Author: Patriel

I have been writing since I was young. Pieces flit in and out and sometimes gets lodged in a corner and peeks out , a little cat who hides and then, is curious to see if she is missed. Perhaps, the world has tilted and changed, and the cat wonders out and sniffs a smell that her nose can't quite identify, and yet she doesn't go away. Now retired from so many demands and responsibilities I can peer out now and again.

Stop! What’s that sound?

Sherriel came and stood behind Michael. She was listening with the intensity of a cat, licking her paw, every muscle ready to attack. “If the troubles come back scurrying, you would know, after the number of times YOU were in trouble.” Michael’s head jerked up to see Sherriel, a slow, long smile changing all the sparks into embers and steam.

“You SHOULD know know as many candle nighterswhich you were assigned.” Sherriel blinked and cupped her hands around his chin locking his ears in. “Micha-! quit it!!” The sharpness and anger in her voice made me back up.
“I said she is under MY FLOCK!” Her fingers tightening and pinching his mouth into a tight line.

Michael’s elbows struck backwards, hitting the slats of the chair. He turned his chin and glared, obviously I was not worth the fight. Chuckling, Sherriel sat down and faced him. Michael rubbed his chin and let out a sigh. “We don’t have to light.” and moved the hair from his ears.
” They are too MANY out of sync with the plans.” Michael growled at me. Obviously, I was included.
Sherriel nibbled on a handful of fries, and finished the fish Sam had left behind. .
She offered a piece to Michael, when she said ” Don’t be too quick to throw ash. IF IT ignites, you are fighting two conflagrations.”
Michael ate some fries and pushed the rest to me.
“Ignorance, that’s all we have. NonBloosh.” He leaned forward brushing my cup.”Is that what you want?” He nodded at me, waiting with the same thin lips.

Sam came running up the stairs, with pink papers in his hands.”It has happened again!,another one!” Sherriel read the back of the paper. “I thought we were clear of those.” She stared at Michael. “Conflagrations!”

Michael’s face curious and anger still steaming. “Let me go, talk around.” He threw his pack over the rail and flew down the stairs.

Sam took a swig from my blue bottle and rolled the blue knobby bottle in his hands.

I felt like I was in a closet, eavesdropping on bits of conversation going on, out in the room.
“Hey, I’m going to get some drinks- Cap?” Sam ruffled my hair. I nodded, as he cocked an eye at Sherriel. I reached and squeezed Sherriel’s hand .
“I’m sorry that I caused you more trouble.”
“You didn’t — we work and settle things down.” Stretching her shoulders,she reached and dropped her sack by the table, then pulled out her tables, charts and the boat bag which held her pens, pencils and tools. Sam walked back and into the table, almost throwing the cups over the top. I rescued one of the precarious ones.
” you okay?” I whispered.
He winced, blinked, setting the cups down. “NO, I’m not!.” he snapped “all the crickety!!” He stared at the spilled Kafir on the top.
All my strength seemed to have seeped out of me. “I’m tired, I’m going to go home.” I picked up my backpack, drank the rest of my community bottle. “Ya”ll look like you need to as well.” I rubbed Sam’s shoulder. “Thanks for protecting me this afternoon.”
“Retreating to your safety place.” Sherriel quipped, but there wasn’t too much energy in it..
Sam nodded. “you need to go home. I’ll see you in the morning.”

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fuse lit

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Michael came up with two bags and two bottles of pink stuff, looking like a fierce warrior . ” You know, there are 3 ways you can change things! ” He slid a bottle over to Sam. Michael’s expression was dark with pure anger as he looked at me from on high.
“You can shove your way of doing things,” He set the bags in the middle of a table to the left of the couches. “on all the others as you did. OR YOU can” Michael unloaded the dishes and wrapped food for two. ” CHALLENGE THE AUTHORITY, tell them THEY ARE WRONG AND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DO IT!. WHICH YOU DID !”
Looking down at me, He took a long swig from his bottle. I sank down as far as I could, as we were attracting attention from below. There were scary characters on campus and Michael is definitely one of them.

