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   Chapter 3 Hamlet

Instant By Anna Rae Characters: 18107

Updated: 2018-01-18 17:59


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I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen

-A.A. Milne

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Nate was silent in the car the next morning. That was what he did - held grudges until I forgave him.

He sat in the driver's seat, one hand lazily on the wheel; the dictionary description of uncaring. However, the white skin around his clenched knuckles proved that he was, in fact, very agitated.

Even though he had started it.

But I hardly ever succumbed to his silent demand for an apology. It was much easier to simply wait until he was no longer mad so our relationship would go back to normal. Whatever "normal" was.

So I was stubborn. Sue me.

When we arrived at school, Nate was still ignoring me, and life continued to soak up blandness. Excitement ceased to enter the void that was my existence.

However, as I sat through class after boring class, my ears continuously strained towards the clocks that were above each door. Because my school was a rather old one, we still had analog clocks, which I imagined would make a ticking noise if you stood close enough.

But even as I stood directly below the door - awkwardly clogging the flow of students - I was not close enough to hear the ticking. I watched the hands move, hearing the phantom ticking in my head, but there was nothing.

By the end of third hour, I had determined two of three things for sure.

The first being that you had to be very, very close to hear the ticking of a clock - and maybe not even then.

The second being that, unless someone had placed one there, there were no clocks anywhere outside my house.

And the third - the one I was unsure of - was that maybe the ticking had been only in my head.

Which would make me slightly insane.

But it was the only possibility that made sense.

Except for the fact that it didn't.

<<>>

Mr. Telvic's voice rumbled through the classroom, daring us, or anyone else, to try to understand what he was talking about. Being the book-lover I was, I grasped on to every word, my mind suspended in air and being prodded by the complex words and beautiful concepts.

After a look around the room, however, I noted that others were not so lucky.

Rachel, for instance, was next to me and cracking jokes the entire time, most of which made no sense at all. You had to applaud her for trying, though.

That girl could lighten the mood at a funeral, which was partially why we'd become friends so many years before.

"In this part, Hamlet is speaking in soliloquy, so he's speaking his thoughts aloud, without regard of any other listeners, " Mr. Telvic says, speeding through his definition of soliloquy as if it was irrelevant to the story. "Hamlet is really questioning the connotation of life, and why there are so many austerities. He wonders if it is even worth continuing - his life - or not."

Mr. Telvic talks with such passion, like he is truly interested in the topic at hand. But I knew he'd been teaching for far too many years to still be interested in a book he probably had memorized.

"So, finally, he comes to a conclusion: that the main reason the common person stays alive is that they fear death, and are uncertain as to what lies ahead." He pauses, for affect no doubt, then continues. "And this is probably my favorite part in the entire story, when he utters these six words. To be, or not to be."

I don't think there's anything quite like listening to a good speech. Nothing that gives you goosebumps like a man talking so passionately about such a deep subject.

Until...

"To pee, or not to pee, more like it, " Rachel whispered, crossing her legs tightly. "I think I'm gonna wet my pants."

And the magic of Mr. Telvic was gone.

"Rae, I told you to go before class, " I muttered, trying not to get caught talking in the middle of class.

"Yeah, but I didn't have to go then, " she whined, reminding me of her six-year-old sister.

"So raise your hand and ask to go, " I recommended.

"Adira, you don't understand. If I do that, then he'll just say 'class is done in ten minutes, you can wait', " she shot back, lowering her voice to mock Mr. Telvic's. I held back a laugh.

"Yeah, so wait the ten minutes then." The answer seemed pretty simple and easy to me, but then again, I wasn't the one who had to go.

Mr. Telvic, oblivious to the bathroom issue going on in the back of the room, wasn't making matters any better.

"To be, or not to be, " he recited. "That is the question. To be, or not to be." I thought the only thing Rachel was probably hearing was "to pee, or not to pee".

I looked at the clock - something that made me slightly wary if I was at all honest - seven minutes left, she could hold it.

Or so I thought.

Mr. Telvic's eyes searched the room, smiling, looking for someone to answer the question that was written clearly on his bearded face. His eyes landed on his culprit.

"Rachel, " her eyes widened as he called her name, "what do you think this means?" I turned to look at her, opening my mouth- "with your own words, please, not Ms. Brower's, " he scolded. I turned away. Well, at least I tried to help her.

"I..." Rachel was saying, "I think it means... I guess it could.... Hamlet..." She closed her eyes tightly.

I could tell it was taking pure willpower just to not pee right in her chair. "Stupid Hamlet, " she muttered. We all tried not to laugh. Laughing at this fragile moment would ensure the entire class's fate of impending doom - a lot of homework. "It means..." She finally bolted up from her seat, hand raised high. "I have to pee!"

Laughter bubbled put of every single person in the classroom, except for Mr. Telvic, as she hobbled as quickly as she could out of the classroom and to the bathroom, legs still clenched together. She struggled with the door, but when she got it open, she was out of the classroom faster than lightning.

My cheeks were starting to hurt from the smile splayed across them. The kid across from my desk was laughing so hard he nearly fell out of his chair.

