Friends in weird places
Hazel was starting to bug me so much I was actually starting to like her.
The girl was almost as stubborn as I am. Every day during lunch she would find whatever secluded spot I had hidden in, sit next to me and offer to share her meagre lunch. Honestly the girl had no more than I would if I had brought my lunch from home – but still she offered and I refused (mostly politely).
Until the day when my brain was so unfocused that I was afraid the purple elephant running rampant in my mind would burst onto the scene and trample everything in sight – not that I would really mind – ad when Hazel found the dark doorway I was hidden in she simply had to intrude, sitting with poise on the two wooden steps that led to the classroom. She asked if I wanted to share her lunch, and being so far away into my own world I agreed.
The smile that lit her face made me roll my eyes – the simplest of things made this girl happy. The most simple kindest was enough to make her smile ear-to-ear all day. She broke off a piece of her cake – something she had almost every day something that surprised me greatly considering the only other food she ever had was a simple sandwich and a bottle of water.
I smiled as the chocolate taste filled my mouth – it was exactly like the kind my grandmother used to make when I was a young girl, before my father had died, and my mother had decided she couldn’t stand the sight of me and sent me to boarding school.
Hazel watched as I finished my cake and she smiled, placing her own portion back into her lunchbox.
“You know, when I eat that cake, its vanilla with chocolate frosting. The same kind my brothers tried to help make when I was seven.”
I raised an eyebrow at her – her mumblings made no sense whatsoever. But I decided she was alright with me, if she was intent on becoming my friend, I may as well treat her like one.
The rest of the day Hazel and I chatted during class and spent the afternoon telling her about my life.
I told her about my dead father – and she didn’t say she was sorry which I liked. She seemed to understand about my mother’s mental breakdown regarding me (and my powers; not that Hazel knew that) and how she had sent me to Miss Hilary’s Boarding School for Girls and Boys. I also told her about my favourite place on the roof, and after lights out was called I showed her how a rickety ladder (that I had created) came down from the manhole in our room, leading directly to the roof (she didn’t ask how that happened, and I didn’t explain)
Hazel sat a little bit away from me, staring at the night sky and mumbling about the constellations, sprouting little tid-bits of information that didn’t really have much to do with anything. I brought out my sketchpad and started drawing the night sky with a few differences – I added an extra star here and there, made the moon brighter and more luminescent.
When I placed the last line of the drawing I looked up, stunned to see the moon shinning brighter than I had remembered, and stars in the middle of constellations that I knew hadn’t been there an hour beforehand. Hazel’s eyes shot to me and I almost panicked, I was pretty sure I could erase the stars on the paper and in the sky, but I wasn’t sure my power worked that way – I had never erased anything before – after a while it all simply faded.
Hazel’s eyes stayed locked on mine for a moment longer and I was sure I was caught out; I would have to start explaining truthfully, or make a lie to explain the stars she seemed to know everything about had inexplicitly changed in a few moments. Hazel turned away, her eyes lifting to the stars and my heart rate skyrocketed – oh god, she was going to start demanding answers – Hazel shrugged nonchalantly and turned away, disappearing down the ladder into our room below.
I breathed heavily, looking at the drawing and then at the sky shaking my head. Sometimes I wanted to stop drawing or writing or creating altogether. But after about a week I would get terrible migraines all throughout my head until I picked up the sketchpad and started drawing again. So I kept drawing to keep the pain away – usually I only drew safe things, like a little butterfly floating in the wind that would come and land on my finger a minute later, but sometimes I got the urge to draw something significant, and it was honestly better for my health if I just did it.
I took the ladder back down to the room and climbed into the standard single bed with really ugly grey sheets. I stared at the ceiling, wishing not for the first time that there weren’t simple and white. Maybe if they had those little glow-in-the-dark stars and comets and stuff the dorm wouldn’t feel like such a prison.
When the sunlight came streaming in I actually felt good about the start of a new day – the school week was over and we had two days to do pretty much whatever we wanted. But when I woke up, about to ask Hazel what she wanted to do that day, the question died on my lips as I realised she wasn’t in bed – in fact it looked like her bed had never been disturbed. None of her clothes were in the wardrobe – in fact the only thing that was left of Hazel was a note, apparently written from one of the pages of my sketchpad, sitting just under the lamp on my bedside table.
