Mannia

Words

collections of short narratives, rewritten episodes, & jovial cynicism

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S 3 | E 1

[still at the dance.]

Jane walks into the bathroom, and goes to the sink to wash her hands. Slowing, she looks up at the mirror to see herself. In a trance, she lifts her right hand to her bottom lip and runs a finger over it. She pauses; and then smiles. Still smiling, she drops her head and hand down to finish washing. She turns off the faucets, reaches for a paper towel, glances back up at her reflection, jumps and gasps.

She's back there.

She was just in normalcy, and now all of a sudden she's there again, with no warning. Jane runs from the bathroom, but when she opens the door, she is surrounded by the familiar darkness that immediately makes her scream. She screams his name, her new friends' names–but it reaches no one, ricocheting off of emptiness to echo around her. Still screaming and now crying, Jane runs frantically through her surroundings, searching for a cause; looking for a reason. Finding neither, she slumps down to the floor, momentarily defeated and exhausted by her anxiety. Coming to terms with her situation and its cruel escalation, she tucks her head to her chest, gathers herself in her arms and resigns her will. 

And then a finger brushes her shoulder. Jerking violently, Jane looks up to see the cause of the touch is the new girl, Zeen. Zeen jumps at Jane's response, and immediately moves away. Completely befuddled, Zeen quizzically gazes at Jane and her current state.

Jane opens her mouth to ask how she got in, when–taking in her surroundings–she realizes the bathroom has returned back to its normal state.

"Sorry–I didn't mean to scare you–"

Jane pushes off the floor, and brushes past Zeen without a look.

"–even though you're the one scaring me...," Zeen mumbles, looking after her. 

Walking out of the bathroom, Jane is met by a different kind of emptiness created by a school hallway after hours. The atmosphere is still; completely unchanged, oblivious to what had just happened...like maybe it didn't happen at all.

Having followed her out the bathroom, Zeen looks past Jane at the hallway to see what she's studying, but finds nothing of interest.

"What are we looking at?" Jane jumps at her sudden appearance, causing Zeen to laugh. 

" Woah–Jesus, you're jumpy–. 

"What do you want?" Jane has now gathered her composure, altering it to the cool indifference she adopts specifically for Zeen. Zeen takes note of the attitude, and immediately matches it, losing all intentions of cordiality. 

[pause.] "Nothing; you were gone for awhile, and the guys got worried–so they asked me to come and check on you."

Jane stares at Zeen, unmoved.

"I mean, I didn't care, but I am surprised a girl who can move cars with her mind can be freaked out by a bathroom."

"I wasn't freaking out."

"Oh so it's normal for you to sit alone on a bathroom floor, crying? Good to know."

Jane looks at her with disdain. She walks past her, pushing into her as she continues towards the bathroom door.

"Mouthbreather," she whispers, just enough so Zeen can hear her. Zeen stays in the stance Jane pushed her in for a beat in disbelief.

"What's your problem!" Zeen whips around to see Jane's hand rest on the bathroom door, but stop just before pushing it open. 

"I have done nothing to you, but you act like I'm the reason you got locked up your whole life." At this, Jane turns to look at her. 

"I get it, you're life's hard, it's hard being a freak. But I am not the cause of it, so stop taking it out on me. Like it or not, I am a part of this group, so you can stop with the brooding, the glares, the constant attitude, and that death threat in your eyes: I'm not scared of you."

[pause.]

"Then, you're more stupid than I thought." Jane turns back to the door and enters, leaving Zeen seething behind her.

"HAVE A NICE SHIT!" she yells, just as the doors closes. Zeen huffs, collects herself, and then storms back to the dance to sit with the guys.

In the bathroom, Jane slowly surveys her surroundings. She then quickly gets down on the ground and scans the floor. Going into a stall, she stands on the toilet, and does a left and right search. Jumping down, she walks out of the stall and kicks open the next one, feeling inside with arms outstretched. She continues this for each of the stalls. Finally, in one last desperate attempt, she gathers as many paper towels as she can from their dispenser, and throws them up in the air. She steps back to watch them fall, searching for something out of the ordinary. As the last paper towel falls, Jane continues to look for a disturbance but sees none. Sighing, she uses her gift to gather up her mess, and then throws it away. With one last look at the bathroom, she walks out and the door swings shut.

For several seconds, nothing happens.

Suddenly, a paper towel–that was caught on the ledge of one of the stall frames–moves. Slightly. It shifts, as though something was underneath it, and then falls from the impact by that same cause. 

And then, in that same stall, a pair of boots appear slowly, one by one. 

[fade to black.]

Tatyana Mann