There wasn't a whole lot of laughing in English, so I was sure they'd be thanking Rachel later - until the massive homework was assigned.

As my teacher passed out the Hamlet books that we'd need for the semester, I wondered what the world would be like without Rachel in it. Less enjoyable, that was for sure.

Mr. Telvic muttered something about us leaving and the class got up and rushed towards the door. We weren't allowed to leave until the bell rang, but people still flooded the doorway, pushing to be the first to lunch.

I leaned towards Rachel's desk, grabbing her bag along with my own.

Half way to the door, the bell shrieked a sound of delight, and the wave of students dispersed from the classroom.

"See you tomorrow, Mr. Telvic, " I said to the old man. He nodded curtly before resuming his work.

I stepped out of the classroom, Rachel meeting me at the door.

"So how was your pee?" I asked, grinning and handing Rachel her bag.

"Aw, shut up, " she replied, grabbing the bag back and lifting it onto her shoulder.

The hallway was crowded with people rushing to their next classes. Groups of girls huddled in corners, talking gossip and fiddling their arms to explain a juicy story. Couples lined the wall of lockers, making out and fondling each other until I was half tempted to sprint to the nearest trash can to spill the contents of my breakfast.

"Ew, " Rachel commented about a particular couple. "Seriously, Natalie and Josh need to get a room."

I laughed, trying to shield my eyes. I didn't see anything except a spot of plaid from the flannel Josh was wearing, but that splash of color was enough.

Natalie was that one cliché girl in every high school movie who was a total bitch and slept with a different guy every night.

Except her and Josh had been dating for three weeks now - a record for Natalie - and it made me wonder if things were changing.

Natalie and I were been friends in eighth grade when I had had no one else. She hadn't always been a total hoe-bag, but then again she had stolen the middle school love of my life, Drake Richards, so I should have guessed where she would end up.

Rachel and I pushed our way through a group of jocks who were beginning to bang a series of hard objects on the metal lockers. One of the boys, Thad, grabbed me by the arm and pulled me in.

"Adira!" He screamed in my ear over the banging. I laughed as he stumbled over his words. I had to guess that he's been partying a little too hard the night before. He grabbed a stray lock of my uncontrollable brown hair and twisted it. "There's a party this Friday! Jake's house. Be there!"

And with that, he winked, pushing me out of the loud-mouthed group of boys.

I was still giggling when Rachel grabbed my wrist and pulled me away.

"Dude, don't let Nate see you with him, " she warned, her voice low.

I blinked. "Why not?"

Rachel snorted. "You don't remember that one party?" When I didn't

reply she elaborated. "You know... Thad tried to give you a lap dance...?"

I snorted. I couldn't believe I'd forgotten about that. There was a light scar that looked like a crescent moon tattooed on my side from where Nate had dug his thumb into the skin. I hadn't told Rachel about that one.

I didn't tell Rachel about most of the little "incidents" between me and Nate. I knew that if I did, she'd very well force us to break up, and I didn't want that.

"Nate was so pissed that night, " I said, sobering.

Rachel rolled her eyes. "When is he not?"

She looked around the hallway as she started to walk. The hallway was clearing up a little as we walked to our lockers. However, we were in no rush because we had lunch.

Rachel stood on her tip toes to peer over the heads of some young freshman that were barreling through to avoid being late to class.

"Looking for a new lover?" I teased, smiling. Her eyes were glinting with mischief and I followed her down the hallway, heading towards our lockers. Near the very end of the hallway, our lockers stood right next to each other.

"Actually, yes, " she replied, turning the lock to the heinously blue, metal door. There was the click that signified it's opening, and she yanked the door almost off it's handles, stuffing her backpack inside.

"What?" I asked, not expecting there to actually be someone. "Who?"

She turned to grin at me, her locker forgotten. There was a girlish smile splayed across her face. "There's a new guy starting tomorrow."

I rolled my eyes, disappointment flooding my chest. "Is that all?" I asked, shoving my backpack into my now open locker and grabbing my drama book and binder. I could swear there was a new guy every week. Or so it seemed to me. I never really looked because I was already in a steady relationship. Rachel, however, thought of boys kind of like sculptures in a museum - they were pretty to look at, but not to touch.

My claim of never ending new students was probably far from the truth. Mostly because Brewer, Michigan wasn't exactly that big, and didn't attract families the way a larger, suburb area might.

"All?!" She asked incredulously, mocking me. "This one is really cute!"

I laughed, propping my backpack in my locker on one of the hooks and zipping it open.

"That's what you always say, " I smirked. "You've said it about every new kid so far - and only one of them ended up actually being cute--"

"See, I was right about Anthony!" Rachel squealed.

"--and now he's a total druggie, " I finished, laughing

Rachel pouted.

"Stop being so picky, " she said, mock glaring and trying to stifle a smile. "He was nice when he wasn't knee deep in pot. You need to lower your standards or you're going to end up alone!" She jabbed a finger at me. "With a bunch of stupid cats!"

