Children of fate, p.1
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       Children Of Fate, p.1

           Daniel Veri
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Children Of Fate


  Daniel Veri

  Copyright 2012 by Daniel Veri

  For my wife and my two sons.

  Thank you for helping me rediscover the wonderous adventure that is life.

  Chapter 1

  “Put the kid down!” Mr. Campbell yelled across the school yard.

  All the children in earshot of the teacher; which was about all of them, stopped what they do during their lunch break and turned towards Mr. Campbell. They watched his huge seven foot high frame standing tall with arms crossed and fire in his eyes. Their eyes then followed his line of sight and pin pointed the victim at the end of those burning red fireballs.

  Frozen in time like a framed photo, was an image that should be hanging in the hall of fame of great moments in bullying history. The image was of Tony Montanga; the biggest sixteen year old in the school and probably in the whole southern hemisphere, holding a boy half his size by the ankles over a overflowing rubbish bin. The boy’s eyes wide open in surprise and showing obvious signs he had one or two dunks into the bin before his rescue, with a Yoplait lid pasted onto his cheek and a pop stick poking out of his hair.

  All eyes dart back to Mr. Campbell.

  “At Westshade High we don’t tolerate that behavior, our students come here to learn, not to be dunked in bins like teabags for your entertainment.”

  The children burst into laughter and the boy still hanging upside down had just adopted his nick name that will stay with him for the rest of his schooling days, Teabag.

  “But that’s what this is, a learning process,” Tony said as he righted the boy up and brushed off some crumbs from the boy’s shoulder. “I’m teaching my friend here school yard hierarchy and showing him, by example my place on the food chain, at the top.” Tony patted the boy on the head and sent him on his way with a smile, “See Mr. Campbell we’re the same. We’re both teachers.”

  Mr. Campbell’s hard cold expression relaxed and a smile widened across his face, “you’re more right than you think Tony, come over here.” Mr. Campbell waved Tony over. Tony obeyed and they both started to walk towards the main office building. Mr. Campbell continued, “I was just like you when I was your age. I know you don’t steal lunch money or do things to intentionally hurt people, some kids have even labeled you as the indifferent bully, but.” Mr. Campbell stopped Tony and turned to face him, “one day soon you have to grow up.”

  Tony shrugged and watched the teacher walk off then stop and turn back, “Oh I nearly forgot the principal wants to see you in her office after lunch.”

  OOH great, what now?

  Chapter 2

  The group of thirty two students shuffled into the classroom. A few eager to get started, the rest slow and annoyed at the boredom ahead, history their first lesson after lunch.

  The teacher clapped his hands twice and talked over the group, “Without history there is no present and without studying it we cannot learn for the future.”

  A student yelled out from the back of the class, “Yeah that’s why we’ve had two world wars!”

  The teacher replied, “Some lessons are harder learnt than others. But none the less let's begin, open your books to page thirty three, Australian explorers. But before we do that the principal has requested the following students to go to her office immediately. Roy Mathews and…“ but before the teacher could finish; Roy seated at the front of the class with books already open and pen in hand shot up out of his seat in complete shock. The rest of the class let out a simultaneous laugh as his face began to turn redder than the short red hair on his head.

  “I... what… I haven’t done anything wrong,” Roy nervously replied.

  “I didn’t say you did anything wrong. The message I received was that the principal wants to see you and Nadia in her office.” The teacher nodded in the direction of a girl seated in a desk pressed up against the side wall.

  The girl’s long curly chestnut brown hair fell over her face like a curtain hiding her bright green eyes as she quietly lowered her head and packed her books away into her bag. She hugged her blue backpack to her chest and followed Roy out of the class room.

  Chapter 3

  Tony strolled into the Principal’s office, half a sandwich in one hand and the other half stuffed into his mouth. The Principal sat behind a polished gold plaque that rested on her wooden desk with the inscription, Principal Fay Winters. Her back as straight as a cricket bat and her hands locked together on the desk. She wore her glasses low on her nose and the ends of her grey tinged hair as sharp as needles. “Hello Tony, please take a seat,” she said and pointed with her whole hand towards five chairs placed in a line across the center of the room.

  Tony swallowed hard. “No worries Princy,” he said and shoved the rest of the sandwich into his mouth.

  Principal Winters rolled her eyes and brought her hand down to rest on the desk once again.

  Tony turned to sit down and saw the chair at the end already occupied. “Oh man, what’s little miss perfect doing here?” he said as he slumped into the hard plastic chair at the opposite end, he’s right arm thrown over the back rest. “You applying for the principal’s job?”

  “Shut up Tony,” Alicia’s short sharp reply came as she sat at the other end with her hands resting in her lap. Her school uniform crease free and her straight blond hair in perfect alignment, even after four hours of schooling.

  There was a sudden sound outside, the door swung open and two more students slowly and cautiously entered the room.

  “Mr. Mathews, Miss Artouse, please be seated,” the principal ordered.

  Nadia watched her feet as she walked over and sat next to Tony. Roy still wearing an expression of bewilderment clumsily took the seat on the other side of Nadia.

