Authors: Eric Johnson
Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical without the express written permission of the author. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic and printed editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.
Published by Eric Johnson
Copyright © 2014 Eric Johnson.
Books By Eric Johnson
Summer School Zombocalypse
A Child Knows Best
To Christopher and Caitlin
Special Thanks to Ian Hugh McAllister
For readers who are challenged by Dyslexia a version of Summer School Zombocalypse is published using OpenDyslexic typeface. It is available in print through Amazon. OpenDyslexic is a typeface designed to make reading easier for some symptoms of dyslexia. Letters have heavy weighted bottoms to indicate direction. You are able to quickly figure out which part of the letter is down which aids in recognizing the correct letter, and sometimes helps to keep your brain from rotating them around. Consistently weighted bottoms can also help reinforce the line of text. The unique shapes of each letter can help prevent confusion through flipping and swapping.
Tom's dad turned their old pickup truck into the parking lot of Taylorville Middle school and stopped in the student drop off zone.
lood flushed Tom’s cheeks.
I mean, Dad. Give me a chance
I’ll show you I can stay out of trouble.”
What if I call you every half hour and let you know what I’m doing.”
Really? Every half hour?”
I will,” Tom said, as he crossed his arms and sank down into the seat. He stared out of the window to see how many other kids were stuck with going to summer school. A muscle spasmed in his neck and he looked over at his dad. “I can’t believe you’re making me do this. No one else is being punished this way. Come on, can’t I just be grounded?”
The clutch slipped
and the truck jumped forward. His dad wrenched the steering wheel. “There is no negotiation. You’re very lucky that I went to high school with officer Rick,
and the homeowner was willing not to press charges if we fixed the damage. Do I need to walk you to class?”
Tom, we’re past that. I have to work, and I’m not going to risk you getting into trouble again. There’s no telling what those kids will get you into. It was your choice to go along with them. There's no getting out out of this.”
The attendance bell rang,
and kids hurried into the school.
Tom frowned hopefully. “What if. . . ?”
His dad put his hand on his shoulder and gave him a little shake. “Nothing you say will change my mind. Behaviors have consequences. Ones you need to learn. Go on, the bell rang, and get over it.”
Tom pulled the door handle and pushed with his shoulder. The door popped open with a creak and crunch. “Great,” he said and got out, “I guess I’ll be in trouble here too.”
That’s up to you. There’s a big delivery at work, I have to help Eddie unload it. After that, I’ll come home, and we’ll talk more. Hurry up, and get your bike out of the back.”
Welded on torque hinges popped into place as he slammed the door shut. “I’m not the one making me late.”
He wheeled his bike to the racks where several kids gathered. Towels hung over their shoulders, and they wore swimsuits. Jerrell was in the group, his dad called him the instigator.
Tommy,” Jerrell greeted. “Just the person we need. The only one who truly knows how to have fun. We’re heading down to the river. Wanna come?”
Tom cringed and looked at him sideways. “Don’t talk to me. It’s your fault I’m here.”
What’s the big deal? Your dad got those people’s garage door back on, right? Besides, that ramp was awesome and you weren’t like,
where’d you get the garage door?
So, you coming?”
Tom frowned. “You didn’t even get into trouble.”
Jerrell’s eyes widened. “I made sure no one saw when I took that door. If you wanna know how we got caught, think. Someone ratted on us. Maybe one of your neighbors who is nosy? Who doesn’t like you? Be mad at them, not me.”
The truck horn squealed, from the cab his dad pointed at him to get in the school. “It’s your fault I’m stuck here.”
Jerrell followed Tom’s eyes. “Lame, we’re outta here.”
A gust of wind followed Tom into the school. Two men stood next to the stairs that led up to the office, one in a suit, the other a security guard. The man in the suit put his phone down
and motioned to Tom.
You’re Stinson,” he said. “Come over here
I need to talk to you.”
Tom held his chin high. “I have to get to class, or I’ll be late. You don’t want that to happen
I’m the chief administrator, Principal Davies. This is
school security. Your dad called me
and told me why you are here. You need to know I won’t tolerate any insubordination.”
At that moment,
win boys hurried through the school doors
and approached. Tom stepped back. They were the ugliest people he’d ever seen. “Which way to the 7th grade class
they interrupted. “Excuse us, where are the classes?”
Irked, Principal Davies pointed. “All classes are on the north side of the school. Don’t let me catch you anywhere else in my building. You got that?”
Yes,” they said in unison.
Without skipping a beat, the principal turned back to Tom. “I’ve told Miles to keep an eye on you.”
Miles stepped forward with his thumbs hooked in his belt. “Pleased to meet you Mr. Stinson.”
Principal Davies leaned in close. “Do we have an understanding, Stinson?”
Tom stared at the principal's tie blankly.
What had his dad done?
This was even worse than he imagined. “Yes,” he replied.
Go on then. Get to your class.”
The third bell rang and Tom ran for his classroom past lockers and posters of smiling kids eager to learn. Down the hall, the teacher’s face appeared in the small window of the classroom door. His hand wrapped around the edge to pull it shut. Tom lunged to grab the handle as it swung closed. “Wait!”
The teacher stepped out from behind the door, his tall pear shaped body blocked Tom’s way. Sweat dotted the teacher’s forehead and the smell of mints hung in the air around him. He shook his head and scowled. “Not good, I mean it. Being late for my class on the first day is a bad choice, seriously.”
Tom shuffled around the teacher into the classroom. “The principal made me late.”
