Gray Metal Faces – January 16

The Bird hurried down the stone corridor of what she assumed (despite recognizing the im of the possibility) to be Elsinore Castle. She turned a corner on her left, nearly running into Rune’s back. She stepped back, examined the scene in front of her; Rune was standing between Rex and Mr. Jacobs, the three of them facing Annie, standing with a defiant look several feet away.

“I have to do this.” Annie took a step backwards down the wide stone hallway. “I — she needs help.”

“There’s nothing you can do.” Rune sounded uncharacteristically sure of himself. “Ophelia’s going to drown soon, there’s nothing we can do — ”

“Double-J’s proven he can interact with the characters, change the course of events. He killed Polonius — ”

“He was going to die anyway — ”

“You don’t UNDERSTAND! I don’t know how we got here or what we’re supposed to be doing, but none of that matters. I have this chance to save Ophelia before — ”

“Annie, she’s insane.”

A snarl snapped onto her face. “She’s PREGNANT!” The Bird saw Rune flinch. “I’m sorry, you might have the entire play memorized, but did you ever think about what you’re reading?”

Rune shook his head. “If Ophelia’s pregnant, why doesn’t she say so?”

“Because she’s in the freakin’ sixteen hundreds! An unmarried woman having a child, she’d get imprisoned, killed maybe. Especially one who’s just lost any protection her father could have provided.”

“OK, but — ”

“You have heard of subtext, right?” Annie’s voice softened, to a teacherly tone. “How authors hide messages in their work, to avoid censorship?” She waited for Rune to nod. “How many jokes has Hamlet made to her about getting between her legs?”

“Yeah — ”

“I’ve known TOO MANY friends at school who’ve been used and abandoned, just like she has. She’s not insane, she’s scared — and I’m going to help her.”

Mr. Jacobs stepped toward her, his mouth opening, then stopped when his team captain raised a palm towards him — “You guys, find Double-J. I’ll met everyone back here in thirty minutes — promise.”

Her coach closed his mouth, blinked. “Thirty minutes.”

Thank you, Annie whispered in response, then raced down the hallway, disappearing around a corner.

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