The Board of Education

The fight has been raging for three days. The teachers on their end, toting rulers, eraser canons and textbook grenades, and the students on the other, with only school-approved items found in their bookbags. Both sides have suffered casualties and people are wondering, what happened three days ago at Winston Waters High that started this mess? Start your story three days ago.

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304 thoughts on “The Board of Education

  1. cosivantutte

    This one turned out a lot longer than I’d expected it to.

    “The kindergartners were the lucky ones.” said Cassie McGee. “They’d all come down with infectious measles and had to stay home the day the teachers went mad.”

    Elwood Myers elbowed her. “Stop talking to yourself.” he whispered. “They’ll hear you.”

    Cassie clutched her bookbag. “It was three days ago. Just three days.”

    “Stop it.”

    A couple of teachers walked past the classroom door, clapping chalkboard erasers and giggling.

    Elwood pulled Cassie further under the teacher’s desk.

    She leaned her head against his shoulder. “It was a beautiful day. Fine as a report card full of straight A’s. So ordinary. Math. English. History. Schedules to follow. Routines to keep. Lessons to learn.”

    He wrapped his arm around her. “Cassie, please. Please be quiet.” And she became quiet.

    And there was silence.

    Elwood listened to the sound of their combined breathing. Are we breathing too loud? Are there any other students out there? Are we the only two left? How long will it take before they find us?

    “It’s my fault.” she whispered.

    He stroked her hair, but stayed silent.

    “I knew peanut butter was forbidden. I knew. I knew! I brought my sandwich into the lunchroom. Opened the Reynolds wrap.”

    Why does she have to keep talking?

    “The smell must have traveled through the vents. Into every classroom. Into every teacher. Ms. Vittorio.” She hugged her bookbag so hard it should have popped.

    Why does she want to talk about it? Why does she want to even remember? “Cassie, I don’t—” His voice choked up.

    “Ms. Vittorio threw the books everywhere. At all of us.”

    “Please just–”

    “They all went mad. We all ran. Students fell. Disappeared.”

    “—shut up.”

    “I didn’t know it would happen. No one told us. I swear I didn’t know.” She looked up at him. “What are we going to do?”

    Elwood considered their two options – stay or run – before answering, “As soon as things quiet down out there, we’re gonna run home.”

    “El. They know where we live.”

    Her words squashed him flat. “So, then what do we do? Hide under here til we get caught? Because you know it’s gonna happen.”

    She pressed her forehead against the top of her bookbag.

    “Tell me, Cassie. What should we do?”

    She raised her head. “Stop them.”


    The classroom door opened.

    He held her tight and listened.

    High heels tacked hard and sharp on the waxed floor in a confident march to the teacher’s desk. It stopped right behind their backs.

    Elwood uncorked the bookbag out of Cassie’s embrace and unzipped it as quietly as he could. It still sounded too loud. Like torn paper. Like a scream.

    The teacher giggled and kicked the back of the desk.

    Cassie let out a muffled shriek.

    He pulled things out of the bag as fast as he could. Limp notebooks. Pink erasers with rubbed edges. Loose papers. No pens. No pencils. No scissors. Not even one solid book. He mentally cursed the school regulations with every curse word he’d ever heard.

    The teacher pulled the desk forward, exposing Elwood and Cassie. “Look.” she giggled. “One plus one equals two.”

    Cassie stood and Elwood followed suit. “Ms. Vittorio.”

    Ms. Vittorio picked two chalkboard erasers off the desk and strolled over to the two students. “One plus one always equals two. But if you take one away from two…”

    Elwood stepped in front of Cassie. “I won’t let you hurt her.”

    Her eyes glittered with a hard, sharp light, which fascinated Elwood. He’d never seen anyone’s eyes glitter before. She clapped the erasers three times.

    A cloud of eraser dust settled on him, all over him. His body contorted, shrank, and transformed into a chalkboard eraser.

    Ms. Vittorio picked him up. “Take one away from two and you’re left with one.”

    Elwood wasn’t sure how he could still see or hear, but he was glad that he could. Talking, however, was impossible. Cassie was on her own.

    “Thank you, Cassie. Your peanut butter sandwich awoke our latent powers into savage, beautiful life. That’s why the schoolboard made that rule against peanut butter. They didn’t want us teachers to come into our own. They want to keep us downtrodden.” She placed Elwood on the desk and joyfully clapped the other two. “Once we have all of the students in our power, we’ll go after the schoolboard members. All of them! One plus one plus one plus one.”

    A defiant expression took over Cassie’s face. “Equals fifty-one.”


    “One plus one plus one plus one equals fifty-one.”

    “No. It equals four.”

    Her defiance made itself at home. “It equals fifty-one. I can prove it.”

    “Prove it.”

    “One number resembles six, one represents four, one pretends to be twenty-two, one is related to ten which equals fifty-one.”

    Ms. Vittorio frowned. “That doesn’t make sense. One plus one plus one plus one equals—-”

    “Fifty-one. Until you release El and the other students, one plus one plus one plus one will equal fifty-one.”

    “Your saying so cannot make it so.”

    Her defiance practically radiated from her body. “So, I’ll write it on all of the chalkboards with permanent ink.”

    Ms. Vittorio stared horrorstruck at her student. “You wouldn’t.”

    “I would.”

    “I’ll stop you.”

    “You’ll have to catch me first. And, until you do, I’ll mark every chalkboard, every wall, every door with one plus one plus one plus one equals fifty-one. And it will make you crazy.”

    Ms. Vittorio looked at the chalkboard erasers in her hands. “I could transform you.”

    For the first time in three days, Cassie smiled. “You won’t.”

    The teacher raised her gaze. “You’re so certain.”

    “You were my favorite teacher.”

    Ms. Vittorio’s expression softened. “And you were my favorite student.” She opened the desk’s middle drawer and pulled out a clean handkerchief. She scrubbed the chalk dust off all three erasers.

    One, two, three – she set the erasers on the floor. They instantly transformed back into human children: Peter, Nancy, and Elwood. The students embraced and congratulated Cassie on her quick thinking.

    “I don’t care what the other teachers say or do.” said Ms. Vittorio. “I will not surrender my powers. No matter what and never again.”

  2. Teddi DiCanio

    The Seductress

    Chaos at Winston Waters High? Three days now. Winston was the swing vote school and if Winston went down the whole school district could descend into anarchy.

    The public, in a violent about face, blamed the school board for instituting these ‘straw votes.’ The first ‘vote’ had started innocently when, the previous year, the board considered eliminating winter break in order to make up an inordinate number of snow days. Teachers would have to agree because it involved setting aside a contracted benefit. One board member suggested, since this affected students, perhaps they should be consulted, too.

    Winston Waters was the deciding school. There, two alpha males, one faculty, one student, coaxed some filibusterers into taking a final vote with the lure of making a counter proposal—eliminate winter break but tack on one additional vacation day at Easter.

    That debate had worked so well the board used this method for other issues. Always, Winston was the deciding school. For every serious controversy, their alpha males came up with the solution. Now the method was blowing up—over instant potatoes. Kitchen staffs balked.

    “There’s no time to peel potatoes.”

    “Bake them in the ovens,” said one board member.

    “The kids will need knives to cut them open and butter them. We can’t have knives here.”

    All the board members were old enough to have grown up with real cutlery in their schools. “Yes, we can.”

    Folks hung back, waiting for Winston. Their sultry, sloe-eyed, seductive head cook wanted instant potatoes. Student alpha called her Lola (real name Gertrude) after the Devil’s helper in Damn Yankees who sang ‘Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.’ She was bad; she was dangerous; and faculty alpha was enamored of her. Student alpha had to rescue faculty alpha and the school.

    He rallied the student body. “Instant potatoes are evil,” he said, quoting his mother. “And so is the cook. We dump the flakes in the harbor.”

    “She’s cooking that crap today. I say we dump the soggy mess on her desk.”

    Student alpha liked the idea. Gertrude retaliated by throwing kitchen implements. The kids, who had hated her food for years, erupted. The battle was in its third day and students had the upper hand. Teachers were hiding all over the building. Gertrude was barricaded in her office along with faculty alpha, who had gone to her rescue. Student alpha and his command staff were outside her door.

    “Get him on the phone,” said his aide. “Tell him how wicked she is.”

    “He won’t believe it,” said another. “His mother was probably a lousy cook. If he ate the flakes before they were even cooked, he wouldn’t notice any difference.”

    Student alpha rang Gertrude’s office. Faculty alpha answered. “The seductress is playing you for a fool. Have you ever seen her eat those instant potatoes herself—or anything else she cooks?”

    They heard murmurings from the other side of the door. Five minutes later, faculty alpha, weeping, handed the cook over to her fate.

  3. Amyithist

    The classroom was empty; with the exception of the gerbil sleeping soundly in the corner of his little cage, completely oblivious to the dangers lurking just beyond the brick walls. Joseph slid his backpack from his shoulders and set it on the desk. The clink-clack-clank of the guns settling broke the deafening quiet. He glanced down at his watch, frowning slightly at the advancing time. There never seemed to be a break.

    He crossed over to the window and cranked it open. The scent of damp earth wafted in on a chilly breeze. He took in a deep whiff, relishing for a moment the breath of an impending storm. He turned to the gerbil and dropped in a few pebbles Mrs. Kline kept in a little jar next to the cage. He watched as the little creature stirred and gratefully waddled over to the meager meal. “I know, little guy,” he cooed, sticking his finger through the lip of the cage. He gently ran his finger over the soft fur, smiling at the simple sensation.

    He imagined for a moment a time before everything went to hell. An image of his wife holding their newborn child, seared through his mind and before the smile could fade from his lips, he found himself sobbing into his hands. As a young, selfish man, there’d been many times where he’d imagined himself alone and free… And now that they were gone, he’d do anything to get them back. He grimaced at the irony as pulled his hand from the cage and made his back to the desk.

    He glanced back down to his watch and sighed. Of course the others were running late. Why would he expect anything different from them? He slumped in the chair behind the desk. It was odd to consider that less than two weeks ago, he’d been a third grade teacher and life had been normal. His wife was still alive; his child still bouncing with new life. The children were still just innocent little sparks of a future that would no longer be… Everything changed nearly overnight with little explanation.

    Old dried leaves scraped against the weathered wood floor at his feet as a breeze slipped in through the cracked window. He turned his nose toward the draft, grimacing as the scent of decay and rot mingled with the aroma of old wood and chalk. His senses stalled, honing in on the scent. He’d guess they were about three miles out. The closer they got, the heavier the stench became.

    A tap at the door startled him. He swung his legs away from the desk. A flutter of paperwork scattered to the floor. He glanced down at them, taking an instant to acknowledge scrawls of sloppy handwriting and a bold block of A’s and D’s at the top of the pages. A sliver of a smile broke over his face as Kenny and Chavis came into view.

    Kenny was tall and built like a brick house. His dark skin always seemed to be slicked with sweat and he had his face set to a scowl no matter what. Chavis was a horse of a different color; he was hard to keep down. His smile never seemed to leave his face. Even after they’d had to amputate his left arm to keep the infection from spreading, he found a way to break humor.

    Joseph grinned as he opened the door. Kenny and Chavis stalked into the abandoned classroom, resting their equipment next to his. “You’re so late I thought maybe you found better things to do,” Joseph said.

    Kenny frowned and opened his duffle bag, pulling a pistol from its depths. “The only thing better than killing a bunch of snobby little zombies is finding a woman I can make friends with.” Though it was a joke, his face remained stoic.

    Before any banter could be exchanged, the sound of groaning and growling echoed over the meadow spanning between the redbrick school house and the tree line boasting a thick, nearly black forest. Joseph turned, quickly yanking his own weapon from the desk. “You boys ready to kill some zombies?”

    1. Manwe38

      This was chilling, Amithyst. I felt for your MC, and discovering the source of his loss was even more frightening.

      I like anything zombie, and you nailed it.

      Nice job!


    Our choices were killing us but no one expected the reaction that happened when Saint Waters High announced its latest ban. “I repeat no soda of any kind will be sold on the school’s campus.” Titus announced over the PA system. Gunshots fired and Titus sounded the emergency siren. “Code blue! Father Richard ground zero A-S-A-P!” Electric classroom doors automatically closed sounding like dominoes falling in formation. Father Richard flew down the third floor stairway of Sagan 4 praying his faculty remembered the post Columbine scripts and drills. He yanked the first floor landing entryway open and saw police surrounding the school. Titus the head of security met him in the corridor.
    “Is this a false alarm Titus?”
    “No Father!”
    “Any fatalities?”
    “No because most students knew of the ban and chose not to return after lunch.”
    “FCC disabled area cell signals?
    “Yes Father.”
    “Where is the staff?”
    “And who’s in the lunchroom now?” Father Richard said heading towards the gymnasium.
    “Why? Everyone should have left the building.”
    “Uzis! They’re armed with Uzis.”
    Three shots rang out. The two ducked as they watched three teachers get killed while holding their rulers, eraser canons and textbook grenades in the hallway.
    The standoff begins.
    Water’s honor student Maggie, woke early in the lunchroom and heard her mother Carmen’s voice pleading outside through a bullhorn. “Maggie, baby please put your soda down! Please-“
    Maggie’s mother was shot between the eyes splattering her face in pieces in the air. SWATS headed inside Sagan 4. “THEY SHOT MY MOM!” Maggie screamed looking out a classroom window. SWATS led trapped teachers and their students out the back of the building. Titus wrestled Sister Mammon the belligerent teacher who’d shot Maggie’s mom to the floor. The struggle over Mammon’s 45 forced her gun to fire again hitting a stray SWAT situated outside the gymnasium. Knu the lead SWAT didn’t know who or where the shot was fired from. Maggie ran to another window and fired her Uzi at any and everything that moved. She was screaming obscenities when a SWAT seated on the roof fired and killed her. Maggie died instantly, her body sank to the floor and her blood pooled around her. “We were just protesting! No one was supposed to die!” Genesis another student hollered.
    Seated in the bleachers, teachers huddled and prayed for forgiveness. Frightened students sat silently drinking soda while mourning Maggie’s dish towel covered body. Knu and her team of SWATS initiated her shoot to kill plan. She ordered half of them to march to the gymnasium and the other to head for the cafeteria. Father Richard and Titus watched watched from a second floor balcony.
    “Yes Titus?”
    Knu raised her hand and counted down out loud. “Three-…”
    “Why don’t you call me by my title?”
    “I’ve known you for so long Titus I didn’t think it mattered.”
    Knu ordered her two teams to simultaneously burst into the gymnasium and cafeteria and blast fire their automatic weapons guaranteeing killing the perpetrator who’d fired the first shot.
    “I wish you would Father.” Titus said lighting a cigarette.
    The frozen look of shock on both students and teachers faces were branded in Knu’s head as her two teams rained bullets at everyone in sight. The gunfire muted their screams and not one teacher or student survived. When it was over, Knu and her smoking guns disappeared as quickly as they’d come.
    “ All you had to do was ask Mother Titus.”
    The two descended to the first floor landing and examined the gym and cafeteria.
    “Yes Mother Titus?”
    “Thank you.”

      1. MCKEVIN

        Thanks Manwe38 for reading and commenting. Another writer named Dmelde inspired this. He writes Sci Fi and because of him I’m becoming a fan of genre. He gave me a story (Its his posting for this week’s prompt.) and I’m going to use it to learn how to write Sci Fantasy. Thanks again for reading.

      1. MCKEVIN

        Fast pace huh? Lol. This is what happens when you’re grilling and trying to write at the same time. I actually like the pace because it makes my heart and mind move faster. Thank Dmelde for this story. Read his posting for this week’s prompt to see what I mean. Lol. Thank for reading and commenting.

  5. time_and_a_pen

    It had been a day like any other, but would turn into a day like no other, the day the students fought back! It all began normally, students corralled into the lunch room or the gym and then distributed to class, the students seemed more subdued than normal, “I think we finally got through to them!” said one teacher triumphantly to another as they looked shocked at the rows of silent kids walking to and from classes. What they didn’t know, is that the kids were plotting, each on of them waiting for the signal to attack, to reclaim what was theirs. The teachers here at

    1. Augie

      AHHHHH! He do you hear this? “clunk,clunk,clunk’ ??? That’s me tapping on your screen! what an amazing start! You have to finish this! I hope to see you post in the future on this wonderful/friendly site.

  6. DMelde

    As soon as she entered the matrix Carmen was hit by a blast of hot, dry air. The place reeked with the stench of charred flesh. She looked around at the arid landscape, unsure of where she was. The brown landscape resembled burnt toast topped with the grotesque, charred bodies of men as the marmalade. She was supposed to be meeting her daughter, Maggie, at the Winston Waters farming community on Sagan 4 for a three day happy herbivore education program, but this was not Sagan 4. Winston Waters was a lush, green matrix with dense plant growth. In contrast, this place was nothing but a dead blackened husk. The only building still standing was a smooth looking black stone monolith rising up against the horizon far off in the distance. Between Carmen and the monolith lay a land of death and destruction.

    Carmen tried using her Nav con to pinpoint her location but it wasn’t working. Her Com link beeped. It was her daughter Maggie.

    “Hello mother.” Maggie said with a coldness in her voice.

    “Maggie!” Carmen responded, relieved. “Are you all right?”

    “I’m fine mother. How do you like my new place?”

    “Maggie, you did this? But…why?”

    “High School is boring me!” Maggie said with impatience in her voice. “I’m ready for more. I told you that last week but you wouldn’t listen. You never listen to me! You said I wasn’t ready, remember? So I built this matrix to prove it to you.”

    “What did you accomplish Maggie? A sixth-grader could have made this interface. The resolution is bad. The response time lags. All this proves is that you’re immature and not ready yet to attend university.”

    “If my matrix is so simple then you come find me. There’s more here than you know about. I wonder how long you’ll survive.”

    “What are you saying? Are you challenging me?”

    “I want a death match. Me against you. Beat me here, in my place. The lag time counters your strength and experience. Beat me here where your sight is compromised by the lower resolution, where your long sight is useless. This will even the odds. If I win, I get to go to university. If you win, I’ll stay in high school as your student for one more year. Do we have a deal?”

    “Let me think about it for a moment.” Carmen replied.

    “Whatever happened to the good old days,” Carmen thought, “when all that teachers and students had to fight with were rulers and erasers.” How she longed for a simpler time. “The trouble with kids nowadays,” she thought, “was that they grew up too quickly.” Carmen had been her daughter’s teacher for the past seven years, ever since Maggie had been a one year old. During that time together Carmen had taught her daughter about new worlds, and she had given her steadily advancing skill sets. They had grown very close to one another. Carmen decided that she would accept her daughter’s challenge, a challenge she had no intention of losing. First though, she needed to make sure that standard security protocols were in place because information could be hacked and identities could be stolen while she was preoccupied with her daughter. Carmen reached deep into sub-space and performed a Hawking Spin, spinning the sub-space around her to ever greater speeds. This forced the elementary particles into becoming versions of small, miniature cyclones which lifted and separated from the underlying sub-space. The tiny cyclones formed a slippery patch in space-time and Carmen stepped onto the patch and she slipped sideways in time.

    Time moves like an arrow flying from the past, through the present, and into the future. Sliding sideways in time merely means expanding the time spent in the present moment, which in turn makes the arrow fly for a little longer. To the person who slides, time slows down. To the outside observer, time remains the same. It’s one theory that explains how the comic book hero The Flash is able to run so fast. It turns out he doesn’t really run any faster than anyone else, what he does is run sideways through time.

    Carmen checked the security certificate for the matrix her daughter had made. Just as she suspected, it had none. She made a call to her security provider, the Sunshine Boys, where she obtained one. The Sunshine Boys liked nothing better than catching hackers in the act of trying to break into places where they didn’t belong. Next, she made a call to Winston Waters and informed the administrator that they wouldn’t be attending their program. Finally, she called the Winston Waters engineer, the person who had developed the farming matrix, to be sure her daughter’s homemade matrix hadn’t compromised his original design. The engineer assured her that everything was routine. Once satisfied that she and her daughter were safe and secure, Carmen re-entered normal time.

    Carmen had been gone for over 30 minutes, but for her daughter Maggie, it was but a second before her mother responded.

    “I accept your challenge.”

    “Wonderful!” Maggie cried out. Then, in a whisper over her mother’s Com link, “Come find me.”

    Carmen looked around at the matrix her daughter had built. Everything looked like it had been torched by a fire breathing dragon. Buildings, crops, and men were burned to a crisp. She wondered if her daughter intended to burn her to a crisp too. “Not likely,” she thought, “Maggie more likely wants a close quarter’s fight.” She looked at the black monolith in the distance, and with a sigh she started walking towards it. It was a long, hot walk. Carmen glanced back at the way she had come to see if she was being followed, and much to her surprise, in her footsteps new green grass was growing. Wherever she had walked new life had sprung up.

