Thanks to Josie of ‘Two Shoes Tuesday’ who hosts this writing meme. Her prompts this week are ‘Creature’ or ‘Wild’.
Creature of the Wild
She felt like a Creature of the Wild, living on her wits. Daily she faced her demons with courage, a smile hiding her fear. She addressed them quietly, almost apologetically, in case she incited their derision. The hollow memories of scornful laughter from her earlier days remained with her and informed her current behaviour. She used her cunning to short-circuit their route to discovering her weakness. She digressed, tricking them into focussing on objects beyond her. She amused and entertained them and sometimes sensed a certain camaraderie but as soon as she allowed herself to relax the supposed amity vanished and they were united against her once more.
Each morning she rose and set out, a sick feeling in her stomach, her mouth dry, her pulse racing. Every evening, going home, she congratulated herself on surviving another day. How long would this persist? Could she escape?
As the years rolled by she began to look at her demons through different eyes. It was they who were the Wild Creatures, not her. With greater experience she was able to circumvent their more atrocious behaviour but realised with sadness that her joie de vivre was dying, shrivelling through lack of oxygen, bludgeoned by the relentless repetition of harsh blows. The cudgels were verbal but nonetheless painful.
On her last day she felt triumphant. The demons had never managed to slice through her armour and discover her frailty though some had come close. She listened to the voice of her employer. ‘Today we say farewell to Miss Thomas. She has been a well-loved and respected member of staff and will be greatly missed.’ Polite applause followed.
For years afterwards Miss Thomas had recurring nightmares of her demons rising up against her. They stood and advanced, chanting, ‘No, no, no – we won’t and you can’t make us.’
Why had she ever thought teaching might be an enjoyable profession?