[In Part 1, I had called one of my characters The Bird, a nickname she will be given and gleefully adopt in the novel only after the events of this scene. In this and subsequent parts of this experiment, I’ll call her Sandy, the name she is most often called at school.]
Despite her curiosity, Sandy had entered the cafeteria tentatively. There were seven students, four engaged in two fencing bouts at the center of the large room, the other three observing; the teacher she’d met at the assembly was the only person she recognized. Every person in the room, even the ones who were just observing, had seemed to her large, powerful, and filled with a poise that made them seem alien. She had watched silently for several minutes, succeeding in her effort to to avoid being detected, until Annie had seen her, pulled her in from the dusty edges of the room, invited her to participate in the team’s practice with a voice that wouldn’t accept refusal.
That had been an hour ago, and as she sat among the team’s equipment sacks, Sandy felt tired, and a little overwhelmed by the abundance of information she had absorbed — her exhausation had motivated her refusal to observe Annie’s practice bout. Sandy’s curiosity about this unusual sport, however, remained strong, and she looked forward to watching the bout from a distance.
“Hey.” The voice was followed by the sound of approaching footfalls; Sandy twisted to her left, saw two boys approaching. She recognized one, from the assembly, pale skinned and curly red hair, but didn’t recall his name. The other was taller, Asian, black hair wet with perspiration, his athletic body reminding Sandy of the basketball players she occassionally saw at school.