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It’s strange. The school isn’t like I imaged it would be at all. I figured it would look more like in the movies, with long hallways of lockers and posters that say things like: ‘reading is fun’ or have quotes by famous people I’ve never heard of. But it’s nothing like that. The hallways aren’t even hallways, when you get down to it. This place looks more like the dome at a spaceport, but with even whiter walls and a giant glass ceiling that gives you a great view of the outside. And there aren’t any posters of any kind. Instead, there are these blue metal spheres that float by, projecting little holo-clips of people talking and playing sports, but it’s all in Carillian, so I don’t understand any of it. It’s a beautiful school. And I don’t like it.
“You nervous?” Mom asks. I shake my head, even though I’m lying. To be honest, I’m terrified. Every step I take makes my backpack feel even heavier, like an anchor keeping me away from my new class longer and longer. A part of me wants to grab Mom’s hand, but I’m not going to. I’m not a kid. I can do this on my own. But I’m still glad she came with me.
We hear this pinging sound coming from above. A tube of blue light appears in front of us, like if someone were shining a spotlight down at the floor. A man zooms down through the tube. When he reaches the ground, the light vanishes, leaving only a blue circle to indicate where the tube once stood. He’s from Caril, but he’s dressed in Earth clothes, with a tie and pocket protector and everything. It’s too bad, since I actually like the clothes they usually wear on this planet, with all those frills and color patterns that look like cherry blossoms in a garden. These clothes makes him look like every other teacher I’ve ever had, aside from his bluish skin, four green eyes and a flat nose. He smiles his sharp looking teeth and introduces himself to Mom in Carillian, then turns to me and shakes my hand.
My Book Report on Starlight – Joachim Heijndermans
The Number of the Tribe – Gerald Warfield
Notes Towards a New Fairytale – Patrick Doerksen
Bluebird – Benjamin Cort
Mariah Montoya is a contemporary and fantasy writer from Idaho. When not reading or writing, she currently spends her days trooping to college classes, eating oatmeal, and rambling to friends and family about weird ideas. You can find her on Instagram at @mariah_author.
Mariah Montoya’s story “The Wife of Fabian Vitalik” will be published on Friday, 24 November 2017.
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Q: What’s a typical writing day like for you?
A: I work late, very late. Somehow, my life gets going in the course of the day, and I don’t usually start writing until the afternoon. It may be something to do with being old. A day is like a reflection of my life. I seem to be most productive at the end.
Joachim Heijndermans writes, draws, and paints nearly every waking hour. Originally from the Netherlands, he’s been all over the world, boring people by spouting random trivia about long-extinct animals and comic books no-one remembers.