In Which It Grazes
Camille eyed the twenty contestants all giddy with perky smiles lined up against the wall of the Beverly High School gymnasium. All of them were laughing and stretching while eying the cherry red convertible in the center of the room, made enormous with vibrating conversation. A woman with large spectacles and a clipboard popped up next to Camille and raised her shoulders before speaking.
Daniel Did His Homework
“All atoms of an element are identical.” As I read this chemistry study line, I became very aware of the drooping bags underneath my eyes. I became accustomed to the restless nights spent memorizing possible test questions and their all too real answers. It was May during my sophomore year of high school, and the academic hangovers resulting from finals week gave me a rugged look for the remainder of those last couple of days. Sitting in the shrunken desk in the science room going over the final review packet seemed surreal and climactic given the scandal that took place just a couple of months ago. Through what school district U-46 likes to remember as a rough patch, the members of Mrs. Reason’s period 13-14 chemistry class witnessed a uniquely disturbing display of dismal contempt from a faculty member. A hysterical plot that demonstrates certain differences between age groups, as well as presents the probable clash that might arise when people who see each other every day butt heads. I couldn’t refuse the fact that it had a lasting impression on the class, especially when noticing all of the blank expressions gazing into cut-up college-ruled index cards. I was doing a good job looking at each bullet point in my review packet and not returning to any type of negative memory associated with the class, but I failed at the next line.
“Alright, where are they? There they are! Both of you on time, this is perfect.” Mr. Tussen looked up and down the pair of applicants waiting on the office bench and pulled out two resumes from his briefcase. He motioned for them to follow him as they walked from the waiting room to his office with double doors. This place had been a labyrinth for many previous potential employees, all of which were declined for the sought-after position. Mr. Tussen shut the doors and circled around his desk, fixing all of his accolades and degrees that were displayed on the wall. They were on the fifteenth floor, which was dedicated for only the higher-ups of the company. Each executive presented their diplomas and rewards with pride in their office. Every desk offered a career’s worth of acknowledgement; all except for one. The spot for Chief Operations Manager was still up for grabs. Mr. Tussen cleared his throat before speaking.
A Gun, Again
Isaac paced through the movie theatre rows, clenching his jaw repeatedly while waiting for the phone. While other Uncaptured ones had to live in abandoned homes or gas stations, he and his love were lucky enough to have a whole deserted movie theater to themselves. The paint was once vibrant, but now only mold and rust provide any color. Cardboard and popcorn seeds from nearly sixty years ago gave the place a rotten smell. Still, it was the perfect hideout for their lifestyle of looting long-gone pharmacies. At least the ones that haven’t been hit yet. Some shops had solid security; usually a platoon of lower-ranking authorities of the New Way. Isaac favored this high-risk robberies, not attempted by the rest of the Uncaptured. It was always worth it either way for whatever gold mine of medication stashed away.
The Only Other Voice
“I told you this was going to happen.” The only voice in the drap house shook the chandelier into a disco ball that lit up opposite the dark moss growing lazily on the torn walls. Chris was hunched over a magazine, appalled with a sense of sickness in his stomach. The sweat dripping down his 5 O’clock shadow chin resembled struggling kayakers that got off to a bad start. This issue resulted in a puddle of stress darkening the torso region of his sleeveless crewneck sweater. With one hand on the lifeless oven and the other grasping the journal for dear life, he spent the next minute frantically observing the room, shifting his eyes to the rhythm of his foot-tapping. Chris then inched his pale-as-a-light-cloud face towards the two words assaulting his eyesight, making it a point to capture his attention like driven hunters.
“I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.” This line was giving Simon a hard time. He had been preparing to recite the “Act of Contrition” prayer at his confirmation for about a month now, and it was this line that kept him stumped. He gave the mirror a helpless look, and then glanced around the bathroom trying to figure out how to nail this performance. It wasn’t like when he was little, and he could get advice from his father. His death right after Simon’s thirteenth birthday led to confusion on how to deal with problems he couldn't tell anyone else. He was overseas for a lot of Simon's childhood, and his countless stories solidified his position as Simon's favorite role model. Sometimes, if Simon was feeling especially lonely, he would wear his dad’s army cap. But at least that was better than not talking with him at all. Shaking his head, Simon came to the conclusion that he’ll figure the prayer out later and started making his way towards the kitchen where his mom and whatever boyfriend she had at the time were probably eating dinner.