Monday, February 05, 2007

Feb Story - 2

[NOTE: This is part of a progressive story. The first entry is here. Check the blog label 2007Story for all entries]

     The door whipped open suddenly, flooding the entrance with light. Tom stared into the wall of darkness in front of him, trying to force his eyes to see through the blackness.

     "Come in and shut the door Tom. Your eyes will never adjust to the dark while standing in the light" The young man's voice was soft and smooth, but the impatience was evident. Tom quickly took a step inside and closed the door.

     The room plunged into a deep darkness only broken by the flickering computer monitors in the distance. A shadowy silhouette sat in front of the monitors, moving slightly between mouse and keyboard. Tom continued standing still afraid of moving through the room until his eyes properly adjusted so he could take in his surroundings. Small slits of light tried to fight for life along the edges of thick paper taped up over the windows that covered an entire wall of the classroom. A handful of student desks littered the center of the room, slid this way and that with no apparent order. Long strips of paper hung from the shells of lights running across the ceiling. Tom blew one of the strips lightly and watched as is fluttered in the air softly, a grey-white ghost covered with letters and symbols, flying silently in the darkened room.

     "Tell me what you've come to tell me Tom." The voice from the computer sounded more annoyed with each passing second. The silhouette shuffled slightly and Tom could tell he was turning to face Tom directly. "Surely you didn't come here simply to pass time in darkness."

     Tom looked to the figure in front of the computers. Backlit by the screens, the body hunched over the computers looked more shadow than man: slightly hunched, his feet pulled up under him as he worked.

     Tom wondered if he ever even left this room. Of course, even if he did, few would know it. Tom had never seen his face, at least as far as he knew. Occasionally he had the temptation to rush the "Commander", to take him by surprise and discover his identity, to end this mysterious ruse once and for all. But the rumors circulating around the Commander were powerful and frightening. Even Tom's immense curiosity did not dare test the validity of those rumors.

     Beyond the possible dangers of exposing the Commander, Tom held his curiosity in check with the hope of personal gain, knowing that if he proved himself vital to the Commander, he could reap tremendous rewards. Those rumors he knew had at least glimmers of truth. He had seen the evidence. He had been involved in some of the missions that resulted in rewards for some and failures for others. Tom knew the truth behind Phillip Larsen's rise to Student Body President last spring. He knew all about the missing funds from the FHA bake sale.

     But with this latest mission, Tom was growing a bit nervous. Why was the Commander so interested in the status of the vice-principal? Was the Commander involved somehow in the disappearance of the Johnson family? Or was he simply trying to maintain and restore order until things could be set right? Tom still hadn't figured out the side of justice on which the Commander sat.


     The Commander's shout made Tom jump. He quickly scuffled towards the Commander, holding up his camera as he walked. From out of the shadows on either side, chairs scraped along the floor and two large figures dressed all in black stepped between Tom and the commander, arms folded, piercing black eyes staring down at Tom through slits in black hoods.

     "I got the picture of the replacement Vice Principal."

     Tom stammered and held up his camera towards the bodyguards. One of the figures silently took the camera and walked it to the Commander who began fiddling with it. Tom should have known there would be guards around the Commander. Even though very few knew where he could be found, he was smart enough to protect himself even in his own lair.

     "I, uh, I didn't recognize the man. He was fairly average. Old suit. His hair was a bit messy, but other than that, not remarkable."

     Tom nervously shifted his weight and craned his neck to watch as the Commander connected the camera to his computer and scanned through the images. Tom cringed as he realized he had not cleared out his camera memory before taking the pictures this morning. He could feel his face flush as the Commander scrolled quickly past images of Tom and his girlfriend at the park last weekend. He was glad the room was dark so the gorilla standing in front of him didn't notice his pink cheeks.

     "How long have you been at this school Tom?"

     The Commander had stopped at one of the images and began manipulating it on the screen, enlarging it and zooming in on the face. Tom was about to answer the rhetorical question when the Commander continued.

     "You are a member of the Senior Class presidency. You have been attending this school for 2 years and still fail to recognize one who most students could recognize within a few months. The replacement, my inept academic, is Mr. Daniel Call, our school librarian."

     Tom squinted at the screen again, trying to make out the features of the librarian in the image of the man in the suit.

     "And so, my ignorant photographer, in addition to having a gap plugged in the hole that was the vice-principal position, this school will now find its library lacking in certain levels of adequate supervision. If you have the capacity of finding the library, I suggest you spend some time there today to determine the state of things in that hall of learning. I would also like you to keep an eye on our semi-promoted Daniel Call to make sure he settles into his new position comfortably."

     Tom's view was suddenly obstructed as the other bodyguard returned, dangling his camera in front of Tom's face. Tom took the camera, glanced at the two black hulks in front of him and turned to go.

     "Oh and Tom." the Commander called softly, "The next time you bring me photos, kindly remove any personal images first. Unless of course you are presenting me with offerings to increase my kingdom. She would be a lovely trinket standing by my side, don't you think?"

     Tom watched as the Commander panned through images of he and his girlfriend last weekend. He felt his cheeks flush yet again as the Commander chuckled softly. Pushing open the door, he burst out into the crisp autumn air around him. After glancing around to be sure he wasn't seen, Tom walked slowly away from the portable classroom and back towards the high school to have a look in the library before first period started.


Kevin said...

Come on man! Where is part 3? You musn't keep your public waiting! Is 'musn't' a real word?

Okie said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know. Between slavedriving teachers and slavedriving bosses ;), I'm having trouble sitting down and typing up the next segment. Today, I hope. :)