Chapter 6 – February 10A

The second Tuesday

Rune’s eyes stung from the sweat descending off his brow, labored breathing steaming the inside of his metal fencing mask, the bib on his chin saturated and warm.

“Fence.” OK advanced on him, her feet dancing lightly on the tiled cafeteria floor, and then she was on him, left arm extended high and to the outside of her body, hand holding her foil, its tip pointed straight at Rune’s chest and coming down fast. He brought his arm over for the parry, his blade kissing his opponent’s.

“Halt.” At the sound of Rex’s voice, Rune looked quickly at Annie, standing behind and to the right of OK, hand raised. He heard Rex ask for her judgment, the athletic teen responding that OK had indeed landed a touch.

“No way!” Rune lifted his mask from his chin, the gray metal shield resting on his head as his wet and red face stared at Annie in disbelief. “She got me on the arm!”

“Yeah, I thought it was off-target too.” OK was known for being honest. Rune nodded, lowered the mask onto his face.

“No, on.” Annie spoke with her father’s voice. Certain, authoritative, impassionate. “She hit him twice, once on the shoulder, then again on the arm.”

“But was it still a good touch?” Coach Dan, sitting on the cafeteria floor with his back against the half-wall in front of the stage, waited for the full attention from the members of the Bark Bay High School fencing club. “Flat of the blade, or the tip? Hard enough to register on a scoring machine?”

“Yes.” Annie sounded almost offended. “Definitely hit with the tip, and I saw the blade bend.” She turned her attention towards Rune, her gaze penetrating the metal mesh of the mask, bearing into his eyes. “A good touch.”

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