Eddie slammed into the room, startling the principal, who looked up from her bloody handiwork.
Principal Thrope scowled, “Dee! Take care of the kid. I think we’re about to finally have a breakthrough here.”
MissDemeanor nodded, and donned a mask.
“Unless you start seeing things my way, it’s detention for you.” She snapped her fingers at Eddie, sending a series of waves of light at him.
Eddie blinked. Yeah. She was right. His parents would be furious if he got detention. Better to just obey authority, that was safe.
“Yes ma’am,” he said, listing somewhat.
“Good. Now sit down, and be silent. This is a grown-up conversation we’re having here.” She pointed to a chair against the wall.
That sounded like a great idea. He sat down and stared vacantly ahead, oblivious to his surroundings.
The tiniest of niggles wiggled in the back of Eddie’s brain. This wiggling became more insistent when the wall crashed in revealing a muscular man in a flashy costume.
No. Best to not pay it any mind. I might get in trouble.
But the man seemed awfully familiar though.
Ah. I see. He’s pretty angry. But the Principal is shouting something at him. Must not be very important, though, because he couldn’t seem to quite make it out. He’s just thrown a filing cabinet at her.
That niggle is back. This time, it’s back with a vengeance.
The big guy is shouting at me for some reason, but I’d be better off just ignoring him.
Maddie is thrown into the room, and slides to a stop beside Eddie, who looks down at his fallen friend. A brief ripple of emotion crosses his face, then he returns to looking into the mid-distance.
Miss Meanor points at the large man and shouts something very angry and very specific. He seems to have taken it seriously, and staggers a bit. As he did so, the principal leaped on his back, and revealed a mouth full of large –and lengthening– fangs, before burying them in his shoulder, he screamed out in pain, and that brought that persistent niggle to the very front of his mind.
Eddie leaped out of the chair in horror as his father fell under the weight of the principal.
MissDemeanor gestured at him with both hands this time, but the waves of light crashed against him without effect.
Suddenly, everything came into focus. It was as if his entire life had been lived in a haze. He could see everything in the room in such detail, that it almost made him dizzy. He stared at MissDemeanor and could see into her. He knew what to do.
Reaching out with his mind, he touched her head.
MissDemeanor’s eyes narrowed and began shaking wildly before falling to the floor, trailing a plume of vomit as she went.
He turned to Principal Thrope, who had just realized what happened. She stopped worrying his father with her bite, and growled at him, her features becoming bestial.
“Down! Bad doggie!” Eddie shouted.
As he reached out for her head, he saw Helga enter the room, behind him. Raising her hockey stick in the air to fell him, he raised both hands to the air, feeling everyone’s position out.
Like a sack of grumpy potatoes, Helga fell without resistance, but her mother continued to approach, unfazed by the vertigo he had inflicted on the others.
“Get back!” He shouted, and the principal was flung against the far wall.
With a yelp, the principal bounced with a meaty thud, but recovered herself easily and leaped at him, fangs bared.
Reaching out again, he caught her midair and found her jugular, pumping wildly with rage. He squeezed with his mind, blocking the blood flow until she passed out. Releasing her, she fell to the floor, looking more-or-less normal once more, albeit covered in his father’s blood.
Eddie fell to his knees, as a sudden wave of exhaustion swept over him.
Eddie paused as he saw Maddie charge down the stairs and around the corner into the basement of the school, and cast his eyes to the ceiling in frustration. She was surely about to get into a world of hurt, but if his father had imparted one thing to him over these years, it was that you never let a friend go into danger alone.
Even when you couldn’t actually fight.
Yes, his father had on more than one occasion suggested –sometimes forcefully– that he join Maddies martial arts classes, but he couldn’t find it in himself to do it. Not that he was a pacifist, it just didn’t feel right. His mother sometimes took his refusals as an opportunity to try to get him to come to the range with her, as she was not only a gold-winning Olympian in the marksmanship sports, but quite famous in the Single Action Sports Shooting competitions. (She had the reputation of being the modern-day Annie Oakley, but she insisted she was better than that, even.) But this too, didn’t quite fit his style.
