The Bet, Chapter 3: Terra

Moryn flew down to Earth, lazily, taking his time. The year didn’t start until he decided what he was going to have this lady do, so why rush now? Besides he enjoyed flying, one of the few less…off-putting hobbies he had. He liked the way the air rushed over his face and caught in his wings and clothing. He closed his eyes, relaxing as he floated his way down to the ground. He landed somewhere in Turon City, somewhat near this Terra woman, so he could get a feel for the city as well as the person. He was glad Liara had chosen a woman; men were more violent and easy to persuade that way, but women took a subtler touch, one that was much more fun. They took cunning and charm, way more entertaining than brute force. If it was too easy, he got bored, and a bored Moryn was a bad thing for Liara. As for the charm, Moryn could absolutely ooze charm, when he chose to. It also helped that all three triplet gods were beautiful. If Moryn could have any woman he chose, Liara and Adlai could pull any man they wanted. Of course, the only reason to seduce humans was to see them slowly self-destruct, so Moryn didn’t spend that much attention on specific humans.

This would be different. Sure, he had to keep that small amount of attention on the rest of the universe to keep people dying as they should; if he didn’t do that, everything would simply stop dying and there would be problems. Imagine getting run over by a steamroller, but being able to feel every second of it and then being aware of the pieces of you being carried away by the steamroller as well as all those pieces smashed into mush on the floor, but you’re still not dead. Moryn smiled. To anyone on the street, Moryn looked like a normal human being, strolling down the streets with his hands in his pockets and a little grin on his face. They couldn’t see his wings, his loose black shirt and pants, didn’t see into the depths of his dark black eyes, and definitely couldn’t see the thoughts percolating through his brain. If they could, they’d probably run away in fear. He had made it so the humans around him saw something different without actually changing his appearance. He didn’t want to do that quite yet. Instead, he put on a glamour that showed deep blue eyes, well-groomed hair, blue jeans and sneakers, and a t-shirt for some popular thing these days. It made it easy enough to walk around without feeling bare without his wings and confined without his customary clothing and lack of shoes.

Moryn rounded a corner and paused. Parker Lane and Hampton Street. He knew Terra should be right in the coffee shop across the street and this would prove to be a good enough vantage point to observe her for a while. Truth be told, he already knew most everything about her. She was 26 years old working as a jack of all trades at a diner/coffee shop thing called “Randi’s.” She could make 37 of the 43 items on the menu flawlessly, wipe down a table like nobody’s business, and secretly thought her manager was sexy, though she would never admit it out loud. She read her scriptures every morning when she woke up, prayed every night before bed, and went to church services on Wednesday and Sunday nights, as well as Sunday morning teachings. She had been a B student in school and never went to college, because her parents told her that women shouldn’t be smarter than their husbands. She was pretty plain, not ugly and not beautiful, and she had only had a boyfriend in 7th grade (which was only because she had boobs before her other female classmates. Once her peers developed as well, all the boys turned their attention to more attractive girls.) whom she let get to second base, then promptly prayed in remorse and never let him do so again. She lived two blocks down the Parker Lane, in 450, the fifth flat on the fourth floor to the left of the staircase in the second building of Shady Elm Apartments. She always slept on her left side, facing her alarm clock, and promptly awoke at 7:00 a.m. after falling asleep at midnight. Her walls were plastered with posters of religious bands, weird cartoon character things, and horses, and everything in her apartment was immaculately placed.

Moryn was thoroughly annoyed with her. Despite the routinely going to church and religiosity, Terra was positively, suffocatingly dull. Maybe that was the goal; instead of trying to find someone super devout, Liara chose someone he couldn’t stand because she was boring. He had to admit, the second option was more likely to make him stop, but the thought of losing to Liara. and particularly having to be this boring bitch’s slave, was too horrible to not continue. He sighed, leaned against the post for the stoplight, and continued watching her through the storefront windows.

At the moment, Terra was cleaning off a table from a customer who hadn’t liked his pastry and decided to smear it all over the table and chair, then added a healthy dose of coffee dregs on top. She only had her stupid little rag to clean it all up, because corporate decided those were more cost-efficient, but she went to it with a smile anyway. No point in being angry over things she couldn’t control. She went to fill up the mop bucket, but she got called back out front by a customer wanting a refill on coffee. She filled the cup and dealt with the customer complaining that it took her so long to come and wait on him, even though it had only been 45 seconds at the most, then ran back into the back room and barely turned off the tap before the bucket overflowed. After tipping the bucket enough to allow some maneuvering room, she mopped up the mess all over the floor. It took her 10 minutes to get the floor mopped, considering all the distractions of people wanting more food and coffee and soda and a new shake, please, this one melted. When she finally finished it up, there were only one or two regulars sitting at the counter where the other girl could get to them.

