[LAM Session 1] Mandi 1

So today's going about as poorly as you could expect. Mr. Blonde, your Stats teacher asked you where you'd been the last couple of days, and didn't seem to give your answer much thought. What are you telling people about your leave of absence? Why are you dreading Biology, Mandi?


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    what am I telling people? It's not like so many people are asking, but I told Mr. Blonde that I "hurt myself after school, but I'm ok now."

    Miss Hayes, our Biology teacher, seems to like me (at least I hope she isn't in on Marina's little joke. In our brief time together, Miss Hayes has been kind, she seems to have noticed my discomfort and tries to make me feel at ease.

    But that's the class where Freddie started leading me on (now I realize it, of course) and Miss Hayes was nice enough to make him my lab parter when she noticed someone being nice to me...

    Maybe he's found a new lab partner since I've been gone. Their little joke is over now right? I just don't want to be there. But I can't avoid it. I can't just stay away... drop out, hide... then I might as well really be dead.
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    Miss Hayes noticed you come in, and waved with a smile. It turns out you picked a hell of a day to come back — it's another lab day. Freddie sits next to you in Bio, but since today is a lab day he went straight to the lab tables at the back of the class. He's chatting with some of the oh-niners about something inappropriate. It sounds like they're joking about pot, or beer, or something. Hard to tell from here.

    There's nobody sitting across from him. What do you do?
  • edited January 2015
    I return Miss Hayes' smile with a soft look, I hesitate in the doorway just as I did in homeroom and probably look even a bit more pale than usual.

    I take a breath and puff it out and try to keep my hands from shaking as I pause a moment in the door. Freddy stands there like a jerk, like everything's all right. You know, I was afraid before... I'm still afraid, but now I feel anger welling up inside me and I can feel the heat in my face. I must be turning red.

    I cross the room and wonder at which point he'll notice me. Will he say something? Pretend it didn't happen? He led me into the gym, seduced me one might say... I thought he really liked me. I thought I really liked him. And that makes it hurt even more.

    I walk right over and plop my books loudly on the edge of the table.
  • The books bang loudly on the black, plastic-coated bench, and Freddy turns around quickly to find you there across from him. He seems uncomfortable. He clears his throat, and looks back to Brad and Todd apologetically for cutting the conversation short. Brad's guffaw rings through the class as he makes a whipping sound.

    Freddy opens his binder and pulls out a work-sheet for the lab. He hands you one, too. "Hey," he says softly, sitting down to read the sheet. "You disappeared there for a few days..."
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    My face slightly down, but eyes up as I ignore the other boys. I expect him to be a jerk, or to laugh and make fun, or what, maybe he could say sorry, or ask if I'm ok.

    But I didn't expect that.

    "You know... I..." my lip quivers and I realize I'm totally unprepared for this conversation. I lean forward a little against the lab bench, arms crossed over my books.

    "I had a lot on my mind."I say through the anger. I don't think I do angry very well, my cheeks turn comically red and I'm just not snappy enough with clever things to say. It comes out sounding kind of desperate and his attitude caught me slightly off-guard.
  • imageFreddy nods, trying to not draw attention to himself. "Look... Things got a little out of hand. Marina likes to haze new girls... I didn't think she was gunna, like, cut you or anything." He looks you over, "you don't look too bad, though... All things considered. Obviously it wasn't too bad if you didn't tell anyone... Right?"
  • edited January 2015
    I stand there listening to this, my mouth opens a little and I shake my head. If we weren't in the middle of class I might even shout, but here we are and I lean forward to loudly whisper.

    "You hit me, Freddy... then you stood there and watched them..." I'm getting upset, talking a little too loud. I look around for a second and quiet my voice again and stifle an almost-cry.

