Tripped

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SUMMARY: En lieu of jail time, Dustin found himself attending the elite Parkson Academy, where students strive for perfection. Little did he know about the horrors of the schools history, and his second chance for a clean record meant a fight for his life. Can Dustin manage to escape with his life, or would he become another tragic statistic in the schools tainted past.


The Ghost In The Fog


Dustin Victor Reidel; you are hereby sentenced to attend Parkson Academy. If you can successfully graduate from the school, your record will be expunged. This is a second chance most people don't get, Mr. Reidel, so I suggest you make the most of it.

Dustin Reidel drew a deep, calming breath as he thought about the situation that lead him to an exclusive boarding school. He reached a fisted hand towards the closed door before him, then, with nothing more than a subtle nod to himself, Dustin gently wrapped his knuckles against the door a few times. Almost immediately, the fifteen year old boy with black hair and jade green eyes looked around as his heart rate increased, dozens of thoughts flashed through his mind until a mans voice crackled through the wood separating them.

“Come in.” The voice commanded. Hearing this, Dustin tensed up while gripping the cold chrome knob in his sweating hand and gave the metal a sharp twist. Ever so cautiously, he nudged the door open just far enough to reveal rows of bookshelves, then a large hand crafted office desk, more shelves and finally an older man standing by an open window. For a few brief seconds, Dustin studied the man in a light blue shirt and black slacks with thinning silver hair and wire framed glasses.

“Dean...Edwards?” Dustin hesitantly asked, his hand still firmly gripping the doorknob.

“You must be Dustin Reidel. Come in.” Doing as instructed, Dustin entered making sure to close the door before him before stepping close to the desk while keeping some space between them. “I do not tolerate willful disobedience, backtalk, vandalism or disrespectful behavior. Do I make myself clear!?!”

“Y-yes.” Dustin squeaked instinctively cowering slightly.

“You sound afraid.” Dean Edwards grinned, finally turning from the window setting his narrowed glare on the boy looking as though he were about to faint. “If you behave yourself, and you don't intentionally disrupt my carefully crafted learning environment, you won't have much to worry about.” In the following silence, Dean Edwards opened the top right desk drawer and retrieved a red file which he held out for Dustin, followed by a key he kept in his hand. “This is for you. I suggest you read through it as soon as possible because that folder contains rules, dormitory conduct codes, disciplinary guidelines, maps of the campus, lists of extracurricular activities, class schedules and pertinent information for trouble makers such as yourself.”

“I'll read through it as soon as I get settled in.” Dustin nodded after taking the folder and flipping through a few sheets within it.

Dean Edwards then passed the key in his other hand over to Dustin as well. “This is for your dorm room. Do not lose it.” A sudden knocking drew both of their attentions, and looking past Dusting towards the door, Dean Edwards smiled. “Come in.”

Dustin turned to watch as the door slowly opened to reveal another boy wearing a blue t-shirt and black slacks. “Afternoon Dean. You wanted to see me?” The boy with longer blond hair pulled into a ponytail asked while shifting his coffee brown eyes between the Dean and Dustin.

“Yes. Thank you for coming, Mr. Carson.” The Dean nodded waving the boy closer. “Pierce, this is Dustin Reidel; he will be attending our academy. Since you're one of my best students, I was hoping that you would spend a week with Mr. Reidel until he learns the ropes.”

“Yes Dean Edwards, I would love to help out in any way I can.” Pierce responded with a large smile.

Dean Edwards then turned and focused on Dustin with an intense cutting glare. “Mr. Reidel; I know why you're here so from this point on, you are subject to random room checks for contraband of any kind. Consider this your first and only warning; you step even one centimeter out of line and you'll be thrown in juvie so fast you'll feel like you're having an out of body experience!”

--- --- ---

Walking along near silent corridors, Dustin kept his focus divided between the paths in front of him and the contents of the red file. As he flipped through the pages, Dustin mumbled aloud visually identifying each sheet of paper. Instantly he stopped in his tracks causing Pierce to do the same. “What the heck?” He asked glancing over to the blond haired boy a few inches taller than him.

“What” Pierce asked then looked over.

“There's two things that don't make sense. First: orange doors are off limits to all students without direct written permission from Dean Edwards. Second: all students are to remain in their dorm rooms during lights out and lights on, unless the dorm adviser has been paged and is there in person as an escort to the infirmary.”

“Oh, those are simple. The orange doors lead down into the boiler and mechanical rooms of each school building so for our safety we have to have the Deans permission to be down there. As far as curfew, well...we really should be sleeping instead of wandering around freely, getting into trouble.”

Before long the two boys found themselves on the second floor of dorm building two, then they rounded a few corners until they stood outside of room two-two-eight where Dustin pulled out the labeled key and slid it into the lock in the knob until the door swung open. “You coming in?” Dustin asked after entering into the stuffy room and opening the only window in the space.

“Dorm conduct code number six.” Pierce laced his hands together while remaining in the hallway. “A student visiting another students dorm room must have permission from the rooms entitled tenant.”

Hearing this, Dustin rubbed the side of his head. “Okay, fine. I, Dustin Victor Reidel do hereby grant you, Pierce Carson, permission to enter into this dorm room. Good enough?” With nothing more than a chuckle and a smirk, Pierce stepped into the room as Dustin glared around.

“A simple 'come in' is all it really takes.” Pierce shook his head then pointed around. “Bed, desk with a laptop computer, clothes locker and personal belongings shelves, bathroom. By the door are the light switch and the dorm adviser page button; make sure you only use the page button when you actually do need help, otherwise you will be needing help. If you catch my drift...” As Pierce rambled off the different parts of the room, Dustin glanced around spotting everything then finer details; sitting on the desk next to the laptop were a large binder with a few packs of pens. In the metal clothing locker were eight days worth of blue shirts and black slacks, and an equal amount of pressed pajamas – every single article of clothing were folded and stacked neatly.

“It's, cozy.” Dustin grinned and leaned on the windowsill taking a breath of fresh air from outside.

“So.” Pierce began then pulled out a wood chair with a large cushion and sat down on it. “What did you do to get in here. I was there when Dean Edwards said what he said, and I've seen your transcripts so I know for sure there's no way you would have been accepted here based on your credentials.”

“How did you see my trans?”

“I have a tendency to help the Dean with his paperwork so I have some rather...privileged information.” Pierce grinned while crossing his arms.

