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The Secret

Chapters:   « Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 8 Next »

Three.

The color of the evening sky slowly merged into grey. I could see nothing but barren fields, overrun with weeds and biers, on the back mountain road. I had an instinct that a winter of want and distress was before me, though winter was the only season on this land.
   Maybe what Mrs. Manager said was right: the most dreadful emotion was nostalgia. Everyone living here had already got rid of this illness and became healthy people, except for me. Wait, I still had a companion.
   Alex finally chased me down, gasping for breath.  He was still complaining through panting:
   “Jesus, I just don’t understand what’s the good of seeing desert everywhere?”
   I smiled and turned to him, “You know what, sometimes you are quite cute.”
   He silenced and turned aside to hide his blushes.
   “What’s new about your ‘secret’ hypothesis?” I stretched and yawned.
   “There’s nothing to tell. After all, I am just a student under their control and I don’t have the ability to investigate on stuff like this.”
   “Thank gods. Alexander Regal’s humility is gold worth!”
   “I am not joking. I really think so. Look at those other students. Don’t you think they behave like robots? ” He kicked small pebbles with his tiptoes, here and there.
  I stared at him in surprise: Why he could have the same feeling as me?
   However, I decided to leave my true opinion only to myself.
   “That’s weird,” I said.
   He didn’t respond. Instead, he stopped and looked at the hazy sky.
  As usual, I went directly to my bed after entering the lobby. But I forgot there was another guy with me this time. Alex called my name so loudly that I was sure the guards were on the way to arrest us.
  “What the—What are you doing there?” I turned around and saw him standing in the doorway quietly.
  “Come and look at this.” He pointed to a calendar on the wall above.
  The year 2084 was printed in bold letters in the large square. It seemed to remind me of something. Wait, what was the year I arrived here? I should have remembered it. It was a crucial turning point in my life, but it just wouldn’t come to me.
  “I have already forgotten when I was sent to here. Frankly speaking, it has been a long time since I lost the awareness of time. However, when I am looking at this calendar tonight, some strange feelings suddenly flash upon my mind.” He seemed to be considering how to explain.
  I said, “No need to continue your profound theory, philosopher. Time for bed.”
  Then I went directly to my bed, as usual. He was still standing there, alone.
  I didn’t mean to be cold towards him. I was just afraid of the words he was going to say.
  Let secrets still be secrets.

  The next morning Miss.Chaff reprimanded Nicholas again. She asked him to stand at the end of the classroom and he obeyed. Then he stood there for a whole class. At before I would sympathize with Nicholas, but now I was just wondering what Miss.Chaff feel when she was humiliating Nicholas. Would she gain satisfaction by seeing the quiet toughness on his face? Or maybe that kind of prudential personality was exactly the reason she had a crush on him.
  Thanks to Nicholas’s confession, now all my history classes had become “Romeo and Juliet” plays.
   However, I seemed to be the only audience of this daily drama. No one else in this classroom paid even a little bit of attention to the obviously unusual relationship between the History teacher and her doormat. Yet this indifference didn’t mean that they didn’t pay attention to the class. On the contrary, they were so absorbed in History class that they could keep still for a continuous hour, soaking every bit of knowledge they could capture from Miss. Chaff’s tedious lectures. I once peeked at the boy sitting next to me; He was taking notes at a fantastic speed and every page of his notebook was filled with his handwriting.
   Then I looked at mine. Okay, that was kind of embarrassing. I didn’t even have a notebook. I wrote down every piece of tiny knowledge I could gain from class on my textbook, on the blank space between lines. This was why my textbook was always in a mess.
   And my classmates were always in a tidy manner. This applied to all of them and all the stuff accompanied them.
   They followed the rule of “Let everything alone” so strictly that sometimes I couldn’t feel they were alive.

   The odor which now filled the cafeteria was scarcely more appetizing than that which had regaled our nostrils at breakfast: the dinner was served in two huge tin-plated vessels, whence rose a strong steam redolent of rancid fat. I found the mess to consist of indifferent potatoes and strange shreds of rusty meat, mixed and cooked together. Of this preparation, a tolerably abundant plateful was apportioned to each pupil.
  I sat down next to Nicholas. He was picking up a potato piece from the chowder.
  “Do you know when we were sent to here?” I asked as I was chewing meat.
  He ignored me and continued his dinner.
  I decided to keep pursuing this conversation: “ I think it’s kind of weird, you know. We ought to remember that special year. I just, don’t know for how many years we have been staying here.”
  Still no response from him.
  Fine, I had to admit that I was wrong. He was literally one of them. I shouldn’t have abandoned Alex to try making another conversation with this nerd. I had a special feeling towards him though, after he frankly telling me his secret story. And his words about love and memory still echoed in my mind. But now, I was wrong.
  I picked up my things and left the table. He still remained silent.

Chapters:   « Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 8 Next »


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