  The four students sat in silence for a while before Tony stirred and took a deep breath in but before the obvious question was about to leave his lips the principal threw up her palm, “ I will explain soon, just waiting on one more student.”

  And as if right on queue the door flew open.

  “Sorry I’m late just got back from P.E,” the boy said as he caught his breath. His strong athletic build clearly showed his dedication to sport. His short spiky hair still wet from his quick shower and the darkening hair above his lip showing his maturing hormonal fifteen year old body. He tucked his shirt into his pants and straightened up.

  “I Think you got some dirt under your nose,” the principal said as she flicked her finger under her own nose but quickly changed subject when she realized what it was. “Ummm did your game go?”

  “We finally won one.”

  “Good, good please sit down.”

  Joel’s confused expression as he wiped his sleeve across the top of his mouth quickly turned into a bright wide eyed smile, giving away a little bit too much as he saw the only seat left was next to Alicia. He glided over and sat himself down.

  “Ok let’s get straight to the point,” principal Winters’s strong voice filled every corner and crevice of the office. “All of you have been selected, by me to compete in a new interschool competition.”

  “You’ve got to be kidding, us?” Tony shot out.

  “No I’m not kidding and don’t interrupt. It’s called The Great Race. It entails the teams work together to solve clues which will take them to another clue or check point. The last team to arrive will be eliminated; the others will then receive another clue and so on. The first team across the finish line wins the trophy and a prize of a hundred thousand dollar grant towards the winning school.”

  Joel jumped in, “sounds like a rip off of that TV show.”

  “I wouldn’t know about that. I don’t watch much TV,” the principal replied. “It will be held over one week during schoo
l hours.”

  “I’m in!” Tony shouted with his hand raised.

  “And your participation in the event will earn you all extra credit on end of year scores,” the Principal said looking in Roy’s direction. “And you never know we might actually finally get a trophy in our display cabinet.”

  “It could be interesting,” Alicia said, more to herself than to the others. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

  “That’s fine but I wasn’t really asking,” the principal replied in a direct order. “Please take a form off my desk, get it signed by your parents and return them by this Friday. Next Friday you will have a meeting with organizes to discuss all the finer details. And on the Monday you Begin!” The final sentenced punctuated by an embarrassing punch into the air by the principal.

  The five students filed past the big wooden desk one by one taking a form each as they left the office.

  Joel stopped the group in the hallway in front of the empty trophy cabinet and pointed a finger at the dusty glass shelves inside. “Imagine that, our names under lights, engraved on the most expensive trophy this schools ever going to see for the next fifty years.”

  Tony stepped up to Joel, “yeah, the only way you could get your name on a trophy is if I’m on your team.”

  “Do we have to put up with your crap for a whole week?”

  Tony smiled and nodded then turned to Roy “Hay, I know everyone here except you red, what’s your name?”


  Tony nodded again and began to walk away but stopped and turned back, “ and before you guys get all excited about this, maybe you should all take a look at each other and ask yourselves why we got picked for this.” Tony walked away leaving curious expressions on the faces of the other four.

  Chapter 4

  The school bus pulled out of the school grounds and headed towards the hall where the briefing will take place. On board sat Roy at the front, Alicia behind him and Joel across the aisle. A few seats back, Nadia sat watching the passing world outside and at the very back Tony sat with Mr. Campbell a seat in front of him. The bus ride was quite with Alicia the whole time thinking about what Tony had said a few days before, about why the principal had chosen them. Alicia finally couldn’t handle it anymore and swirled around in her seat, “Tony, what did you mean the other day outside the principal’s office about the reason why we were chosen?”

  Tony almost jumped out of trance when he heard his name, “you haven’t figured it out yet? Look at it this way, me representing the school at a high profile event like this, one who looks like a carrot on caffeine, a girl who’s so shy she hardly talks at all, you who thinks she’s the boss and owner of everybody she meets and Mr. Jack Sparrow look-alike over there.”

  “Enough of that,” Mr. Campbell cut in.

  “Maybe you should ask Mr. Campbell that question,” Tony said, and pointed to the teacher in front of him.

  There was a short silence before Mr. Campbell spoke up, “okay, put your name tags on we’re nearly there.”

  Tony smiled at the teacher changing the subject in a told-you-so manner towards Alicia. He then clipped on the second name tag he had made for himself, the one which read, Master. C. Norris.

  The bus pulled up by the side of the road behind the other buses from various schools around the state. Mr. Campbell led the group out and past a few other teams lingering out the front of the hall entrance. They followed the teacher through the double doors and into a small hall. There was a bustle of noise and a myriad of different colours as balls of kids in their different patterned and coloured uniforms took their appropriate labeled seats. Tony laughed at a team dressed in checked pink and dark green uniform as they rolled past, “nice uniforms,” he said laughing with his thumbs in the air.

