Chapter 5 – January 13H

Annie threw herself on top of the body she had retrieved from the pool, began pumping the sternum vigorously with both palms. The Bird wished she could somehow stop her friend from continuing to pursue what she knew to be a pointless task. From the moment she and her friends on the Bark Bay High School fencing team had entered this world, they had been trapped by the logic of the play’s structure. This body which had been Ophelia, was doomed; nothing Annie could have done would have kept her from plunging into the pool, from drowning.

Annie had moved to the head of the body, was now blowing air forcefully into dead lungs. The Bird wanted to touch her friend on the shoulder, say she was sorry, that Annie wasn’t to blame because the truth was (for some reason she didn’t understand but nonetheless knew with conviction), The Bird was responsible for bringing them into this world. But her friends weren’t able to see her, hear her; she hadn’t tried touching any of them yet, but without —

ANNIE! The Bird turned in the direction of the cry from her right, while noticing her friend had not flinched from her position over the body. She saw Mr. Jacobs running in their direction, followed by Butch. She reflexively called to them, waving her arms, then threw her arms down to her sides in frustration as they raced past her.

Seeing Annie’s determination to ignore Mr. Jacobs and continue her hopeless struggle, The Bird found she couldn’t watch any longer. She walked along the shores of the pool, kicking stones (was she not invisible to them? could her friends see the stones flicking magically?) as Mr. Jacobs pulled Annie off the body, the teen girl screaming in pain and frustration.

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