Chocolate and Instant DeathI amble my way to the second door on the left. It’s my English III class. My teacher, Ms. Madden, stands impatiently at the door, tapping her left foot with her legs crossed.
“Hello, Gloria,” I say with the nicest voice.
“Shay,” she replies with a dark, menacing tone. “It isn’t very polite to call teachers by their first names.”
“I’m not a very polite person,” I say. A hiss nearly escapes from her mouth.
Gloria B. Madden is the worst teacher in this school. When I say that I mean she doesn’t teach. She just sits lazily on her desk chair, eating a Snickers bar, and tells us to take a nap. Meanwhile, the school board always wonders why the juniors are so stupid. People like Ms. Madden are the cause.
“Alright class,” she says. “Turn to page 364 in your book and do none of the questions.” Ms. Madden pulls out a Twix and starts gnawing on it.
Jesus, I wish Lucas was here.
Lucas always brightens up the dullest room. We’ve been friends since Kindergarten, and I became his friend the first day I saw him.
As the other students start to yawn and rest their heads, Ms. Madden looks at me sternly. “Shay,” she begins, “can I see you in the counseling office?”
I pause. The counseling office? It’s empty. No one has used it for ages. What does she need there?
“Sure,” I say reluctantly. Ms. Madden stands up and starts walking to the door.
“Paul,” she says, “Take care of the class until I’m gone, alright?” The boy nods before he drifts to sleep.
“Come with me,” she says. I follow her down the hall until we reach the small room.
Ms. Madden opens the door and gestures me to enter. I wait for a second, then I finally go in. She follows me and slams the door shut.
I spin around to see Ms. Madden holding a thing.
A shiny thing.
A black shiny thing.
“What are you doing?!” I yell. I step backwards. Ms. Madden has an evil look in her eye.
“Give me the Codex. Now,” she commands. I walk backwards.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I reply. Ms. Madden laughs.
“Of course you do,” she replies. “After all, you write it in that composition book during class. I’ve seen you do it. Don’t try to lie.”
“I don’t have a Codex! I don’t know what you want with me! Somebody help!” I scream.
“It won’t help you,” Ms. Madden mutters. “This room is sound-proof.”
“I don’t have a Codex!”
“Shay,” Ms. Madden calmly whispers. “I know you. You’re a cunning little girl, and I know it. So listen. You have to the count of three to hand me the Codex or I will shoot you. One.”
“I don’t have the Codex!” I yell.
My pulse is rushing. I don’t know anything. Why does she want my Book?
“I swear to God I don’t have a Codex!”
Even if she wanted the Book, it was shredded away because of Mr. Burns.
“Wait!” I yell. Ms. Madden lowers her gun. “I did have a Codex, Mr. Burns shredded it. All of it. Whatever it is, it’s gone now.”
“Well then,” Ms. Madden says disappointingly, “I suppose you are no use to me now. Prepare to die.” She lifts the gun to my head.
Suddenly the door slams open. Mr. Burns is carrying a large rifle pointed at Ms. Madden, and Lucas runs to me.
By instinct Ms. Madden pulls the trigger as it hits my shoulder. Pain flutters through my body as Lucas grabs me and pulls me away. Mr. Burns shoots Ms. Madden three times in both legs. She crawls, trying to grab my shirt.
“Give me that Codex! It’s mine!” she screams, trying to crawl for her gun.
Lucas carries me out as Mr. Burns runs and helps carry me.
“What the hell is going on?” I ask.
“No time,” Lucas says. “We’ll explain everything later. We need you to get in the van.”
We reach the van as Lucas and Mr. Burns pull me in.
After what seems to be hours, Lucas is finally able to pry the bullet from my shoulder. My head rests on his lap.
“Hey,” I say.
“Hey,” he replies, smiling. “You’re lucky. If that was an inch higher you would have been in the morgue.”
“So,” I whisper, “who are you? Really?”
Mr. Burns looks at me. “That kid is Lucas Hawthorne, the one you know. He’s no different.”
Mixed emotions blossom in my head. Confusion, fear, anger, sadness… they all combine to form a single emotion of great intensity. I look at Lucas, his emerald eyes fixed in wonder. I am too exhausted to say anything. I close my eyes for a second.
“Shay,” Lucas says gingerly, “I know you’re confused and, well, a bit scared, but you have nothing to worry about. You’ll be fine.”
He’s always taken care of me. He’s like my older brother, except… different.
“We’re a few minutes away from X-Axis,” the driver says in a deep voice.
“Thank you,” replies Mr. Burns.
“What’s X-Axis?” I ask, hoping for an answer.
Lucas grins. “You’ll see when we get there.”
I groan. And to think, I’d be in U.S. History right about now.