A Moment of Change Pt. 1

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Karen would wake up every morning and do the same thing. Take shower. Brush Teeth. Get dressed. Go to work. On the way there she would stop at a Seven Eleven and pick up some breakfast. This typically consisted of one cornbread muffin and a medium sized cup of coffee, black. Today, she felt a little different. This happened on occasion, these times when she felt like breaking her own parameters, but it was rare.

Today she felt like eating something a little more dangerous. Oh, a cinnamon role covered with sugary glaze would certainly do that. She felt a bit naughty taking it, but it only made her smile an evil little smile. She paid for it, completely forgetting about her coffee, and headed out.

As she started her car, she realized that she had no beverage to accompany this sickening meal with. Still, she didn't want to get back out and go through the entire process of getting it all again, so she figured she'd grab a bottle of water at the school. Being a high school teacher, she basically had unlimited access to any kind of bland, crappy drink that the school offered to the students. The teachers had wanted some stuff for themselves, like a refrigerator to hold beverages that they themselves would purchase, but with the new budget cuts they simply couldn't afford it. Heck, they could barely afford to keep the heat on during the winter, much to the chagrin of her, the staff, and of course the students.

Still she persisted; they all persisted through it. The teachers were still quality, and though the food, electricity, and much else may have sucked, that was the most important thing. Karen could only sigh as the building came into sight. It was tall—about three stories high, to be exact, and made of red bricks. Windows covered most of the back side, though there weren't many on the front of sides of the building. A large clock tower shot up from the middle, adding an extra twenty feet or so to it.

Karen passed into the staff parking lot and quickly found a space. She was—as she was on every monday morning no thanks to the lack of sleep she got every sunday night, just dwelling on the thoughts about returning to what could be somewhat of a hellhole for her on certain occasions—early, so finding a spot was never difficult. Today felt a little different though, and it wasn't just the cinnamon roll and the lack of coffee to accompany it. It was a feeling within her, a feeling that something was just off. She wished that she could have put her finger on it, but it was so damn ambiguous.

“Damn it,” she whispered to herself as she made her approach towards the building, the cold air nipping at her face, the wind blowing her hair far off to the left. Groaning, she used her free hand to push it back into place, only to have it shoved away again. Mother nature could be like a teasing child sometimes, no matter how angry you got at it, and how much you did to show that anger, it just kept annoying you. She was happy that her son was twelve now, though that age came with just as many, though certainly different annoyances.

Upon entering the school, she walked right into the cafeteria and set her breakfast down, then tied her long red hair back in a pony tail. Taking her bags from her shoulder, she placed them on the table before her, then went and purchased a water bottle. The liquid felt cold against her lips, and did an effective job of washing the sugary leftovers from her mouth and throat. After finishing her breakfast, she opened her bags and removed her lap top.

The screen flashed once, and then the picture of her desktop appeared. It was her, her son, and her current husband, Larry, standing in their back yard by their grill. Everything was very green; the grass, the bushes, the leaves hanging down in the background. It reminded her that she had neglected all of that for a very long time.

Dragging the mouse over to the “My Documents” folder, she clicked it twice, then directed it over to a file that said “1000 Splendid Suns Lesson”. She opened it, and read through it quickly, fixing any minor mistakes that she may have noticed.

After completing this, she moved on to her room on the second floor. It was fairly small, but most of her classes were small. First period came quickly, and ended even faster. Having a class first period was rarely enjoyable; the students were lethargic and had literally no enthusiasm for the subject. Still, they were decent, always handing in their work—at least most of them—on time, and, when pushed enough, answered questions with some actual though. Still, first period was the slowest.

The rest of the day went by quickly from that point on. She had no classes second period, but then was busy third, off fourth, and busy fifth. Sixth was off, then she taught Mythology seventh, AP English Four eight, and then Mythology ninth.

It was only after ninth period did she realize that she had forgotten something fairly crucial. Every morning, after arriving at school, she was supposed to call her house, get her husband up, who would then awaken her son.

“S***!” She nearly screamed it, but managed to cover her mouth at the last second, muffling the words. One of her coworkers just so happened to be walking by at this time, and poked his head into the room.

“You okay, Karen?” He asked.

“Yeah... Yeah, sorry. I'm fine, Mike,” she said as she waved him off. Groaning, she knew that the least she could do was apologize to them. Reaching for her phone, she wondered how she could have forgotten such a thing. Maybe she should have just gotten the damn muffin, then she wouldn't have gotten excited and forgotten her coffee, and then she would have remembered to call the house. “Great...” She sighed.

Suddenly, just one measly microsecond before her hand touched her phone, she heard it ring. It was a loud, piercing noise that made her jump and shiver, but she quickly regained her composure and answered it.

“Karen!” Larry screamed into her ear. She could hear, just with that one word, that something was not right. It was shaky, bombastic, not the normal calm, passive tone that she was used to. “Karen, are you there?!” She felt another shiver, but this one was not with surprise. She shivered because she knew that something was very wrong. Larry didn't use that voice. Ever. Not even when he was mad. Not even when he was worried. He never sounded like that.

“What is it?” Her voice was trembling now, almost to the point where she was inaudible. “What is it?”





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