Monday, 20 November 2017
The Bounty Tax of Death (Part 5)
Seth took a seat behind them at the back of the classroom.
Mr Thantos had not yet started the session, while he was reading some ancient looking book. It gave Seth a moment to look around, at the very place that he still couldn't believe where he was. He wondered how he got himselt into this. The classroom itself had bare walls, bare bookshelves, and moth eaten curtains. It was so dark, but several candles were lit.
Of the kids, he counted three boys and two girls. He'd never seen them before and not even seen any of them around in Backwater. They must be from out of town.
Mr Thantos closed the book and started talking:
"We all have heard of the economy, but what about the affairs in Africa? Does any of you know about the corruption of the union of governments in history? Do you know about the financial crisis of the national banks? Any of you aware of the currencies of each nation and what is owed in debt?"
Sigh. Another boring lecture. How is this meant to help Bikeball techniques? He knew he shouldn't have come afterall. Seth picked up his rucksack and stood up.
"Where do you think you're going, Seth?" Me Thantos asked.
"I've just remembered homework".
"Sit down, this once. I haven't even begun. What you're about to learn is far more helpful to you than you know and it might just improve your own school work".
Seth had low grades in school mock exams and finals. He didn't do well so how did Mr Thantos know this. Perhaps he was shared his records by his other teachers. Seth sat down, but if this lesson is going to be all about politics then he's not staying.
Mr Thantos started chalking on the board. The writing was very small, and he started to get bored. The other students only sat watching Mr Thantos, and looked straight ahead.
He observed each other kid. They were all about his age group. Two of the boys looked as if they've never bathed in months. The other boy wore a strange looking conical hat and he had very long brown hair tied back in a ponytale. One girl seemed like an emo, and another girl was wearing an old fashioned long dress.
Mr Thantos finished.
"None of what I told you matters," the teacher said, and he held his cane. "Everyone is going to die."
Huh? Seth sat up and wondered if he heard that right.
"Everyone will eventually die," Mr Thantos said. "It's a fact of nature. Cruel as it is. Unfair as it is. People weren't given a choice.The golden apples of immortality are reserved for the gods. Do you all know who they are? Yes, Belinda?"
The girl in the long dress had held up her hand. She answered in a soft voice. "They're people," she said, and her large green eyes glittered. Seth looked at her as she spoke, and he noticed in her long blonde ringlets were bits of grass and leaves. When was the last time this girl brushed and even washed her hair? he wondered.
After an hour of listening to Mr Thantos talking about gods, death, immortality, Seth didn't feel the wiser in knowing how to beat his friends at the game of Bikeball.
It was over. Everyone got up. He looked at Belinda, and she looked at him. Her skin seemed a strange hue of grey, and there were dark rings around her eyes. Her lips were black as liquorice. Seth felt a chill pass down his spine.
He left the room, dissatisfied with the lesson.
"Seth!" Mr Thantos called out. "It's important you return next week!"
Outside, Seth could see the lights glowing from houses and street lamps. It was so dark, and so cold. He pulled up his hood. Where did everyone else go? No one was there, but he left the school with the others. Only, Belinda was hurrying off to the left, towards the deralict church. Perhaps she walked through that as a short cut to her house via a creepy route.
That night, Seth couldn't get out of his mind the thoughts of death, and money and politics. It was annoying him. He ate something from the fridge, and his parents were out having a meal. His siblings in bed. He was usually the only one awake at the hour of 11 p.m. but sometimes mum and dad would go on date nights. Leaving him or his siblings alone.
He decided to watch a horror film. And while he watched it, he was sure that he recognised Mr Thantos appear on screen. I must be tired, he thought.
...to be continued.
Story by Rayne.
Above image made by Rayne using Rinmaru graphics