Terra collapsed exhaustedly into one of the chairs at the table. She stripped the yellow safety gloves off; damn, she had broken one of her nails again. Her hands looked so much more feminine when she had long nails, but this job was hazardous to those. She sighed and brushed her light brown hair off her face and out of the way of her hazel eyes. She looked down at her slightly tanned arms, then at the pink dress and apron inspired by the 50’s. She thought that if her face weren’t quite so plain, her body a little more shapely, then perhaps she could look as cute at the counter-girl, Elise. Pretty blond hair, baby blue eyes, and a tiny waist without losing anything up top or down below, that was Elise. Terra wished she could be like Elise; no one ever yelled at her, because they didn’t want to yell at the pretty girl with a bright smile. Terra closed her eyes and sighed again, listening to the sounds of the diner around her, glad for the moment of peace.

It was then that Terra heard a slight chuckle. She opened her eyes and saw a young man, maybe in his twenties, and super cute smiling into his mug of coffee. His black hair was just shy of neat and kind of fell into his eyes in a way that made her want to get up and push it off his face for him, looking deep into those soft indigo eyes. Without realizing she was doing so, she ran her eyes up and down over him. He was wearing a short-sleeved, blue and black button-up with the buttons undone over a white t-shirt, black denim jeans, and laceless sneakers meant for skating. He was slender, but she could see the toned muscles under the fair skin on his arms and assumed the rest of him would be the same. He turned and smiled at her, the skin around his eyes wrinkled adorably, and winked, “Enjoying the view?”

Red crept up her neck and cheeks. She had been staring, hadn’t she? She leapt to her feet and started stammering out an apology, quickly looking down at the table and wiping it all over again before running to the back room to escape. The back room, behind the kitchen, was barely bigger than a closet, even though it held all the staff’s personal effects, the cleaning supplies, and a small basin with a faucet and drain in the floor to fill the mop buckets. It was also the room with the back door staff entrance and the stairs to the food storage. Terra sat down on an overturned bucket and held her  face in her hands. She was so embarrassed! Not only had she been staring, she had been caught. She started feeling really guilty for the feelings she had while obviously lusting after this man, and started asking God for forgiveness. God was very specific about what he wanted, and lusting after men was not one of those things. She finished her short prayer with a quiet, “Amen,” then stood up to complete her shift. As she was straightening up her skirt and making sure her face had cooled down, she heard a slight knocking sound.

Standing there in the doorway was the man at whom she had been staring. Next to him, being pushed along by the mop in his hands, was the mop bucket she had abandoned in the middle of the restaurant. “I think you forgot this out front, and your coworker told me where to take it.” He brought the mop bucket over to where Terra was now standing frozen, staring at the floor like it was the most fascinating thing in the world. She really just couldn’t meet his eyes for the second time. Why couldn’t Elise have just brought the bucket back?! She took the mop from him and wheeled it over the basin to empty, but he didn’t leave when she did so. He just stood there, hands in his pockets, sort of smirking at her.

“So, um, can I help you with anything?” Terra’s voice sounded so tiny, and she barely got those words squeaked out.

“Nah. Just wanted to make sure you got your bucket back….?”

“…..Terra. My name’s Terra.”

“Alright, just wanted to make sure you got your bucket back, Terra.”

“Th-thanks.”

“Yeah, no problem.” He turned to walk out, and called back over his shoulder, “My name’s David. See you around, Terra.” With a half-wave, he breezed out of the back room and Terra heard the little bell on the front door jingle, signifying David’s departure. As soon as she heard the bell, Terra headed out of the back room.

Elise watched as Terra sort of dazedly walked out of the back room to finish wiping down tables. She frowned as she examined the not ugly, but not anywhere near pretty either, girl and found herself incredibly annoyed. Why would that incredibly gorgeous boy go anywhere near her coworker when Elise was right here? Especially because she was the kind of girl to treat a man like that right; she knew her way around a man’s body the way a fat man knows fast food. Whatever. She went back to flirting with the old men at the counter, attempting to garner a larger tip. She couldn’t help a man with no taste.

The Bet, Chapter 2: The Judge and the Stakes

Adlai was seated in her chair, just as she always was. In front of her was the table with the record of every sentient being’s deeds. Adlai was just like Moryn and Liara, all-knowing and all-powerful, and could have simply kept all the information in her head, but the souls who arrived were often looking for the record, so Adlai created the physical representation. It was ingenious, showing only the deeds of the person looking, so souls couldn’t find another person’s fate until they met, or didn’t meet, in the Afterlife. Adlai was the recordkeeper, the judge, the one who kept all the rules; Adlai was the manifestation of justice. She kept strictly to the rules, never swaying one way or another with emotion when dealing with souls; she was the one who decided to which Afterlife souls would go. The inability to sway her with crying, pleading, threatening, or bribery made her the perfect eternal judge. She was also the one who mediated the bets between Moryn and Liara.