    "Is that why you brought me there? It that the only reason you even talked to me in the first place? I can't believe I ever liked you..."
  • He looks uneasy at your sudden raise in voice, and he raises his hands defensively, but his voice drops to a harsh whisper. "Easy, easy... Yes, I knew they were going to haze you. No, I didn't know they'd make me hit you. If anything, Marina can get a little hot blooded, OK? I knew that. If I wasn't there, I don't know what she'd have done. Things might have gotten out of hand. Elizabeth's no better."

    He sighs, and leans in closer to you, "look... I didn't think you liked me, liked me... I thought you were just friendly like that. Elizabeth joke hits on me all the time. I thought you were just like that too... Don't cry. Look, I'm sorry. Alright?"
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    I look at Freddie with wide eyes as he makes excuses. Shake my head a little bit, not believing it. How could I possibly believe is words? After what they did, after what happened after...

    "Things might have gotten out of hand," he says.

    But he says those words... "I'm sorry." And suddenly my eyes well up wet and there's a quiver in my lip.

    "N..no it's not all right!" I almost shout, certainly loud enough for the whole class to hear. I realize and lower my voice again, "I can't believe this... Freddie you're so wrong... why does nobody ever understand how I feel?"

    A big sniffle and I lower my head to the tabletop as I lean over my books. My too-white hair hangs down over my face for a few seconds. I take a deep breath, a few.

    Finally I look up at him and say, "I'm just a joke to everyone, aren't I?" I don't care who hears.
  • edited January 2015
    Brad answers there, "Yup. But Freddy quickly spins around, and punches his arm. "Ow! Hey!"

    Freddy isn't having any of it, he gives him a serious look, and turns back to you. "Look – what do you want me to say?"

    You're looking pretty rough there, Mandi... Are you going to be able to hold it together? Or are you not even trying? Miss Hayes is bound to notice if you lose it in class, and that's going to mean more questions...
  • Holding steady:
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 2, 3. Total: 6)
  • edited January 2015
    Brad's word stings, like I was struck from behind almost and I wince. But even stranger, Freddy. Freddy is what, standing up for me? And then he asks me what I want him to say? How could he? How could he still be kind? Is he pretending? Is this part of the joke? My head spins with too many thoughts... he hit me. He did. He made this happen...

    "It's too late for that..." I begin, though does he mean it? Does he really care? "I want..." but I stop. I was leaning over my books, hands crossed there on the table.

    But something's not right... I glance down and my left palm runs red with fresh blood that trickles from my slashed wrist and down between my fingers to drip on the table and my brown paper Biology book cover.

    I cover my wrist with my right hand, glancing up at Freddie in a near-panic. How can this be? The cut was gone... it was gone when I woke... totally gone! Blood oozes out between my fingers.

    Bent over the table, still, hoping the rest of the class behind me can't see...
  • Freddie was looking away as you deflected, but when you stopped talking suddenly he followed your gaze down to your hands. You can see the panic well up in his eyes, and he jumps up from his seat, "Holy fuck! Miss?! Miss Hayes! Mandi's fuckin' cutting herself! Come quick!"

    The whole class goes quiet, and Miss Hayes jumps up from her desk, and comes bolting over. What do you do, Mandi?
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    I take a sharp breath, shaking my head slightly in a little bout of panic, "no... no no.. I'm not..."

    I squeeze my hand tight over the wound and turn from the desk to look briefly at the teacher, the other faces no doubt paying attention to me maybe for the first time in forever.

    I again repeat my plea, "I didn't.... I didn't..."

    I can't let them see this. I have to go. I have to get away from their eyes.

    I run for the door, sweeping my books onto the floor on accident as I go, just run past everyone, away. They can't see me like this!
  • edited February 2015
    Roll Run Away, Mandi.
  • Running away. I can pass through walls and do ghostly stuff, not really trying to do that here but it might happen on accident.
    (Rolled: 2d6-1. Rolls: 3, 1. Total: 3)
  • edited February 2015
    Mandi, you run. The books come clattering down to the floor, and you dart passed Miss Hayes, and away from Freddy, and the rest of the class. You're about to bolt out the door when you see Humberto come around the corner and step directly into your path. You don't have time to stop, you topple into him, sending him back a step. You stop, and look up at him, and he sees you for the briefest of moments. Then his eyes lose focus on you. You look down, and realize you're not casting a shadow... Trigger your darkest self.