That’s the best one I heard yet. Blame it on the principal. What’s your name?”
It’s bad enough that I have to be here.”
Oh, you’re Stinson. I was wondering if you would show up, or if you would be out stealing more garage doors. So we get it straight; disrespect me and I will disrespect you.”
Kids who sat next to the door snickered at him.
Did everyone know?
Unzipping his backpack, Tom fished past his lunch for a pencil. He wanted a seat in back. The only seat left was front and center.
Ugh,” he groaned. “Anyone want to trade seats?”
The door clicked shut. “Go on. Sit down Stinson. That chair won’t bite; it’s more comfortable than juvie.”
The class giggled, and Tom’s face flushed as he slid into his seat and slouched down. He imagined being somewhere else and doodled on the desktop.
The pimple-faced kid next to him said, “I had Mr. Richards last year. He’s a real Richard. Get it? Could be worse, huh?”
Definitely,” Tom replied.
Mr. Richards blew his whistle like it was kick off and dropped test packets down onto the front row desktops. Heads turned, and the laughter stopped. Twenty-eight sighs hung in the air. Twenty-eight chairs squeaked into place across the worn linoleum. Like a hangman at his favorite tree, the teacher announced, “To those of you who don’t know me, I’m Mr. Richards. I will be your teacher for the next six weeks. Now put your books and bags under your seats. We are going to take the Standard Quality Aptitude Test. This is an assessment only, so I know where you people are and what I can do to help you learn.”
Crap,” Tom mumbled.
A hush pocked with giggles came over the class. Mr. Richards stepped forward, crunched down on his mint and sized up Tom. “Do you have a problem, Stinson?”
Tom stared Mr. Richards in the eye. “No.”
Are you going to hand the tests back?”
Tom looked away.
The pimple-faced kid snapped one hand to his face and pointed at the test packets. He mouthed an emphatic, do it. Tom closed his eyes and dropped his pencil. It hit his desk with a thud and a click.
Well, aren’t you?” Mr. Richards’ voice wound up like he was ready to give Tom an earful, but he trailed off, interrupted by the loud sputter and pop of a small plane’s engine. Chairs squeaked as the class got up and rushed to the window to see, the test forgotten.
Get back to your seats!” Mr. Richards called out.
Tom pointed at a low flying single-engined plane. “What’s that guy think he’s doing? He should go back to school and learn to fly straight.”
Isn’t that why we’re here?” a girl said.
The pimple-faced kid said, “The plane’s coming back.”
I think he’s in trouble,” the big kid in the striped shirt added.
Mr. Richards’ brow crinkled, and his chin pulled back. He didn’t pay any attention to the plane and blew his whistle. “Get back to your seats!”
Then he finally saw the plane. His head tilted to the side, his face relayed disbelief and fear. “That’s too low.”
Tom stepped away from the window, pushing through the chairs and desks as he maneuvered backwards toward the door. He didn’t believe it. The plane dipped down like it was coming in for a landing.
The shadow of the plane darkened the classroom. “Get under your seats!” Mr. Richards yelled. “Move!”
Kids cascaded towards the door in a wave of arms and legs, knocking Tom to the ground. He hit the floor hard. Scuttling across the floor on his hands and knees to avoid trampling feet. He crouched behind a tipped-over desk and watched the plane’s approach through the open slats of the half drawn blinds. The plane clipped the trees that lined the school yard. It spun like a top in the air and plunged to the ground, bursting into flames and tumbling in a fiery cartwheel across the schoolyard. It finally stopped fifty feet from the classroom window. Fire and smoke billowed from the wreckage.
The immediate danger passed and nervous hysteria took over the class. Mr. Richards shook off his fear and moved to stop students from running out of the classroom. He grabbed one student by the shirt and pulled him back into the room. He shut the door, held his arms out to the class and blew his whistle again.
Eyes on me,” he said. “We are okay. It’s okay. Calm down.”
Students rushed back to the window. Their eyes were wide with shock and awe at the sight of the debris strewn schoolyard. Part of the plane’s wing stuck into the ground like a flaming pillar just outside the classroom window.
Kids took pictures and made videos. “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!” they shouted.
Off to the side a small group of students huddled together under where the state flag hung and cried. One boy kept repeating, “I want my mom.”
At the window, a kid spoke into his phone like a reporter on camera. “This is the scariest thing that has ever happened at school, and the coolest. I saw the whole thing. It was unreal. The plane was out of control. It hit the trees in slow motion and then, WHAM. And it’s like RIGHT THERE. Any closer and it would have killed us for sure.”
Mr. Richards crossed the room in three steps. He closed the blinds and raised his hand, desperate to regain control of the class. “Eyes on me. The plane is out there. We are safe in here. We need to wait until we hear what to do from the principal.”
Too shaken to pay attention, the class chattered out of control. The blinds were pulled open again. Air pulled past Tom’s teeth; he had never seen anything like it before. He felt strange, like he was high above the room on top of a ladder. The voices of his class sounded distant and hollow.
The news camera kid screeched, pulling Tom’s attention back into the chaos. “The pilot got out of the plane!”
Back at the window, Tom tried to understand what he was seeing. Through the fire and smoke, the pilot staggered, his clothes torn and burnt. His body was bent at an angle, like his back was broken. His torso flip-flopped from side to side as he weaved his way toward the school. Seventeen voices gasped at the same time. Tom pressed against the window, unable to turn away. All he could think of was, that the pilot should be dead.