“You asked if you had the liberty to talk? ” He loomed over me, shaking his bottle near my seated head. ” NO! you do not have the Liberty when you have done all that you have done!” .He dropped his bottle on the table, sounding like a chairman’s gavel.
“YOU did everything NOT to EARN THE LIBERTY. LIBERTY MUST BE EARNED”. Michael’s ears were pink as was his face. “LIBERTY is NOT deciding to quit all the actions that have BEEN DONE BEFORE, BECAUSE YOU DECIDE TO DO. ” Sam sat at the table and began eating, watching Michael roared, and ignored him.

Michael looked at his watch, sat down and took a bite of his pile of mushed beans, sauce and crusty bread. He ate for a few minutes, finished and then, glancing over at Sam, and rubbing his eye, before he continued. His roar soft er but stern. He glanced down at the hallway and moved his chair towards the table and away from below.
” LIBERTY is the CHOICES to follow the rules so all survive in a group together.” His hands smoothed out the napkin that was covered in crumbs. ” No-one person can decide to make up rules of their own! THERE WOULD BE NO AGREEMENTS AND NO WAY TO LIVE TOGETHER.”
I grabbed some of Sam’s fries . “So, what is the third way?” I asked and gave him a small smile, really curious about what WAS the third way of changing things.


Whose? and what kind?

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Sam opened his oversized,blue leather bag and the zipper slid all the way back. “He pulled out a gold edged and metal tipped volume, one of a large, old series in the history library. He brushed off the cover which caused waves of dust. “I talked to Dr. Marie and she suggested that I show you this order of principles.”
The book slipped through his hands and struck the table, leaving a dent in the center of the opaque table. Sneezing, I had caught one edge causing my wrist to jerk down with the weight of the book. I waved at the heavy particles in the air,sneezing again.
Diamond walked up, his shadow casting a shade over me”.
“Are you alright?” he leaned over, brushing my cheek. Looking at the cover of the book, he slung his bag over the back of the chair and sat down by me. “I hear that the Naval chemistry set spit out their opinion that you took over and had you escorted out.” His grin lit up his own rebellious face. “Way to go, lark.” he hugged me around the shoulder.
“What the QUERY is WITH YOU?” He stared at Sam and the antique book. “Principles? Oh how good of your people to volunteer to change the rest of us, to your ways?” Sam held up his hand,showing that tired, sad visage as before.
I was so glad that none of the other class was here, as much as I was hurt and confused, I also felt Sam’s hurt.
“Thank you, Diamond but Sam was trying to explain why I ruffled several of the chemistry groups.” I began twisting two napkins,’wishing hard that they would turn into my cinnamon gum’ I looked at Sam. “I was trying to help get the session going and was only defending Angie and her group.! I wasn’t trying to take over !” My eyes teared up again. I poked myself in the eye, trying to use the twisted napkin to wipe tears away

Diamond wiped my cheek with his sleeve. “You HUTCH guys. ” He growled. ” You have one way to do things and NOBODY ! CAN DO – ELSEWISE!!. YOU HAD TO HAVE YOUR WAYS. Your traditions, Your values, YOUR PRINCIPLES!”
Sam frowned and got up. “IF it was up to you people, WE would have no protections, no rules ,NO BEHAVIOR AND NO PRINCIPLES” Sam’s face grew pale, and his lips drew up, the tunnel between his eyes deepened.
“YOUR PEOPLE -would spray your fluids on the grass and burn it!,IN THE NAME OF FIRST LIBERTY” He bunched up his fists and grounded them into the table top.
Diamond’s face reminded me of his name. His hands tightened into a fist in his lap. “We HAVE THE CHOICE, to do it but WE wouldn’t do that BECAUSE IT WOULD HARM THE GRASS. REMEMBER !”
His eyes had that serious glaze, which meant that an eruption was starting. “DO NO HARM!!” He knocked on the arm of my chair. Relaxing, Diamond picked up Sam’s blue bottle. “YOU HUTCH wouldn’t care about the harm on the Grass OR ANYTHING ELSE.” he huffed. He looked down at me, crossing his arms, then stared at Sam.
“People should be able to decide what to do and how to do actions in their own lives. SO LONG AS THEIR CHOICES DON’T HARM OTHER PEOPLE!”
He squeezed my shoulder, looking at Sam . He gave me a quick hug, “SOMETHING that YOUR PEOPLE TAKE A DELIGHT IN DOING DAILY!” He spit into his hands, as he turned from Sam. “Can I get your Cappy coffee? He smiled and squeezing my shoulder. “Be back in a moment!.” His muscles were hard as a rock! when I tried to squeezed his hand, thanks.

