"I don't care right now." Sandra repeated, wishing she could break away from her uncle so she might have time to buy an iced coffee before school.
"Sandra..." Dorian exhaled, giving her a softened look. "Just listen for a minute, alright? You need to know this number in case you need the
bunker... and what if I'm not here? Just--"
"How many years have you been doing this?" Sandra interrupted, now intolerably impatient. "What the hell do you think is gonna happen? Huh?"
"Sandra, anything can happen--"
"When's the last time anything happened in America?" Sandra snapped. "We've been around for over two hundred years, and still no doomsday. We're
"Its not America now, its the North American Union. You know that." Dorian said. "Things are changing. Anything can happen, Sandra. I hope I'm wrong,
but... you can never be too safe. I told you before--"
"Enough, alright?" Sandra broke him off. "I don't give a damn about prepping for doomsday... just... leave me out of it."
And at that, she stormed off, expecting her uncle to stop her, to yell after her, or to object in some way.
Dorian stood motionlessly in the dry dirt, staring up the hill, watching his niece until she was out of sight, wearing a defeated expression as he
The only truly favorable thing about this day so far was the wonderful, refreshing iced coffee in Sandra's hand. She hadn't arrived at school in time
to grab breakfast, so, after reaching the third floor and plopping down in Mr. Knowles's class, her home room, she downed the rest of her cold coffee
in two massive gulps, then tossed the bottle in the trash.
Gazing around, she examined her classmates. By now, she knew all of their faces very well, and almost all of their names... their home room class was
a special class. Not for the mentally handicapped, but rather, intended for teens with mild emotional issues. It was meant for highschool kids with
IEP's, Individual Education Programs, with therapists, and some of them, even with a criminal record.
Sandra had been in classes like this all her life, even before moving to Las Nueva Era. Back in Knoxville Tennessee, she lived in the middle of the
city--and quite frequently encountered unfriendly foes, peers, and street walkers. But now, she'd lived in Las Nueva Era for about two years, and she
was now comfortable knowing she was hundreds of miles from her previous, unhappy home.
Mr. Knowles entered the room a couple minutes late, but no one in the class seemed to notice. After the bell, everyone continued to talk, laugh, and
horse-play, except Sandra, who sat quietly in her seat, scribbling drawings on her clipboard.
"D'you really have to wear those to school?" Knowles's voice came.
Sandra glanced up, realizing that Knowles was standing over her, staring at her. Small slivers of his stringy brown hair dangled in front of his
thin, egg-shaped glasses, and his brown eyes were focused intently on her wrist.
It took a moment for Sandra to determine what he was talking about. The spiked bracelet on her left wrist was probably the most noticeable thing
about her punk-themed attire.
"Are you serious?" Sandra mumbled. "I'm not gonna hurt anybody with 'em."
"Its still a violation of the dress code, you know that. How many times have we been over this...?" Knowles replied.
"Yeah, so tell me, what exactly is the point of a dress code?" Sandra asked. "So everybody conforms to the way the school board wants us to look like
good little sheep? What difference does it make what we wear?"
"None." Knowles answered. "Honestly, me personally, I couldn't care less what you wear. But I have to enforce the rules, or I'd lose my job, Sandra.
Those things are dangerous." He gestured to her spikes.
Not half as dangerous as the switchblade in my pocket,
Sandra thought bitterly.
"I'm not gonna take them from you, just... just put them away. Alright?" Knowles said.
Sandra, exhaling heavily, removed the spiked bracelet from her wrist and slid it into her backpack. As much as she detested the rules in her school,
she usually avoided arguing with Mr. Knowles. He was the most understanding, comfortable, and friendly teacher Sandra ever had.
When class began, Knowles managed to silence the students, then started on a lecture about Kennedy's assassination. Class dragged on, and as the
sunlight grew the slightest bit stronger from the windows, illuminating the room, Sandra lost herself completely in her drawings, as she did every
day. The lecture continued, and a few other students asked questions and contributed facts, but Sandra barely heard any of them.
"Sandra." Knowles said out of nowhere.
Sandra blinked, glimpsing up from her drawings.
"You listening?" Knowles asked.
Knowles smirked. "Then answer the question."
Sandra stared blankly at him for a moment.
"I can't. I wasn't listening." She said.
"The question was, do you believe in the magic bullet theory?" Knowles elaborated once the laughs died down. "You're all gonna be writing an essay
about this... your thoughts on the magic bullet theory."
"The single bullet theory." Sandra corrected.
"I thought you'd prefer the critic's version." Knowles told her, smiling.
"I think... the government probably has weapons we don't know about." Sandra said. "They probably have bullets that can leave virtually no
"You think bullets like that existed back then?" Knowles asked. "And the government... why would they have anything to do with it?"
Sandra squinted at him. "I dunno, maybe because he was bashing government secret societies in his speech a week before his assassination."
Knowles raised his brows, turning away, still wearing a smile.
"You knew what I was gonna say. Why'd you ask?" Sandra said, half-jokingly.
Knowles began to speak once again, then trailed off.
Sandra, realizing he'd stopped speaking mid-sentence, looked up again.
Knowles's eyes were narrowed as he gazed out the window. He stepped towards it, peering down, staring at the roads.
Sandra, although she had no idea what had drawn his attention, suddenly felt a sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach. Knowles didn't move from
the window; he continued studying the streets outside, making a confused face.
He scratched the stubble on his chin, placing a hand on the glass, looking perplexed.
Sandra, along with everyone else in the room, wanted to ask what he was staring at, but none of them spoke up.
Then, gulping, Sandra reached her feet and approached Knowles from behind, hoping to steal a glance outside before he'd order her back to her seat.
Strangely, he didn't object to her moving up and about. Sandra stood beside Knowles, both of them overlooking the outside.
It was bizarre; at least ten monstrous black truck-like vehicles were rolling down the small street in front of the school.
Maybe they're just passing through town,
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