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The Classroom

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A crumbling building stands in the darkness, occasionally silhouetted by the red fire of bombs exploding somewhere in the distance. The remains of a flagpole stand guard before it stained with dried blood and chipped by passing bullets. The tattered vestiges of an American flag hang from its peak, lying limply in the stale air. Occasionally, when a passing wind shifts the black clouds of smoke hanging low over the ground, the silver glimmer of the moon shines lightly on the chipped bricks of the old building. In the dim light, the silver letters “Malcolm Prep School” emblazoned on the side of the school can be seen, still intact. They seem to glow ominously, untarnished and untainted by the passing of time. One side of the building has been blown out by some passing bomb, although the original skeleton of the building still stands.

From one of the broken windows, however, a soft light shines independent from the moon’s cool glow. Inside, the wallpaper does not peel to reveal the wooden bones of the building as it does in the other rooms. The chalkboard is not chipped and cracked. The desks and tables are all intact, though they all stand pressed close to the walls. A collection of books stands in a dark, wooden bookcase in a corner. A stately grandfather clock stands against the wall, while next to it, an old-fashioned radio buzzes quietly to itself. The only sign of decay lies in the large chandelier hanging from the sloping roof. It is long since burned out, and is only disturbed by the occasional patter of spider’s feet.

In another corner lies a small pile of candles and matches, jumbled together, meant for excursions about the dark school. In the center of the room, a fire circled with bits of brick from the decaying school burns brightly. Over it, on a spit, crackle several bits of meat, causing the fire to sizzle whenever the grease dripped onto the flames. In the darkest part of the room, where the walls fold in to form a small alcove, stands a long wooden table, on which sits a small table lamp and a collection of different sized straws. Above it, hidden almost completely in shadow, a large butcher knife hangs on a peg.

A group of about twenty or so girls and boys frolic about in the room, all wearing the same white and crimson uniforms. They range from age five to the eldest, eighteen. Some run in from hallway, their cheeks red and eyes bright, ready to tell anyone of their latest venture waving their hands wildly in the air as they describe the fearsome shadows and creatures lurking in the hallway. Others lie leisurely around the fire, absorbed in books. A girl with long, chestnut hair sits before a small congregation of children, to whom she teaches from a textbook. Still others pace the room, ankles swollen and stomachs heavy with child.

Suddenly, the grandfather clock cries out loudly several times. A small group of boys proceed to the radio and begin to spin through each of the channels waiting to hear a signal from somewhere else: some hope of rescue from the crumbling country. This process continues for an hour or so, each of the boys leaning close to the old radio, but in vain as they hear nothing but a low buzzing for their efforts. Afterwards, all the children in the room put aside their things and gather around the fire, eating from the meat roasting over the fire, and occasionally, though with wry faces, from the small pile of herbs.

With stomachs heavy, they engage themselves in games of tag and gather in circles to gossip, until the grandfather clock chimes again, whereupon a hush falls over the group of children. A girl, tall and with plain features, and seemingly the oldest gets up and grips a handful of straws in her fist, motioning for each of the children to take a straw. She herself does not participate, as it was decided in the beginning that some semblance of order should be made in the form of a leader. The crowd of children soon pushes forward a small girl of about five years old, clutching in her hand the shortest straw from the bunch. The eldest, taking the little girl in hand, gently tells her she has nothing to fear, and carries her over to the table, reaching up to get the knife, as the rest of the children sigh collectively and go back to their studies.



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AmazingGraceThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 15, 2010 at 7:07 am:
Woah!  This is totally brilliant!!!  :D  The way way you describe things and pull the reader into the scene is just amazing!  I want to read more!! 
 
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