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Liberty? What?

Joshua got up from the top of the can where he had perched, and he walked to the outline and erased it. Looking in the direction of our group in front of him, he straightened his back and kicked the bottom of the can. The reverberations echoed off the rounded high ceiling, as if a high note sounded from a choir member. Angie looked up from her group’s rows and rows of cards, and smirked. ‘ So like him.’ she thought
“Whoever you are, you are causing disorganization of a project all of us have been working on, for months. I am guessing that you are in the research group with Michael and Sam, so I will just ask them to take you out! Since we have a lot of ideas to put together and we don’t have this space for all the time.” He nodded at the jazzy headband guys to move towards the door.
Sam and Michael caught me by the elbows and — nodding at the Headband guys, Michael walked me sideways and straight to the back entrance. I twisted my elbows and looked behind me at the girls . Sherriel held up my backpack and nodded, before laying out the pictures and the formatted pages we had worked up last week. I sighed, all the evenings we had verified and cross checked. That part had been so boring, but as Sam said we would be ripped and thrown away, if we had wrong facts. Michael’s hold on my elbow pinched and his expression was stone faced with no emotion at all. Sam had an arm across my waist. He kept his eyes on the big safety door until we reached it and Michael stopped. Sam pointed back to our table.
” Tell the others, we will meet them in the 2nd floor study wing.” He smiled at Michael . ” Thank you for staying with us. It is stellar.” Michael eyes opened up and I saw their soft buttery brown, ” D’Accord!” .

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We sat in the over-plumped, sink- into-and-never- get-out couches. Overlooking the entry into the library and the south hallways, we would be easily seen by the others. ” Oh my Lord, I may just hide here for good.” i sank even farther out of sight,
Sam frowned, and his eyebrows drew together knitted in that funny rosette. Sam, the punster, my buddy, the trivia fountain and guide to all things campus, was not now.
“Do you decide what words you are using or is there a ball that just jangles?” he was NOT amused like he usually was. He was fiercely angry and I was stunned.
I just crumbled, drawing my knee up ( losing a shoe), I dropped my head to my knee, and sobbed.
All the condemnation, the anger and the spite caused my brain to just shut down. ‘I just wanted to be back on my couch, buried in the corner, cocooned in my blanket. I would just leave’. I thought.
” Look at me!!- you are not a little kid and you can’t hide from the wrath caused by your actions.” He sounded so closed and yet so loud! ” Look at me- I want to hear! What means did you think you were going to get?”
I cracked open an eye, his navy blue shirt was so close, I could see the tiny orange details were fruit.
I blinked and raised my head, wiping my eyes on the crumpled handkerchief,crammed in my pocket,
I drew in a deep breath. ” I WASN’T TRYING to do anything? ” My face must have shown all the hurt I felt.

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He pressed a blue knobbed bottle into my hand. I took a sip glad to have the cold tickle on the back of my throat. Sam took a sip of his. ” Words matter, they decide who goes where and how actions are started. Words can build and create smiles or describe the beauty of the skies. They can start to lay the ground for the strongest grid ever to be found. ” He scratched the back of his head. “Especially here, -where the rebuild is just starting to congeal.”
He looked hurt and bewildered. He also looked stunned, he kept looking and me and then away, hurt washing over in waves. He swallowed a large amount of the blue drink and barely shook his head.
My eyes teared up again. I felt like I was being slapped by my good friend and I don’t know what I did. ” I didn’t mean to cause trouble . I just thought that we were discussing the project,I would start an outline and we could add to it when everyone else gave their ideas.” Sam twirled his bottle.,looking at the ceiling. “Sherriel has done something like that on the 1854 project.”