I laughed as Rachel slammed her locker shut and walked down the hallway, a smile curled on her cheeks. She headed in the opposite direction, towards the cafeteria.

"I'm not alone!" I yelled to her back, watching her preppy blonde hair swish back and forth as she skipped. "I have a boyfriend you know!"

Not even turning around, she flipped me the bird and yelled something I didn't catch.

I laughed as I headed down to the auditorium, preparing myself for my drama meeting. Instead of going to lunch, my drama teacher, Mr. P, had asked me to help him out with a few sets because I was semi-notorious for my painting skills.

A new guy would be nice, I supposed. One could only hope that he'd bring exciting change to Brewer High School, so we would have more comic relief than just Rachel and her bladder problem.

I hummed softly down the corridor, peeking outside the glass doors of the school as I rounded a corner. A storm appeared to be brewing in the sky, dark shades of blue and grey intertwining in the form of rain clouds.

Because it had been sunny a few hours before, I hadn't thought to bring a coat to school. I vaguely wondered if I'd regret that decision later.

<<>>

There's something about the end of the school day that turns your legs to mush, and causes your eyes to droop. I didn't know whether it was the excessive "learning" or the need to participate in activities, but the whole ordeal tended to make me exhausted.

I walked out to the parking lot, immediately beginning to boil in the heat of the sun. My hand reached up to shield my eyes as I looked around the parking lot.

Squinting towards the sky, I wondered how the weather could go from sunny, to stormy, and then back to sunny in a span of a couple hours, but, as my mother would say: "that's Michigan for you - bipolar and shitty."

I turned my gaze back towards the rows of cars. Spotting a familiar red sports vehicle, I immediately regretted not taking my own car to school.

Now I would have to wait a full hour to get a ride from Nate, lingering around the parking lot until his football practice came to an end, only to be the outlet of his anger.

Well life certainly sucks, I thought to myself. Then I began the short trek across the burning, black asphalt.

A cool breeze sliced through the air, taking strands of my hair and making them dance. I lifted the remainder of it off my neck so the colder air would cool me down.

I was just about to tie it all into a bun when something flitted in my side vision. The hair dropped as I whipped my head to the side.

A dot of black sliced through the miserable trees - our school was alongside a forest of slim, towering trees that were looking worse for wear because of the winter that was yet to come. The leaves were placed almost elegantly on the forest floor in varying shades of reddish brown. The trees themselves were bare stalks of bark jutting up from the hard ground.

My eyebrows furrowed at the dark shape shifting through the branches. The forest wasn't big, and certainly wasn't crawling with creatures of any kind, so it didn't make sense that something - or someone - would be prancing around inside it.

The only time the woods were ever used, I remembered, was for a specific biology class where you went out - one day of the year - to stare at bark.

Worst twenty minutes of my entire life.

Seeing nothing through the trees after waiting a few moments, I slowly adverted my eyes. Only to see the dark spot flash in my vision once more.

Even quicker than before, my head snapped in the direction of the forest. There couldn't possibly be an animal out there, could there?

I couldn't help the gooseflesh that littered my arms and neck. I watched for the black.

Subconsciously, I took a small step toward the trees. But the black was - not surprisingly - gone once more.

"What the heck?" I wondered allowed. Although the black seemed irrelevant, something about the situation was striking me as odd. First the ticking of the clock - which I was trying to blame on an overactive imagine - and now this?

I searched for a reasonable explanation. Maybe some kids went behind the trees to do a little "business" involving a few specific items. The idea certainly made logical sense.

However, I still found myself glaring at a particularly thick tree, waiting to see a dash of darkness.

It never came.

"Adira what are you doing?"

My head twisted - almost painfully - back around in the other direction. I stumbled a little on my feet, trying to regain my balance.

"Adira!"

I searched for the voice. A girl was running down the stairs of the school, her blond hair flying behind her.

"Hey Rachel, " I called, embarrassed for being caught glaring at trees. She laughed as she bounded towards me, swinging her book bag.

"What are you doing?" She asked.

I peeked back at the trees. No black. "Nothing."

She looked skeptical. "You need a ride home?"

"Would you?" I asked. Rachel's face brightened, her green eyes shining. "Cause, yeah, I sort of do."

Rachel started to walk towards her car, a blue slug-bug that she liked to call Spock. "Yeah, no problem, " she said, beginning to swing her bag. "Get in bitchacho!"

I followed her to the car, thinking about the black in the forest. It couldn't have been an animal - because of the fact that the forest was empty of them besides squirrels and the like, but also because I couldn't name a single animal that was black. Except maybe a black bear, but those didn't live in southern Michigan.

"Hey Rae, " I said suddenly, and she turned around.

"Yeah?"

I was about to mention the black in the forest, to ask if she had any ideas of what it might have been, but at the last second I decided against it.

Instead I grinned, "Let's go to Starbucks. I'm buying."

She whooped, and I climbed into the car, trying not to think about the ticking, or anything that might have been streaking through the forest in the middle of the day.

I couldn't help, however, when my ears began to strain, waiting to hear a sound that did not belong.

A certain bang, bang, bang that seemed so close, yet so continuously far away.

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