Chapter 2:



Classes had just begun and I struggled just to take notes despite how dazed I still felt, when someone touched my shoulder, instantly making me, almost, jump as I recalled those past events. Turning around I saw my classmate, a female Vulpes Vulpes called Sheila who in a demanding attitude extended her hand towards me. I looked at her without understanding what she was requesting from me, but silently she insisted on her demands this time looking at me in a very threatening way, only then did I react understanding what she wanted. Turning around, I opened my pencil case and searched for a small box inside, opening it I took out a micro memory marked with red nail enamel. Quickly turned around and gave it to her.

“It better be correct!” she whispered in my ear, despite the threat I wasn’t paying any attention, not to her nor to what our teacher was saying, my eyes were fixed on the crystalline card I had hurriedly shoved into my pencil case before classes had begun. Just by looking at it made me remember those deep and black eyes that had looked at me with such an intensity like I had never seen or felt until then

“Very well, review the lessons from chapter twenty five to thirty for tomorrow” our teacher said while the bell indicated the end of that class, and all my classmates made an expression that very clearly demonstrated their feeling of nuisance because of it “Miss Sterling, would you please help me”

But I didn’t listen to anything, I kept dreaming with those eyes and the way they looked at me

“Miss Sterling” he called out again and Sheila gave me a hard slap on my shoulder thus waking me from my reverie

“This yes…present” I answered in an automatic manner making the whole class erupt in laughter at my confusion

“I was requesting if you could help me” the teacher told me again a bit surprised at my behavior

“This…yes, sure!” I said standing up, quickly picking up my belongings and then putting on my school bag since my teacher was already waiting for me by the classroom door

“please take this to my office and leave it on my desk” he said giving me a rather heavy stack of books, folders and other documents “take the keys, and please close once you leave, you can give me the keys back during lunch time” he said while handing me a pair of keys “thanks and please hurry up you still have to be on time for your next class”

Hugging the stack of things and holding the keys I climbed the stairs to the last floor, as swiftly as the weight I was carrying would allow me, to where all the teachers office are. The access to them was controlled by surveillance cameras and two doors, one for the main access and others for each of the individual offices reason for the need of two different keys to gain access

Standing before the camera with a forced smile, since the weight of the documents I was carrying was becoming heavier by the moment; while struggling with the things I was carrying, finally I was able to pull out my school ID which I placed on the panel that turned from bright red to green which meant that I could now use the key to open the door of the main access

As fast as possible I opened the door and hurried towards my teachers office, I’d been there on several occasions for similar reasons so I well knew the way to it, once there I hurried to open, leave his things there and closing well the door, as he had instructed me, exit without taking a look at what I had been carrying or anything else that had been there

Almost running I reach the main access door and opened it just by the time the school bell begun to ring indicating the beginning of the next class, which to my misfortune that day would take place in the basement of the second building: the lab zone

Running down the empty stairs until I reached the ground level, from there to my locker so I could take my lab coat and again ran across the wide inner courtyard that separated both buildings

“Look at the little mouse run!” I heard the comments full of derision meant for me from the other guys practicing diverse sports in the yard I was crossing

“she’s pathetic” I heard someone else say before I could reach the second building and then again descend another flight of stairs until I reached the basement, panting I reached the closed door of the lab assigned for that day, before it I tried to recover some of my breath, fix my glasses that had been sliding down my nose and straighten my posture before knocking on the door

“No student are allow in once I close the door” from the inside came the answer from my teacher in reply

“This...yes...this I know...only that” I answered still recovering my breath “I took something’s for...”

“Oh it's you Miss Sterling” the teacher said while suddenly opening the door surprising me in the process “your other teacher told me it was possible that you might me slightly late for class...” she commented while stepping aside letting me through, but I didn’t move still dazed and distracted “well what are you waiting for! Come in!” she demanded after a while waiting for me to move thus getting me to react and that the rest of the class, inside, again laughed at me

I reached my work table feeling like everybody was looking at me, with my head still bent I left my schoolbag on the floor by my side and sat down, paying attention to what the teacher was explaining

“What are you waiting!” someone behind me said in a hushed but demanding voice, without fully understanding what he was speaking about I turned, before me was Jhonas a strong Rottweiler who was a member of the school’s football team “hand it over!” his voice no more than a whisper but with all the strength of a yell demanding to be obeyed

