Red Ribbon

By A.M. Reynwood

Afternoon sunlight spilled across the landing dividing the stairwell. It was vacant at this hour, and silent, while the students were all in class.

Except for one. The boy’s image stared morosely through the window, the fingertips of one hand pressed against the glass. But there was no one on the landing to cast his reflection.

***

Jeremy Nishida transferred to Cherryoak High in the middle of the semester. On his first day some girl with a cheesy, red hair ribbon tried talking to him.

“You’re new here, right? My name’s─”

“Maybe later,” he’d said, and kept walking.

That same day a teacher handed him a list of the school’s clubs. “Take your pick, and I’ll get you registered.”

Jeremy had handed it back. “I don’t intend to join any.”

“Without being a part of something, you’ll fade into the background,” she’d warned.

He didn’t care. He didn’t need friends.

Well, things were different now.

The bell rang and the landing filled with students and noise. Jeremy hammered his fist against the window, shouting, but no sound escaped his lips ─ same as any other reflection. Nobody heard him, and in the rush between classes nobody heeded his waving arms.

Alone again.

After that exchange with the teacher, he’d discovered that he had become literally invisible. Except for his reflection.

He hadn’t been able to find the teacher again, so the next thing he’d tried was leave notes on the steamy mirror of the locker-room, but the boys only joked about who this ‘Jeremy’ weirdo was and wiped his pleas for help away. He banged on windows and danced like an idiot anywhere his reflection could be cast, but all he ever got in return were irritated looks or laughs.

With each passing day he faded a little more, stuck within the glass. Nobody knew he was trapped, that he was disappearing, and nobody would care. Nobody knew him. That was fine once, but not anymore. Now he wanted ─ needed ─ someone to notice him, to reach out. But no one did.

Jeremy stuffed his hands into his pockets and walked out of the landing. He vanished at the edge of the window, but then his head bobbed across the panes in the classroom doors.

He slipped into the last room on the third floor, an abandoned clubroom full of boxes and an empty display case. He stared out from the glass panels into the silent, isolated place and figured this was as good a place as any to fade away completely.

But then the door slid open, and a girl stepped in.

She wore a cheesy red ribbon in her hair. It took him a moment to remember ─ the girl he’d shrugged off on his first day.

She glanced around the room, then her eyes landed on the display case, and stopped.

And stared.

At him.

“There you are!” She smiled, and walked closer. “I’ve been looking for you.” She offered her hand.

Jeremy reached out of the glass and took it.

A.M. Reynwood is a writer of fiction based on a small farm in Arcadia New York, and has published several works since the autumn of 2013. When she isn’t crafting stories, she’s either concocting in the kitchen, on an adventure in a book, or dreaming about floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. 

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