Afflictions: Part Seven

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Ashley was not a huge fan of driving, especially in the city. Sometimes it had to be done, but it was best avoided. In spite of that fact, she seriously regretted opting to let Arte drive. Normally Arte was fine enough of a driver, but this morning she was tired, late, and annoyed. It appeared that was a potent enough combination to throw driver safety out window. Ashley wasn’t sure what Paul had done, but Arte seemed to only be tired and late before she went to talk to him.

“I’m so over whatever Paul has going on.” Arte finally broke the silence.

“What happened?”

“I ask for a simple favor: look into this missing teenager. That’s all. He has super-powered visions of the future, and seems to know most things, except for how not to be an ass.” Arte groaned, and sped through a stale yellow light.

Ashley opened her eyes again, once she felt like it was safe, and turned back to Arte. “What did he say?”

“He didn’t even give me any of his mystical bullshit about how I can’t know certain parts of the future! He just said he was too busy and brushed me off!” She jumped into the left turn lane, hesitated for a moment, and shot out into an opening a little too close for comfort. “Like, sorry you have more important things to deal with than a missing kid! I’m pretty sure I didn’t see him even leave his room yesterday, so what gives?”

Ashley nodded in vague agreement. She didn’t really know Paul that well, but it sounded like Arte liked him well enough. She figured it was best to just go along with it.

Arte pulled into a parking spot, took a deep breath, and sighed. “Alright, I have to deal with kids today, so I need to get into a better mood.” She went in for a quick kiss, then sighed with relief. “Much better.”

Ashley laughed, and her heart fluttered a little, as she got out of the car.

They made their way into the office, barely on time, and were directed by the woman at the front desk into the principal’s office. Inside sat a portly Hispanic man behind a big desk with two computer monitors, and beside him stood a slender pale man with a large beard, but well trimmed hair. A placard at his desk said ‘Dr. Flores’.

“Hi, I’m Dr. Flores.” The man behind the desk spoke. “Mr. Daniels told me all about what was happening, and I really appreciate your help on this. If there’s anything you need from either me or Mr. Kriska, here.”

“We are happy to have you.” Mr. Kriska spoke in a thick Russian accent.

They gave both Arte and Ashley a map of the school, and talked a little about where the students were in the material. Ashley was pretty happy, since it didn’t look like they were covering anything she’d need to brush up on too much. Arte seemed to be a little distracted, but she figured that she was still annoyed about Paul. The principal told them that the teacher left lesson plans for today, and an outline for the rest of the unit. The teacher was out on medical leave, and was probably going to be out for another few weeks, so they had plenty of time to figure this out. Armed with a stack of worksheets and a map of the school, the principal sent them on their way.

Ashley was about to say something to Arte, but noticed she was hanging back. She pulled the assistant principal aside and talked to him for a minute, before returning to Ashley with a mildly confused expression.

Once they were out of the office, Ashley asked, “What were you talking to the assistant principal about?”

Arte looked around for a moment. “Well, that’s the guy who gave me my powers…” She lifted up her necklace. “He said that he was ‘not allowed to interfere, only to watch’.” She mimicked his deep voice and accent.

That definitely caught Ashley off guard. She was expecting something along the lines of an old family friend, or guy she used to know. She had more questions, but figured it was best to avoid talking about it in the hallway, in case someone overheard.

They made their way down a hall, and looked up at the names that were hanging from signs above doors. Jones… Webb… Ashe! That was their room. Inside was a standard classroom, with neatly arranged desks and a whiteboard on the front. The walls were decorated with miscellaneous tacky motivational posters and math puns.

Ashley sat her stuff down on the desk. It was pretty cluttered, and it didn’t look like whoever usually used it was planning to be gone for a month. She looked up at the clock, then over at the schedule on the wall. This teacher had 1st period off, so students wouldn’t be coming for another thirty minutes.

“So do you think the Mr. Kriska has something to do with this?” She leaned on the desk.

“I don’t think so…” Arte thought for a moment. “It’s definitely suspicious that he’s here, but I bet he’s really just here for me. I tried asking him how he found out I would be here, but he just repeated how he couldn’t interfere.”

“Gotcha…”

It didn’t sound like he would be too helpful. It was probably a better idea to scope out the teachers that Jessica interacted with, and go from there.

Her thought process was interrupted, as she locked eyes with a man passing by the door. They only met for a second, but he looked a little off. As she thought about it, she started to get a little bit of a headache.

“Are you okay?” Arte snapped her back to the present.

“Yeah…” Ashley tried to recall what she’d just been thinking about, but couldn’t. She shrugged it off. After all, she was running on low sleep too.


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Hello traveler! I hope you enjoyed this part. I’m still working on some kind of milestone reward system in regards to hitting 100 wordpress followers, and by working on, I of course mean not working on because I’m working on something else that I need to finish first. I should finish the other top secret project that you may or may not ever hear about by tomorrow, though, and then I can resume working on milestones and outlining. At the moment I’m leaning towards something along the lines of a “How it’s made” post, where I outline my writing process. Let me know if you have thoughts or suggestions.

Lastly, and most importantly, this Sunday is Mother’s Day! Don’t forget to do something if that matters to you.

Photo Credit: Original

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