by Rebekah Postupak
All may be fair in love and war, but Kayleigh just stepped way over the line. A very real line, actually, marked in elvish blue chalk and running eight inches wide from the locker room to the cafeteria. And then she looked back at us, grinning as though she’d just cured cancer.
“C’mon, guys!” she said, pushing up on her fat tippy toes. Up, down. Up, down. Click BOOM. Click BOOM. “It’s fun over here!”
Mr. Spitzel had warned us. Teachers on this side, students on that. Don’t cross, he said, no matter how great the temptation. DO NOT CROSS.
As Mr. Spitzel was the creative writing teacher, though, I guess not enough of us took him seriously. So now we were forced to watch Kayleigh giggling, en pointe, off hairy pointe, on the other side of the line.
When after a few minutes nothing happened, most of us relaxed a little bit. I’m not sure what we’d expected. Homeroom to explode, maybe? The bell to screech without stopping? Dragons to burst through the walls? At this place anything was possible.
Eventually even Kayleigh settled down, her round, greenish face and multiple chins wrinkled with disappointment. “Well, gee, guys,” she said. “Gee.”
“Not a troll, nor nuffin’,” said one of the smaller girls with a sniff strong enough to set her short brown beard floating. “What’d he put the chalk there for then?”
“He said the worst thing imaginable would happen.” A shadow walker spoke this time. His face burned with anger, but the dark shape clinging to his heels betrayed his fear.
“Maybe it was just a prank, you guys.” Kayleigh’s hope-filled voice ricocheted off the walls.
A chorus of agreement rose from our side of the line.
“Yeah, a prank.”
“No way Mr. Spitzel knows about real magic. He just knows words and stuff.”
“Yeah. Come back over, Kayleigh!”
The green teen appeared rather uncertain about this. “Didn’t he say if we crossed, we couldn’t come back?”
“You can only die once,” said someone cheerfully.
“Not me!” The youngest/oldest of us, a phoenix girl sprouting soft orange down, piped up, her voice a thin squawk.
“Nobody asked you,” muttered the shadow walker.
I hadn’t dared speak. My skin looked as youthful as any of theirs, but I remembered what Mr. Spitzel had once been. And I knew what blue chalk did, even for one like him with no right to it.
So I alone watched Kayleigh.
I alone saw her legs lengthen, her face narrow.
And I alone saw the telltale peaks stretching at the tips of her ears.
The transformation was nearly complete before anyone else noticed, and then jaws dropped universally in horror.
“Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” said the shadow walker, and promptly fainted.
“You’re a—a–!” the smallest dwarf gasped in horror.
“TELL ME!” Kayleigh demanded, but the other kids had already gone screaming down the hall.
I slunk after them, pulling my cap lower.
Worst thing in the world, my ears.
Written for the weekly flash contest #FinishThatThought, springing from the required opening sentence and incorporating five of the judge’s challenge words. (P.S. The judge this week is Flash! Friday member Tamara Shoemaker.) Loads of nonsensical fun to be had Out There in the flash world!!! Try some of your own on for size. (PPS. Legolas, if you’re reading this — apologies. I love you, I do.)