Inside was a swathe of white cloth and a subtle smell, like an exclusive fashion store.
Daniel pulled out the cloth. It was an outfit: a slim-lined white shirt and a pair of white slacks. When he held the pants dangling to the ground, they looked about his size. Who knew him well enough to know his measurements? He tried to chuckle at the thought, but the dreams came back, just as a flicker of shadow. He let them slink away to some corner of his mind.
He tried the pants. They fitted tighter than most stuff he wore, but not uncomfortably. The shirt fitted him well, the fabric felt clean and luxurious between his fingers. He half-turned to look at himself in the wardrobe mirror. Something slapped against his thigh, and he assumed it was a price tag, but it was a ball of white fluff sewn onto the back of his pants, like a rabbit tail on a Halloween outfit.
He looked in the box and found a headband with two white bunny ears lying in the bottom, on top of two white satiny running-shoes. He picked up the headband. It was higher quality than something you'd buy in a dollar-store, but still a set of fake rabbit ears. The shoes closed smoothly around his feet, too, like they'd been sewn for him.
At that moment:
“Daniel? Why are you still up there?”
He had to rush downstairs, and by luck, no-one was around to see him as he grabbed his coat and backpack. There was no time to change shoes, just a good thing these fitted so well. He could keep his coat on during breaks, at least that way no-one would see the tail. The chair would hide it when he was sitting down.
The street was deserted under a faint cover of clouds. Daniel had a go at trying to pull the rabbit-tail off, but it was sewn on hard; he had to stop or risk tearing his pants.
The time. He glanced at his watch and started jogging, then running. There was no chance of getting there on time now, but he could at least be as little late as possible.
He was running at about his top speed, arms pumping, soles slapping against the road, but his lungs were breathing in and out with no pain and his heart-rate had barely gone up. The shock almost made him stop. Daniel wasn't in noticeably bad shape, but he was no athlete, either. He was a few streets away from home. Any other day, sprinting this far would have wrecked him.
He could try picking up his speed a bit. It felt like his consciousness was looking out of his eyes, unsure what would happen, as if his body was a vehicle that might be pushed to breaking-point – but his body stretched out in longer steps, the brick houses and gardens almost blurring on either side, and he still couldn't feel any negative effects. It was as effortless as watching an Olympic runner on TV.
He wouldn't have been able to do this yesterday – he looked down at the clothes.
No point in questioning your blessings. He was already racing along the fence outside the football fields. Moments later, he clattered up the staircase and slowed down in the hallway when he saw the door to the English classroom. He unhitched his backpack and went inside. The teacher had arrived, but she was still sorting out her notes. Most of the other students were still getting in their seats or chatting. Daniel was able to slip into his seat in front of Jake unnoticed. His pulse hadn't gone up.
Written by on 06 April 2019