Jessica Hayles
Paralysis at the starting line.
Mon Jan 14, 2019 21:33

The afternoon had seemed like it would never end, and by the time they were done with the meet-and-greet and the tour, all Jessica wanted to do was go crawl in bed and hide from the world, rest and gather her resources so she could wake up refreshed and start sorting out the errors in her schedule and getting to know her new teachers and classmates and plowing through whatever it was this new school meant she would have to endure. Unfortunately, however, this was not an option. Instead, she had to accompany the group of people into the dining hall, where the entire school seemed to be looking at the sixth graders.

Jessica had been in front of large groups of people before. Daddy had taken her with him on business trips and to the occasional award ceremony and occasions where Arivale Cosmetics were used on television or movie sets in Atlanta. She had been involved in every competition she could qualify for at her old school. With Mommy’s family, she had even been on television, peripherally - Great-Grandpa had been the focus of the program, but the whole family had been on stage behind him while he’d been speaking. Crowds were not inherently frightening. But this one was looking at her in a situation where she had not prepared properly, where she didn’t quite understand what was happening, where she hated what she was wearing, and where she did not feel in control, and she could feel her chest tightening painfully and her feet going numb and heavy and her hands tingling alarmingly as she walked behind someone she didn’t know.

Calm down. In - two - three. Out - two - three. In - oh God help me. God help me.

She was breathing in short, shallow bursts, lips pressed together tightly to prevent them from transforming into gasps, temples throbbing, cheeks and forehead flushing, by the time it was her turn to dip the peculiar badge-thing into the cauldron. She had flashbacks to Shakespeare Stories in school - double, double, toil and trouble. Toil was the human condition, there was no escaping that, but trouble was bad. She didn’t want trouble. She also didn’t want to burn her hand. Was it hot? It was a pot. Pots were often hot. Oh no, if she burned herself and nobody else did -

The badge turned red. What did that mean again? It meant something. She was supposed to go - somewhere -

Her face flushed deeper yet, sweat beginning to appear on her forehead and tears starting to blur her vision. A cynical, detached voice in the back of her head noted that, well, here was an advantage to Mommy and Daddy only allowing her to wear her lip gloss and eyebrow pencil. If she had mascara on, then if she started really crying, it would run, and even having it on would make it much more obvious that her eyes were watering - eyelashes were more separated and prominent with it on, and so would visibly draw together more when wet. That wouldn’t be good….

The woman on the other side of the witch’s brew was speaking. Jessica understood the tone - kind, but no-nonsense, brooking little argument - more than the words, but there was also a visual cue where she should go. Almost zombie-like, she made her way to that table and sat down in a seat.

There was a lot of talk from the headmaster, but for the first time in her life, she was too nervous to listen to her principal speak. She was too busy trying to calm herself down to pay attention. When food appeared in front of her, she jumped, startled, and stared at it. She was hungry, but the thought of putting food on her plate and putting it in her mouth made her throat close up as though she was going to throw up. So she sat there, stock-still, an empty plate in front of her, looking straight ahead toward but not at one of the other first years who was quietly eating his supper like a normal person who didn’t currently feel trapped in a world with too many primary colors and no control whatsoever.

OOC: Comments on Selina's tone and actions discussed in Chatzy with her author.

  • And so it begins.Martin Crosby V, Sun Jan 13 12:44
    Sonora Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry was, Martin decided upon completing his Orientation and tour, adequate. It was a stellar review from the generally apathetic young boy, and one worthy of... more
    • Paralysis at the starting line. — Jessica Hayles, Mon Jan 14 21:33
Click here to receive daily updates