“If you really must know.” Dustin trailed off before sitting on the corner of the single bed cloaked in crimson red sheets. “It was part of a plea bargain that's keeping me out of jail. I gave the prosecution what they wanted, and in exchange, they settled on a rather lenient sentence. So, here I am.”

“What'd you do, armed robbery?”

“Now that is a story for another day.” Dustin sighed leaning back against the wall. “But for now, I just need to find a way to remember all this.” He frowned waving the red file folder only to toss it onto the bed.
 

Fenrierlilfolf

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rather nice o: i'm assuming this is an ab/dl content free story, right? not that thats bad, since it actually got my attention and i want to se more :3
 

Tripped

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rather nice o: i'm assuming this is an ab/dl content free story, right? not that thats bad, since it actually got my attention and i want to se more :3
For the most part it'll be ab/dl free, but there may be a few spots where some of the paraphernalia might come into play... ;)
 

Rocky

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I like it so far. It reminds me of the video game "Bully" made by Rockstar.
 

Tripped

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I like it so far. It reminds me of the video game "Bully" made by Rockstar.

I'm glad you're liking it. :) I totally know what you mean by Bully, as I've got that game but I haven't played it in a long time. The funny part is, is that I don't even remember how I came up with the idea-spark for this story.
 

Rocky

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I'm glad you're liking it. :) I totally know what you mean by Bully, as I've got that game but I haven't played it in a long time. The funny part is, is that I don't even remember how I came up with the idea-spark for this story.

SUBCONSCIOUS PLAGERISM!!! Jk, this wouldn't even be plagerism. :)
 

Tripped

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Dustin ran as fast as his legs could carry him through thick fog enveloping him from every direction. To his left, sounds of waves gently lapping the lakes edge broke the near silence. To his right, the safety of two dorm buildings and the schools main building faded from view under the moonless and starless night skies. The fog grew thicker as he frantically darted about, his sense of direction becoming blurred in the blanket of thick confining haze.

“Dustin...” A younger boys whispering voice pierced the perfect stillness of the field by the lake where even crickets didn't chirp. “...help me Dustin.” The voice continued as Dustin spun around trying to gather his mental bearings. Upon his second revolution, Dustin suddenly gasped with a shrill shriek; standing directly in front of him, a boy much shorter and younger than he was stood with arms outstretched towards him. Dustin backed away slowly, and as he did, he studied the black soot covering the boys skin, most of his hair had been burned away, his clothes bore telltale signs of a short lived but intensely hot fire.

Suddenly, Dustin bolted upright in bed with screams loud enough to awaken dorm building two. Without thinking, he leapt out of bed and rushed towards the window to find thick fog blurring the ground below his second story window. Drawing deep, relaxing breaths, he cupped his hands over his face and turned while wiping his hands over his face in a downward motion. The very second he opened his eyes he screamed again. Standing before him, the very same burned and charred boy, this time, though, his expression wasn't one of helplessness and fear. It was something different.

It was anger. “Dustin!” The boy screamed and lunged grabbing onto Dustin's pajama tops with hands curled into tight fists.


Dustin sprang up in bed with enough force and momentum to launch himself off the mattress and onto the floor. In deep, huffing breaths, he glanced around to find pale morning sunlight emerging into the room from his open window. Without conscious thought of it, he leapt up and charged for the window where he stopped and poked his head out far enough to see the ground two stories below him, the lake past the open field and dorm building one to the right.

“Don't be there; don't be there.” He closed his eyes and turned. Holding his breath, Dustin ever so slowly opened his eyes to find the dorm room exactly as it should be. The bed was a mess – the sheets tossed about from his sleep thrashing, the chair at the desk was half under the work surface, and a sound of running water came from the toilets leaking tank valve. “God what a nightmare.” He chuckled, forcing himself to laugh at the situation. “I guess from now on, I'll avoid the Chicken Bantam for dinner.”

In that very instant, three loud and nerve shaking bangs thundered from the door. “W-who is it?” Dustin asked as he made his way to the wood barrier, in his steps, he rubbed his left shoulder as it grew more and more tender.

“Dorm adviser Suder.” An authoritative voice responded pronouncing the name as 'Soooder'. Within seconds, Dustin wrapped a shaky hand around the cold metal knob and opened the door to reveal a younger adult male in black slacks with a green shirt. “You okay in here?” Suder asked after looking around.

“Y-yeah just a nightmare is all.” Dustin nodded still rubbing his shoulder.

“Must have been some nightmare. I got paged by at least five different rooms on this floor, and when I went to ask them about it, they all said it sounded like someone was getting brutally murdered. Are you sure you're okay?”

“Landed on my shoulder pretty hard, but I think I'll live.” Dustin smirked with the faintest of laughs.

“All right then. But if the nightmares continue, then I'll have to take you to the infirmary to get you some meds to help keep the terrors away.”

“It won't happen again.” Dustin nodded mustering as much of a reassuring smile as he could. “It was probably that funny tasting chicken I had for dinner last night.”

After another quick look around, Suder turned and silently walked away. Closing the door, Dustin sighed and ran his hands over his face again.

The day went on as usual for most of the students at Parkson Academy. For Dustin, though, the usually laid back Saturday was anything but a day of leisure. The day was filled with placement exams, meetings with all of his teachers, and dozens of smaller activities that kept him busy until seven in the evening when the cafeteria began serving dinner. Even though Dustin tried to keep his attention on all of the events that filled his day, part of his mind kept returning to the nightmare about the boy in the fog. As he sat across from Pierce at one of dozens of tables in the massive space of the schools cafeteria, the thoughts of the charred boy continued dancing through his mind. So much so, that even Pierce noticed Dustin's blank stare towards the distance, his eyes looking at but not really seeing the bustle of students around them.

“The thousand yard stare.” Pierce chuckled placing a fork on the edge of a plate of taco salad before him. He then took a sip of water and leaned in over the table until he and Dustin were closer. “Dare I ask how well you did on your placement tests?”

“Bombed 'em. Big time.” Dustin frowned and took a few more bites from his own tray before putting it off to the side. “I should have just gone to jail. I'm not smart enough to be here with the rest of you geniuses.” He muttered resting his head on his hands.

“Hey wait hold on now...” Pierce instantly sat straight up while staring Dustin eye to eye.

“No. I don't even know what a fractured equation is, but y'all are on top of it like its two plus two.”