Despite all of that, he found himself hurtling his way into the dimly lit basement, hot on Maddie’s tail.
As she dashed down the stairs, she felt her heart rate raising, and through her training, her vision became sharper, revealing a figure standing at the end of the hall. Through her heightened senses, she recognized Helga, a sixth-grader who was not only the head of the field hockey team, but the principal’s daughter, and she was prepared for company, holding her hockey stick over her shoulders.
“Well Well. Madison, right?” she sneered, “Hope you’re ready for a whoopin’.”
With a well practiced move, she spun the stick off of her shoulders, and into a ready position.
Maddie grinned. She ate bullies like Helga for breakfast. It seemed weird that she had never come up on her bully radar, though. Regardless, she streaked towards her and leaped with a flying front kick, but was dodged easily. It seemed that she may have underestimated her opponent. She spun her stance, and threw a tornado kick.
As her foot arced towards Helga’s head, she interposed her hockey stick in between them, and a sharp pain flowed up her leg and out of her as a shout of agony, her stick was reinforced! She managed to tumble away and back up, wincing as she put weight on her foot.
“This is no good,” she thought, “I think I fractured my leg.”
“Eddie! Get in there, I got this!” She shouted, and advanced on Helga again.
Eddie saw the two of them mix it up with a flash of motion, and Maddie come out worse for the wear. Despite that, she still had the swagger to keep fighting. He sometimes wished he was like that, but as it was, he seriously hoped he wasn’t about to be pulverized by a cranky sixth-grader with a blunt object. Taking advantage of the highly polished linoleum flooring, he dove to the floor as he neared the melee, slid past them and thankfully out of the range of that brutal looking hockey stick. Standing, he approached the door and saw the principal reaching back to take another swing at Maddie’s mother.
Taking a deep breath, he pulled open the door and charged inside.
So I’ve been telling dad jokes at work to make the time pass faster, (it works) and man, I should feel shame for telling such bad jokes. (But I don’t). I almost have a decent stand-up act out of it. Some guy pushed a few bucks on me as a tip for the jokes too!
So I wanted a template what would let me put a list of short stories on the side, but still have my usual posts in the flow. I think this is pretty close to my ideal, but would appreciate opinions. How’s this working for you?
Eddie dodged past Maddie, kicking in his full speed as he dribbled the ball, and leaping as he shot. It soared gracefully towards the hoop, but he had imparted a little too much spin as he threw, and it ricocheted away, to be snatched up by maddie, who quickly shot, and sunk the ball.
“Yeah, yeah. Beaten by a girl. I’m totally used to it by now,” Eddie said, retrieving the ball.
“Naw, you’re not half bad, I’m just awesome. In fact–”
“Shh!” Eddie said, cocking his head.
“What is it?” Maddie asked, straining to hear it as well.
A faint sobbing was heard, followed by a short scream.
“What in the heck?” Eddie set the ball down, and carefully scanned the room.
“We’re the only kids here, right?”
“Uh, probably? The kids who wait for rides usually hang in the cafeteria, but it’s kinda late.”
Another faint scream was heard.
“Gotcha!” Eddie rushed to the far wall, and ducked behind the collapsible bleachers that lined the walls, quickly followed by Maddie.
“Where does that come from?” she whispered.
“Ah, the boiler room, I think.” he replied, frowning.
“Then let’s go.” Maddie bolted towards the double doors that led out to the main hallway.
“No! Mad! Wait!” Eddie hissed as he chased after her.
As he hit the double doors that closed just as he arrived, he saw Maddie dodge around the corner, further down the hall.
“Mads!” He pushed harder in an attempt to catch her, “Stop!”
He plowed into her as he turned the corner, “Mad, you can’t just charge in, guns blazing.”
He panted heavily, hands on his knees. “I got somethin’, hang on.”
Eddie pulled the hexagonal box from his hoodie pocket, and pressed a button on its underside.
“What’s that?” Nancy asked.
“I snagged it from your dad’s utility belt.” The box unfolded into a small drone. He twisted it ninety degrees, splitting it into two pieces.
“Wow, that’s cool”
“Yeah, I didn’t have a chance to show you yet. Open the door to the basement. I’ll send it in.
