Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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The Scissors Track

The Scissors Track

There’s a lot of students on the scissors track. There always are. Most of them won’t make it through the year.

Professor Young walks up and down the row of them as they practice the anti-scissors meditation. She adjusts Peter’s stance.

She helps young Lind with her mantra.

After a while she stops in front of this kid, this one kid with fangs and a unibrow, and watches for a while.

“That’s not bad,” she says. “You think you can hold it?”

“I couldn’t save them,” the kid says. Rhea. That’s her name. “They took me in, even though I go crazy every month and turn into a wolf and kill people. But I couldn’t save them, when the scissors fell. So yeah. I’m going to hold it.”
takes out a set of trissors. She snaps off the third blade. She holds out the—


The Scissors

And watches as they dissolve.

“I’ll see if I can recommend you,” she says.

And the kid smiles. It’s this . . . it hurts. You know? To see a smile like that. The smile of somebody who’s been hanging on to so very little for so very long, and then manages to tighten their grip just a little more.

The next full moon, she’s in the classroom. She’s waiting. She’s watching. She’s hoping.

But it’s the bad end.

The light of the moon comes in through the classroom window. It fills the space of it and somewhere there is a wolf. And it’s got to be particularly hard, you know, for a wolf to come there, to come to the Lethal Magnet School for Wayward Youth, even if you’re just a werewolf, but it could have been worth it. It could have been worth it. Learning to fight scissors, learning to stand against scissors when the swarm comes back?

For some people, even if there are reasons not to want to come to that particular school, reasons why it might hurt them, something like that makes it worthwhile.

Today, well, tonight, though, a pair of scissors resolves. It forms itself back up in the air. It comes back from whatever void that meditation had sent it to, and it falls to the ground with a horrible clunk.

That’s the worst thing scissors can do sometimes. Bad enough that they can kill people once, you know, when they fall from space, maybe twice if somebody picks them up and runs with them, maybe even three times if they cut a car’s tire, you know, or something, and send it veering from the road. But every year, when students wash out of Scissors Track?

It’s like the scissors cut their hearts.



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