Friday, April 8, 2011

Fiction Friday — Angle of Incident

I wrote this a little earlier in the week for the blog Write Anything's Fiction Friday Challenge. Some editing may have been done (punctuation, capitalization, and taking out some words I had written hastily without bothering to use the backspace key), but I'd say it's still in first draft form though. I do plan to go back and rewrite this one. It was fun to write.

Jeremy was almost late again to class. He woke up around twenty minutes before the class started and had to rush through his morning routine, but that is what he got for staying up all night, playing video games with the dudes. It's all part of the life when you're a college student. He dashed off to class and that's when he saw her.

There was this girl that he'd never seen before. Who was she? She was dressed kind of old-fashioned. Not a t-shirt, but a blouse. And she was wearing a skirt. Yeah, this girl was really something, and Jeremy couldn't help but to notice her. She had a purse and she was carrying a large physics book. It looked like the same book that he had in his backpack, and he hoped she would be in his class.

These thoughts of the girl tormented Jeremy the entire time he rushed to class. In fact, he focused so hard on her and on getting to class, that somehow he didn't even realize that he had run into her. She dropped her book. The look on her face turned to terror as it fell to the grown ground, as if somehow her life was depending on that book. But that was impossible. It was just a book. Maybe she had thought of returning it later on. They book shops often priced the books higher than they seemed to be worth. Jeremy remembered that he almost had to sell an arm and a leg just so he could buy this copy.

Feeling bad for running into her, he felt obliged to pick the book up for her. Plus, he'd seen that move in all the movies and TV shows. The man helps the girl in some minute shape when they first meet, and then he gets her in the end because the first impression he had left her with. Jeremy hoped it would work for him.

She looked like she was out of her time, but other than that, she looked like a normal university student. Maybe she wasn't from a city. Maybe she came from one of the country schools. But he could only find that out when he talked with her.

"Oh, let me get that for you," he said as he reached down for the book. It felt slightly more heavy than his. He knew it was heavy, but he wasn't expecting it to be as heavy as that. "Geeze, sure is one heck of a heavy book you got there."

"Yeah, I've been taking a lot of notes and leaving them in there," replied the girl, reaching for her book.

"But the semester has only started." Jeremy handed it to her. And she snatched it, quickly putting it back under her arm.

She let her face relax. "Well, I like to get an early start, you know. The early bird get the worm kind of thing."

"Sure. Sure. So, I haven't seen you here before. Are you new?" asked Jeremy, trying his best to be suave.

"Yeah, I sort of just added myself to course last second. Have I missed a lot?" It looked to Jeremy as if she was also being suave.

"No, not really. We're still stuck on vectors. I did that back in high school physics. Come on. I understand that some of the people here haven't taken it, but let's move on for those of us who know what we're doing." He pas paused for a second. He didn't know if she was one of them who took physics on high school or not. Well, he thought to himself, one way to a learn. "Did did you take physics when you were in high school?"

"Yes." There was a sigh of relief in Jeremy's mind.

"What was you're favorite part of physics?"

"I liked mirrors."

"Really? Why's that?"

"I don't know. I kind of like the fun houses at carnivals. Those mirrors that can really distort an image, you know? It's just really interesting. And then, when I got into physics I learned that there was all sorts of math behind it. Like, for example, do you remember how when light hits a mirror, it will bounce off at the same angle of incidence?"

"What? And angle of incidence "

"The angle at which the light hits the mirror will be the same but in the opposite direction. It's just really interesting. Think about it. Light that hits a mirror head on will bounce off in the same direction, but as you increase or decrease the angle of incidence, you increase the angle at which it will bounce away. Like, the larger the angle from one direction, the larger the angle in the other direction. Can you believe it?"

"Yes, I took physics one once upon a time, but it feels like it was so long ago now. I know there's got to be some graphs in the book that you can use to show me. Just turn to that chapter and we'll be good."

She hesitated. "Nah, I don't think so. This is my first day of class, and I don't want to be late."

"Well, where are you off to? Could I assume physics because you're already carrying the book around?"


"Well, you're in luck! I'm in that class too. I'd be happy to walk with you there."

"Okay, And maybe later I can show you what I was talking about with some graphs. Is that okay?" asked the girl.

"Good. Oh! Hey, I never got your name."

"It's Merideth, but you can call me Edith."

"Ok Edith, I'm Jeremy. And you can can just call me Jeremy. I'm not really that creative with my name."

"That's just fine." The turned and began to walk. Edith continued, "So why are you taking this class?"

"Well, I was hoping that it would be an easy A. So far it's living up to my expectations."

"That's good."

"So, how long have you been here?" asked Jeremy, halfway wondering aloud.

Edith paused for a second. "What?"

"Well, are you a freshman? Sophomore?"

Again, relief came back to her face. "Oh, I'm new. I'm a freshman. Straight out of high school."

"Really? You don't look like you're just out of high school." He let his eyes wander her body, as if to appraise art, but instead of art, he was gauging her age. "Well, I could be wrong. You would know best. I'm a sophomore. Didn't take physics last year. Focused on a few other gen ed classes and took one course I thought sounded fun."

"That's cool." And just as she said that, they had reached the classroom.

Jeremy and Edith went into the room and found some empty seats. Unfortunately for Jeremy, those seats were not next to each other. He would have to admire her from the other side of the room. Within the minute they sat down, the professor walked into the room.

"Hello everybody. I'm professor Callix. And I'll be teaching you physics. I'm sure you all remember who I am, but I see one or two new faces, so I'm just reiterating for them what you've already been told."

He seemed a little awake this morning. Usually, he would be a little less enthusiastic during the earlier courses. And while the professor went on with he his long-winded introduction, Jeremy kept his eyes on Edith. He couldn't take them off. She looked so angelic. Couldn't hurt a fly. He watched as she opened her book. She was so studious. She must have been looking up something to as ask in class. Then he saw her pull out a gun. He only had to time to look away while she pointed it towards the professor and shot.

Jeremy learned a very important lesson that year in physics: Never judge a book by its cover. Its contents could be deadly. 


  1. Enjoyed this, I kept thinking maybe she was a ghost or something so I didn't expect the twist until you wrote "couldn't hurt a fly" and then I knew something was about to happen.

  2. Interesting story. I wondered if she was real myself but with the couldn't hurt a fly I began to wonder who she was there to hurt. But fun story, I thought it would be another student or even Jeremy, but interesting with the tracher.

  3. I was sort of hoping the readers would catch it earlier. Like suspect something from the book or how normal Edith was. Or that she went by Edith even though her name was Merideth. I guess I need to work on that.

  4. Nice take on the prompt, I did pick on something not quite normal early on but didn't place my finger on it until he asked her how long she'd been there: the pause before her answer told me something was about to happen. Nice twist in the end with the teacher. Thanks for your comments over at my story, I have posted a response there too :)