Man and Monster

Man and Monster

Katherine Pflueger

Day 1 

Walking into biology was my number one mistake. Not because it was a useless class (I could talk more about how USELESS learning about leaves is than about how beneficial it is) but because it’s just boring. The only thing preventing me from skipping this class or sleeping in it was Mr. Alaister. He was always so serious in attitude, but he’d show up in crazy dress shirts and seemingly never ran out of candy. Seriously, if I had to bet on how much money he has spent on jolly ranchers it would be in the thousands. 

I sat there reading my novel while waiting for Mr. Alaister to finish taking attendance. Minutes passed after the bell rang and the last student to enter…Giselle Durand. Little preppy cheater. I hate her more than I hate biology.

It started the second she walked in.

The announcement overhead stated an unknown disease had an outbreak at the school and we would be on a quarantined lockdown inside the school until the quarantine period was over. How long does one quarantine for an unknown disease? How do they know we have a disease and not just some small common cold or maybe a strep outbreak? The questions all flooded my mind and panic rushed. I could feel my heart beating outside my chest, sweat, feeling every organ moving and churning, everything uncomfortable. Then my world went black.

Day 3

My eyes opened. The light hit my eyes so harshly I felt like a vampire trying to prevent themselves from seeing the light in a horror movie. When I finally came and settled down, I was told it was the third day we were here and that I had been passed out from a panic attack for two days. Everyone looked off. Mr. Alaister’s usually well-kept appearance was now that of a man who’d been staring at books for days on end with just caffeine to drink. Giselle’s well-kept hair was now in knots and much, much shorter than I remembered. One of the many guys she dated looked sad and depressed. Like a child who needed a hug. Though, after looking around, it wasn’t just him who was like that. Several students had that depressed look on their faces, including Carven and Kiana. I thought Kiana would be the last to crack or after me. Although, I suppose I might be the same way after being told the only “food” we had was the seemingly endless supply of jolly ranchers Mr. Alaister had on the very first day. Though that, too, would end eventually. I guess it’s time to have blue raspberry jolly ranchers forever stained into my tongue, I thought to myself. People seemed to have gotten along well, some were playing card games, James and Allen were in some serious blackjack. James even found a chess set inside a closet apparently. I could see some kids looking into textbooks with a drive like this is the last time they’ll be here so they may as well make it count. These were all things I found interesting, so I jotted them down. After all, it’s not every day you’re told you are in lockdown for an “unknown disease.”

Day 11

I’ve been in this same classroom with the same people, the same food, and the same activities for nearly two weeks. All I can hear is the same kid — Carven — crying about life being so hard and his entire life problems and how we’re all going to die. I would probably be the same if it weren’t for my growing dislike of blue raspberry jolly ranchers. Mr. Alaister’s jolly ranchers are down to a single bag. For a class of 26. It’s the last guaranteed day of food. I can feel myself becoming more bony. And although Mr. Alaister is a younger man, even his veins are starting to show. The smell of urine was stinks up the room and it’s making me so nauseous I feel like I’ve been slipping in and out of consciousness for nearly half the day.

Day 14 

I can’t compose all my thoughts. The only thing on my mind was a good steak. But the taste I remember only tasted like blue raspberry candy. I haven’t had anything but water for the past 3 days. My stomach rumbles every time I move. 

The thought of food: it’s passed my mind every waking second. And it seemed it passed other people’s minds too.

Mr. Alaister.

The one man I thought would stay sane; who wouldn’t be the one to suggest the idea, to take that idea and make it real.

Alaister dived for the easiest target, the shortest kid, and the weakest one too. Carven. I could see everything so clearly despite it happening two or three meters away. Mr. Alaister graves Carven’s throat and exclaimed that, as nature does, the weakest become food for the strongest. In order for everyone else to stand a chance at living, Carven would have to die. I understood his thinking but all I could think about was how wrong it was. I saw Carven’s chest rise slower and slower as his eyes were closing. The thought of how unfair this is: how we have to think of our lives like a food chain. It made me sick. It was a now-or-never moment. I knew what I could do.

The shatter of glass broke the screams and crying of everyone in the room, except Giselle, who had smashed the glass. I picked up a shard. I could feel the rough glass cut my fingertips where I grabbed the rough edges. Mr. Alaister turned toward me just as I reached him. The eyes Carven had at that moment gave me a thank you. It cleared any doubt I had. The shard pierced Alaister’s stomach, and within the next few minutes, his pulse stopped. The minute it did, the door opened. 

Government officials flooded the door, and doctors checked on everyone’s condition while the man in charge congratulated us on completing the experiment. It was a test to see how long a man could go deprived of many things. We were the only group out of 14 who completed it.





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