    “Ha-ha.” Carmen laughed. She had become the mother of life. How clever of Maggie! Somewhere up ahead, Carmen could feel her daughter giggling too.

    Carmen wondered what other powers she might possess besides being able to give life. She tried to call forth the bow of Artemis, the Greek huntress, and she was disappointed when it didn’t materialize. She tried conjuring the spear of the Valkyrie, the winter cold of Morena, and the dragon of Benton. Nothing worked. Then, on a whim, she held out her hand and a flaming sword materialized in it. The sword had a three foot flame that flickered and crackled. When she pointed the flame behind her, the green grass in her footsteps grew and soon a wide ribbon of green grass spread across the barren landscape. Carmen smiled. A flaming sword that could give life could also take it away.

    Carmen reached the stone monolith, and with a green ribbon trailing off behind her, she entered the stone structure to find and kill her daughter.

    1. DMelde

      The purpose of this longer piece is twofold. First, to grant the wish of MCKEVIN. Secondly, Stephen Hawking recently said that the reason why writers hadn’t yet used the concept of sideways time in a story is because they didn’t know how to. I think I just did use the concept, Mr. Hawking. It would thrill me to believe that I was the first.
      I stopped the story as Carmen entered the monolith. It was getting too long and I’ve taken up enough of your time already. I have no idea who won. All I know is that it involved a fight with some very big spiders. A fight too horrible to even contemplate. Thanks for reading!

    2. MCKEVIN

      “Whoa!” Wait let me catch my breath. There I go.. “Whoaaaa… Dmelde in the place where I grew up we had a sayin’ when someone did something exceptionally well. That saying was “You shitted for that!”
      Dmelde, “YOU SHITTED FOR THAT!” Wow..You made my Sunday. Lol. I got a wish granted, and was taught a lesson (“How Flash Travels”).Thank You I love this stuff when it’s yours because I can follow it. I just met Maggie and Carmen and I love them already. I want to know their issues and why they do what they do. When you make a reader feel like that it’s a sign of true talent. I am so jealous because I have the feeling you just make this stuff up off the top of your head. Lol. (Another sign of talent.) Did I say thank you? Thank you. If you have material out in the publishing world please send me a link. Have a good day Dmelde. PS. I am Googling Stephen Hawking as I speak. Lol.”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I am totally overwhelmed by your story, not only the plot, but side stepping time, the anticipated battle between mother and daughter. Also the references about sub-space, Hawkin Spin, farming matrix, none of which I understand. However it just made the story better.

        What horrified the most was the battle to the death between mother and daughter. I’ve never read anything quite like this. can’t talk anough about this, DMelde.

    3. Manwe38

      This was an amazing concept that was brilliantly executed.

      Loved the “toast/marmalade” reference, and the explanation of “sideways time.”

      A great read!

  7. rle

    The siege was entering it’s third day. Myself and five other staff members were pinned down in the library. Many of our colleagues had escaped the carnage, others had fallen victim to the brutal attacks. All that was left now were six tired hungry adults huddling in the back corner of a dark cavernous room between shelves of obsolete encyclopedias and every Curious George book ever written. Being held hostage was bad enough in and of itself, but being held hostage by elementary students was absolute lunacy.

    I tried my level best not to glare at Principal Harris but it was difficult not to. This whole damn mess was his fault and he knew it, as did the rest of us. He cowered in the shadows of the massive book shelves, whimpering like a frightened eight year old girl. The only thing keeping one of the rest of us from killing him was the sheer lack of energy.

    Three days earlier, Principal Harris had called a school wide assembly in the gymnasium. He announced that due to deep budget cuts, they would be eliminating gym class, music class, and art. The playground equipment was going to be sold, the cafeteria closed, and thirteen staff members laid off, including all of the custodians. And finally, in lieu of recess, the students would be asked to spend forty-five minutes per day sweeping and mopping floors, taking out the trash, and cleaning the restrooms.

    Slowly, gasps and looks of disbelief morphed into angry rumblings which were soon replaced by mad howls. Then utter chaos erupted.

    To this day, no one can agree on who stormed the stage first. Many thought it was the fifth graders but others felt certain that it was a group of third grade bullies who began throwing sharpened #2 pencils like miniature spears at Principal Harris. I was unfortunate enough to be standing just to the right of the stage and witnessed the first casualty. It was Mrs. Murphy the school secretary. A single pencil to the eyeball sealed her fate as she pitched backwards and landed with a thud on the hardwood floor.

    I slowly approached the frenzied mob of children with hopes of trying to restore a sense of order before this turned into a full on bloodbath, but it was no use. As I tried to speak , A stream of Gogurt plastered the side of my head. Although not lethal, it disoriented me just long enough, for a trio of the little rat bastards to close in on me. Why were the after me? Hell, I was on their side, a sympathizer for God’s sake. Then I realized, I was just guilty by association. To them, any of the staff were fair game.

    I hightailed it out of the gym and sprinted down the shiny tiled hallway that led toward the cafeteria. As I rounded the corner I saw two forth grade girls flogging Mr. Jones with three ring binders. I heard a commotion in the cafeteria and decided not to take refuge there. Then I though of the library. Nobody ever went to the library. We had the crappiest library in the public school system. I quietly slipped inside the door and slid a huge desk in front of it to keep the raging students at bay. Once inside, I discovered five other staff members, including Principal Harris.

    For the next three days we were held captive. The students couldn’t get in and nor could we get out. We were tired, hungry and desperately planing and escape. Instead of finding and escape though, an escape found us.

    At around a quarter till two in the morning a squeaky voice came over the PA system, “attention in the library, turn over Principal Harris and we’ll let the rest of you go free…scouts honor”

    I lunged for the Principal and jerked him to his feet by his lapels. Mr. Franks and Mrs. Tolliver helped me lead him toward the door.

    “Please, please, no,” the Principal whimpered. On the other side of the glass a hundred hungry eyes peered in. Mr. Franks heaved the desk away from the door and helped me push Principal Harris out into the hands of the angry children.

  8. Manwe38

    A little bit of fanfic. I wrote this on the fly, so it isn’t as developed as I’d like (and also trying not to slaughter the word count)


    “The Last Battle”

    The walls shook with the force of the relentless assault. For three days and two nights, the action had been non-stop, and so had the terror. We had started in the auditorium, but it was too big to defend. Once the barricades had been overrun, we’d fled to the senior study hall. Bigger than a standard classroom, it also only had one door, which had been easy to block up. Now, we were under siege, and it wasn’t looking good.

    I glanced over my shoulder at the remaining troops. What had started at fifty was now under ten. Some were my friends, people I’d know since childhood; others, I’d never seen before. In a school of eight hundred souls, it was easy to hide, especially if you didn’t want to be found. Like me. Unfortunately, it had not been enough.

    I turned away from the door. At the far end of the room, David, my best friend, was tending to Lillian, who had just been stabbed. Even from here, I could see the sunken look in her eyes, the pale sheen of sweat that coated her face like morning dew on the new spring grass, and my gut clenched. David glanced up, and we locked eyes. Springing to his feet, he ran over.

    “The poison is spreading,” he said.
    I frowned. “The herb didn’t work?”
    “Damn.” I cocked my head. “We may have to kill her.”
    “Are you kidding?” His face turned whiter than a field of fresh cotton. “She’s my friend.”
    “Mine too, but we can’t let her change.”
    “But murder…”
    “Becoming a wraith is worse than death.” A sour taste filled my mouth, as if I’d just bitten down on the rind of a lemon. “Believe me.”
    “But what about help? It still might come.”
    “Help?” I laughed. “The whole school has been turned. There is no help.”
    “The wizard said-”
    “The wizard was wrong.” I sighed. “And so were we.”
    “I trusted him.”
    “You shouldn’t have.”
    “So what now?”

    I looked down at the thin silver chain, and the circular cargo which sat on my chest. I could feel it, a dead weight, heavier than a ball of iron, calling to me, sapping my will. All I had to do was push it through the door, and the pain would stop. Forever.

    My lids slid down over the globes of my eyes. Easy…so, so easy, just to give it up. But then, there was another choice. I could put it on, claim it as my own, and use it mop up the evil outside. But I didn’t dare. I knew the danger, as had the one who had sent it to me. It had been many ages since we had last spoke, but I remembered my promise, and the oath I’d sworn.

    “Keep it secret. Keep it safe.” The note had been clear, the handwriting, disguised, but I still heard the voice of my ancient friend. Once, he had taken the shape of an old man, and inspired men to perform great deeds. His fight had ended in victory, yet, in a move unforeseen, the Shadow had returned, along with its ring. Whatever the reason, it was now up to us.

    I lifted my sword in a two handed grip. Its blue glow lit the space between, a warning sign that danger was near. My eyes wandered over the flowery script carved along its length, and I briefly remembered the time of its forging, in a distant land that could no longer be seen…at least by mortal eyes.

    Cold hands pressed down on my chest. His cloak had been age; mine was youth. I had begun as a sentry, but now was the leader–my task was clear.

    So be it.

    I turned to David, whose eyes glinted in the ethereal light like a pair of blue stars in the midnight sky. “Now we fight.”
    “He didn’t abandon us, if that’s what you mean.” I smiled, feeling the weight of millions of years. The memory brought pain, but also warmth. “He struggled alone, and so must we. Courage, David. Courage for our world.”

    His face hardened into a sheet of cold steel. “May Grace be with you.”
    “And us all.”

    I raised the blade, and a hand flew to the talisman hanging from my neck. With a swift pull, I ripped it from the chain and held it up. At first glance, it looked like a simple gold band, but I could feel its malevolent gaze, yawning across space and time, calling from the Void. Oh yes, it wanted me, and I would oblige…but not in the way it had hoped.

    I turned to David. “For the Light.” I took a deep breath, and swallowed the ring. As its cold fire sank into my gut, I started for the door. If they wanted it, they’d have to cut it out of me. Behind me, Lillian screamed, and a final smile grabbed the sides of my mouth.

    All right, you filth. I lifted my foot and kicked the barricade aside, then burst into the hall, and the horde of reeking flesh.

    It’s showtime.

  9. Mojowritin

    Here’s mine:I

    It had started when the power went out, three days ago. Once the back-up generators ran out of fuel the pupils and teachers of Midvale High had begun to worry. Cell phones had lost charge, but in the final moments before they went dead it was clear to James Fergusson, school head, that things were worse on the outside; the screams and incoherent sobbing which had formed that final phone message were sufficient to draw that conclusion.

    Food and water weren’t a problem. The school was small, 150 souls, the supplies would last a while yet. Supply cupboards had been raided, candles, torches, batteries and long forgotten bulbs rooted out of science lab corners, alongside boards and nails from the woodwork shop. The latter were used to close off windows and doors when the screaming and gunfire started somewhere in the distance.

    It was one of the younger pupils, Ginny Davis, who first heard the sounds. On the second day, pretending to play cards whilst effecting deaf ears to the screams, explosions and mayhem beyond the school gates, she’d heard a scratching beneath the gym floorboards. She’d called for hush, a couple of teachers backing her with sharp reprimands when older kids made fun of the blushing kid.

    Before too long everyone could hear the scratching, followed by a pause, then a low rumble, then more scratching. Fergusson had thought the gym, built in the basement with toilets and showers, the safest spot. He’d had his charge hole up with food, water and supplies. Only one entrance, but as the sounds continued, growing closer, uncomfortably near the surface, he was beginning to fear he’d made a mistake.

    A low moan from Miss Clarke, closest to the wooden stairs, was the first indication something was wrong. Distracted by the under-floor sounds, no-one had heard the strange humming threading through the stairs. Watching in disbelief, they could do nothing as their only exit crumbled to dust, and a million tiny specks, like soot spots scattered under the flooring. To Daisy Childs, science teacher, they looked like the nano tech she’d read about in a recent science journal.

    Day three had dawned, silent, but expectant; a brooding sense of impending action sat over the gathered souls in the gym, none of them surprised when the scraping, scratching sounds resumed, and the gym floor began to ripple and shudder as if in the grip of seismic shifts, concentrated in a strip which divided the gym neatly in half. Fergusson was not to be caught unprepared again. Splitting his people in two, they were stationed either side of the heaving, thrusting, growing schism in the floor, armed with craft knives, chalk and eraser slingshots, broken off chair legs, a couple of mops with kitchen cleavers duct taped to the ends, and a single flame-thrower Daisy had cobbled together from an aerosol and sundry science supplies.

    The floor exploded up and out…

  10. snovy121

    Alright. Here’s my attempt. It doesn’t exactly follow the prompt.

    “Don’t leave during the drill,” I told my friends the morning before the evacuation, “These aren’t about safety. They just bring in the canine unit to search all your belongings for drugs.”
    “C’mon, Lindsay, pick your battles wisely,” Parker Groswitz objected. “People know not to bring weed to school to school today. The school announced the drill. And it’s not like you do drugs anyway.”
    “It’s the principle of the matter,” I responded. “We walk in this building, and we have no rights. I have a job. I pay taxes, and I should have a say in things.”
    “I have bigger fish to fry, and so should you,” Parker quipped as walked away. Fortunately for me, there were enough easily influenced, angst-ridden kids at Winston Waters High. They swallowed my Kood-Aid every time I made my schpeel that Monday. When Mr. Granger announced for everyone to evacuate on the intercom, over four hundred of us stayed behind, congregating in the gym. The school administration told us that we were not allowed to leave the school until we obeyed and, but not one us budged. It was now Thursday, and we were still on lockdown. No wonder Parker was the first student accepted to an Ivy League in fifty years. At this rate, I don’t expect any more for another fifty years.
    “Lindsay,” I looked up to see it was the principal calling my name. “Lindsay, step outside with me for a moment.”
    “Lindsay, why are you doing this? I know you’re the one behind this whole thing,”Mr. Granger asked me when we were safely outside the gym.
    I turned my head sideways, viewing him eyes askance.
    “Lindsay, don’t blackmail me!”
    I retreated my head further, “Mr. Granger, I didn’t say anything. You did. Extortion is illegal.”
    He took a shallow breath, pursing his lips as emptied his wallet. “Lindsay, here is six hundred dollars. I give you this, and you end this ordeal. And never speak a word of last weekend.”
    “You’re giving me six hundred dollars in hush money? Keep it! I’m not a whore, Mr. Granger.”
    “Fine, here’s a thousand,” he said reaching for money in his pocket. “You come back for more, I’ll take the consequences.”
    “Mr. Granger, I never asked you for any money in the first place, but since you’re offering it, I accept your deal,” I smiled sweetly. His mouth twitched, as he restrained all desire to wring my neck.
    “Alright guys!” I announced as I walked back in the gym. “It’s over. I’m going home! The cops are going to arrest us if we don’t leave.”
    “Lame! You’re giving into the man!” I heard one objector cry.
    “It was a good fight, guys! We proved our point. But I’m out,” I said. Fucking idiots! Just don’t bring your weed to school on evacuation day.

  11. Augie

    Not a tear-jerker (Désolé), and over the limit. I figured it’s the weekend and the prompt will change soon anyhow.

    Their Wars

    The High School Substitute teacher walks into the classroom….

    Some roll their eyes, some ignore his presence, and few smile. The substitute looks at the young 12th-grader minds, recalling his graduation day from military training years ago.

    He thinks to himself, ‘They should stop calling this a class room.’ In seconds, he profiles the group. The class seating is perfectly cubed, with internal wars. They have had months to find there given place.

    Many wars to stop, including his own.

    ‘Time to mix things up’

    “Good morning, I am your Substitute teacher for the next month. I will start by changing your comfort zone. Don’t worry, it will be fun.

    We all have two identities.

    One is the perception we intentionally give off, ‘what we want others to see.’

    The other one, how WE TRULY perceive ourselves as being. Which is normally kept to ourselves.

    You will be surprised how much you have in common with others in this room. You will also be surprised how you are viewed.

    Today’s drill is going to require you to answer three questions about yourself.

    Everyone, pull out a piece of paper and a writing device.”

    The identified class bully shouts, “Yo, teach, ain’t this a History class? What do we call you anyway?”

    The substitute smiles, “ yes, it is. For now, just call me Mr. Hope.”

    The child shrinks in his desk as the new sub stares him in the eye.

    “Think about your favorite color. Write down the first three things you think ‘about that color’ that makes you like it. Here is my personal example: “mysterious, bright, deep”

    The Substitute waits for every one to finish

    Now, “Think about your favorite animal, write down three things ‘about the animal’, that makes you like it.” Here is my example: “Hunter, majestic, wise”

    The class starts getting in to it.

    “Now, I want you to hear me out, you go home and have a normal evening, going to bed at a normal time. Everything in your home is normal for you.

    The sub raises his voice, “What is normal for you.”

    The sub shouts, “Suddenly! You wake up. You are sitting in a complete white chair, dressed in complete white clothing, in a complete white room.”

    He softens his voice, “Answer with one word……… how do you feel?”

    The teacher walks by each desk scanning the answers. He stops at Johnny’s desk and smiles.

    “OK, starting with the first student on the left, call out the answers you gave for the ‘favorite color’ question. If one or more from anyone else in the class matches, (even closely), Take the chair next to them.

    As students take new seats, the substitute smiles, “almost there.”

    “OK, the same thing, Read out your response to ‘favorite animal question’, taking the seat next to anyone that has one of the same answers, (or close)

    Now separate by those that has the most shared total answers.

    Shouts of “OMG”, and other crap, fill the room as students greet each other , changing seats again.

    The bully looks at Johnny and the other students next to him, “ Hey, teach, isn’t there another question? And what does this have to do with History?”

    The substitute smiles, “Change….. Everyone please be seated.”

    “Look at the students sitting next to you, this is your team for the next month. I will bring your team through different scenarios. Each team will be given a grade, that is also your personal grade. If you all maintain a B average, I will continue telling the story.

    At the end of each story, work as a team. One team member from each group will stand reciting the meaning behind each tale. There are many meanings, so respect each teams perspective.

    The students focus on the subs eyes…..

    “I was stationed in Japan and was invited into a locals home. This was one of those ‘Fancy Folk’ situations and the American Military wanted me to represent. Anyway, I saw an old man sitting in the corner by himself holding a samurai sword. I wondered why he doesn’t join us. I caught the eyes of my host; they are embarrassed at his presence. A servant comes and ushers him back to his room, hiding him from me.

    The bully shouts, “UN-COOL!”

    The sub responds like a California valley girl, “ I know, Riiiiiiiight!”

    The fog of war in the class room lifts, the sub smiles…

    “Class, I walked to his room and listened to his wonderful stories. I was captured in a dream as the ancient tales were told. He pulled out a samurai sword that had been in his family for many generations. Apparently an American solider returned the sword to him many years after WWII. He just wanted to show it to me at dinner that night.

    Before his first story, his family members and servants bowed at the door, asking permission to enter.

    I was honored, that he finally was.

    By the second day, word was out about his tales and many neighbors sat at his feet in the houses main room.

    His story starts with the creation of the sword, and the many journeys it takes.

    I will start telling you the stories tomorrow……. The bell rings.

    The Substitute never told the students the meaning behind the third question, ‘the white room.’ He remembers Johnny’s answer, ‘Survive’ and chuckles, “That’s my response to that question too.”

    He knew, most of the students’ answers would be close to the same to that question. ‘That’s a good thing’

    By the end of the third day, the student wars are over. They rushed into the classroom every day that month to hear the tales, from a man that believes ‘change starts with understanding.’

    A month later their teacher returns, the Substitute walks away, smiling… The teacher ask the class “who is that? Where is Mr. Fugiaki?”

    All in all,…. one less brick in the wall.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Augie, This is so interesting the way the teacher brought the class together. I was totally drawn into the classroom. And the ending just rocked. A quick story, about 20 years ago I remodeled a house in San Antonio. The owner spoke with a german accent and had retired from a large insurance company in SA. He was majestic in nature making suggestions to my sub contractors. While I was there, I told the subs,
      “Do what he says, he was a luftwaffe commander.”
      “Oh no,” he said, “a submarine commander.” He went on to tell me he served six years and the Germans lost so many officers, he was a commader of his own sub at nineteen. Two less bricks in the wall.

      1. Augie

        Thanks Manwe38, I ran this over and over again in my head, “how to create a story where every one can see something different if they were to read it again?’ I am really trying to master that skill, Thanks for your comment.