I’m sorry but I had to leave suddenly – I’m going to be moving to a different school again. I would have stayed, except I heard that your tests were going to be moved up because of the rumours running rampant at the school.
I might be crazy, but I knew you had to know about this – you have to be safe. My presence has been erased from the regulars’ minds, only you and the others like us can remember me.
I hope someday that we’ll meet again and you’ll be able to tell me the happy-ending to your story, for I know there will be one – there has to be.
As for me, I’m sure you’re wondering about my power – it’s so simply it’s kind of stupid actually – I have the power of knowledge. Anything I want to know about, whether it is myth, fiction or fantasy; I can know it all.
Don’t stop drawing, or thinking. I know you don’t want your powers, but their important. After all, who else is going to save the world except you?
You probably don’t believe me, but you have to remember, I know things no other human being knows. I just hope the future I know will be, because if not….Well, we don’t want to get into that.
Good luck – I hope you find the answers you seek.
Hazel Anne Waters.
I stared at the letter uncomprehendingly until the bell rang, the unusual tone make me shiver. There were different types of bells for different types of things; of course there was the usual ‘go to class’ bell which we heard every day, there was the emergency ones we heard once a year, and the school meeting which we heard even less often.
I tried to gather my wits, but my mind kept drifting back to the letter – even when I had left it in my room it appeared in my pocket, demanding to be read and understood. Finally I got up the courage to ask one of the most regular people I know about Hazel – a six foot tall guy that had been kind to me sometimes, but he stared at me as though I had grown another head and an extra finger – he truly had no idea what I was talking about.
Going into the assembly hall (which was actually the gym) I caught Karter’s eye – he too looked frantic and confused, but slowly the look faded from his eyes as he sat with the oh-so-perfect crowd, including the blonde barbie-imitation named Mel – who began to flirt with him indecently.
I stayed focus on the makeshift stage at the front of the room – some of the teachers sat up there along with the principle and vice principle, both had mischievous looks in their eyes, as though they were finally able to address a problem they’d had all year.
“Settle down students.” The principle called for attention and within a few minutes everyone was silent, we all expected the worst, knowing that a school meeting usually meant trouble.
“As some of you may be aware there has been a new law passed in government this week; in their wisdom, the government have decided to lower the age for soul-screening – meaning schools have the option of testing students in their second last year of schooling. After a few days of strenuous debate the school staff has decided to adopt the new law. This means all students in year 11 have to report to the testing facility in sixth period this afternoon. Thank you.”
This announcement didn’t affect half the school – not really, but the year 11’s it did affect, well it practically sent us into mayhem. I myself; was sent into shock. This is what Hazel meant, she knew the test was coming and had left before she could be found out.
A thousand possibilities went through my mind, all the while I could hear Mel talking excitedly to Karter, who seemed about as spaced out as I was.
“Oh-ehm-gee! I can’t wait to be tested! I know who my soul-mate will be” She finished, batting her eyelashes leaning into Karter, who stood suddenly, shoving his way out of the gym.
Seeing him leave sent my system into overdrive – I had to leave too, but what I was going to do, leaving was practically saying ‘I’m one of them! Come catch me!’ – Not something I was willing to do. I had to think through this carefully there had to be a way to replicate what Hazel did – simply disappear.
But Hazel was only here for a few days, I had been here almost a year and had gotten to know almost every person from both the cool crowd and the not-so-cool crowd. But really, how hard could it be to erase the memories or a few dozen people?
I huffed onto my bed, closing my eyes, concentrating – the thought had to be precise. I had no idea how long this was going to take; I had roughly six hours to erase people’s memory and then find somehow to escape the school that had six foot barbed wire fences with cameras at every corner.
No problem. You’ve done worse Ells.
I concentrated on a single thought, pushing it to the forefront of my mind, I made every cell in my brain focus on the thought, I pictured every person I knew, slowly erasing their memories or me. After a while I focused on the teachers, principles, everyone who might have seen my name on a paper, or during attendance.
No-one will remember me.