Chapter 5 – January 10I

The experience of the last several minutes had proven to The Bird that calling after Mr. Jacobs and her friends on the Bark Bay High School fencing team would do no good. Instead she looked at the woman on her left, watched her fall out of character, becoming neither Gertrude (whom she was playing) nor Save-Anna (whom she was dressed as) but her mother, looking back at her daughter with angry disappointment as she pointed without looking at the doorway.

“So you brought all your friends, too?”

“I didn’t bring anyone. I don’t know how they got here, because I don’t know how I got here!”

“Get them out!” Her mother lifted her down, walked impatiently towards the door. “I’ve got to find Horatio. I don’t want any of you showing up in that scene and ruining it, like you did this one.”

“Ruining?”

Almost out of the doorway, her mother turned sharply, eyes wide with anger. “Did you really expect that Hamlet and I could conduct the rest of our scene, after what that boy did?” She pointed down at the white floor and the blood-stained smear left by Polonius’ body. The Bird could see flecks of flesh in the stream. “Teddy Jasper must be beside himself now, wondering what all of you are doing.”

The Bird scanned her memories from the last few minutes. No, she hadn’t seen Teddy Jasper since she’d suddenly appeared in Elsinore Castle. Perhaps, as her mother said, he was still in the audience, watching the bizarre developments on stage. Although if they were on stage, why couldn’t they see the audience?

“I’ll find them.” Those were the only words that made sense at the moment, the only action that seemed appropriate. The Bird raced to the doorway, her mother stepping into the hallway to let her pass, then turned left, in the direction where her friends had just run off. She then stopped, looked back at her mother, catching her glance just before she was to head in the other direction. “I’m sorry.”

The anger in her mother’s face fell a moment. She offered a weak smile, stepped forward, holding out her arms to her daughter. The Bird found this awkward, she and her mother rarely embraced like this, yet she sensed this was important.

Her mother drew back. “I love you.” Tears filled her eyes, like shallow swimming pools overfilling. “But you and your friends have to get back in that audience, where you belong.” She and her mother then turned, raced in opposite directions.

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