As of today, only the long weekend stands between my kids and the first day going back to school. Are they excited? I'm not sure... does vibrating at a frequency high enough to generate sound count as excited?
Also on the writing side, I'm not good at sticking to not posting story stuff, but you already knew that. This little flash fiction is a prequel to something else I have in the works, and I wanted to share it. It's written in a short story style.
If you have the long weekend, please enjoy the extra day safely. Hope you have a great weekend!
The digitized bell toned. The students filed quietly from their separate rooms into the main corridor of their wing of the complex. They were all neatly dressed in soft gray uniforms, and each carried the four books that they would need for this morning's classes.
The young students passed in near silence by the doors leading to other rooms for other classes on their way to today's first training room. It was unnerving to the new teacher waiting for them this morning.
He had been briefed on the students, and had been watching them through the intricate camera system for weeks now. None of that had prepared him for actually being in the same room as them.
He nervously shuffled his papers, pulling his lesson plan to the top and – clearing his throat – introduced himself. Each student answered the roll call with a silent nod. They had been told he was coming, and that he should be treated with all the respect and attention due to any of their previous and current instructors. Even at eight years old, they followed the order to a fault.
Roll call completed, the new teacher jumped full into his lesson. When hired, he’d wondered at the intelligence of recruiting a High School Instructor to teach eight-year-olds. After observing their communication skills both at training and at play for the past weeks, he had to agree with the decision. The choice for him to teach them was obvious for the project as he was a retired military man, and was fluent in sign language. These children could both hear and speak, in multiple languages, but all their education was required by the project design to be both verbal and in sign.
All but one student paid him the strictest of attention. She was smaller than her classmates, and consistently graded lower than the rest in all their classes. The facility doctors had elected to keep her in the students' community for the sake of not wanting to commit the only current alternative given by the government-funded project. Her anomalies weren’t considered a liability, and studying her provided further insight for sample curation during the next project cycle.
That first day teaching, her inattentiveness was a noted distraction amongst the nerve-racking, unbroken attention of the rest of the class. Somehow (and he would truly wonder how later that day when he had time to think about it) he managed his way through that first lesson.
The digital bell toned again exactly two hours after the first had gone, signaling for the short break before their next class. The students waited for his permission and then silently picked up two of their four books, leaving the two needed for Math in the centers of each of their desks, and filed past him out of the room to return their English books to their lockers.
The last student to leave was the small girl. She stopped in front of him, staring up as he became even more uncomfortable and signed for her to leave. She instead slowly leaned towards him, her eyes never releasing his as she lightly sniffed his shirt.
This close to her, he could actually see her brown complexion – similar to that of her classmates – was a tawny-colored pelt. The darker patches he'd taken for freckles, or possibly scars left by their creation, were actually the last remains of fading cub-spots.
She warily reached out and placed the palm of her stunted hand against his stomach. Her small ears twitched with inhuman maneuverability as she listened to things he couldn't hear, her yellow eyes holding him captive as she firmly pressed once into his belly.
A rattle, so quiet it would have been missed had he been breathing, shook loose in the back of her throat. She blinked once warmly at him, the hint of a smile around her mouth, and then in the next instant she was gone. She slid like a shadow out of the room, catching up to the rest of the students without being noted as missing.
The whole scene lasted only a few moments, and was completely unnoticed by those whose job it was to watch the monitors. Those observers were under orders to give the new teacher some time alone after the class was over, so the small girl's attentions were unseen.
The teacher walked stiffly to his chair and collapsed into it. He closed his eyes and began to collect his nerves from where they’d scattered around him.
The digital bell toned once more, signaling that the break was over. It startled the new teacher out of his thoughts and back into himself. He quickly rose from the chair, stuffed his papers together with badly shaking hands and nearly ran out of the classroom. The next instructor that morning called a greeting to the new teacher from the other end of the corridor, but it fell on deaf ears as the English professor fled back to his rooms.
Much later that night, after researching cats as sleep eluded him, the new teacher settled into bed with a determined sigh. He’d won out this job against Ivy League instructors and believed he was the best qualified for the position. And tomorrow he would start practicing their composition skills.
A weekly blog updating on Saturdays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!