“Fractal equation.”

“See!?! I can't even get that right!”

Hearing Dustin, Pierce reached over and pulled Dustin's tray back in front of the boy then smiled. “Here. At least try the brownie, they're pretty good.” He nodded towards the baked desert sitting on a smaller plate next to the larger main course plate. With nothing more than a deep sigh, Dustin reached over and picked up the treat only to take a few bites from it then put it back in its place. Almost immediately Dustin felt a pang of nausea overtaking him, but after a few swings of his drink, the odd feelings subsided. However, as Pierce finished his dinner, the waves of illness returned with a vengeance leaving him shaking his head and holding his right arm over his stomach.

With their trays placed with several stacks to be washed, the duo began their long trek back to their dorm building. Yet, even before they were able to exit the main building, Dustin had to continually stop and brace himself against the walls fighting to keep his dinner inside of his stomach. Sensing something was off with Dustin, Pierce looped his arm around the shorter boy and carefully managed to escort him to the infirmary on the other side of the main building. Once inside the cold, sterile environment, Pierce helped Dustin onto one of four beds lining the far wall of the space. Hearing the commotion inside the normally quiet room, Doctor Victor Masons emerged from his office while sliding on a pair of purple latex gloves.

“What do we have here?” Masons asked, his glare shifting between Pierce looking concerned and Dustin groaning and twisting his body in different directions.

“I dunno, doc.” Pierce shrugged. “He didn't eat all of his dinner, and as we were leaving the cafeteria, he started walking funny like he couldn't keep his balance.”

“Did he at least eat some of the brownie?” Masons quizzed before reaching over to a wood cabinet to retrieve a stethoscope which he slid into his ears then ran the cold metal under Dustin's shirt against his chest.

“Yeah, about three bites worth.”

“Okay Pierce, go ahead and go do what you need to do. I'm afraid he'll have to stay here tonight for observation.”

“Is he going to be okay, doc?”

“I'm not sure.” Masons shrugged. “Could be anything, we'll just have to watch him and wait it out.”

--- --- ---

Everything was silent and still in the elite boarding school; one hundred and ten students, with fifty school staff slumbered peacefully in the early morning hours. Yet, for Dustin, it was anything but silent and still. His view of the cold and bright laboratory spun and twisted, six masked persons worked around him, his perceptions of their voices were morphed and garbled.

Escape! Was the only thing his mind was able to comprehend, but the more he tried to struggle against the velcro straps keeping his wrists and ankles secured to the metal bed rails, the more he wore himself out. Suddenly he yelped out when he felt the defined prick of a needle followed by what felt like a buildup of excess fluid in his thigh. Slowly he stopped struggling, his breathing deepened, his senses returned until the dizziness and nausea faded. With a calming mind, Dustin looked over the space around him. The very first thing he noticed were a pair of leads connecting his bare chest to an EKG machine, a lone thin sheet draped over him provided a little warmth and privacy as his clothing lay neatly stacked on a small table in the far corner. At the head of the bed, a large machine with several curved attachments sat ready for use; stuck to his forehead and scalp were dozens of small leads connecting his head to the machine.

“Time index; zero hours fifteen minutes. Subject is recovering from ingested psychotropic agents.” One of the masked personnel to Dustin's right side muttered aloud.

“Wh-what is going on!” Dustin stammered mustering every muscle into action to pull himself free of his bonds. “Where am I! What is this place!?!”

“Adrenaline levels are increasing by a factor of five.” Another of the cloaked figures spoke out while staring at a monitor on the side of the machine. “Neural peptide levels are stable; dopamine levels are within acceptable parameters.”

“Prepare to engage phase one of engram sequencing.” The leader of the group responded.

“What are you going to do to me!?!” Dustin barked after giving up on his feeble attempts at breaking free. A subtle 'click' of a button was the last thing Dustin heard before the machine whirred to life, his eyes instantly went wide as the curved arms around his head began to glow bright blue. After a few short moments the machines humming slowed and its armatures ceased glowing, everyone present watched as Dustin blinked a few times then tilted his head towards them and a row of shelves at the far end of the space.

“Phase one complete. Estimated time to phase two, one minute.” The figure reading the display called out. Within the first few seconds, Dustin whimpered and whined gently tugging at the restraints. “Adrenaline levels are increasing, dopamine levels are dropping!” Everyone turned to watch as Dustin began to cry softly with audible whimpers. “Dopamine levels are at critically low levels, we have to stabilize the subject before we can proceed!”

“Can't we just continue?” A third masked person asked glancing to the others around.

“If we did, we'd burn out every synapse in his head. I don't feel like trying to explain to his parents why their son suddenly has the mental capacity of a turnip!” The one watching the monitor snapped in agitated tones.

“Beah!” Dustin suddenly cried out in a childish tone of voice. Seeing this, the leader of the group turned around until he stood face to face with the shelving unit and an assortment of stuffed toys lining it. With nothing more than a chuckle, he reached out and pulled a larger sized black bear then shuffled over and placed the stuffed toy on Dustin's chest. Under the scrutinizing glare of those around him, he then unlatched the restraints keeping Dustin's arms bound to the bed rails. Almost immediately Dustin yanked his arms up only to clutch the bear against his chest. “Beah!” Dustin giggled resting his chin on the toys head.

“Serotonin and dopamine levels are equalizing, epinephrine levels are decreasing.” The one keeping a watchful eye on the monitor spoke out. “Heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen intake are all normalizing. Okay we can begin phase two.”

“Do it.” The leader nodded. The machine whirred to life again as the armatures glowed a bright neon green.

“Synaptic mapping in progress, cognitive memories are intact. Receptor relays are at nominal output levels and the data-transfer conduits are reading green.”

“Congratulations, Dustin.” The leader whispered while leaning down to Dustin's ear. “When you wake up, all this will seem like a wild dream but you'll have the same intelligence as everyone else here. Just don't let it go to your head.”
 

lilkayden

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Did Dustin just get brainwashed? Anyways interesting chapter, can't wait for more :)
 

Rocky

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Wow. This story has my attention it's crazy, but in the realm of interest and not confusion. In other words, your good writing makes this super enjoyable. I look forward to future updates :)
 

Cody1621

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Loving this so far, but I love all your writing Trip! :3 I can't wait to read more.
(Sorry for no input, doesn't seem to need it.)
 

