsacks, making animals that floated on air. Flamingoes, horses, hippopotamuses...

Slap!

A rod struck the side of her desk, the boy disappearing into dust and the paper animals crumbling into nothing.

"The next one goes on your knuckles, Victoria. Pay attention."

It didn't matter about her high grade, tucked between textbooks in a tight string on the floor. Her teacher glared at her and resumed the lesson.

The moment between boredom and distraction caused a stream of questions to burst forth into her conscious mind.

Why did Peter come back that night? Why was he watching her? What sort of trick was he playing? Why did my Father talk about him? HOW did my father find out about him? Was it because of me? What is Neverland? Sounds interesting, but what is it like? Are there animals there? What about-"

"MS. ROBERTSON!"

The world pulled itself around her, and the teacher stood in the center of her vision like everything else was pushed to the side.

"Wonderful. Now that you've come back down to Earth," she heard snickers around her, "you can answer the question on the board."

She flicked her eyes to see a disaster. She had no idea how the line sandwiched between dots worked. Nervously, she froze on the question. To say no meant an instant punishment of shame. To say the wrong answer was even worse.

"Ms. Robertson, do you have any idea how to solve this problem?"

"Y-yes Ma'am. I think it's-"

She glanced at the clock. Two minutes to bell! If only she could stall for time. Anything to get the question right.

"So you want me to answer the question of 100 and 35?"

"Yes. One Hundred divided by thirty-five."

Divided? Now we're getting somewhere...

"Right, 100 divided by 35. That's a tough one to do in my head."

"You're not supposed to, Victoria. Do it the way I just taught the class."

Just like she taught. Instantly she looked around the board. Erasers particularly left remains of the previous questions.

How does 150 go into 375 two and a half times? Too late to ask questions now. Need to get this right...

She glanced at the board while someone waved a paper in the corner of her vision.

Mary was waving to her! How odd to wave a paper at me- wait, what does that say?

"Ms. Robertson, final chance. Do you know the answer?"

"Ma'am, the answer is two point eight five seven."

Mary gave a thumbs up as the Teacher nodded.

"I thought you weren't paying attention. I suppose I was wrong. Good job, Victoria."

The two girls smiled at each other as the bell rang for class' end.


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