GHOST DANCE CHAPTER TWO--SCHOOL
“The Dominant Primordial Beast was strong in Buck, and under the fierceness of trail life it grew and grew. Yet it was a secret growth. His newborn cunning gave him poise and control. He was too busy adjusting himself to the new life to feel at ease, and not only did he not pick fights, but he avoided them whenever possible.”—Jack London, The Call of the Wild
In the early morning fog rising from the chilled hollows and valleys of the surrounding mountains, the school loomed enormous and intimidating, like a gloomy sepulcher of learning. A massive day-glo banner of red and green hung above the doorway, reading “Go Vikings!” in green lettering on a red background. This banner hung over the aperture just below a sign informing the prospective visitor that they had entered the grounds of the Oslo Highschool, in which drugs and firearms were forbidden. Linda looked up at both the sign and the banner with undisguised disdain before stepping across the threshold and into the school.
She felt unusually chipper that morning, given her troubled dreams; her laden courier bag swung happily at her side, and her oversized black boots clomped happily on the tiled floor. She whistled as she walked.
Her heart quickly sank as she found herself approaching a group of goblins—hobgoblins, and Orcs of the worst description. Not goblins in a literal sense, of course, but that seemed to Linda to be a rather succinct description. Leaning against the wall as if waiting for her was a group of seven young men, all exceptionally large for their ages. Linda jogged to the right in hopes of slipping by unnoticed. She did not succeed. The group moved out en masse and surrounded her. One of them wolf-whistled. Linda kept walking. One of them slapped her on the behind. She whistled louder and pretended not to notice.
“Hey, bitch,” called one of them, “I’m tryin’ to talk to you!”
Linda kept walking without looking back. The goblins gave up their pursuit, and their calls faded into the background. She smiled and sighed with relief; this time, she had escaped unscathed. Her heart sank, however, when she saw what was ahead of her.
Out of the frying-pan and into the fire. Escaped from goblins to be caught by wolves.
There was a pack of wolves blocking her advance. They were tall, buxom, blonde-haired and blue-eyed. Anglo-Normans. W.A.S.Ps. Oppressors. She quickly jogged to the far right, so as to avoid physical confrontation.
The wolves started to talk amongst themselves, not loud enough to make it obvious that their comments were directed at Linda, but loud enough for her to hear them.
“. . . always dresses like a freak and wears those weird clothes.”
“Like, totally. And she, like, doesn’t have any friends, except for those freaks she hangs out with.”
“And she always, like, wears those ugly boots. She looks like a lesbian.”
“She probably, like, is a lesbian.”
Linda trudged on, stoically, fighting back with all her strength the urge to retaliate. They’re not worth the trouble, she told herself.
Her heart rose again when she saw him walking up the hallway. Frank Eric Benson, good friend of ten years, recent love interest, was coming down the passage toward her. Frank was short—shorter even than Linda—with long scraggly brown hair. He wore a plaid flannel shirt, blue jeans, and black Chuck Taylor sneakers: Linda found him delightfully anachronistic. A slight gut was hanging out over his belt: She thought that this was simply adorable. She smiled at the way, when he saw her, he examined her body up and down, smiled with secret happiness, and crouched down so as to conceal the sudden onset of an erection. Her love—or her lust, at least--was reciprocated. Linda and Frank were each other’s secret admirers, though only Linda’s admiration was truly secret; Frank did a very poor job of concealing his. She longed to reveal to Frank that she knew about the affection he attempted to hide, and that it was mutual, but knew that it was something that Frank the child would have to do for himself in order to become Frank the man. She was willing to wait for him.
She held up a hand in greeting. “Hey, Ace. Good to see you.”
He smiled and returned her wave. “Hey, Linda.”
They walked beside each other, conversing about trifles. She looked him up and down, thinking bad thoughts about what the two of them could do together. She was comforted by the fact that he was doing the same.
Linda was dreaming again.
