The Hall

She pulled the chair free from its stack in the corner and placed it in the last row at the back of the hall. Glancing around at the rest of her grade gathered for assembly, she sat down. She did not notice the sharp piece of plastic jutting from the chair’s front leg, and as her leg brushed past it her stocking snagged. A small hole tore in the thin material near her knee and immediately began to ladder. Swearing under her breath she stood up, ignored the glares thrown at her, and headed for the exit – intending to remove the stockings all together. As she walked down the row of chairs one of her classmates stuck out her foot and tripped her. She landed loudly. Giggles erupted all around her but were immediately stifled by a stern glance from one of the prowling nuns. More embarrassed than hurt she stood up and ran for the bathroom.

She looked at herself in the mirror but recognized only her eyes. They looked both angry and scared. The rest of her face was contorted by an emotion so intense that it swelled in her stomach and poured out her mouth in waves of silent screaming. The feeling was pure anguish – black, deep and destructive. The bathroom shook violently as an explosion cut across the school like scissors through silk. She did not see the glass in the windows and doors shatter – but she heard it. She did not see the floor break open – but she felt it. The room that she had just exited was swiftly wiped from existence.

Emerging from the bathroom she paused behind the door from which she had left the hall only a minute before. As she opened it she glimpsed a world that did not belong there. Wordlessly she looked down at the rip in her stocking, that had by this time spread right down her leg like a stain. Raising her now emotionless blue eyes she looked out over the piles of charred remains and smiled.