A Mask

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood
Yesterday didn’t work out so well for me in prompt-land.  I failed a bit at the timing of it all, which is unfortunate, but it got me to write anyways, which is always a plus.  This week on Write on Edge’s Red Writing Hood challenge, the prompt was to use an antagonist.  So I’m introducing a character, one who must definitely have been encountered before, but who hasn’t been mentioned before in any of the pieces of the story I’ve written before.  She must have existed in this story, though – she’s in every high school.

In the name of clarifying storylines, I’ve got a new tab up top for stories.  If you’re just starting to read this (or just very confused at the pieces you’ve read so far), that tab is the ideal location in which to find all the pieces of this story in order of how they ought to be read, as opposed to the order in which I wrote them.  This prompt response is in the “The Necessary” storyline, right after “So Blue“.

Head over to Write on Edge to submit your own responses, and to read the other ones.  Click on the image below to see more from the artist who did it.

I felt an immense sense of relief at being on speaking terms again.  We linked arms and headed towards second period, having missed the entire first with catching up and apologies and waiting for my face to stop being splotchy and terrible from crying.

I peered in through the door at the class still in session and joined Joanna on the floor nearby.

How sweet, the Lezbos have kissed and made up.”

God, I hate her.

Jessica smirked down at us, one hip jutted forward in her designer jeans, perfectly manicured fingers hooked in the belt loops.  Her cronies did their best to match her pose, smug in their safety behind the firing line.

Joanna, as always, remained serene.  “Sorry, Jess, I know you were hoping to be my rebound.”

I was proud of Joanna and jealous at the same time.  I wish I was as confident.

“Whatevs, freak.”  She dismissed Joanna with a roll of her eyes and cocked her head at me.  “Trying red, yonkers?”  She casually pushed a strand of her own deep auburn hair behind her ear.  “I’d suggest that you try something less… fire engine… but I really don’t think any hair colour will help to make you look like anything more than a hayseed.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery, though, so, thanks, I guess.”

I blushed, my hand going up as though to cover the bright colour.

Jessica snorted derisively and exchanged a satisfied look with her entourage.

She’s such a bully.  I wished desperately that I could call her on it.

I thought back to the tree woman, her confidence a force of nature, her personality bludgeoning even Joanna into submission.  Vibrant and warlike, her entire tree fighting to protect a single leaf.  And I stood up.

“Hey, Jess – your roots are showing.  I would give you my hairdresser’s name, but she doesn’t deal with homophobes.”

It was her turn to redden, but hers was anger.  She snarled, perfect white teeth clenched, “I do not dye my hair.”

It was my turn to roll my eyes and smirk.  Inside I quaked.  I hoped desperately to cling to this fragile mask long enough to get out of Jessica’s way.

“Interesting, you think your big dye secret is the important one to protect.  You try to make me feel bad for being myself and for expressing myself, and you call me gay like it’s a bad thing.”  I stepped forward, she retreated.  “Considering how many people go to this school, I’m betting at least a few are gay.  I’m tired of hearing your nastiness, and I’m sure they are, too.”

Her minions avoided eye contact with her as she scanned the crowd for a teammate.

“Alright, let’s break up this social circle and get to learning.”

The spell was broken, Mr. Sherbrooke at the door of his room, gesturing us in.

I could feel the strength draining out of me, my hands shaking at my sides.  Jessica’s hate-filled glare singeing my back.

Was it worth it?

So Blue

trail verb \ˈtrāl\

1 a: to hang down so as to drag along or sweep the ground
b: to extend over a surface in a loose or straggling manner <a vine that trails over the ground>
c: to grow to such length as to droop over toward the ground

2 a: to walk or proceed draggingly, heavily, or wearily : plod, trudge
b: to lag behind : do poorly in relation to others

3: to move, flow, or extend slowly in thin streams <smoke trailing from chimneys>

The rule in Trifecta is simple – use the third definition of the word, use it as it is written, and make the response between 33 and 333 words long.

This piece of the story fits in after this.  Be warned, the pieces of the story are not in order in my posts, but you can find a list of them in order on the (NEW) page I created for stories.

Check out Trifecta to read other prompt responses.  You would find mine there, buuuuut I dropped the ball on this one.  I am pretty sure that the link closed about an hour before I remembered that I left this post as a draft.  Lexy for the win!  Enjoy it anyways!

I stared at the trail of indigo tracing its way slowly down my arm.  There was a smear of it on the creamy white of my towel, a thumb-print on the shower curtain.  Each drip of water from the blue streak in my hair was inky.  I leaned over the sink and twisted my hair tightly, squeezing more and more indigo droplets out.

I glared at my reflection, daring the tears to fall.  Blue splashed purple in the dreadfully pink sink.

The blue streak the tree woman had left in my hair in the spring had grown with my natural hair colour, never a blonde root to show for it.  It was as though my natural hair colour in that spot was blue.  Until this morning, a trail of indigo swirling down the drain.

I slouched low at breakfast, toying with my overcooked eggs and wallowing in my own personal pity party.

A gentle hand down my back in silent greeting, and a mug of tea set in front of me announced my mother’s arrival.  I stared at the trail of swirling tendrils of milk seeping into the tea, trying to ignore her cheerful presence, perched at the table with one leg tucked up, chin resting on her knee.

“Love the new look,” she said, pleased.

“You would.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You weren’t exactly happy about the blue.”

She looked puzzled.  “Yes, but-“

I stood abruptly, my chair scraping loudly against the floor.  I couldn’t deal with this conversation right now.  I felt as though I was losing the Nowhere, one connection at a time.

**

“What happened to your hair?”

I looked up, surprised.  This was the first time we had spoken since the blowout at the bar.

I was still angry at her, under the hurt.  I would say something scathing.

“I don’t know, it just happened,” my voice caught, betraying my emotions.

“I’m really sorry.”

“You didn’t do it.” I sniffled.

“Not about your hair, stupid!  About everything.” She smiled.  “Besides – red suits you.”