Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing

Short Story Sunday 144: Ants

sss-144

They marched in line like ants working to build their home and gather food for their queen. They felt small like ants, too. No one appreciated them, no one respected them. Some of the students were beginning to go stir-crazy. Some students were beginning to rebel, therefore getting into a lot of trouble. Others attempted an escape which made things much worse for them, meaning they were going to have to stay longer.

Jaime had no idea why her parents wanted her to go to this boarding school. Most of the kids that were attending this school either stopped going to their public school or they got into trouble all the time that their parents simply couldn’t handle them anymore. Jaime wasn’t like that, though. She always did her homework, she was never late to school or any of her classes, and she stayed away from the troublesome kids. She respected her teachers and her parents. So, why would her parents ship her off to a boarding school where only the bad kids go?

She tried her best to remain as well-behaved as she could. Maybe even more so than she used to be. She had heard, when she first found out she was going to this school, that some kids on a rare occasion would get out early with good behavior. Jaime was already a good kid, so she could totally be one of those rare occasions. Right?

Jaime bumped into the tall kid in front of her as the line abruptly stopped. She grunted at the jolt and whispered a polite apology to the kid in front of her. She had been too busy trying to figure out her parents’ decisions for her that she completely forgot what was going on around her. Thankfully, though, the kid in front of her didn’t seem to notice Jaime had crashed right into her.

That was the other thing about the kids in this school. They would be sent here to be “fixed” if they were bad or sick. The longer they were here, the more brainwashed they got. Some of the kids were so numb from medication or the dull, weary routine of each day that they just gave up.

Jaime had only been at this school for one week. She vowed to never get like some of these other kids. She wasn’t going to go crazy because of a stupid boarding school. As long as Jaime kept track of the days (in her notebook back in her bedroom, there were no clocks around that she had seen), Jaime should be able to keep it together.

Then again, she had no idea how long she was supposed to be there for. She had assumed she would be out by the end of June since she was a senior in high school. But she hadn’t even heard from her parents since the bus came to pick her up at her house, which was two hours away. She never got care packages from them, not even a phone call.

Either way, she turned 18 in July so at least by then she would be able to check herself out, right?

The line was so long that Jaime had no idea why they had stopped in the middle of the hallway. She couldn’t poke her head around the bodies to try to see, either. If a teacher noticed her breaking form, she would go straight back to her bedroom and would have to start all over again. She learned that one the hard way, quickly. No one told her the rules when she had first arrived.

That was the difference between her old public school and this boarding school. At her high school they wanted the students to succeed. Here, they wanted the students to fail.

The line started moving again as the teacher up front began dispersing the kids into various classrooms. As the line moved forward, Jaime noticed three teachers walking a boy back towards the end of the line. Two of the teachers held onto his arms, even though he seemed to be walking willingly with them, and the third teacher walked behind them. As they got closer, Jaime averted her eyes to the ground. They were not allowed to make eye contact with students of the opposite sex. If she was caught staring, she would be considered nosy and therefore received the same punishment as the offender so she would know first-hand what was going on. Again, she had learned that the hard way when she first arrived.

When Jaime got to the front of the line, the teacher before her pointed to the right. Jaime bowed her head and broke the line to go into the classroom next door. There was only one seat left and it was right in the front row. She sighed taking the seat reluctantly. That was the problem having a last name that began with “R.” She always entered class as one of the last students. They had the freedom to choose their own seats (how big of the teachers, right?), but no one wanted to be in the direct eyesight of the teacher. So students always chose the seats in the back and worked their way to the front as the room got filled up.

Jaime hoped being in front all the time would give her brownie points, though. Maybe the teachers would assume she wanted to be up front paying close attention. Then again, they probably didn’t even notice. Brownie points most likely didn’t exist in this school.

Jamie sat down and looked at the wall to her left. Oh, right. No windows in the classrooms. She sat up straight folding her hands on her desk waiting for the teacher to arrive. She felt like a robot.

But June was a month away. She began a legal adult in two months. She could survive until then. If they still didn’t let her out… Well, her roommate already had an escape plan drawn up.

Words: 1,002

I hope you enjoyed this short story. Let me know in the comments below!

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Author:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Poli is a writer and blogger. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She enjoys writing young adult novels, middle-grade, and children’s picture books. She is currently working on her first novel.

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