Disclaimer: This novel contains adult material including sexually explicit activities, strong language, homophobic language, extreme violence, suicide, depictions of trauma, and more. Reader discretion is advised.
The Dominance of Abigale Quinlan
Shard 02: Melancholic Mundanity
Author’s Note: Due to how important class schedules are in The Dominance of Abigale Quinlan, a class schedule for all named Oransen High students has been included as part of this novel.
Seeing as how this was my final semester at high school, I decided— back in August— to give myself an incredibly lax schedule. Psychology, Study Hall, Creative Writing, Strength and Conditioning, Lunch, Study Hall #2, Calculus, College Financial Accounting, and Study Hall #3. This meant I had a lot of downtime throughout the day, seldom if ever had to do my homework at home, and I was only taking classes I specifically wanted to take. It made for an enjoyable final semester, at least in theory, but it’s hard for an 18-year-old to enjoy a class that starts at 8:10 in the morning, especially one as mentally demanding as Psychology.
A few minutes before class, I found myself at a table of three, where I sat between Maxxie and a young man by the name of Gem Stone. Gem was definitely among the more… eccentric individuals I’ve met at Oransen High. I’ve heard people call him a big teddy bear, and that’s a pretty apt description. He was 1.88 meters tall, weighed 76 kilograms, had a cute face, while his general demeanor was relaxed, easygoing, and pleasant. However, there was something about him that was always a bit off. He was a smart person— smart enough to get into some AP classes, but something in his brain didn’t tick the same way as other people’s did. He was on… maybe not the autistic spectrum, but some sort of spectrum.
He was also Hispanic of some sort, I never bothered prying for specifics, and had recently let his curly dark hair grow out longer than I had ever seen it. It might have made him look shaggy, but he was proper in both his physical mannerisms and dress. He was wearing the standard white short-sleeve shirt and dark dress pants combo, but with a green bowtie that made him look like a dandy little gentleman.
“Good morning, Jad and Maxxisaurus. Did you enjoy your spring break?” Gem greeted us with his usual mellow inflection.
“Good morning yourself, G-S,” Maxxie said in a chipper tone. “Things were pretty chill, just hanging out with my friends, doing a bunch of drawin’, and playing some games. How about yourself?”
“It was lovely. My parents and I went to visit my grandparents in Mexico. Though, I lacked the opportunity to do much else aside from spend time with and around my both figuratively and literally distant family.”
“That doesn’t sound particularly ‘lovely,’” I commented, my tone mildly rude.
“Hm… perhaps there is a more appropriate word, but it is escaping me at the moment. I do love them dearly, and spent much of my early childhood around them, but I suppose I am also at an age that biologically and socially desires independence.”
“Yeah, I was about to say something about that,” Maxxie began. “Don’t get it twisted. I love my family, but if I had to spend a full week with them, away from home, unable to do my usual stuff, I’d go bonkers by day two point five.”
“And what about you Jad, how did you spend your spring break?”
“Pretty much the same as Maxxie, sans the drawing,” I said, putting up a false smirk. “Nothing family related though, as my mother left the country last week, as she always wanted to go on a European vacation.”
“Oh goodness! That must be a lovely time, but don’t most recommend seeing Europe during the summer instead of the spring? Or am I mistaken?”
“I don’t really know, but she thought that now would be the best time for whatever reason. Besides, if people say to visit Europe during the summer, doesn’t that mean that tourist destinations will be less crowded in the spring?”
“Jad!” Maxxie exclaimed, slamming her hands against her desk. “How have we never gone on an international vacation together?”
“Because we were minors until last autumn?”
“Oh, right… Where do you wanna go this summer? The Flare family shall make it an all-expenses paid vay-cay.”
Before I could feign excitement or explain that this is not something to be decided upon on a whim, the bell rang and the teacher began lowering the projector screen. The teacher began class by ‘guessing’ that the class was not particularly in the mood for a discussion today, and said that this would be a lecture period. She began by doing a brief recap of Piaget’s theory of moral development.
The theory that there are three distinct stages of how children view morality. Going from no understanding, to believing that justice and rules are unchangeable facts of life, to understanding that right morality is a system created by people. Only to transition to today’s topic, moral reasoning. How different people internalize and view morality in different ways due to cultural differences, personal experiences, and their ethical background.
