Meeting Leila

Meeting Leila

A Chapter by Megan S.


i, I’m Mason.” Why was it that every time I was transferred to a new school, teachers made me stand up in front of the class and introduce myself? None of the kids cared. Or at least, all of the blank facial expressions they showed did not register as caring ones.

“And where are you from, Mason?” the teacher asked me gently. I wanted to tell her that I was not what they called nervous. I didn’t get nervous. It was not in my wiring.

“Denning, Arkansas.” Did they notice how short my answers were? Did they care? My modem was not registering it if they did.

“Okay, you can go sit down now. I see a spot next to Leila, over there.” She pointed to the empty chair I was already headed towards, and I heard a guy laugh.

“Poor guy,” someone else whispered. “Just gets here and he’s already being tortured.” I ignored them. I didn’t feel like listening to people degrading their fellow peers.

Fifteen years spent in the Hospital- where all of us are the same from the minute we were wired- kept me from getting used to the humiliation human teens were determined to put each other through. Finally making it to the seat, I sat down beside the girl.

She wasn’t what these people would call pretty, but something in me pinged when I looked at her. I wasn’t sure what the ping meant, but it was an odd… well, it registered as a pain on my modem, but it wasn’t pain.

Her long black hair covered half of her face for a fraction of a second when she looked up at me before she pushed it behind one ear, shoved the book between us, and said, “I figure you’ll need to share my book with me until you can get your own.”

I didn’t. The Hospital had made sure I was ready for school in every way, but I didn’t tell her that. I wasn’t sure why, but I wanted to share a book with her. I just nodded, gave her my best smile, and scooted so I could see her book.

She moved slightly away from me, and for the first time since these tests started, I was actually upset that I seemed to be a person repellant. Normally, it helped me out in the beginning. They always assumed I was shy, and it made it that easier to get in with them. Now, it was hindering… well, nothing honestly, but I was upset anyway.

“Okay, Casey, could you do your first homework problem on the board for us?” A boy stood up, and slouched over to the board. He picked up a marker and gave it his best try.

Five minutes later, he was still at the beginning. I nearly groaned.

“Just use substitution,” I whispered. “It is one of the simplest ways to do it!” I hated watching these people do mathematics. It was painful, especially for a wired “geek” like me because I was made up of mathematical equations and signals.

“Shut up, idiot, before you get us in trouble. He has to do it on his own.” I looked over to find Leila’s green eyes glaring at me. I just shrugged like I didn’t care and pulled out my drawing pad.

That was the only thing that wasn’t the same in all of the Hospital’s kids. We each had a single, different talent that would let us get a job when we needed to, not that we ever would unless they could stop testing and release us.

Mine happened to be drawing. We all had an amazing memory- it was a computer that consisted of snapshot pictures, place logs, and short descriptions of each so we could load them into the Hospital’s home computer. The snapshot pictures aided me in drawing places and people I’d seen.

I brought up the first person snapshot I found, smiled, and started drawing. It was Three from the Hospital- current human name, Amy Fairview. She was curled up on my bed, laughing with her head thrown back. Somehow, when they wired her, she kept her emotion. Most of us lost our own emotions, and it was worrying the Hospital that she hadn’t.

For me, though, it was a pleasant change. She was my equivalent of these people’s best friends. She broke up the monotony of the day with her jokes and laughter. Out of all fourteen of us, her tests always came out the best in Integration but the worst in Departure. She absolutely hated having to leave all the new friends she always made.

“Dude,” I heard, and when I looked up from my picture and my thoughts, I found Leila standing next to me and the rest of the class empty. “I get your new and all, but the bell means leave, you know, go to your next class.”

“Oh, yes, I guess I just didn’t hear it.” Then, as if my mouth had a mind of its own, I said, “I have art, do you think you could show me where it is?” I already knew where it was of course, and I had no idea why I was asking her to show me.

She just looked at me and shrugged. “Fine, but only because it’s my next class too.” She looked down at my drawing pad and sighed. “Should have known you’d be in art. When did you start taking classes?”

I packed up my stuff and followed her out. “I’ve never had an art class. They told me I needed these things called electives to graduate, and I’ve always been good at art, so I took the class.”

“You’re joking, right? You’re way too good to never have had an art class; I mean, see?” She flipped open her notebook to show me a picture of a bowl of fruit and grimaced. It wasn’t actually bad, though, so I was lost. “And that’s taken four years of art classes.”

“Where are your people sketches?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t draw people yet. Mrs. Kerrigan won’t let me. She says I’m not ready.” She turned into a classroom.

“I said your sketches, not your drawings. You must have at least tried to draw people at some point.” I set my stuff down by the easel next to hers, assuming that it was once again empty.

“Well, yeah,” she said, and rummaged through her backpack for a moment and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. She handed to me.

I straightened it out and almost growled. I had to think about why I was angry, the naked boy laying on the bed, half covered by a blanket was a stranger to me. I could tell she obviously knew him, though, as she blushed and grabbed it away, and it just made me even angrier.

“Sorry, wrong one.” She looked away, letting her hair fall between us like a curtain. I didn’t mind, it gave me a moment to think about what was upsetting me or how it was upsetting me.

I’d never had emotions. I knew what they were and the idea of what they felt like, but I’d never really felt them. My emotions had been lost to me at two years old when my wiring had happened. I tried to shake the feeling.

“I think this Mrs. Kerrigan woman has no idea what she’s talking about. You are obviously amazing at drawing people. Just look at that picture. Even crumpled up you can see every fold in the blanket as it drapes his legs, the half smile, the crinkle at the sides of his eyes. No, she’s definitely wrong, you’re good at people.”

I heard someone clear their throat behind me, and I turned around, expecting some kid who was upset that I’d taken their seat. Instead, I found the teacher behind me.

“So, I’m wrong, am I? May I ask where you have the right to call me wrong. If you’re taking an art class, you obviously need help in your own art.”

“Not really, ma’am. I took it because I’m good.” I looked up at her, and grimaced on the inside. I seemed to just be making her even angrier.

“Prove it.” I handed her my drawing pad and watched as her face get redder and redder until she threw the book at me and ground out, “This is nothing but trash.”

I shrugged. “To you.”

© 2011 Megan S.

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and ground out,-and growled out.
Wow that teacher has anger issues, or she's just jealous that a student is better at her profesiion than her. I wonder if Mason was envious of the guy in the picture and that's why he was angry, or he was irritated because he was loookign at a picture of a semi-naked guy. XP Anyway, I wil be reading onward.

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Added on June 9, 2011
Last Updated on June 14, 2011


Megan S.
Megan S.


I'm a simple teenage girl from podunk Arkansas trying to get by in the world of high school. I started writing as soon as I could, and I've never quit. Over the years, what writing means to me has cha.. more..

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