Lost At School, Part 6

Today seemed to last a thousand years.

First Mr. Grumbly was talking about history. But he kept referring to pages, and historians, and dates upon dates upon dates. After a few minutes, I decided to catch up on sleep. Demerit twelve.

I perked up a bit when he started to talk about spells. But again, there was so much talking. Words like conservation of energy. Transmogication of the elements, mass and signs and quations. It was so much more boring than actual spell work.

I had asked if we were actually going to practice. That had gotten a few laughs and number thirteen. After that, I stayed quiet for the rest of the morning.

For lunch, we left Mr. Grumbly’s class and went down to a lunchroom. Lunch. Where you were supposed to pay for meals, and then go into your own group while you ate and judged people. At least, that’s what it looked like.

Like everything at Blue Wheel, it seemed to be made to look as grand as possible. Two stories tall, for no real reason than be important. The food was on one side, and more long tables.

Light streamed in from the floor-to-ceiling windows, revealing more gardens. Where did they even find a place to make the gardens?

Luckily, I had been smart enough to grab some of the money off the dresser as we left. I was sitting down next to the windows, and looked outside as I ate a really over-priced salad. And thought.

So far school was exactly what I imagined it to be. A bunch of people that were convinced of their own importance, because they talked really nice. No doing stuff, and I wasn’t really finding a reason to be here besides making Merryl work. And not die, that was also important.

I finished the salad, and set it aside. Picked up the staff, and tapped the glass. I was supposed to be out there. We had an evil mayor, and an even eviler town. There were good people that needed saving. And instead I was catching up on sleep.

The glass tapped back. I frowned, and tapped it again. It tapped a third time.

“Mel?”

I looked up. There, high up, right at the top of the window, Lana looked back at me. She was upside down, holding on to the windowsill by her clawed feet.

She floated down to the ground, and leaned against the grass. “What are you doing alone?”

I shrugged. “Thinking.”

“About what?”

“About why I’m in here…” I stopped, and frowned. “And you’re out there.”

Lana looked downcast. “I’m… they say I’m supposed to be out here.”

“Why?”

“Hey!”

The two of us looked back. A blonde boy stood up in the center of lunchroom, and pointed at Lana. He was wearing snooty clothes, and a badge on his chest. It was of a knife with three red paint drops on it.

“You! Get back upstairs where you belong!”

Lana started to move. I slapped my staff against the glass, and it stopped her.

“Why does Lana have to go upstairs?”

The boy laughed. “Are you as stupid as you are delinquent?”

“What’s delinquent?”

He chuckled. “So yes. Let me explain it to you, new girl. The…Reza, as the beasts insist we call them, have other duties here at Blue Wheel. They have to pull their weight around here. Doing gardening work, making food. Their sort of work.”

He pointed at Lana. “And she needs to find that out now, before someone else explains it to her.”

I looked at Lana, and then at the boy.

“Oh, I see. You’re a jerk.”

I smiled. “You’re all jerks.”

So I blew the window down.

I climbed out of the wreckage, and waved to everyone.

“This entire Academy is dumb. I’m leaving.”

copyright 2019 Jack Holder

Lost At School, Part 5

Blue Wheel Academy was just a few blocks away from the Mayor’s manse. In the northern part of town, and up-scale to a point that didn’t seem possible. The Academy had a fully manicured lawn, shimmering bluegrass that sparkled when I looked closer. Trees were lined up along the walk to the three-story building. And above the main doors to the building, was the eight-spoked blue wheel that must have been the symbol of the Academy.

As we walked towards our new school, Lana and I tried to appear confident, and relaxed. We were superheroes. We had saved towns, defeated big criminal gangs. We just faced down a wyvern.

I tried not to let it show that we were absolutely terrified.

I hadn’t been to school in years. Even before we left Littlebrook. We didn’t have a school teacher for a while, and I had been fine with that. I mean, what did you need to learn after you could read and write? I just kept reading more comic books, and other stuff if my mom had made me.

But this school thing was important to people in the city. We couldn’t run away, we couldn’t fight, and being good wouldn’t cut it. It would be all about smarts. I was doomed.

The woman stopped at the entrance to the school. “Emelia, you enter through here. Lana and I shall walk through the Reza entrance.”

“The what?” I asked.

“Just go down this hallway, up the stairs, and turn right. Third door on the left, Mr. Grumbly.”

I snorted.

“Laughing at your teacher’s name shall result in more demerits.”

I sighed, pushed my way through the door. I had made it up the stairs, down the hall, and to the classroom door before I realized what she had said.

“Reza entrance?”

“Miss McKay?”

 

An old man looked down at me. Mid-forties, hair starting to go gray. He had a stare that was full of derision and scorn. Must have been standard for working at Blue Wheel.

“Mr. Grumbly?” I asked.

He sniffed, and bowed his head. “I am he. Are you Miss Emelia McKay?”

“Yup.”

“Yup is not a definitive response, young lady.”

I grit my teeth. Merryl was going to be fixing up houses. We were not being blown up. This was a good way to deal.

“Yes, sir.”

“Miss McKay, you are late.” He jotted a note on a pad of paper on the desk. “That brings your total demerits up to five.”

“Five?” What had I even done? I just showed up to school, and already I was in that much trouble?

“Six, if you do not take your seat.” Mr. Grumbly held out his hand. “And ten if you do not hand over that ridiculous stick.”

Right, I was still holding on to my staff. It felt warm in my hands. Comfortable. I had built it with my own hands, over months of effort in secret. It had helped liberate my town. Helped bring down a dragon.

“I’m okay with ten demerits, Mr. Grumbly sir,” I said. “Could you please point in the direction of my seat?”

Mr. Grumbly’s hand twitched. He obviously wasn’t prepared for me to both accept the punishment of holding on to my staff, and be polite about it. I thought his head might burst into smoke processing it.

After a long moment, he pointed at the seat in the back. “Just take your seat.”

I nodded, and walked through the classroom. The rest of the students were all in rows, long wooden tables. They looked back at me, a mix of smug, scorn, and curiosity. As I walked past, I tried to take note of who looked at me in what way. It might be useful later, and Sela would be proud.

The last table had one spot open, right on the end by a window. I settled in, and looked around. No one looked back at me now.

Fine. I nudged the boy next to me. A bit of a burlier boy, dark-skinned and dressed closer to my fashion.

“Psst.”

He ignored me. Stuck his head into his notebook.

“Psst.”

“I’m not listening.”

I smiled. “My name’s Mel.”

“I don’t want to talk to you.”

“Why?”

“Because I already have enough problems.”

“Me, too!” I said. “Ten demerits, whatever that means.”

“Ten means you need to speak with the headmaster after classes today,” He said. “And you don’t want that.”

“We’ll see,” I said. “Now what am I supposed to be doing here?”

“Miss McKay,” Mr. Grumbly said. He held up a big book, and frowned at me and the boy.

“If you and Mr. Jones are quite finished, could you please open your textbook to page three-hundred and ninety-four?”

“Textbook?”

Mr. Grumbly’s eyes bulged. “Eleven demerits, Miss McKay.”

My head slumped onto the table. This was going to be a long day.

copyright 2019 Jack Holder