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Authors: Caleb S. Bugai

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Alkalians (2 page)

BOOK: Alkalians
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As he slowly walks around the scene,
observing both obvious and subtle details, Romulus begins piecing
together facts. The burn streaks across the ground, along with the
wounds upon the researchers, tell him they had been made by
lightning bolt strikes. The smoking, and faintly glowing red rim
around the crater, informs him that, somehow, the whole ceiling and
outer part of the mountain had exploded. Despite the unorganized
appearance of the destruction, the bodies are all set in a circle
around a large, cocoon-shaped structure at the center of the scene.
Whatever had been the cause of all that just happened, the
researchers must not have been ready for it. Still in their human
forms, they had not entered their battle morphs in time to endure
whatever had attacked them.

Wondering what could have possibly
been the cause of this disaster, Romulus realizes whatever it was
must have come from the stone structure. And, with dread, realizes
it could still be nearby. He cautiously approaches the structure,
against his better judgment, as sand appears and swirls around his
right hand, morphing itself into a short blade in his grip. As he
comes closer to it, he notices across the side of the structure
rune-like inscriptions, possibly hieroglyphs of some kind. Could
this have been what the researchers were studying? Hoping he is
ready for the answer, or anything at this point, he comes up to the
structure, floats into the air a few feet above it, and discovers
what the structure is.

Rather than a mere cocoon, the thing
appears to be a sarcophagus, a giant coffin made of stone, engraved
with runes. Romulus makes out the shape of a body that could have
been placed within the sarcophagus, but, to his eerie surprise,
there is no trace of a body in it, it is completely empty. However,
he also notices that there was no lid for it. Whatever had been in
it seems to have broken its way out, due to the small cracks along
the gaping hole into it.

Then, as he put all the pieces
together, fear comes across his face as he realizes what must have
happened: The researchers were studying the sarcophagus, probably
trying to decrypt the runes upon it; they accidentally activated
something, and awoke whatever had been laying dormant inside the
sarcophagus; the thing then annihilated them, blew the mountain
open, and wiped out the forest around it. What is most unsettling
to him, however, is not what this thing has already done, but that
it might still be nearby.

A sudden noise in the deathly silence
grabs his attention, Romulus whirls around, doing a quick,
side-ways maneuver through the air, rolls across the ground, and
holds his blade of sand before him. Expecting to see some
horrifying form of a monster or entity before him, he sees nothing
different about the decimated cave around him. He stays on high
alert, wary that it may still be lurking nearby. After a long,
nerve-racking moment of silence passes, he just begins to calm
himself when he hears the noise again. Switching back into full
alert, his mounting fear becomes mangled by confusion when he
recognizes the noise as it continues. It was the sound of crying.
Something nearby was crying.

Looking around him, Romulus picks out
something he didn’t notice before in his scan of the hollowed cave.
There is a small ledge, obscuring a deeper part of the cave, where
the part of the ceiling that remains slopes down to form a small
space beneath it. The crying is coming from that direction. Ever
cautious, ever alert, he slowly makes his way towards the ledge,
peeks over the top, and comes upon another startling sight. With
yet another slain researcher near it, her chest having been blasted
open by what must have been a lightning bolt, there is another
sarcophagus, covered by runes like the first one but much smaller.
As he tip-toes closer to it, raising his blade to bring it down on
whatever is still in there, the crying noise becomes much louder,
and distressing. In fact, the crying sounds are oddly familiar. But
he doesn’t let his guard down, as there could be no way it
was…

When he looks down into the
sarcophagus, Romulus can’t believe his eyes, confounded so much he
nearly drops his weapon as he lowers it. There, lying within the
coffin, the same kind of coffin some terrible thing had just
erupted from earlier, is a baby, a newborn infant. Naked and
helpless, the child continues to wail and cry, groping at the air
with its little hands and feet, until it looks back up at Romulus.
The big, purple eyes upon the adorable face stupefies him. Unsure
of what to do, he reaches down into the coffin and gently lifts the
infant out of it, all the while staring back into its eyes with his
own brown eyes. As he holds the baby amidst the chaos and
disastrous tragedy, with a possibly unspeakable terror yet
undiscovered and now running loose, all he can think of is what in
the name of the Earth Spirit had, was, and is yet to
happen.

Chapter 1

 

Welcome to School

 

***

 

21 years later…

 

***

 

Taking a breath of the cool autumn
air, a young man looks out across the grassy field toward large
buildings in the distance. He wears a green fall jacket, black
shirt and black jeans, black tennis shoes, and a short-trimmed,
crisp style of black hair. His eyes are a deep shade of purple, and
his face is cleanly shaved for a soft look. After glancing around
to take in the fine day, he walks out to join a growing crowd of
people his age. They are all heading toward the building
complex.

The young adults flood into one of the
interlinked buildings, flow down a large hall, and pool into a
massive auditorium. The people file into the columns of seats in a
civilized manner, greeting and chatting with either friend or
stranger. The green vest man finds himself a seat, and looks about
the auditorium. Marble white walls with sparkles of jeweled dots
surround him, and above is a ceiling with strong support from a web
of metal braces. Shortly after seating, he hears the doors slamming
shut behind him, indicating all the intended people have arrived
and are seated.

The lights dim, the people hush
themselves, and the stage set before the assembly is lit up to
reveal a small podium with a microphone. A middle-age man with
graying hair, wearing a brown tuxedo suit, walks out to the podium,
and most of the audience claps to greet him.