Tripped

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Dustin moved along with a defined bounce in his step as he and Pierce moved along nearly empty corridors. Moments earlier, they finished their breakfast and stacked their trays in line then proceeded out of the cafeteria on their way to dorm building two. Much to Pierces surprise, Dustin ravenously finished off his meal and doubled back for seconds giving them plenty of time to continue chatting about nothing in particular.

As they started to pass the schools supply store in a quieter section of corridors, Dustin slowed while keeping his attention on a display shelf behind the counter where an older woman wearing the school uniform sat. On the counter to her left was a simple register with a bar-code scanner and a smaller electronic device.

“You okay?” Pierce asked slowing his paces while shifting his glare between Dustin and something on the shelves that held his attention.

“Hmm?” Dustin snapped back with a quick flutter of his eyelids. “There's something I want to get real quick.” His voice trailed off as he moved towards the counter.

“What can I get for you?” The woman asked while she pulled her weight off a stool.

Instantly Dustin blushed a soft but defined shade of pink as he held a shaky finger upwards to the shelf behind the woman and to her right. “The-uh-third one from the left.” He bumbled his words in a hasty vocal expression.

“This one?” She asked pointing to a twelve inch stuffed koala with a white chest and unusually large ears. As his blush intensified, Dustin nodded drawing shallower breaths. With a subtle smile, the woman scanned the bar-code and motioned for Dustin to put his index finger on the smaller device attached to the register; after a few beeps from the machine, she nodded and slid the stuffed toy over the counter to Dustin wishing him a good day.

“And why do you have that!?!” Pierce tilted his head and slacked his jaw to the side seeing Dustin returning with the stuffed animal.

“It's for a uh...science experiment.” Dustin grumbled then turned and continued along the hallway towards the exit. Even emerging from the main complex into the warm late morning sunlight Dustin fought with every ounce of self restraint to keep from drawing even more attention to the fact he carried a stuffed animal with him.

Before long, the duo stood outside of Dustin's dorm room where he slid the key into the knob, gave both a good twist and opened the door. “Come on.” He muttered waving his hand for Pierce to follow. Within seconds, Dustin opened up a video play-list then flopped down on the bed as Pierce sat on the wood chair at the desk. Dustin closed his eyes and leaned against the wall holding the stuffed koala tight to his chest, from the mobile computer, Native American music blasted.

“What is that noise!?!” Pierce called out shaking his head.

“I will have you know, Thundering Skies is not noise.” Dustin frowned.

“You are one weird dude. You're here to stay out of jail but you're talkin' like you actually want to go there. Then you got sick at dinner last night and you come to this morning like nothing happened. You listen to this...I don't know if I can even call this 'music'. And what is it with that thing you're holding!?! I swear you should be in a psych unit and not here!”

“What if I said that sanity is a subjective concept?” Dustin grinned finally opening his eyes to give Pierce a low methodical stare. Suddenly he paused as Pierce leaned in a little closer. “Wait, how the hell do I know what that means!?!” Slowly, Dustin leaned in a little bit closer to Pierce. “Since you seem to know a bit about everything here, what do you know about this place?”

“Depends on what you want to know...and how much information you're willing to trade.”

“I should have known you were going to pull the quid pro quo card.” Dustin sighed seconds before his eyes went wide. “God...damn how did I know that was the right phrase to use!?!” He stammered, his face twisted in shock and sheer confusion.

“You're scaring me.” Pierce raised an eyebrow at the sight.

You're scared? This is terrifying me! Yesterday I didn't even know what a convoluted sentence was, but now, I can give at least ten different examples of one. Unless...” Dustin trailed off, his eyes shifting towards the right deep in thought. “...unless they did something to me. Yeah that has to be it, they had to have supercharged my brain somehow!”

They?” Pierce asked, his own eyes growing wider as his breathing shallowed. “They who?”

“I'm not sure. The only thing I remember was that were at least five of 'em all dressed in those doctors lab coats with face masks. There was this machine that had these metal arms and they were curved over my head.”

“It was probably just a wild dream you had.” Pierce forced a chuckle. “Heck, the doc said you had a one'o'three fever, so it probably was your delusional mind playing tricks on you.

Dustin narrowed his glare on Pierce. “I dunno. Part of me suspects you know more than you're letting on.”

“There's quite a few things I don't know.”

“Such as?”

“The root cause of you being here.” Pierce crossed his arms and leaned back in the chair. “What was it? Battery? B-and-E? Trespassing? Possession with intent? What?”

“Grand theft auto. At least that's what the courts wanted to charge me with.” Dustin sighed and leaned back against the wall again. In the silence, the music continued playing from the laptop. “But I told them the truth about how three guys I knew from school picked me up on my way home from the music store. I should have known it was a trap; the car was a brand spankin' new Camaro, but the guy driving it said it was a gift from his uncle. Just like an idiot, I got into the car and off we went. I'll admit, it was kinda fun, that is until he side-swiped a cop car which instigated a high speed chase. And much like these kinds of stories go, he didn't have the experience so he lost control, the car spun and hit a curb sending it into a barrel roll. The three guys split like rabbits and I was busted by the cop that we side-swiped because my foot was pinned under the front seat.”

“Well that's gotta suck.” Pierce commented while Dustin paused to gather his thoughts.

“After I told my public defender and the district attorney the story they settled on 'accomplice to GTA'. Then the DA gave me a deal; I could rat out the three guys – who they are, where they live and what not, and they would drop the charges to nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So I sold them out, sang like a canary, dropped the dime, spilled the beans, blabbed the secret. In my mind, there was no way I was going to take the heat for their crimes.”

“So now you're here on a second chance because the law took pity on you.” Pierce chuckled then stood up with a stretch. “Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to help the Dean with his paperwork.”

“Hey wait a minute!” Dustin sat up. “What about tellin' me what you know about this place?”

“Yeah, I'll tell ya.” Pierce grinned. “Later when I'm not busy.”

--- --- ---

Late in the evening, the cafeteria was abuzz with excited chatter and the ruckus of metal utensils scraping against plates. Sitting in the furthest and quietest corner of the space, Dustin and Pierce ate their dinner in something of an awkward silence. It wasn't until their plates were cleared that Dustin finally broke the silence between them.

“Start talking.” Dustin grinned then leaned back in his seat. “It's your turn to spread some information. What's the history of this place?”

