Dual Nature Chapter Seven

Fear the Bridge



Emily Wade sits in her fourth period English class. She loves to write and she loves to read, but her teacher, Mrs. Algid, seems to pound all the fun out of any activity. Students around the school joke that Mrs. Algid was named after the her heart; she is a cold person. She keeps her class in clean and orderly rows. Eating and drinking is not tolerated. Emily watches the clock mounted above the doorway, waiting for the minute hand to creep its way up to noon.

Emily can hear Mrs. Algid’s shrill voice, lecturing away. She leans over and takes a pen and paper out of her backpack.

“Are you gonna draw again?” whispers Robbie, who sits right behind Emily. Robbie is one of Emily’s best friends.

“Anything is better than this,” Emily looks back and smiles. She feels a surge of warmth rush to her fingertips.

“No talking during class,” Mrs. Algid’s voice carries across the room into Emily’s ears, but the words do not register until a few seconds later.

“Huh?” Emily turns around.

“No talking in class,” Mrs. Algid repeats, arching an eyebrow at Emily.

Mrs. Algid looks agitated, but the again she always does. “Sorry” is all Emily manages to say before Mrs. Algid gets back to business. Emily gets back to her drawing.

Emily sketches the outline for an elephant. Elephants are Emily’s favorite thing to draw. They are so simple. Emily always finds beauty in the little things, according to Robert. She liked when he said stuff like that. Mrs. Algid raises her voice, like she always does when she prepares to tell her classes about a special assignment.

“Alright class, you have an upcoming project that I thought you would like to be aware-” she is interrupted by a blaring sound. Emily watches as the entire class rises from their seats and exits the room. She is saved by the bell.

Emily emerges into the hall, which is already a tightly packed mass of high school students. It is already hot and musty, which always manages to make Emily nauseous. Emily notices her friends crowding near her locker. They notice her and wave her over. She trudges through the mass of students like a lost traveler trudging through a dense forest floor.

Jamie, Emily’s tall brunette friend is the first to speak. “Do you want a ride home from school today? I know they have that building site going on where you normally walk.”

“No, it’s okay, there is another way I can go,” replies Emily.

“Like through the city?” asks another girl.

“No, my dad says the city is dangerous. Especially if I go alone.” Emily replies.

“Oh come on!” Says the same girl. “I’ve gone that way a couple of times and it’s not so bad. The worst thing I’ve ever seen there was roadkill!” All the girls giggle except for Emily. Sometimes she does not understand their sense of humor.

“I don’t know.”

“Its fine! I hope you know I was joking.”

What was there to joke about? Emily wonders.

Emily glances nervously at her friends. She feels irritated with them for some reason. She just wants them off of her back. “Alright, I’ll go,” is all she wants to say on the matter.

“Good, Emily, you’ll be fine. I cannot think of a single reason why you should have to walk the long way around.” Emily watches the group disperse, one by one, to different classes.

“Emily, you know you can always just get a ride.” Emily whirls around to see her friend Robbie.

“Robbie, its alright. I live like fifteen minutes out of the way from all of them.”

“Here is a scenario Emily. If all your friends wanted you to jump off a bridge, and you knew it was dangerous, would you still jump?”

“Gee dad it would depend on the weather and . . . of course not! Robbie what’s the worst thing that can happen to me?”

“All I’m saying is fear that bridge, Emily. Don’t let your friends persuade you.”

“Robbie it’s fine!” She snaps. She is clearly in no mood to be bothered.

Robbie takes the hint. He shrugs at her, then walks away.

Emily tells herself that everything will be alright. She will just walk home for one day and then her dad can drive her home again. It will be fine, it will be fine. The tremor in her gut, however, is telling her something different.