Sam reached for my hand and narrowed his eyes. Those were the eyes of thunder and a boiling sea under darkened clouds so there was no warmth! He squeezed my hands and his face was the saddest I had ever seen it. “and THAT is the scariest part of all this- you can’t imagine you did anything wrong! ,like it was your birthright ? ”

At Liberty

Misty chuckled at me and winked. Leaving the board and walking over to where Sam, Claire and Sherriel were standing or perched. I felt deflated and confused. ‘ Words that I knew that I have used for many years, were suddenly meaning and used in a different way, in an intolerant, stupid way. ‘
I looked around at all the crossed arms, closed confused faces, the pause which made me feel like I had cracked a popular vase. I shrugged .
” I thought it would help to remind ourselves of the field we are talking about hence, the general subject of Chemistry. I circled Chemistry and wrote Solutions, compounds and Results, just as an aid. ” I whined to Sherriel and Claire. ” I thought I was helping in setting up for the discussion”. I spread my hands at Sam.
I was rambling and defending against those looks that I was getting from all the people in the room.
I’m sure that my face was pathetic.
” I didn’t know that everyone would react this way. What was the big deal?” I put my markers away in my bag, still confused and getting angry over such a small thing. “That I wrote out the outline on the board?” I waved at the board, putting my hands on my hips, I had a thin line of a mouth. ” Really, people” ,I sighed. “Of all the problems going on in the world and they are going to pick a fight over an outline ? ”
Sam and Sherriel exchanged those glances . Sherriel came over and grinned. ” Well, you made THEM confused! Good Job!”
Sam cocked his head and stared at me. ” You are moving cloudy fast, aren’t you?” He rubbed a spot behind his ear, looking down, he smiled at me, like a big brother correcting a little sister .
” I thought we were here to discuss the topics and the general ideas BEFORE we decided exactly who we were going to ask to speak.?” Michael pointed at Megan and the guy with the jazzy headband, “Weren’t they going to present the information so that we could put the pieces in order. But you” He shook his head, his furrow creased. “You! I don’t understand!” He turned away, dismissing me as if I was a three year old with whom he was bored. He looked over at Meghan who was shuffling through papers in a stack, frustration etched in her whole body.

The racket that was made as Joshua hit the top of the large cans he was moving, caught all of us mid sentence.
He moved a chair and attempted to stand on it. “Angie, What are these chairs,? I told you last time. !” He snapped at the girl with the notecards at the sorting table, who jumped at the bark.
I didn’t know who this loudmouth was , but not one deserved to speak to a team member in hostile tone like that. I stood on my chair , ” hey you, blowhard. Where is your work? Her team has been here since long before the rest of us arrived. Who gives you the bloody right to come in here and yell like that? ”

Joshua turn and look at me in shock. ” I am the coordinator . Professor Fields assigned me. Who are you to say ANYTHING? ”
Daisy moved closer to the boys in the back, near the door. Members of my table stood up and Misty helped me stepped down and replaced the chair. Everyone else stared at me or Joshua with anger, and confusion. Angie’s group were worried and were looking at anything except what we going on in front of them.
Sam and Michael put their hands on my shoulders I squared my shoulders ,lifted my face and said in my best protestor yell.
“Aren’t I at Liberty, to speak out when someone has been mistreated?”
There was not a breath or sound in the arching cavern.
Sherriel caught my elbow and whispered. “not another word, kapuchick ”

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Accepted Norms

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I looked out the library window. The sky was bright with a pale white sunshine. With its dark,fluttering leaves dotting the sky, it matched the students. Things had settled down. There were no people sitting around, angrily ,spitefully, yelling at other people . The calm was welcomed but you could sense the submerged opinions . After the address from Mr. Joffrey, of all people, the temper of the grounds cooled.

