UNHINGED

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Two

'Psychopaths are notorious for not answering the question posed them or for answering in a way that seems unresponsive to the question.' - Robert D Hare.

Flustered; I tossed my planner into my faux leather rucksack; slinging it back over my left shoulder. I strolled down the dimly-lit and constricted corridor which was decorated with student’s artwork on the bare white walls. A black-stained calligraphy was written above a rustic door in the far corner -the letters; ‘Shakespeare.’ I knew then I was in the correct place. On my tip-toes, I peered through the thin, smeared glass panel; adjacent to the left-hand side of the door. I examined the room beyond the door; inaudible; chock-full – with the exception of a spare seat allocated in the far corner. I was always anxious about being late – the unwanted attention and glares.

I inhaled grasping the stone-cold handle with my free hand; gradually pushing the door open with a creek, accompanying an unpleasant sensation of intense glares. My heartbeat vigorously hammered against my rib-cage; my icy cold hands abruptly became clammy, as I fumbled to the chair I had previously scouted; muttering a ‘sorry I’m late.’

I tugged on the collar of my woollen olive-green coat; pulling it across my shoulder blades and slipped my arms out of the coat. I placed it onto the back of the chair, noticing the student’s glares was transferred to the paper in front of them.

A tiny voice cut through the silence, “I’m Kristina – Your literature tutor.” I swivelled around in my seat, promptly. She smiled as she adjusted the edges of her cat-eye glasses; placing them closer to her eyes – hidden beneath the black thick rims of her glasses. “We are writing a little poem – a few verses about ourselves- a little ‘get-to-know’ task…” Kristina supplemented; dusting her navy dress which clung to her hourglass figure; the kitten heels echoing on the grey linoleum flooring as she headed towards my writing desk. I nodded.

Kristina crouched beside the edge of my desk and rested her elbows onto the chestnut desk - her bracelets clanked. “Can I take your name?”

“Laura. I’m Laura,” I retorted, clearing my throat.

“If you need any help, you know where I am,” Kristina smiled, tucking a loose thread of hair behind her pierced ears. I nodded. She rose to her feet; grazing her red acrylics through her lengthy lustrous coal-black ponytail and strutted to her small table.

I clutched the edge of my shell-pink notebook; opening it to the first blank page. The wheels on her chair scraped across the floor as Kristina tucked herself into the desk.

The morning sun had disappeared, a grey shadow casting over the pasture; trees and walkway beneath the window –a pattering sound of raindrops against the pane. A dark-shadow of a figure loomed down below, sheltering under the elm tree. I squinted; rising out of my seat; resting my forehead against the ice-cold glass. The figure bolted, their long hair blowing freely in the breeze. My ball-point pen fell from my clutches; clattering onto the table and rolling onto the floor. Startled, I sat in the wooden chair and reached for my pen. “Sorry,” I whispered; gripping tightly on the pen in my left-hand; attempting to compose a sentence in the notebook. I was unable to shake the image of the figure from my mind the whole lesson; knowing they must have been staring up at that classroom -the reason unknown.

'Sweet sixteen,

Almost seventeen;

People tell me I’m meek,

But I just class myself as unique.’

“Okay class, that’s the end of today’s lesson," Kristina called; rising to her feet; her chair jangling into the wipe-board. “Next lesson we will finish the poems and present them to the class…”

I lobbed my belongings into my rucksack, fumbling with my jacket on the way out of the door. The hallway was crammed full of students from my current lesson. I flicked my hair behind my back; straightened the collar on my coat; flung my rucksack onto my shoulder as I loped down three flights of concrete stairs.

Breathlessly, I scurried through the automatic doors at the bottom of the staircase; into the adjoining room and through another set of automatic doors; my boots thudding against the stone-paved floors. I took a deep breath. The dining room was a sea of colours and students were jam-packed together like sardines. Suddenly, two hands waving in the air caught my gaze – Beth and John.

“I’m glad you got my message,” Beth chirped. “John and I were early and it was starting to fill up – so we decided to grab a table,” she added, drying her thin-rimmed wayfarer glasses with the sleeve of her chunky sweater - the ends of her sodden blonde hair dripping onto her lap.

“It’s okay,” I smiled, offloading my possessions onto a chair opposite them. “Uh, how come you’re soaked? – It’s all sheltered in here…” I probed; catching a glimpse of John slouching in the chair beside her, vigorously tapping away on the keyboard of his blackberry smartphone.

Beth hoisted herself up and placed her glasses onto the bridge of her nose. "Let's go get some lunch - I'm starving," she stated, nudging John impishly in the arm. Her response to my question remained unanswered.

“Lunch,” I snorted, giving John a playful glare.

“Right, yeah – Sorry!” he muttered, shoving his phone into his jeans pocket and elevating himself off of the chair.

We swanned passed the huddles of students; through the wooden archway and into the main dining hall. I picked up a light-wooden tray and joined the queue beside Beth and John.

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