    What do you do, Mandi?
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    Humberto looks at me, bloody, crying, lost, scared... and I just want to diasppear. I just can't...

    I push off of him and run down the halls, not knowing where I'm running to, not caring. I just need to get away.

    No shadow?

    Something feels off, doesn't it. My footfalls are too quiet on the tiles of the hall, everything sounds distant and weird. Suddenly I'm outside and I slow and stop, holding my bleeding wrist tight in my hand, tight enough to whiten my knuckles. It hurts and my hand shakes.

    I all but fall against the wall of the building just outside the door and hope nobody can see me. I hope... somehow that nobody saw. But I know they did. I can never go back to normal, can I.

    "Oh god... why is this happening..." I cry, alone in the shade of the school building and realize my wrist doesn't hurt any more. I slowly open my hand.
  • edited February 2015
    Your wounds have all but healed, Mandi. No scars, no anything. How could they scar over? You're dead. Dead people don't heal, do they? You passed a few people in the halls, going to the bathroom, and the VP near the side door, looking for truant students. He was hiding behind the corner, watching the door like a hawk. He didn't make a peep.

    Being outside the school feels different for you, right? What does it feel like?
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    What? Outside? Am I...

    I'm kind of used to being ignored, or, you know... looked at but not acknowledged, maybe. Like I'm not ugly or anything, ok? But I'm not someone you talk to. So when people look at me as I pass, well, that's what I was hoping for. I don't want them to see. Especially like this...

    I hold my hand open, and it's hard to believe that the blood has gone, well, much of it. It still stains my fingers but it's not gushing, not dripping everywhere like it was. Wasn't it all over? On my clothes, my hair? Is it gone?

    But yeah... outside. I raise my eyes to find myself outside the door to the hall near the staff parking lot, a weathered chain link fence the only think separating me from the street, from... away. I try to calm myself down but all I can think of is how they all saw me... how I want to disappear.

    I've been saying it all along... I have to be here. I just feel like I have to be here. I want to go to that fence, climb it like I've seen the freshmen boys after school... get out of here and run home and find my mother and tell her she was right. That I shouldn't have come to school on my own... I should have stayed home... but it's been days, and I haven't been home. I haven't called. I haven't told anyone that I'm all right.

    And here I am at the edge of this place and I can't bring myself to take another step. Like the little chain link fence, nearly right there within arm's reach is a hundred miles away.

    Are they worried? Do they even remember me? I wipe my eyes and stare out at the street. At the cars passing, oblivious and cold.

    Is this my world now?
  • edited February 2015
    The world seems to spin around you for a moment. Time is passing, but it's so hard to gauge... People are walking by on the street, and some teachers even walk right by you on the way out to their car, or to smoke. You're used to the isolation, but that doesn't necessarily make it any better, does it?

    Speaking of parents though, you've had some time to calm down a little bit — or at least think about your current situation — when you see a familiar car drive by the parking lot, and into the visitor parking just down the block a bit. It's your family car. Someone must have reported that you showed up for school, and called your parents. It looks like only one of your parents is in the car though... Which one is it?
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    I watch the people going past, dull and quiet like through glass. My crying turns to a quiet shudder, then an occasional tremble.

    The blood is gone. Completely gone now... not even a trace and I wonder if maybe I dreamed the whole thing...

    Then the car passes and I get a glimpse of my mother's face as it turns the corner into the lot.

    "Mom" I barely whisper, suddenly hopeful that everything will be all right,

    I take a step.... try to follow her, follow the wall of the building around towards the lot, the office entrance past the big security gate.

