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The thirteenth chapter of
September 3, 2010
After arriving at the city, Leah rushes off to her first school experience since her capture.
The BDA agents dropped her off near Newland Park in the center of the city. After handing her the wad of cash, along with the hotel they requested she stay at along with when to meet them back here. Telling her that the school was just north of here, they set off, leaving her alone.
Freedom. The feeling was glorious and welcomed warmly within Leah's heart. For the first time in four years, she wasn't staring at the glass walls of the compound or the enclosed cage of the training courtyard.
But as sweet as it was for the caged bird to sing freely, she felt overwhelmed at her options. She only had one sweet week to enjoy it before being caged for another four years.
Setting off quickly to find her way around the city, she quickly found the hotel they wanted her to stay, the Desert Rose. She checked in, the clerk envious at the thick wad of money she had. Her room was extravagant, offering a new bed along with the feeling of complete privacy. She tood the opportunity to just relax, without the schedule or the barrel of glass bullets constantly watching and waiting.
After thoroughly enjoying her newfound freedom, she took the day simply to explore. The BDA were true to their word, with agents only on the edges of the city, posing as various hobos and tourist guides. But inside the city, it was only her. She explored every park, every store she could find, putting a sizeable dent in her wad for school tomorrow, and various other things she wanted to bring back to the compound.
Feeling spent and exhausted, Leah made her way back to her hotel, awaiting an anxious nights sleep for the school day tomorrow.
Waking up at six in the morning was an especially rude awakening for Leah. Not being able to sleep because of anxiety, along with the failed escape nightmare again, provided a groggy atmosphere for her. She spent an hour getting ready, then went down to the lobbey for their free continental breakfast.
Feeling worse than before, she called a taxi to cart her off to her first day of high school. Arriving at the large building, she exited the car, feeling awkward and alone. She entered the school, her individuality vanishing instantly along with the stomachache getting worse. Leah felt like everyone was staring at her, marking her instantly as an outcast.
The warning bell blared loudly, signaling the start of the day. She rushed off to her first class, social studies. Entering the room, Leah tried to hide in a corner until the teacher inevitably pointed her out. As other students filed in, she tried to find others who she could try to associate herself with. Soon the class started, and almost on schedule, Leah was forced to introduce herself.
The teacher, a Ms. Taylor, smiling forever on, had her get up from her sanctuary to tell others about herself.
"Hello, I'm Leah. I'm just visiting from Chicago, I came here for a break from the big city."
The class silent, but then prompted to clap by Ms. Taylor, Leah sat back down, blushing rapidly.
"Alright then. Well, today is December 1st, 2000. Leah?" the teacher asked.
"Yes?" Leah said with slight contempt.
"Since this is social studies, we will start the morning with news going on in the world."
Rage boiled inside Leah. I may be a prisoner, but I'm not stupid.
"Alright," Leah said politely.
"Vicente Fox is being inducted as the president of Mexico today. In one week, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide the result of the presidential election..."
The teacher droned on, oblivious to Leah's boredom. What was I thinking? I could be shopping or enjoying my break and here I am, locked up in school.
After being thoroughly drained of excitement in social studies, math, English, and art passed without incident. When chemistry finally arrived, Leah felt drained and ready to just lie down back at the hotel. Five and a half hours of being introduced awkwardly and teachers thinking I'm a preschooler.
When Chemistry finally reared it's ugly head, Leah was absolutely sick of high school. Sick of the cliques, the rumours, the jerks and jocks, the oblivious teachers.
Once she walked in the classroom, she could tell this was different. This had the potential she had been begging for. The class was completely silent, an eerie quiet polluting the cold air.
The bell rang, crudely interrupting the stillness. The teacher, a man Leah compared to a drill coach or a strict lawyer, walked to the front of the room.
"Well well well. Fresh meat for a stay I see. RIGHT?"
"Yes sir," Leah said in a shocked voice.
"Well, I'm sure the other teachers have been all touchy feely about having a "new" student in their class. Well, that's about to end. Here in chemistry, I expect the best from you, for however long you are here. We will explore the reactions certain elements make, along with how things are made..."
The rest of the class period, Leah sat in silence, afraid to talk for fear of the teacher exploding at her. When the class was finally over, she exited in a hurry. However, her rapid escape was interupted.
"I know, he's pretty scary right?" said a girl around Leah's age.
"I guess," Leah said shyly.
"I'm Sierra, what's yours?"
"Well Leah, it is honestly a pleasure to meet you. I'm sorry about Mr. Hardy, he can be a little harsh. So this is your first day here?"
"Yes, but I'm only visiting."
"Hmm, that's a shame. Where are you from?"
"So why are you visiting?"
"My family wanted to experiment with out of country schools," Leah said, instantly regretting it.
"So you tried halfway around the world first?"
"Umm," Leah droned, thinking fast. "It's kinda hard to explain."
"Alright then. Why don't you take a break from experimenting and come hang out at my place?"
"Umm, I don't know.."
"Oh come on, when you get back you can honestly say you have an Australian friend." Sierra said luringly.
"Alright. Where do you live?" Leah accepted, unsure of where this would take her.
- The author unknowingly named the chemistry teacher after his real life teacher.
For the collective works of the author, go here.