Monday Stories: High School – Chapter 2

“Alright, kids.” The bus driver growls out, “Watch out for those zombies!”

The front of the bus erupts into groans. Amy looks out her window and she sees several teens walking into the brick building. The oddest thing was a teen standing off to the side with what appeared to be an extra from a zombie movie. Several more are seen moving around the campus in groups or alone. Several students are holding brightly colored weapons and are attacking the zombies. Some disappear in a cloud of dust.

The extra was of average height and had the dried out corpse look. It was also chewing the top of the student’s head. His friends snap photos with their phone as he makes different faces.

“Oh yeah, the new game came out. The one for the full immersion system.”

The students at the front of the bus work their way off the bus. Zoe and her circle of friends follow suit. They pass the group of teens with the zombie. One of the girls steps forward drawing out a yellow sword.

“Come on! If you don’t get out of the way, I won’t be able to get the points before school starts! And you know this becomes a null play zone.”

“Right.” The boy says as he steps away from the zombie. “But it does tickle.”

“Oh, that feeling.” A muscular teen answers, “Is the projection field interacting with your body. Especially your own body’s electrical field.”

“Really?”

“Do we really want to know?” The girl says as she steps towards the zombie as it staggers in place. It swings around and takes notice of the girl.

“Whatever.” The zombie lurches forward as the girl steps forward.

It growls and waves its arm weakly at the girl. As she approaches, the number three appears overhead. White lines form a box around the number.

With two quick strikes, the zombie falls apart. It turns to dust leaving behind a small white window. On it is a display for points and in-game currency. She taps the floating screen. It spins and disappears into a small device attached to her belt. A chime emits from her device.

“Happy now?”

“Yes.” She says with a smile, “I’ll get my next level soon.”

The teens make their way into the school. Here and there students walk past with screens floating above their watches or their eyes covered by semi-transparent visors.

They stop next to a row of blue lockers.

Each child taps their access number into their locker. It opens with a small chime. They pull out their school books while putting their belongings into the lockers. Scattered throughout the hallway are small, fantasy creatures and zombies meandering throughout the hallway.

Amy stops to watch a girl with bright red hair duck it out with a zombie marked with a ten floating above it. Three other zombies shuffle towards the girl. Each has a floating number that between ten and thirteen.

The kid grins as she clicks her watch. From the menu that appears, she selects two icons. Bronze-gold scythes appear on either side of her. Her smile broadens as she grabs the floating weapons. The teen moves quickly and takes out the first zombie with ease.

The bell begins to ring. All at once, the zombies scattered around the campus vanish. In their place is a small message box informing players that the area has become a null zone– an area where gameplay is not allowed.

The girl groans and stares at the ceiling.

“Come on!”

“Well.” O’Connelly says as she gives the redhead an odd look, “I’m off to chemistry.”

“And we’re off to history.” Zoe and Maria say.

Amy waves at each of them slowly before turning towards her own class. Hundreds of students clog the hall as they make their way to classes. The crowd jostles Amy. Many don’t even notice she is there. A few minutes later, the teen enters a classroom.

At the front, a teacher smiles warmly at her. He finishes turning the computer on. The board mounted on the way comes to life. It flashes a logo for Imporium Technologies.

“Good morning class! Please take your tablets and pull up your Knox book. Turn to spot number 337. Today, we are discussing Full Immersion System and how it has changed the world as we know it.” He smiles as the screen displays a cylinder-shaped device with multiple rings mounted to it.

“This is an Immersion Generator. The largest one is five feet in height and two feet in diameter. The smallest is about half a foot high and a quarter in diameter. The smallest one can deploy a field of sixteen feet in diameter. The largest one produces a sphere measuring twenty miles. Within this field, the digital world is now part of the physical world. Most cities hold anywhere from ten to a hundred units. Providing full coverage. This allows us to interact directly with the internet. Much like the smartphone a century ago, this system revolutionized how we did business, socialize, and interact.”

“Uh, we know this already.”

“True but do you know some of the pitfalls?”

“Pitfalls?”

“Yes. Technology, inherently, is neutral. In most cases. There are always exceptions. But what you do with it is what makes it evil or not. Today, you will partner up with one other person and research technology that has been used for good and for evil.” The teacher looks around for a moment, “Actually, let’s do this. Groups of four. I want each of you to discuss the different aspects and impacts of the system.”

Amy sighs and looks around. The students scrape the floor with desks and chairs as they form groups. Every now and then, a student will glance her way but then inch away.

“Mind if I join you?”

Amy jumps at the sound of the voice.

An average teen smiles down at her. The first thing Amy notices is that he isn’t wearing anything flashy. Just a simple jeans and a simple shirt.

“Mind if I join you?”

She shrugs.

“Great.” He drops into a seat next to her. “What do you think?”

“I think you need to wait for the rest of us.” A black haired girl with pale skin. Next to her is a light brunette girl with skin that is fair with a touch of brown. “I’m Ravin. This is one is Robin.”

“Hi.” The boy answers, “I’m Charlie.”

“Amy.” She answers.

“Alright, class. What do you need now is four techs.”

As Robin, Raven, and Charlie begin arguing over which piece of tech is the best choice in the history books. All around her, the thirty other students argue back and forth.

“What do you think of the full immersion system?” Raven asks.

Charlie shrugs, “I wasn’t around before then so I couldn’t tell you.”

Raven rolls her eyes, “Bud. None of us were here before then. We’re all fifteen. Remember?”

“Um… Yeah.”