After listing some of these factors, she transitioned to discuss how most Americans— especially the younger generations— believe in the ethics of autonomy. The belief that all sapient creatures should be able to do as they please unless there is a ‘compelling argument’ against it. Not something that brings ‘mental, emotional, or physical harm to someone.’ But anything where there is a ‘compelling argument’ against it.
For as much as I wanted to pretend otherwise, there were wretched people who consider ‘their religion’ or ‘their belief system’ to be ‘compelling arguments’ to strip rights away from other people or groups. I tried to make fun of the weak wording here, but I found it hard to think about morality after what I did. Because there was no ‘compelling argument’ that I could use to justify killing over 50,000 people in a single night…
As the lecture reached its conclusion, the teacher told us to write a reflection for a discussion tomorrow. With the ringing of the bell, I left and headed to the school library for my study hall. Technically, I had an assigned room to study in, but none of the study halls had a computer lab, so this was my best bet.
While the term study hall technically meant that I was supposed to be studying, I had not done all too much studying this year, and I only used these classes for four things: Chatting with friends, doing homework, writing stuff, or reading stuff. I had hoped to do the former with Zoe and Shiaka, but they were both tackling homework from their AP classes. AP Physics for Zoe, and AP Calculus for Shiaka.
I let them be and made my way to an unoccupied computer, where I typed up my psych notes and began working on my reflection for tomorrow. It was a simple task. Simple enough that my mind wandered away from the topic I was writing and to the fact that two of my friends were in AP classes, while I wasn’t.
I never considered taking AP classes when mapping out my courses at the start of the school year. I could probably do well enough in them— there is a reason why I had a 3.5 out of 4.0 GPA— but I never put any real thought into taking them. If I took one, and the associated exam, that would mean one less class I’d have to take in college. Because of their diligence, Zoe and Shiaka are going to walk into OCC with the equivalent of three courses already completed. Which will save about $1,000 in tuition and nearly an entire semester in the process. While I will walk into OCC with… nothing.
As I dwelled on this regret, his voice popped into my head.
“Oh, poor Yahd-kun! I hate to say it, but you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself! You knew the repercussions, made your decision, but, as expected of a platinum-star dumb-dumb like yourself, ya done fucked it real-real good. It’s a wonder how you’ve gone this long without improving yourself even a teensy tiny bit.”
I was only with him for three days, yet Peatrice’s voice had ingrained itself into the deep recesses of my mind. Whenever a demeaning thought enters my head, I always seem to deliver it in his voice. Because that way, it hurts more.
As I moved past this demoralizing thought and finished up my assignment, I saw someone sit next to me. A young woman by the name of Anita Neukar. Her German and black ancestry gave her a tan complexion that was contrasted with her grayish eyes and natural, stark white, platinum blonde hair. Hair that she had cut short during spring break, and shorter than I had ever seen it, giving her a more androgynous look. This look was accentuated by her height, standing at 1.84 meters. The more muscular physique she had thanks to the training she did as a member of the track team. And also her choice of dress, as she was wearing what was more typically seen as a boy’s uniform, with dark pants and a short-sleeve white dress-shirt.
Much like with Gem, I would not say that I was ‘friends’ with her, but I both had a decent grasp on who she was as a person and… felt a need to be kind to her. I could not look at her face without recalling how open and welcoming she was to me on that cold December night. When she invited me in to warm up with her friends and told me that my friends were alive and well.
“Hey Jad, how’d your spring break go?” Anita said in her usual chipper tone.
“It was pretty much just a nine day weekend I spent with my friends and such. What about you, did you and your friends get up to much?”
“Yeah, we did but… have we ever hung out outside of school, Jad?”
“Um, no, not that I can recall. I really only have four friends to be honest.”
“Well, maybe we should change that. Your group always seems like they have a lot of fun, and if there’s one thing high school’s good for, it’s making friends.”
“I figured your friend list would be pretty long already, so I’m surprised you’re planning on adding to it during the second-to-last month of school.”
“Eh, it’s not as big as you might think. Even with the girls on the track team, most of them are cool, but not ‘I wanna chat with you in my bedroom’ or ‘grab lunch with you’ cool, if you catch my drift. Really, it’s just Vivi, Gem, and three girls from the track team, all of them a year or two below me.”
