June 2022 Flash Challenge, Day 22

Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

“I tell you, it’s today.”

“You say that every day, Stuart,” Julia says.

He does think a lot of days are the anniversary; maybe he feels guilty about Louisa. She was his twin. Perhaps he wishes he had gone with her.

I study the light in the room. Stuart might be right. The room grows brighter the way it does on this day every year.

We talk about it, naturally-our room, what happened, what we remember. We have theories, of course, but we’re only in the second grade.

Stuart was right.

The four of us huddle in an empty corner, waiting for them.

Memory is funny here, in this place that looks like our classroom. There is nothing else to do here. None of us dare try to leave, not since Louisa walked through the door and never returned seven cycles ago.

For a few hours before 11:18 AM, our space brightens. Then the figures appear, each sitting at a desk of their own, with books, pencils, paper, and rulers. And there’s a new teacher at the front, not Misses Clendenin. The last we remember, she had stepped out to investigate all the commotion in the hallway.

For a few minutes, around 11:18 AM, we hear the people. The figures, no longer transparent, come alive, begin speaking, and it is all so glorious we gawk at the raw beauty as though we’d never heard people talk before.

Who will go this year?

Billy points at me and tilts his head to the front. I guess it’s my turn.

I walk to the front, my breath held tightly. I stop and read the brass plaque mounted by the door.

For Julia, Louisa, Billy, Scott, and Stuart, taken too soon. March 28, 2016 – 11:18 AM. Godspeed, little angels.

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