The man speaks into the crowd, his
voice projected through the microphone. “Good evening, students,
and welcome to the most major education complex within our world,
the Alkalian National College! For some of you, this will be your
first year here, and the rest of you have already been here, but
whatever your age group, I’m sure you will enjoy the experiences
that await you here! For the new students with us today, plus any
who have forgotten me, I am the school principal, Professor Ronald
Kaystone. The rest of the staff you will meet when you arrive at
the class they teach. And now, I believe the new students this
year, our freshmen, should be properly introduced with a warm
welcome!”

Rustling up a paper from the podium
and clearing his throat, he continues, “As I read off this list
before me, I would like the freshmen to stand up so everyone can
see them, and remain standing until all have been announced. Please
forgive any mispronunciations of any names I call out. Let’s see,
uh, Matthew Calamos!”

The man with purple eyes stands up,
trying to look calm despite being dreadfully nervous. He has to
remain standing as the principal continues calling out names, and
more of his fellow class reveal themselves. He observes how they,
as well as many of the other students, seem to come from many
different backgrounds. Some are fair skinned, others a dark bronze
tan. Some are decorated in expensive looking suits and dresses,
others in casual or the cheapest brands of pants and shirts. Some
look excited to be here, others appear impatient in waiting to get
out of there, and then some just don’t seem to care. After the list
is finished, the rest of the students clap for the freshmen before
they sit down, and attention returns to Prof. Kaystone.

Prof. Kaystone says, “Now, I bet you
all are anxious to get out of here and hurry off to your cabins to
get settled in, so I will soon excuse you all. But first, I would
like to just say a few things…” There are highly audible groans
from some of the students in the assembly. “Which won’t take too
long! Anyway, the first thing I would like to address is the status
of all you students here at college. You all come from the five
states of our great nation, the Alkalian Confederacy. There are
many of you from either Minari, Tirez, Corrasin, Saratu, and
Riaquen. Some of you come from noble and wealthy families, some of
you are from the common house hold, and there are even some of you
from remote and humble life styles. However, no matter what you are
outside of these campus grounds, you are all students in a
professional, educational environment here, and you shall respect
and treat each other as equal peers in study and
recreation!


The next thing I want to
mention is informing the freshmen, and remind all others, of the
rules here at our college campus. Number one, there will be no
battles that would harm any innocent bystanders or be targeted
against someone not wanting to fight. But of course, I can’t
restrict your right to morph and fight, so please have your battles
in appropriate areas, which would be outside the buildings on
campus grounds, the gymnasium, or in the specified area at the
casino.


Number two, you are
expected to carry out all assignments given to you in your classes,
no matter how much you like or dislike it, and get them turned in
on time. The reason you are at this institute is not to be goofing
around and partying all the time. You are here for an education, to
prepare you for adult careers and responsibilities throughout the
states! If there are any problems in completing your tasks, please
seek help from fellow students or the professors, and no
cheating!


Number three, there will
be no ill-appropriate behavior on our school grounds, which
includes anything to do with bullying, harassing, drug inducing, or
sexual assault. And number four, last but not least, all students
are to follow all school curfews, never disrespect the professors,
and keep note not to upset your fellow students. That way,
everything will go by much easier for everybody!


Urrrhem, now, as you
leave, please stop by the computers out in the hall to receive your
class schedules and cabin rooms. All you have to do is go up to the
machine, enter your name, and the already, randomly decided
schedule and cabin room will be given to you. Make sure you keep
these, just in case you forget, and head immediately to your
cabins. Classes will begin tomorrow morning. Good night to you all,
and I do hope we can all enjoy this new year of college
together!”

 

***

 

All the students, many of them rushing
with relief to get out of the auditorium, file out into the hall,
and go to the hallway computers to get their schedules. Matthew
soon arrives at one, a large computer monitor with typing input.
For a moment, he looks at it in a confused manner. This is the
first time in his life he has ever seen such a machine. Some of the
students behind him, impatiently waiting for their turn, tell him
to hurry up and enter his name. Noticing the keyboard before the
monitor, and after side-glancing to see other students using it, he
then proceeds to type his full name in. Recognizing him a student,
the computer prints out his class schedule and cabin number, which
startles him when he sees them coming out of the machine. He takes
them, shyly, due to the humored eyes upon him, and follows the
dispersing students who are leaving the building.

The sun sets as the adolescents trot
some hundred feet toward a field full of small buildings away from
the main campus, the cabins. Divided by color to indicate the
different class levels, Matthew follows the instructions to the
yellow cabins and finds his cabin, numbered 248. He tries to open
the door, but it’s locked. Wondering why the door would be locked,
he looks around to find other people doing swiping motions with
their cards before entering their cabins. He then understands the
cabin number card is a key, so he slides it through the automatic
lock near the doorknob, and the door clicks unlocked.

Passing through the door, Matthew
looks around the inside of the cabin. A spacious living room was to
the right of him, complete with table, chairs, a couch, and a
kitchen, furnished with fridge, counter, and oven grill, to his
left. Coming farther in, he sees a door behind the couch, another
door past the kitchen, and stairs leading up and forward. The
stairs lead to a small hallway with a door on both sides. Upon
further inspection, Matthew sees the door behind the couch is the
bathroom, while the others are bedrooms, filled with a desk, chair,
small window, clothes dresser, and a large bed.

Back at the entrance, Matthew finds
his luggage among other suitcases and bags. He brings them into the
room upstairs on the left, deciding the first guy here picks his
own room. He puts his clothes in the dresser, lays out his hygienic
necessities, and sets a small bottle of prescription pills on the
desk by his bed. Finished unpacking, he comes downstairs to hear
someone coming up to the door. He freezes, takes a deep breath, and
braces himself for meeting his first roommate.

BOOK: Alkalians
2.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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