A short story by Soren Retaeht (This is just my pen name)
The time was 2:15 PM.
The teacher walked up to the class. He wore a plaid shirt, khakis, and wire glasses that were slightly to wide for his face. He had blonde was, but it was also gray in some spots. It swooped down his face like an eagle, sitting flush next to his predatory yet dull eyes. He looked up at his class, each of them staring of into space. He cleared his throat and sat down at his desk, which was covered in buttons of every shape and size.
“Good morning,” he said. The class looked up at the teacher.
“Good morning,” said the rest of the class. The teacher raised his glasses a bit, then grabbed a clipboard.
“John. H, attendance,” he said. John walked to the front of the class. The teacher handed the clipboard to John.
“Ava. C, Tyler. C, Chloe F, Travis. J, Grant. M, Robert. T.” John walked back to his seat. The teacher pressed a button on his desk. The whiteboard blinked on, displaying the week’s schedule. A couple of students pulled out planners and pencils, sounding the rhythm of furling pages and scribbles.
“Monday: Sound Thunder , Bradbury. Analyze. Thursday: Pedestrian , Bradbury. Analyze. Question?” A student raised their hand. It was Chloe. Chloe was halfway to her birthday today. She was of average size for a teen, with curls of brown hair tucked behind her ears. The teacher gave her an inquisitive glance.
“Chloe?” Chloe stood up formerly and looked around the room. The students looked back, blank and distant. She turned her attention back to the teacher.
“I believe the titles are, A Sound of Thunder and The Pedestrian ,” she said with an apologetic tone. A couple students giggled and looked at their peers, communicating without speaking. Chloe blushed, but then turned away from her counterparts and sat back down. The teacher nodded, solemnly.
“Yes. Course. Now, read.” He pressed another button on his desk, which brought up a brightly-lit hologram. He pressed on his hologram screen, which brought up an audio recording.
“Sound Thunder, Ray Bradbury,” the recording said. “Sign on wall seem quaver under film sliding water. Eckels feel eyelid blink over stare, and sign burn moment darkness: Time Safari, Inc. Safaris year in past. Name animal. Take you there. You shoot - “ Before it could get any further, Chloe raised her hand aggressively. The teacher sighed and paused the recording.
“Chloe?” Chloe stood up again.
“I can’t understand what they’re saying.” Multiple students rolled their eyes.
“Stupid,” someone said. Chloe gasped quietly, then quickly covered her mouth.
“Try follow along. No more questions.” Chloe sat back down in her seat, annoyed. The recording continued.
The time was 2:20 PM
Halfway through the recording, Chloe opened her backpack and pulled out a copy of A Sound of Thunder . She fumbled through the pages until she found the right one, then she started reading. She glanced up a few times at the teacher, making sure he wasn’t looking. As she turned the page, the book fell out of her hand and onto the floor with a plop . Chloe’s face turned deathly white. The teacher turned his head. Chloe immediately grabbed the book.
“I dropped it,” she said. The teacher slowly turned his attention back to the audio. Chloe put the book back in her lap and resumed her reading, trying to tune out the audio. She leaned back in her chair, relaxing.
“Chloe.” She snapped her head up.
“Yes?” She said.
“What sector from?”
“Sir, I moved from RX.”
“Where Common Sense is?”
“Correct.” The students turned to each other with whispers of slight admiration.
“Lucky,” one of them said.
“Very well. Pay attention audio,” the teacher said. Chloe nodded, slowly slipping the book back into her backpack. Chloe leaned back in her seat again, slipping into a state of comfort once again.
The time was 2:25 PM.
The audio finished. Chloe leaned forward in her chair.
“Now,” the teacher started. “You answer questions. Computers out.” The students pushed a button on their desks, and a hologram and mouse materialized on them.
“Navigate Section A, 9/24/2579.” A mass of clicking emanated from the students, navigating to their subjects. Chloe furrowed her brow. She tapped her foot.
“Have thirty minutes. Go.” Chloe stood up and slammed on her desk, infuriated. The teacher jumped.
“CHLOE!!!” He shouted. “GET BACK SEAT!!! NOW!!!” Chloe glared at the teacher with threatening eyes, sharp enough to pierce metal.
“NO!” She spat. “You aren’t teaching proper English, just some form of jumbled up words! In order to understand the assignment, I need actual grammar! I won’t do the assignment until It’s corrected.” She slumped back in her seat; arms crossed. The teacher huffed, then press a button on his desk. A speaker inside the desk beeped awhile, then a static voice came on the loudspeakers. A hush spread across the room. Chloe gripped her desk.
“Nature of emergency?” It said.
“State Regression, Section EA-S23,” the teacher responded, with a tone of menace in his voice.
“Sending forces.” A slight chirp sounded, and the loudspeakers turned off with a blip . The students turned to Chloe, more than a little concerned. Chloe’s grip on her desk increased. She looked at the window, glancing at her bewildered reflection. Suddenly, she sprang up from her seat and grabbed her chair, wielding it like one would a baseball bat. Students gasped and ducked. With force, she swung the chair at the window. The chair sailed through the air and hit the window, shattering it and casting the glass down like crystalline rain. The chair touched ground with a CLANG! The students strained to see the action. The teacher stood up, driven by a rage and fear only expressed in the direst of consequences.
“STOP!!!” The teacher exclaimed. But it was too late. Chloe jumped through the second story window, crusading through the empty air. She locked onto a tree below with her eyes, and her body made contact with the rustling leaves. She grabbed firmly on an overgrown branch, then swung down like an acrobat, softly landing on the ground. She brushed herself off and looked around her. Instantly, she spotted some suits of armor emerging from the side of the building. One of them extended a megaphone.
“Don’t run, or we’ll be forced to shoot!” Chloe weighed the consequences. She’d rather be shot than live in a crazy house. She bolted over to the rusty bike rack at the end of the school, the one that contained her bike. The suits fired their guns. Avoiding the gunfire as best as possible, Chloe entered the combination in her lock and released her lone blue and yellow mountain bike.
Forgetting the lock, she ran and hopped on her bike. She swerved a few times, trying to avoid the bullets, then kicked it into full gear, speeding into traffic. She entered the right lane, just as a black and red car pulled up behind her, sounding sirens. Chloe U-turned into the other lane, heading the opposite way. The black and red car drifted into her lane, but flipped into a ditch and impacted with the rock, catching flame. Chloe looked back in bewilderment.
“Oh man,” she said. She looked back just in time to see a semi put its screaming brakes on. She dodged into the middle of the lane, sandwiching herself between the semi and the other passing traffic. Horns sounded as Chloe passed the cars. People rolled their windows down and shouted at her. As Chloe passed the semi, the road branched into an intersection. Surveying her options, she turned right and ditched her bike, letting it roll off into the road and causing cars to stop and honk at the bike, just as she hopped onto the sidewalk and started walking.
She ran until she saw a bus pull up to bus stop, then dashed inside, breathing heavily. She pulled a wallet out of her pocket and tapped it on a screen, paying for the ticket. She looked up at the driver. There was none. She shrugged walked to the middle of the bus and sat down in a seat. A few people glanced in her direction.
“What’re you looking at?” She said. She looked down at the floor, exhausted. She felt a heavy hand placed on her shoulder. Then she heard a click-click . People screamed.
“Presume she eliminated?” The man asked.
“Confirm,” the agent responded.
“Agree.” They looked sullenly at the ground for a few seconds, then picked up their briefcases and walked away. The time was 3:00 PM.