Ordinary Day at School

January 25, 2008
By Jen Adcock, North Tonawanda, NY

It started like an ordinary day at school. I ran up the stairs to my locker, praying I wouldn’t be late for my battleaxe lessons. The locker next to mine was glowing with a soft green light. I knew better than to open it, I swear I did. That’s one of the first lessons we’re taught in magic safety. “If it’s glowing and you don’t know why, don’t touch it.” But curiosity got the better of me. I knew full well that all unused lockers had the same combination, so this knowledge could serve me well in some future mischief.
My eyes immediately fell on the source of the light. Far from magical, it was a large computer screen at the end of the room. It didn’t hit me until later that I had found the legendary land behind the lockers. What interested me more was the small group standing in front of the screen. Their voices dimly reached my ears, but it was too muffled for me to tell what they were saying. Silently, I crept a bit closer, and it became all too clear what was going on.
The Nemesis had somehow gotten into the school. Enemy Number One. I knew the protocols for encountering them, but they all slipped out of my mind. I ran out the way I came, and slammed the locker door behind me. I didn’t know what they were planning or how they got into the school, but that didn’t matter. I had to get to the principal. Dashing through the halls and down the stairs I quickly made it to his office. Panting slightly, hands on my hips, I explained to him what had happened. He frowned and I could tell that he was sending his power out in waves to probe for unknown presences. His eyes widened and he calmly walked to the intercom and announced. “Good morning. Teachers, please place your students under lockdown. This is not a drill.”
Now, maybe I should explain a little. I’ve been to normal schools. This is not a normal school, as maybe you’ve guessed. Our lockdowns are a bit different than most schools. When regular students would shut off the lights and huddle in the corner, we get ready to fight. After that announcement things were a bit of a blur. I remember going to battleaxe lessons and telling the teacher what had happened. He simply nodded and herded our class, already equipped with weaponry, down to the gym for further instructions.
We joined with the classes already there, weapons poised, magic blazing. It was quite the sight. The silence was tense; everyone in the room was on edge. The principal strode in, looking dignified and powerful. He addressed the room quietly, though no one had to strain to hear. “The Nemesis is here, as you’ve already guessed. They know we know about them. As we speak, they are gathering in the science wing. Why there, we don’t know. But we do know one thing. We know that we will face them head on and we will win!” Towards the end of his speech, his voice raised to a shout and he pumped his fist in the air. Every student and teacher simultaneously followed suit. Steely, determined looks showed on every face.
Groups quickly split off for various jobs. My group, including me, Sarah, Hannah, Mike, Andrew, and Harley was assigned to be a scouting party. We silently perched on the stairs leading to the science wing, tensed and ready to fire off the messenger flare should the Nemesis’ army start to march before our fighters arrived. We leaned against the walls, all of us on our own steps. Unable to talk without being detected, we had to communicate using hand signals. During what seemed like forever, all we could do was sit, listening to the enemy preparations, and contemplate the fight before us. Now, none of us were new to this. This was about our fourth lockdown this school year. But that didn’t make us feel any better.
The sound of marching feet echoed through the halls as our own forces lined up to face the opposing group. My friends and I turned to each other and without needing to talk, put our hands in the center of our circle. We lifted our fists in a single motion, united. We joined up with the leading troops in the front lines. A single high piercing note blew from a whistle, leading us to charge. We let loose a rallying battle cry and ran forward.
Most of the battle was a haze of adrenaline. But one detail is still as clear to me as it was during the fight. I saw Tom on the front lines of the enemy’s formations. Knowing at last why he had been so distant lately, I charged the traitor with all of my strength. Using a flag pole I had ripped from the walls as a spear, I stabbed him in the throat, knocking the wind from his lungs.
I barely remember the rest of the fight. Most of the students don’t either. Sometimes we think that the teachers put memory spells on us to keep us from talking too much about the assorted Nemesis wars. By the next day, everything was back to normal. The locker next to mine had stopped glowing. I was still late to my battleaxe lessons. Like I said, just an ordinary day at school.

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