Adlai was busy as Liara approached her. The recent and unexpected burning down of a village had created a sudden influx of souls above the normal pace and she was required to keep souls waiting for longer than she liked. She gave Liara a look, and the Life God left her to her business. Moryn would be here soon, she knew, just as she knew he was responsible for the great many souls arriving at once, and just as she knew that he had pushed Liara beyond her breaking point, from her calm and peaceful demeanor to wrathful. She scoffed, annoyed with her siblings. They were all eternal beings, gods created by the gods before them. The previous entities had gotten bored of being and decided to explore nonbeing and created triplet gods: one for the positives and good things, one for the negatives and bad things, and one absolutely neutral. The Old Gods taught the three all that they needed and left. Since then, they had forgotten the number of the iteration of the universe they were on, having been told by the Old Gods, but Adlai remembered the number from when they started. One would think that after having seeing the universe destroyed three times already since their beginning as gods, her siblings would have grown up. But that was part of their nature.

Humans had assumed, in every time period and every existence Adlai had seen, that their gods were correct and there was the embodiment of good and the embodiment of evil, and that the gods, demons, deities, etc. were only one thing and could not depart from that. In fact, the religion she had seen get the closest had gotten the number wrong, but the temperament right; both her siblings could experience the full range of emotions and could act on all of them. Liara was meant for good, but could act evil; Moryn was meant for evil, but could act the opposite. Speak of the Devil, there he was. Moryn flew into Adlai’s room and immediately strode towards the staircase leading down into his Afterlife. Liara cleared her throat impatiently, obviously believing that Moryn was going to leave the room. He simply glared at Liara and sat down on his stairs, out of sight of Liara and as far away from Adlai as he could.

Rolling her eyes, Adlai continued working on the multitude. She was slowly whittling them down to the normal flow. When they were down to that, Adlai could focus on committing her siblings to the rules of their bet. With sentient beings dying constantly, she would never reach the end of her work, but she could complete it with only a small percentage of her attention. One of the perks of being an infinite consciousness, she guessed. She allowed her attention to wander a bit, guessing at what the terms of the bet would be this time. She could, if she wanted, check Liara’s thoughts to see, but the triplets had decided long ago that none of them were to look inside the others’ heads. Other rules like that had been created when they were first beginning their roles, kept in Adlai’s head. She sighed. Acting as the middle ground for Moryn and Liara was a tiring role, even for a god on equal footing. Wanting to just get this over with, she focused back on the mortals, nearly done getting the order restored.

Moryn sulked in corner on the stairs, staying out of his sisters’ gaze. He was tempted to just run down the rest of the stairs into his kingdom, but he knew that would just draw more ire from them both, so he remained where he was. He detested Adlai, partially because she always sided with Liara, even when it seemed to him that the decision was unfair. She was supposed to the rule-keeper and the ultimate Judge, but there were times when he was certain she favored Liara simply because they were sisters and didn’t like him. He was glad that she had gotten stuck with the job as Judge and not him. Being the Lord of Darkness suited him just fine, without any sappy mercy and compassion or boring fairness and justice. Chaos was his job, and he was good at it.

As much as he wanted to hear the terms of the bet Liara was going to set out, he dreaded going back into that room. Adlai was certainly angry at him for sending a bunch of souls to her at once, creating a lot of unexpected work. And Liara would only be steeping her anger, seeing the souls she had protected and nurtured there in Adlai’s room. He wondered if they would say anything to her or plead with Adlai, saying that it was a demon’s fault. Judging by the number of footsteps echoing down his stairs, he had managed to tip a lot of them over to his own side. Unable to help himself, he laughed. He had certainly accomplished his goal of corrupting the righteous and claiming them as his own. Laughing would only annoy Liara more, but he ended up rolling around on the stairs, howling with laughter. The anguished faces of the souls passing him on their way to eternal torment only made him merrier. Tears of laughter rolled down his face, and into his hair as he stared backwards and up at the mortals walking by. He placed his feet up on the wall and waited for his summons. It didn’t even matter what the bet was now, Moryn had gotten what he wanted and Liara and Adlai couldn’t do anything about it.

Liara was fuming, and Moryn’s laughter echoing up the staircase only served to fan the flames. She knew he was laughing at the number of souls he had corrupted in only his short time in her favorite little village, as well as the fact that she would be horrendously sad at each soul he claimed. She took slight solace in watching the steadfast priests approach Adlai and be sent up the stairs to her Afterlife, but nearly all the souls of the village beyond the clergy were sent to their eternal deaths. However, Moryn couldn’t possibly imagine how vindictive she could really be and her ideas for the stakes were really solidifying now. She knew her sister would take her side, because she was always irritated when Moryn sent a large influx of souls to her desk at once. Liara rubbed her hands together in glee; this was going to be a lot of fun.

