Perhaps if we hold an upstairs room and keep the lights off. Then well be able to last a lot longer and be less noticeable I thought to myself, yes! That could work, we find a large skyscraper, go to the top level, lock it down and stay silen-.

“Mr. Erastus!”

I jolted forward from my daydream to the sound of my World History teacher yelling my name, I knew he knew I was daydreaming, and he certainly wouldn’t let me get away with that. That wouldn’t be Mr. Finch’s way.

“Could you do your classmates a favor and answer my question?” He asked, with an evil smirk across his wrinkly pale face.

“Yes sir, could you repeat the question?”

“What year was the World Alliance signed?”

Crap. I had no idea in the slightest what year it was signed, I thought extremely hard, I dug deep into my memory, but found no promising answer.

“2A 243, sir” I finally answered with a sense of defeat in my voice.

Mr. finch then started laughing and sarcastically exclaimed, “The great World Alliance was created in the same decade as when Alakite colonists first discovered the Kathara Isles!” He immediately stopped laughing and said with a serious tone,” Mr. Erastus, I didn’t appreciate my student not taking my class seriously, now either pay attention or get out!”

“Yes sir, I’m sorry sir.” I said quietly.

What a jerk, I thought. Mr. finch was a bitter old man, and everyone in class thought the same. He was a hard and strict teacher, nobody uttered a word, a whisper, or a simple noise during his lectures out of fear of his harsh correction. As far as I knew he was in his sixty’s, and had no wife or kids. Perhaps he was lonely, and he vented his frustration of life through his teaching. Though if that were the case, loneliness in my opinion is no excuse for being a complete jerk.

I tried to pay attention to the best of my ability, I mostly ignored what he said and just copied what he wrote down on the board for notes. I’ll just study it later. I always did that with my classes, I didn’t really listen to what the teacher said, I just copied what they would write on the board so that I would have the basic concept of what to do when the test came around. Because of this lack of true academic initiative you can imagine that I don’t do very well in school. I’m a C student, I’m not successful but I’m also not a failure. I’m okay with that because if we’re honest the only people in my life who truly care about my grades are my parents. In my eyes so long as I graduate I’ll be fine. I’m comfortable being a C student.

After what felt like thirty years in limbo, the bell finally rang. It was finally time to go home. I rose from my seat and collected my books from under my chair. Just then Mr. Finch approached me and said with a confidently evil voice, “I expect I will no longer have any reason to call you out in the middle of class again, Mr. Erastus?”.

Happy that it was a Friday, I was no longer angry for being embarrassed in front of the whole class by him, so I joyfully replied, “I certainly hope not, have a good weekend Mr. Finch.”

He nodded back as if to say, ‘You too’.

I then left the classroom to go to my locker where my friends commonly met after school. You see, me and my best friends Mark and Stephen (who were twin brothers) got really lucky this year and got all our lockers really close to each other. Mine and Stephen’s lockers were adjacent to each other, Marks locker was to my right with one other locker between us. That locker belonged to some guy named Finn. Oddly enough, Finn never actually went to his locker, in fact I don’t even know what he looks like, but Marks insists he knows him. I insist that Finn doesn’t exist.

I approached my locker, Mark and Stephen were standing there talking about their day. They turned when they saw me coming their way.

Being twin brothers, both Mark and Stephen have similar appearances, they both had brown curly hair and had oval faces. The biggest thing that separated their appearances were their faces and their body sizes. Mark was tall, stocky, and wore glasses. Stephen on the other hand was quite the opposite, he was skinny, short, and didn’t have a single muscle on his body except for his legs. That guy could outrun a horse, and because of that he was the prize of our school’s track team.

“Mr. Caleb Erastus! Have you been daydreaming again?” Mark teased, mimicking Mr. Finch’s voice with scary accuracy.

“Shut up!” I replied jokingly, “So do you guys want to come to my house Saturday night so we can play some Apocalypse City?”

Apocalypse City was our favorite video game. It was pretty straightforward, you start in a huge city where you can interact with everything, the NPCs (non-playable character, or extras), the vehicles, the buildings, everything. The goal is to survive and save as many survivors as possible. There are three modes: Zombie, Nuclear War, and Asteroid (nobody has ever survived asteroid). Our favorite mode was Zombie, where you randomly appear somewhere in the city, and a random NPC would become a zombie and they attack other nearby NPCs and the plague spreads. It has become routine for us three to play Apocalypse City when we all hang out.

“I’m down.” Said Stephen with his brother nodding in agreement, “We have to beat Asteroid mode before graduation!”.

