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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2199471
A 973 word story written for The Writer's Cramp Challenge 8/31/19.
The Prefect

"What did you go and do that for?" Lyn stood, hands on hips, staring hard at her room-mate.

"Well," Melanie was shocked by the reaction. "I thought... you know... that perhaps I could make things better."

Lyn shook her head. There would always be those that would volunteer to be school prefects that had these expectations. She had seen it happen plenty of times after; that ethical quandary when it came to a choice of covering up or reporting.

It was not so much that she worried about Melanie herself, although in truth she did not exhibit the kind of confidence a prefect needed. If she had thought becoming a prefect would make her any more friends among the students, she was greatly mistaken.

Even the prefects were not very friendly with each other; they were simply too competitive when it came to catching those who did not obey all the rules. It was them against the rest, for the rules were many.

It was the pure selfishness of her room mate's action. It wouldn't matter that Lyn was not a prefect; she'd be avoided by association, and that she could not forgive. Who was going to sneak in to her room for a bit of late night gossip now? Melanie could turn them in, just for being out of their own rooms after hours.

They'd never hung around together much out of class time. Melanie had always been quiet, a bit of a loner, while Lyn loved boys, dancing and sports in that order. But they had been able to converse, make small-talk and even share a few jokes. All that would have to go.

It was a ritual each year, to put the new prefects to the test. No holds barred in catching them out, making them suffer at least some humiliation. Generally, Lyn found herself thinking they deserved it, whatever 'it' was. None had come to any great harm. It was simply the student body's way of demonstrating that the prefects might believe they were out of harm's reach, but in that, they were so very wrong.

Glenda had been lured outside, the previous year; only to find all the doors and windows barred against her. She had claimed that she had merely been following another student, and yet she was the only one found outside. How could she account for it? It had been a trap, she knew that, but she could not prove it and had lost her prefect privileges. Additional to that, she had spent the remainder of her year being isolated.

Brenda, that same year, had been tricked in to thinking a student was drowning in the river. She had got to the water's edge, seen the sweater, the seat of the pants, and without taking even one item of her uniform off, had dived in, only to find clothes, no body. No matter how many times she laundered her clothes, showered, she could not get rid of the stench of the river. There was no avoiding the constant 'fish out of water' jokes for her.

They had, Lyn thought, deserved it. Full of themselves and their own importance, they had taken on the prefect role simply for the power it would give them. Their every spare moment had been spent attempting to catch others in wrong-doing.

Melanie seemed to think she could make things better for her fellow students. And maybe she could have done, if she had joined the student council. Prefects NEVER helped students; they were the teacher's lackeys, their eyes and ears anywhere away from class. Naive, did not even start to describe Melanie's behaviour.

It was impossible not to hear about the plans, even though Lyn could hardly fail to notice that no one spoke to her. It didn't matter; she still knew. Not one of the worst tricks but bad enough. Melanie would be mortified.

What could she do? What should she do? To tell, well that would be a bigger betrayal than to become a prefect herself. No, Lyn decided. She would not warn Melanie. She'd find a way; there had to be one, if only she could think of it.

The bowl was carefully balanced. Hidden behind the door-frame, the girl would not see it, not until she had pushed the door and then it would be too late. The beaten raw eggs would be slowly dripping their way down Melanie's face. They were there with their cameras, hidden in the shadows; Lyn knew they were. She could feel the expectations in the air.

Melanie placed her hand against the door, began to push...

"Mel! Phone call for you!" There, she'd done it; made Melanie pause and had turned the prank in to nothing more than an unfortunate incident.

The bowl hit the ground, the egg mixture spattered everywhere, slowly spreading as raw egg always does. Melanie looked from the mess on the floor to the face of her room-mate, who shrugged.

"The phone!" she insisted. "You can clean this up later."

She hurried Melanie along the hall and only when they were well away from the spectators did Lyn lean forward. "You got away with it this time, Mel. Give in your badge."

"The phone...?" Melanie was confused.

"No phone. It was the only thing I could come up with. I won't help you again."

Rubbing at the spatters on her legs, Melanie looked down at the floor. "Thanks, Lyn. I mean it. I'll tell them I don't want to do it any more."

"That would be best. Honestly, Mel, you might be a lot of things, but prefect? No!"

"I'd best go and clean up the mess." Melanie turned but Lyn gripped her arm.

"Wait a while. It'll still be there, but hopefully the vultures with their phones will be tucked up, disappointed, in their beds."

(973 words).

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