“It was built in the nineteen fifties if I remember correctly.” Pierce smiled. “The campus has gone through two remodeling projects and a complete structural retrofit about ten years ago so these buildings don't fall apart with everyone inside.”

“How extensive was the work?”

“The remodeling included basic stuff; paint, flooring, roofing, room upgrades. Stuff like that. During the retrofit, the work crews basically gutted these buildings down to their frames and replaced just about everything.”

“Has anyone died here?” Dustin asked as Pierce raised his glass of juice to finish off the remaining bit. “Because I saw this, I don't know how to describe it, but it was like a kid that looked like he was pretty badly burned.” Hearing this, Pierce suddenly gagged and coughed while pulling the cup away with one hand, his other hand flying upwards to cover his mouth. “Hey you okay Pierce?”

“Y-yeah! Damn juice tried to go into my lungs instead of my stomach!” Pierce coughed a few times then gathered his breath. For a few brief seconds, Dustin relaxed slightly while keeping a narrowed watchful glare on Pierce. “Rest assured, Dustin, this school is not haunted by anything...except for maybe your overactive imagination.” He chuckled while shaking his head.

“So you don't believe in ghosts. Is that what you're saying?” Dustin cornered while sitting upright a little bit more.

“No, I believe in elements of the supernatural. I just don't believe those elements are here at our school. Even during midterms when everyone is burned out and delusional from studying I've never heard anything about ghosts.”

--- --- ---

Dustin awoke with a startle and sprang up, after glancing around and finding the door to his room hanging wide open, Dustin slipped out from under the covers while holding the stuffed koala under one arm and using his other hand to gently pet the synthetic material. Ever so cautiously slipped his bare feet over the warm carpet towards the door; he moved slowly while carefully watching everything around him. Nothing moved, the halls illuminated with only the most minimal of lights were silent except for the faintest sounds of Dustin's steps.

Suddenly he paused as a figure at the end of the hall caught his attention, and the more Dustin studied the darkened form peeing from around the corner, the more he noticed mist and steam emanating from the figure. As quickly as it appeared, the shadow form disappeared around the corner, and feeling braver than normal, Dustin glanced down to the stuffed animal still under his arm and moved in calculated steps to the end of the hall. The very second he reached the corner, he peered around until he saw straight down the end of the corridor and a bright red 'exit' sign hanging on the wall.

“You...” Dustin muttered in whispering tones as the figure in charred clothing spun around until they were face to face. “Who are you, what do you want?” He watched as the form of a younger boy stepped closer with arms raised towards Dustin. The boys steps turned to a running gallop yet he slowed and stopped within a foot of Dustin whom tightly shut his eyes and held his breath. Risking the dare, Dustin forced his eyes open to find the burned boy holding his hand out far enough to gently stroke the stuffed koala. Without a word spoken from either, the boy looked up until he and Dustin stared eye to eye.

In the time it took Dustin to blink, the boy faded from view leaving him completely alone in the hall. Instantly a hand slapped down on his shoulder forcing him to yelp out and drop the koala then spin around to find dorm adviser Suder towering over him with a cold hateful expression. “Be quiet and pick it up!” Suder commanded in hushed yet agitated tones through clenched teeth while pointing to the toy on the floor. Doing as instructed, Dustin swooped down and a latched onto the koala holding it close to his chest. “Back to your room!” Suder continued in his low tone of voice causing Dustin to nod and begin the walk back to his room. “This is the second time in two days I've had to deal with you; if I have to do it one more time...”

“Jeez let me explain.” Dustin turned back just long enough to see Suder shaking his head side to side.

“No. You have been nothing but trouble since you got here and frankly I'm sick of it. So the next time I have to deal with your crap, I'll wrap your arms and legs around your neck like a pretzel and duct tape you down to your bed!”

“Aw I thought you wanted to be my friend...” Dustin trailed off just as Suder reached out and grabbed the back of his shirt.

“Keep quiet and move!” Suder growled giving Dustin a forceful shove.
 
Last edited:

Oceltot

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wow, nice work. You always work in Koalas. an Hi Lil.

- - - Updated - - -

wow, nice work. You always work in Koalas in everything. and Hi Lil.
 

Tripped

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Did Dustin just get brainwashed? Anyways interesting chapter, can't wait for more :)

Well, technically in a sense of the expression. In this case, Dustin wasn't brainwashed to believe he was a little boy. If anything, his mind was reconditioned to accept higher levels of information so he will, in theory, be smarter. If that even makes any sense... .

wow, nice work. You always work in Koalas in everything. and Hi Lil.

Hehe that's my trademark as an author. Though to be honest, I don't think I had a koala reference in "Dark Day." ;)
 

Tripped

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The afternoon was unusually warm and humid. As Dustin and Pierce stepped into the shelter of air conditioning in dorm building two, their unusual silence continued as it had for the past few days. Even as they walked together through common areas of the first floor, then up the steps to the second floor, the quietness between them remained.

“Uh oh you're in trouble.” Pierce smirked when they rounded the final corner leading to Dustin's room.

“Swear I can't even study on a Saturday without someone on my back.” Dustin mumbled seconds before Pierce broke off and walked away towards his own room, then with a sigh, Dustin trudged the final fifteen feet until he stood before Suder and Dean Edwards. “What did I do now?” He asked shifting his glare between Edwards and Suder whom returned a colder stare.

“Random room inspection.” Dean Edwards spoke gently with Suder reaching into his pocket to retrieve two keys on a lone ring. Within seconds, the door to the room swung open then the dean put his hand on Dustin's shoulder to keep him in place while Suder went inside.

Dustin and the dean watched as Suder went into the bathroom and rummaged around for a few moments, then he went to the bed where he lifted the mattress and set it back down so he could drop onto his side and feel around the bottom of the box spring. With that done, Suder opened the desk drawers and fumbled around a few stacks of papers. Not seeing anything out of the ordinary, he went to the shelves to look around, and the closer he moved to the clothes locker, the more Dustin drew antsy.

“Is there something you don't want us finding?” Dean Edwards asked, tightening his grip on Dustin's shoulder. Before Dustin could answer, Suder opened the metal cabinet and rooted around the clothes then paused. The dean looked between Suder and Dustin after seeing the sudden cease of movement. Not saying a word, Suder pulled Dustin's stuffed koala for all to see then tossed it to the dean. The dean nodded after checking every inch of stitching and feeling around the stuffed animal for anything that didn't feel right. “Its clean. Thank you Mr. Suder.”

