Today was definitely a monday, and I enjoyed yesterday’s architect idea so much that I figured I’d take a break on the quick sci-fi ideas for a day and post the first chapter of a book I’m working on.
In his stark-white, well-organized bedroom – in a home and town that isn’t of this world, only similar – Sned Parkerwhite awoke in silence exactly one hour before light. And he was hot. Even sweating a little. He couldn’t remember having ever awoken hot. He sat up, somewhat in a panic, and swung his legs over the side of the bed. The lights came on automatically as they did every morning the moment part of his body left the bed.
Quickly removing his bedclothes he dressed in the pleated khakis and blue button-down he’d neatly pressed the night before. He was still hot. Then he packed his school things and headed to the kitchen where he grabbed twelve buttery waffles that were already prepared on the counter. He ate this exact same meal every morning. The more syrup the better. But for some reason he wasn’t looking forward to them today quite like he normally did. He imagined it had something to do with being so hot.
Nevertheless Sned ate his waffles while reading the Daily Omni on his tablet. It was apparently a slow news day. He rolled his eyes as he glanced over the front page. The top story was just another story about the upcoming Omniterra Day carnival and festivities. His mom would be happy to see her photo on the front page. She was in charge of the talent show. But the news in Omniterra was always boring. He really didn’t know why he read it every morning.
The Daily Omni did have one decent daily comic. He laughed to himself at the day’s punchline. His dad Thomas walked in, grabbed his morning coffee and sat at the table with his own plate of food debauchery – five cheese danishes. He’d also been eating this same breakfast every morning for the past year or so.
“What’s up champ? You think you’re ready for today?” Thomas asked with a mouth half-full of danish.
Sned was seventeen and captain of his school’s omniball team; one of eight teams in the league. And they were currently a favorite for the Omniterra omniball championship.
“You’d better be ready. I can’t believe this is your last regular season game. You guys need to make it count and go out strong.”
“I plan on it.” He answered, somewhat annoyed with the pressure and doubt. Plus he had something more important on his mind.
“Where’s mom? These waffles were made when I walked in. But she’s not here.”
“Your sister had an early dance practice. Mom’s helping them get ready for their recital. It’s this weekend.”
“Can’t wait to sit through that.” Sned joked.
“You’ve missed the past three recitals for more important things. This one is all you bud. In fact, I’ve got an important meeting at the ministry saturday so I actually need you to go. Your mother hates sitting through those things by herself.”
Sned hated sitting through them with or without someone. They might be better if his sister could dance. For some reason she was the only person in Omniterra born with two left feet. But their mom refused the let her quit despite her own apparent disdain for watching dancing.
After his twelve waffles Sned put his coat on and started the two-mile trek to school. The morning walk was his favorite part of the day. Everyone in Omniterra walked and it normally gave him a chance to run into a few friends. Their small sect was only fifteen flat square-miles. And since it never rained, or snowed, and stayed a perfect seventy degrees, there was always a reason to take in the fresh air. Plus, every square inch of Omniterra had been meticulously landscaped and designed in order to create an environment of perfect peace.
But today Sned wasn’t particularly at peace and he kept his head down hoping to avoid the morning chit chat. His mind raced as he walked. He’d not only awoken this morning hot, but also with something he had no familiarity with; a scratchy pain in his throat. He’d kept it to himself as he’d eaten breakfast with his dad. But as he walked to school he could feel his sinuses draining. This was a new feeling, and one he’d never known or even heard of. For all Sned knew his insides were spontaneously melting.
At school he took his normal seat in homeroom. He was the last to arrive, which was sure to stand out because he was normally one of the first. Sned was an overachiever in a sea of overachievers. Omniterra High #12 was the highest performing school in the system and most of the other students in his homeroom were considered gifted and already in line to take their place in some of Omniterra’s most important professional positions. Some predicted that upon graduation Sned would be assigned as the prime leader’s assistant. It was the highest honor a young Omniterran could receive, and only awarded every few years.
“Hey dude, where were you this morning?” Sned heard his best friend Teddy’s voice from the seat behind him. “I waited for you out front. We were supposed to go over homework together.”
He turned around “Sorry, I just totally forgot…”
Teddy had been his best friend since they were both in infant care together. Their families were close and it wasn’t odd for them to eat dinner together three or four times a week. Teddy’s dad also worked for the ministry as some type of engineer. Teddy claimed it was top secret. Which Sned had always thought of as odd because there wasn’t much reason that he could think of to keep secrets in Omniterra. They had no real enemies that he knew of. And zero real conflict.
Teddy’s eyes widened. “Dude! What is wrong with your nose? There’s something gross coming out of it.”