“Yeah, that’s always struck me as a bit… odd how you and Vivi are friends. You two seem like polar opposites.”
“If I had a nickel every time I heard someone say something like that, I’d… have at roughly enough to cover bus fare.”
“So about fifty times?” I asked, doing the mental math.
“Give or take. And I think it’s Vivi’s turn to tell the story. She tells it better anyway. Yo, V!”
As Anita shouted, speaking a bit too loudly considering this was a library, she swung around in her swivel chair and looked at Vivi Gaimz. Who was currently sitting within earshot, reading something on her tablet while she rested her legs on a second chair. While Anita looked like someone who was most comfortable outdoors and working her body, Vivi looked like someone who wanted to spend the rest of her life in front of, or at least around, computers. Her complexion was light and freckled, she had a head of red curly hair that, much like Anita’s, was cut shorter than I had ever seen before. It was a bit strange to see her without the back-length mane she normally had, but she looked cute with her curly little bob cut.
Vivi was a good 20 centimeters shorter than Anita at 1.64 meters, and while it normally did not show given how she preferred baggier clothing, she was a pretty skinny person. On that note, she was wearing a long-sleeve lavender shirt and a navy sweater vest, along with a pair of dark pants. It made me pause for a moment and ask if I ever saw Vivi willingly wear clothing that had short-sleeves, and outside of gym classes, I don’t think I ever did. Strange.
Descriptions aside, Vivi looked up from her tablet, shot Anita a dull look of acceptance, and placed her tablet on the table before moving her footrest chair closer to us. With a heavy sigh, she sat down and began reading through a script in her mind, adopting her usual dry tone.
“When we were infants, our fathers worked for the same company and we attended the same in-company daycare service. We got along over the years, maintained our friendship even as we started primary school, and while our differences grew and preferences deviated over the years, we have a lifelong connection that neither of us want to sever.”
“Also,” Anita interjected, “we said we would be best friends forever, and both of us are too damn stubborn to ever give that up.”
“That’s true, but I like to consider that a secondary reason… So why did you have me tell this story to Jad?”
“Because he seems like a neat guy,” Anita said, gesturing at me. “He has an enigmatic aura to him, and his friend group has to be one of the top five weirdest at the school. Plus, I want you to graduate high school with more than two friends, V. So go on, my little one! Go and socialize!”
“You do realize that was the last time you’re allowed to call me ‘little one’ for the rest of the month, right?” Vivi said, staring daggers at Anita.
“Yep. It was worth it the last three times, and it was worth it this time!”
Vivi sighed before she swung her head in my direction.
“So, Jad, I overheard what you did on your spring break, and mine was comparably exciting. Outside of Anita dragging me out of my home for a 10-hour-day—”
“—You timed it, and it was only 9 hours and 41 minutes!” Anita clarified.
“A 10–hour–day, I mostly spent the break on whatever nebulous schoolwork I had left before I streamed Bloodborne for… 62 hours, with two hours of technical difficulties.”
“Holy crap,” I replied. “You spent one and a half work weeks playing a game this past week?”
“Ah, it appears he is at least somewhat sane,” Anita sarcastically added.
“It was a bit excessive, but I was one of those people who imported Demon’s Souls back in the summer of ‘09. And with the way spoilers for Souls games move, you need to get in quickly, or else you’ll be left in the dust. Plus, I wanted to clear the game at least once before Scholar of the First Sin comes out tomorrow.”
“Oh… crap, I forgot about the Dark Souls 2 remaster,” I commented. “Yeah, I bought Bloodborne, but I haven’t touched it yet. I’m pretty far from being a diehard fan of the series. I only beat Dark Souls 1, and I only got around to that last summer.”
“Sounds like you’ve got a ‘backlog,’” Anita said. “Well, make sure you’re careful with that, Jad. Vivi might be able to get straight A’s while playing games four hours a night, but not everyone is so… talented.”
“It’s A’s and B’s, not ‘straight A’s.’” Vivi replied. “Mostly because after your GPA hits 3.5, it stops being that impressive. Besides, AP class grades don’t really matter so long as you get a 5 on the AP test.”