Last night, we started to plan on how to start on the project’s write up. The others were sketching or digging through cards and packets. There were plenty of people, so I went to the large board in the front and starting writing the outline. I wrote Subjects on the left and Topics on the right. The topics had not been decided upon, hence tonight’s meeting. Under subject, I wrote Chemistry, circled it in fluorescent blue ink and arched branches of Solutions, Compounds and Results, pyramid style. Claire held her clipboard and began sketching while looking at the board. She and I were late arrivals who had worked in the Library, catching up.
The guy with red curly hair pulled in place with a jazzy headband, looked up from the lay out and smiled . Angie was the girl I had talked to about the project when I first arrived. She and the others were making the packets that would be given out. He poked her and both stared at me.
Frowning, she looked at him, ” What is going on? I thought we were working on the titles first and then the topics.?” The guy with the headband they all seemed to prefer, nodded as he moved the cards into piles.
“Yes, that is what we are doing, using the large tables to get everything together. Angie pointed at the board. Claire and the guy looked at what I was writing. “Why is that group ignoring what we are doing?”

I stared back at Angie and the research group. “I was getting ready for the discussion, I thought this would be a way where everyone could see, you know,” as I changed the color of the pen – I stopped as everyone looked up, Angie and her guy was angry ]. (‘why?’ I thought ).
Sam looked at the board with the subject on the left side and the lines descending from it. He frowned and scratched his lip. ” I thought we were settling on the Titles and the topics before we decided on the subjects.” The guy with the headbanded red hair nodded. ” They is exactly what we are doing. I got the cards laid out. We just need to discuss”- his eyebrows furrowed together. – “Why?” He pointed to the board and squinted as they looked at the cards comparing what I had written.
“I was organizing points for the discussion.” My marker pen pointed to the diagram, proudly. ” I just thought writing it out would be a good map to shake out the ideas,” feeling like I had made a good contribution. Sam arched his eyebrow, and I turned to watch the reactions of everybody in the room. The expressions made me feel like I was one of the solution slides on the side table.
Meghan, stepped away from the slides she was preparing, wiping her hands off, stood in front of the board. She stood back and back some more. Looking at the cards on the table and at the board, ‘I had seen that expression last week, numerous times.’ Meghan was a ponderer, always careful about what she said. She read what was on the board and smiled in the manner of a cat observing an odd fluffy bird.
” You have an odd way of organization. I will tell you, but I supposed that there are more than one way to do everything? ” She smiled and tilted her head, still the far away look in her eyes, the gears were turning.

So what do you want?

” You seemed to be so concerned with Talk and free to be saying what your own interpretations of anything. Free to yell, condemn anybody and yet not KNOW anything. So tell me what do you THINK, FEEL, OR DEMAND of YOUR DECIDERS?! You did so LAST NIGHT!! SO MUCH SO THAT COMMON SENSE LEFT.”
Jason called out. “They need to protect us, our homes, our work. We shouldn’t have to worry about whether there is going to be a loud, dangerous group yelling and hurting people or a group of armed military types, not answerable to any of us SENT from some faraway man.”
“So you want someone to keep you safe and make the decisions about everything?” The professor wrote the answer on the old blackboard.

Pink shook her fluorescent pigtails. ” NO! not control everything !”
Mike, a bearded suit guy, from the professional circle, shook his head at Pink. “Wait, The problem areas are complicated, THICK, hard! You have to be careful or affairs will get worse!”
“Not so!” The red shirted guys yelled out. “I want someone to make sure people WE DON’T NEED, DON’T STAY!’ We have too many needs and too many people” They were high-five-ing each other and glaring at the girls.
Violet and Daisy moved their seats father back against the wall . Their amber and green eyes shone in the shadow of the cabinet.
Misty, one of the white haired girls, glared at the Red shirted guys, “Speaking of which, let’s start with you!” She started forward.
I caught her and said in Dad’s teacher voice. “What is needed is for someone to listen to many sides, gather information, ask for smart help, research and THEN EXPLAIN the Middle way and WHY to all of us.”

