*Three years later*
“Quick, hide here!” Harnes whispered as Va’il ran around the corner of the school building. She held open a side door that was normally locked from the inside. Va’il, with a large brown bag in his hands, grinned widely at the charming avian, and then ducked into the door. Harnes jumped in after him and shut the door behind her. She turned a key and locked the door. Va’il kept running until he had exited the room, and Harnes slowly slid down the door until she sat on her behind.
Outside the door was the sound of many footsteps rounding the corner of the building. They all suddenly stopped when they realized no one was there. A few more steps approached the outside of the door.
Harnes’ heart started beating faster, and her feathers stood on end. She thought about standing and running, but there were windows looking into the room. She dared not be seen. She almost screamed when suddenly there was a beating at the door. The handle jingled a few times. It stopped. A few steps were heard moving away from the door. Some much larger steps were heard approaching.
The handle of the door withstood the great pressure of whoever was trying to force it open. Harnes covered her head in fright, hoping that the door would remain solid. It did.
“Doesn’t seem to be in here. Door’s solid. He’s fast, might have gone around the other corner.” A deep female voice spoke.
“But we were right on his tail! No one is that fast!” The high-pitched voice of a male hare.
“Whatever, just move!” The sharp yell of human. A swine could be heard snorting in laughter. Then there was the sound of footsteps leaving the area.
Harnes kept sitting for a few more minutes, until she was sure that the group had rounded the corner on the other side of the building. She held up her left arm, where all her feathers had now fallen peacefully, with one exception. It stood alone, and quivered as if the wind was about to blow it away. She grabbed it and plucked it out of her arm. It didn’t hurt at all; it was a loose feather.
“I swear it. I’ll lose every feather I have from nervousness before I die. Va’il, you jerk!”
Harnes stood up slowly. She put the key that had been stuck in the door into her front breast pocket. She was wearing a formal white shirt and a blue skirt. She smiled as she casually strolled to the door leading to the hallway. She walked through the hallways of the school until she reached an office. She entered it and walked straight to a certain desk. The many teachers sitting at the other desks in the room paid her no attention. She opened a drawer and discreetly took the key from her pocket and put it into the desk. To cover over her action, she removed a notebook from the desk. She smiled as she held the notebook to her chest and walked out of the office.
The notebook was bound in leather and filled with pages upon pages of quickly scrawled notes. It was her personal notebook, which she had left in the office just fifteen minutes ago. No one paid her any attention either time she walked in or out. She continued walking through the hallways until she reached the stairs. Coming down from the stairs was a human teacher.
“Miss Harnes, how are you?”
“Sensei! I haven’t seen you for a while! What are you doing in the secondary school building?” Harnes’ eyes lit up at the sight of the familiar teacher.
“Dear, haven’t you heard? I’ll be starting here next month,” Sensei said while smiling.
“Really? I didn’t know. Next month? That’s only a couple weeks away!” Harnes exclaimed.
“That’s right. I’m replacing Mrs. Fields. She’s had a long career and she has decided to take her leave early. Very early,” Sensei said quietly.
“I haven’t heard about that at all! I wanted to learn from her if possible. I was hoping I could transfer to her class next year. But I suppose you will do, Sensei,” Harnes said in a teasing manner.
“Always the smart one, aren’t we? Well let me tell you something. Due to the way my classes were set up, and since they require a replacement for me now, a ton of rearrangements are being made. We are going to rearrange the classes next month. You will be with me much sooner than expected.” He spoke with a laugh.
“Rearrange? How much rearranging?” Harnes asked.
“Well, I cannot give away too much, but I did notice that the new class will look remarkably similar to our old class. That was quite an interesting year. As I recall, you were quite a problem for me back then. But look at you now! A representative and even a teacher’s liaison!” Sensei said while patting Harnes’ shoulder.
“Oh please, Sensei. You just remember the silly things. I was kind of different back then. Back then, things were different. Wait, the class? It will be similar to that one? Really?” Harnes asked with concern in her voice.
“Yes, really similar.”
“Oh dear. Don’t tell me that that group is going to be reunited again?” Harnes asked, pleading with two hands clasped together.
“Group? What group is that?” Sensei said without thinking too deeply.
“Surely you remember a certain group. A couple lupus and a swine. They’ve been quiet for a while; they have all been in separate classes for a while now.” Harnes murmured the last bit.
“Oh, that one. Let me check.” Sensei opened the folder he was holding, adjusted his glasses, and ran his finger down a list.
“One, two, three. Oh dear. Well, now I have much more work to do. I need to go, excuse me Harnes.” Sensei, without waiting for a reply from the worried avian, walked off as quickly as he could towards the office Harnes had just left.
Harnes, for her part, shivered. Her feathers ruffled and stood on edge. She closed her eyes, counted to three, and calmed herself down. Another black feather was standing up, quivering in the wind. She stared at it with eyes of hatred and remorse.
“It’s going to be a long, long, long year.” She plucked the feather. It hurt a lot.