    2. derrdevil

      Augie, this was beautiful. Thanks for sharing it. Maybe you should expand this into a short story. I love how you structured the story, wove the tale into it, and delivered your message. It was seamless and a very easy read.

      A few awkward tense changes when Mr Sub was telling his story, and out of place words, but all in all, fantastic! I wish there are more because I’m waiting, eager to know what those other tales were. Lovely!

      1. Augie

        Thanks! In the 80’s me and a group of friends climbed MT. Fugi. (coming down was much harder than going up!) Here we are, a group of young bucks gasping for air, when a very old Japanese man greeted us as he jogged by. Ohh,.. I had to find him, and hear his history. My group traveled to Nagasaki and visited the museums. (sad) Guess who we bumped into? My daughter loves when I tell his stories! Thanks for the comments!

    3. snuzcook

      This is a very kind and wise story, Augie. I like the kind of wars you chose for this one, and it was a good way of describing the state of confusion and angst that is life and school at that age.
      This was thought-provoking, and the way you unfold the story within a story was well-paced.

      I think if you choose to go down the road toward teaching, you will bring a lot to the table that is unique and powerful.

  12. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    The Boogeymen

    They’re all around us. Boogeymen. They pursue us, their only purpose to kill humans. Like shadows upon the wall, they’re dark visages of men without faces, eyes, or mouths. Silent stalkers, and when they come for you, you know it. They make themselves known.

    When I first saw one, it was the first day of my freshman year in high school. I walked along the clean tile floor, staring down at the mirror-like finish. The fluorescent lights seemed to take their time passing me, though they moved much faster when I looked at the ceiling. I felt the familiar tickle of my bladder begging me to release its storage, and so I ducked into a nearby bathroom.

    As usual, the multi-urinal abode smelled horrid, like ancient piss and moldy water. After I finished bleeding my internal bag dry, I washed my hands at the sink. Had I not done this—had I not learned that hygiene was important—I might not have seen it. As I lathered my hands with a soap that stank with the rich aroma of hospital-grade antibacterial, I looked up to check my fifteen-year-old face for blemishes that might ruin me forever. What I found instead ruined me just the same.

    Standing behind me, unnervingly motionless and staring at me with its blank black face, was a boogeyman. Its arms remained slack at its sides, is body wrapped in a tar-like flesh. The hairs on the nape of my neck twisted into corkscrews and I whipped around to face the freak behind me. Nothing was there.

    I moved along the bathroom to check the stalls, but I found no one. The bathroom was entirely empty, except for a frightfully white and fully terrified version of me.

    I returned to the hushed vomiting of the water at the sink and refused to look into the mirror. I didn’t know what I’d seen, but I didn’t want to see it again. However, my curiously laid siege to my willpower, and as I exited the bathroom I looked into the mirror once more. The boogeyman was there again, and it turned toward me, hands at its side, staring at me.

    I tore ass from the bathroom as fast as I could, even earned a few stern looks from teachers who thought I shouldn’t be running in the halls. I didn’t care, though. I wanted rid myself of the creature; however, as I would later learn, you can run away from your fate.

    When I arrived at my Science class, I slipped through the door as the bell rang. I threw my book bag at the foot of my seat and slumped into the cold chair.

    Lilly, the gorgeous and smart as hell Lilly with blonde hair and who had emerald eyes I swear to God glowed with a magical phosphoresce, sat in front of me. She turned around in her seat and said, “That was close.”

    “Yeah, I suppose it was.” I said, keeping my eye on the door.

    “You okay?”


    “Are you okay? You seem a bit, I dunno, off.”

    “I don’t know.” I said, and though I wanted to tell her but I couldn’t. I knew she would never believe me.

    “Alright, class, time to get started.” Mrs. Winters said, and walked to the whiteboard. “Today we’re going to learn about the human reproductive system.”

    I listened to a few of the boys clumped in the back of the room snigger at what the teacher said. I however, nearly lost my lunch. Not because of the subject, but because of what I saw in the reflection of the picture frame holding the teacher’s credentials. The boogeyman followed me. It was in the room with me. With us.

    I shot up from my seat and everyone turned toward me. My hands and arms shook violently, and the teacher said, “Is everything okay?”

    “Y-yes, Mrs. Winters.”

    “Good, then sit back down, please.”

    As I started to sit down, I watched the boogeyman move within the refection. It crossed the back of the room unlike anything I’d ever seen. It seemed to skip and jump, but not as though it was teleporting, it was that it moved so fast you could just barely detect its movement. When it stopped, I could finally see it in person, standing next to Mrs. Winters.

    “Now class, the human reproductive system is a complex,” she began to say, but before she could finish, the boogeyman jumped into her.

    “No!” I screamed, and stood upright from my half-sitting position.

    A few of my classmate giggled at me, but if they could’ve seen what I saw, they wouldn’t have laughed just then.

    The teacher turned away from the whiteboard and picked up the wooden pointer she often used during her lectures. It was more-or-less a pool cue, but she seemed to think it was a pointer, so I mostly just rolled with it.

    Mrs. Winters walked toward me, eyes lifeless and jaw slack, navigating between the desks until she stood right in front of me. She raised the long pointer like a dagger as Lilly jumped up from her seat. The woman, without hesitation, brought the cue down at me, but I ducked. The point of it stabbed the kid who sat behind me, piecing his neck.

    As the boy choked to death on his own blood and the wood sticking out of his throat, I grabbed Lilly’s hand and rushed out of the room.

    “What the hell happened?” She screamed at me, but I didn’t answer her. We needed to get away first.

    As we reached the front of the school, I watched two male teachers move in front of the doors. Their legs spread shoulder-wide, ready for anyone that might try to escape, perhaps ready to keep me from escaping. I immediately turned and ushered her into a nearby empty room.

    I locked the door and dragged a desk in front of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until too late that the door opened out toward the hallway instead of toward the room.

    “Tell me. What’s going on?”

    “I don’t now. Something… I guess some kind of monster, possessed Mrs. Winters.”

    “What?” Lilly said. “That’s fucking crazy talk.”

    “Lilly! You saw what happened back there.” I said, pointing at the wall. “She just killed Rolf. Staked her cue or pointer or whatever through his fucking neck!”

    Lilly seemed to turn inward as if it was only now finally hitting her. I took her hand into mine, and she was trembling just as bad.

    “What are we going to do?”

    “Fight. It’s the only thing we can do.”

    “But I…” She said, and though the moment wasn’t even remotely romantic, I interrupted her with a kiss. It was mostly for my own sake, to calm my nerves, give me reassurance that there was something worth fighting for, and it was Lilly. The intense emotion swelled from that single small kiss, and gave me the rush that I needed to fight hard to keep her alive.

    As my luck would have it, my fervor to protect her didn’t last long. Just after I locked us in that room, a creature appeared in the reflection of the window. Not a second later, Lilly tried to kill me.

    I fought her off as best I could without hurting her, and I got out of the room as fast as possible. Back in the hallway, teachers, students, and anyone else I once knew were now possessed by the boogeymen. They were everywhere, determined to kill me.

    I left the school that day, and never returned. Out in the world, reflective surfaces carried with them boogeymen that could hunt me down through anyone and anything. Eventually, I holed myself up in a condemned house that had absolutely no reflective surfaces. Anything I saw that even reflected the dullest bit of light I covered with black matte paint.

    “Here I sit, writing this because I know that I will not last long. The boogeymen have finally found the one human that managed to escape them. I hear them clawing at the door, nails breaking against the splintered wood. Soon the door will fall and I’ll be dead. For anyone who finds this, please find a way to stop the boogeymen. There is no hope for me, but perhaps you will be able to stop them from killing anyone else. You are humanity’s only hope.” Frank read aloud.

    Frank held the bloody letter pinched between his index and thumb. The police had arrested three men for breaking into the house, killing the vagrant squatting there, and rummaging through his belongings. They claimed they had no memory of what happened, but Frank had been part of the Newport Police Department cleaning crew for so long that he believe people to be nothing but evil.

    He stuffed the letter into the trash bag, and looked at the bloody mess where the man’s skull had been crushed into a fine pulp. He grumbled, knowing he had a busy day ahead of him.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Oh wow! I used to see the boogeyman in the dark of the corner of my bedroom where my brother and shared the room. I would scream bloody murder and he shut me up before our parents
      This was really a scary read.

    2. WritingKittenOfLoki

      Amazing and terrifying! I really enjoyed reading this. 🙂 Though I must admit that I have a like/dislike relationship with the ending; I like it because it allows the story to continue, but I think it takes away from the terror. I’m not trying to say I know best – far from it – it’s just that, I know I appreciate feedback of all types, so I sometimes assume others do too.

    3. Manwe38

      Jay, you are the master.

      I aspire to write as strongly as you.

      This story was outstanding. You took a timeless enemy and made him fresh.

      Simply awesome.

    4. Mojowritin

      Interesting take on the idea of a bogeyman. Feels like the sort of tale that deserves a longer piece with the chance for more background on what they are and how they finally find him, or anyone they want dead, and why him specifically? Good stuff.

  13. lionetravail

    (Have been absolutely overwhelmed on call this week- sorry not to read and comment as I usually do. Went for more of my comfort zone with this one, which required turning the prompt on its ear (at least a bit). Hope you all enjoy.)

    Education: A Full-Contact Death Sport

    Win Ston Waters-High School had been built in the remote mountains, amid waterfalls of astounding beauty and power. The seclusion was necessary: the education of our young is perilous work indeed. Before they reach the third moulting and final maturity, they are governed more often by impulsive rage than considered reasoning. We become, at least, slightly less volatile once we reach adulthood.

    In the earliest recorded days of our history, the mortality rate among our young was more than ninety percent, and it was believed that this natural selection was necessary. It was only after the Renewal Clan took political control two thousand years ago and instituted many reforms under the guidance of Win Ston of the Renewal Clan that The People began to flourish. It required curbing the cannibalistic violence of the young, thereby reducing the death rate to a mere unfortunate few. The resulting population explosion changed forever the face of our world.

    That is, as is sometimes said, ancient history: three days ago, we lost containment at the School.

    It began when one of the educators- we were all elderly, well past breeding years, and therefore the most expendable and logical choice for this duty- succumbed unexpectedly to shalzat’s disease at the worst possible time. The young he was controlling broke free and fell to ravening upon his suddenly-available carcass. He was the first of us to fall.

    The children nearby were agitated by the death scent of his ichor as he was torn apart, and they became too crazed to control and broke free of their collars. I’d like to say that it was shock which slowed my reaction-time, such that protocol was not immediately enacted, but a sad part of me knows that my failure was really due to the infirmity of age and that I’ve lived too long.

    Given my error, the madness spread rapidly. Students fought amongst themselves, and against us as we sought to regain control. The linear measurement tools used to instruct were electrified and doubled also as control rods, and they helped to isolate the least belligerent quickly. When several of the young broke into the inner offices and slew a clawful of teachers, the Headmaster ordered the electrostatic cannons deployed. Their beams, normally used to reinitialize the the electrostatic teaching boards in the Great Auditorium, scrambled the neurons in the immature outer moults, and contained that breakout.

    Only one day ago, we were forced to reprogram one of the teaching data pads to explode, killing several of the most violent and uncontrollable, which also stunned just about double that number. That left a clawful of the most cunning still extant, and we retired for the night with them confined in an area of the School placed on lockdown.

    This morning we discovered the deaths of a double clawful of my fellow teachers in their beds- two of the young somehow got into the ventilation and bypassed the guards we’d posted. Once they were captured, we marched claw to claw against the last few, and since we fought to capture and they fought to kill, we lost many others before the remnants of the young had been subdued.

    Would that I had died, too. This incident, as all such, will be investigated in the most efficient and harshest possible manner. The punishment for those of us who have failed the children in our charge so badly and yet survived will be both long and painful before we are allowed the escape into death, as a warning to all the other educators on Homeworld.

    1. lionetravail

      Not my best editing… Could have eliminated some repetitions i missed with only. Two, rushed, rounds of it.

      Welp, hope it’s still enjoyed. Thanks Jhowe!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You’re up on all eight David. What a world you’ve created. What came to mind was my Algebra 1 teacher in high school. Her nickname was “East The Beast.” She was head of the math department. I made straight A’s in her class, I had no other choice but death in my mind.

        What a tale!

    2. Reaper

      Wonderful, glad you posted this. I’ve had the idea of doing soft scifi around how other animals evolved and the differences and I can never get down to it. I really tried once and gave up. Writers like you who can really make me see it are why I know I should avoid it as it would only be a pale imitation.

    3. lionetravail

      Thanks everyone for the kind thoughts, and glad you all enjoyed it! I know it made this take into a really fun one for me. (And yes, those wascally alien kids!)

      Reaper, the way you write, I’m absolutely sure this non-human-centric writing style isn’t beyond you. Like most things, it takes some practice and editing (read- “severe editing”), but mostly it’s the same visualizing we all do all the time, and that you do so well: put yourself in the POV of your character, think about how you’d think as them, and then go.

  14. snuzcook


    Jim, the Vice Principal, paced at one end of the teachers’ lounge, slapping a red plastic ruler against his palm like a movie colonel addressing the troops. “Let’s have the final report on supplies.”

    Sylvia, the Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, stood. “We’ve cleared all potential weapons from the classrooms, and we’ve stockpiled 98 erasers and six eraser canons, 205 paperbacks and 15 sling book grenade launchers. We also have control of the toilet paper, coffee and energy bar inventory except for three vending machines in the student end of the building.”

    “Good. Remember, we will push our advantage just enough to guarantee the students are fully engaged. We need to get them to respond. We want as few casualties as possible, but we must make this good.” He fixed his cold Vice Principal’s gaze on each of us in turn. “Are you ready?” Most of the teachers and staff assembled in the teacher’s lounge nodded, but it was clear some of them were not yet committed.

    “I don’t know, Jim. It just seems so drastic.” Winnie, the part time school nurse, repeated the sentiment she had been expressing all morning. There was a collective groan.

    “Shut up, Winnie.” “Why’s she in here, anyway?” “Stop whining!”

    Jim held up his hand in a gesture both commanding attention and indicating forbearance.

    “Winnie, we want you with us. We may need you if things get out of hand. But we won’t keep anyone here who isn’t 100% committed to what we are trying to do.”

    “Look at it this way, Winnie,” Barbara, the math teacher, positioned herself face to face with the pale nurse. “When the students responded to the new budget measures with a sit-in protest, I said, ‘good for them.’ Eliminating food service except for high-priced vending machines was terrible. Replacing the lunchroom with a competency testing area was a major blow to the students as well as the staff. Eliminating all activities that cannot be quantified by competency scores that bring dollars into the District was downright mercenary.

    “We responded with a lock down because that’s District policy. But when the District told the media that the demonstration stemmed from staff complacence and a lack of leadership on campus, that was the final straw.

    “We have to draw our own line in the sand. We have to stand up for ourselves. The students have it right.”

    “But, Barb, if we agree with the students, why all this business about eraser cannons and book grenades? Why not just join them in a peaceful demonstration?”

    Jim, who was still standing in front of the group, responded. “Because we need to be more than a blip on the media radar. Protests and parent rallies last spring didn’t do any good. The shock of the new policies has worn off over the summer and they were implemented despite all the protests. We need to do something drastic.”

    “But this is crazy! Someone could get hurt! We’re forcing good kids to abandon peaceful means and resort to violence.”

    “Yes,” Jim said, buckling on a holster fitted with a pouch for half a dozen rulers. “There will be blood. But it is a battle that will not be forgotten.” He stood with his hand on the door knob, turned toward the assembled teachers, all wearing bits and pieces of cobbled together weaponry and protective gear. “We do this for the good of educators everywhere. Are you with me?”

    This time a resounding “Yes!” answered his call, and we crowded as one out into the empty corridor and into history.

      1. nwdahl

        Nice take on the prompt and I love the imagery of the teachers stockpiling supplies and throwing together armor. The dialogue is well done and it really brings your characters to life in such a short time. Great work!

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Really liked this snuz. Sounded like the Normandy Invasion. Wish there were a second part to add to this. I’d like to know wht happened. I also agree withnwdahl, the dialogue was excellent.

      1. snuzcook

        Thanks for the kind words. My time out is self-imposed along the lines of ‘sois sage; tais toi’–in other words, back away slowly and regain equilibrium. Not quite there yet.

    1. Reaper

      This was brilliant. The angle you took was amazing and thought provoking. I could hear the characters in distinct voices in my head. So nicely done. And while not an exact match there is a slight stretch when it comes to the fading anger that makes your title perfect.

  15. Kerry Charlton



    Arm hole peepers – 97% 0f the males at T and A High School, Memphis

    Bumper Bullets – Chrome extrusions found on 1953 Cadillac bumpers

    Bumper Bullet Bras – Same material with straps

    Cotton Padding – Used in bumper bullet bras to keep the ‘you knows’ from rattling

    Arm Holes – Cut large in starched girl’s blouses for arm movement

    Hadacol – Health tonic in the ’50’s. Baptist ladies drank. 24 proof, banned in ’58

    MC – Bud Brickfart, star running back , football team T and A High

    DA – Duck’s Ass

    ‘It wasn’t any big deal’, I thought, peering through Sandy Rush’s blouse trying to see her ‘you knows’. If she put them out there, why wasn’t I supposed to look? Well, Harry Wrath, our principal thought differently. At six-three, he emulated the perfect imitation of Boris Karloff. Who was to question him? Certainly not me.

    He walked the halls all day, looking for trouble. I never looked at his evil eye fearing I’d wet my birches. And how would that look, a star, all-state running back? I had never spoken to him in three years of high school, until three days ago when he had the school police arrest me.

    And at all times, homecoming week. So they suspended me, not from class but football. “I’m so sorry,” Sandy told me. Well hells-put, she let me touch them at the Bull Run Drive In picture show last Saturday. Why in hell couldn’t I look at them on Monday? Not that I saw or felt anything but the front end of a stupid Cadillac bumper. What was I supposed to do? Date a Cadillac? Holy Hadacol.

    So the students declared seccession from school, girls wore blue jeans on Tuesday and were sent home for dress code. Guy’s boasted DA haircuts and joined the girls in being banned. T and A High School was Ghost School. Tennessee Department Of Education suspended T and A’s reimbursemwnt chech because the halls were empty.

    Twenty four hundred students didn’t report for class on Wednesday, with yours truly leading the entire varsity football team dressed for battle. Marching in our wake, the 110 piece marching band followed, playing a rhythm and blues song from the heart of Memphis, ‘Mary Had A Baby’. Behind the band, forty flat carts rolled in rhythm to the early version of rock and roll.

    During Tuesday night, students had delivered hundreds of ammunition cannon balls, compacted projectiles of concentrated dog poop and an occasional horse and cow poop for texture. Same night, shop students had constructed primitive catapult launcher for the poop balls.

    As the parade reached the front of T and A, teachers had lined the sidewalk, jeering us On command from our leader, who happened to be me, a mountain of fresh dog shit rained on the teachers. Screaming, cursing and some crying, thery broke rank and retreated to the gym. So we locked the doors from the outside and shut the water off so they couldn’t wash the poop off. Three in the morning we let them out.

    Thursday, girls wore blue jeans, guys, DA’s. Not a word from Harry Wrath. Friday night I ran for 312 yards, we whipped State Street High on the west side, 49 to 13. Saturday night was the drive in with Sandy. She kept apologizing for the arm hole peeping arrest and I kept kissing her.

    She turned to me and said, “Would you like to unhook me?”

    1. Manwe38

      Ah, the sweet taste of victory.

      The poop grenades were the perfect way to start my morning: with a laugh.

      Here’s to victory over bad principals everywhere!

    2. Reaper

      Kerry, I have taken about two days off of reading but have been looking forward to your story this week. I knew you would have a take that was classic and interesting and you did not disappoint. Wonderful story with a nice pace and interesting voice. I love your lexicon at the beginning. Though for the real Young ens you may need to explain who Boris Karloff is. I know, it’s a sad day when that is true.

  16. sjmca1966

    Reap What You Sew –

    Friday 18 June 2156
    12:35 PM

    A fight had broken out between two students in the grounds of Winston Waters High. A surveillance-drone hovered above the rapidly increasing crowd. Principal Hoover’s voice bellowed from the drones speakers, “You have five seconds to cease altercation!”

    Within six seconds, two balls of intense white light struck Cheetah Mather and Corbin Lowe in their necks, sending them to the ground unconscious, “Everybody lay face down on the ground immediately!”

    From the periphery of the prostrate crowd, Wylie Novak discreetly pulled a hand held device from his bag and entered a twelve digit code. The drone began ascending skywards, it disintegrated as soon as it came in contact with the plasma dome that encased the school.