Knowing what Dean Edwards mean, Suder put everything back in place and stepped out of the room then continued along the hall until he disappeared from view. “May I come in?” Dean Edwards asked, and seeing Dustin raising his hand towards the room, both proceeded inside, once on the other side of the thresh hold, Edwards closed the door behind him and motioned for Dustin to sit on the bed with him.

“I-uh-I can explain...” Dustin spoke in a hastened pace while pointing to the toy koala Edwards still held.

“There's nothing to explain.” The dean cut off Dustin. “Its not against the rules to have something like this in your room. In fact, that's why the school store in the main building carries these things. Its because within the first two weeks of being here, a lot of students start to feel homesick and these help them to feel a little bit more comfortable.”

“So...I'm not in trouble?” Dustin asked.

“No, not at all.” Edwards smiled reassuringly. “In fact, I was hoping I could sit down with you and see how things are going. Are you having any problems? Are you getting settled into your classes okay? Any questions you want to ask? I mean, granted its only been two week since you came here, but I want to be sure that things are going smoothly for everyone.”

“Truth be told...” Dustin sighed and drew his legs up onto the mattress in a cross-legged position. “...things would be going better if I wasn't failing everything but language arts. Two weeks and I'm already holding a 'D' average. On the bright side, though, some of the guys in the crafts club have taken me in under their wings...especially since they saw I could whip up Native American dream catchers just like that.” Dustin snapped his fingers in line with 'like that'.

“Oh yes, I saw some of those hanging around the dorm rooms, I was wondering who the artist was. I must say, they are quite decorative. As far as your grades, well, I've had conferences with all of your teachers and we believe you'll be an ideal candidate for an experimental new learning program. There's two downsides to it, though. One, it means an extra year minimum before you can graduate, the other, is that you'll have to wear this.” Dean Edwards trailed off while reaching into his pocket to retrieve a large yellow plastic band.

“What is that?” Dustin asked leaning forwards to study the band more closely.

“Think of it like one of those plastic bracelets you have to wear in the hospital. If you accept this offer, you'll have to wear this every second of every day until you graduate.”

“I see.” Dustin sighed and leaned back against the wall.

“I've heard that even though this program is still in its experimental stages, early results are encouraging. Unfortunately, I can't tell you what happens in the program. But again, everything I've heard so far is pretty good.

Dustin nodded then stopped and stared Dean Edwards eye to eye. “Hey hold on. Why are you being nice all of a sudden? When I first got here, you were like a dictator; and now, you're more like a half-uncle.”

“Ah yes yes.” Edwards chuckled then leaned back against the wall. “It's all psychology. When new students come in, I have to present myself right away as the person in charge. But, as time goes on, I go from being a hard-ass to being more involved with you guys so you'll see I'm still in control, but I'm also here to help.”

“Could you put Suder on a leash then? I swear he's been on my back since day one.”

“Give him some time to warm up to you. He's one of the best dorm advisers I've ever seen; in fact its almost scary how he's on things right as they're happening. Tell you what...” Dean Edwards stood and smiled. “...you take some time to think about going into the new program, we can meet some time tomorrow so you can give me an answer. You should, however, think very carefully about it, 'cause once you're in it, there is no getting out of it.”

“Aight.” Dustin nodded as the dean turned and left, making sure to close the door on his way out.

--- --- ---

Early the next morning, Dustin awoke with his usual grunts, groans and full body stretch. Just as he normally did every morning, Dustin slipped out of bed making sure to tuck the stuffed koala into the clothes locker and turned to shuffle towards the bathroom. Yet, unlike other mornings, he paused and looked down at the floor just inside the rooms door to find a large brown envelope sitting in plain view. With nothing more than a raised eyebrow, Dustin knelt down and picked up the envelope then stood up while opening it. In seconds, he held the envelope with one hand and a sheet of paper in the other.

“What the...?” Dustin asked as his eyes scanned over the paper until he realized it was an aerial view of the school campus. It was then that he noticed a small yellow post-it note on the paper, and on the note was 'what is wrong with this picture?' scribbled in pencil. After studying the image for a few moments, Dustin tossed the paper and the envelop on his bed and continued his morning routine of preparing for the day.

It was after a long and quiet breakfast by himself in the far corner of the cafeteria that Dustin found himself marching silently along nearly empty halls of the schools main building. His thoughts were as heavy as his shoes moving up and down propelling him forwards. He then slowed to a stop when he came to the same wooden door with 'Dean Edwards' embossed in a wooden placard that he saw on the very first day. Drawing a deep, long held breath, Dustin raised a loosely curled fist and tapped a few knocks on the door.

“Come in.” Dean Edwards voice echoed out from inside the room. With nothing more than a final huffing breath to calm his mind and body, Dustin opened the door and entered then closed it behind him. Dean Edwards stood face to face with a younger woman whom had shoulder length copper hair.

“I'm sorry...if this is a bad time, I'll come back.” Dustin glanced between the dean and the unidentified woman in the same school uniform the rest of the staff wore.

“Ah, Mr. Reidel.” Edwards smiled. “Your timing couldn't be better. This is Professor Blockstead, and she has been appointed as the educator of the program I was telling you about yesterday.”

“Hello Dustin.” The woman identified as Professor Blockstead smiled politely.

“Hey.” Dustin nodded in response.

Dean Edwards turned ever so slightly until he directly faced Dustin. “So. Have you given any thought to what we discussed yesterday?”

“Yeah.” Dustin shifted his glance between Edwards and Blockstead. “I'm in. If there's a chance it'll bring my grades up, I'm all for it.”

“Very well.” Edwards smiled. “You start tomorrow at eight sharp; main building, first floor, room one-thirty-five. And there is one more thing.” He trailed off while tapping his wrist. Not sure what he meant, Dustin raised his own wrist only to have Blockstead grip it.

“What the!?!” Dustin called out and yanked his hand back.

“Relax, kid, I'm just putting the tag on you.” She rolled her eyes while holding up a plastic strip in one hand and a metal tool in the other. Still unsure of what to make of the situation, Dustin hesitantly held out his hand allowing Blockstead to wrap the large rectangle of plastic around his wrist and securely fasten it with the tool.

Crack! Dustin flinched as the tool snapped two metal anchoring studs in place. Once everything was done, she put the tool on Edwards desk and smiled. “Tomorrow morning. See ya then.”

