Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: DULL (05/12/17)
TITLE: The School Dance
By Katy Foster
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A time that all anticipated, yet this school dance was unexpectedly different. Turning the corner for the first full view of the dance hall struck each attendee with horror. An emptiness overpowered the room. All enthusiasm sunk low. Small groups stood in confusion, some angry, and most were just bored. They wore their anxiety more noticeably than their attire.
There had been a precious loss. For any outside observer, the loss was obvious. The ripple effect that it produced affected each of them with an emptiness. Most of them tried to cover up their feelings, but were not quite sure how. Others made it their mission to lift those around with smiles and encouragement.
“Come on! Let’s dance! You look great!” they would beam.
“No, thanks. I don’t feel like it,” were common responses.
One young lady, Iris, sat alone, away from the crowd, in hopes that her tears couldn’t be seen. A friend spotted her and sat beside her. They embraced in an emotional hug which struck a contagious tear into the friend’s eye.
“We can get through this,” the friend gently explained.
Iris retorted, “No! It’s not right! How are we supposed to enjoy this dance, or anything in life, without—“
“Iris!” the friend interrupted, “Try not to think about it so much!”
Facing reality in its fullness, and looking ahead, only because there was nowhere else to look, overwhelmed Iris to a louder cry. She fled across the dance hall to the entrance. Teachers tried to stop her.
“Let me go! This is wrong! I can’t take it!” She escaped the boundary of teachers, who looked as confused as the students.
Iris found the closed door to the room that had flooded her mind since the beginning of the dance. With her eyes fixed upon the doorknob, she pulled herself to it, grasped the door knob, and to her relief it turned.
“Iris, don’t!” she heard an authoritative voice behind her.
She even more quickly entered the dark room, closed it and locked it behind her. The streaming light through the door and a small window was enough light for her to see the long, large box lying on the floor. Still, and alone. Terror swept over Iris while her feet seemed to have their own mind, and moved toward the box. She could see very little around her in the dark room, and every hair on her skin stood out. Her wide eyes were scared to blink, and she tried to control her heavy breathing.
A loud shake of commotion filled the room and froze even Iris’ breath.
“Iris! Open this door!” The adults outside the door blocked much of the light she needed, yet her defiance against them fueled her to continue.
Perhaps this is mad, she thought, but there’s no turning back at this point.
With hands trembling fiercely, she reached slowly out to the cover of the wooden box. Upon touching it, she felt a lump in her throat, and for a second, backed away. However, she was continuously pulled toward it. She pulled the lid up.
Now numb, she stared. The discombobulation was almost sickening. Nonetheless, she reached in with hope. She relentlessly, like Dr. Frankenstein, dug deep into the box. Then, as her eyes made contact with the glittery case marked “Crazy Girl,” a big sigh of relief flooded her into a smile.
“Iris! This is completely against the rules! If you want admittance into this dance, you must relinquish your phone!” cried out Mr. Rotary, the principal.
Upon opening the door, smartphone in hand, she was startled to see several students standing and watching her.
“Iris, really! Come dance!” her friends called out.
“It’s called socializing, Iris,” the principal mocked, “No media involved.”
Iris surrendered, and gave her phone back to Mr. Rotary.
“To the ladies room Iris,” her friends suggested, easily noticing the makeup stains that crying painted on Iris’ face. Iris agreed and walked with them.
She looked in the mirror, and with a chuckle, began to clean her face. However, the tears resurfaced in her eyes as her name tag grabbed her attention, and she saw, in the mirror, her name spelled backwards.
“I can’t do this! I just can’t do this!...”
Dresses and heels, suits, ties, and hairdos, where enthusiasm typically glows brighter than any sequined dress, and the debonair young men walk with a refreshed confidence. Spirits and dancing feet should expectedly join the attention-demanding music. But not at this dance.
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