Ryan fought her way through the halls. As was always the case, they were
crammed with students making their way from class to class, talking to
their friends, pushing each other back and forth, getting their things out
of their lockers, and getting drinks from the drinking fountain.
"Move!" she yelled at a group of freshmen who apparently felt the
need to walk as slowly as possible and chat with each other. A few turned
and glared at her, but the rest ignored her.
Finally, Ryan found a break in the people and simply walked around
the freshmen. She didn't have any time to waste. While normally her fifth
period World History class was held in the World History room, which was
right across the hall from the computer lab, which was where Ryan had
fourth period. Unfortunately for Ryan, the entire week would consist of
World History class in the library, which was on the other end of the
Ryan made it to the library moments before the last bell rang,
signifying that anyone who arrived in class after her would be tardy. The
teacher took attendance, then allowed the class to wander about the library
and begin their research.
Every person in World History was required to do a research paper for
the end of the semester on an ancient culture. The cultures had been drawn
from a hat, and while some students had easy cultures that had a lot of
information available, such as Rome and Greece.
Others, like Ryan, had much harder cultures, such as Sumeria. Other
than the encyclopedias, there was no information about Ancient Sumeria to
be found anywhere in the library.
Ryan walked toward the librarian's desk. On Monday, after she'd
given up on finding anything at the local library or on the Internet, she
had checked out four books from a college about an hour away through inter-
"We got them in this morning," said the librarian before Ryan could
say anything. She hurried into her office, and returned with three heavy-
looking books in her arms. "They're due in a week and a half," she said.
Ryan nodded, took the heavy books from the librarian, and headed back
to her seat. Ryan finished the first one by the end of the period. There
was only a chapter about Sumeria in it; the rest was about Egypt, the
Tigris/Euphrates river valley, and other very early cultures.
Ryan put the book into the slot for returned books, and a moment
later the bell rang. Ryan put the other books with her notebook, and
prepared herself for another battle through the halls to get to lunch.
Were the hallways never empty? The bell had rang less than ten
seconds ago, and already the halls were flooded with students. Some were
in a hurry to leave, like Ryan, but most stood around talking at their
"Excuse me," said Ryan as she pushed some people aside in her rush
toward the doors. "Sorry, but YOU'RE IN MY WAY!"
Finally, Ryan got out of the halls and to her car. She wasn't
finished with the stupidity and traffic of her classmates yet, however.
Only a few hundred students went to the school, and the parking lot was
large enough that no one should have problems finding a spot, but many
students still insisted on parking sideways, crooked, and cramming as many
cars into a small area as possible. Ryan hurried to get out of the parking
lot before the busses arrived, because once they came she would have to
wait, possibly for ten minutes, for either the busses to leave or the five
cars directly behind her to move.
On the road, she was behind some students who seemed to be trying to
get themselves killed. They raced down the highway, swerving back and
forth between lanes. Even though Ryan was driving 75 miles per hour, she
was still passed by three different students.
'Idiots," Ryan muttered under her breath as she turned off the highway and
onto the golf course.
As usual, nearly half of the girl's golf team was late to practice
that day because they'd been blocked in in the parking lot and had needed
to wait ten minutes until those behind them left.
The golf coach was understanding for the most part, after all, he
taught computer classes at school and he'd seen many of the students drive.
While the seven members of the golf team practiced putting, he dumped
seven separate piles of golf balls on the practice field.
As was usual, the girls then went to work hitting the balls as far as
they could. The girls who were better at golf ended up borrowing from the
other girls when their golf balls ran out.
After one girl had borrowed from Ryan three times, she began
complaining that it wasn't fair and golf was evil. Mr. Bourroughs, the
golf coach, quickly walked over.
"Is there a problem, Ryan?" he asked.
"Yes," said Ryan. "Golf is evil. I keep missing the ball."
"Everyone whiffs sometimes," said Mr. Bourroughs. "Just keep working
at it, and you'll get better."
"Easy for you to say," Ryan said, but she attempted to swing at her
golf ball again, and whiffed.
"Ryan, I see what your problem is," said Mr. Bourroughs, taking the
club out of Ryan's hands. "You're trying to hit the ball too hard. That
doesn't have anything to do with how far the ball goes. Strength doesn't
affect golf, you just need to concentrate on hitting the ball."
To demonstrate, Mr. Bourroughs swung a perfect swing and hit the ball
to the other end of the field. "You try," he said.
Ryan tried, and whiffed. Then, she whiffed again. After the third
time, Mr. Bourroughs said, "Watch the ball."
Ryan focused on watching the ball, and hit the ball twenty feet.
"Good job," said Mr. Bourroughs before going to help some other girls.
Ryan continued to mutter to herself about golf being evil, and tried
to hit the ball.
Ryan yawned loudly. Golf practice had gotten over at six, and then
she'd gone to watch her younger brother play a basketball game in a town,
which was an hour away. It wasn't until ten O'clock at night that Ryan got
to read over her books on Sumeria.
Ryan looked at a photograph of some Sumerian writing that had been
found on the walls of a cave. The book said it was a complex system of
writing, but to Ryan it just looked like a lot of vertical lines and
Ryan yawned again, and the lines and wedges began to waver. It
seemed like they were glowing with a blue light, and forming themselves
into English words.
Actually, they weren't words at all. To Ryan, it looked like
gibberish made of English words; "Niohi Qyvytiv Ploiztosa Ing Inghio
Ryan felt a strange compelling reason to read the words aloud. She
opened her mouth and was about to read them, then she stopped herself. She
must have been more tired than she thought if she was going to read a lot
of imaginary words she'd imagined in the book.
Using her notes as a bookmark, Ryan set the book aside and decided to
go to sleep.