It's Friday, 4th period, and I have thrown routine to the wind by assigning an in-class writing to my students before SSR (silent sustained reading). As with all things in the teenage world, this minor change evoked chaos: students are throwing their books down on their desks, bartering each other for paper, asking me where the pencil sharpener is (which has been in the same place since September), and asking me what the in-class writing is on (even though the instructions are written on the board and we've been practicing this all week).
Me (glancing at the clock): I'd like to start this assignment before the Apocalypse.
Jennifer: OMG, you believe in 2012?
Sam: What if the Apocalypse doesn't happen?
Me: Oh, it's gonna happen in about a minute.
Tyron: Wait, why is everyone getting paper out?
Sam: We're writing something.
Candice (who sits in front of Sam): What's going on?
Tyron (looking to Justin who has just opened a notebook full of paper): Dude, do you have any paper for me to borrow?
Justin (holding up his own piece and tilting his notebook so Tyron can see his "stash"): No.
Jennifer: Ms. Vance, you think the Apocalypse is coming soon? Why?
Deedee (who sits behind Jennifer): Because she's going to bring it.
Jennifer: Ha! I love it when I'm dumb.
As a writer, how do I turn this real event into a work of horror?
It's easy. All I have to do is remind you that this is the generation that is going to be in charge of taking care of ours.
But, the point of this blog is to display my creative talent, so here's the element of fiction:
Ms. Vance raises her arms above her head, forming a sharp V. Outside, dark clouds swarm over her classroom. Thunder roars. Students freeze.
A few pieces of paper drift to the floor.
Ms. Vance's pupils dilate, pushing past the rims of her blue irises.
Jennifer twists around in her seat, "Did I just hear a horse?"
"Holy shit," Sam says. "No way."
Ms.Vance's head slowly pivots toward Sam, hitching a bit as if on rusty hinges. The corners of her lips pull back, revealing clenched teeth.
"I know what we're doing!" Candice cries. "Substantive writing, right? Like we reviewed yesterday? Please, Ms. Vance."
"I have paper, now," Tyron says, waving the white sheet in the air. Ms.Vance turns her black eyes to him and the paper bursts into flames. Shrieking, Tyron drops the paper. "Crap. Justin, can I have another piece?"
Deedee closes her eyes and sighs, "I tried to warn you guys."
Ms. Vance's arms begin to lower, rigid and pulsing, until they extend straight out in front of her. Fingers fan out. "It's too late," she says.
The tips of her fingers split open, the skin peeling and curling back. A thin, black tentacle slithers out of each one--twisting, coiling. Students' jaws drop, as they pull back in their seats, clasping their hands beneath their chins.
Each tentacle splits in half, strikes outward, lengthening. A few screams pop from students' mouths. And then each tentacle splits again: forty tentacles; forty students.
Bending at the elbows, Ms. Vance draws them her sides. Tentacles dance in the air, rising up and forming shiny black hooks. Suddenly, they dive into laps, slither into pockets, split the fabric of backpacks. Students scream and beat them with their fists,
Laughing, Ms. Vance begins reeling in the tentacles--each one is curled around a student's cellphone.
"No!" Jennifer screams, grabbing her phone as it whips by her face. She is yanked from her desk and lands on the floor. Wrapping her body around the phone, she is dragged with it across the floor, toward the podium. Toward Ms. Vance. Other students snap into action, scrambling to catch up with the retracting tentacles, trying to pry away their most prized possessions. They crash into each other, shove each other out of the way, claw and scratch. Heads bang into desks, feet entangle on computer cords and backpack straps.
The tentacle rips Jennifer's phone from her hands, taking a few of her fingers with it. Jennifer jams the stubs into her mouth and bloods seeps out, down her chin.
The tentacle coils back, rising up. Ms. Vance follows it with her eyes, smiling. And then, it strikes out and down toward the floor and with a crack shatters Jennifer's phone into pieces.
There's no stopping it.