“Hold on,” I interjected, having lost control of the conversation. “You said you streamed Bloodborne?”
“Correct. Since I got 200 mbps at my house, I decided to start streaming my games about every day. I already talk to myself while playing, so it does not take that much mental muscle, and it’s nice to see a few regulars pop in. But Bloodborne brought in more viewers than anything I played before then. It was nothing crazy, with the average was about 15 and the peak being 37, but—”
“—Vivi,” Anita said, interrupting her friend. “You’re losing your grip on reality again. Imagine having 15 people around you, in real life, watching you, while you played a game. That is a huge amount of people, and you should be darn happy about it.”
“I am. I’m happy to get any viewers, and I don’t want to have one of those unintelligible chats with a hundred plus people talking at once. I am merely referring to how, by Twitch standards, this figure is not crazy. Anyway, continuing this conversation like a sane human, Jad, do you stream?”
“Uh, no,” I said, looking away. “I have thought about it, and I have the setup for one, at least with regards to PC. I’d need to get a capture card for console stuff. But my voice isn’t the best and I’m not sure if I could be that charismatic. Maxxie though, she loves doing art streams, and I sometimes join in on those. Both on-mic when she wants to talk to me, and in the chat. She attracts a… colorful audience.”
“You don’t need to be coy around me, Jad. I’ve seen Maxxie’s furry porn,” Vivi said nonchalantly.
“Including the cow centaur stuff with the two neon penises?” I asked.
“It was the first thing I saw on her FurAffinity.”
As this conversation rapidly entered not-safe-for-school subject matter, the bell rang, granting me a convenient exit, which I graciously took, as I made my way to third period.
During a lot of my leisure time throughout… my entire life, I have played a lot of video games, but I never seriously thought about streaming them. Turning my act of playing into a social act where I can entertain others, hang out with them, and turn a solitary activity into one that can bring joy to a group of people. It was something that titillated my mind as I robotically walked through the halls, and something that, the more I thought of, the more I realized I should have been doing it all along.
“Dayum son, you keep collectin’ regrets like they Pokémon cards. ‘Tis a shame you didn’t have an opportunity to let your fantasies come to life— except you totally did. You had it, and you lost it, and now you’ll never get it back again!”
…Cripes, Peatrice would butcher-sing The Hippos just to get on my nerves.
After schlepping my way up three flights of stairs, I reached the door to my third period, Creative Writing. As the name implied, the class was geared around both reading and writing works spanning a wide spectrum of different subjects. From stories to articles to essays and so forth. It was a class I did pretty well in, despite not feeling like I needed to try all that hard, as all I had to do was write what was already in my mind. And for today, I didn’t even need to write anything. I had submitted a 5,000 word short story the day before break, so today we were going to review the teacher’s notes and discuss common problems that she found with our assignments.
As a class, I enjoyed the work a fair bit. However, the teacher was another matter. Raiyne Underwood was my English teacher for all 4 years at Oransen High, and a good friend of my mother. We’ve even had her over for dinner a few times. I had a lot of respect for her as a teacher and learned more from her than anyone… outside of my friends and mother. Which is what made it so hard for me to look at her after what I did to her in that other world.
I assaulted her, pressing my body against hers, and while that alone conjures up a dreadful image, it got worse. I robbed her of her life, consumed every facet of her person, and when she was no more, I brought her back to life. With my mind tainted by the words of Abigale Quinlan, I transformed myself into Raiyne and, in a sensual bath, I defiled her body for my own pleasure.
Then, after I destroyed Oransen, I heard her voice, forcing me to confront the reality of what I had done.
“You… raped me.”
Three words. Each like a bullet piercing my chest.
I never had any interest in sex. I found nudity unsettling. I only ever masturbated because Maxxie thought it would be beneficial to me, and I found it uncomfortable every time. So not only knowing that I did this, but having a perfect memory of such a vile transgression… It ate away at me. I had learned to adopt a sense of numbness around Raiyne as a means to protect myself from breaking down in her presence. Because of this, she had grown concerned about me, yet I told her it was nothing. I wanted to be honest with her, to apologize to her, to make amends however I could. Which is why I wrote what I did for this assignment.