When Adlai finally finished restoring order to her room, Liara approached her. Adlai was never a fan of the bets between Liara and Moryn, because they interrupted her work, but she never lost a chance to stick it to Moryn. Liara quickly ran over the basics of her ideas her sister, to get Adlai on board, then they both called Moryn up from his position on the stairs. He was, infuriatingly enough, still smirking, and they could both see the marks of tears of laughter running down his face.

“Alright, you two have decided to make another bet,” Adlai started off. She was rather tired of officiating bets. Didn’t her siblings have something better to do with their time? “This bet will determine which of you is truly more important; whoever’s talents overtake the other’s will be the winner. The stakes are as follows. Liara?”

“Since this bet was founded on the ruins of a righteous-then-corrupted village, we’ll bet on the same circumstances.” Moryn was intrigued already. This sounded fun; didn’t Liara know she would lose the bet the same way she lost her precious little village? “Adlai and I will choose my most devoted servant and Moryn will try to corrupt that servant. Little sins, like telling a white lie or snitching an extra cookie from the plate, do not count, it has to be something major, something completely against good teachings.” Okay, well, that’s simple enough. Didn’t he just convince a village to burn their priests at the stake?

“Neither Moryn nor Liara will be allowed to use their supernatural powers to influence the chosen person, nor will Demons or Angels be allowed to interfere. Liara may give guidance to religious leaders as God, but may not directly speak to the servant. Moryn may and must interact with the servant, but only in human form.”

“Hey, now! That’s unfair! Why can Liara give supernatural guidance to people around the person I have to corrupt? You just said no god powers! Some Judge you are.”

“Enough!” Moryn silenced himself, but leveled a glare at Adlai, rustling his wings in annoyance. Bitter bitches. They were just pissed off and now wanted to stack the bet against him. Whatever, he didn’t care. He’d show them. “Liara gets to give advice to the religious leaders because she does not directly get to speak with the chosen servant. However, it does have to be in a way that makes those affected think it came from their own thoughts. No miracles or visions or anything of that sort. Understood, Liara?”

“Understood.” Outwardly, she tried to look upset at that, but inwardly, Liara couldn’t help but grin. Serves the bastard right. Moryn turned his scowl on to her. Apparently she wasn’t doing as good of a job at hiding her pleasure as she thought; she never had been a good liar.

“Any other restrictions you’d like to put on me? Perhaps I’m not allowed to use my hands? Maybe I can only speak Ancient Herbanian? How about giant tentacles coming out my a-”

“All that remains,” Adlai continued, pointedly ignoring Moryn, “is for Liara to choose her disciple. After examining the situation, Moryn will announce what he will attempt to have the servant do. Moryn will then have a single human year to convince Liara’s follower to follow him into his announced task. If the acolyte commits a different, but equally bad sin, it won’t count as completing the bet. If the act occurs outside the year, even by a moment, it won’t count as completing the bet.”

“So if I subvert this human, but not in the way I told you, it doesn’t count? Even though the bet is that I can corrupt it? So much for even stakes.” Although he was irked, ideas were already flowing through his head. He just needed to investigate the person Liara chose now to figure out how he was going to win.

“I never said it had to be even. If you accept the bet, you accept the terms. If you deny the bet, we’ll assume you were merely afraid to lose.” To be honest, Moryn was entirely correct, and it set Adlai on edge; as the supposed embodiment of justice, she felt uneasy stacking the deck in Liara’s favor. However, she just had to think back to all the times he had created more work for her to set her stance.

Liara knew Adlai’s jab would get Moryn to agree to the stakes of the bet, they simply needed to go over the rewards and consequences. And she was right, as he asked, after only a momentary pause, “What do I get if I win?”

“You’ll get the knowledge that you are better than Liara.”

“Is that it? Really? That’s not enough.”

“No, that’s not the only thing.” Liara swallowed. She didn’t like the next part of the plan, but she had to give him something he would want. “You’ll also get to claim the servant and the descendants, up to seven generations.” She saw his eyes light up; he was definitely up for it now.

“You’d do that Liara? You’re willing to give up your precious servants’ souls?” Moryn grinned widely at Liara’s hesitant nod. He licked his lips. What a delicious reward. Not only bragging rights, but claiming an entire line of innocent people! What more fun could a Dark Lord ask for than torturing those souls who’ve committed no crime?  He better win now, just to get under her skin, if nothing else. He could only imagine the things he was going to do to those poor, unfortunate people. He’d have to get his Demons ready to pay extra special attention to his guests.