Without answering again I took out my pencil case and, like previously with Sheila, I gave him another micro memory marked with another color of nail enamel

“All the answers better be correct!” he whispered in my ear making a horrible shiver run down my spine, that made the fur on my tail and back bristle, without anybody else noticing but the other four students that were sitting at the same work table. My reaction made them smile in a rather mocking way

The rest of the class went along further incidents, at the end of which the teacher, like was customary, requested my help to put everything back in order in the lab before I left. So again I had to run to reach my next class. Thus went the next two classes, during which I handed, under similar circumstances, other micro memories each with its respective enamel mark so that I wouldn’t mix them up. In a similar manner I helped each teacher be it taking, arranging, handing or doing whatever they requested from me

Until finally the bell gave a double ring indicating that it was lunch time. I was putting in order my things when, on their way out, a group of girls accidentally bumped against them thus scattering several of them all over the floor, this was rather common as was listening to their mocking laughter as they left. Again I picked them up and arranged them before putting them away. I was heading towards the school cafeteria when I remembered that I had to give the keys back to the teacher that given them to me. After checking his schedule, which he had given to me, I ran to the classroom where he should have had his last class before lunch, managing to get there just before he left. Thus free of responsibilities I realized my stomach had been grumbling for a while now

Our cafeteria is a rather big place, able to hold the full population of students in the school yet it was almost always empty since most preferred to eat on the beautiful gardens that the school has. But today, with such a cold weather, the place was fully packed

As discreetly as possible I took my place in the line, and when it was finally my turn I requested what I wanted from today’s menu, later provided my school ID, that was quickly scanned and given back with the ticket with my order number. The advantages of such a system was that I could request anything I wanted without having to worry about paying for it at the moment, since the total amount in food consumption was included on the tuition the parents had to pay by the end of the month

Normally I would have sat down in any of the tables at the end of the cafeteria, thus avoiding being close to anybody else but given the circumstances, that all the other students were inside, it was I that went outside to the tables in the garden adjoined to the cafeteria. The weather outside hadn’t improved with the passing morning, on the contrary it had turned cloudy and the smell of humidity promised rains in the afternoon. When I sat down on the cold stone bench I began missing the comfort and warmth that I would enjoy inside, but it was better to be to be cold and alone outside than trying to find a place where to sit inside where there was also the risk of someone picking on me just for fun

I lifted my school bag and searched among my things for my sketchbook and pencil case, where among other things I kept my drawing pencils. Normally I would have drawn some landscapes, copied from an image or imagined, but today I just couldn’t take those deep black eyes, that seemed able to look into my soul, from my mind. Almost unconsciously I began to draw several sketches trying to capture such a deep look, so engrossed I was in those attempts that I barely noticed when the loudspeakers mentioned the numbers and surnames of the orders that were ready. I left everything on the stone table and went to get my tray with what I had ordered, but on returning, with fear I noted that a group of four was waiting for me: two guys and two girls, among which were Sheila and Jhonas who by the way was her boyfriend. Unwillingly I left out a sigh well knowing beforehand what they wanted from me and kept walking to leave my tray on the table

“What do you want?” I asked annoyed while looking, powerless to avoid it, how Jhonas checked my drawings

“Hey pet, your owner, the history teacher, threatens to give us an exam” said Alex, a male Puma concolor and member of the school’s athletic team “so I need all the notes from the semester

“And a guide for the exam” added Marianne a Lynx rufus who was part of the schools cheerleader team

“Also you’ve got to do our homework” included Jhonas without looking at me while Sheila hugged his neck and nibbled affectionately one of his ears

“All right…” I replied in a foul mood “you’ll have it by tomorrow, now leave me alone” I asked almost pleading

Mockingly looking and laughing at me three of went some steps away, while Jhonas kept on looking at my drawing with unusual interest

“Who is he?” he asked showing me the sketches I had just made “another fantasy of yours Mousy? Your make believe boyfriend?”

“Let’s go Jhonas” Sheila called out to him impatiently, thus helping me to avoid answering his question, in reply he looked at me from the corner of his eyes and dropped my sketchbook to the floor

“Don’t forget who your real owners are and the hell we can make of your life if you don’t do what we tell you to” he said in a low voice, almost like a growl, before leaving

I couldn’t avoid starting to cry while I picked my sketchbook, then started drawing without even noticing that some tears were falling on the pages, practically forgetting about my food