--- --- ---

The dorm building two common room was unusually empty as Dustin narrowed his glare and adjusted his grip on a pool cue. Seven ball side pocket, eight ball corner pocket. He thought to himself as he lined up the shot. A pop echoed out as the cue struck the cue-ball which drove it into the seven ball sending it ricocheting off the black eight ball, and just as he expected it to happen, the seven ball dived into the side pocket closest to him while the eight ball rolled into the far corner pocket.

It wasn't until Dustin noticed a presence looming over him that he looked up from the pool table. “Yo, Pierce, grab a cue and join in.” He grinned while brushing a small block of chalk over the tip of the stick.

“Maybe later. Right now there's something very important I have to tell you.” Pierce shook his head then paused as Dustin drew his right arm back far enough to reveal the yellow band around his wrist. “You idiot!” Pierce suddenly snapped.

“What! What'd I do now!” Dustin raised his arms while tensing his jaw.

This is what I came to warn you about!” Pierce growled and grabbed Dustin's arm just above the plastic ring. “I was going to find you some tutors - hell I was going to tutor you myself if I had to - just to keep you out of this!”

“Out of what!?!” Dustin barked standing straight up until he and Pierce stared at each other eye to eye.

“You know what? No...” Pierce trailed off and started to stomp off. “...I'm not talking to you until I've cooled off. Hopefully it'll be before you brain gets scrambled!”

Now standing alone in the common room once again, Dustin growled and slammed the pool stick down on the table and stomped off following the general direction Pierce went. Yet before he made it halfway down the hall, a dark image caught his attention. Instantly he stopped in mid step and watched as the shadowy figure shifted through a bright orange metal door.

What is going on around here! Dustin thought to himself as he changed his direction and headed for the door himself. The very instant he wrapped his hand around the doorknob, another hand slapped down on his shoulder, and before he knew it, the hand pulled him backwards in a bit of a spin until he stood face to face with Suder. “I don't need your crap right now!” Dustin growled and held his hand up.

“Now now, you know you need Dean Edwards permission to go down into the mechanical rooms.” Suder smiled then patted Dustin's shoulder. “There's lots of dangerous industrial equipment down there; you don't want to get hurt, do ya?”

“What!?!” Dustin stammered with the most confused expression he'd ever given.

“Part of my job is keeping you guys safe, and I wouldn't be doing my job if I let you go down there unsupervised and without permission, would I. Besides, there's nothing special down there, just a bunch of really large components that are pretty boring. If you really do want to go down there, I'll talk with the dean and setup a guided tour with our technician Steve.”

“Am I the only one that hasn't gone crazy around here!?!” Dustin shook his head while pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and index finger.

“How do you mean?”

“The dean is being all buddy-buddy, Pierce is acting like he's bipolar, and now YOU'RE being so nice all of a sudden!”

“Yeah I have been rather mean to you. For that, I'm sorry.”

“See!?!” Dustin moaned. “THAT right there is what I'm talking about. The real Suder would never apologize!”
 

lilkayden

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Oh the suspense... my nerves are kinda tingling... not sure if it's good or bad but I can't wait for the next installment :)
 

Tripped

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Oh the suspense... my nerves are kinda tingling... not sure if it's good or bad but I can't wait for the next installment :)
Your tingling nerves is caused by the entity lurking in the shadows behind ya.... ;)

Pt 5

Waves lapping the shores of the lake was the only sound in the darkness of night as Dustin galloped along then stopped and braced himself against a tree to catch his breath. Behind him, thick fog rolled in from the lakes surface causing him to look back just long enough to see it then start running again. Just as the lights of dorm building two came into view, Dustin grinned and picked up his pace. Instantly he found himself staring up at the night sky with a sudden mass of weight crushing down upon him, fighting with all his might, Dustin still remained pressed firmly to the cold dew latent grass. Before Dustin knew it, he felt himself getting pulled up to his feet and dragged by two masked persons in black cloaks with firm grips on his arms and under his armpits.

“Let go! Get off me, NOW!” Dustin shouted still trying to break free of their grips only to end up tiring himself out. Yet his fighting spirit came back the very moment he saw a small motor boat bobbing up and down on the waves of the lake where his masked captors were headed. “Oh hell no!” Dustin shouted again as the cloaked figure on his left let go of his arm and reasserted its grip around the back of his neck, while the figure on his right went to the boat to keep it steady. The closer they came to the lakes edge, the more Dustin shifted from agitation to terror; muscles in his body that were tensed ready for action seconds ago now quivered in fear as he was forced into the middle space of the small boat. As the motor started, Dustin still fought to escape only to find the first captor holding onto him with a death grip. It wasn't until Dustin felt a pen prick through the sleeve over his shoulder that his squirming and resisting faded.

“Do it.” The figure controlling the boats motor ordered while slowing to a stop. In response, the figure keeping Dustin down stood up just far enough to pull Dustin upwards and over the side of the boat until an audible splash echoed out from the water.

“Work!” Dustin's groggy mind raced as he tried to make his body move; above him, the rumble of the boats propellers zipped away leaving nothing but calm black waters. In his mind, the movie of his life played, everything from his very earliest memory to how the salt water tasted as it flooded his mouth and nose.


Dustin shrieked and sprang up in bed with deep huffing and gasping breaths. For several moments, he shifted his focus around until he realized he was still in his room with the door shut, his stuffed koala still tightly held to his chest, and his bedding soaked in the same cold sweat that covered his body. His body shook as he whined with waves of tears in his eyes, not consciously acting, he drew the stuffed animal up to his face and pulled his knees to his chest then began rocking back and forth in the warm glow of bright morning sunlight pouring through the window.

Two hours later Dustin sat by himself in the furthest and quietest corner of the cafeteria; on the table before him was a small stack of pancakes and a side of sausage links with a glass of orange juice. Even as he sat and tried to focus on the food, his mind kept returning to the vivid imagery of the nightmare, that was until Pierce cautiously approached with tray in hand and a saddened yet optimistic expression adorning his face.

“Room for one more?” Pierce asked softly causing Dustin to look over just far enough to make eye contact then nod. With a smile, Pierce pulled out the chair across from Dustin while setting his tray down then grunted while sitting. “I-uh, that is, I wanted to...I snapped at you pretty bad yesterday and I'm sorry.”