“And if you lose, Moryn,” Aldai regained his attention, breaking him out of his bloody fantasies, “you become slave to the servant for their life, and must protect the descendants from any of your inventions or tricks for seven generations.”

“Sure, I agree. I won’t be losing, so get ready to watch the torment of your precious servant for the rest of eternity, Liara.” Moryn held out his hand to shake hers and seal the bet, cheshire grin still plastered across his face. There was no way he could lose this thing, not with those souls on the line.

“I wouldn’t be so arrogant if I were you.” Liara reached out to shake her brother’s offered hand, disgusted by his grin. She knew what thoughts lay behind it and it made her sick. To think, she had almost felt guilty about laying the bet out in a way that was obviously meant to make it easy for her to win. She supposed it was just in her goodly nature, but that meant is was also in her nature to beat back the vile monster before her.

Moryn merely laughed at her determined expression, shaking his whole body in amusement. He grasped her hand and shook.

“And so we’re agreed.” Adlai turned to face Liara, her face calm but grey eyes betraying her excitement. “Which servant will you choose, Liara?”

Liara, with an involuntary sweep of her wings, spoke confidently, “Terra Benson of Turon City, Centerdon of Earth.”

The Bet, Chapter 1: Sibling Gods

(This is a story I’ve started writing and posting on another site, you can find that here, and I thought that maybe I should post it here too, since I’m still writing and this is a blog thing and I don’t have any major things happening in my life right now to make a post about. All that said, here’s the first part to The Bet (title is a work in progress). Hope you enjoy.)


Moryn sat with his back against a cliff, eyes closed, listening to the cacophony coming from the valley below. Except for a small entrance carved through the black rocks, the valley was surrounded by the tall, inhospitable mountains. That, coupled with the fact that the entrance to the valley was protected by a garrison from the small, isolated village, made it rather easy. With such a well-protected location, it was simple to convince them that he arrived through supernatural means when he showed up in the middle of the village without having gone through the gate. No one had ever been able to climb up the sheer cliffs, let alone get back down alive. And yet, there he was, clear as day, in their town square. They had believed his story immediately.

He chuckled to himself as he heard the sound of a raging fire. Once they believed he was a messenger from their god, it was child’s play to convince them that their own priests were wrong and were leading them astray. After all, he had the proof of his entrance. A few devout believers challenged him, saying that the priests had been handed the doctrine by the god himself. One or two beginner’s magic tricks were all it took to convince them beyond a doubt. Once he was sure they believed, he vanished into thin air. Well, he really simply went invisible, but it was enough to convince them. The village people, on the order of their leader, went to the church and seized the priests. They tied them to stakes and burned them in fires fueled by the scriptures they had preached. Now, he knew, they had set the church on fire. The backwoods peoples always wanted to show their dedication to their gods in the most extreme ways; they could come up with punishments and chaos just as fast as Moryn’s servants. That’s why they were so much fun to play with.

As a mischievous wind rustled his feathers, he sat up to watch the next part. It was always his favorite part when they realized they had done something idiotic and futilely fought against total ruin. The wind picked up as it came down from the mountains and picked up embers from the burning church, alighting on the roofs of the village houses. It hadn’t rained in weeks, and the dry buildings burst into an uncontrollable flame in mere moments. The wind continued to to carry the fire through the little town, devouring buildings and the people caught inside, sparing not even the crops or animals. The town had doomed itself the moment they listened to Moryn’s words. True as it might be that his entrance was supernatural, he was not a messenger of their god. He had many names given to him by the human race: Satan, Lucifer, the Devil, Angel of Darkness, Azazel, Beelzebub, Iblis, Mephistopholes, Voland. None of them were exactly accurate to what he really was, but he enjoyed them all. Especially as he heard them curse his name now, realizing what had really happened. He wondered how many of them would land themselves in his domain, and how many would go to his sister.

As if the thought were a summons, Liara appeared next to him; she seemed rather upset.  He supposed it made sense, seeing as the village was one of her favorites, all pious and righteous. Those were always his favorite targets.

“Moryn!” To say she was angry was an understatement, perhaps of this iteration of the universe. Her hands were balled into fists at her sides as she stalked up to her brother, her whole body tense. And she was supposed to be the calm and forgiving one. “What did you just do?!”

“I only talked to them for a while. Am I not allowed to talk to the creations anymore? I thought that was part of my purpose.” Moryn loved making his sister angry; he always wondered how much it would take to get her to lose control. He continued watching as the valley burned, enjoying the tortured screams of the pitifully malleable creatures inside. It probably didn’t help that he had had his second-in-command seal the entrance with a cave-in and even those that escaped from the houses had nowhere to go now. Of course, Liara knew that too, and that wouldn’t make her mood any better.