    I hurry, steady myself with a hand on the wall as I stumble through the broken vegetation which borders the building on this side beneath the many classroom windows.

  • Your mother pulls right up to the door, and turns on the four-way flashers rather than try and find a parking spot. She bolts up to the highschool's main doors, and takes the right to the main office. She didn't see you. If anything, it looks like she had blinders on — urgency reading clear on her face.

    What do you do?
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    "Mom!" I call out, stuck on the wrong side of the fence from her as she hurries up the short walk into the school. "Mom!"

    I grab the fence and desperately shake it for a second. Then my fingers seem to bleed through the chain link and everything feels a little weird and in a blink suddenly I'm on the other side. It's startling, really, and look around, down for a second and glance back at the fence.

    Did I just...

    Forget it. I hurry after her, up the walk into the main office. I call out again as the doors swing shut with me just outside.

    I push my way in after her.
  • edited February 2015
    imageShe pushes her way directly into the office, and announces her presence to one of the secretaries, "Hi Sheila, I came as fast as I could. Where's Amandine?"

    The Secretary, a young lady with purple hair, says, "Hi Linda. Why don't you come back into Principal Gervais' office? He'll fill you in..."

    But just as your mother moves to go behind the desk, Miss Hayes comes running through the door. In fact, she passes right through you, but she pauses, and looks back at you for a second — like a drop of cold water fell on her. Evidently, she shrugs it off though, and announces to Sheila, "We have a student on the loose who may have seriously hurt herself, and I can't find her."

    Sheila immediately picks up the phone, and starts calling 911. "Who is it?" she asks. Your mother looks sick with worry.

    "Amandine Tally," she answers quickly, a little short on breath.

    Your mother goes ghostly pale, no pun intended, and grabs miss Hayes by the shoulders, "Where is my daughter?" She asks firmly, "I trusted her with you people, and she goes missing for days. Now you say you've found her, but she's running around the school hurt, and you can't find her again? I demand you find her, and take me to her, or there will be hell to pay!"

    Have you ever seen your mother this worked up before, Mandi? What do you do?

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    "I'm right here, did she just walk through me?

    "Mom, I'm right here!" I call out... standing there just inside the door, a hand raised towards her like she could just turn around and take my hand and kiss it like she does at bedtime. She's a strong woman, she spent so much of her life raising me, teaching me, spending nearly every moment with me. I've never seen her like this before. Never.

    It has been days... I'm not dreaming this.

  • edited February 2015
    You call out to her, but your words ring hollow through the room. Nobody bats an eye. Miss Hayes nods a few times, and says, "Sheila, can you get the police and an ambulance here, just in case? And can you send someone to deal with my class?" Sheila nods, and starts talking with the dispatcher on the other end of the line. Miss Hayes turns to your mother, and says, "I'm sorry miss Tally. If you could take a seat here, I'll go find your daughter."

    Your mom is having none of it. "To hell I will. Where was she last? Show me where she might have gone." Miss Hayes can't fight that. She nods, and directs for your mother to follow her. They move for the door, and your mother passes within inches of you.

    What do you do?
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    I try to get her attention a few times as this goes one, but nothing... it's obvious I can't be seen, and Miss Hayed did walk right through me... I did cross through that gate somehow...

    Mamma passes right by me, I try to smile at her, just on the chance that she'll see... but she walks past like I'm not there.

    "Mamma..." I stand as she goes, close my eyes tight for a second and just try not to lose it again. I open my eyes and look around, taking short, deep breaths. If anyone could see my face they would see a girl lost in desperation... but starting to understand.

    At least I know...

    I turn to follow them, not hurrying, but wanting to just keep her in sight as they go. I don't want to see mamma cry.

