Introductory Note: Please read the introduction to know what this is all about.
It was as cold a day as any, the air felt crystal clear and small clouds of vapour rose as people breathed. Streets were frozen over, not a single leaf could be found on the trees in front of the large auditorium of the ZHDK. Today was to be a big day for a great many of the students that attended the university of arts. After a long semester of hard work, they would finally find out what their efforts wrought.
No, it wasn't the announcement of the finals, but something else of almost equal importance. The university had organised a large inter-departmental event in which students were grouped together randomly and tasked to create a poster to advertise an invented product or company. Participation was voluntary, but since there were real prizes to win, a lot had signed up. Two of the people that had also partaken in this test of skill were Monika and Anna.
As per usual for the two, they arrived quite some time too early. After a hasty greeting they quickly hushed inside to escape the cold. Monika's face was burning red and her eyes sparkled with excitement. She let out a quick sneeze and blinked. Anna watched her bemused.
“Come on, let's find a good place to sit. – And I should take off my coat, I'm burning up.” Monika gestured to Anna and the two went ahead through the entrance into the main auditorium. It was a big, half-circular room with many tiers of altogether too small chairs on one side and a large stage on the other. The podium on the stage was empty and Monika instantly felt a bit sad as she looked at it. With the dim lighting and the emptiness of the hall it felt almost abandoned. She averted her face as Anna pulled her up the stairs to the middle rows.
Anna strategically determined that the outer two chairs of the very middle row would yield the best results as they could easily get up, but would also have a good view not too far and not too close to the stage. The only problem with choosing the places at the edge would be to let people pass as the hall fills up. However, Anna argued that the upsides would outweigh the problems in this case. Monika didn't take notice of any of these facts and just neatly planted herself onto the seat Anna had chosen for her.
Having taken off her coat and settled down, Monika felt a lot better. Her nose and cheeks were still gleaming red though and she had to sneeze a couple more times. Anna crossed her legs and studied their surroundings. A few other students had arrived early as well, but other than that the auditorium was entirely empty. All of the spotlights were turned off and the general lighting was turned down to a minimum to conserve power. The atmosphere was a bit gloomy and it made her tired. She had to yawn and tried to hide it behind her hand, but to no avail. Monika smirked and shot her a knowing glance. Anna sighed. Having exhausted all there was to look at already and with a good half an hour to go until the announcement she let her mind wander off to worry about whether she had forgotten to hand in anything and whether they could have still improved something about their poster.
As it stood, what they had done was an advertisement for a luxury fountain pen. The pen itself was drawn using a striking, blue ink. They had taken especially big care to make the lines appear precise, but still not without a touch of elegance and style. The ad didn't have much text; the two had concluded that reducing the text and focusing on direct impact would make the ad more effective. All they had on the poster therefore was the drawing of the pen itself, the name in a beautifully rendered cursive font, the logo of the firm they had made up and a short note of the special features the pen had.
All in all, she didn't really know what they could have still improved about it without just beginning anew entirely with a different idea. But exactly that part gnawed on her mind. What if their core idea just wasn't good enough? What if the entire premise would make them fail? No, it couldn't be. Her mind raced, considering all the options they had come up with along the way and reiterating the reasons why they had been discarded.
Monika had tried to garner Anna's attention by shuffling about on her chair a bit and leaning forwards and backwards. It was all to no avail, Anna was lost in thought, a strained expression on her face. Monika sneezed again and fumbled around her jacket to find a handkerchief. She blew her nose a couple of times and because she couldn't think of anything else to do, accessed her secret stash on the inside of her jacket: A pen and a crumpled block of small paper. She eagerly began scribbling away, heeding no attention to her surroundings.
The hall slowly but surely filled up as the time of the announcement moved closer. Monika and Anna were shortly interrupted a few times as people had to pass by them, but they quickly returned to their own worlds. Five minutes before the start the hall was buzzing with activity. The seats were almost completely taken and with about two hundred students wildly chattering about, the noise level reached annoying heights. Monika was particularly agitated as she couldn't focus on her scribbles anymore, so she leaned back in her chair and tried to entertain herself by making the most foul grimace she could. The noise didn't bother Anna as much, though she would've certainly preferred it to be just a tad quieter. She had had to forcefully abort her previous line of thought as she was getting too stressed out over it. However, she was able to convince herself that nothing would change the results now and, after all, they would find out soon enough if they had failed or not.
Written by shinmera