“You know exactly what you did! You slaughtered an entire village of innocent people!” Liara paused, distracted by the screaming. Even though she could put out the fire or unseal the front entrance, at this point, it wouldn’t help anything. Only death would help those people, and her brother wasn’t likely to mercy-kill any of them; he enjoyed death and pain. Life was her domain, death was his. She wasn’t going to break any of the rules, even though she wished she could save those people. She merely silently wished them all a quick entrance into her Afterlife. Thinking of his sadistic tendencies only made Liara angrier; this wasn’t the first village he had murdered, and she knew it would not be the last. As the guardian of creation, the ruler of all that was good, bastion of mercy and compassion, she could not stand Moryn’s cavalier way with life. “Look at me when I’m talking to you!” She hadn’t quite meant to scream, but she wasn’t about to take it back.

Moryn stood, lazily bringing himself up off the ground, dusting off his loose black clothing. It wasn’t required that he wear black and Liara wore white, but they tended to anyway. Moryn was never quite in the mood for bright colors, and black seemed to suit him best. It made it simple enough to blend in without having to use any power, especially when it made his wings simply look like a black cloak. He turned and looked at Liara, bunched up like a cat ready to spring, and stretched, yawning. Although neither he nor Liara had a strictly “natural” form, they picked a shape they liked and wore it most of the time, mainly a humanoid form. Moryn liked to be a little taller than the average human could get, somewhere over 6 feet, he never paid any close attention to the inches. Too small of a detail to dedicate any attention to it. Slightly muscular, though not bulky, slender, but not skinny, shaggy black hair that hung over into his black eyes, and the wings that made humans assume he was a former angel. He finished his stretch, amused at Liara’s composure that kept her from launching herself at him, and simply looked at her with a questioning glance. When she still didn’t speak, he asked, unable to keep the enjoyment out of his voice, “Yes?”

Liara simply turned and walked away, her white dress billowing out behind her. Although she was closer to what the humans assumed an angel looked like, Moryn thought she looked a bit more like a ghost with her white wings and flowy dresses that lingered for a moment before following after. He had apparently hit all the buttons he meant to, as she wouldn’t walk away from him unless she was trying to keep herself under control. It was always fun, provoking Liara. When she was angry, her long, dark hair had a tendency to blow around her in a nonexistent wind, and she never seemed to notice. He always wanted to get her annoyed in a forest to see if he could get her caught in a tree. He laughed aloud at the picture in his mind.

With that, Liara spun around again and started yelling at him. Of course, that just made him laugh harder. She was shouting things about damnation and what is life worth to you, anyway and how could you ever find suffering entertaining and why would you do this to me, blah blah blah. It was the same stuff she said every time. He could probably recite her speech back to her. In fact, he had done so before, which led to her getting even more up in a huff. “What the point of having you, anyway?! Everything would be so much better off if you just didn’t exist!” Well, that one was new.

Moryn stopped laughing, and leveled his gaze at Liara. “What was that?”

It always unnerved Liara when Moryn got quiet and serious, but she was so angry right now that she did stop. “You heard what I said! All you are is pain and suffering and everything would be so much happier and better without you here!” Her light blue eyes looked everywhere but at Moryn’s black glare. Which is why she was taken by surprise when cupped under her chin and tilted her head towards his, forcefully. Although they were equal in power, there were certain things that they were both predisposed for, and none of what Liara was good at would help her in this situation.

I’m the worthless one?” Moryn’s voice was quiet and level, but Liara could hear the contempt underneath, his face only inches away from hers. He had to bend down to put their faces so close, and it made Liara feel so small. “You’re the one who continually creates these disgusting and pathetic things with such short lifespans. You give them the choice to decide to be good or bad, to be powerful or meek, to kill or enhance.” He leaned forward again, at last moving his gaze from her eyes, and whispered into her ear now, “If you didn’t want them to die, you shouldn’t have given them life in the first place.”

“How about a bet, then?” Liara didn’t know where the words had come from, but she was glad she had found them. Bets weren’t a new thing between the two of them; when you live through eternities, things can get boring. Moryn backed away slightly, glaring directly at her again, eyes flashing dangerously.

“What do you propose?” His voice was cold and grating. How dare she insinuate that he was worthless! He was still enraged, though he kept his outward appearance calm.

Liara shuddered inwardly; his cold anger had always been one of the most terrifying things about her brother. She kept her voice strong, however, and said, “We’ll see who’s more powerful, or at least more effective in using their skills, to determine which of us is the more important of the two. Adlai will judge and keep the competition fair.”

Moryn stepped back, dropping his hand from his sister’s face. He watched her visibly relax, and smiled darkly. “What are your stakes, or do you wish to keep those to yourself until we reach Adlai’s presence?”

Now that Moryn had moved away, Liara’s confidence was coming back in droves, spurned by her ire at what he had done to the still-burning village below. “There’s no need to repeat myself. We’ll go to Adlai now and there you’ll hear the stakes.”