Before the two group of guys on either side of me or the girls started in on each other. Our old study partner said in a his old studious voice.
“Always the same, every time.” He wandered among us and frowned. “His way, her way, their interpretation, your interpretation!” He looked weary and tired. Frowning, he looked down at the papers on the floor by the suits, “Do you want a person who does the research, listens to people, understand and follow the rules. A person who seeks help from educated people and then can explain the options to the rest of us? Who can decide what and why.”

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He rubbed his chin and looking at the Blue jean posse who were trying to sneak out. He called out.
“Do you want a single one person who decides what is to be and that is that! No discussion or disagreements allowed.”
A person who says, “I am the only person who can make this country. Don’t listen to those other guys. They don’t know. and besides I don’t obey the rules or the laws. I HAVE THE AUTHORITY! . Just Trust and LISTEN TO ME!”
The red shirts straighten up and ceased their whispering. He continued “A person who can say, ‘I can send out my squads of enforcers who only answer to me to your town, or area for any reason. Otherwise, if you don’t do what I say then my legal guys can tackle you with a treason charge. WHENEVER you disagree with me concerning anything is an ATTACK ON THIS GOVERNMENT!”

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Everyone stared at the professor and the three groups mesmerized in anger with each other, froze. The blue jean posse sank into the chairs just in front of them. Mike looked up and Misty stared at him. “What a choice and not much time?” He mumbled, shaking. She cleared her throat and repeated what he said. Everyone looked at the blackboard. Silence.

Random Interpretations

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“What is the difference between a random group of people just sitting and a group of people sitting and talking to each other?”
The Black Gentleman wrote the question and smiled, but his eyes narrowed in an uncomfortable manner, like we were all in a very large bear trap .
He could see our confused, uncertain faces as he turned and numbered the sentences. Several glances passed among us, from group to group, while waiting for someone else to break the silence.
‘One of my history study group was writing a second, more descriptive set of sentences. I couldn’t get used to the fact that HE was a professor of some reputation.
The black gentleman turned and stared at the white girls group.
“The first group is full of single, narrow-minded, uncaring, insular, and totally selfish girls.”
He wrote brackets around “sitting”. Pink’s face darkened, turning her nose red. Tipping her head slightly sideways, she sketched a figure and handed it over to the Misty.
“The second group is a united, concerned community who is committed to taking care of the people who live around them.”
He wrote a star beside the sentence and smiled at the Blue jean posse. I caught grins out of the corner of my eye, the blue jean posse was grinning, slapping backs and fist bumping as they moved their chairs away from the Athletes.
I reread the second set of sentences. The only difference? was the talking? . I was confused and irritated . ‘How dare he say that about Pink and the girls? He knew them and the blue jean guys from last night!’
The professionals frowned as they leaned towards each other, jabbering and flying through papers and books. The wall of blue was closing off. They generally did their confab when class was over.
The black gentleman called out “Am I right?”
There were many tilted heads and askanced shrugs . I looked around at everyone. There were many people ignoring him and no body was answering. I crept my hand up as one of the Athletes called out. “one group is talking to each other.”
“There isn’t enough information given, to make that judgement!” Gerald stated from the Confab circle . “all that-” He pointed at the board, “says is two groups are present, one is talking and one is not.”
The Black Gentleman underlined to top two sentences. “These sentences? ”
He thumped his notebook on the table in front of us. “It is my authority to say what I want IT to say.” He propped his foot on the chest . One of the bearded suits spoke up.
“I don’t see how you came up with the interpretations that you did? There isn’t any proof to say how you condemn one and advanced the other?”
The suits were all nodding, with their hands knotted on their notebooks.
The Black Gentleman stood up on the chest! and bellowed !
“What does that matter?!”
WHETHER THERE ARE ANY FACTS SUPPORTING ? !”

