Chapter 5

Since it’s the weekend, I thought I’d throw in a little extra 🙂 Here’s an excerpt of Chapter 5 from The Well Of Wishes Lost along with the chapter image ~

Chapter 5: Alysandir Avis

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        By the time Bryze was roaming through the halls in search of Mr. Avis’ class room, they had already cleared out completely.  She sighed loudly. Walking into the room after class had already started would only make things that much more uncomfortable. What was worse, she had absolutely no idea where she was headed and there wasn’t a soul around to ask.

Bryze was just about to turn around and head back to see Miss Sprite when the last door on the left flew open. A tall man stepped out and stood just outside the doorway staring back at Bryze.

“I believe I’m waiting on you, Miss Brooks,” the man called over to her. Grateful for the guidance, Bryze hurried over to meet him and he ushered her inside the room.

Mr. Avis’ class was not at all what Bryze had expected. Rather than have all the desks lined up in neat rows facing the front of the room, the students were situated in the shape of a circle. For a moment, Bryze wondered how those with their backs to the teacher’s desk would be able to see anything, but then she realized, there was no such desk. What was more, all of the blackboards had been covered with colorful paintings, all of which had funny little sayings about common grammatical errors sprawled across them in curly cursive lettering. The remaining walls of the room were lined with bookshelves from the floor to the ceiling.  It was as though Mr. Avis had established his own little library within the classroom.  Still unable to determine from where he taught the class, Bryze’s gaze came back to the circle of desks before her. That was when she noticed the single black bar stool standing at its center.  It was the backless kind, with a metal frame and black leather cushion that swiveled around at will of the person sitting on it. Bryze sincerely hoped that it was there for Mr. Avis’s use only. The last thing she wanted was to be perched up on display in front of the entire class for any length of time.

“Good news, I’ve found the missing link!” Mr. Avis announced from behind her. Several of the students lifted their heads to see who it was, most of them smiled, including Sara. Bryze hadn’t seen her until now. She gave Sara a wry grin, indicating how awkward it was to be standing there beside the teacher, and her friend returned it with a slight nod of understanding.

Mr. Avis took notice of their interaction. While he said nothing to show it, he quickly pulled the spare desk from the corner of the room and made a space for it right next to Sara’s.

“There we go, why don’t you go ahead and have a seat right there. Before we get started, I will spare Bryze the embarrassment of having to tell you all about herself. If you’ve paid even half as much attention in the last three minutes as you do during class, then you already know all you need to know. If you haven’t, here’s a recap – We have a new student. Her name is Bryze.”

He clapped his hands in closing and grinned broadly. Then he went and took his seat on the bar stool and began his class. Bryze found herself instantly captivated by him as he delved right into a lecture about Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Only it was unlike any lecture Bryze had ever heard. It was more of a discussion really, as Mr. Avis encouraged his students to participate. He didn’t seem to require anyone to raise their hand, or even wait their turn. Everyone just sort of jumped right in, sharing their points of view and expressing how they had felt about the chapters they had read as part of their reading assignment over the weekend. Bryze had already read the play and could have easily contributed to the conversation, but she was far too mesmerized by her teacher to think about anything else. She couldn’t explain her fascination with him. There was just something about him that struck her in a way that she couldn’t shake. Like she had seen him before somewhere, like in a dream, only he hadn’t looked like himself. Trying to decipher this feeling of familiarity, she depicted every inch of him in the greatest of details.

Mr. Avis was likely her mother’s age, maybe a bit older but not by much. He had the tiniest of laugh lines that sat in a crest around the corners of his eyes, and his wavy brown hair showed a few scattered strands of gray. But the grays weren’t what was most notable about his hair, it was its length. Mr. Avis wore his bark brown waves nearly down to his shoulders. There was no ponytail, he just wore it open, slicked back out of his face and over his ears, but loose at the back so it became air bound every time Mr. Avis spun himself around on his stool to face another set of students.

His face was unusual looking with thin lips and a bowed narrow nose that ended in a bit of hook above his mouth.  It almost resembled a beak in a way. Mr. Avis’s most striking feature by far were his round amber eyes. They emitted a kind of beauty Bryze couldn’t quite describe. She saw wisdom in them. And pain. Maybe that was the part she found so easy to relate to. She had certainly seen that same look in her mother’s eyes often enough to recognize it. Not to mention the set of green eyes that always stared back at her from the mirror. Always trying to hide what was buried within them but never fully succeeding.

From the neck down, Mr. Avis had a tall lean build, with surprisingly broad shoulders and long skinny arms, which he waved around animatedly as he spoke drawing his students in with his entertaining flare. He was dressed in all black. Black trousers and a black button down shirt with long sleeves he wore rolled up until just below his elbow. When Bryze looked closer, she noticed a scar that scaled down from under his sleeve all the way to the inside of his wrist. It was a peculiar looking mark that zigzagged in a clean line all across his otherwise seamless skin.

Suddenly, Bryze felt the heat rise to her cheeks as she heard her name spoken and felt the weight of several eyes resting on her. She lifted her gaze from Mr. Avis’s arm to his head and was entirely mortified to find that he was indeed talking to her. By now, the rest of the class had caught on to the fact that she had been too busy staring at the teacher to listen to what he was saying and were now concentrating all of their attention on her, eagerly awaiting her reaction.

She swallowed loudly, stalling for time. Mr. Avis was watching her probingly. After a second he repeated his question.

“I was just asking if you had any feelings to share regarding the fact that it was the act of forbidding Romeo and Juliet to be together in spite of the great love they felt that ultimately led to their deaths.”

“Well, in a way sure…if their families hadn’t stood in the way, it never would have ended in a double suicide, but I still think that everybody has free will. Romeo and Juliet could have made other choices. They didn’t have to end up the way they did.”

Mr. Avis nodded approvingly.

“Very good, Bryze. In the future perhaps you could let me know when I start to bore you and I will try to step it up a notch so we don’t lose you along the way again, k?”

There was a definite hint of sarcasm there, but as soon as the words passed his lips, they turned up in a smile again and Bryze automatically returned the gesture. Several of the other students laughed, but Mr. Avis quickly moved on in his discussion, spinning in his stool to face the opposite side of the class and before long Bryze’s temporary dazing had been long forgotten.

 

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