“Are you sure you're not wasting your time trying to explain something to an idiot?” Dustin mumbled in bitterly cold tones in pauses between bites of the sausage.

“All right, I deserved that.” Pierce sighed. “The truth is, I was hoping I could find you before you agreed to go into that program. I know the dean said something like 'we think you'll be an ideal candidate' and 'early reports look encouraging' and whatever else he might have mentioned to make the whole thing seem like a good deal. But its all a sham! They do this every year, they'll go through class by class, find the lowest performers and find some way to get them into the program so the 'standards of high education' can be met.”

“So its a remedial class; what's wrong with that?” Dustin stared Pierce eye to eye.

“Plenty. If this was a normal school, it would be a remedial class. But here, it's more like a daycare for special needs kids. You don't get smarter there, they just make you feel better about being dumber. That's why they've got you wearing that damn bracelet – that tag tells everyone else to be super kind to you because you're in the program.”

“So I'll just rip it off.” Dustin countered after taking a swig of the juice. “I'll hack the computer system and rewrite myself into normal classes. Problem solved.”

“No go. School network automatically detects any kind of hacking attempt. You'd need the deans fingerprint just to edit the lunch menu. As far as the tag, its made from medical grade polyurethane aspersion...”

“Poly...do what now?”

“polyurethane aspersion. Flexible plastic that acts like steel – highly comfortable, virtually indestructible. If you could get the anchor studs sawed off somehow, the top and bottom of the band is coated in two heat activated glue like resins, that once cured, will never come apart. Only way to get that thing off now, is to chop off your hand...which I suspect you wouldn't be doing anytime soon.”

--- --- ---

Dustin managed his way through bustling halls of the schools main building, with precision movements and skilled evasions, he eventually made the trek to quieter corridors in surprisingly good time. Eventually he stood before a bright green door; forcing his breathing to slow, he reached out and opened the door to reveal a space large enough to accommodate at least two normal sized classrooms. At the front of the area was a large hand crafted wooden desk almost identical to the one in Dean Edwards office, in front of the main desk were five smaller table style desks with adjustable height office chairs. Along the far wall opposite the door were a row of windows with silver-orange metal blinds hanging down but opened to allow light in. In the rear of the massive space, five cot style beds lined the wall, and mounted to the sides of each cot were a small black boxes.

“Don't be shy, Dustin. Come on in.” The sudden woman's voice caused Dustin to jump. Ever so cautiously, he poked his head through the doorway to find Professor Blockstead rummaging around a row of cabinets to his left.

“I am in the right place, right?” Dustin asked still looking around.

“Yes you are.” Blockstead nodded with a smile.

“What kind of classroom is this?”

“Its a very unique classroom. It is tailored to suit our students needs in a supportive and fun environment.” It was then that Blockstead looked at Dustin and slowly approached yet stopped when she stood within four feet of him. “I can sense your hesitation, but there's nothing to worry about. It's not like we're going to turn you into a big baby or anything like that. What we're really doing here, is slowing down the learning experience so your brain can process the information more readily. Now here's what to expect during an average day. First half of class is from eight to eleven, we get an hour for lunch, then from noon to one its personal reflection time, finally second half of class from one to four. After that, the rest of the day is yours.”

Before she could say anything else, the first bell of the day rang promptly followed by two younger teenage boys darting into the classroom automatically launching themselves into their seats right next to each other. As Blockstead moved towards her desk, Dustin shuffled along and chose the middle of the three remaining vacant seats leaving an empty space between himself and the two boys.

“Hi new guy.” The black haired boy closest to Dustin smiled and waved.

“Nice to see a new face.” The brown haired boy smiled just as enthusiastically as the first.

With nothing more than a raised eyebrow, Dustin looked to the boys appearing a few years younger than him. “Umm hi?”

“All right class.” Blockstead pulled a marker from her desk and went to the white board behind her. Everyone watched as she drew various basic shapes on the board then turned to face the entire class of three students. “Yesterday we were discussing how to use simple shapes in construction. Can anyone name an example of a building that uses at least three shapes in its design?” She looked around as everyone remained quiet. Ever so slowly, Dustin raised his hand then felt the glares of three pairs of eyes focus on him. “Dustin?”

“The...Eiffel Tower?” He asked, his hand dropping back down to the desk.

“Very good.” Blockstead nodded. “Now, what are the three primary shapes in the structure?”

“Squares, triangles and arches.” Dustin smiled a little more confident in himself.

“That's absolutely right.” She clapped happily then went back to the board. Dustin glanced to his left to find the two boys looking over at him completely astonished.

Class time seemed to pass by swiftly as Blockstead segued from subject to subject until the lunch bell rang. Much as he normally did, Dustin sat by himself in the far corner of the cafeteria working down the food on the tray before him. This time, though, his normal meal also consisted of a helping of fruit cocktail the line crew insisted on him having. The rest of the class time passed by innocently enough for Dustin, even the odd hour of quiet time he and the two boys spent on their cots after lunch. For Dustin, it was an overall easier class style that he was quickly adapting to; it wasn't memorizing facts and figures from books, it was more hands on and mind engaging.



Dustin rested his head on his arms on the windowsill while sitting on the wood chair pulled close to the window. In his left hand, the paper of the schools aerial view bent ever so slightly on a gentle cooling breeze. For the longest time he sat and stared blankly at the field then dorm building one towards the right and further out.

Dorms one and two, the main building, the open field and the lake a ways past that. Whatever it is I'm supposed to be seeing, I'm not seeing it. He thought to himself as he brought his eyes off the paper for the hundredth time in the hour since classes ended. Suddenly his eyes went wide as he stared at the oddly positioned trees in the field and the shadows the setting sun cast about them. Within seconds, he leapt off the chair and slapped the paper on his desk then rummaged around the top desk drawer for a ruler.

“That ain't right.” He muttered to himself laying the ruler across the paper so he could draw lines in pencil between the trees. After a few short seconds, he stared comparing the rough box shape to the size of the dorm buildings. “They're too perfectly lined up to be naturally occurring, and it's about the same size as the dorm buildings. That's what's wrong with it! There used to be a building there!”
 

lilkayden

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It's not like we're going to turn you into a big baby or anything like that.

Hmm forshadowing? :detective3 hehe It was interesting that this smaller class only had 3 students, 2 being younger than he was. Anyways more suspense :sad:, I need more please :D (not more suspense but more story :worshippy:)
 
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