Here is my flash fiction for the WEP BRIDGES challenge for June. Open to all creatives who wish to join us. I've literally re-vamped a previously-published story to fit the challenge.
It's Shakespeare time again in my teaching schedule. Othello and A Merchant of Venice are on the menu. If you're a fan of The Bard you'll probably recognise some references. I've chosen names from random Shakespearean plays, but of course, Macbeth is always my favorite.
A Bridge too Far
‘Sorry, sweetheart. If there was any other way, we wouldn’t leave you here.’
Here was the International School of Exchange, one of the best Norweyan schools—big, ostentatious, gothic.
‘Listen, sweetie, look at our separation as just another bridge to cross on your journey towards world domination. And, uh, it’ll be good for you to mix with humans for a change, to see them in another light.’
Dad so got it wrong.
Bellona is loitering at the top of the stairway with her group of besties looking for all the afterworld like a row of creepy gargoyle statues. I have to pass these weird sisters to get to my next class. But, hey, they can’t put the fear of God into me. Bellona I can handle, but flanked by Portia and Nerissa, she looks scary indeed, even without a beard. I will need all my craft to survive.
‘Something bothering you, Emilia?’ Bellona’s voice wafts down the stairs like fog and filthy air. ‘I was just telling the sistas that something wicked this way comes. You look like you’re going to puke. Come along up. Wouldn’t want you to choke.’
I massage the banister knob with my left hand, feeling the silkiness of the aged wood smooth under my magnificent marble skin. I could glide up the stairs and float right through the lot of them, bitch slapping them while I pass, but my cred would be shot if I took that route.
Maybe this is a place where I can belong, but there's a bridge to cross before that happens.
In my Adolescence That Never Ends, I’ve discovered every school has its ghoul!
‘Come on up, you swine,' she says. 'New girls have to pass the test.’
‘What test?’ Why didn’t I keep my big mouth shut? Now she can't wait to get her long claws into me.
‘The test to see if you belong.’
Why do they suspect I don't belong?
Hmm. I shouldn’t have deliberately stepped on her shiny black Doc Martens when I cut her off at the classroom door. But that was pretty tame considering the way she’d baited me all the way through the Shakespeare class, jealous little warhorse. Not my fault I knew all the answers to Lady Macbeth’s questions (well, Ms Opine acted like Lady Macbeth in her sleepwalking stage, floating about the room in her long skirt, stroking her long red tresses, curling her dark red lips in disdain at the students’ stumbling answers to questions about Macbeth’s motivations). To tell you the truth, all she was missing was the candle in her hands.
'Hey, Ms Opine,' I imagined myself saying. 'I knew old William personally, dig that? We used to chat after the shows in the Globe. I even suggested a few characters in history he might use for his next play. Where do you think he got the idea for Macbeth and King Duncan, hmm?'
Yep. I know every one of the Bard’s plays by heart, Ms Opine, in ye Olde English, not the modern crap you let students read these days. Like which sounds better--'Killing pigs' or 'Killing swine'? No contest.
‘Get off my boot, you weirdo,’ had been Bellona’s reaction to my little stomp attack after ckass. ‘Take that!’ She’d swung her long blonde mane (yes, she was very horsey. I thought it unusual in a Norweyan public school) and delivered a stunning blow to my solar plexus.
‘Ouch!’ I’d yelled, surprised at the power in her dainty little fight move.
She gave me a strange look.
Did she feel my flesh as hard and bony as her elbow? Is that what gave me away? Still, I couldn’t resist another stomp on her boots, grinding my rubber soles as hard as I could without breaking her foot.
If you’ve ever tried to hurt someone by stomping on their Docs, you’d know it takes a lot of girl power. Those babies have pretty good toe protection. I put as much oomph as I dared behind that stomp/kick/grind. Bellona’s face turned as white as mine and her jagged breath concerned me for a minute as I wondered if I’d gone too far. The tears in her big baby blues were a bonus, looking quite dramatic hovering on her smoky fake eyelashes. But she was a tough chick for a human, or kinda human.
Now, she’d rustled up reinforcements. I was facing a Birnam Wood Comes to Dunsinane moment.
Oh, great! An army gathered against me. I have to think fast or my first day will be my last day here. If I use too much power, I’m out. Too little, and these weird sisters and their cronies will make my life a misery just like the hags did to poor old Macbeth.
Was it worth taking the ‘test’, or should I refuse to listen to them, get back on my metaphorical charger and gallop away?
As Bellona and I played at outstaring each other, I thought of another school, another Bellona. Turned out that chick was a vamp like me. She didn’t want any competition. There could only be one Queen Lilith, so she demanded I take the test. I’d refused, but lived to regret it. I could have beaten that wispy vamp in a heartbeat, um, well. Well, I don’t have much choice this time, do I? I can't always run away. I’m here forever. If I’d passed the last test I would have been Head Girl at Cawdor by now. Hmm.
Avaunt! I race up the stairs, two at a time, holding my ridiculously long serge skirt like I'm some simpering Regency heroine. Those weird sisters step back as if they’ve seen a ghost. Well, you have, stupidos. Bet they’ve never bullied a ghost before.
Soon I’ll be Head Girl of the International School of Exchange. Pretty cool.
Hey, Dad, sometimes we’ve just got to decide which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn.
I hope you like my story for the WEP BRIDGES challenge. Anything goes, as you can see. You have until June 21 to post - flash fiction, non fiction, poetry, artwork...The entry that catches the eye of the judges wins a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
Please click on the names in my right sidebar with DL (Direct Link) next to the name, or go to the WEP website limked in previous paragraph.