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The last creator, p.3
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       The Last Creator, p.3

           Roger Laird
 
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  Complications at School

  Jeremiah awoke to the sound of his mother’s voice calling through the house. “Jeremiah, are you home from school yet? Jeremiah? I have been driving around looking for you for two hours. Are you here?” Footsteps sounded through the hallway. Jeremiah’s eyes opened and adjusted to the dim light in the room. To his surprise, he found that he was lying in his bed.

  “I am in my room Mom.”

  “Oh, there you are, I must have missed you while I was out driving around looking for you. Did you take a different way home today?”

  “I had to take a different way home because some boys were chasing me after school.” Jeremiah did not lie to his mother, he had never found a need to, but at the moment he was not sure if his meeting with a robot from another planet had been a dream. He did not want to alarm his mother because of his infantile disappearances, so he resolved himself to telling her a partial truth that omitted that portion of his walk home.

  “Well, I am glad to see you made it home safely. Perhaps tomorrow you should talk with the school counselor about it and maybe he can help you. I would call myself, but you know that might only make things worse.”

  “Is it because of how other people view you?”

  A mixed look of shock and sadness crossed Eliza’s face, but soon afterward, she adopted a mellower look. “I knew you would figure it out sooner or later, though I did not think that you would be so young when you did.” She moved to sit on the bed next to Jeremiah as he sat up and turned to let his legs hang off the bed. She picked up the library book that Jeremiah had checked out and examined it. “What else should I expect from a child as smart as you? Of course you have figured it out by now. I’m sorry that it means your life will be harder because of me, but I want you to know that no matter what, I still love you.”

  “I love you too, Mom.”

  “In any case, I picked up some supper from the store while I was out because I knew it would be too late to cook by the time I got home. Do you want to help me serve it?”

  Jeremiah responded by jumping down from the bed and racing down the hallway. His mother ran after him, ever on his heels, but she still let him beat her. They prepared their plates and sat at the small dining room table while they ate. After dinner they played checkers and talked. After his shower, Jeremiah put on his pajamas and kissed his mother goodnight. He lay wide awake in his bed for quite some time, thinking about the events of the day. He wondered if his trip to another world was really nothing more than a dream. He could not for the life of him remember coming home.

  As he drifted off to sleep, he began to dream of the strange world. He dreamt of going into the building with Ambassador and meeting various grotesque forms of alien life. The dream world never seemed quite the same. The details were not as vivid and they didn’t appeal to all of his senses the way they had on his first visit. Thus, when he awoke for school the next morning, Jeremiah was certain that he had not dreamed his first visit to the other planet.

  After finishing breakfast and kissing his mother goodbye, Jeremiah began his walk to school. Along the way he tried to figure out how he could travel back to the world again. He finally concluded that his shifting seemed to be a result of great fear. If this was the only way to control it, then he would have a hard time making it back to the other world to meet with the Creator, because he was now certain that he wanted to. Evoking great enough fear to make another shift may prove to be dangerous for Jeremiah and he did not like the prospect of attempting to evoke enough fear, failing, and then facing the consequences of whatever activity he was using to cause the fear.

  All these thoughts passed from his mind when he walked through the gates of the school. The main doors to the school were over fifty yards from the gate, but even from that distance, Jeremiah could sense the stares from the six adults gathered near the front steps. Every one of them had their eyes fixed on him. He walked more slowly as he approached the adults. He did not dare to shy away from them. Among them were the school principal, Mr. Chaney, the school counselor, Mr. Brindle, and two other men and two women whom Jeremiah was certain were the parents of the boys who chased him after school the day before.

  When Jeremiah finally reached the adults Mr. Brindle said in a concerned voice, “We need to have a discussion in my office Jeremiah.”

  Jeremiah nodded his understanding. Not waiting for further instructions, Jeremiah walked up the stairs to the doors, opened one, and let it go behind him, not bothering to hold the door for any who might follow him as courtesy would dictate he should do. The adults followed behind him whispering to each other as they walked. Jeremiah could hear every word of their whispered conversations.

  He heard one of the women whisper to her husband, “I don’t know what a boy so small could do to frighten the other boys so badly.”

  He smiled slightly at the thought of scaring his pursuers with his disappearance.

  As he passed through the office door, Jeremiah instantly became apprehensive. Mr. Brindle’s office was the biggest in the school. This was mainly due to the fact that he sometimes held group sessions with several students at a time. Today Mr. Brindle had arranged seven chairs in front of his desk. But instead of the chairs all set opposite in a circle, six were arranged in a slight arc and the seventh was arranged facing the other six, the obvious focal point of the other six chairs.

  Jeremiah’s heart beat faster.

  “Jeremiah, do you know why we are here this morning?”

  Jeremiah shook his head indicating that he wasn’t exactly sure, though he was fairly certain he knew why.

  Mr. Chaney indicated two of the parents with an open hand, “This is Mr. and Mrs. Patterson. They are Billy Patterson’s mom and dad,” he moved his hand to indicate the other two parents, “And this is Mr. and Mrs. Howell. They are Steven and Stanley Howell’s parents. They have all contacted me because they say that their boys refuse to come to school today. Billy’s parents have even said he refuses to come out of his room. Apparently, Stanley, the oldest boy, says they were with you after school yesterday and they are afraid that you might harm them. Do you know why they would think that?”

  Jeremiah was on the defensive from the start. “They were chasing me after school. I wasn’t with them. They were waiting outside the gate when I was walking home. They chased me downtown. I went through the shopping strip into the back alley. They burst into the alley after me and that’s when...”

  His nerves waivered. He was unsure if he should lie or tell his outlandish tale.

  “What happened then?” Mr. Brindle encouraged, anticipation evident in his tone.

  When he started explaining the part about appearing on what seemed to be another planet, he saw the anger flash in Mr. Chaney’s eyes. The man stood, cutting Jeremiah off in mid-sentence. Without attempting to hide his frustration, he ground out his reproach of Jeremiah’s explanation.

  “This is not a game,” the man said through gritted teeth, “Something happened yesterday that scared three boys so badly that they refused to get out of bed and come to school today. You obviously know what it was; otherwise, you wouldn’t attempt to concoct such an outlandish story. I expect you to drop this charade and get on with telling us about yesterday afternoon in the alleyway downtown.” Mr. Chaney remained standing as his gaze bore into Jeremiah.

  “I am telling you the truth. It must have been my sudden disappearance that scared them.”

  Mr. Brindle began to speak, but was cut off by one of the fathers who lost control of his anger. The man stood and shouted, looking down at Jeremiah, “What did you do to Steven? What did you do to my son?”

  Jeremiah was so shocked and scared that he closed his eyes as tightly as he could. Suddenly, Jeremiah fell backward onto the ground, as if the chair had collapsed below him. When he hit the floor though, his hands scraped across something hard. It was not the carpet of the office that he had expected. His hands burned as he felt them slam into concrete.

  Jer
emiah opened his eyes slowly with the last words of Mr. Brindle still echoing in his mind, “Sir, if you cannot control your temper, I will have to ask you to leave.”

 
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