The sun was shining and she’d got an A for her essay, life was good. As they strolled down the corridor to their next class, she felt that the world was her onion.
“There’s something weird about that classroom,” she said, stopping and gesturing with a wave of her books. “Have you noticed? The door doesn’t look like the other doors, it’s too thick, with bars across the little window. Freaky,” she added, trying to peer in.
“Just leave it!” he hissed in response.
“What? Why?” he really was unnecessarily huffy at times.
“It’s better if you just don’t pay attention, it’s safer,” his voice was becoming a whine now and her curiosity had only grown, filling her concentration.
“Why?” she asked again, adding a small pout, she liked to know things, she didn’t like to be left out. “Is it a cult? Or a nudist colony?” Their college was like hive for unpopular courses and rooms rented out to oddball organizations.
He sighed and leaned in close to her, his eyes darting back and forth.
“That’s where the war is. You can’t do anything about it, it’s best if you don’t look.”
“What?” the answer was so unexpected she wasn’t sure how to reply, but he said nothing and was already scurrying away down the corridor. “What war? What are you talking about?” but he was gone.
Impatient with his nonsense, she barely hesitated before opening the door and looking inside. She watched for only moment before slamming the door, but the images stayed, hovering just beneath the eyes, ready to flash. A child’s face in horror, his arm severed; a soldier holding the head of his dying friend; an explosion that caused nobody even to raise their heads, their ability to feel already exceeded. She ran.
Nobody listened when she told them about the room. She suspected that some knew, she saw the shifty, desperate look in their eyes. Anyone who didn’t know, saw her as yet another hysterical student with a ridiculous complaint. And she was tired, an exhaustion that seemed to play with her certainty, so that she wasn’t sure. Had she really seen it? Was it as bad as she had thought? Maybe it was an acting class, maybe it was just a film playing.
Sometimes she would be sitting in class and she’d hear the sound of gunshot, or distant screams, but the teacher only spoke a little louder and his expression never changed. There were days when the door to the war would be open a crack and inside she would glimpse a moment of death, but she learned to keep her eyes straight ahead. The war wouldn’t ever end, it was best to not look.