“Anyway!” She says with a wave of her hand, “the FIS, or FISH as it is often referred to, consists of four major components. The generator system is the main component. It allows the second element, pixels, to function. The small crystals are biodegradable and are able to reuse. The crystals can be grown like trees. The last components are simple computers. The last thing to make the system to work is the Interface. A simple rectangle block that allows individuals to interact with the system and to pull out the data.”

“Right, Miss Raven.” Their teacher interrupts, “Now. How can this be used in the wrong way?”

“Uh, it can’t be?” One of the other students opens his arms wide, “The system is infallible.”

The teacher laughs, “There is no system is infallible. Given enough time, it will be broken. Tell me how can it be broken?”

“Well… I guess it is the old way internet works. False information. Invasion of privacy.”

“Sells of illegal copies of stuff.”

“Fine.” Another teen says, “But why are we talking about this? Everyone knows this!”

“What about the reason behind the creation of the system?”

“What?”

“Why is the system in creation?”

“Uh duh. Better communication system. Everyone knows that.”

“Are you sure about that?”

A low wail fills the air. It reverberates. The windows shake and the ground and rattle the windows. The professor glances out of the window.

“Hmm. Must be the test of the emergency system.” He smiles, “Class. Please move to the designated safety zones.”

Amy stands up and follows the rest of the class. She pauses just at the door. The young teen notices their professor looking out of the window. He frowns in thought. The adult notices the kid is watching.

“Go ahead, Amy. I’m right behind you.”

To be continued…

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Monday Short Stories: The House – Chapter 01

What if buildings had souls? What if they could tell us their stories? What then? It would be great? Wouldn’t it? To go to England and hear the tales of bygone ages. Or to hear the war stories of forts and camps. To hear how King George III plotted to rule the greatest empire. Or listen to one who witnessed Einstein genius at work?

But what if those souls witnessed terrible acts? Whose very walls were coated the blood of innocent? What if the acts we make, both innocent and evil, could change the way the building behaves? What then?

How would the buildings behave?

Would they be things of evil?

X

Two small girls slip out of a small bedroom window. The brick house is mostly dark save the living room. The flicker of white light is the hint of a television. A door opens and closes. The two girls freeze in place. After a moment, they continue to slip down the roof. They drop to the ground soundlessly. The girls keep to the shadows of a hedge until they reach the sidewalk.

They step into the light of a street lamp.

Both girls share identical small faces, slender bodies, and waist long hair. One has red hair while the other has light brown hair. Although both wear tank tops, the redhead wears a skirt. The other wears short shorts. The brunette climbs up a tree then drops two backpacks down to the second girl. Once they shoulder their packs, they begin to walk down the street.

The redhead girl glances back at the house.

“Dani? What’s wrong? Are you worried? Do you want to go back?”

“No.” She answers softly, “Let’s go.”

“Are you sure?”

She takes a deep breath, “No, Chloe. I need to do this. If I don’t do this, I am never going to be willing to venture back out.”

“Okay. Then let’s do this.”

The two girls quickly and quietly walk down the street. The air is thick with humidity and the sound of insects. The either side of the street is lined with small houses. Warm, friendly light shines out of the windows. Some are made of bricks. Others are made of siding. Street lamps stand at regular points. Young trees provide a warm, homey atmosphere.

Ten minutes later, the two girls step around the corner on Fifth and South West. Without saying a word, the children come to a stop.

There is only one lamp on this street. Its weak orange light is barely enough to shine at its base. The trees that line the street are much older and wilder than the other trees. A few houses can be seen through the thick brush. However, at the end of the street is a single house.

Three stories tall with large windows. Its front porch is lined with ornate pillars. A wide path stretches from the porch to the street. Once it was beautiful and stood with dignity. But now the paint is peeling and parts of the porch are sagging in places.

The two girls come to a stop underneath the lamp.

A few moments later, they are joined by three other teens. The biggest and largest teen flashes a smile at them. The second teen is a boy that is getting some recording gear. The second is a tall girl. All three wear letterman jackets. The weak orange light casts deep shadows.

“Hello, all of you!” The tall boy says, “Welcome to your challenge.”

“Mike.” The tall girl says, “Do we have to do this?”

“Everyone at the school has gone through it. Regardless if they are born her or not.”

“What are we doing.” Chloe says as she folds her arms, “What are we doing?”

“Fine. Anthony. You ready?”

“Almost.”

“Hurry up.”

“Hey, you are asking me to do the job of three people. Give me a second.” He lifts a camcorder fitted with an external mic and light source. “And we are ready to record.”

“Good evening! It is just past ten o’clock.” Mike says, “We are here to witness the night of terror! Where Chloe and Dani must stay the night at the old Miller’s House. Eight hours. Recording this adventure is Anthony. Who also has yet to do this.” He looks at the girls, “Are you ready?”

“Yeah.” Chloe squares her shoulders.

Dani shrugs.

“The rules are simple. One. You cannot leave the house until you can hear the town square clock. Two. You cannot call for help. Four. You can only use what you have in your bags. And lastly, you must be recording at all times.”

“Got it.” Chloe says, “We’re ready.”

“Okay then. Good luck.”

“Wait!” Chloe says, “How do we get in?”

“That is what you three need to figure out.”

The two girls look at each other and roll their eyes. The three teens head towards the house. Mike laughs while his friend glares at him.

“What?”

“This is such a stupid tradition.”

“Hey, our parents did this. Even the mayor did this.”

“Yeah…” She looks at the house, “but… something feels different now.”

“Oh, you have just been watching too many horror movies.” He grins at her, “Come on. Sonic is still open. I’ll buy you a lime aid.”

“Fine.”

To be continued…

X