Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Immortals: Chapter Two, Part Two

                 Normally, sitting down to eat after the first few classes of the day was a time to unwind, talk about what had happened, and generally get ready for the next haul of the day. For Kendra, today, it was a time to marvel at just how weird her life had gotten in just a few hours. For one thing, she was listening to her two best friends in the world talk about a time that they had shared together…a time that had included Kendra, explicitly, and yet Kendra had no memories of it.

                “If we have to run sets 34 to 44 one more time, I think I will scream.” Theresa blew on her slice of pizza, trying to get it to cool. The cheese, deciding to rebel against her, sloughed off the side of the pizza and splattered onto the box that she had sitting on her legs. She sighed, then shrugged and started to eat the bare bread – her other hand reaching down to scoop up the still hot cheese. She glanced around – as if worried someone might notice her doing this – and then popped the whole cheesy ball into her mouth, chewing contently.

                It was here that Theresa demonstrated her refinement and superiorty to the male of the species: She picked up a napkin and wiped her hands. Very pointedly, as if to say: See, you don’t need to use your pants.

                Kendra smiled, despite her worries.

                “Yeah,” she said. Jessica nodded as well.

                Sets 34 to 44 were the hardest part of the current segment of show that the Samville High School Marching Band was learning. Sets were, in their most basic forms, simple coordinates: Go to X, Y. Then go to X, Y. Then go to X, Y. By going from set to set, at the same pace as everyone else – a pace kept by a field conductor and a mental metronome in everyone’s mind – shapes and forms were created for the audiences enjoyment. However, Sets 34 to 44 also included several more complex movements - including keeping a very specific shape while moving to the left ten yards, while also playing the most complex part of Yes' The Ladder. The combination of rapid, coordinated movements and complex song made the past week nothing but sets 34, 35, 36, 37 and so on.

               All of it run again and again and again, under the slightly psychotic eye of Miss V.

                Marching Band. Can't live with it, can't back out of it without being lame. Kendra loved every second of it.

                Jessica bit into her slice, chewed, swallowed, and then asked: “So, do you think that Marshal will make the section run a few extra drills tonight?”

                Kendra shook her head. “No, he’s got that date with-“

                Jessica and Theresa both looked at Kendra, looking confused.

                Kendra blinked. “W-What?”

                “Didn’t you notice that Marshal looked super upset this morning?” Theresa asked. Jessica nodded, leaning in, whispering.

                “I hear that he and Gloria broke up,” she said.

                Kendra sighed. “I…I didn’t notice.”

                She knew that that would sound weird. Even if she had no memories of the morning, she knew that she was second chair – that meant she was literally five feet away from Marshal every step of the sets that they ran. She’d have noticed him being upset, and she would have heard why through the grapevine.

                Her stomach twisted and she looked at the pizza that Theresa had handed her earlier. She hadn’t even taken a bite…her stomach felt empty, and she could remember filling it with the meat from Bijay’s BBQ. She tried to imagine what it would be like to remember being born and raised and having friends, and yet…

                And yet, your body would have gone through a whole different life. People, strangers, would know you, and you wouldn’t know them.

                “Kendra, are you okay?” Theresa asked, her voice soft as she finished wiping her fingers and mouth clean. “You look like…”

                Kendra shook her head – cutting Theresa off. “It’s…I’ve got a lot of stuff I need to think about, Theresa.” She smiled, then looked at her. “But, um, if Marshal doesn’t call us in for extra practice, maybe…”

                She trailed off.

                “We could hang out?” Jessica suggested an end to the sentence. But Kendra had just remembered that she’d need to contact the other Immortals and begin her training. She didn’t want to be caught off-guard when Crichton or someone like him came after her.

                “Maybe,” Kendra said, in lieu of saying no. Maybe could turn no. And, hey, she might not need to do anything else today! She smiled, then bit into her pizza – thinking: Hey, think of it like getting two meals at once today!

                Once the pizza was eaten, the three girls had time to talk a bit more.

                Predictably, Theresa was too polite to mention ‘superhot guys.’ Equally predictably, Jessica smiled, leaned against Kendra’s shoulder and asked.


                “Okay, fine!” Kendra threw her hands up, standing and pacing away from where the three girls sat. She turned around and faced them. “I met him yesterday.”

                “And?” Jessica asked, grinning. “Where? Why? Who? Weightlifter, footballer, shy nerd who is actually surprisingly ripped, werewolf suspect, or…you know, are you weird and going after someone for their personality?”

                Theresa giggled.

                “Werewolf suspect?” Kendra’s brow furrowed.

                “Native American and ripped. Alternatively, super hairy. Like Kent, from my math class!” Jessica nodded.

                Kendra tapped her chin. “Kent…Kent…”

                If she could get Jessica on a tangent, then maybe she could escape.

                Theresa – who shared Jessica’s math class – was one step ahead of her friend and showed off her phone: It had a photo of a remarkably scraggly teenager, with peach-fuzz growing around his jowls. Kendra opened her mouth-

                “Wait, this is a tangent!” Jessica cut her off. She snapped her fingers. “Answer my questions, or I shall…” She trailed off, realizing that she didn’t really have any leverage over her friend. Theresa tapped the lock button  on her phone and slid it into her pocket.

                Kendra, whose cheeks were bright red by now, crossed her arms over her chest and gave in to the inevitable: “His name is Bijay.”

                “…Beee-jay?” Jessica asked, cocking her head.

                Kendra nodded. “He’s a Gurkha.”

                “…he’s a kind of cheese?”

                “No, that’s Colby!” Theresa jumped in, and dissolved into a gale of laughter. 

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