    Three more drones soon converged, but with the push of thirty-six buttons, they met with the same fate as their predecessor. Wylie had been meticulous in his planning and the schools remaining drones stood no chance when they arrived.

    Principal Hoover raced down the corridor from his office to the teachers cafeteria, “We have a situation people,” he said, as he burst through the door.

    “What is it this time?” asked Medusa Coppins, “Is that decrepit old nuclear reactor overheating again?”

    “No, it’s the students, they’ve taken out all the surveillance-drones.”

    “I thought they were fail-safe,” said Medusa.

    “Now’s not the time. Grab whatever weapons you can.”

    “Um, you spent all our weapons budget on those fail-safe drones.”

    Principal Hoover glared at Medusa.

    The transitional windows of the cafeteria suddenly went black and all slammed shut, the lights then went out. One window flung back open as a canister came hurtling through and promptly closed again.

    The canister started glowing as it came to rest in the middle of the floor. The hologram of Wylie Novak that emerged was in real-time, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope. . . sorry, I couldn’t resist that,” he said. “Seriously though, I’ll keep this short. Firstly—if you haven’t already noticed—all communication to the outside world has been severed.”

    As one, the staff reached for their devices and found them all without power, “Secondly, the perimeter is under our control and as you constantly remind us, any attempt to leave will be fatal.”

    “Why are you doing this Novak?” asked Principal Hoover.

    “We have committed no crime and we will not be treated like convicts. We won’t stand by and watch any more of our innocent friends die. Await my instructions.”

    The hologram then evaporated and the cafeteria lights flickered back to life. Coach Shaquille Bernstein headed for the door. Gingerly he opened it and peered out. When he saw around thirty of the largest boys in the school standing with their arms folded, he closed the door, “We’re screwed,” he said.

    It was four hours later when the teachers cafeteria went dark and the canister began glowing again, “Mr Lleyton Attwood, stand before me,” said Wylie, as his image appeared, “You have been found guilty by the Student Council of causing mental distress to Skyline Banks, causing her to try and exit the school, resulting in her death. Head to the school entrance now. The rest of you await your verdicts.”

    1. jhowe

      I enjoyed this. Very well writeen. The students under the dome got their revenge. For some reason, I found the name Shaquille Bernstein to be humorous.

    2. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

      Nice job, SJ…. but I must say… I read PROSTATE instead of PROSTRATE, and suddenly everything became phallic. “Hoover”, “Medusa” with her snake “heads”… to name a few–my mind ruined it for me. haha

      Well-written and good job, SJ!

    3. WritingKittenOfLoki

      The Star Wars reference is great! I love all the names. I felt sad about Skyline Banks just because I really like her name.

      I had several movie characters playing roles in my head for this one. I was seeing Wylie Novak, played by Ansel Elgort – he plays Caleb Prior from “Divergent” and Augustus Waters in “The Fault In Our Stars”. For Principal Hoover, I was seeing the teacher from “The Incredibles” – the one that is always trying to prove that Dash is acting up during class. And for coach Bernstein, I was picturing the coach from “Meet The Robinson’s”.

      Great story sj!

    4. Reaper

      Very nicely written. There was just enough humor to keep this from being bleak while keeping it dark. It straddles a nice line between revenge and justice that makes me sympathize with both sides.

  17. nwdahl

    When you step into the halls of Winston Waters High, you may feel that you are stepping into a regular, run of the mill, educational institution. Upon entering the school, you’ll see; blue-grey lockers matching blue-grey tiled floors, scummy drinking fountains with wads of rock hard gum stuck around each drain, offices and classrooms filled with people starring at clocks. There is not much difference between Winston Waters High, and almost every other state-funded educational institution across America. The thing you won’t find in any of those other schools, the thing that makes Winston Waters High unique, is something you can’t quite put your finger on.
    You may not even notice this subtle anomaly upon first glance. When the school bell rings at 2:55pm and the children close their books neatly to be dismissed, you may think this is a normal thing for them to do, and it is. Then, when they tuck their chairs into their desks ever so nicely, you may think, oh how well mannered, and they are. Finally, when they walk quietly with their friends to their lockers and pile their textbooks eagerly into their backpacks, you may think, wow, these kids really can’t wait to do their homework, and they can’t. At this point, you stop, you may start to chew your nails while you scratch your head and ponder. Then, it hits you, and you think: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE CHILDREN?
    The kids at Winston Waters High are quiet, and well mannered, and overly eager when it comes to academia. These type of children are commonly found in schools for the talented and gifted, or a Catholic school where the nuns are still allowed to crack a ruler on a child’s rear, but not at a public school. The kids at Winston Waters High should be snotty, and loud, and sneakily texting their BFF under the desk so their teachers don’t see. They are, however, not doing any of these things.
    Winston Waters High is a test school for a trial run of the most controversial program to hit schools since No Child Left Behind. If this trial is completed successfully, the program is set to run in over fifty schools across the nation. What is this controversial program that’s turning puberty stricken pre-teens into model citizens you ask? The program has been marketed to parents and schools as the Enhanced Educational and Behavioral Improvement program, or as students know it, “the shot.”
    “EEBI is a miracle program,” parents and teachers have hailed.
    “The EEBI program will change the American educational system in a way not seen since the invention of Adderall.” Doctors chant.
    Each Monday of every week, children line up to receive “the shot.” The FDA deemed the shot harmless and effective after the thousands of tests done on chimpanzees produced Immaculate specimens. The kids receiving the shot have shown the same improvements. A miracle drug that turns kids into little learning machines with sunny dispositions can not possibly have any negative side effects. As long as the kids get their shot during a certain time frame, every Monday, of every week, nothing in the world will go wrong.
    It is the third Monday morning of the trial run for the EEBI program. A whole team of nurses is rolling up their sleeves and readying themselves to administer a tiny pinprick to the arms of two hundred students. Two hundred students are waiting outside the school, readying themselves to enter and receive a small poke in their arm. Dr. Sally White, head of the trial EEBI program number 001 at Winston Waters High, jiggles her shiny key in a lock. When she opens the vault that should contain ten cases of the drug, Citochylaphram, her eyes pop out of her head in a way that makes her resemble a cartoon character. Inside the vault, there is nothing. Dr. White’s shiny little key hits the floor, then her body follow in a hard flop.
    A young nurse in a light blue uniform races to her side and shakes her, demanding to know what is the matter. After a moment, Dr. White comes to in a haze. Her face grows pale as recognition sets in.
    “The drugs,” she says, her voice a light whisper of panic, “they’re gone, they’re all gone.”
    The young nurse shakes her head at Dr. White.
    “That’s… impossible.”
    She looks inside the vault and grabs at her own chest for a heartbeat.
    “Doctor! What do we do?”
    Dr. White gets to her feet slowly, like a wounded animal, dusting herself off as she rises.
    “We act natural, we don’t panic. We’ll inject the children with a placebo, and then bring in a new shipment of Citochylaphram for next Monday.”
    “But doctor… the withdrawal could have a very negative effect… think of the chimpanzees.”

    1. snuzcook

      Love your premise, nwdahl, and love the final line! Well done!

      Now, a challenge. This is well written, and very good in its present form. Kudos! However, I suspect it could lose a lot of words and be as good if not better. Just an exercise to see what you discover, thrown out there by someone who has learned a lot from the same exercise.

    2. Reaper

      There is a voice to this that seems so familiar but not one I can put my finger on. While I agree seeing if you can lose some words is a wonderful exercise please do not lose that voice to do it. Especially if you expand this. The closest I can come to explaining what I mean is this reads what I think it would be like if Bradbury and King worked with Rod Sterling on a movie length episode of the Twilight Zone. This could be the intro and the opening scene.

  18. dsjarvis

    Vanishing Act: Part 1

    A horrible case of the flu forced me to miss the first three days of school. I have the doctor’s note to prove it. However, I must be hallucinating, because Winston Waters High is never this empty at 7 AM on a Thursday morning. It’s only devoid of people, though. Backpacks, papers, a couple of skateboards, pens, pencils, and even clothing clutter the hallways and classrooms.

    I check the front office, all of the classrooms, and the gymnasium, but don’t find a single soul. Am I early to school or something? The gymnasium is trashed, and now I’m actually worried. The basketball goal on the east end, which normally connects to the ceiling, rests on the ground – surrounded by the shattered remains of the backboard. The bleachers contain piles of backpacks and notebooks, but no owners to claim them.

    One of the backpacks on the third row of bleachers stands out to me. Snowboarding and mountaineering stickers blanket Xavier Rain’s bookbag. The circular Breckenridge icon in the center of the backpack verifies the owner, since he stole that sticker from the resort gift shop last ski season.

    A small ring-bound notebook with the words “PLEASE READ” written in all caps lies next to Xavier’s backpack. I open the notebook, and the first line reads, “It all began with Granger Washington.” Granger mainly keeps to himself, but blurts out strange phrases here and there. His absolute refusal to shower, or wear anything other than his brown collared shirt and slacks makes him a social pariah. He talks about creating a disease that will decimate mankind, but most people laugh and ignore him.

    I read on: “That weird little bastard mixed something together while we were in second period Chemistry. It’s really kind of hazy what happened next, but next thing we know, he vanished. A cloud of red smoke filled the room, and we all choked on it. When we opened the door, the smoke expanded and filled the hallways and other classrooms.

    People shoved each other to the ground and headed for the exits, but fire blocked all of the exterior doors. The fire didn’t move though; it remained stationary in front of the doors. Most of the school piled into the gymnasium, and fortunately the red smoke steered clear of us. I peered through the windows into the hallway outside, and saw that the smoke had dissipated.

    One of the cheerleaders, Becky I think, sat on the ground by her locker and sobbed. I knocked on the window, attempting to gain her attention, but then witnessed something bizarre. A circular cloud of red smoke formed next to her, sprouted sinister black eyes, opened a gaping mouth, ate her, then vanished. There was no blood or anything, she just disappeared.”

    A loud thumping sound in the hallway steals my attention from the notebook. I hide beneath the bleachers and peak out the side. A small cloud of red smoke enters the gym and morphs into Granger Washington.

    1. nwdahl

      You paint a clear picture in the readers mind of the state of the school and it draws them into the story. The MC’s narration is well done and the writing is easy to read and follow. One thing that is difficult to escape when writing in first person is the use of the word I at the beginning of a sentence. It is something I have trouble with as well, but it is worth avoiding to create a more engaging sentence and story.

    2. snuzcook

      Pulled me right into this one, dsjarvis, and didn’t disappoint. The first person, reading a first person journal seemed to work in this situation. Love the sinister ending. Potential for expanding into a much larger story. Well done!

    3. Reaper

      I almost didn’t comment because I see part one and hope to see part two and will often wait. However as you may have meant that in general and not just here I will state that I loved this.

  19. Pete

    Of course it was on Lieutenant Edgar Crank’s last day of service that Winston Waters High School turned into a complete dumpster fire. His team arrived to find the doors chained and the ground floor dark and empty. A spiral of smoke leaked from the a third floor window as a banner reading SENIORS RULE flapped in the wind.

    They got to work. Police sealed off the entrances, with radios squawking dispatches as concerned parents and curious bystanders paced the sidewalk behind the saw horses and yellow tape. Every so often, an explosion threatened to crumble the school and a parent would drop to their knees and wail.

    All Lieutenant Crank knew was what he’d gathered from a shell-shocked custodian who’d managed to escape through the auxiliary doors just as the fighting started. The Lieutenant did not know much.

    On the second night, the Lieutenant received a call from an unidentified student, who the custodian later recognized as Brice Geiger—the all-state pretty boy quarterback and pride of Winston Waters whose Dad had gotten him out of at least three speeding violations. The punk explained that Principal Wilkins was safe, and no harm would come to him if demands were met.

    He bit his tongue, wanting to smack the squeak out of the kid’s voice. “Go on.”

    “We want a Jay-Z concert, no, hang on,” on the phone, Crank heard hushed voices, followed by some rustling. “No, a Macklemore concert. And we want our grades exposed.”

    “Expunged?” the Lieutenant sighed.

    “Yeah, and….and we want better lunches,” he said, his voice gaining steam. “No more of this first lady crap. We want pizza.”

    Click. If Crank thought he’d seen it all, this was a feature presentation.

    That night, a gritty, chalk-like fog clung to the nighttime air as the WGRT News team arrived. Martha Flintlock, plastic smiler and thorn-thruster extraordinaire, hustled over and stuck a microphone in the-should-have-been-fishing Lieutenant’s face.

    “What can you tell us about the situation?”

    Just great, he thought, before stating the first of many no comments.

    The next phone call came on day three. Crank took it in the van, his face wrinkling at the sound of prim and proper female voice. “This is Mrs. Lavigne. We have taken control of the students. Please advise that we have taken control of the school.

    “Great, we’ll storm the building,” Crank said, feeling that first tug of the bass in his forearms.

    “Not a good idea, Lieutenant. We still have Principal Wilkins.”

    The tug vanished.

    “And we have a list of demands.

    After gust-producing sigh, Lieutenant Crank motioned for a pad.

    “Go on.”

    “We want better coffee. And a Michael Buble concert. Excuse me for a moment,” she said. Then, after some whispers, “we also would like an end to Standardized testing.”

    “I’ll snap my fingers,” the Lieutenant mumbled.

    “What was that?” came the sharp teacher voice on the other end. Crank straightened his back.

    “I said I’ll get right on it.”

    “We would appreciate it. Oh, and we need more staples and rulers right away.”

    Crank peeled the headphones from his head and then rubbed his eyes. “This is why I sent my kid to private school.”

    By dusk, there were a smothering of news trucks, a mob of angry parents and, was that Al Sharpton? Crank massaged his neck, his tongue was raw from cheap coffee and he’d even bummed a smoke from the custodian. A helicopter rippled through the darkening sky. Crank ignored his wife’s heedings about stress.

    “Lieutenant!” A tech held out the phone. “For you.”

    What now?

    “Crank,” came the sturdy voice on the other end. “This is Principal Wilkins, I’ve managed to escape custody and the administrators have both the teachers and the student body in holding.

    Lieutenant Crank shot to his feet, his arms flailing as he waved to all units. “Great work, Principal, help is on the way.”

    “Not so fast Lieutenant,”

    1. nwdahl

      Wow, this story was very entertaining. The MC feels familiar and his attitude towards life is fun to read. I think you executed your idea of a hostage situation very well and in a way that doesn’t seem overly cliché. I liked this story a lot, nice work!

    2. snuzcook

      Lots of wonderful lines here, Pete; especially: “…stuck a microphone in the-should-have-been-fishing Lieutenant’s face.” Well thought out, clever and entertaining. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    3. Reaper

      Amazing and darkly funny throughout. At first this felt like an outside view of the story Getting it On, or whatever it was renamed to. You changed it rapidly and kept this very engrossing. It was one of those where I suspected the end but was not entirely sure if it would go that route which is always a fun read.

  20. james.ticknor

    “Lord of the Student Flies”

    June 24, 1942

    It’s been three days now since the incident. Things have only gotten worse, and it’s just a matter of time before someone ends up dead. What’s worse, I think the kindergartners are going to do it.

    A massive storm knocked out all power and flooded us in. With no way out of the school and search and rescue teams spread thin by the Air National Guard, there’s no telling how long madness will ensue.

    It’s like that book in English class Mrs. Harrison had us reading, Lord of the Flies. I’d already read it, because I’m a nerd like that. That’s why I think the kindergartners are going to be the first to taste blood.

    It seems the factions went up faster than the flooding water. The student body collectively panicked. Outnumbered and with territorial control dwindling, they fled to the West Wing, to the cafeteria. Smart move, seeing as they control most of the food supply.

    The kindergartners, to the East Wing. have the second largest food supply- desserts, cakes, and juiceboxes for snack time, but they’ll run out quicker than anyone because they just want to get their sugar highs.

    To the South Wing, the jocks and the goths, in an unlikely alliance, banded together to control the gymnasium. They will be the first faction to fall, seeing as they selfishly wanted their basketball courts and shadows to creep in under the bleachers. The goths still preferred that area to smoke their cigarettes.

    The janitor’s boiler room is in the middle of the school, in no-mans-land. Everyone’s still afraid of him, and we wouldn’t dare cross his territory.

    That leaves us, the preps and the nerds, to the North Wing. We settled here for the science labs of course. We have a plan and means to escape using science. I suppose that’s why evolution only picks the smartest to survive, because they look the future instead of the present.

    Well, sort of. The preps could be considered an accident of nature. They’ve managed to, despite our intellect, manipulate and bully us into submission. Doing their homework and whatnot. But no one said they all had to get out. It would be a shame if a hydrochloridide carbonate reaction somehow made Brittney, the head cheerleader, fall into the floodwaters below. But who, as clever and brilliant as they may be to devise such a scheme, could that be…?

    We escape at dawn. Except for Brittney.

    1. Reaper

      James this was very vivid. My mind turned the janitor’s area into a thunderdome scenario. This was a very nice set up for an epic battle. The only issue I had with it was the date at the beginning. I’m a big one for suspending disbelief but this felt like 1992 not 1942. While preps and jocks have existed forever under different names goths and nerds are a much later thing. Lord of the Flies was written in 1954 and Juice Boxes came about in the sixties. Pretty much everything here is later than your date. However, that is the only thing that bothered me because the writing was good and the characterizations well done. I would love to read more of this.

      1. james.ticknor

        Ah, that was a rather poor oversight! The inspiration from this scenario was the episode of Hey Arnold! from Nickoldeon, and I tried my best to differentiate the characters and similarities. One of which was the time change, which you’re correct, and I was mistaken in the time. Good catch!

    2. Observer Tim

      This is a clever retake on the Lord of the Flies situation, James, though it has a bit more feel of the breakup of Yugoslavia than Golding’s social decay. I’m sure that’s largely an artifact of the brevity.

      I’m wondering how the kindergartners got organized without adult supervision, though I agree they’d likely be the first to taste blood.

      My science nerd says a hydrochloride carbonate (acid/acid) reaction would be pretty banal, depending on what the other bound chemicals are. On the other hand, a natrium hydrochloride reaction (sodium and acid) could be fairly spectacular and dangerous.

      1. james.ticknor

        As far as the acid goes, I actually forgotten what hydrochloride carbonate was. I had just randomly remembered it from my Chemistry class and shoved it in there, hoping that nobody else would know what it was. Haha!

  21. Colonel Plops

    Therianthropy II

    Suddenly, banging. My eyes opened as if I was never asleep. My heart dropped into my chest, my breath was gone. Another bang. I could hear more teachers waking up. Another bang, this time followed by growling. A teacher behind me sat straight up and gasped so loud that afterwards everything became silent. No one breathed. No one banged. No one growled. I felt a tear drip down my face.

    “They’re in there. I hear them,” a whisper screamed at us from above the trapdoor. The complete silence returned immediately once the whisper was finished. There was a human up there, not a wolf. But suddenly, another growl. Was there a wolf? Suddenly I heard loud sobbing on my right.

    “Yup. That’s them.” At this the trap door slammed and a kid jumped down, followed by two wolves. There was screaming, blood flew from the wolves. All of the teachers began running to one side of the bomb shelter. I ran with them. Laughing and growling and screaming bombarded me. The human kid stood and watched as the wolves tore apart some of the other teachers, laughing maniacally.

    Once the wolves finished their current meals they began making their way to the back of the bomb shelter where the rest of the teachers were screaming. The human kid finally didn’t see the humor in the wolves killing us teachers one by one and began working his way back up the ladder.

    “Adios,” he said calmly, shutting the trap door on his way out. The wolves pounced on another kid when suddenly two bright flashes blinded me and a loud boom made a loud ringing block any other sounds. Both wolves fell suddenly (or at least, two brown and gray blobs fell, that I assumed were wolves). I stood for a minute until my vision cleared and the ringing ended. Teachers were still screaming. I pushed through the crowd of teachers to find not two dead wolves, but two dead students. Laying on the dirty concrete floor of the bomb shelter were two students, one of which I recognized as Sarah Evans. A straight A student who had always known the answers, always been good. And now she was lying before me with a bullet hole in her chest, blood pouring from her and being coughed from deep in her throat. Again I cried. Once I found myself turned away from Sarah I realized the other teachers were confused.

    “Where’d the gun come from?” someone asked.
    “The student dropped it.”

    “The student had a gun?” with this the murmuring got louder and became full-fledged panicked screaming.

    “How’d he get a gun?”

    “Do they all have guns?”

    “Maybe we should just give up-”

    But I stepped up and interrupted the panic.