  Approximately a hundred plastic fold out seats were laid out in a theater style setup facing a small stage. Mr. Campbell’s height easily gave him a clear view over the crowd and he spotted a white sign with their school name on it towards the front. He led the team to the seats and looked at his watch, twelve o’clock on the dot. The noise of laughter and excitement quickly settled down as a man walked up onto the stage. The man was huge; he looked more like a solider than a host. He was a little shorter than Mr. Campbell but his chest and arms were definitely bigger. He had short black hair that was creepily combed straight down and the top of a thick scar on his right collar popped in and out of view from under his black shirt as he walked up to the front of the stage, microphone in hand.

  “Welcome,” he said in a loud confident voice with a hint of a Baltic accent. “My name is Richard Bursik. I will be your host today and also during the race with the assistance of another one of my colleagues named Jack.” Richard pointed to his left at another much shorted man, clean cut and looking as if he were about the same age as the students competing. “I will be the one waiting at the end of every check point with Jack replacing me if I cannot make it in time.”

  “I wouldn’t say that’s much of an incentive,” Roy whispered to Nadia who sat to his left. They both smiled and turned their attention back to the host.

  “Firstly I would like to introduce the man who made all this possible by donating the prize money and spending countless hours organizing the race, Mr. Mauritius Cushly!” Richard now pointed towards the bottom of the stage.

  Everyone watched Mr. Mauritius Cushly push himself out of his chair with a white wooden cane, balance on it as he turned to the audience and waved. By the grey pinstriped suit he wore he clearly had wealth on his side but by his limp and grey hair, age and health were not. Mr. Mauritius Cushly simply smiled a contagious and friendly smile then sat back down.

  “Now the rules,” the host continued. “On Monday at the front of this hall at nine a.m precisely, each of the fifteen teams will be given an envelope with the first clue inside. Solve the riddle and it will take you to another destination. First team there will be given a prize. The last team will be eliminated. At the check point the remaining teams will be given another envelop with another clue inside and so on. So it is not to easy, no smart phones are allowed. If you wish to access the internet you must find other means.”

  Tony grew bored and agitated and shifted in his seat. He glanced over twice towards Nadia who sat beside him concentrating her attention towards the host. He couldn’t help but stare at her long curly hair that dropped down across the side of her face over her soft pale cheeks. He leaned in towards her, “I didn’t mean to offend you Nadia, with what I said in the bus. I was just trying to prove a point.”

  Nadia turned and smiled, “I know. And I understand what you meant.”

  Tony trapped in Nadia’s green eyes could do nothing but smile back. The spell broke when Nadia turned back to the front and Tony slowly did the same.

  The host babbled on, “For your safety and convenience each team will be allocated a car and a driver to escort them during the race, and then drop off each student at home or at school at the end of the day, whichever is more convenient. At nine a.m the next day you will continue the race at the exact same point where you left off the following day. The driver cannot influence your decisions or help you solve any of the clues. He will just drive the team to wherever you tell him to go.”

  “Yeah, he can take us to the beach for a swim!” A boy called out from amongst the crowd.

  The hall erupted into laughter.

  The host’s face still stuck on serious said as cold as ever, “that’s the thing. If that’s what you want to do, he or she will, but it’s only your race time you’re wasting. Now any questions?

  The crowd crawled up to a murmur as questions were asked, Roy had a few of his own but the question that held the silence of the group was asked by a girl in a dark green uniform, “What type of prizes are up for offer?”

  Richard Bursik answered, “The prizes of course would progressively get better as the race goes on. But we’re looking at things from movie tickets, iPods to laptops, PlayStation 3’s, and gift vouchers.

  The students burst into cheers. Some high fives were thrown and excited chatter of kicking other team’s asses and picking out prizes they wish to win were shared.

  “All supplied by Mr. Mauritius Cushly,” Richard reiterated as he nodded into Mr. Mauritius’s direction.

  Mauritius slowly stood up again. Richard leaned over the stage and handed the microphone over to him.

  “I would just like to thank everyone of you for participating,” Mauritius said in his soft caring voice. “All you be careful, stay safe, have fun and let’s make this a very rewarding experience. Good luck to all the teams.”

  The group broke into applause then they excitedly zigzagged here and there as they made their way back to their respected waiting busses ready to take them back to school.

  The Westshade high team gathered by their bus then waited for the driver to return from wherever he had run off to.

  “Is it just me or all this seem bazaar,” Tony said as he waited. “Mr. Bursik looks like a S.A.S solider, Mr. I-crap-out-cash handing out all these prizes and money. Rich guys are rich because they don’t do anything unless they get something in return.”

  “Hay Tony,” Alicia cut in.

  “I know Alicia, I know, shut up Tony.”

  “No, no. I think your right.”

  Tony was stunned.

  “Who cares, I just want to win that PlayStation 3,” Joel said.

  “Extra credit, a laptop, sounds good to me.” Roy pitched in.

  The bus driver finally appeared. He popped out of the TAB across the road and jogged over to his bus. “Sorry guys didn’t know yous would be done so quickly” he said patting his thinning hair back down on to his head.

  Mr. Campbell shook his head and ushered the group onto the bus.

  Chapter 5

  The race begins.

  The teams waited eagerly at the front of the hall by the big black metal gates. Teams sized each other up and picked at who they thought would be their biggest threat. All fourteen teams out of the fifteen believing they had what it took to win, all but team Westshade.

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