“As you wish.” With that, Moryn took off into the sky, flapping his wings. Liara looked down that the ruins of the town and assured herself that she was doing the right thing, her outrage rising again. Someone who butchered hundreds of people at once didn’t deserve her compassion and mercy, especially when he was her eternal partner. She didn’t care if it did happen to be for what he was created. She was going to have to show him that she wouldn’t back down and that she, the vitality and good portion of the pair was the more important. Instead of flying after him, Liara simply went straight to Adlai’s room at the top of the staircase between worlds. Moryn would be there shortly, undoubtedly flying because he couldn’t stand her presence at the moment.

Student Teaching- First Placement (Part 3)

I honestly didn’t realize it would be this long; I thought I would get through the whole thing in 1 part and then just add some more specific stories. I guess I had more to say than I figured.

7th period was another loud and rowdy period, and some of that can be accounted for by end-of-the-day hyperactivity. 7th/8th period always sucked when I was in school because it was so close to being time to leave, so I completely understand the feeling. Especially at the end of February because February sucks for school. Winter Break is gone and done, Spring Break is still almost a month away, and everyone just goes crazy because you feel so cooped up. It gets even worse when the weather gets warmer at the beginning of March, but I wasn’t there for that, thankfully. 7th period was probably our second biggest class, so nearly all the desks were full, and that can make for weird chemistry among the students. There were two students in particular that were necessary to sort of win over to your side. One because he was quite obviously the leader in the classroom; everyone looked up to him and followed him. The other because he was sort of second-in-command to the first and he was very well-liked. They were also some of the more outspoken and goofy individuals in the class. They generally didn’t try to be a bother, and the Leader was also one of those kids who really would feel guilty if they got the teacher mad or frustrated, he just simply didn’t recognize the signs of a frustrated teacher until they told him. He was a good kid.

This class was also full of good kids, but this period LOVED to talk constantly. During silent reading, during individual work time, during instruction, ALL THE DAMN TIME. Even the kids that I really liked, like Ju, Em, and R. They were good students, nice kids, and they just wouldn’t shut up. I gave some leeway, as long as they weren’t talking too loudly or truly disturbing the rest of the class (and before you call foul on favoritism, I gave that chance to pretty much all of my students unless they proved that they didn’t deserve that chance). There were a few other kids who just got really crazy and loud after lunch, especially when they were allowed to be near each other. Then there was one student I just couldn’t figure out. K was another one of those kids who wouldn’t do anything because “you can’t make me.” For some reason, he thought “I don’t know” was an acceptable answer on a test, or assumed that we wouldn’t make him go redo that question (I have no idea what was going through his mind there). At other times, he’ll make quacking noises. Sometimes he’ll go sit in the corner near his desk. He likes to talk back, not to the point where he’ll get in trouble, but toeing the line. And he likes to push buttons with the teachers, like he did with me. I think he was trying to gauge whether or not I would follow through on my threat of detention (Spoiler alert: I did). He was one of those kids who thinks it’s entertaining to make teachers mad, but he doesn’t want to deal with the discipline. Whatever, it’s going to happen anyway.

Another student, G, also drove me nuts for a completely different reason. He’s incredibly difficult, but it’s because he won’t do his work unless you talk him the whole way through it. It takes him forever to do his benchmarks, which is really annoying because it keeps him behind on other work and keeps the gradebook unfinished. If he could get away with it, he’d want the teacher to read every question and explain exactly what the question is asking him to do in different words. I get it, there are some super confusing questions and some are worded stupidly, I know that. CT and I actually tossed out some questions because we weren’t entirely sure what the right answer should be. We also modified some of the questions, turning them into bullet points that the kids had to include in their answer. So the question went from “blahdiblahdiblahdiblah” to “give me:

  • two pieces of evidence from the article
  • yes or no: is there enough evidence/is the evidence good enough to support the author’s point of view?
  • why do you think so?”

That’s it. And those bullet points are actually exactly what I wrote on the example test that I projected on to the board so they could always see those. So I know about confusing questions, and I have no problem clarifying something if a student doesn’t get it. But if the student doesn’t even try to understand, he wants me to do all the thinking for him, that I won’t do. The last benchmark they took before I left took him the 2.5 days allowed, and he wasn’t even finished. That’s with me not allowing him to use the restroom until he showed me progress (and again, before I get called on being a bad teacher here, he asks to go to the bathroom every single day instead of going during passing, and all it took was showing me that he had completed two more questions. That’s all I asked of him before allowing him to go. One of those days, he didn’t get to go at all because he didn’t show me any progress. And I understand slow reading and all that, but the kid with autism, the other kid who’s somewhere on the spectrum we believe, the lowest readers, all got at least SOMETHING from the article written into the answer [except for those refusing to do work].). It didn’t help that he would make annoying noises, e.g. whistling, humming, popping, smacking, clicking. And he wouldn’t stop! Even after his classmates asked him, when I asked him, or when my CT asked him. It was like he thought noises made in his own mouth wouldn’t be heard by anyone else. Super annoying. But again, he was a good kid, like they all were, he was simply frustrating.