    “We were able to take two of them weren’t we?” I asked the other teachers as they grew silent, “Who says we can’t take more? Maybe there are more of them that are just humans, unarmed. Maybe we have to go on a little hunting trip and take out some wolves. Or maybe this is the war we feared and they all have guns, and some of us will die. But the point is that they can’t take us all. Not if we’re together. So who says we go up there and fight, rather than hide here like cowards?” I asked. Voices soon began saying “Me”, or “I” and together those would be “us”. We were all going up there. We planned it out, gave a certain person the one gun we had and began our way up. I was the last to go up. As I planted my hand onto one rung of the ladder I looked back at Sarah, now dead. I remembered the wolves’ eyes when I first saw them. The eyes of kids, innocent kids who’d never kill a teacher. Who’d never wield a gun. Then again, I never took myself to be much of a leader. I began the climb to the battleground.

    1. Reaper

      I got lost in the middle of this colonel. This is one of those stories that seems like it needs to be about twice as long. You conveyed the frantic pace and the confusion but to a level that I just couldn’t keep up as well as I really wanted to. With that said that may have been your intention because you really did seem to be going for the chaos. The beginning was a nice setting and the end was wonderful. Your message and the call to arms were just so well done.

    2. Observer Tim

      I especially like the first paragraph, Colonel. It set the tone of confusion for the rest of the story, which you carried through quite well.

      The one thing I had a bit of trouble believing was the door. A door that permeable to sound wouln’t be much protection against anything. Also, the teachers really were in a survival shelter, there would almost certainly be a lock to explain away.

      My style advisor notes that you would suddenly hear only one sob, or would suddenly hear someone begin sobbing. Slamming has to explicitly mention “slamming open” or it is assumed to be slamming shut. In the paragraph beginning “Adios” the wolves probably jumped on a teacher.

      1. Colonel Plops

        Thank you both for your comments. I did realize how frantic it sounded after reading it again and oh though I was going for something like that it did come off as a little to much for me too. Also, I’ve posted a part two to my last week’s story that follows the old prompt “The Open Window” that I missed on my blog. Any comments on it are appreciated. Again, thanks for the comments!

  22. keyhonay

    I would like to say the day was like any other but, I knew it was different the second I stepped off the bus. The other kids felt it too, most walked with heads down staring at their cell phones. In the hallways teachers could be seen standing at each exit, watching the students come and go. I could feel their eyes on me too, but I wasn’t worried; if they knew about me I would have been picked up when I got off the bus.
    As I walked down the hallway I got a text from Cory, “lost my homework” It was code; Cory’s team had failed. If Cory failed it meant the principle would be here soon. I replied “Tether is ball setup” Which meant my team was ready to go.
    When I opened my locker, I could see it had been searched. My history book was at a 90 degree angle, even though I had intentionally sat it at a 75 degree angle before closing it. I glanced around and saw a hall monitor watching me from down the hall. I turned back to my locker and positioned my locker mirror so I could watch the hall monitor behind me.
    I pulled out my phone and texted Rodger, “Tire flat, ride on the rim.” This code meant I was out and Rodger would have to lead the mission. From my lunch bag I took out my Mountain dew and started to shake it inside my locker out of view. I watched the hall monitor in the mirror, she was looking at me and talking into her headset.
    When it happened, it happened fast, but to me it was all in slow motion. I watched hall monitor start walking towards me. As she did she started to pull out her ruler; I stopped shaking the can and grabbed my history book with my other hand. I turned and saw she was a few yards away coming towards me with her ruler out. Aiming at her knee, I threw the book as hard as I could. The book hit home and she went down shrieking.
    I glanced around and saw other hall monitors coming for me; they were flanked by a few teachers. With all my strength I threw the can at the ground. There was a pop! as the can ruptured, soda sprayed into the hallway. Students screamed and ran for cover, most of them ran right into the group coming for me; blocking their path. I turned and started to run towards wood shop, when I heard the whoosh of a ruler and everything went black.
    Three days later I woke in the medical wing of detention. I could hear the war ranging, but for me it was over and soon I would be sent home. Looking back I couldn’t tell you why it all started, maybe it was just time or maybe it was the bad lunches?

    1. Reaper

      I think Tim is right that we are sharing a head space. I agree with his comments and also love that even your MC didn’t know what started it when all was said and done.

    2. keyhonay

      Thank you for your comments, this was fun one. It also helped that I had received a cryptic email at work that appeared to be in code, so the spy thing worked well.

  23. derrdevil

    A Short Tale of Two Cities

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was –”

    “Complete and utter bullshit!” Chris interrupted Becky. A snicker of laughter rippled throughout the classroom.

    “Christopher!” Yelled Mrs Boehner. “Just where do you think you are? Becky is the only one to have done her homework on this assignment, and you dare to interrupt her?”

    “It’s a load a crap, ma’am,” replied Chris, standing up from his desk and slamming the book on the floor. “I can’t believe the curriculum expects us to read this sh–”

    “Christopher Pointdexter! The language out of you mouth, my boy. One more time and you’re off to the principals office. Now restrain yourself, pick up your book, and sit down.”

    “Restrain myself?” He said, as he began to take his seat. “Why couldn’t the board restrain themselves before they put this on our set work?”

    “One more retort out of you, I swear it,” she said with authority, waving her finger at him. He made a dismissive snarl as he looked away, folding his arms together. Mrs Boehner eyed him down, unable to believe the attitude emanating from Chris. There was an awkward silence in the classroom as the other students looked about, unsure what to do next. Still not quite pleased with Christopher’s withdrawal, she ushered Becky to continue anyway.

    “Ahem! It was the age of wisdom, the age of foolishness, it was –”

    “I’m sorry, Becky,” she held up an open hand to signal an apology. “Just what about this is so upsetting for you, Christopher? It’s a literary masterpiece. A work of such astounding brilliance it’s been in the curriculum for as long as I know. I mean, I did it when I was in school.”

    “It’s just ridiculous, ma’am,” he said, still with a dismissive body language.

    “Please explain. I’m all ears,” she begged, folding her arms.

    “Well, you see. You have the poor. And the well off. And the poor are sick and tired of the rich guys. And a revolution is in the air. And it’s all to point out the similarities now. The ones we face. But it’s bullshit to give it to us.”

    “But why? Why do you say it’s bull?” She paused, “Before you answer that, I’m amazed that you actually did some homework for a change, just by the way.”

    Christopher sighed. “Well, ma’am. Thanks. But that’s just it. You give us homework. We must do it. If we don’t? Principal’s office. Written note to parents. PTA, blah… blah… blah. We get punished. Same story next week. Talking in class, talking out of line, not wearing a tie, shirt is untucked –”

    “Is there a point to all this, my boy?” She urged, raising her eyebrows.

    “Do I have to spell it out for you?” He spread his hands and sighed again before answering. “A Tale Of Two Cities!”

    Mrs Boehner dropped her jaw as he went on, not believing the kid’s attitude.

    “It’s like you’re the aristocracy. And we’re the peasants. And we’re tired of the shit end of the stick. But you’rl keep giving it to us. And expect us to keep taking it. Bending over, while you’rl shove it right up in there. It’s like you’rl want a revolution from us.” The class was roaring with laughter.

    “That’s it, young man! You had your fun. To the principals office. Now!”

    “Oh, yeah. He’d love to hear this,” Christopher retorted.

  24. derrdevil

    A Short Tale of Two Cities
    Part 2

    Mrs Boehner of The Union Authority
    Mrs Boehner was always a very kempt lady. With her hair perfectly placed down to the last strand, her suits neatly ironed and furled, and her astute etiquette always in place, she was the exemplar of strict, mannered authority. But the last three days had taken a toll on her. She had never appeared so disheaveled in her life. Her hair was her mess, her knees were battered and her hands grimy. Her suit ripped, torn, untucked. She shuddered. It reminded her of the hooligans she taught. The thought did not sit well with her.
    How could these ungrateful brats stand against their prestigious school, she thought. If it was up to her, she would have each and every one of them expelled. She looked at the back of her hand. Caked in grime and bruised knuckles, and black dirt deep in her chip nails, but a smile still managed to escape her taut expression as the memory of Christopher Poindexter came to her.
    He was a wild one, indeed. Indomitable against her authority, and yabbering on about how the school didn’t stock yogurt in their cafeteria anymore. And how that single act was a symbol against their free will. What bollocks! Damn well they shouldn’t stock it. Not again. Not since the Great Food Fight of ’06. The mess hall had stank of the rotten food for years, as if it had been imbued into the walls.

    So she took him with the back of her hand. He had crumpled at her feet. The power she had felt as she looked down at him, his shocked eyes as they locked onto her glaring gaze. The throngs of dispicable students gasping in unison. It was a glorious moment. But a moment that had sparked all the outrage. The kids had a valid point. But they wouldn’t know that.
    They had argued that it the yogurt ban began a good 12 years ago. Nearly half a generation before them. But she held her ground. She knew that the moment she gave these riff-raffs an inch, they would want another. And like a plague of locusts, a pestilence of diseased insolence, they would engulf them in their hords, never surrendering. And they would fall. So long as she stood her ground. They would all fall. And order would be restored in her glorious school once more.
    Yogurt! What an outragous request!
    They would all fall.

  25. derrdevil

    A Short Tale of Two Cities
    Part 1

    Chris of The (Student) Council of Anarchy
    Christopher Poindexter chanced a peek from the hallway stairs to look out across the battlefield. His eyes squinted as they scanned through the dusty clouds of shredded paper that lofted in the still tense air. Scattered plastic chairs and upturned desks were strewn about the great hall. Some piled up against each other, mostly along side the eerily empty corridors, in a makeshift barricade against the enemy onslaught.
    The enemy onslaught. A merciless group of dictators, known as The Union Authority, formed together with one united goal in mind – to rule the community grounds with their zealous tyranny, enforcing their brand of twisted authority over the ‘minority’.
    Their twisted authority. What kind of authority was this, Chris thought to himself. A freshman lay splayed out and concussed in the middle of the hall – the projectile that did the damage, A Tale of Two Cities, beside his limp body. Another teary eyed and shock-stricken sophomore, nursing her injured arm, hunkered low behind a battered pillar near the foot of the main stage – it’s plaster pealed open at it’s base revealing the rough cement beneath. Revealing a piece of the horror and the chaos that ensued in the last three days at The Battle of Winston Waters High. He had seen enough.

    Chris, former bully, now leader of The (Student) Council of Anarchy, the only organisation that represented the entire ‘minority’, had been the sole sentinel that stood against the tide. With a stiff upper lip (founded during his bullying days) and a wicked tongue (the same tongue that used to get him into so much trouble), he had lashed out against the vile oppressors. He showed the ‘minority’ that they were anything but. Their mass, together as a whole, outnumbered The Union ten to one.
    If they could keep their wits and hold fast to their beliefs, they could have their way. The Council of Anarchy could stand strong in the PTA’s with a voice of their own. And maybe, just maybe, The Union Authority would allow the cafeteria to stock yogurt in their freezers once again.

    1. Reaper

      You did some amazing stuff here. Historical references, comments on politics and choice. Mixed in you had some interesting puns and somehow managed to make it all light with that last line. Light but also a thinker. I laughed then thought about all of the devastating comments throughout being for something so small. Then I went round and round on the idea that great things come from small desires. This one will be in my mind for a while.

    2. Observer Tim

      I love the way you can read these three parts in pretty-much any order and they still tell a compelling story. I also love way the social commentary is folded into the narrative without being preachy.

      Excellent job, derrdevil.

  26. Kerry Charlton



    “We haven’t much time to find her,” Nancy said.

    “Almost there,” Tom answered as he knocked on the nurses’ bivouac area.

    “Who is it?” a sleepy voice answered.

    “Nancy Ferguson. I recognize your voice Delores.”

    “How on earth did you get here?” she said, opening the door and hugging her. “I see you brought Tom with you. How’d you manage that?”

    “It’s hard to explain. You see, Tom and I …………………”

    “I can tell by the way he looks at you, he’s quite a catch Nancy.”

    “Oh Dee, get dressed. The ship’s on alert, a survival practice. I’ll explain in a minute.”

    Sirens split the sea air as the ship’s personnel hurried on deck, some still in their pajamas and robes.

    ” A practice run in case of an emergency,” the colonel announced. “Should we need to abandon ship, this is the procedure………….”

    The two nurses and Tom listened intently as instructions on life rafts, emergency rations and survival gear, were relayed by colonel Manson.

    What is going on?” Delores asked. “This is a hospital ship, not a destroyer.”

    Tom put his arms around the two girls and led them to the aft side.

    “We came to help Dee, it’s not important how we got here. The Centaur will be sunk before dawn by a Japanese sub. Don’t tell the rest of the girls, it’ll only create chaos.”

    “How do you know that?”

    “We know Dee, it’s that simple,” Nancy said as she hugged her best friend.

    Delores started to weep. “I’m not crying for myself. When did you become a spirit Nancy?”

    “Many years in the future, you always have been able to read me like a book.”

    “I’m going to die right on this ship, aren’t I? Dee said.

    “Not if we can help it,” Tom answered. “We tried convincing the colonel to change course to avoid the sub. He wouldn’t but he agree to stage the alert.”

    “If history says I died on this ship, no one’s going to change that.”

    “You’ve always been a fighter, Dee. Many others will die, most of the ship. We can work together and try to change that,” Nancy said.

    “I’m sorry I lost it for a moment. You’re right, I won’t go easy.” Dee embraced both of them.

    “We don’t know the exact time,” Tom said, “we just need to be ready for it.”

    “Are you a spirit also Tom?”

    “No,” Nancy said. “He literally awoke me from my grave.”

    “Dee smiled at her two friends, lowering her eyes slightly, “How did you fall in love?”

    “How can anyone explain love?” Tom said. “I think I fell in love the first time I saw you.” He gazed Nancy’s way.

    “We both liked you Tom, but Nancy was intrigued and then you left so fast, we didn’t understand why. We did believe you and went to the White House. You know the rest.”

    4:17 AM, May 14th. Location: Four nautical miles from the Centaur. A Japanese submarine, under command of Hajimi Nakagawa, followed the hospital ship on it’s journey.

    “Battle stations,” he ordered.

    “Commander, it is a hospital ship, clearly marked,” his second in command stated.

    “Infidels are infidels. Do as I say.”

    The Clsss I-176 slipped beneath the ocean. positioning itself in firing position on the mercy ship. Thoughts ran through the mind of the commander. Having been highly trained in the history of naval war, he realized the Battle Of Midway in June of ’42, had sealed Japan’s fate. Sinking four Japanese carriers and one heavy cruiser, had crippled his country’s navy.

    But also, Japan had never lost a war and he was prepared to give his all. Once in position he paused looking…….

    He stpped his action for a moment of reflection. Then his face hardened with resolve.

    “Fire number one, fire number three.”

    1. Manwe38

      Dark dark dark.

      I especially enjoyed the sense of foreboding you wrote into this with the line about not being able to change history. I can’t even imagine being faced with the possibility.

      Thanks for sharing.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Manwe38. Neither can I imagine what the three of them are thinking right now, possible waiting to die, especially Delores. I don’t know how I got them into the trauma or how or if I can save then now. The Centaur carried 338 aboard and only 64 survived. You’ll find out why in part seven.

    2. Reaper

      More and more intense. I love that Dee doesn’t think the future can be changed because they weren’t able to. But the way you wrote this before the personal history of the two changed. I’m wondering if you’re going with the idea that some events are too large to alter but others are not and exploring the line of which ones can be. I’m also curios with them being on the ship if your intention is to take this from a lover story with a ghost to a love story between two ghosts. That hook just keeps getting deeper.

    3. WritingKittenOfLoki

      Wow Kerry, what happens next!? I need more. The intense and foreboding feeling… can they change history? Do they at least save Delores? Do they all die? Can Nancy and Tom die in the past? If they do die what happens then? I need more, don’t stop the story Kerry! I’m loving it more and more as it goes on. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Kitten. You know what? I haven’t the slightest idea what going to happen until I start to write. Many times in my writing I am as surprised as the reader. That’s how my mind works, backwards.

    4. sjmca1966

      It’s been argued that history can’t be changed and it has a way of rectifying itself if interfered with, I can’t wait to see where you take us with this Kerry and to see how your creative mind works.
      Another great chapter.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you sjmca1966. I can’t myself, to find what happens. Three or four ideas are battling for control and they;re weraing me out, so the only solution is start to write and see what happens. Next prompt, I promise.

  27. foodpoet

    Franklin looked out the window at the retreating griffin, anger in flight. He sat back in his chair pondering the events had lead to this anger and weighed options. There are always options, magic or science…

    In the hallway of Winston Waters High, magic swirled coated the teachers and students with remnants of spells while the tech heads chanted up with tech down with magic. Water cannons soaked magic spells leaving the walls rainbow colors blending turning metal grey. Magelets bounced magic powered around corners freezing techheads in place or turning them chartreuse and magenta with crimson black hair. The faculty slinked off into corners secretly rooting on their students. Some teachers slide into the fight increasing the science into pathways of logic or floundered logic with bits of fancy. Senior staff finally barricaded the faculty into one long room and froze the lock. “No interference between mage and science, students battling only” roared the dragon and the loudspeaker.

    Franklin and Montefort faced off, Montefort with the last unbroken spell book and snorted, “Oh Frankie, look here no more defenses.” He waved his fingers pulling up the spell words and turned Franklin into a sheep. Laughing he yelled over his shoulder, “you will always just be a follower.”

    Two tech heads chased Monefort down the hall launching slingshots of lead and glass beads. They popped against his shield. In the end it was called a draw with the faculty divided evenly between mage and science. Franklin and four others remained sheep for a month, each swearing to never eat meat and deny Montefort anything ever again. The five founded the first class of techmagery, figuring that the only way to beat Montefort was to blend powers.

    And so it began…

    1. Reaper

      Interesting take. All of the information is there and this seems to call out for being both expanded and added to and turned into a novel for a young audience.

  28. jhowe

    The prompt is barely recognizable with this one, plus it’s a little (lot) controversial. But remember, it is complete fiction.

    Professor Demetrius Paige stared blankly at his computer screen and sadly shook his head. It was so simple, so obvious, so unimaginative; why had he not concluded this long ago? The formula was not complicated. It was not convoluted and required no clarification. The ablest mystery writer would never have conceived of such a mundane plot.

    Demetrius ran the fingers of both hands through his silver mane, opened his desk drawer and removed the bottle of sleeping pills he kept for the times he spent the night on his office sofa during finals week. He emptied the bottle on his leather blotter, 68 pills. He poured a glass of water from a pitcher and with trepidation, forwarded the document to his former student and prodigy. Perhaps Demetrius could not cope with such a revelation but he hoped Rhonda could.

    Professor Rhonda McElroy of Winston Waters High was transfixed by the formula on her screen and almost did not answer her phone. “Rhonda, this is Elaine Paige.” The voice from half a continent away was choked with tears.

    “What’s wrong Elaine?” But Rhonda knew. A few minutes later she hung up the phone and cried silently.

    “What have you done Demetrius?” Rhonda said aloud, and started to take notes on a yellow legal pad. She broke down the formula to its basic form and checked every value, every function, every sign, substituted variables with alternative possibilities, calculated each numeral to its highest possible decimal place. The solution was always the same. The solution was horrifying.

    Days later, sitting at her desk in filthy clothing, with bloodshot eyes and hair dishevel, she performed the ritual for the hundredth time with the same result. With trembling hands, Rhonda gathered and crumpled her notes into the metal waste basket. She lit a match from a box she had brought from home and set the contents of the bin on fire. As they burned the smoke alarm went off and a few moments later the sprinkler system erupted with a shower of cold water. This shook Rhonda from her illusory state and she unplugged her laptop and dripping wet, walked briskly to the staff parking lot.

    Rhonda drove to the 47th Street Bridge that crossed the Missouri River and stopped the car. She got out, ignoring the blaring horns and without pause threw the computer over the railing and watched it splash into the river far below. She felt a slight pang of relief but the formula was emblazoned into her brain and she knew she would be unable to forget it. In her car again, she drove without knowledge of where she was going.

    Years later, an energetic young man stopped in front of a bedraggled woman sitting in an abandoned doorway in a rundown section of Miami. He spoke to her gently, as he knew from experience that the hopeless seldom responded in a positive manner. “I plead with you miss,” he said. “With God’s help, I can help you through this.”

    The itinerant woman looked up with fiery eyes and raised both middle fingers. Undeterred the man continued his persuasive ways. When it was apparent he was not going away anytime soon, the woman said, “I have no desire to be helped.”

    “But it’s God’s wish that I help you.”

