Armen sat at his desk, watching the floaters in his eyes slide across the blackboard. With a ring of the bell, the schoolroom was filled with a muffled chorus of chairs shifting on indoor/outdoor carpet. Armen watched the sunlight flare through the exit. He watched the silhouettes of his classmates stream out into the light. He felt the sweat collect between his fingers and the bindings of his books, and he reached for his viola case.
The orderly glanced at him from her desk, and he uncoiled from his. He watched the carpet sweep rhythmically beneath him as the doorway approached. He didn’t need to look toward the door; he could track its approach from the light that poured from it. He approached the exit to the corridor, and once beyond the door, he stalled beneath the overhead vent windows. When he heard the orderly grab her things, he resumed walking out to Monroe Drive.
Stu, one of the neighborhood’s fledgling highwaymen, was waiting at the curb.
“I don’t like it when you make me wait,” lashed Stu. “What have you got for m—what’s in there?” Stu ripped the viola case out of Armen’s grip. He opened it, pulled out the viola, and began strumming it guitar-style. The bridge collapsed under Stu’s pounding.
“This thing is cheap!,” he complained, and with thinly-concealed guilt, shoved it into Armen’s arms, forcing Armen to drop his books.
Armen put the broken viola back in its case, picked up his books, and walked home. He walked through a light rain that night. The raindrops beaded up on the grass at his feet. There were deep holes in the ground—rectangular holes; three feet by seven. He stood and looked at the holes in the rain, and the raindrops ran off the turf into the holes, and the holes began to fill. As the water approached the rim of each hole, a body floated at the surface. The water overflowed the holes and flowed slowly past Armen’s feet. Each body floated in its hole as Armen turned to flee the water of the holes. He walked out through the night, but he could find no end to the holes, and the bodies, and the water touched his ankles. And he heard his sister calling. And he awoke.