As soon as she realised that she was dreaming, she stopped masturbating and sat up on the stone. Ol’ Scratch had already appeared out of the dark shadows of the frozen forest.
“When you do that, do you think about that Frank person?”, he asked her matter-of-factly.
She cocked an eyebrow. “How do you know about Frank?”
“I know much that you think is hidden, Linda. I am inside of your head, after all, in a matter of speaking.”
She nodded, satisfied with this answer. There was a moment of terse silence.
“So,” she asked, “this place, this is inside of my necklace?”
Ol’ Scratch nodded. “You could say that.”
“I was thinking, how in this dream you can’t really hurt me. Can I hurt you?”
“No. Not in the dream, not in the real world. It is very, very difficult for one of you, a human, to hurt one of me. There is a weapon you could use to hurt me in this world, but it is locked inside of your mind and I doubt that you can find it.”
“Are you talking in riddles?”
Another terse silence.
“Let me have you,” Ol’ Scratch said.
Linda cocked an eyebrow again. “What?”
“Let me have you. Let me use your body. It has been so long since I have had my way with a young girl.”
“No. Good Lord, no.”
He pulled up one of his sleeves, revealing the frightful hand again. He reached out and grabbed her arm. She twisted away. One of his claws sliced clean through her arm in the struggle; it should’ve lopped her hand off, but she was left with only a superficial scratch on the inside of her wrist. She backed away.
And then she woke up. She was sitting in her desk in her first period class, her head resting peacefully on her open textbook. The teacher was calling her name irritably.
She sat up, adjusted her glasses, and wiped a stream of drool from the corner of her mouth. “Sorry; I must’ve dozed off.”
The teacher looked down at her scornfully. “I should say so, Miss Kilgore.”
Linda sighed; it was going to be a long day.
Some hours later . . .
It was lunch. Linda’s favorite period.
Her tray laden with victuals, she walked out of the cafeteria and into the walled-in area outside of the school where waited her usual table and her three best friends: James Ratham “Rat” Stephens, Molly Ruth Maguire, and, of course, Frank, who sat at the edge of the table, having saved a seat for her. He was turned around, discreetly eyeing Linda’s crotch, surely contemplating with sad eagerness the mass of red fur that concealed the yawning mouth of her womanhood. She smiled at the thought—ah, how he loves me. What was it that Burns had once said?
Green grow the rashes, O
Green grow the rashes, O
The lasses, they have cozy bores,
An’ the widows a’ have gashes, O
Well-put, Burns. Well-put.
As Linda drew closer, Frank averted his gaze and returned to his conversation with one of the others seated at the table. Linda, pretending not to have noticed his ogling her, sat down beside him, ruffled his scruffy brown hair, and greeted him with a “How’s it goin’, Ace?”.
Molly and Rat—who were a couple, though a bit of an odd one—were chatting about one thing or another with Frank fighting to get in a few words of his own; Linda wasn’t paying much attention. She was too busy daydreaming, and ( though she didn’t realize it) staring at Frank. When lunch was almost over, Molly reached across the table and plucked her on the top of the head.
Linda batted her hand away. “What was that for?”
Molly chuckled. “Just wanted to make sure you were still with us, spaceman. Or were you intentionally staring at Frank for the past half hour?”
Linda and Frank both blushed.
Molly laughed. “Linda, you need to get laid.”
Linda blushed, as Crimson as a King she’d once read about. Frank turned toward her.
“Say, um, Linda,” he began in his usual bumbling manner that Linda found adorable, “I was wondering, do you think I could come hang out at your house this afternoon?”
Linda smiled her biggest, friendliest smile. “Of course, Frank. Come by any time.”
“Thanks.” There was a pause of somewhat awkward silence. Then he added, “My cousin’s coming to stay at my house for a few weeks.”
Linda laughed. “Erwin’s coming? Sweet! I love Erwin! In a purely platonic sense, of course.”
Frank smiled sheepishly and nodded. “So, this afternoon, your house?”
“Yeah, Ace. Come by any time.”