Story -

The Virus

The Virus

The day began normal as ever. That day, that semi-glorious, semi-evil, beautiful Friday showed posters displaying the last home football game of the season. These posters meant only one thing: there was a pep rally today. 
I cursed under my breath, staring at the posters and people decked out in glow-in-the-dark gear and white for the blacklights. Even worse. Black lights. 
First block breezed by quickly, and second felt so long, I was sure it was the end. I both did and did not know anybody in Ms. Perkins’s Chemistry second block. So, all I could do is watch the clock, tick the seconds away, and wait for my opportunity to scramble to the library. Unlike the next semester, two things were true: I hated it, and I had no cellphone. 
When the bell rang, I panicked. In the fit of tapping and impatience, I forgot to pack my stuff. So, when I finally did get out there, I was in a mass crowd. When I tried to slip out of the crowd and into the library to get out of mass chaos, I saw the face of a teacher stare me down. 
We didn’t say anything, but I could tell in my years of learning that the look in her eye knew what I was doing and said that I should stop. I was already fried up, alone, and scared enough to obey that stare and attend the pep rally. I swear I could smell the fear on myself. 
Entering the gym, I could already hear screams of the kids and see the lights dim down. At the barriers of children drunken on tribalism, I saw bright lights that shone a violet light that burned in my skull. Any white someone was wearing blinded me too, and I knew I was done for. 
Seeing this all pan out, I tried to stand with the juniors. At least they were on the same side as sophomores and were away from the band that pounded down on my soul. 
However, the teachers were relentless. They guided me back to the edge of the action, and I stood right in between the black lights and the band. I took a deep breath and tried calming myself down. I couldn’t think of how it could get worse. How stupid I was. 
The pep rally started quickly, leaving me little time to decompress my thoughts. Then again, there was little room to do it, anyway.  The football team came out and the administration put them up on little pedestals (if getting concussions for a living is your thing, oh well) while getting us to yell even louder. I was silent. 
While all of those children regressed to a state of primate tribalism, I stood alone in the music. It all began to mix together. The smell of the body odor. The screaming. The music. It all turned into one huge, loud, whirring sound. I stared down at my socks while the sound, like a computer virus, took over. 
I covered my ears in an attempt to muffle it out; however, the music and the screaming and that blaring purple that my socks shone only grew louder. Pop-up after pop-up came into my mind and filled my every thought. Sounds were no longer separate. Screaming, chatter, music. They all took a hit on my soul. Soon, that computer virus was all too much. 
I sat down where I stood, feeling as the pop-ups started to shut me down. Like a computer virus, I’d be lucky if I made it out of this one. Tears streamed my face. My hands, now draped over my head, tried to hide my silent cry—beg—for someone to get me out of there or even just to kill me right then and there. Anything to stop that sound. 
I felt a tap on my shoulder. Looking to the side I saw a different teacher. Faces and words were blurry with tears and pop-ups. It didn’t matter. All I could tell was that she was asking me if I wanted out and I was taking no time to wait. 
The teacher, apart from being my hero, didn’t stay for long because of her job. She quickly sent me off with Mrs. Silva and darted back to her job. 
Mrs. Silva greeted me with a hug while I wiped the tears and walked back to the drama room. 
I entered the drama room and let the familiar aura of calm wash over me in torrential waves. The sound of absolute silence cleansed me as I went to the couch. It was strange to hear absolutely nothing after being drowned in a sound. However, it was the most peaceful (and openly welcomed) thing I had felt. 
I laid down on the couch to take a deep drink from the peaceful nectar of that silence, and that silence lulled me right to sleep. Like an infant, I slept silently, peacefully, and ungracefully. I could feel myself grow level again with all emotions and negative energy lifting away. I could smell the calming dust of the drama room. By the time the kids came out, I was recharged and able to pursue my day as normal once more. 

more by Rhiannon Strickland

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Rhiannon Strickland

This story was a project I did about a year ago for a class I was in. I don't say it's my best work, but I am still proud of it and believe it deserves to be seen. It is a true story about me having an autistic overload/shutdown during a pep rally.

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Dmitri Rudder

I don't really blame you dear, the amount of noise and light and heat would be too much for anyone. Next time, come to the library with me. I will get you through the teachers. It pays to know a guy who knows a guy.

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author
Cherie Leigh

HI Rhiannon.  Welcome to Cosmo!  I think that is nice that you shared a true story with us as your first entry.  I hope you will post more.  I can remember the nerve wracking days of being in high school.  I used to have little panic attacks when I got in an environment where I felt overwhelmed.  It is a part of life to learn to deal with the world's environments.  I hope you have a good year at school.  You have good writing skills that I hope you will share on here with more stories or poems.  Thank you for sharing. xo ;)

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