    “Don’t you know?” said the woman. “God is dead. I can prove it.”

    1. Manwe38

      Ooh, I like this, nice and creepy.

      You really captured a sense of something disturbing and profound.

      Very nicely done. Makes me wonder if this didn’t really happen somewhere.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You burned all the bridges with one jhowe. Maybe it is down mood that I have following me today, but this so beatiful, so dark, so complete, so final. God is dead, God is dead. You do know you have portrayed a story so complex, provocative, it almst scared me to read it a second time.

    2. derrdevil

      Nice one. I can see how this could spark up all kinds of anarchy. I like how you brought the godly Samaritan into this to piece your story. At first, I was thinking this is so far off the prompt I don’t see it. Then, ah. Nice one.

    3. Reaper

      Sometimes, jhowe, controversy is a writers duty. It does not matter if your reader agrees, it does not matter if you agree. You have fulfilled your duty to make us think and in a very darkly beautiful way. A wonderful read.

    4. Observer Tim

      I see what you mean, jhowe. As an Anglican/Catholic I find the concept a bit disturbing. As an author and a skeptic I find it intriguing…

      Or, I could fall back on Red Dwarf:

      KRYTEN: "Because I knew something he didn't."

      LISTER: "What?"

      KRYTEN: "I knew that I was lying. Seriously, sir. 'No silicon heaven'? Where would all of the calculators go?"

    5. sjmca1966

      This could easily be expanded out to novel length jhowe. I’m imagining the lengths some would go to in order to supress the formula and vice-versa.
      A great read!

  29. Observer Tim

    Now that the site’s back up… And yeah, I know I’m way over. The story needed it.

    High School Revolution

    Three days ago…

    “All right class, can anyone tell me the primary causes of the French Revolution?” A hand shot up. “Other than Travis?” Mrs. Ontermeyer stared at thirty deer-in-the-headlight students. “All right Travis, go ahead.”

    The tenth-grade stick-figure rose. “It was a combination of a bankrupt school board, a failure to provide decent food for the students, and a general atmosphere of discontent.”

    “Travis, that isn’t…”

    The first eraser hit her forehead. She dodged the ruler. A second later she was under her desk listening to the patter of impromptu projectiles against her desk.

    Two days ago…

    Principal Tartarus looked at the short skinny teenaged girl. “What’s the situation, Rebecca?”

    “No luck with the doors or windows yet. The students control nearly everything except Administration, but they’ve broken into factions. The jocks hold the Gym and Cafeteria, and the drama students have the Auditorium. The WMM’s are holed up in the Library and the nerds are centered in the Science Labs.”


    “Where’s My Mommy. The kids, mostly juniors, who just want out.”

    “And the fighting?”

    “Still going strong, still no casualties. Something’s got everyone’s aggression ramped up, but they’re too stupid to use any real weapons. The jocks are attacking with basketballs but ignoring the baseball bats. Nobody has picked up even a pair of scissors. I have some thoughts about that…”

    “I’m sure you do. For now you’d best get out scouting again.”


    “You heard me, Rebecca. You’re doing a great job, but leave the thinking to the adults.”


    Rebecca hunched up on the toilet seat. Someone was coming in, which made no sense since nobody had used the bathrooms for two days now. They’d been too busy playing war games with rulers and erasers and wadded paper and the like. She’d mentioned it to a couple of people, but nobody was listening.

    She sort-of recognized the voices: Mrs. Gabriel and Mrs. Thurston, the muddle-aged matrons of Social Studies. But they sounded funny somehow. There was a rustle of voluminous fabrics dropping to the floor.

    “I am glad to get out of that.”

    “Me too. Angel, could you help me with this clip? Thanks.”

    More fabric fell.

    “Now let’s take a look at you. God, Nadine, you look great!”

    “You too, Angel. Being a teenager wears you well. But speaking of wearing, what are we going to wear? Nothing fits any more.”

    “My blouse would make a serviceable dress.”

    “Your blouse would make a serviceable tent, dear. We should have gone down to the Home Ec room; they have sewing supplies there.”

    “There is no Home Ec room, Angel; hasn’t been since the nineties.”


    Rebecca looked down the dark staircase; she’d been all over the school several times in the past few days, but somehow missed the maintenance tunnels. Whatever was happening must be controlled from down there.

    She couldn’t tell whether she should laugh or just be quietly weirded out. Nobody was eating or sleeping, but nobody was sick or injured; even the Roller Boys were out of their wheelchairs. Everyone was sixteen years old, even the teachers. Everyone was physically fit. And everyone except her was play-fighting with school supplies.

    The light switch didn’t work; the tunnels were pitch black. Rebecca crept through them anyway, navigating by the feel of the rough concrete bricks and checking each smooth metal door as she passed it.

    The light was almost blinding when she saw it. It was coming under the door of the boiler room. She cracked open the door and, seeing no-one, stepped in. In addition to the boiler, there was a huge machine with dozens of unlabelled indicators and progress lights. A loud hum vibrated everything in the room including her to its core. A single display screen caught her attention.


    All is going to plan. The secret tunnels in the basement are fully stocked with survival gear so you can build New Earth. Everyone in the building except you should be playing a game I designed to keep them occupied while their minds and bodies are regressed to sixteen years. Only one mind will be unaffected, and there is a 96% chance that it’s you. Good luck.

    If by some fluke you’re not Edward, a more complete colonization manual can be found on the Principal’s laptop. His password is ‘heLL10n$’. The basement lights will activate when you reach your destination. I’m sure you’ll love starting over on another planet.


    As Rebecca sat and gaped, the overhead lights came on.

    1. Cceynowa

      So, I can buy the complete novel on Amazon you say? Wonderful, please post the link to purchase.
      😉 This is great! Thanks for going over the word count and completely pulling me into the story.

      1. Observer Tim

        Thanks for the compliment, Cceynowa and Reaper. I’ll file this under ‘stories to examine further’. I don’t think it would expand much beyond a full-sized short story without continuing to what happened on the new world.

        It is one of the “Tales From the Foam,” which concept I may explain to people someday.

    2. WritingKittenOfLoki

      Great story O. T.!
      There is more than a 96% chance I would read more of this – as in about 96% + 4%.

      My favorite part is: “Only one mind will be unaffected, and there is a 96% chance that it’s you. Good luck.
      If by some fluke you’re not Edward, a more complete colonization manual can be found on the Principal’s laptop.”

      I think it would be quite interesting to see everyone I know as sixteen year olds.

  30. Reaper

    Cambreadth High School

    Seeing Susan fall beside me I knew the battle was lost. I watched the bloodied hand of my last compatriot land near my backpack. My eyes moved to the open bag and our secret weapon inside. My mind drifted back three days.

    “So set your sights lower.” Thomas said. He always had a way of understating the importance of things. He was one of mine though, one of the forgotten refuse roaming the halls of WWH.

    “And then what? Vocational? The hell with that. They created this problem.” I had to make them understand.

    “Wait… Explain it again. What happened at the assembly?” Susan offered me her smile. The one that always made it hard to think but I tried to relate it.

    Mr. Swanson ran the teacher assemblies. His eyes shone with malice mirroring his crew’s lack of concern for students like me. Mrs. Green headed up the opposition board and they seemed to care about us. Until you noticed the earbuds they wore. Those probably explained the heads bobbing in all the right places better than actual concern.

    Mr. Swanson was just finishing up a motion to send a million dollars in aid to Jefferson High. They were in the middle of a cricket war with insurgents from a community college. The motion passed with unprecedented support. I chose that moment to wave my hands like a headless lunatic having a fit. Mr. Swanson didn’t bother to call on me. He just responded.

    “Student 3498, we already know your complaints. It would not be better to spend this money on extending the school lunch benefits. We have had this conversation.”

    “But since all schools became boarding schools you are required to provide for us.” I interrupted.

    “Only so long as you are involved in a student job. We are all very sorry you lost your TA position. Perhaps you should have been more subservient than good at your job.” His wicked smile gleamed at me, the bastard. “New business?”

    “We all feel for you.” Thomas wouldn’t even look at me. “But we can’t win. The teachers have real weapons. What do we have? Pencils and tablets!”

    “It’s not about winning.” Susan chimed in. Thank the gods she was coming around. She had a way of convincing the unwashed and disgruntled masses.

    “It’s about what’s right.” I jumped in. “It’s about making a stand and hoping others can change things. We’re all going to starve anyway.”

    Then Susan said the most profound thing I have ever heard.

    As I donned the pack and raised my hands the teachers stopped firing. They loved submission and surrender. I approached slowly and a large unit of teachers closed in around me. Our secret weapon, a book bomb stolen from a teacher, ticked silent towards detonation in my backpack. I smiled, hoping they were all close enough. Susan’s motto ran through my head just before the world filled with white light and pain.

    It’s about how many of them can we make die?

      1. Kerry Charlton

        The first suicide book bomb patriot hero, I liked this Reaper. Loved the last line. Reminded me of a movie, GI all alone in a jungle full of Japanese. Last scene shows a cigarette dangling from his mouth, mortally wounded, manning a machine gun as the enemy flows from the jungle straight toward him.

        Wide grin on his face, fade to black.May have been “Back To Battan.”

    1. Observer Tim

      I thought of a bunch of pithy comments, but then I noticed that either (a) Kerry or Manwe beat me to them or (b) they were obviously intentional. Suffice to say you’ve created a wonderful dystopia here, Reaper. Excellent story, as usual.

    2. sjmca1966

      I loved the way you transcribed actual battle to the school situation so seamlessly. The dystopian feel added so much realism to the scene. Fantastic job Reaper.

    3. nwdahl

      Loved the separation into brief segments, it really helped put an interesting story together in a short time. It is hard to get across a lot in 500 words, but I think you did a great job drawing the reader in. I would like to hear more of this story. Nice work!

    4. Reaper

      Thanks all. Sorry for doing a mass response but this week has been very busy. I’m working on getting the first novel up on Amazon. Aiming for the end of the week and cover art willing it should be. I will of course put something here when it happens as I have been asked enough times. That is why I have basically stopped responding. Editing and formatting suck!

      So the story has a couple of borrowed parts. The motto is one of them. There is of course some political commentary as I seem unable to avoid these days. However this was mostly inspired by the song the March of Cambreadth. Worth a listen on the Youtubes if you have a second. One of the main lines is “How many of them can we make die?”

      Funny thing is the song is completely fictional but that is not how it was presented to me. When I originally heard it the guy who played the song told us all this story about a battle in Ireland. The British were invading and there was this small town of Cambreadth where the locals were preparing for the attack. Outnumbered fifty to one they knew they had no chance of winning but they had to fight. So knowing that every man woman and child in the village would die they wanted to send a message and weaken the British force so that the next village might stand a chance. So the battle and the rallying cry was not about a victory they couldn’t achieve, but before they lost how many of them can we make die?

      Like I said, fictional and not really what the song was about but if you listen to it with that story in mind it takes on a whole different meaning. Thanks for the read and the feedback as always guys. I’m trying to read all the stories and sorry for the lack of comments but have to keep my priorities straight to get some money in.

  31. WritingKittenOfLoki

    I went over the word count again: 684. But I just couldn’t stop. Hope you enjoy.

    The Three Days War

    For years, trouble has raged beneath the surface – between the students and the teachers at Winston Waters High; but not until now did it finally burst into full out war.

    12:30 PM Aug 23, 20–
    It has begun. War has been declared. Betsy Simmons, turned in a paper titled “What Are They Not Telling Us?” Highlighting several conspiracy theories and asking the question: what is the government doing behind our backs?

    The student body considers the paper very well written and interesting. However, Mr. King shredded the paper – good thing Betsy made more than one copy – and berated her before the entire class. She handled the abuse very well, but the rest of us did not. Booing and paper balls flew to the front of the room. Mr. King retreated to the hall and hurried to the principals office, we knew what he was doing and several of us rushed to the class rooms of the other disliked teachers, while the rest grabbed our backpacks and examined our equipment.

    It took five minutes for everyone to gather here in the mess hall. Our leaders worked out a plan, and agreed we should make our stand here.

    12:56 PM Aug 23, 20–
    We have just now finished the barricade. The teachers still have not shown up, and this worries some of us. On the upside, it gave us time to erect a strong blockade at the food court’s door.

    01:15 PM Aug 23, 20–
    Principal Judge has approached the barricade to offer us amnesty if we chose to surrender now. We said no. He then went off. We can do nothing but wait.

    07:05 AM Aug 24, 20–
    The battles have been erratic; the enemy has tried and failed to tear down the barricade. We, on the other hand, have no way of attacking them. Many of us have turned off our phones because of the bothersome messages and calls from our parents, who of course side with the teachers. We have plenty of food, and necessity is teaching us to cook better than anyone else could have.

    Between fights we keep up the morale by singing. “Do You Hear The People Sing,” is the favorite, and is currently and frequently ringing through the room.

    10:00 AM Aug 24, 20–
    The enemy has brought in the heavy artillery, and is slowly damaging the blockade. Their eraser cannons are the worst, for the grape-shot-like ammo, manages to find it’s way through even the smallest gaps.

    04:33 PM Aug 24, 20–
    They got in. After a long and tedious barrage, they forced their way in. We struggled to push them back – which we did with great loss. They have injured nearly half of us, and many were captured. We have caught three of their number, but it is a small victory.

    11:49 AM Aug 25, 20–
    We failed. And all of us will suffer for a long time to come because of our revolution. But most of us don’t regret the effort. We only succumbed at last because of treachery: we had detailed two teams of six, to rotate on guarding the prisoners. And somehow the teachers managed to bribe every last one of them. I won’t give names, but everyone knows who they are.

    At precisely 02:00 this morning, the prisoners were released by the traitors, and the other group of the enemy attacked the barricade. We were unable to fight both the those without and within, so in the end we lost. But I believe that, even if we do not rise again, others will hear of our striving and maybe somewhere, someday, someone, will succeed.

    The young writer carefully placed all the records of the war in a small wooden box. The box fell into it’s hole beneath the big oak tree with a gentle thud, and was quickly covered with the loose dirt.

    The student then left the park and sneakily placed the maps to the box in their hidden locations. The school might try to cover up the war, but one day someone will find the evidence and the truth will be known to all.

    1. Reaper

      I really liked the journal entry format. It let you put a lot more in here. I also think you captured the voice of a teenager amazingly well. There were some word choices I was going to question until I realized how much flavor they added to that. Well done.

        1. Reaper

          So, funny thing. I first saw your name and thought this is either a teenager or a woman who is sixty plus. I couldn’t tell which and didn’t want to assume so I was trying to judge on your work. Your write with passion and intensity that made me think young, and skill and wisdom that made me think old lady so I still couldn’t tell. And since my mama taught me it is never polite to ask a lady her age unless you want a whoopin I had to wait for the great reveal.

          1. WritingKittenOfLoki

            Haha! 🙂 That’s very funny you thought that. I don’t know any grandma’s that like Loki, but one day I will be one.

            Thank you for the compliments! 🙂 they mean a lot!

            It seems that the guys in my area haven’t learned that yet. But it’s never bothered me, so when a guy asks how old I am I just laugh to myself and answer. Sometimes I’ll ask why they want to know, but I haven’t gotten any answer besides a shrug or “I was just wondering”, so i’m trying to figure out if that means I’m stranger than I realized, and no one can figure out how old I am… or what.

    2. Observer Tim

      I agree with Reaper; the diary format really works here, especially because of the time dilation built into the prompt. And it does read kind of like a teenager’s diary.

      In your “polished story” file, you might want to add a divider to separate the last two paragraphs from the rest of the story. It appears they are narration rather than journal.

      In case it’s causing you a headache (and because I like to show off), the command is <i>italics</i>. If you already knew that, sorry for insulting your intelligence.

      1. WritingKittenOfLoki

        A divider! Now why didn’t I think of that? I do know the tag thingies, but I didn’t know if you have to put them between the spaces (If that made any sense at all). And don’t worry, I am not programmed to feel insulted. 🙂 (it’s true, I have yet to feel insulted – and if I have I obviously didn’t think it something worth remembering.)

    3. Manwe38

      I echo the above comments re: the diary format.

      Another thing I really enjoyed was the “Les Miserables” feel; this popped into my mind even before I got to the “Do You Hear the People Sing?” That is one of my favorite plays, and you really brought a sense of desperation yet hope home with this story.

      I’m excited to see more from you….keep writing!

      1. WritingKittenOfLoki

        Thank you Manwe38. I’m glad you like it. 🙂 I’ve found that what I’m doing or reading will affect the way I write; and I’m actually helping out with a theatre production of Les Mis, right now – which I am so happy about. It’s got to be one of my favorite musicals!
        And don’t you worry, I have no intention of quitting. Writing is one of the few things I’m good at, and since I love doing it, I see no reason to stop. 🙂

    4. sjmca1966

      This was clever WritingKittenOfLoki, this weeks prompt certainly lends itself to the younger voice and you delivered big-time. I also assumed from the maturity of your previous writing that you maybe of a, um, slightly older generation. It’s encouraging to see some fantastic young writers coming through.
      Well done!

      1. WritingKittenOfLoki

        Thanks! 🙂

        Everyone’s feedback has been so encouraging! All I can think to express my emotion is to use smiley faces 🙂 🙂 🙂

        You know, I’ve often wondered what I am like, what other people think of me; so it’s very interesting to hear you and Reaper say you thought me to be older. 🙂

    5. nwdahl

      I liked this story. Very well written and engaging. This may be a broken record, but I also thought the diary entry format was a very nifty idea. Its so interesting to see all the different style approaches to this prompt. Keep up the good work!

    6. Amyithist

      Very well done. I imagined the entries in italics as they usually are, so no worries there. Your voice came through loud and clear on this and I loved your style. I almost imagined the school in some little run down hovel sitting just outside of Moscow, for some reason. It sounded communistic to me. LOL

  32. Manwe38

    “A Shot in the Arm”, Part Two


    I reached for the handle, zipped inside, and looked around. The room was quiet, the air heavy, like the middle of the day in a festering swamp. Walking on tiptoe, I approached one of the boxes. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I realized there was something written on the side, and I leaned down to read:

    “H1N1 aliquots, 100 count.”

    My mouth twisted. Flu shots. But weren’t they supposed to be refrigerated? I knew I shouldn’t be in here, that my penchant for curiosity would not end well, but I couldn’t help myself. With trembling hands, I grabbed one of the boxes and set it down on the floor. After removing the packing tape, I flipped open the lid and was greeted by dozens of small glass vials.

    Hmm, this didn’t look too ominous. They were just flu shots, right? But then why was my heart pounding like an engine at the Indy 500? Something was off, and I had to know what, had to know the way some people had to drink coffee first thing in the morning, or listen to music on the drive home from work. This time, my hands didn’t tremble, they shook like an epileptic have a seizure, but I managed to remove one of the delicate vials. It was labeled with a plain white sticker, and filled with a pale blue liquid. I brought it up to my face and studied the tiny writing:

    “EVD–Fifty doses.”

    Fifty doses? In this small thing? Fifty doses of what? And what was ‘EVD’?

    I studied the sticker, looking for another clue, when a low voice came from behind me:

    “What are you doing?”

    I whirled around, almost dropping the thumb-sized vial, and my heart slammed against the front of my chest. Three feet away, gut hanging out down like a barrel going over Niagara Falls, was Mr. Faust.

    My mouth turned desert dry. “Uh, nothing. Just looking.”
    He nodded toward my shaking hand. “You’ll want to be careful with those. They’re lethal.”
    “They’re not flu, are they?”
    “What’s EVD?”
    He laughed, a deep, booming sound that made his body shake like a bowl of fresh jello. “Ebola Virus Disease.”
    “Ebola?” The air in my throat congealed into ice. “Is that-”
    “The same.”
    Oh my God. As gently as I could, I slid the vial back into its case. “What are you doing with them?”

    “Giving out shots.” The smile was back. “To the students.”
    “You’re making them sick?”
    “That’s right.”

    He face hardened into a slab of concrete. “To preserve our pensions.”
    “What does-”
    He waved his hand. “There are too many kids, and not enough teachers. If they hire more, our benefits get cut. The only way to preserve them is to reduce demand. If we depopulate the school, then the pie doesn’t shrink.” He bared his teeth, yellowing slabs beneath pale gray gums. “Understand?”

    I started to back away. “You’re sick.”
    “No, you are.” His eyes narrowed. “Nasty cough you got there. How’d you like a little hemorrhagic fever to go along with it?”
    My muscles tensed into coils of live wire. “You’ll never get away with it.”
    “We already have.” He pointed to the rows of boxes. “The school board approved. It was a unanimous vote.”
    “Who do you think got us those boxes?”

