The chirping of birds and the strong sun fighting through the winter clouds shone on the used-to-be pallid-walls-but-yellowed-by-age of West Point High School implies that it is spring—which means that swimming season starts for all freshmen—which means that half the class is either fretting for their lives or squealing at the excitement of seeing half-naked boys or girls…or both, if they roll like that.
Mandy's English class strolled on. Messy posters tacked on the wall, the assignments turned in by students scattered on the floor, or even Hanley's podium covered with graffiti with such things as "HAMMER TAKES THE PODIUM" or "C/O 1999," was the typical sights in this classroom. This was where many arguments and debates have been held and the brain pains were present due to the students trying to pick up their pace of cognitive thinking to match Mr. Hanley's.
Everyone kept their eyes on Hanley for fifty-three minutes straight, he was just that interesting.
"So, what is the difference between religion and mythology?"
Silence fills the acoustic room. A few confident hands shot out.
"In religion, it is when you believe in the gods, and in mythology you don't," Mandy answered with an unsure tone.
"Invalid," Hanley shot down the answer, "let's just say you are Christian. How can you believe in something such as God when the basis of God existing is just as solid as the basis of Buddha or any other god existing?"
"Mythology has more gods? Mythology is more openly studied in school? Mythology is a combination of all religions?"
All sorts of theories have been blurted out, and all have been shot down by their English teacher without a blink of an eye, without struggling, without considering the other side of the story. A new question arose out of the blue—half the class didn't keep up with Mr. Hanley's pace.
"What is the purpose of religion?" asked by Hanley to keep the minds of his class at work.
Again, answers have been shouted out but 2nd period hasn't been able to touch the answer, until the class had decided on the answer which was that religion was there to keep our illusion that we will live on even after we die.
"But…if we believe in religion for that reason, then why do we believe in other supernatural things like ghosts or whatever?" asked Caryn, a fellow classmate.
Hanley smirked, rolled his eyes, and shook his head slightly all at the same time, signs that show this was not worthy for debate. "You know what we call people who believe in such things as ghosts?"
Silence in the class like always.
"How much time do we have left?" He twisted his head and looked up at the clock above him. "A minute; Iknowwe'—"
The bell rang for break and almost everyone hurried out the door—without bidding their teacher goodbye. "I'm just kidding." Hanley returned to his seat and sipped his drink.
Daniel walked across the other side of the room to Mandy, starting up their daily after-class conversations.
"Hey," he smiled.
"Hi," she smiled back.
Natalia who was packing up her stuff stopped to stare at the conversing pair. Mr. Hanley's irises flickered at the trio's direction and then to his computer screen.
"How'd you do on the first swimming lesson today?"
"Ehh, I tried," laughed Mandy. "The water hates me, but I'll get it sometime."
"Hey, I should teach you sometime. We haven't hung out in a while anyway."
Natalia shoved her textbook in her messenger bag and paced herself out.
"Thanks, and guess what today is,"
Mandy clutched something in her open backpack pocket. "Today is the tenth anniversary that we've been friends. Here you go." She handed him a messily wrapped present with newspaper.
"Hah! It's just like you to remember these things," Daniel took the given gift with gratitude. "So I guess I should get you something in return? Sorry I didn't remember myself."
Mandy shook her hands and head simultaneously. "No, it's fine! Just teach me how to swim."
Another bell sounded, starting the time to transfer to third period.
"Well, I'll see you around?"
"Sure, but don't open your present until we see each other again."
They embraced, like best friends do. She inhaled the faint cologne sprayed on his neck, and he secretly mirrored her actions and bidding each other goodbye.
After school, Natalia walked with Charlotte amidst the ocean of students recently let out.
"And yeah, they were just being so flirty with each other, it's so sick. Daniel's not even like that to other people"
"You mean other girls? He's pretty friendly to his friends."
"Yeah, whatever," Natalia hiked her tote higher up her shoulder. "What's so special about that girl Mandy anyway? She's so…boring and plain. Just look at the way she dresses and acts. She never speaks in Hanley or anywhere else."
"Just ignore her, how hard is that?"
Out of the corner of their eyes they saw Mandy walk out of a closing classroom door and towards their direction.
A light bulb lit on top of Natalia's head. "Hey, Mandy!"
"Wait, what the hell are you doing?" Charlotte whispered harshly.
Mandy's eyes glanced at their direction, then smiled and waved a little.
Natalia skipped over to Mandy, linking Charlotte's arm to hers and pulling her, and plastering on a huge grin. "Just watch."
"Do you need something?" Mandy's eyes glanced between the two girls curiously.
