Under The Shells

under-the-shells-iiiAfter the bomb scare, the high school snapped transparent knapsacks to students’ backs like inside-out turtle shells. Kids huddled in corridors, avoiding each other’s eyes, embarrassed by their zit creams, off-brand tampons, unopened packs of condoms, their Ritalin and inhalers, spare underpants and holey socks, satin scraps of security blankets, love letters from exes and lunch bag notes from moms, wadded Kleenex, laxatives, chocolate wrappers, unsigned permission slips, and essays shot through with red ink. Teachers paced like drill sergeants, monitoring the hallways tense as minefields. Students held their breath and waited. Somehow they all knew the explosion was coming.

Kayleigh Shoen is a writer and teacher in Boston. Her work has appeared in Allegory and Crack the Spine, and received an Honorable Mention in Exposition Review’s Flash 405 competition.

Photo credit: Beret Olsen

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