March 30, 2008

Late Bell - have some failed novelistery!

Rough draft of "Late Bell". It's very much in the same vein as "First Bell" because they go together, duh :P I need to put them together...this happens before "First Bell" and goes into why, exactly, the crazy school bells are murdering everyone. Obviously there are several... "flaws" in the system :P this is based a little off my own school and our communication issues. This is about a day before the events of "First Bell" but there's really no timeline in this...project thing. Just events.

The device in Dr. Grey’s hand whirred and clicked, beeped and neon green lights blinked from within its interior. It was no bigger than his palm, which was wide and scarred with years of age and pudgy with age. It was an oblong rectangle and flat like a floppy disc; Dr. Grey was amazed at what such a thin disc held, the control and the power such a small device wielded.

“Perfect,” he wheezed nasally. “Pure perfection. However did you do it, Maria?”

Maria Howell, head of the Science department, smiled. “Oh, it wasn’t much…a little tinkering here and there, just like building a TV remote. And then altering the bell system to…”

“Yes, yes, well and good,” Dr. Grey interrupted, and Miss Howell’s smile faltered. “I appreciate the efforts. And now you’re sure only the students can hear it?”

“Yes,” Miss Howell answered more dully. “Only the students. It’s designed to urge them to class faster. See, the bells are programmed at a certain, painful frequency that will give them a terrible headache until the bells have ended, that’s why I suggested you change the time. And if they’re late…” Miss Howell trailed off somewhat dreamily. She jerked her head and came back to the subject.

“They won’t realize it, but soon they’ll be running to class like rats in a maze.” Miss Howell giggled at her own joke as Dr. Grey furrowed his brow.

“Like rats? …Alright, we’ll test this out for about a month and see the results then. I trust they’ll all be positive.”

“Oh yes, we should see some improvement soon. Today, even.”

“Very good.”


Dr. Grey’s vexing, nasal whine pierced the ear of every student currently in school listening to the announcements.

“Good morning my bright young students,” he tittered. “Welcome to a new day! You may have noticed there were no bells this morning. Well, starting at the end of first period, we’ll be testing out a new bell system. We’ll try this system for about a month and see how well you all respond. But in addition to the bell system, we’ll have to cut class transition time from eight minutes to five.”

“Five minutes?” sections of Mr. Alexander’s class cried out.

“How the hell am I supposed to get to class in five minutes?” a black boy with closely shaven head exclaimed.

“That is…retarded,” Mr. Alexander remarked. “But I can’t change the rules.”

The sociology class continued as normal with Mr. Alexander showing his class a video. He didn’t know why, but they seemed to enjoy Hitler videos. It kept them quiet, and they weren’t a bad class, but they could stand to be more silent. And he could get a little grading done while they were morbidly entertained with footage from Auschwitz.

About ten minutes before class was over, Mr. Alexander turned to look out the open window. A cool breeze was finally coming in and the crows were pecking at scraps outside. He was so horribly distracted by the landscape and the soundtrack from the movie. Soft, tinkling bells for some reason played behind a young, painfully thin girl being rescued from the concentration camp. The scene touched his heart so deeply that even his head began to pound. He hated these videos so, but his class…

Mr. Alexander stopped the tape, to light protest from the class.

“Just sit and chill for a few minutes,” he told them, rubbing his temples. The class chatted quietly among themselves. Mr. Alexander reached in his bag and pulled out a bottle of aspirin. It was far too early in the day to be getting a headache, he wouldn’t be able to last much longer.
Then, from the back of the class, Mr. Alexander thought her heard the bells again. They were twinkling just like the bells from the film, which was over, so unless he was hallucinating from the movie, that couldn’t be so.

“Is that someone’s phone I hear?”

The class collectively shrugged.

“I heard it when the movie was playing…” a red-haired girl piped in. She, too, was rubbing her temples softly. “Maybe it’s another class.”

“There isn’t a class next to us,” Mr. Alexander muttered. “Group hallucination? Jacob, pop quiz: tell me about mass hysteria.”

Jacob, the black kid with the cropped hair, laughed. “Not me, ask Alisha.”

The bells began growing in intensity. No longer a soft twinkle, they had become a loud and painful groaning. Most of the class began complaining of sudden headaches and Mr. Alexander didn’t have enough aspirin for himself and twenty-five kids.

“Where the hell is that coming from?” Mr. Alexander clutched his head and went to open the door. To his surprise, it was locked.

“Mr. Alexander?” a girl in the front row warbled, close to tears.

“I…I don’t know, what’s going? I didn’t lock this!” Mr. Alexander tried his key but to no avail. “I didn’t lock this, what the fuck?"

The clock on the wall flipped to 8:00 AM. The bells began to fade slightly, much to the relief of everyone in the room.

“God, was that the new bell system?” Mr. Alexander groaned. The red-haired girl, Susanna, began to rise and go towards the door, her every step a stagger.


Abruptly, the bells came back full force. Susanna’s eyes bulged, her moaning became a loud shriek, and she dragged her nails down the side of her head, ripping the skin to shreds and sending blood-stained hair to the floor.

Make it stop make it stop!” she cried as she collapsed to the floor, writhing. She was banging her head against the tile and her noises of agony only added to the misery of the bells. The whole class had slid off their chairs and were crying out on the floor, using their fingers to crawl towards the door. In the rush to get out, the students clamored over Susanna’s convulsing body, grinding her into the tile floor. Everything in the room shook, including the TV they’d just watched the fascinating Hitler movie on. The heavy TV jittered and shook right off its stand, falling on the back of a student’s neck and killing them instantly. Not discouraged by the death, the students renewed their efforts to escape the class. The students too weak to make it were left behind to die, blood leaking from their ears and noses from the tolling of the bells.

Mr. Alexander, too, was brought to his knees by the force of the sound. He’d fallen on his keys and his palm was bleeding from a gash, his crawling made harder by his slipping hands. He had students on top of him and beneath them, all struggling for the door recklessly, suffocating and grinding their classmates in the process.

The bells began to recede. After what seemed like forever, the bells were finally fading into the distance note by note. No longer crawling, the living students raised to their feet, their backpacks and school materials abandoned, and rushed for the door. It wasn’t, in fact, unlocked, a fact that went unnoticed as they all piled into the hallway, splitting their separate ways to second period and safety.

Mr. Alexander, alone on his floor amidst the carnage, drew himself to his knees. A janitor came into the room, nonplussed by the bodies on the floor, and began sweeping up the remains of the class like so much garbage. He removed the protective earphones from his head and helped Mr. Alexander to his desk.

“Was that…the new bell system?” Mr. Alexander asked, his whole body quivering in pain and fear.

“Yup. How’s it working? I didn’t hear it.”

Mr. Alexander surveyed his classroom. Jacob, Will, Deana, and the rest of his students on the floor, their will no match for the knell of the bells. He closed his eyes and tears escaped through the lids.

“It…” he wiped his face with his bloodied sleeve. “It worked.”

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