Questions unknown

A few minutes before class was starting, we wandered into where we were told to meet. It was a strange place. An area leftover during the construction of the rooms on this floor. There were unmatched chairs from all over. I recognized chairs from my history class. There were some writing chairs from the labs and chairs from the libraries. The red shirted guys sat in the chairs which were missing pieces and balanced themselves semi-gracefully.

The black gentleman dropped his case on a chest stashed under a chalk board. ‘ Honestly, I don’t remember seeing a board like it .’ I leaned over to see the old frame, which didn’t seem that stable, wincing as he clipped it.
“We are starting- ” He paused, looking up from his writing as chairs were scooted noisily around, papers and bags shifted. He looked at the blue jeans posse, as they continued their conversing.
“Instead”- The white haired girls , dressed in white with bold blue flowers, joined in. ” of the examples in the text.” He leaned back against the board and rolled his eyes, the counting had mentally begun. A lot of sh-shing was given to the people not paying attention.
” We are starting the topic called Community and Values.” He raised his voice and cut off the loud corrections from the assembly. He puckered his lips at the small groups chittering.
“Instead!-” his voice screeching as the chalk scratched across the slate surface, silencing everyone as the looked for the sound. ” of the examples and topics given in your guides.-”
He leaned forward on a near desk and moved it backwards, into the other desks, causing several gasps.
“I HAVE SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT THE LAST FEW DAYS!” he growled.

‘I have never seen him as a dangerous wizard, but that is what he seemed to me.
Many people drew in their breaths, the setting now seemed to make more sense, out of bounds, away from the public spaces. Eyes looked in all areas of the old, dusty, haunted room and bodies slid. Pink was looking over at an athletic guy with a shiner and knuckled sized bruises along his chin. I was looking at two of the loud red-shirted guys from last night. They were bent over a paper between them. Nobody was talking. The expressions on most faces were of uncertainty–fear? Indifference ? or was that a self defense mask?

Changing ?

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The black gentleman caught the arm of the suited guy near him as he lunged forward. Shaking his head at him, the black gentleman pushed his way forward toward where Diamond could be heard. Barely making a wave, people looked at him and then parted. The black gentleman stepped up and called out.
” Is this what you are calling for?” His booming voice trembled. ” You yelled and damaged and yet I do not hear any workable ideas or plans! ”
‘I have never heard him sound so strong. He always seemed so quiet and always just listening.’ Now we all listened .
” WE WANT WHAT WE ARE DUE! ” yelled one guy on the other side, all dressed in red, he threw a stick to his friends up front. Several of the blue jean posse from around the rock, called out . “We want reparations for what has happened.” waving the stick covered in red goo and tossed it at Diamond.
The Ombre athletes called out. ” It is worse and getting more worse still. The attacks are increasing almost as if the Braggards KNOW that will NOT be stopped by Uppers government!”
The Black Gentleman looked up at the sky before calling out. “That is still being researched.”
Diamond called out . ” Yes, attacks are worse. YES, THEY ARE WRONG!!” He pointed the stick at the Reds. “How is creating chaos and fear, giving us security? or Peace or –?”
” NOTHING HAS CHANGED. Only becoming worse. We are tired of being afraid!” came voices from the group in front of me, they had been jostling each other and rattling bags in which metal clanked. Looking like Hollywood cowboys in their red and black cowboy shirts, orange, blue or purple bandanas tied in a motley of ways with crisp, dark blue jeans, I chuckled thinking how fake they looked.
The Black Gentleman yelled above them . ” How does creating disarray protect anyone? How does destroying jobs and places around you? STOP the Braggards?”
Diamond waved the stick covered in a red goo. ” You are acting in the same manner as the Braggards are always warning all people. ” The Black Gentleman turned, waving a white stick, ” Why are You! ” pointing at the guys all dressed in Red.”traveling from place to place, creating riots and destruction?” The Red group on the other side, shuffled, jostled, looking at each other, then shook their rattling bottles.

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