Maddie nodded and opened the door quietly, “OK.”
Eddie maneuvered the drone into the doors, awkwardly at first, but then with confidence as he got used to it, eyes fixed on the controller’s screen.
“Holy guacamole! It’s the principal, and she’s torturing… Ohmygersh, it’s your parents! Mad, call my dad, tell him what’s up.
Maddie pulled her phone from her pocket and tapped the screen quickly.
“Ah! Mister Jones! It’s Maddie, we need help! My parents are being tortured by my principal. No, The cops would think I was pranking if I called. Yes sir.”
Maddie shoved the phone back in her pocket, and ducked as the drone buzzed back through the doorway.
Eddie snatched it out of the air and connected the two pieces with a click.
“Your dad said he was inbound.”
“Inbound? That’s a weird thing to say.”
“Whatever. He’s on the way, so I’m going in.”
“No, Mad! Wait for my Dad.”
“No way. That’s my mom in there.”
She pushed the door open, and turned to her friend, “You coming?”
The lunch room was chaos, kids were streaming here and there, finding seats with their friends, creating a cacophony of voices which made it hard to concentrate on his lunch. Just as well, he supposed.
It was meatloaf day, which was by far, the worst of the lunch menu. It was rumored that the meatloaf was the remains of lunches past, ground finely and ketchupped beyond recognition. Even worse (and more unbelievable) was that sometimes, students went missing, and found their way into the meatloaf.
“EDDIE!” Maddie slapped him on the back loudly.
Eddie jumped in fright, “Dangit girl, why can’t you just greet me in a normal way?”
She grinned toothily, “where’s the fun in that?”
Eddie rolled his eyes as his companion dropped her tray of mostly-but-not-completely edible lunch beside his and plopped down beside him. He eyed her as she dug into her meat composite cross section with gusto.
“Blech. You want mine too?”
Before he could finish his sentence, she had speared his from his plate and began working on it.
“Hey, I got a text from the ‘rents, we have to have a parent/teacher conference after school, so don’t make plans.” She mumbled around a mouthful of meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
“Aw man. Hope it won’t take too long, If we gotta hang here till it’s done, we might not get any game time in.”
Maddie nodded and shrugged, as she took a pull on her bottle of apple juice. “It is what it is, man. I just hope I’m not in trouble again.”
Eddie raised an eyebrow, “You been fighting again?”
Maddie grinned, “I’m scrappy, what can I say?”
“Yeah. You’d think they’d learn by now, they must be new here.”
Eddie snorted, “Mad. You’re ten, stop being a hero, and just enjoy life.”
“Lookit you talking, you’re only eleven, Ed. And only 3 months older than me, don’t get all adult on me,” She shoved the now empty tray away, “besides, I love beating on bullies.”
Eddie sighed, “Yeah, you do.”
Susan blinked, and a figure swum into sight as she came to. She tried to rub her aching head, but found that she was tied to a chair.
“Ned!” she called out with her best effort at a shout, but fell somewhat short and only managed a raspy mumble.
Her husband grunted, and looked around. “Sue, what happened?”
“I happened,” Principal Thrope said, her voice full of unspoken threat.
“So. Now that the two of you are awake, we can get started.” She unrolled a cloth bundle, revealing various tools, both blunt and sharp.”
“What’s going on here!” Ned shouted, his voice quavering.
“You and I are going to have a conversation,” she pulled a rubber mallet from the collection of tools.
“Hey, there’s no need for violence. We’ll tell you whatever you want.”
The principal smiled, as if she was just offered a cold glass of lemonaid. “I know you will. But, in order to make sure you’re telling the truth, I’m going to have to use these,” She wiggled the mallet in their direction. “And to make it effective, I’m not going to use it on you, sir,” She pointed it at Susan. “I’m going to use it on her, and you’re going to watch.”
She nodded and his chair was pulled away from his wife’s and turned to face her.
“Well then, shall we get started?” she paused and lifted Susan’s chin, staring her in the eye, she leaned in and whispered into her ear, “just so you know, this is going to hurt him a lot more than it’ll hurt you.”