For my 5,000 word short story, I wrote a version of the story she had told me on our way to the military base. The story of how her father, mother, and uncle were all murdered by Abigale Quinlan. I discarded any breed of subtlety in the plagiarized series of events. I used a pseudonym for Raiyne, that of Y’vonne Hemming, yet I retained the name Abigale Quinlan and the pet name Abigale gave her, ‘Sapphire,’ in reference to Raiyne’s blue eyes.
I hoped that this would spark a reaction from her. That she had some memory of these events. That I could confide in her and finally tell someone the truth. Though, that was not the only reason.
I also wanted to know if Abigale Quinlan was part of my world. I assumed that she was not, that she only existed in the second world Verde created for me. But I did not know that for certain and, assuming all other things remained the same, there was reason to believe that Raiyne still had that fateful encounter with Abigale.
It was a cowardly move, but such a strategy was fitting for someone like me.
I opened the door to the classroom and quickly sat down next to Maxxie. We did not get the opportunity to converse much, as Raiyne was quick to begin class by distributing papers to all students. I was hesitant to look her way, but I did regardless. She was a 34-year-old woman from a mixed ethnic background, including Caribbean, German, and Puerto Rican, giving her a tan complexion. Her dark hair was stored in a bun behind her head, while her 1.83 meter tall body was dressed in a navy pantsuit.
She possessed a serious appearance that intimidated new students, but her teaching style was far more liberal than it might appear. She believed that language was a tool, science, and artform, and urged all students to think of it as such. So, why did she dress in suits all the time? Well, my mother said it was a way to command respect and legitimacy from others, which sounded plausible enough.
“Good morning everyone,” Raiyne began seconds after the bell rang. “I would like to begin by saying that I was generally impressed by what many of you wrote for your Q3 projects. Take five minutes, look over the notes I left for you, and then we’ll go over some common mistakes I noticed in your stories. As always, I will be available to field any questions after class.”
Raiyne then sat down and began typing away on her laptop as the rest of the class and I began looking over our papers. I began by looking over my grade. I did pretty well on the assignment with a 95%, and looking over the notes she left were the sort of thing that I had come to expect. A few grammatical errors, instances where I used the wrong word or the British spelling— don’t ask me why I thought it was ‘demeanour’ instead of ‘demeanor’— and a sentence that was over 40 words long.
She ultimately praised me for the drama and intensity of the story, and for how I presented the antagonist as a genuine monster. Yet, she did not have a strong impression of the story itself, nor did she leave a note asking me to stay after class and talk to her about something. Which, for the record, was something she did a lot of the time.
From there, the class was mostly a truncated review of what we had learned the past semester, going over a lot of minutiae that I had already internalized. It was still a good review that I’m sure that some people, such as Maxxie, would benefit from. Though, before too long, this review came to a close, and the class became an open Q&A for students until the bell rang yet again.
As per usual, most students filtered out of the classroom immediately, but I, and a few others, stayed behind. While there was a loose line forming in front of her, Raiyne cast them aside for a moment to approach me.
“Hey Jad, how are you holding up?” Raiyne asked me, her voice quieter and more relaxed than it was when lecturing.
“I’m doing fine,” I said, reciting my stock answer. “Caroline should be back on Friday, and everything is under control.”
“That’s nice to hear. But do you have a question about your story? It was good, it just needed another round of editing.”
“Well… did anything about the story seem familiar to you? The context and the name of the antagonist?”
Raiyne took a hand to her chin and shut her eyes as she thought about my question, or something related to it, but returned with a blank expression.
“I’m sorry Jad, but nothing about the name ‘Abigale Quinlan’ strikes me as remarkable, aside from the unconventional spelling. And while I have read stories similar to it, nothing about it struck me as derivative.”
I stared at Raiyne’s face as she spoke. She did not falter with her emotions or imply that she was hiding something. And that made sense. Why would a super powered terrorist like Abigale exist in the normal world? She, like the VD before her, was a figment of Verde’s imagination given form. Though, I still haven’t the foggiest idea why Verde thought Abigale was someone worth creating. I would reiterate the saying that one can neither predict nor understand the logic of a madman or madwoman, but Verde was not mad. She was just foolish.