    I don't touch the door on the way out... I just walk through. Just to see if I can, but I can't help but wince a bit as I pass... as if I might... hopefully might just smash into it instead.
  • Of course you don't... How long do they spend looking, Mandi? Did you try and interact with anyone else while they searched?
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    I follow them for a while. It's between classes so there's not many people around, and for some reason I feel like I should say something to Miss Hayes. She's been so nice to me and I just feel bad for what I've done.. it feels like I've lied to her.

    I may call out every now and then. No doubt there's a time or two when one or both of them look my way and I feel sudden hope that they've noticed me... but of course it doesn't last.

    I don't know who could make me leave their side right now. Is there anyone I care about more? I wish there was. I wish there was someone... someone in this school who would miss me.

  • edited February 2015
    I don't know Mandi... I can't really speak for most people.

    Of course, I can speak for your Mother, and she's nearing the end of her wick at the moment. She's resorted to asking people she's finding in the halls whether or not they've seen you, and showing them a picture of you — the really embarrassing one where you're smiling way too big. Where were you when that picture was taken? Why do you secretly love it?

    imageAnyway, you're following your mother around when she comes across this boy. You've seen him around in the halls. He sits next to you in Art class — sorry, sat next to you in art class. He's in a couple of the choirs, doing an Art stream for prep into a pretty prestigious performing art university. John Smith is his name. Your mother has the photo out, and interrupts him as he takes a sip from the water fountain. "Excuse me," she asks, her voice starting to get hoarse, "have you seen this girl? Her name is Amandine, and she's about this tall, and she's really quiet. She's missing, and she may be hurt, and I'm really worried about her..."

    His eyes linger on the picture a moment, a hint of concern showing on his face. "Yeah, she's in my Art class. She hasn't been in these last couple of days..." He looks up at your mom, "I'm sorry... I really hope she's OK."

    Your mother looks heartbroken. She looks like she's welling up.

    That's when you feel the girl's bathroom door behind you slam into your back. It makes a loud THUNK as it bounces back into someone's face. You hear a muffled, "What the fuck! Move, asshole!" but when the girl tries to open the door again, it passes right through you. You can feel it moving through you this time. You feel like you might be able to touch it, if you tried. The girl looks around the hall for whoever was blocking the door, and looks a little confused when she finds nobody.

    What do you do?

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    That picture? The one from Niagara Falls? I love it because it was on that trip that I got my ears pierced, and you can see me turning my head for the camera so the little silver stud shows, even though my ear is all red. It was the first time I felt that my parents trusted me, let me "grow up" a little bit. I guess I was twelve at the time and actually feeling, you know, pretty.
    Sat? What are you saying... I can't go back? Is it all over?

    John... he's nice, really sensitive guy, though. I've seen him wiping away tears when the teacher is the least bit critical of his work. I told him I really like his colors, or shading, or whatever. It is kind of good, really. I really should go hear him sing... should have. I guess.
    Then the door hits me.... "ow... look out," I say, turning to see the door and this time it passes weirdly through me. It's again... startling and I quickly get out of the way. I don't want her walking through me, too... like I'm not there.

    But this gives me an idea. I reach out my hand to the edge of the open door, and see if I can pass my fingers through it. And then... a moment later, concentrate... I actually bite my lip and narrow my eyes a bit and then try to touch it, pull it out of her hand, maybe.

    Can I do this?
  • Your fingers find grip on the cold metal handle. You feel its resistance in your arm. You could pull it out of her hand, Amandine... Do you?
  • Yes, Like I said.
  • edited February 2015
    The door slips from her grip, maybe you pulled a little harder than you needed to — I couldn't blame you, given that you've been passing through things lately. The girl, a junior from another class, stops dead in her tracks and watches the door move on its own. "Whaaaat the ffffffuck?" She whispers, examining the door. She reaches out to grab it again. Your mother and John are watching her, wondering if she's high... To the casual observer, she probably looks it.
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    I let go of the door like it's hot. I did it... ok. I can control this...

