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It had all happened in naught but an instant. Bradley Floyd strode into the room with two girls behind him. He recognized one of them as Bryony, but the other he hadn't ever seen before, not even walking around town. As Bradley walked in, he saved Arthur the trouble of introducing himself, although he got his name wrong. Arthur's eyes narrowed, his brow furrowed. The girl he didn't recognize greeted him, offering a small wave of her hand and a whispered 'hello,' while Bryony just raised her arm.

"Not Leonard," he corrected curtly, "Arthur. My name is Arthur." He felt himself unconsciously taking a small step forward, putting himself in between Coleen and the others. If things went south, they'd be outnumbered, and Coleen didn't look like she was in any position to defend herself. He wasn't even going to start on correcting Bradley on his egregious error towards Coleen (What had he even said? Sandra something or other?) as he figured she'd correct it herself. Maybe that was assuming just a little too much of one of the shyest girls in the class.

It was strange to see Bryony and Coleen in the same room, for some odd reason. Arthur's mind wandered, a half-baked dream surfacing before his eyes. He imagined Coleen trying to talk to Bryony, but being unable to start the conversation. Bryony, being shy as well, was unsure what to do, and the two began to stutter at each other indefinitely in his mind. Silently, he pitied the meeting that had never happened. He wished he could write it down somewhere, and balled up his fist, his head still in the clouds. It could've happened, he posited, but he wouldn't have been around to see it either way. He preferred to spend his free time at home, and Coleen and Bryony probably did too. Still, the idea of the two staring at each other, silently, like two owls perched on the branch of an oak tree. Lost in thought, he imagined sitting underneath that oak tree, somewhere far away, and reading a book. He couldn't begin to fathom what he would give to be there right now and not here.

The door opened, snapping Arthur out of his flash delirium.

Speaking of silent owls...

Arthur opened his mouth to say something to her. The spear in her hands worried him greatly, the sunlight from above glinting off of it ever so slightly into his eyes. Before he could extend an olive branch to Kimiko, however, the girl he didn't know greeted her instead. At least she was being polite, he thought, relieved that things hadn't gone quite as bad as they could've. She was, after all, a killer, regardless of whether or not it was in self defense. At least Bradley hadn't been the first to spe-

"Hey Kimiko. Guessing they didn't let you keep a little gadget to write things down on? Because an internet connected device would be useful right now."

Arthur's jaw dropped slightly open as Bradley spat line after line at Kimiko, none of them in good taste. He wouldn't stop. Just when one line ended, another began, each one taking apart Kimiko's inability to speak further and further, as if she didn't need any more reminders. The already tensed fist by his side closed tighter around itself, and Arthur felt a quiet anger start to burn in the pit of his stomach. Bryony squeaked out a few words of protest to Bradley's side, but Arthur knew it wouldn't be enough to shake Bradley down.

"Enough," Arthur said, speaking from his chest and in a disciplinary tone, "Bradley, that's enough."

Just a few moments ago, he had thought about how it didn't make sense that Kimiko could've killed someone. Now, he was beginning to see what could've interaction could've egged it on.

And he didn't like it, not one bit.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~



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