Author: Lilac-Cards PM
Flash Fiction! Book 2- An Inference- Twenty children are lined up at school on a Friday afternoon. What could be so important?Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi - Chapters: 2 - Words: 2,885 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 05-31-12 - Published: 05-28-12 - id: 3026768
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The warmth of May 25 was brought on by days of warm sun and fragrant rains, which turned the grass richly green and the air fresher. Children inside their schools waited eagerly for the day to end, so that they could return to the bounty of the outdoors, or even to their Internet at home before the weekend. Once the bell chimed at 2:10, it was as if the school was purging students from its orifices, sighing with relief at a week well done.
However, the day was not completely over. From outside one of the building's many rooms, was a line of around twenty children, complaining about the delay in their exits.
"I can't believe this," groaned one, a boy named Marcus. "I have to catch a bus, for God's sake. I can't walk ten miles home."
Behind him, a shorter boy named Joseph patted his shoulder reassuringly. "It's okay, I think my brother can drive you home. It's Friday, so his schedule's pretty clear."
He grinned. "Shit, thanks man. Always wanted to meet a rapist, that's for sure. Guess I'll just use my umbrella as a bat and your inhaler as pepper spray, eh?"
"No man, thank you. Now I'll know where you live. Maybe I'll say hi to your stupid-ass shit-zu, maybe sell it on eBay as a purse. Or I'll just leave you a ransom note in blood, if you really want it back."
They spent a good 30 minutes shoving each other, allowing more than a quarter of the line to enter the room for their meeting. Marcus accidentally shoved Joseph into the girl in front of them, causing her to almost fall on her friends grouped together in front of her.
As she pulled herself up, she glared at the boys. "You pieces of shit better watch yourselves! If you broke my spine, my Daddy'll rip yours out," she snarled.
Behind her, her friends giggled raucously. One tried to hold her back, muttering Chastity, Chastity, the teacher's coming, quietly.
"Turn around and shut up," she grumbled under her breath, as an adult walked past without a word.
The boys did, overall, except they couldn't help but guess what kind of position she'd get from the C.C.I. Probably something that needed a big mouth, they thought.
The line sped up without another incident. Another brutal 20 minutes passed, and now definitely half of the students remained.
Marcus and Joseph managed a quiet, yet bitterly poisonous truce with Chastity. Then, another student arrived, slipping behind Marcus and Joseph. They turned around to see Samantha, standing a couple feet away. The duo exchanged an odd glance at each other.
"Hey Samantha," Joseph announced politely.
The girl nodded awkwardly. "Hi."
The conversation stopped dead for a moment.
"So, are you coming to see the C.C.I?"
"Oh." He paused thoughtfully. "Then this would be your second time?"
She stared at him, vacantly. "Yes."
"Oh, okay." Joseph turned around for a little while. Then he turned back. "So what was wrong with the first reading?"
Samantha looked down at her shoes. "I just wanted to go a second time," she stated evasively.
The conversation died at that. Instead, Marcus and Joseph pulled themselves further away from the girl, and dreaded the next few minutes of waiting.
Five minutes passed, and now the line was seriously diminished. As 2:10 quickly metamorphosed into 3:50, the children watched their friends leave and their anxiousness rise.
Chastity soon went inside, and left relatively quickly, parading her certificate. "Woo! Prison warden-lawyer!" Then she made a beeline for the boys. "Suck it bitches!" she announced, before hightailing out of the premises.
Later, her friend, who gave her spot up for her, proudly bared her own certificate in the air. It read High chances of a position in Diplomatic and civil relations.
Then it was Marcus's turn. He first walked into a tiny, empty room, void of all color. There, he prayed for something good to come of him- something that would make him happy, and won't require years of grinding college work. In six minutes, he emerged. The C.C.I.'s paper gave him the right options; a future in Law enforcement, or as a body guard.
"Look look look, I still have to go to school, but at least I won't be doing it for some shitty desk job," gushed Marcus. "And I'll get weapons, too, and I'll be helping people. I'll be like the goddamn Batman."