    They're looking at me again, mamma and Miss Hayes, they can see what I did. I walk over to my mother, slowly, like maybe she will see me at any moment and I don't want to make her worry.

    "Mamma, I'm here..." I slowly approach, hands extended. I reach for her hand with mine, gently, though I'm a little afraid to touch her. Because... well just because.

    I take her hand and try to make myself felt.
  • It's a small step, but it's a step in the right direction, I guess... You reach out to your mother's hand, but it goes right through. You can feel the life in her body interfering with your grip... It's disconcerting.

    Her wedding ring though... That you catch on. It spins on her finger, and the gemstone digs into her finger. She looks down to her hand, and lifts it up for examination.

    Miss Hayes goes over to discipline the young girl for swearing in the halls, and get her moving on her way. John however, is paying attention to your Mother, and the ring on her finger.

    What do you do?
  • edited February 2015
    It's. Pretty didappointing when i don't touch her. Despite trying. But the ring? Ok... I think I get this. I think.

    I reach out my hand to touch the ring, cupped, like I'm going to gently pull on it...

    But I stop. Wait...

    What am I even going to say to her? How could I possibly even explain? Tell her I'm dead? Tell her I killed myself? Tell her she was right, that I can't handle public school, that I should have stayed home?

    And I remember the shadow I lived in. Alone with my parents... always alone.

    "I miss you mamma..." I say, standing just there as Miss Hayes deals with the foul-mouthed girl. I slowly withdraw my hand. "But I don't think I can come home," a little whine at the end that I'm kind of glad she can't hear.

    The word echoes in my head, "life." Yeah. How did that work out for you, Amandine.

    I want to blame her for this. She did let me come to school like this. So unprepared (now I know right) for everything that would happen.

    "Why did you never let me out? Why couldn't I have friends?" I ask her even though she can't hear. "All I wanted was to have my own life..."

    They must be moving on by now... after all. Nobody can hear me.
  • edited February 2015
    By the time you finish your thought, Miss Hayes walks over to your mom, and shakes her head. Your mother nods, and they move on, looking for someone else to ask. John stays put for a moment, though. He seems lost in thought, and the moment must have overwhelmed him... You swear he's looking right at your reflection in the glass of a notice board opposite the wall, when a single tear falls down his cheek. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his cellphone — a last-gen iPhone with a picture of Handel on the lock screen — he leans against the wall next to the water fountain, unlocks it, and pulls up the camera... He's taking a picture of you. You doubt he knows it, but that's definitely what he's doing.

    What do you do?
  • edited February 2015
    My lip quivers a bit as I watch them go. And I stand, shaking my head and feeling very alone. I lower my face into my hands and sniffle back my feelings. Then I look up to see John watching me... watching my reflection.

    Is he watching me?

    "John?" I say quietly, a tentative question, and look right at him... think better of it, then look at him in the reflection. "John!"

    A little more urgently.
  • The camera app makes an antequated KACHINK, emulating camera apertures of old, and John quickly reviews the picture. He squints, and rotates the phone trying to make sense of it, but you can see he's struggling. He looks back at the glass, then turns to face you — or at least, looks where he thinks you should be standing. "Mandi..." He whispers softly, before putting his phone back in his pocket.

    He'll be back. You know he'll be back.

    What do you do?
  • edited February 2015
    Breathless, I touch a hand to my chest.

    He did... he did...

    I take a deep breath and let it out like I've been holding it for ages. A broken smile on my face, stress and sadness and this whole thing just suddenly make me almost collapse. I lean back on the wall and slide down to my butt against it. My head turned to watch him go.

    Why? Why John Smith? Just because he sits with me?

    I feel light headed and just sit there in the hall a good long time. If anyone comes along I guess they walk right past, or right through me. And I don't bother to move my leg out of their way.

    I know it now. I know what I am...

    But that's only the start. Isn't it?

    He's coming back.
  • == END SCENE ==
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