Shorts: Ruth has a thing or two to learn

You don’t know him yet, but Ruth is a young witch character from later books in Asylum. I follow a lot of prompt blogs on Tumblr, and I just sort of stumbled into this scene. So enjoy, but don’t hold your breath for sweetie Ruth. He won’t be around for quite a while. Sorry. :/ (Spoiler free, for Asylum at least)

Ruth tapped his pencil against the desk in a rapid staccato. It was stupid to let nerves get the better of him, but he couldn’t help but feel all the curious stares, the judgmental glances, the not-so-hushed whispers. Beast lover, Fur-fucker, freak. That kid from Asylum. The one with the crazy magic. Fey touched. Animal sympathizer.

His mind blurred through the entire lecture, a buzz of nothing sounds he’d come to recognize as aura. His former classmates weren’t as expressive as his current nestmates, but their feelings were so strong and so unanimous–besides, he’d have known what they were thinking even without his newfound ability to read aura. He was an outcast.

But the buzz grew to bland background as the days went on, and though it was still distracting, it wasn’t nearly as bad as his disquiet in grade school had been. Then he’d be fighting overactive magic without knowing it. Now, he was just trying to catch up on a year out of school.

His notes were a mess. Out of practice, unable to focus, chittering gossip scratching at his skull. Thank the gods for the testing center. It was blissfully empty at 7 in the morning.

In the still, in the quiet, his mind emptied. He waited for clarity, but nothing came. No memories of lecture, no professor’s voice, no examples from class. His eyes glazed as he stared at the first question, but he took a deep breath and tried again.

Name three characteristics of a monocot. Parallel leaf veins, scattered vascular bundles, single cotyledon–hence monocot. Easy. He didn’t need any recent memory for this. He’d been studying at this level in high school.

Was he under doing it? The questions were simple, elemental, was he missing something? Yes, it was an entry level class, but wasn’t college supposed to be hard? Kain had told him to go into this with an open mind, but his aura hadn’t quite matched his words. Now, Ruth was wondering if this was what he meant.

This was pointless. No, that was rude– but it was. 30 minutes and he was done, and honestly already wanted to take his final. He could test out of this class in no time, and maybe move on to something more relevant.

Did he really want his certification? Did he really care if was allowed to operate in witch society ever again? He stood to make a lot of money– but did he? Fur-fucker. Animal sympathizer. Why was it the latter bothered him more?

No one would vet him. He knew that, had known that last year when he moved into the nest with Kate. He could do this the hard way, taking years upon years of schooling to become an inspector himself– but did he really care?

He turned in his bubble sheet, utterly unsurprised at the full marks that came up on the screen. He walked out into the blossoming sunrise in a daze, wondering where to go next.


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