Saturday, December 7, 2013

Team Savant {The Teacher Chapter 1 of 4}

A shy stutterer became friends with a narcoleptic girl, a telepath that looks surprisingly like the Roswell alien, a guy with three eyes, a water breathing princess with blue skin and a girl who can split herself into three people. From that day forward, he became Savant, the boy with a saber tooth tiger in his head. He along with his friends are Team Savant, the greatest cadet action team in the known universe.

The day he showed up was like any other day. Students in small herds with their best friends, doing everything but what she asked them to do. Texting one another behind her back, teasing the quiet students and admiring the class clown. They suspected that they were getting away, but she knew what they were doing—she always did.

The new student sat down in a seat next to the window and immediately turned his attention to the playground.

He was cute for a kid with an Afro that defied gravity. He wore rectangular glasses that seemed a little too big. Immediately the young ladies were interested, after all, he was the new guy. Moreover, by ninth grade rules, the new guy was always cool. Even without the “new guy” tag there was something about him that drew the attention of all the students. The way he stood, the piercing eyes, it was as if he had been the star athlete at his former school.

But something was wrong.

Kat had seen many students; after all, she was much older than she looked. But there was something about this student that she couldn’t put her finger on. No. She would not treat any student different, no matter how suspicious she became. And as a new student, he had to go through the ritual of all new students.

“Class,” Kat said in her singing voice. “We have a new student; please give him your full attention.” She gestured toward him. “Don’t be shy, stand up and introduce yourself.”

He stood up as stiff as a robot and said, “M—my n—name is…Nath—thaniel Devereaux.”

“Please to meet you, N—n—n—nate.” The class burst into laughter.

“Cool it, Jeffrey!”

The class quieted, but Nathaniel continued as if nothing happened and in a painstakingly long statement, he explained that he transferred to Central High, to take part in their mathematics and science program. He even stuttered a mechanical “Go Falcons.”

If she had known, she would have never put him on the spot. It was a mistake. She considered apologizing to him, but that would have made things worse.

From that day forward, she squashed any students that dared tease him. Her method of justice was balancing on one leg in the back of class. Jeffrey spent so much time in trouble that the other students began to call him One Leg. He enjoyed the name.

Nathaniel, however, seemed to grow more distant every day. He spent most of the time looking out the window. It was not until the next month she realized that he was staring at the sky and not the playground.    He did well in his class no thanks to her. She was certain that he was not listening to her at all, a testament to his intelligence, but at the same time, it disturbed her.

Each day, she observed him, waited for him to do something. She didn’t know what it was, but she was certain that it would be a disaster. Kat hadn’t needed to be afraid of anything in a long time. Her only emotion was the love she had for her students. But why, why did she feel love and fear for this student?

The day before Thanksgiving break, she considered this as she walked out to her car. She stuck her foot in the car and bumped her head on the way in. She rubbed her temple and looked in the rearview mirror. In the rear view mirror, she saw a bruise on her head, but more importantly, she saw Nathaniel walk toward a tree and kneel down to pat a small dog, maybe a beagle like Snoopy.

She watched him as he talked to the dog, stood up and walked through the playground and onto the sidewalk. He travelled in the direction of a dangerous part of town. Teacher instincts took over and she attempted to crank the car.

Nothing happened.

She tried again and got the same result. Her heart raced and after a few deep breaths, she got out of the car and walked. Her walk became a jog and her jog became a dead sprint. She could have gave, Usain Bolt a run for his money. She rounded the corner and saw him in the distance. “Nathaniel!”

He stopped and turned, his dog did the same thing. When she stopped, she took a deep breath, straightened and placed both hands on his shoulders. “Listen,” she said as she attempted to catch her breath. “You can’t go this way—it is dangerous. I know that in your world, you are invincible, but anything can happen to anyone.”

He smiled.

Why was he smiling? The familiar fear came back.

“Hey lady,” a voice said from behind.

She whirled around, protecting Nathaniel with her free arm. Four guys stood in front of her. They were muscular, with coats that were too long and too hot for the weather. She put two and two together and realized that they were in serious danger. “Look guys don’t do this,” she said. “This is broad daylight. People can see you.”

“Yeah, and they keep quiet too, because we handle snitches around here.”

“What do you want?” Kat asked.

“Both of y’all look broke,” the leader said. “What do you have?” His smile was so evil her knees began to shake.

Nathaniel pulled her arm and the two of them reversed positions, and in a voice that was clear as a bell, he spoke. “Brown note.”

The dog moved in front of them, barked and opened his mouth wide as if he was yawning. Immediately the men doubled over and awful sounds came from their backside. The air filled with a smell so foul that Kat forgot about the danger and covered her nose with her shirt. “Oh my—“

The young men groaned loudly all the while clutching their stomach.

“Did they just…boo boo?” Kat asked.

“Not the words I would choose,” Nathaniel said. “But yeah that’s what happened. Serves them right.”

Kat turned to him. “You can talk!” She shook her head. “I mean you are not stuttering.”

He looked at her out of the corner of her eye. “Come on, we have a lot to talk about.”

She stared at the men. “How did you—“

“A sonic attack by my friend.” He gestured toward the beagle. “It causes people to –well, you know. Anyway, my ship is right around the corner.”

“Ship?” Then she forgot the smell, the dog and anything about what just happened. Her worst fears realized. She willed her foot to move in the opposite direction.

“Don’t run,” Nathaniel said. “His name is Clip. Canine like intelligence processor. You wouldn’t make it three inches.”

             “Wh—who are you?”
              “You are Katra Baxter, wanted criminal from planet Mza. I am Nathaniel Devereaux, Cadet Captain of Team Savant.”

The next issue will post a week from today!

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