    A thick hand slid into his pocket and emerged with a narrow syringe. Inside was a pale blue liquid. I didn’t have to ask what he planned to do; all I knew is that I couldn’t let him do it. If we were going to stop their plan, the student body would have to work together. Overall, we were an apathetic bunch, but the faculty had never tried to kill us before. Now though, we had a reason to fight…and fight we would, until the threat had been vanquished.

    With a high-pitched shout, I leapt past the quivering slob and bolted towards the waiting double-doors. I needed to warn them, let them know not to get the shots. There was only one way: in the main office. The intercom would reach the whole school; from there, the war could begin, and we’d take the fight to them.

    Yes, that would work. I’d have to be fast, but I used to run track. Besides, old Fausty couldn’t catch a cold.

    As I shot through the door, it occurred to me that perhaps I should’ve paid more attention to the less obvious details, but by then it was too late. My momentum, designed to zip down the hall to the office, propelled me someplace else instead. I tried to stop, to twist my body away, but there was nowhere to go except into his arms. The last thing I saw before passing out was the teeth; larger than life, they hung from his mouth like a pair of stalactites, part of a hideous grin that threatened to swallow me whole as he plunged the needle into the meat of my arm.

    I don’t know what it feels like to die from Ebola, but I’m about to find out.

    Thanks, Mr. Fell.

    1. Reaper

      That was ominous and dark. I liked it. The one place my mind couldn’t track was this constantly sickly student, who you plagued with respiratory diseases almost exclusively, having been a previous track runner. It is a small thing and normally I can suspend disbelief better than anyone but that struck me as off. On the plus side that says something about how you described details as I remembered it from the previous story without having to look back.

      1. Manwe38

        Oh, he just had a bad case of bronchitis, that’s all, nothing permanent.

        What I meant to convey was that in his fear, adrenaline overrode his congested lungs. Then again, perhaps that’s why he quit track….he was sick too often.

        I definitely should’ve put a line in there better explaining it, though; it’s good feedback for next time.

        Thanks for reading!

    2. Observer Tim

      This is good, Manwe. While I don’t recall ever having a term where all my teachers were evil, it is a statistical probability so suspension of disbelief is warranted. But if the school board put them up to it, who knows? Bureacracies are evil: I know, I spend my days giving one indigestion from within.

      1. Manwe38

        Oh, I’m no fan of school boards; in my experience, they are generally self-serving. When I was in high school, they tried to set up an inner-city busing scheme involving a neighboring district. Now, I’m all for equality, but the way the board did it–by trying to sneak in a secret vote–left a bad taste in a lot of peoples’ mouth.

        I guess I just wanted to explore the concept of the backroom deal, just on a different and unique level. I’ve also written a different Ebola story, but it didn’t fit into this week’s prompt. Maybe next week…

    3. WritingKittenOfLoki

      You have effectively made me fearful. Mr. Faust is one of the most terrifying characters I have ever met. I see no way out, and that adds to the alarming nature of the story. The fact that I am legitimately frightened by Mr. Faust says you’ve done something really right.

      1. Manwe38

        Why thank you, my friend, I really appreciate it!

        Mr. Faust was an actual music teacher I had in junior high school. Interesting enough, he wasn’t the least bit frightening in real life, but his replacement, Mr. Fell, sure was. And the buck teeth were real, too. He was one of those people who used to spray the room when he talked.

        I’m glad you liked it.

    4. sjmca1966

      This was a very dark and great concept Manwe38. It’s been a long time since I graced the hallways of school, but I do remember a couple of ‘waste of space’ students, whose parents were on the School Board, becoming Prefects.
      Nice job.

  33. Frozen Alone

    Something was obviously wrong when Caro walked into the school to spot the most serious teacher in the school with a million watt smile on his face. The path through the office was more welcoming than to pass Mr. Sternson while he talked to the most annoying teacher in the school.

    School became crowded as usual but the usual chatter was at a roar as students found their lockers full of slingshots, erasers, extra books, notebooks, dull pencils, paper clips and various other school objects. One girl pulled out a bottle of motor oil from the auto shop from her locker.

    “Any clue what’s going on?” Joey asked Caro as he glanced at the items in his locker.

    “No clue.”

    At that moment, the overhead speaker kicked on. “Attention students. As returning students will recall last year there was a large prank done by all the classes against the staff consisting of buckets of ice water, silly string, and various other disgusting substances. In retaliation we declare war on students.” A siren sounded through the school. “The school is now on lock down. The war will only end when the last person of one side falls. Emergency medical services are on standby if desperately needed.” There was a pause and a few teachers appeared in the hall. “ATTACK!”

    Four hundred students dove for the nearest cover, a number of freshmen used their lockers as said cover. A few football players threw themselves over other students as erasers and books rained down on the halls.

    “SENIORS!” Cora looked at Joey as he called them out. “Are we going to stand for this?”


    “I didn’t think so! Unleash hell!” Lockers were ripped open and weapons chosen. A large book flew down the hall at the teachers and exploded sending paper everywhere while knocking them off their feet.

    “Juniors! Eraser attack!”

    A hall of juniors aimed at the teachers pelting them with projectiles. The sophomores and freshmen gathered their wits about them long enough to find tables to push the teachers back. Football players rushed forward and hit the tables driving them forward to form a barricade at the cafeteria doors effectively creating a barricade between the teachers and students.

    “Barricade! Reinforce it!” Joey ordered. Desks were dragged out and piled against the tables. Injured students, mostly bruises and the occasional black eye from projectile hits, gathered in the library where a few of the older girls checked them over. The football team took up guard at the barricade while the classes gathered in the library.

    “I can’t believe this is happening,” a frightened freshman said.

    “This is going to be fun,” a few mischievous seniors chuckled.

    “What’s the strategy?” a junior asked.

    Joey looked at Caro who was eyeing a few older teens. “Caro?”

    “Someone raid the shop for screwdrivers. We’re opening the air vents and performing sneak attacks,” she announced.

    “You heard her! Arm yourselves! Prepare for war!”

    It was going to be a long first week back to school.

    1. Cceynowa

      I can just see the poor confused freshmen huddling and the experienced seniors giving as good as they are getting. Seems to sum up all of the high school experience. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    2. Reaper

      Your first paragraph threw me off a little. I’m not sure entirely why but it seemed choppy and then the rest of the story settled into a very readable flow. I may be being hyper critical because normally your writing sucks me in from the first word so take that with a grain of salt. This was a story that was at once whimsical and kind of terrifying, well done.

      1. Frozen Alone

        Oh I know the first paragraph isn’t the best Reaper, I just didn’t know how to start this one. After I posted it I had a better idea how to start it. Though I do like the complement about my writing.

    3. Observer Tim

      I love the way the seniors come together with military precision in this story. It is very easy to see how they were able to work together to pull the prank that came before this one. This is a great story.

      My red pencil caught a couple of the usuals standing too close to each other in the second paragraph and suggests that you hire a chaperone.

    4. sjmca1966

      I thought it was charming and rather sporting that the enemy provided the students with ammo, I guess there’s no satisfaction in a hollow victory. A fun take Frozen Alone, well done.

    5. Amyithist

      It’s hard sometimes not to be repetitive in descriptions; especially with people and places. I think your first paragraph had that issue, but you made up for it in the body of your prompt. This prompt was a little harder to start. Ergo, it took me a full week to come up with something solid; and even then, I didn’t exactly follow the guidelines. LOL

      You did good. This was fast pace without meandering too far from the action. Well done! 🙂

  34. Matthew

    “Paper warfare”

    (I will continue with the Melissa Redcliff story later on in the week. I wanted to attempt this prompt, I may post a second with a slightly altered prompt)

    A paper football hit the back of my head. Snickers from various students allowed me to figure out where the paper football came from.

    I look Carmine right in the eye as he flicks another paper football at me. This time he is distracted and missed his target.

    “Carmine, would you tell me why you are flicking paper footballs at me for?”

    “I have nothing better to do sir?” Carmine is the worst student in the class. He always does this. He was blatantly disrespectful in class.

    “You could be paying attention to the trig problems that are up on the board Carmine.”

    Right in front of my eyes he flicks another paper football. I catch this one and motion to the students in the first column to move over. They do so in one swift motion and almost instantly I throw the paper football back at Carmine, hitting him in the face.

    “Think it’s funny now Carmine?” I ask him.

    “I think it is hilarious sir.” Three paper footballs hit me around the same time. I glance towards the last column of students and find three very satisfied faces as they swap high fives.

    “Okay. I see how this is going to be.” I coolly walk out of the classroom and head towards the principal’s office.

    “Principle Price, we have a code 13 in my classroom.”

    “Code 13 eh?” Price says and looks around. “Go to these three offices. Tell them what you have on your hands. They will support you.”

    “Thank you principal.” I snicker and know that vengeance is about to be mine.

    I walk around to the offices and pull out the teachers. They each have their own siege weapon. Laura has a paper cannon, Mike a ballista, and James a confetti drop rigged in the ceiling just for an occasion like this.

    I grab my own paper launcher and walk back into the classroom.

    Paper flies towards us as the door is opened.

    I stand to the side and Laura fires her cannon from the doorway, coating students in paper. I fire my paper launcher and on explosion sends out a mass of paper footballs that scatter across the room. Mike fires his ballista with spread shot paper. James makes confetti drop from the ceiling on top of each student. All four of us bail out of the classroom before any student can react.

    I heard Carmine issuing his battle call, “This means war!”

    1. Reaper

      Matthew this was priceless. It was over the top in just the right way to be enjoyable and funny all the way through without ever becoming too much. That is a fine line to walk and you did it very well.

      1. Matthew

        Thank you so much for the comment. It means a lot to hear it. It is nice to be able to hear from a writing community about how my writings are. I only showed friends my writings before, none of them would set out to read them like this community does. So thanks again

    2. Observer Tim

      I love the way the staff have a code number for this situation, and also that it is a low enough code number to say it might get some use. This is a good tale, Matthew, and just believable enough to be put on TV…

      1. Matthew

        This has happened in the past. That’s why the code number is so low instead of like, 105. I wish I had done something like made the code number more significant by relating it to something. Maybe like the number of times he was hit with a paper football. Thanks for your comments

    3. Amyithist

      This was very well done. Realistic. I could totally see this happening. LOL

      You are a good writer, Matthew and we’re happy to have the chance to read your work! 🙂

  35. Beth

    Three days ago. Didn’t that seem like an eternity, huh? I don’t remember what happened exactly because I wasn’t there when it started.
    I received a text at 12:50, right after lunch, from my best friend, Rina, telling me that ‘You had better get to Mr. Payne’s class before all Hell breaks loose’. So, naturally, I hurriedly asked to go to the bathroom, rushing down the hall towards her class.
    As I approached the door, it flew off its hinges, a student going with it. I looked back and forth between the class room door and the class.
    Ignoring the student, he seemed fine, I peeked into the class, realizing that nobody seemed worried that a random child had flown out the door.
    In fact, none of them seemed to care about anything, because in the time it took Rina to send that text and me to climb the stairs, all hell had, in fact, broken loose.
    The desks were flipped sideways, creating two barriers, almost like shields, on two sides of the room. On one side, the twenty or so students that had formally been learning, and on the other side were two teachers, pinned down by students throwing pencils like spears their way.
    Someone pulled me down by my sleeve, and my head narrowly missed being hit by and eraser thrown from the teacher side. Looking down at my savior, I saw that Rina was peeking over the hastily made wall.
    “Here! Throw these!” She said, handing me some erasers. “They’re grenades.” I held them hesitantly, cocking my head. “Rina…”
    “Grenade!” Someone yelled, and everyone scrambled away front a ball of paper in the middle of our ‘fortress’. Confused, I stared at it until Rina pulled me down until I was laying next to her, a good 15 feet away from the ‘grenade’.
    I began to ask what the HELL was going on when I heard an explosion behind me. I turned and saw two or three kids laying haphazardly around.
    “You’ll never guess what happened….” I heard Rina say from behind me.

    1. Matthew

      Good job Beth. This was a funny read for me. Imagine if paper really did explode. I’m sure hospitals would be overflowing with injured “student soldiers”

    2. Observer Tim

      Great story, Beth. I like the MC’s voice in this, and the confusion of the situation is very deftly portrayed.

      I am very thankful paper doesn’t explode; otherwise my desk could take out a major metropolitan center…

  36. Manwe38

    This is a little off prompt, but I couldn’t fit it all into 500 words. Next part is coming soon, probably tomorrow :).


    “A Shot In the Arm”—-Part One

    Like they often did, the war started over something simple. Or so I’d thought.

    I’d been feeling lousy since the end of last week. By Tuesday, I’d wanted to stay home, but Dad wouldn’t hear of it: if I didn’t have a fever, I couldn’t miss class. Those were the rules, and they were written in stone. Sure, the runny nose and cough were an annoyance, but it was just a head-cold, and I didn’t want to be a wuss, right? After all, he had to go to work too; his patients were counting on him…and he needed to be able to count on me, right?


    And so I’d slipped out the door, not sure if I was going to make it through the day, and headed off to school. My chest rattled with eddies of phlegm, the air whistling through my bubbling lungs like wind over the top of an empty glass bottle. For some reason, the beginning of fall–with its shortening days and cool, crisp mornings–always managed to make me sick. Sure as Thanksgiving came in November, a bug would be waiting at the end of summer. Colds, bronchitis, the stomach flu; you name it, I’d catch it. Dad said my body was building immunity, but I never understood how getting sick was supposed to keep you healthy, if something like that was even possible.

    Oh well, Dad was weird. Even mom said so. It was better, I’d learned, just to let him speak his piece; much less aggravation that way.

    The school was only a block from home, and six minutes later, I slipped through the door. As I meandered down the crowded hall, the voice of the vice principle crackled over the intercom like a Speak-N-Spell with asthma, reminding us of today’s mandatory flu shots. They would be held in the cafeteria during lunch, or students could stop by the nurses’ office after class for their booster. I grinned; being sick would exempt me from the painful needle, at least until I lost the cough…and that might take weeks, if last fall was any guide.

    The smile widened, the corners of my mouth making a beeline for the dangling lobes of my ears. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad day after all.

    As I passed the music room, a flash of light caught my eye, and I crept over to the door and peered inside. There was no sign of Mr. Faust, the chorus teacher, with the ponderous belly that bulged beneath his button-down shirts like a baby kangaroo in its mother’s pouch, or his assistant, Mr. Fell, whose two front teeth bucked out so far it was a miracle he hadn’t gnawed off his own chin. Instead, the center of the empty room was filled with stacks of brown boxes, arranged in rows like soldiers on parade. I cast a quick glance over my shoulder, but didn’t see any teachers.

    All right, then. Time to explore.

    To be continued….

  37. Cceynowa

    The “Education through Electronic Examination is the Key to Success” Exam War

    The only indication of his nervousness came in his occasional glace towards the cafeteria’s double doors. We had been gathered together since 6 AM and in exactly one hour we would begin a new school year. Principal Parker had quietly informed us of this meeting last week, emphasizing that no one on the School Board and no parent was to be present or informed. He had stood guard outside the school, only allowing certain teachers to enter. This meeting was to be for teachers only. Something was definitely wrong and I could feel my own nerves tightening as I took sat with my peers.

    He cleared his throat while pacing amongst the freshly polished tables. “Ladies, and gentlemen,” he came to a halt in front of Mr. Davis, our ex-marine science teacher. Scanning our wide eyes, he continued, “We all know of the recent legislation passed this term. We are to teach to the newly written EEEKS exam.”

    We nodded. Standardized testing was nothing new, and it was not wholly surprising that the state had done away with the paper exams all together. Rumors of cheat codes for sale on the student black market were already circulating. Perhaps this meeting was to inform us of those cheats.

    “What you may not be aware of is a special section at the end of the exam,” he began pacing again. “Each student will have the capability to evaluate his or her teacher and recommend contract renewal or immediate termination.”

    The weight of his announcement settled heavy on us. “You can’t be serious,” said Mrs. Harte.

    His strained expression assured us that he was entirely serious.

    “Will the School Board actually take the students’ recommendations into account,” I heard myself asking.

    “It has been made clear to me that the School Board, backed by the state legislator, wants our students to feel they have an element of control in their education. They seem to think it will encourage students to care more about education.”

    “Do the students know this?”

    I smiled at Coach Buxton. An excellent point! If the kids didn’t’ know, then we could butter up to them on the sly AND still teach them. My thoughts were already planning chocolate bars for completed homework assignments and a ‘Grade Forgiveness Program.” I could work the system. I was a survivor.

    “Yes, they know or will know soon enough. I have here a copy of a letter mailed from the state to every registered student’s home. Let me read you the important part,” he began to read:

    ’At the end of this year you will have the chance to grade your teacher! Be warned, you teacher
    knows he/she will be graded so he/she may try to bribe you throughout the year. Make sure to note this
    when you grade them. You should be aware of your educational situations, and insist on understanding
    any lesson before moving on to another lesson. Do not let the class continue if you feel you need extra
    help. Take charge of your education!’

    Principal Parker had sat down as he read the letter. I thought he was near tears. “It just gets worse from there,” he finished.

    “Fucking Bullshit,” whispered Mr. Davis. We all nodded in agreement.

    1. Cynthia Page

      I like your take on this prompt. Sounds like a setup for students to blackmail teachers for grades. Armageddon in the classroom. Thanks for sharing this.

    2. Augie

      What an amazing tale! Seriously, Im not a B( whatever the other letter is) guy, I reach to my depths of kindness when I ask you one favor, there is no such thing as an X. Possibly a prior? I know it is a simple thing, but it held me on the cliff as I watched the story below. Great job, I really enjoyed each wave. Thanks Cceynowa!

        1. Augie

          Actually, I should have left it alone Cceynowa, apologies.. I was writing for a military site/news letter last year and used the phrase, ex-Marine. They didn’t like it. But, once again apologies, I realize this is not the military. I think I will take a break for awhile. I really did like your story.

          1. Cceynowa

            Oh I see. Understood completely, and thank you for pointing it out. I didn’t even think about it, but you are absolutely right. My former science teacher was in the service and did refer to himself as an “inactive marine” not an “ex.” I should have known better, though I fully admit I am the most non-politically-correct person I know, so I’m not surprised by my slip. I wish I could have put his catch phrase “No Grab Hiney!” in the story somewhere, maybe next time.

          2. Observer Tim

            I know the sentiment, Augie. My father lived for thirty years after retirement, but at no point did he ever become an ex-sergeant major. That pride is part of what makes the military strong, and as an author it’s what us civilians have to understand about a portion of our readership.

          3. Cceynowa

            Question/Opinion request: the only reason I put the military reference at all was for the last line. My real-life Mr. Davis inspiration is known for the occasional explicative (though never in the classroom), and I have always felt, especially as an adult, that his occasional forceful way of putting things is attributed to his military background.

            Could I have left out all reference to his back story and still used the last line as I did? Any and all advice for a novice writer is appreciate.Thanks!

          4. Observer Tim

            Hi cceynowa;

            The use of casual profanity is fairly common among professions that aren’t regularly reminded not to use it. The military is one, but so are construction/labour workers, craftsmen, mechanics and the like. Among those, the military is the group most likely to produce teachers (because of the professional discipline, IMO).

            One friend’s son went home on his first leave from the army. At dinner, he asked his mother to “Pass the fucking potatoes”. His military father said, “That’s one.” The son knew what it meant and restrained his language at home thereafter.

        2. Cceynowa

          Observer Tim, I agree with you completely. My husband is a mechanic, and he’s had to tone his language at home, though I find myself picking up on his “shop jargon” for certain instances. He does refrain and use it only if he feels the situation calls for it (dog eating his hamburger, whatever). But, he definitely isn’t teacher material. I felt like the last line summed up the situation pretty nicely in this story, but it wouldn’t have been right coming from the kindergarten teacher. So, my questions remains, was adding the small blurb of a back story the right choice, or could I have made the point another way? Again, fully open for suggestions and positive critique.

    3. sjmca1966

      It’s getting close to election day here in NZ and a question along these lines was asked of a few politicians by some young people, thankfully they dismissed the concept as complete garbage (in diplomatic terms of course).
      Great story Cceynowa.

  38. Colonel Plops


    This wasn’t the first time he’d been caught cutting class. In fact, most teachers had to keep an eye on him all the time, for a long time he could only use the bathroom during lunch and had to be back within a certain amount of time. So I wasn’t surprised when I heard snickering coming from the bathroom.

    “I know you’re in there,” I shouted into the stall, “Get out here!” The snickering stopped for a minute and then I could hear what sounded like an attempt to breath quietly. Suddenly another teacher entered.

