I’ve been away for about a month. First, due to lingering illness, and last weekend because I was at the Verde Expo. I’m getting back into the swing of things. I’ll be writing a pirate story this weekend to submit to an upcoming anthology. Anyway, this installment of Mental State is brought to you by prompts from Chuck Wendig & Bree’s #FFC2018. I hope you dig these 1055 words:
Steven sat down at his desk and began to work at the computer. He’d typed for a few minutes when someone sat down next to him. He thought that it was David or Leonard, probably wanting to pick a new fight with him, and he took a deep breath as he turned to face whatever new abuse that was going to come his way. When eyes fell upon the newcomer, his jaw became slack with shock.
Ruby sat next to him, and she was smiling like a longtime friend. Steven eyes locked on Ruby as a series of thoughts careened through his mind. Why was she sitting next to him? Why did she act like his friend? What the hell was going on?
“How are you, Steven?” Ruby asked, her voice chipper. She acted as if they had always been friends. The rest of the class watched Ruby in stunned silence. Robert looked as if he was going to be sick.
Steven stammered, “I’m… uh… I’m good.”
“Well, that’s good to hear,” Ruby said, smiling before turning to her own classwork. “I’m okay, too. A little tired, though; I didn’t get the best sleep last night. But I’ll go to bed earlier tonight to try and make up for it.”
The continued to stare at her in a state of confusion. He realized she was waiting for a reply, and after a moment he said, “I slept fine… I guess.”
Steven peered around the room. Everyone was watching them. Most seemed torn between getting up and pulling Ruby away or attacking Steven. Luckily, indecision won out, and most of the class just stared. Robert visibly fumed. If Steven knew his old best friend the way he thought he did, he would guess Robert was wondering how Steven had gotten Ruby to sit with him, and what he could do to remedy the injustice
Throughout the lesson, Steven contemplated what Ruby was doing. Why was she being nice and talking to him? Had the truths Steven told her gotten through to her? Or was this some sort of elaborate prank?
It’s a trick.
Steven tried to ignore the voice despite its insistence.
She’s trying to confuse you. They’re all going to get you!
Steven couldn’t help but think the voice was right.
* * *