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Zeitgeist Blue

The Tale of Two Trees

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Matthias Cooke Wing, Claremont Academy

Bayview, Freedom City, New Jersey

Thursday, June 20, 2019

 

12:18:54 PM

 

"... And to my fellow graduates, my most heartfelt gratitude and my congratulations."

 

Applause rippled through the crowd as the Mae Sweet, the valedictorian, stepped down from the podium and then the stage. The sun shone down, bright but not overbearing as rolling clouds softened the afternoon sky. No chance of spring rain today, graduates of the Batch 2019 sat in orderly rows in Claremont Academy's athletic field. They were comfortable in their togas and their mortarboard hats in place, attention rapt from the valedictorian speech.

 

Behind the mass of graduating students sat their parents and families. On one side of the graduation field, Claremont's teaching staff watched the proceedings and across from the students, on the stage, sat the senior staff. Ms. Summers held the position of honor as school principal and she stood as the applause subsided

 

Nicole shut the television off as Summers stepped behind the podium to introduce the guest speaker.

 

Her fingers held the remote in the vice grip as she glowered at the blank television screen.

 

They were alone inside Gabriel Marquez's office, the Head Counselor's office and besides some half-eaten food and barely touched drink it would have seemed that nothing else had been touched, so intent on watching the proceedings as the two students had been. Marquez had been there too. Now neither were present.

 

Nicole saw Corinne's reflection on the screen and without turning to face the other woman, Nicole spoke to her through gritted teeth.

 

"That was supposed to be my graduation." She spoke every word as if they scraped her tongue raw. "But I guess it isn't anymore, huh? I guess this is the last laugh after all these years. Is that the reason you had to make me wreck half the school?"

 

An exaggeration, though Nicole was not in the mood to argue semantics. Still, the dislike between her and Corinne's other half was known through the school, both by teachers and students alike, but rarely did it go past barbed words and one-upmanships. Not until yesterday evening that is, when words turned to blows and a heated rivalry into an all-out brawl between two very powerful and very dangerous teenagers. A testament to the mistakes schools could make, even private ones, to let something fester for so long unattended.

 

Yet here they were again. Unattended. Alone.

 

One could only hope Marquez knew what the hell he was doing.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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