"That's great, man. I always knew that one of us would have to kill the other. Hey, wait outside for me," said Joseph appreciatively.
Then it was Joseph's turn. He too walked into the tiny, empty room. There, he cleared his mind and practiced his breathing exercises, as he was instructed to do before entering the C.C.I.'s true chamber. He wanted the machine to read his real hopes. In five minutes, he emerged. For him, the C.C.I.'s forecast read: Economic Investment, as a large stockholder or entrepreneur, high grades also suggest secondary options such as in Engineering, National or Global Law, Medicine and Medicinal Engineering, or all fields of Science, which will be discussed later in an emailed document.
"Oh my God. Oh. My. God." Marcus grabbed the paper away, and held it aloft, slightly away from him. For a moment, Joseph froze, wondering if this was the end. "Oh. My. God. Damn, son. Screw this paper, you're gonna rule the earth someday, and then I'm gonna have to shoot you after you get drunk with power and turn into Hitler 2.0 or something."
Joseph stared at him, then laughed. "Right, if my robot drones will let you into my volcano lair," snorted Joseph.
They left laughing at each other, leaving the final student behind.
It was Samantha's turn. She walked into the little room, called an airlock. There, she tried to clear her mind and practice breathing exercises, as she was instructed to do before entering the C.C.I.'s true chamber. Unfortunately, the sound of her own lone, ragged breathing eventually broke her down. Tears escaped her eyes, and then she only focused on holding them back for the rest of two minutes.
Eventually, an alarm dinged somewhere, and she entered the main room. The walls were a forest again, like the second time, and the first time. Dappled green light filtered through emerald leaves, and turned her misery into a dull self-hatred.
A beautiful, plastic-iron machine head glided from the false sky, meant to relate the child to something familiar. However, a machine was still a machine, in her opinion.
"Hello, Samantha Kennit. Shall we get started?" the machine asked in its soft, whirring voice.
She didn't respond, so it continued as it did the second time.
"Very well then." A small table glided out of the floor, with a pair of cleansed glasses that will adjusted to one's eye movements, strength, and measure. A small television screen slid our of the ceiling behind the C.C.I. "Please place those glasses onto your eyes, and we shall proceed with your interest gauge, Ms. Kennit."
She obeyed, fitting the eye wear to her head, and prepared herself.
It takes a minute. The screen is flooded with pictures and images that catch your eye, but nothing else that is conscious. The point is to gauge interest, and interest alone.
"Thank you," the machine whistled, before rolling into the ceiling for a couple minutes.
When it descended back down, her papers were dispensed neatly from its head and into her hands. "Thank you for your patience, Ms. Kennit."
Samantha looked down, almost nearly hopeful. Then she saw the same exact thing as the last three times.
"Any questions, comments, and complaints shall be taken now-"
"This isn't right," she stated flatly.
"Of course, our data is not 100% descriptive of what you ultimately choose, for your life is your choice-"
"Yeah, but you're proven right 90% of the time. And I can't be the other 10%. I want another redo."
The machine paused, as if thinking through its answers. "You've already had two others. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with your rating, what you actually do is what counts. Many people have lived successfully despite unfavorable ratings."
"I won't. After my parents see this, they'll disown me. Heck, I'll disown me." Her eyes stung, and her breath hitched painfully in her throat. "Why can't I get something higher? My grades are good enough, my needs are big enough, and God knows I'm just a better person than… This."
The C.C.I. turned carefully in place. "Perhaps next year, Ms. Kennit," it replied softly.
Samantha cringed, realizing that it was pitying her.
"Though I doubt you will find much change, after all this time."
"No, no, I understand. You're saying I should embrace it? Well, fine. I'll embrace it."
She turned around and let herself out of the room, without following the exit bell.
Behind her, the C.C.I turned in place, watching.
"We hope you find happiness, Ms. Kennit."
By Monday, the school Career Choice Inferencer, its room, its little air lock, and the entire western half of the school was burned to the ground. The police did not locate its head until Tuesday, when half of it was left in Joseph Carron's yard.
On it was written, in red ink,