A Long Lecture
She raised her hand to ask a question only to have her wrist caught. The boy next to her shook his head, leading her hand back to the tabletop. Releasing her he scribbled something on his legal pad in front of him, pushing it her way.
He’s not going to listen to you.
Ripping the pen out of his hand she quickly scribbled, How do you know?
A smile, pulling another pen from his pencil bag he added, Watch.
He opened his mouth and at the top of his voice screamed. No one looked at them. With a tilt of a brow he added, they get angry if you actually try and talk and say anything of any real substance. The teacher will yell at you, and you’ll be told not to interrupt the lecture. Not that you can understand anything he is saying.
So, that’s why you’re writing to me instead of talking?
So, can we just leave then?
Tried, you just end up back here.
Yep, it’s a never-ending cycle.
“So, we’re stuck here?”
A rap on the lectern, the scraggly haired man writing nonsense on the board at the center of the room peers out at them, “I appreciate that some of you would like to make this a social hour, but please remember this is a place of academics and many people would prefer not to follow you in failing.”
A snarky laugh, he tapped the page between them writing, Told you.
This is stupid.
Stupid or not this is where we are.
Well, there has to be some way to get out.
I would like to get a new perspective on that, because I have been trying to get out of here for the last two weeks.
No way, that long! Don’t you get hungry or have to go to the bathroom?
Nope, it’s weird, it’s kind of like those things have been suspended.
Aren’t there any others around here who know what’s going on?
There was another girl, but she was all the way across the room. We couldn’t find a way to communicate. And every time we tried, we got in trouble. It seems it has to be someone next to you. I guess this purgatory has quite a few rules to learn.
Where did she go?
I don’t know. Everyone else here are just NPCs.
Don’t know gaming acronyms? It means Non-Player Character. They don’t have a brain. You didn’t until a few moments ago. You were just sitting there listening in awe to whatever this donut was saying. And then it was like your brain turned on and you tried to ask a question.
So, I think the question is the key. I tried to ask one when I woke up. Tell me was your question critical of something he was saying?
She scanned the classroom considering the question. I think so, but it wasn’t argumentative or anything. It was just a clarifying question. Why?
This world doesn’t take questions. It only takes confirmation and conformity, or at least that’s my hypothesis.
Well, that considered our rejection or question of this world has separated us.
Exactly. So, then there has to be something else that we haven’t quite done yet. Something that will finish the dividing process and allow us to leave.
They both scanned the room. There was nothing other than students from one end to the other. The teachers rambling voice spouting what sounded like utter nonsense. In general, the room was warmly comfortable. The lighting wasn’t too bright, possessing a glow that was soothing. All in all, despite everything it was not too bad. Relaxing even.
A burst of laughter from beside her. He put his hand to his stomach painfully breathless. A gasp and then a pat on the table.
“I get it now. I didn’t see it till you came.”
The teacher started yelling, the other students were looking at them with irritated faces.
“What is it?”
“It’s simple…” The teacher was so loud now she could hardly process the words coming out of his mouth before he disappeared.
The lights flickered and everything went back to normal. He was gone. She hadn’t even thought to ask him what his name was. And now it was like he never existed, the chair beside her just an empty piece of plastic. Even the legal pad they had been communicating with was gone.
An hour. Two hours. Three, go by and nothing changes other than the hand on the clock endlessly spinning at the head of the room. She was all alone. The lecture continues. The students sit around in varying states of interest and boredom. And she is there without a thought for what to do. Would she be condemned to live forever, running in to this room every time she attempted to escape? There would be no hunger, no thirst, no weariness, but at what cost? To be doomed to live alone. To never be able to speak. To watch others come and go around her.
In desperation she tried to picture his lips in the chaos, imagine what was coming out of them. Taking a pen and pad out of her bag, she began to write what she pictured. She mouthed the words several times. Before smiling. The lights flickered and she was gone. The lecture continued as normal.
Thank you so much for reading everyone!!
Prompt Sentence: She raised her hand to ask a question
Word Count: 901
Special thanks to Dom Dou from Unsplash for the use of the image!
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