With this confirmation, I thanked Raiyne and went on my way, treading halfway across the building to the boy’s locker room. A den that perpetually reeked of the body odor unique to teenage boys, and a place I spent as little time inside of as I needed. I stripped out of my clothes, loosely folded them into my tiny shoebox of a locker, before throwing on my t-shirt and shorts.
I met up with my class in the main gymnasium, where the teacher, coach Olson, told everybody to go outside today to do laps, claiming that “we should welcome spring with a run, filling our lungs with fresh air.” Clearly, she did not have seasonal allergies, nor did she have any tolerance for people who did.
While she wasn’t a ‘bad’ gym teacher, she was emblematic of the problems I’ve had with gym teachers all my life. Her primary goal appeared to be motivating children and getting them to run around, rather than teaching them about actual fitness. She was the sort of woman who did not allow students to drink water as they exercised, never encouraged any breathing techniques, and refrained from ever mentioning the importance of stretching before and after a workout. I understood that time was limited during these classes, but that was hardly a good excuse.
However, coach Olson was right about one thing. Today was a good day for running. The crisp morning air kept my body cool as I jogged onward, filling my nostrils before escaping through my mouth, and preventing my body from sweating. Meaning that I wouldn’t reek for the rest of the day. I tried my best to keep up a jog for the entire period, but my lack of stamina brought me to a trot during the second half of class, where I happened to cross paths with Zoe.
He wasn’t wearing his glasses, as he did not want to risk damaging them while doing strenuous activity, and he didn’t even look winded, despite jogging for half the period. He slowed his pace as he saw me, and once we were walking side by side, he spoke to me.
“Olson says we need to keep this up until Yuccot finishes four laps.”
“Seriously?” I said, my voice hoarse from dehydration. “Hasn’t she realized that he doesn’t care about us, and that there’s nothing we can do to ‘correct’ his shitty behavior?”
“I don’t think she particularly cares. If I were to guess, she just wants us to feel resentment for our weakest link. It’s a common mentality among people like her.”
As we started talking about him, we moved past the man in question, Yuccot Kikansky. He was a short man at about 1.6 meters in stature and weighed in the range of 90 kilograms, despite only being 19. He was dressed in the same get-up as most students, but the only time he ever sweated in those clothes was during a hot summer day. His dirty blonde hair was cut short, his dull blue eyes were half open, specks of facial hair darted his face, and his pasty skin was reddened with acne scars. I would not think much of his appearance if he was a decent person, but instead, he was someone who liked to fuck around, find out, and learn absolutely nothing from the process. Hence why he was a super senior.
For a fragmentary second, I entertained the notion of talking to him about trying, just a little, so he could pass this class for once, but I did not want to waste the breath on him. He had routinely squandered any opportunity presented to him, he did not care about himself, and he was also a racist sack of shit. I will never forget the time he called me the N-word while I was in Maxxie’s body.
I groaned in his presence and continued trotting across the track until Olson finally gave us the okay to go inside and change. Seeing as how there was never enough time to shower, I washed my face and armpits with a soapy cloth before changing back into my uniform and, as always, the bell went off before anyone could get dressed. I sighed at how poorly this class was managed, but at least I didn’t need to run halfway across the school to my next class to avoid being tardy. Because, for better or for worse, it was lunchtime.
The Dominance of Abigale Quinlan Main Page
Shard 00: The Novus Logs Volumes 1 & 2
Shard 01: 108 Days Later
Shard 02: Melancholic Mundanity
Shard 03: Another Day; Another Doubt
Shard 04: Fractured Family
Shard 05: Troublesome Tuesday
Shard 06: Despair And Die
Shard 07: The Enigmatic Sickness
Shard 08: The Erotic Fantasy (Osananajimi;Myself Part 3700)
Shard 09: The Egregious Downfall
Shard 10: The Oransen High Massacre
Shard 11: The Dark Metamorphosis
Shard 12: The Dominant Reflection
Shard 13: My Life As Jadigale Novus
Shard 14: Fade Unto Dusk
Shard 15: Re;Birth Unto Jade
Shard 16: Gender Reveal Party
Shard 17: Enter The Three Wives (Psycho Bullet Festival 2222 – Bout 21-2)
Shard 18: Novus X – Ten Years Later