Ch 21. High School Ritual: 5150’d (SepSceneWriMo)

Four high school students encounter an evil spirit. Thoroughly cliched and hopelessly derivative.


Natalie traced the iron lattice on the window with the tip of her index finger. Through the greasy panes, she saw that the day was as gray as the walls. Her face, devoid of all color, showed no expression. Twenty-four hours down, forty-eight to go. She pulled the edges of the blanket more tightly at her throat, letting it drag like the train of a gown as she moved past some people who assembled a puzzle on the floor. Another one at a little distance examined their toes closely, nibbling one here and there.

She sat down in the corner on a metal chair fixed to the floor. She ignored the clamor in the hallway outside the large room. A young man, also wrapped in a blanket, slowly entered without looking left or right, eyes turned as though focused on something up close. He was clutching a Rubik’s cube, and having sat on a sofa, played with the cube without looking at it.

It was Chad.

She gathered up her blanket and shuffled across the room and sat down. “Chad—what are you doing here?”

He looked at her, irritated. “How did you know I used to be called that? My name is Chadworth.” He looked at her again. “Oh, yes, you go to my school, don’t you? What’s your name again?”

“Natalie. I—”

“Right, right, of course…” He glanced at his cube.

“How long have you been here? I’ve been here a day.”

“Two days.”

“How come I didn’t see you at recreation time this morning?”

“Recreation! I don’t have time for recreation.”

She watched another inmate who was turning around in a circle and shouting gibberish. “At least we got fresh air.”

He studied her. “Ah, I remember which one you are now! You were at the library that night with that—that nihilist—that refuse of society—that—”

Her face darkened. “He’s not any of those things! He’s just—misunderstood.”

“Well, so am I. I turn twenty-one in June, the day after final exams. If I fall behind because of this misfortune and don’t complete my courses, I shall age out of the school system and not receive my diploma.” He leaned forward and  rested his elbows on his knees. “And do you know what that means, Natalie?”

“Um… no…” She was trying to figure out how Chad was almost twenty-one and still in high school.

“It means I’ll be forced to earn a G.E.D. instead. And how will that look on my curriculum vitae?”

“I—don’t know what that is, but I’m sure people will understand.”

“Understand!” He threw the Rubik’s cube and the toe-sucker ran after it on all fours. Chadworth’s face looked like that of an old, bitter man who had seen too much.

A nurse with small, yellow teeth came in and rang a little bell. “It’s time! Line up.” They both sighed and stood up. Both of them had discovered that it was no use in attempting to argue with the woman. She held out each of their doses in turn and watched them swallow the pills right in front of her.

“I don’t feel any better from these.” Natalie pushed back her loose, green bangs from her face. “I’m not crazy,” she said in a low voice, looking around to make sure none of the other inmates were paying attention. “I know what I saw. They told me no one was there, but I saw someone, and she had Mr. Squeaks. It was at the mall. I know I saw her! But I couldn’t control how upset I was and they called the police and—”

Chadworth grasped her shoulder. “Why, something of a similar nature happened to me. I was about to take a nap, and as I began to doze off, I smelled a foul, burning odor, and there was someone in my room, setting fire to my memoir! The same person, I daresay, that you saw.”

She mouthed the name Vanessa.

He let go of her and nodded. “I hit my head and passed out. When I regained consciousness, everything was in flames and I flew for the extinguisher. The maid saw me and rushed to my room to assist. When it turned out everything was fine, she immediately reported this incident to my parents, who called the emergency medical service, and here I am.”

“Move along, you two,” the nurse said. “Or do I need to increase your dosage?”

They shook their heads and joined the line of inmates shepherded back to the dormitory.

45 thoughts on “Ch 21. High School Ritual: 5150’d (SepSceneWriMo)

          1. You know Hetty as I am not a USA resident, I would google stuff. Or if I was too lazy I would ask.

            And as non fiction reader, memoirs like obamas has me googling almost every word .. lol.

            But with fiction do famous writer spell stuff out? Or put a note at the footer if a page? Is it the done thing in writing? Umm 🧐🤨🤔👨‍💻

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’m not really sure where the line is. You pose a good question. Obviously there are cultural things that one country’s residents would recognize right away but not another. I wouldn’t expect an author to explain everything, so when I read books from other countries, I look up stuff I don’t recognize. In fiction books I have encountered footnotes, but rarely, usually in older books where the general reader wouldn’t have heard of it.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. My point exactly, I think as an author you get facts right at time of writing that is it. Maybe a glossary at the end if book but not required. Whether reader us local or international I think it is up to reader to investigate or not. But author needs to get facts right.

                Liked by 1 person

        1. I should add that I mean I throw stuff in for anyone including people from US. Most people won’t know what I’m referring to from here. I hope you didn’t take it the wrong way. Maybe I’m overthinking this 🥵

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            1. I’m not doing age guessing here, or commenting on how short modern culture’s memory is, so I’ll just say it was good of Kanye to help some old white guy named McCartney out. And what the hell is a Van Halen? Some kind of new German microbus from VW?

              Liked by 2 people

            2. I really do appreciate that and I hope I don’t disappoint. I was going to write a real crap ending of this whole thing to be funny but now I am going to try to step up to the plate.

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  1. Now that’s what I be talkin’ ’bout.
    You just had to whip out your One Few Over and away you go. Get yourself an Injun and a patsy and let’s bust outta this joint, go hunt us some witchy-poo.
    Rock on sista.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A G.E.D. is “general educational development” and it’s something you get if you don’t finish high school (secondary school–I had to confirm that one myself 😀) on time or drop out and then finish it later. That would be an example of something that most people would recognize here.
      As an American, I find sometimes that people get mad when we don’t know what something is, but I don’t see the big deal, people don’t know everything about here, we don’t know everything about over there, it’s just a matter of finding out. I enjoy talking to people from all over the world and learning new stuff.

      (Edited to correct)

      Liked by 1 person

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