Ignorance Is BlissJessica Nock Mr.Borges Grade 10 and 11 Literary Studies January 24, 2018 Fear is a strange thing. There are many different types of fear. There’s rational fears, such as falling from heights, going down dark alleyways at night, and consuming things that might be poison. These fears are good. Fear is important. Fear keeps you alive. Yet, fear can also be your worst enemy. Fear is a strength and a weakness, if you know how to handle it. This poor girl thought she had a better hold on it than she did, but she was sadly mistaken. She was just a little too curious, and was sadly never taught thatSome things are better left unsaid. It was an average day. Not too hot or too cold. A little on the cloudy side, but still not nearly enough to dampen the mood of the school’s resident popular girls, who went strutting down the path through the courtyard like they owned the place, heading on to the mall or whatever their kind did after school. Cassandra Kelman just sat on a bench in the shade, and cleared her mind of the stress of the day. Just as she was about to grab her headphones, she heard a voice calling frantically to her. Cassandra jolted up and looked around. She couldn’t tell where it was coming from. It seemed to be all around her. The most confusing thing though, was that no one else seemed to hear it. Sure, the courtyard was noisy, but this voice was so loud! It seemed to be getting closer, but she didn’t know from where. Suddenly she felt hands on her shoulders, squeezing her like she was falling away. She struggled, but it was futile. The hands were holding on far too tightly. “-ssie, Cass, Cassie, Cassandra!” Cassandra’s eyes snapped open, revealing the familiarity of the ceiling of her second block classroom. There was a circle of classmates around her, but one was right up to her, helping to lift her from the ground. It was April, her best friend. “Wh-what?” Cassie said, struggling to stand. “Oh my gosh Cass, are you okay?” April practically shouted at her “You had another episode, this one seemed pretty bad. You were completely unresponsive, but you were moving around, like you were possessed or something. Are you sure you’re okay, ’cause you look pretty pale. Do you want the nurse? Or maybe I should call your mom-” Cassandra sighed and cut off her concerned, yet talkative friend. “Nah, I’ll be okay. I’ll just find my way to the counsellor.” “Oh. Okay then.” April said hesitantly. At that, Cassandra steadied herself and headed off, her teacher calling the counsellor to let her know. Cassandra had had these kinds of episodes before, but never in school before. This was new, and she was not about to make it a habit. Because of these episodes, Cassandra had always been a cautious and rather paranoid person, but she didn’t consider this a bad thing. At least not yet. Just as she got to the Councillor’s office, the door opened, and revealed the kind elderly woman who’d spent many years working as someone students could tell their problems to. “Oh hello, dear. Come on in. Would you like some tea?” Cassandra smiled. “Sure, thanks Mrs. Evans. That’d be great.” Cassandra had always felt comfortable around Mrs. Evans. She was like the school Grandma. Cassandra had told her about many things, including her little ‘episodes.’ Cassandra took a seat on the couch, and got comfortable. Mrs. Evans came back, two steaming mugs in hand, and handed one to Cassandra, who took a sip. “Mmm, green tea. My favourite.” “I always remember.” Mrs. Evans said. It was true. She knew almost everything about most of the students in the school. Especially Cassandra. “So, what’s bothering you, sweetheart?” “I had another episode, but it was a bit different. Usually It’s only for a few seconds, but this time I was out for a few minutes. It was really weird. Even though April was there trying to wake me up, I didn’t come to until she’d been trying for a while. Apparently I was also acting pretty strange. Like I was trying to move around, but was only in partial control of my body. Not to mention that it happened in school. That was really weird.” Doctors had no idea why she had these episodes, but they were regularly getting worse. “Oh my, this is getting quite distressing child, are you sure you don’t want to go home?” “No, I’ll be okay, I’m sure. Either way, I’m going to get down to the bottom of what’s causing this.” “Oh, really? Well, best of luck to you in your search sweetie.” “Yeah. thanks for the tea. I’m feeling much better now, but I should probably get back to class. Gotta study for exams, you know?” “No problem, dearie. Have a nice day.” Cassandra got up and walked out, waving to the concerned elderly lady standing at the door. As Cassandra roamed down the hallway toward her english class, she started to sense something off. It was way too quiet. Sure, they were in the middle of class, but this was ridiculously silent. She was feeling very uneasy, and began to wonder if something really was wrong. Cassandra swallowed and stammered out ”He- hello? Is anyone there?’ She was given silence in response. She tried again. “Is anyone in here?” Even amid the deafening silence, Cassandra felt she was not alone. She felt the anxiety rise within her. She thought she smelled something sweet. Her body was trembling as she tried to calm herself. She said aloud “This is ridiculous. What’d everyone do? Just up and disappea- mphff” Suddenly, the sweet smell became overwhelming. It was so strong she could taste it. There was a cloth over her mouth with the agonizingly strong smell attached to it. She tried to scream, but she passed out within seconds. When Cassandra woke up, everything was blurry. She raised her head, her neck stiff from slouching in the chair she’d been put in. She blinked a few times, but when she attempted to rub her eyes, she discovered her hands were tied up with rope. She tried to speak, but her mouth was duct taped shut. When her vision finally cleared, she could see that she was not alone. In front of her were all of her classmates. She instantly started panicking, and searching the room frantically until she found the one she was looking for. ‘April’ she thought, relief flooding over her, until the gravity of the situation weighed down on her once again. “Oh, awake are we? My, that took quite a while” a voice called from what seemed to be behind her. Cassandra jumped a bit, startled by the sudden attention drawn to her. That voice was, familiar. “I truly am very sorry for my methods of getting you here, chloroform really is a last resort, but if I’d explained everything to you there, well, I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks you wouldn’t’ve complied.” Cassandra knew that voice from somewhere. If only she could think straight. “Oh, my apologies. I suppose you still don’t have but a clue who I am right now. Well let’s solve that mystery for you, dearie.” The culprit finally came into view. Cassandra gasped at the twisted and not at all friendly face of the school counsellor. Mrs. Evans grabbed onto a corner of the duct tape and ripped. Cassandra felt a sharp pain shoot across her face, and blinked back tears. “Now, have you got something to say, sweetie? Guess not. Ugh, I really do hate talking like that. It’s so annoying. Why is that the ‘nice old lady’ stereotype, anyway? It’s absolutely ridiculous.” Cassandra was dumbfounded at the events unfolding before her, yet one thing amongst this whole twisted mess just didn’t sit right. Mrs. Evans had never really been the type to ramble. She was always so open to listening, and barely even talked at all when anyone visited her. Just then, the ‘nice old lady’ started wandering to the other side of the room, towards “A-pril” Cassandra forced out through a hoarse throat. “Ah, so you can talk, then. Good, I was beginning to worry that I’d poisoned you to the point where you’d never speak again! That would’ve been very inconvenient.This whole operation would’ve been wasted.” When Mrs. Evans got over to the other side of the room, she did something that shocked Cassandra. She started untying April, but that wasn’t the confusing part. Once April was free of her bonds, Mrs. Evans moved April out of the chair and laid her on the floor, while she took April’s spot on the chair. Mrs. Evans seemed to fall asleep, while April started to stir. Cassandra watched in awe, and started struggling, moving her wrists around. Once April was on her feet Cassandra froze. She watched as her best friend stretched, and finally faced Cassandra. “Heya, Cassie. Long time no see. Nah, It’s been about a minute.” “Y-you. Wha” “Yeah, yeah, long story. Sorry I had to do this to ya Cass, but you were just getting too interested. If you’d just left well enough alone, and left the figuring to the doctors, we’d’ve avoided this whole fiasco, but I guess I should’ve expected this from you, huh?” Cassandra was confused beyond words. She didn’t know what to think. Her first thought was that this was another episode, but it seemed that April was one step ahead in the thought process. “No, this is not one of your episodes, that was actually caused by me too. You see, I need you scared. When you’re scared, you’re vulnerable, and vulnerable people are so much easier to control. Those episodes actually kinda backfired. See, my plan was to take you over in that dream-like state, just like the hag over there. Speaking of, she should be coming to in three, two,” Mrs. Evans groaned from the other side of the room. April was instantly back over to the innocent old lady. “Now, here’s my deal. You either give in and give me what I’ve wanted for all these years I’ve played besties with you, which is, well, you. Or this lovely old lady here gets to pay for my loss.”Mrs. Evans looked over at Cassandra with terrified and pleading eyes, begging her to have mercy, but Cassandra had other plans. She’d finally collected herself, and was ready to act. Her hands were free from the ropes because of all the twisting and rubbing she’d done, and she wasn’t having another minute of this. In a quick dash, she ran over to April, but her mock friend was smarter and faster than she thought. What happened next? Well, I’d let Cassandra tell you herself, but I’m afraid she’s under occupation at the moment.Literary DevicesSuddenly she felt hands on her shoulders, squeezing her like she was falling away.This is a simile. It is effective because it adds to the tension in the scene, and gives a more clear image of the drasticity of the situation.”like you were possessed or something”This is foreshadowing. It gives you a kind of hint about what ‘might’ be going on.Cassandra had always been a cautious and rather paranoid person, but she didn’t consider this a bad thing. At least not yet.This is foreshadowing. It gives you something to look forward to, and gives you a hint about the climax.She knew almost everything about most of the students in the school. Especially Cassandra.This is foreshadowing. It implies that Mrs. Evans may not be as trustworthy as she seems.Deafening silenceThis is an oxymoron. It’s effective because it is a more descriptive way of describing a terrifying silence like the one Cassandra is experiencing.Mrs. Evans had never really been the type to ramble. This is foreshadowing. Attentive readers could draw the connection back to April, giving crucial hints about the plot twist.