Gray Metal Faces – January 15

“What hast thou done?” Hearing the Queen’s next lines told The Bird her mother was still in character.

Double-J pointed his bloody rapier at Hamlet. “All I ‘hast’ did, was what sunshine here shoulda done two acts ago. Or scenes, or whatever the hell you call it.” The teen smiled viciously, a drop of blood falling from his blade, and splattering on the stone floor. “Don’t mind if I do the dirty work, do you?”

“Nay, I know not.”

Double-J snorted, turned his attention towards The Bird. “Sorry ’bout your friend here, but he kinda had it coming.”

Confused by Double-J’s statement, The Bird looked down at Polonius’ body again — and brought her hands to the sides of her head in horror. During Double-J’s attack, she had been too surprised to notice the victim, though wearing the same clothes as the actor who had been playing Polonius, was not that actor. The lifeless face she now saw wore a distinctive, salt-and-pepper beard — “Mr. Nestor!”

“Hate to kill and run, but I got things to do.” Double-J began walking out the chamber door, only to be stopped by Hamlet.

“Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!” The teen scoffed, pushed Hamlet aside, and extended the middle finger of his left hand, before exiting.

Still in shock from the multiple surprises of the last few moments, The Bird remained still until she felt a hand grabbing her left forearm. “You need to get out of here.” Her mother was speaking in her own voice, not that of either Gertrude or Sav-Anna. “You, and that boy. You don’t belong here.”

“I know.” The Bird laid her hand gently on the wrist grabbing her forearm, and was relieved to feel her mother’s grip relax. “I — don’t know how we got — ”

Rushing footfalls from the hall, approaching their doorway. The Bird recognized the sound, not the hard clopping of leather, but the squeaking of rubber —

Mr. Jacobs rushed into the room, the other members of the fencing team — Annie, Rex, Rune, Butch — quick on his heels. “What happened? Was Double-J here?”

“O what a rash and bloody deed!” Janet Wernick’s reply was in the accent of Gertrude.

“Dammit!” Mr. Jacobs looked quickly around the room, pointed at The Bird — “Come on, we gotta get outta here!” Moving with a confidence that his order would be followed, the man called Coach Dan by The Bird’s friends rushed down the stone hallway, followed by his four students.

“So you brought all your friends?” The Bird’s mother crossed her arms across her chest.

The Bird shook her head — “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 began pushing the teen out of the chamber. “I don’t want any of you showing up in the next scene and ruining it, like you did this one.”

“Ruining?”

Her mother turned sharply, eyes wide with anger. “Did you really think Hamlet and I could conduct the rest of our scene, after what your friend did?” She pointed down at the corpse of Polonius, now being dragged by Hamlet across the floor, leaving a bloody smear pocked with flecks of flesh. “Teddy Jasper must be beside himself now, wondering what all of you are doing.”

The Bird wondered if her mother had noticed that it was actually Mr. Nestor being dragged away. It didn’t make sense to her — but then again, nothing that had just happened had many any sense at all.

“I’ll find them.” Those were the only words that made sense at the moment. The Bird took a step into the hall, only to be stopped by her mother. The anger in Janet Wernick’s face fell, as she offered a weak smile, taking her daughter into her arms.

Her mother drew back. “I love you.” Tears filled her eyes, like shallow swimming pools overflowing. “But you and your friends have to get back in that audience, where you belong.” The Bird nodded, then raced off in the direction of her friends.

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