"Ohh, Daniel was looking for you! He said he wanted to teach you swimming."
Mandy's eyebrows knitted. "Right now?"
"Why not? It's hot today anyway."
Mandy and Charlotte looked up at the sky; it was cloudy.
Checking her phone, Mandy's suspicion grew. "Daniel should have called or somethin-"
"Come on, let's go! He's waiting for you at the pool," Yanking Mandy along, the trio ran to the gated area.
The pool was still. No one was looking, nor in the area. Students were still trespassing by. The sky was grey and rumbled. Natalia closed the gate.
Shocked, Mandy reacted nervously. "Where's Daniel? Wouldn't he be here by now?"
"What the fuck are you doing, Nat?" mouthed Charlotte.
'Wait…just wait 'til everyone out there is gone.'
Natalia smiled. "Umm, he told me he would be a bit late. Just wait a bit here with me. Here, I'll even wait with you just in case you're scared."
Mandy nodded. Time morphed from five minutes to ten, changing from ten to thirty, rolling from thirty to sixty. The heavens turned greyer. It was silent, in the entire school.
"Well, it seems like Daniel isn't showing up. I guess I'll go now." Mandy power walked to the gates, attempting to pry open the rusted latch.
"Wait—he just texted me; he said to have me teach you how to swim instead, since he was busy right now."
Mandy shook her head softly, and with a delayed reaction, responded with an "it's okay."
"No…no, no, I mean. Let me spend some time with you. Half a year has gone by and we haven't really talked to each other before, and I'm the type that loves to interact with others. C'mon, at least talk to me for a while."
A "just let her go home" was said by Charlotte distantly, but was ignored.
They both stood by the edge of the pool. The water rippled due to the wind.
"So, any guys you like in school?"
Mandy thought for a moment. "Hmm, no, not that I know of."
"Really? What about Daniel? You guys seem pretty close."
"We're just good friends…" Mandy's women intuition rang out. She did not feel safe. She needed to leave. "It's nice to talk to you, but I really have to get home now," says Mandy as she attempts to exit, but her wrist is grasped and pulled toward Natalia. Charlotte's curiosity grows but not enough to walk over and determine what was happening.
"Hey…don't leave just yet. I was just going to tell you something about me. Don't you feel like we're becoming good friends?"
Getting annoyed, Mandy asked what it was.
"I really like Daniel. He's such a well-rounded guy! Don't you think that we could be really cute together?"
"Then go get with him?"
Natalia leaned close to Mandy's ear. "There's one little problem though," whispered Natalia, "He doesn't look for anyone else but you." With that, Natalia shoved Mandy into the twelve feet deep pool.
Charlotte's eyes widen and she prepares to take a running leap into the pool to save the drowning. "No, don't do it." To the pool, Natalia yells out "I'll rescue you if you promise to never go near Daniel again."
Mandy swallows mouthfuls of water as she struggles to reach shore. Her arms flail for her life in the water, creating large splashes. She is sinking so low that she can only hear garbled speech from Natalia.
"HEY, WHAT THE HELL? ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL HER?"
"Don't worry, see, she can swim. I bet she's just saying that she can't swim to get other guys to teach her how. Boy-crazy slut."
Mandy can no longer reach the surface. Chilling water rushes into her lungs, burning and injuring herself. Through the murky water she looks up at the sky, hoping for something to save her.
"Nat! She's really going to drown! Let's save her!"
"Shut up, I'm not letting either of us do anything until she backs away from Daniel."
Mandy grows pale and weak, forcing her to give up. She lets out the last breath she could no longer hold in her lungs and closes her eyes.
Mandy floats face down, letting the ripples of the water move her involuntarily. More silence. The sky rumbles and the first rain of Spring drop around them.
"Oh, my God. Look at what you did Nat! You said she can swim!"
The blood leaves Natalia's face; she never wanted to kill her. That was not her intention.
Charlotte prepares to rush in. "I have to grab her out and get her to a hospital!"
"Wait, don't do that!" Natalia holds Charlotte down. "What happens if she does regain consciousness? Then we would be in such big trouble. Just leave her here!"
The duo rushed out, accompanied with their own screaming of "Hurry!" or "Let's get out of here before we get caught!"
A/N: I am a person who loves to type out all her ideas before she forgets them. That's why I'm starting a new one before I update the others.
I know, this sucks. I haven't written anything of this genre, thought I'd give it a try. It was a trial-and-error piece, so I'm just going to see what else I can improve on.
Reviews are very much appreciated.
-EpitomeOfHappiness (it's pretty ironic that I'm named that.)