“I know. I don’t know what it is or what to do about it”
Sned heard the footsteps of his instructor Sidney Knockellberry, turning around as the teacher walked in. All instructors in Omniterra were extraordinarily academic looking and Knockellberry was no exception. He wore the black instructor robe well and even sported a pair of custom designed spectacles that made him look particularly intelligent.
‘Knock’, as the students called him, put a small stack of books down on his desk and turned to the class. “I hope you all did your assignments last night. Metaphysical elements are complex and you’ll be expected to know them all by next friday.”
Sned had already studied the elements. Fact was he didn’t believe in half of them. But that wasn’t on his mind at the moment. More of whatever-it-was was starting to come out of his nose and run down his face. It was an annoyance he’d never experienced before. And it was making it harder to breath. But it was even more than that to Sned. It represented a lack of control over his body that went against everything he and those around him knew about themselves.
Then it happened. A noise came out of his face that sounded like his insides were scratching their way out and screaming at the room. The liquid that had been running down his top lip now splattered across his desk and across the back of the person sitting directly in front of him. As his eyes refocused, everyone in the room was staring at him in complete silence.
Sned just looked down at his desk in an effort to avoid the stares.
“That was gross Sned Snickly.” A voice behind him finally chimed in. It was Rebecca Snotterman. She was one of the very few in Omniterra who had a hard time controlling her mouth.
“Rebecca, that’s not necessary” Knockellberry responded.
A moment later the school principal was at the classroom door. Two minutes later Sned was in his office. And five minutes later he was packed and on his way home. He was shocked at the urgency in which they had ushered him out of the school. Sned had never been sent home from school early until today. Infact he couldn’t remember anyone having ever left school early. And while he felt horrible he couldn’t help but wonder what important information he was missing. Many had high expectations for him in the coming months and this could be a setback to some of his plans.
He had a lot to live up to in a society where virtually everyone was striving for perfection. Sned’s father was a member of the Ominterra sect leader conference. Each sect had twelve assigned leaders and Sned’s father was currently the lead chairman of #12. Rumor had it that Thomas was in line to be tapped as the first new elder in over seventy years.
Sned’s parents were already home when he stepped into the living room.
“Come sit down bud. We need to speak to you.”
Sned took a seat on the sofa across from them.
“You guys already home from work?”
“The school called us.” His dad responded. “We were allowed to come home to meet you.”
“Is something wrong with me?” Sned asked, finally showing a little anxiety over his problem.
His parents glanced at each other.
“Son, we’d be lying if we didn’t admit that we’re a little worried.” His dad started.
“But it is nothing to be alarmed about.” His mother interrupted, sounding as if she was just reassuring herself. Both of his parents looked more anxious than they were trying to sound.
“You’re both worried but you think we shouldn’t be alarmed?” Sned responded.
“Son, in the prior they had a term for what you’re going through… They called it a “cold”. It wasn’t serious and I’m sure this isn’t either. You’re going to be fine. It will probably be over in a week or so. However…”
“A week? I have to feel like this for a week? It’s horrible!”
“Well son I think we need to be asking why this is happening to you in the first place? I’ve made some calls to some important members of our sect and none of them have any recollection of any member of Omniterra having ever had a cold.”
At that moment the house bell rang. Thomas left the room to answer it and a few moments later walked back into the living room followed by two black uniformed members of the Omni Parliament. One was a rather tall gentleman; a well known elder by the name of Flegger Snockboggle. The other was a much shorter but equally dignified man by the name of Barg Leggersnick.
Flegger looked at Sned as he took a seat in the nearest chair and smiled.
“I understand you had a little episode at the school earlier today. It’s actually had us very curious at the ministry. We just wanted to come by and see how you were doing?”
“I’m fine I guess.” Sned replied, obviously not believing it. It had only been thirty minutes since whatever-that-was came out of his face and now actual elders were sitting his living room.
“Well, regardless we’re a little concerned Sned. We’ve not had a case of a cold in Omniterra in… well… ever.”
“He’s right.” Barg added in a much more anxious tone. “I think it would be best if we cut to the chase. The sneeze at school this morning was more than enough justification for concern. And seeing him now, it’s fairly obvious that he has some abnormal congestion. We would like for Sned to come into the ministry this afternoon for observation.”
“Observation?” Send’s father interjected. “Is that really needed?”
“Absolutely.” Flegger responded “All of the Elders are aware of Sneds condition and we are expected to bring him back with us.”
“It’s fine. I don’t mind.” Sned conceded. In truth he’d always wanted to visit the ministry.
“Well we might mind.” Thomas interjected. “What about your game?”
The game was the last thing on Sned’s mind. Besides, he wasn’t sure he could even play like this.
“Well” Flegger responded, ignoring Thomas’s concerns. “I think it would be a bad idea to waste time. We have a car waiting outside.