“Three weeks to beat a nearly impossible game? Challenge accepted my dear friend!” I remarked with confidence. “hey, I have to get going. I’ll see you guys Saturday night. Later”.

I grabbed my backpack from my locker and walked through the zoo that was my school. I said hi to the people I knew as I walked through the crowds, but I made a point to make short conversation with each person that tried to talk to me so I could make it out of the building as soon as possible. When school was over, my only concern was going home, but it seemed like everyone wanted to prevent that. I talked with at least twelve people about meaningless things until I was finally able to make through the glass doors to the outside of my school. It was a sunny day, the sun shined down glowing everything around me, it was warm but a small wind cooled the day, it was truly a beautiful day.

I got into my paper-white, fourteen-year-old Sedan with a dent in the door, and drove off. My house was only a few blocks away from my house, I drove to it and pulled into the driveway. The house was a red ranch house in the middle of a small middle class neighborhood.  We had lived in this house ever since I was little, my parents couldn’t afford anything bigger. My father owns a small hardware store and my mom is a receptionist at a local law firm so were not poor but we certainly aren’t rich.

I unlocked the door with my key, nobody was home yet so I had the house to myself. I walked through the long hallway going into my living room. The hallway was filled with family photos and had two doors. One door led to the kitchen and the other door went into another hallway that was home to even more family photos and my sister’s and parent’s room. My mother was obsessed with taking photos when my sister and I were kids. She took pictures of anything and everything that was remotely related to our childhood, I would always complain when she pulled out her camera, and she would always say the same, “You’ll thank me when you’re older”. It’s funny, 12 years later and I still haven’t thanked her for it.

I walked into our living room. Our living and dining room were in one big room, with the living room on the left and the dining room on the right from the perspective of the hallway. The living room had a large leather couch facing the wall. From the view of the couch you had a large chair in which we usually read from, on the right side was an uncomfortable loveseat that nobody sat on unless they absolutely had to. The dining room was a dark wood table with four wooden chairs for each of my family members.

I laid down on the leather sofa. It was soft and comfortable, years of use had rendered it plushy and covered in scratches. When I laid down I sunk into it, I was always tired after school so I would always take a nap directly afterward.

I awoke to the sound of my mother walking through the front door. She walked into the kitchen and put what sounded like groceries on the kitchen counter. She walked into the living room and told me to get up and join the living. I reluctantly got up and went into our kitchen, I grabbed a soda and I drank it while leaning against the kitchen counter.

My mother walked into the kitchen and said, “hey Cal, how was school?” with sincerity.

“It was good, I made Mr. Finch angry again.”

She frowned, and then joked “With you, that shouldn’t be hard to manage!”.

I laughed. My mother was a small slender woman with long straight brown hair, she never disregarded how she looked, so there was not a single moment my sister and I saw her without her makeup or had not done her hair. She cared deeply for her children and was a great mother to us.

Eventually my father came home from work followed by my sister. We all gathered at the dinner table, my father had picked up a Ready-to-eat chicken and we all began to partake and reminisce about the day.

“Any news?” my father asked while making his plate.

“I got a call from my father today, he’s coming up next weekend”. My mother replied looking down in almost shame.

My father rolled his eyes and sighed, “I just bought two expensive bottles of wine, what am I supposed to do? Dump them?

“We can drink the one bottle over the course of the week and you can dump the second before he comes”.

My grandfather was a senator who traveled due to his occupation and often visited his only daughter when his was in the region. This was a dreaded occasion for my parents because my grandfather was an alcoholic so whenever he would come over my parents would drain everything in the liquor cabinet so he wouldn’t get into it. My mother had dealt with his alcoholism most of her life so she tried her best to keep it from me and my sister.

My father was a hard man, he worked hard his entire life and all the stress and work had made his heart a little callous, he wasn’t a very sensitive man. He didn’t grow up rich like my grandfather, he had to fight and claw to get where he is at now, but despite all the stress, he always kept a strong sense of righteousness and thus he was brutally honest with people. So whenever my grandfather would come over and ask where the alcohol was, if there was alcohol, the only thing my father could do was be honest.

But the worst thing about my grandfather in my opinion was not his drinking problem but how he saw my dad. Being a senator, he was always surrounded by prestigious people so he never really approved of my mom marrying my dad.

“Are you sure he can’t stay somewhere else?” My father asked my mother hesitantly.

“No, he insisted on staying here” she replied, suggesting she had asked him personally if there was anywhere else he could stay.

My father sighed. “Any other news?”

“Yes” my sister said silently, then spoke up, “I was watching the news this morning and scientists say that a small group of asteroids are entering the solar system…”

 

To Be Continued.

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