    “What’s going on here?” I just pointed to the bathroom door and the other teacher understood, but he looked surprised.

    “I have someone in here too. He asked to go at the beginning of class and hasn’t been back yet.” When I still didn’t get a result I pounded on one of the stall doors. Something pounded back. The other teacher looked at me and rolled his eyes like so many students had. I know for a fact he would’ve yelled at a student for doing that, but I just ignored it. Just then the door flew open and a brown blur knocked me against the tiled bathroom wall. I squinted my eyes and clenched my teeth, seeing only the brown blur jump at the other teacher next. Once I was able to stand I looked at the other teacher. Blood was everywhere. He was dead, he had to be. I couldn’t believe it, what was going on? What had that kid done? I walked over to the stall. There was the other kid that had been cutting class, also bleeding, his shirt off.

    “What’s going on?” I asked. He only writhed on the ground and groaned, holding his arm where there was what seemed to be a bite mark. Then, screaming cam from another room. I heard growling. I rushed in to see what was going on. Another dead teacher and this time I could see the brown blur clearly. It was a wolf, and there was more than one. Some kids were mid transformation. They were different colors, and their eyes were still the eyes of the simple kids that sat in class and answered questions, or the kids that cut class, the kids that I’d see walking through the hallways laughing and joking with the others. But their faces had long snouts, some covered in blood and some ready to be covered. One pounced at me and I went running down the hall. A wolf jumped from the bathroom, presumably the kid who I’d seen with the bite, now transformed. He knocked me into a locker and for a second my vision went blurry. All that existed were me and blood caked claws that just thrashed and thrashed at me. Then the world came back as that wolf began chasing other teachers through the hallways. Wolves poured from every classroom. Suddenly a voice was calling for me quietly. I turned towards where there was a trap door leading to an unused bomb shelter under the school from when it was first built. It was open the tiniest bit so the voice could travel to me. I crawled and ducked under wolves until I was at the trap door. It rose for a split second as I was yanked down into it, ruling the ladder useless. I looked around at several other teachers and some staff members I didn’t even know.

    “The wolves can’t open this trap door,” one teacher explained, “we’ll be safe.”

    “What if they turn back into humans?” another teacher asked through tears.

    “Then it’s war.”

    1. Augie

      Ohhh.. I loved this! I have an incredible picture of a shape-shifter changing from man, wolf, and eagle in my house. (painted by one of my bud’s) I hope to read what happens next! Great Job!

    2. Augie

      Ohh My! I clicked on your blue, (whatever it is) Man! I can see us getting along! ‘I be learned’ Love it! My past? I’d like ta spit some beach-nut in dat boys eyes, den shoot em up with my…
      I hope you continue this… Thank you for the story.

    3. Reaper

      An amazing story that I would also love to see more of. My only suggestion would be to split up your sentences a bit. This is amazingly action packed and shorter sentences would create a flow that really drove that home. My mind started shortening them on its own however and it didn’t matter by the end.

  39. k.spicer

    I apologize in advance for this one…but with a prompt like this, what can you do?

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…” These were the words that started it all.

    I remember reading those words from Dickens and challenging whether this story should even be considered a classic at all. I protested having to read a story that used repetitive words with such repetitiveness, and that’s when it all started.

    My English teacher, Mrs. Widebottom, grabbed a yard stick which she kept by her desk for just such an occasion. Normally a ruler would suffice for any discipline problems but when one challenges someone’s god; I guess a ruler just won’t due.

    She waved the stick back and forth in a threatening manner never loosing eye contact with me. “What did you say?” Her voice reminded me of Dorothy’s witch just before she dispatched the flying monkeys.

    “I said this story is crap!” The gasps from around the room could have been heard three classes over.

    Mrs. Widebottom walked slowly toward me waving the stick like some sort of samurai ninja warrior. “I’ll get you my pretty!” She said cackling as she came. What happened next was nothing short of a full-fledged mutiny. Books started flying and desk started crashing to the floor as Mrs. Widebottom made a hasty escape out the door.

    When she returned she had the entire male faculty with her and they were all carrying yard sticks and chalk erasers as they stormed into the room. “Who’s the Dickens hater?” The principle shouted.

    “I guess that would be me.” I said.

    “How dare you!” He shouted as he swung the yard stick like a sword.

    I ducked causing him to miss with his swing. A second faculty member took aim and threw a chalk eraser directly at me, barely missing my head. I heard a loud cry behind me and as I turned to look I saw Sally Johnson lying on the floor with a chalk eraser sticking out of her mouth; the first casualty of the war. The next thing I remember was someone behind me screaming “First Blood” and everything after that is a blur. There were desks and books flying in all directions.

    We managed to make it to the cafeteria where we barricaded the entrance with tables. The faculty called in reinforcements after we plastered them with the cold slaw and it’s been a blood bath ever since. We lost three of our best paperclip-shooters to food poisoning when on the third day they succumbed to hunger and tried to eat the BBQ from the kitchen.

    As I looked around at the devastation from my fortified command bunker I realize that this madness had to stop; I felt responsible. Taking a deep breath I stood up from behind the table and tray fortress and held up my hands to everyone. “Stop,” I shouted. “This madness has to stop!”

    With all eyes on me I looked around the cafeteria at three days’ worth of complete destruction. “What in the Dickens is going on here?” I shouted, to which everyone hissed and pelted me with cold slaw.

    1. lionetravail

      Fun and the pun,
      make this a good one.

      But Observer Tim’s red pencil emailed me, concerned that he hadn’t gotten to read this yet to express his pencil’s suggestions. a ruler just won’t DO, losing eye contact (as opposed to, say, loosing a chalk eraser barrage), Principal.

      Frankly, the story is very funny and enjoyable, but OT’s pencil is, er, a bit pointy_headed about such things 🙂

      Lots of fun!

        1. k.spicer

          Whatever point your pencil red lines is well deserved. This was written rather sloppy after looking back on it. In my mind I was seeing desks being tossed…but the reader can’t read my mind now can they? So that doesn’t quite make sense. I have to smile sometimes at what is actually on the page after I write it. Thanks for the read OT.

    2. Reaper

      So I am dense on the pun here. If it is not part of it I was mostly confused by cold slaw instead of coleslaw. So feeling slow. Loved this from start to finish. Especially as I am a strong proponent of the idea that Dickens proves what we consider classics are not the best books of all times but rather the ones that managed to survive all of the library fires in the early years.

      1. k.spicer

        So sorry Reaper, sometimes my pen (keyboard in this case) is faster than my mind. I need to slow down and pay attention to what I’m actually writing. I guess the slaw was cold? This is just one of several booboos I made with this one. I’m usually not quite this sloppy. Hopefully I’ll pay more attention in the future. Thanks for the read!

  40. Jay "The Doc" Wilson


    My last few stories have been incredibly dark, so I decided to go a little lighter this time. It’s still dark, but it’s like TV-14 haha. Also, I kept the descriptions to a minimum to fit as much story in as possible. Enjoy!

    War never changes. It takes lives, changes lives, and often continues without reason to justify all the deaths. The battle of Winston Waters High started and blazed no different from any other.

    Thee Days Ago

    I arrived at my new school early that crisp morning. A cold blue expanse filled the heavens as the bright orange celestial beast burned bright at the eastern horizon. It seemed like a perfect morning, that perhaps everything would go right. Boy was I so very wrong.

    Moving to a new town isn’t easy, but I’d done it before. My father wasn’t military, thank God, but he did work in the manufacturing industry, and the plants often shut down. They moved him to manage a new plant, and so I moved with him. The school had been number four in the previous two years. A private school no less, one where I would live for the next four years even if my father had to move. His response to my complaints.

    The first thing I noticed was how cold the other student reacted toward me. It wasn’t as if they didn’t like me, it seemed like they were brainwashed or something. I had always thought of private schools as the kind that enforces rules upon their wards, but what I saw that first day was odd.

    By noon, something struck me as strange. The instructors seemed extremely rigid and the students extremely focused. Everyone followed the book or watched the whiteboard with a kind of intensity only matched by the climaxing sun. I couldn’t believe that not even one veteran student disobeyed or faded away into a daydream about video games or the hotties in class. The new students did, sure, but the others were weird. It was as if we walked into an alien world.

    That evening I couldn’t sleep. So, I took a stroll down the hallway to wear my body out. I heard a slight humming coming from a nearby room. Being the young teen that I was, I investigated.

    No one locked the door, so it opened with ease. Inside I found several glass tubes filled with some kind of fluid and shadowy figures suspended inside. Upon closer inspection, I saw me. I don’t just mean a reflection of me, which I can assure you there was, but no. Inside the tube was a hairless, pruned me.

    When I turned around to get the hell out of dodge, I ran into my homeroom teacher. She stood above me, so I face planted into her breasts. I fully expected a soft squishy impact, but instead it was hard and abnormal. I looked up, and her eyes were blue with a kind of phosphorescence not illuminated by anything in the room.

    “You’re not supposed to be in here.” She said with a dark dual vocal kind of voice.

    “W-what are you?”

    “What you’ll be soon enough.” She said, and tried to grab for me.

    I dodged and ran out of the room, blocking the door on my way out.

    One other thing I noticed was that all of the new students seemed to regard the school and his or her peers the same way I did. So, I quickly ran to the various rooms and collected as many of them as possible. They obviously asked me what I was doing, and I had little time to explain, so I told them there was a fire and that we needed to get out of there.

    Well, the main doors wouldn’t open. I don’t know what locked them shut, but it seemed impossible escape. So, there was only one thing to do, make a stand.

    Two Days Later

    As a race who learns about war and who wages it more than anything or anyone else, we human students had a clear advantage. We managed to take half the school, part of which also contained the area where the aliens kept the original students they cloned. I don’t know why they kept them there and for what purpose, I was just glad we could replenish our ranks. As with any war, we were not so lucky to have everyone live, but the aliens suffered a larger loss.

    The coming days would be hard, and we knew it. We didn’t know how many more schools out there were like this one or if the aliens had alerted the others to our ability to fight them off. All I knew was that our fight had only just begun.

    1. Manwe38

      This reminds me a Stephen King short story called “Suffer the Little Children.” I loved that one, and I love this one. Yes, it’s lighter than your usual fare, but you still manage to capture a good sense of escalating tension and fear.

      Nicely done.

    2. lionetravail

      Cool, Doc! That is a solid opening to a much longer piece, I think, and the 2 days later epilogue should go after much more story. At least, I WANT more story.

    3. Reaper

      There was a movie about kids being replaced a few years back, I can’t remember the name of it cause it wasn’t that good. This reminded me of a combination of that and the Stepford Wives but so much better. I echo that this could expand into an amazing novel.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Very visual doc. Especially the pruned, hairless version in the test tube. Boy is thst weird or not? And the teacher with the bumper bullet bra, straight from the front grill of a ’53 fleetwood. Loved this, want more!

    4. Observer Tim

      This is a fascinating prompt, Jay, and a very clever idea. Reaper got to the Stepford Wives first, but this reminded me of an R.L. Stine version of it. The mix of light and creepy works well and you pulled it off with your usual great skill.

      Jay, you slipped! [Tim has second heart attack.] Nothing major, just a double bright during your first three-day old paragraph. 😉

      1. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

        I have to be honest, I was going for an R.L. Stine feel, but now that I’m rewriting it into a longer piece, I’m going full adult horror. The usual. lol

        You’re right! I didn’t even see that second “bright” in there… I’m going to have to go have my head checked!!

        Thanks for the reply, Tim!

  41. Augie

    When they were young……

    The student in the front row seat jumps as the teacher slams her ruler on his desk,

    “Put that pencil away and stop correcting the damn text books!”

    The teacher faces the class, “Children, as you know this group has been chosen as writers for the next teen TV series, ‘Digest That.’ I have been working with you for the last nine months. In a few days the producer of the show will arrive and expect to see you are a team!

    Lets try this again! Here is the opening scene:

    “Jack and his girl friend walk down the beach hand in hand. Something caught Jacks eye…..”

    You have fifteen minutes to write your first scene.”

    The numbered students went to work, each entry is shown on a large screen in the front of the class.


    2.) “What cha got Scorp?” “It’s the bad guy” Aguila grabs the scope, “Is that a Pirate carrying a skull?”

    3.) First, I need to say turn off the caps #1. And #2 is there a time shift going on here? Are these modern pirates?

    Jack turns to the pirate, “may I help you sir?” The pirate laughs, (so does the miniature skull), “ Arrh Matie! “ He points a musket at Jack, ordering Jill to get into the boat.

    4.) The Sea rages, its hungry mouth violently slam the shore, anticipating the feed. Jack transforms into a devilish creature staring the pirate in the eyes. The pirate falls to his knees, uncontrollably placing the barrel of the musket in his mouth. Raging jaws of the sea swallows the pirate, muffling the blast.

    5.) Jill runs up to Jack, “Ohhh Jack, you are my hero.” Lets go back up the hill and try this again.”

    The teacher screams, “NOOO! What is wrong with you! Stay with the same plot! I will give you one more chance! I received permission from your parents to lock you in here with all the staff until you get this right!

    Try it again in reverse!”

    5.) Jill walks down the beach, holding hands with Jack. The tickling sensation of the warm water washes across her feet. She smiles and wonders, ‘Will he ask me today?’

    4.) Jack stops Jill and kneels, “Jill I must ask you a question?” Jill smiles, “Yes?” Jack pulls out the shimmering blade, “ Are you ready to die?”

    3.) Jill smiles, “Ohh Jack. Never bring a knife to a gun fight!”

    2.) Jill pulls out her BFG, (big @$# gun)


    So it started, the war of teachers and students. For three days they battled. The producer arrives, loving every scene.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            Very funny romp Augie. My motto, Keep you foot on their neck till they reach thirty, then run like the devil when you turn them loose. Another thought, move when the kids are in school and don’t give them the address. Neither of these ideas worked for me.

    1. WritingKittenOfLoki

      Love it!!! I think those kids could write something great, if they all work together.

      Why don’t a few of us do something like this sometime? I won’t give names, but I can think of a few people who could really pull it off.

    2. Reaper

      Oh man. I am trying to stop laughing long enough to reply to this. I knew who the writers were from your title or first line and you did not disappoint.

  42. Cynthia Page

    (This went a bit long. Sorry.)

    As a teacher, I hate discipline. That is what started the war.

    One child, unruly, defiant, a true misfit; spit balls, then paper footballs, and then just wadded up pieces of paper, (which I later discovered were covered with irreverent metaphors, punning rhymes, and related drawings.) These are the ingredients of a challenge. Robin sat at the back of the room, I suppose to avoid notice when question and answer period came. I had tried all year to get him involved, and near spring break, he and the other students were cutting up more than usual. But sitting at the back spoiled Robin’s accuracy, what with student obstacles and the distance to my desk.

    I discovered mischief when I heard giggling. I turned away from the blackboard and saw two students up front swiping at the back of their heads, and students behind with hands over mouths and undisguisable, prominent dimples. I carried on with my algebra demonstration, but I stayed aslant of the blackboard to peek out of the corner of my eye. Shortly, Robin lined up his rubber band slingshot on my back and let loose. The sticky wad of course fell short, landing a desk in the front row.

    “Eeww,” from fastidious Samantha made me turn. Sam knocked it off with her pencil, then wiped the pencil on her shirt.

    “Hmmph.” I said nothing more, returning to my algebra examples on the board. Robin gave up on spitballs, and brought out the big guns – paper footballs.

    Thrap. “Ow.” Kevin in the second row.
    Thrap. “Ouch.” Carl in the third row.
    Thrap. “Hey.” Kyle in front. The third made me turn around.

    “Okay, whoever thinks this is funny needs a piece of his own medicine. I will leave the room for exactly one minute. Revenge may not become physical, but you may pelt the culprit with anything made of paper. One Minute, no more, no less.”

    I walked out of the room, closed the door, and consulted my watch. Tapping my foot, waiting for the second hand…I felt the sheer agony of neutrality. When I opened the door a cloud of paper was still on a trajectory for the back of the room. Controlled chaos is not a bad thing for middle school kids. I saw more smiles than frowns, and even Robin, engulfed in a sea of paper wads grinned happily, more animated than I had ever seen him. I had to shout to get the barrage to stop, and it seemed there were several targets, not just Robin, due to shots that had gone awry.

    “I get the feeling this isn’t over.” Before I finished speaking I was pelted by shots from the entire class. I stood there and took it. “Is that all you’ve got?” I brushed spitballs off my dress while a pile of paper collected around my feet. “Fine. This is war. I’m calling in reinforcements.” As I walked out of the room, kids slumped in their chairs. I’m quite sure they expected me to bring in disciplinarians from the office, but I walked across the hall to my friend, Mr. Sherman’s room, and motioned for him to come out for a conference of sorts.

    I explained briefly what was happening, and how I was dealing with it so far. “Ben, the kids are restless this close to spring break. I don’t want Robin, or any of them, suspended, but I can’t let them get away with this. Could you help?”

    He thought for a few seconds, and smiled with devious enthusiasm. “Sure, let me grab a few weapons. We need to teach these kids how to engage in a real paper war. They have no idea what we learned about horsing around in college. Let’s give them a demonstration in humility.”

    Less than an hour later, challenges had been exchanged, reinforcements called in, and battle plans were being laid by both sides. Kids against faculty, our appointment with destiny was set for Saturday at noon on the soccer field. We even nominated generals for each side, and recruited the janitor as referee and negotiator of terms. He was the only one both sides trusted. With luck, our superior experience will give us a victory.

    1. lionetravail

      What a wonderfully written story, Cynthia, and FIRST! Lots of fun, and as an educator (albeit of nominally more mature and significantly more aged students), I love the MC’ and Ben’s enthusiasm for the new ‘lesson’ of the day 🙂

    2. Cceynowa

      That was so much fun! And, at least given my middle/high school experience, believable… ‘course, keep in mind my friends put a raccoon (ahem, live raccoon) in the prissy head cheerleaders locker. 🙂 I really enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing.

    3. Manwe38

      This is a little off prompt, but I couldn’t fit it all into 500 words. The next part will likely come tomorrow.


      “A Shot In the Arm”—-Part One

      Like they often did, the war started over something simple. Or so I’d thought.

      I’d been feeling lousy since the end of last week. By Tuesday, I’d wanted to stay home, but Dad wouldn’t hear of it: if I didn’t have a fever, I couldn’t miss class. Those were the rules, and they were written in stone. Sure, the runny nose and cough were an annoyance, but it was just a head-cold, and I didn’t want to be a wuss, right? After all, he had to go to work too; his patients were counting on him…and he needed to be able to count on me, right?


      And so I’d slipped out the door, not sure if I was going to make it through the day, and headed off to school. My chest rattled with eddies of phlegm, the air whistling through my bubbling lungs like wind over the top of an empty bottle. For some reason, the beginning of fall–with its shortening days and cool, crisp mornings–always managed to make me sick. Sure as Thanksgiving came in November, a bug would be waiting at the end of summer. Colds, bronchitis, the stomach flu; you name it, I’d catch it. Dad said my body was building immunity, but I never understood how getting sick was supposed to keep you healthy, if something like that was even possible.

      Oh well, Dad was weird. Even mom said so. It was better, I’d learned, just to let him speak his piece; much less aggravation that way.

      The school was only a block from home, and six minutes later, I slipped through the door. As I meandered down the crowded hall, the voice of the vice principle crackled over the intercom like a Speak-N-Spell with asthma, reminding us of today’s mandatory flu shots. They would be held in the cafeteria during lunch, or students could stop by the nurses’ office after class for their booster. I grinned; being sick would exempt me from the painful needle, at least until I lost the cough…and that might take weeks, if last fall was any guide. The smile widened, the corners of my mouth making a beeline for the dangling lobes of my ears. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad day after all.

      As I passed the music room, a flash of light caught my eye, and I crept over to the door and peered inside. There was no sign of Mr. Faust, the chorus teacher, with the ponderous belly that bulged beneath his button-down shirts like a baby kangaroo in its mother’s pouch, or his assistant, Mr. Fell, whose two front teeth bucked out so far it was a miracle he hadn’t gnawed off his own chin. Instead, the center of the empty room was filled with stacks of brown boxes, arranged in rows like soldiers on parade. I cast a quick glance over my shoulder, but didn’t see any teachers.

      All right, then. Time to explore.

      To be continued….

    4. Observer Tim

      This is very clever, Cynthia. It’s nice to see that the fight could be done in a “civilized” manner. I love the Janitor as referee. When I saw this I had to toss about half my original story concept. Great job! 🙂


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