Wil stared dumbly forward, in the general direction of Dr. Lombard. She’d assumed a position and expression at the start of class that she hoped conveyed interest but excused her from any participation.
Fortunately, Dr. L. was near-sighted both optically and scientifically: he wore thick eyeglasses and became engrossed in his own lectures about chemistry.
A small part of Wil’s consciousness was entertained by the agitated way Dr. L. excitedly gestured as he taught. However, the pleasant numbing effect of too little sleep distracted her ability to listen and retain her teacher’s information.
She yawned, for the seventh time, and blinked slowly. She was tempted to doze off, but Dr. L. was known to target sleepers. He may have been a science fanatic, but he noticed when heads drooped to desks. He had painted a napper’s ear with correctional fluid in Wil’s first month at this school.
She shifted slightly in her seat and thought about the note she’d filled in the night before. Being in school around her peers drew her attention to it and away from the Winters’ bigger concerns. Besides, she could do nothing about her mother here, and would have to address the message and its sender before returning home.
After spacing the letters sensibly, Wil had read, “unique individuals only wil join us if ready further instruction next day.” She thought the writer used unusual words and no punctuation (nor spacing) to increase difficulty and mystery.
She allowed herself to feel some anxiety. Trepidation just might get her through class with her ears unscathed.
“I wonder what the ‘further instruction’ might be, and how I will get it,” she thought to herself idly. She also wondered why anyone was bothering with her, and a small part suspected ridicule.
If someone were truly sincere, surely that person could just walk up and talk to Wil. Since no one had voluntarily approached her, Wil had no idea who was behind this.
She changed position again, pulling her feet out from under the desk in front of her and setting them directly under her small desk.
She expected to set her sneaker-shod toes on the ground. Instead of the muffled thunk of plastic to carpet, Wil heard a crinkling sound.
Glancing at her teacher to make sure he hadn’t heard, Wil snuck a peak under her chair. Dr. L. was writing on the whiteboard intently, and another torn notepaper was waiting for Wil beneath her seat.