Though I think that’s all I have to say about students right now (I’ll certainly add any more stories that deserve telling), the teachers deserve their own section as well. Even after spending two months at this school, I’m still not entirely sure what I think about the teachers. Sometimes, particularly when they get frustrated, some people have the tendency to treat their colleagues the same way they treat their 7th graders. I know that there are times when teacheriness just spills out because it’s what you spend all day doing, but there’s a difference between accidentally using it on your husband/wife and saying it snottily to your team members. There were three main forceful personalities that were the ones that would clash most often. The funniest thing about that is that the team was still all friendly. The last day I was there, a Friday, where everyone was eating in one of the teachers’ rooms, it was happy, laughy, teasing, friendly time, including those three women. It was so hard to figure them out. There was cattiness and differences in techniques that would cause issues, but they were all still buddy-buddy and worked together for the good of the students. I guess it’s a good thing, actually, that they still worked well together. Kind of glad I got placed with that 7th grade team.

Student Teaching- First Placement (Part 2)

I left off with second period. I was mentioning the trouble makers, but there were a lot of good students in there too. Two of my best students, A and M, the ones who would go beyond and answer the Level 4 (high level thinking) questions on their benchmarks and just go the extra mile on their normal answers, were also in second period. They were the ones who made me happy when I had to grade a test from someone who was refusing to do the work. Another particular difficulty/opportunity in second period was Je, a kid with autism. Je was fairly high-functioning, being in our gen ed class instead of in the collab class (normal classroom vs. classroom co-taught by gen ed and special ed teachers). He still had a program, using a point sheet every day to rate his behavior, and he got certain accommodations, like extra time, especially on tests and CFA’s (Common Formative Assessment) that would go into the gradebook. He’s super smart and you can tell, mostly through oral work; he was much better with discussion and direct questions than he was with written responses. You never could tell, though, when he would get argumentative. Certain things would trigger an argument, even though they don’t seem like disagreeable things. One of my first days there, we were doing an activity in groups: the students were given a scenario on colored paper and responded to the first question (do you think this person deserves a second chance?) on their own. Then they got into groups based on the color of their worksheets and discussed their answers and their scenarios in those groups, then answered questions 2 and 3 on their own(ish). After all of that, if there was still time, we talked about the scenarios and the groups’ answers as a full group. I had to mediate the discussion group with Je in it (I had purposefully given him a colored sheet with the least volatile scenario on it), so that he and the other students could actually get along. Then, with the full-class discussion, Je brought up a good point: it wasn’t just a yes/no question. He came up with a “yes, but…” answer. And then, when I repeated it to the whole class, like teachers do, he started getting annoyed. He said that he had already said that, why was I saying it again? And I was like, it was a good point, Je. He said, I know that, I already said that, why are you saying it again? I told him that I was repeating it for the rest of his classmates, in case they didn’t understand. He accepted that answer, which I was happy about; I honestly had no idea where it would have gone if I couldn’t figure it out. There were more times like that throughout my placement, and most of them were diplomatically defused like the above. There were sometimes where he’d start hitting his legs in frustration, which we couldn’t really do much about, but we let him cool off a bit and he stopped. There were only two times when he had a real meltdown, and those would be the times when we called the sp ed teacher down to help us. We’re not much equipped to handle those sorts of things.

After second period, we don’t teach English again until 6th period. 3rd and 4th are planning periods, though they’re also used for meetings and behavior intervention duty (you go to a little room with the behavior coach and just kind of managed when kids get sent out of class the second time). After 4th comes lunch time. This break from teaching is actually really, really nice. Teaching is one of those jobs where it’s super easy to burn out, and having to teach all day long can get really stressful, so the break in the middle was nice. 5th period is enrichment or reading intervention class. My CT and our partner English teacher were the teachers for the reading intervention. All that entailed was getting students onto computers, having them log in, and then letting them go about their business on the website. We were only required for management.

After all that, we get to 6th period. 6th was the biggest of our classes, and 6th and 7th were undoubtedly the loudest and rowdiest of our classes. While 2nd had students who refused to do work, 6th was more full of students who would talk the whole time and not listen. One student, S, refused to sit still and would talk, make comments in the middle of teaching or to my redirections, and would get up and about just to distract other people. Another student, C, just wouldn’t be quiet, though it was all in good humor, there were just sometimes you wanted him to shut up. H was the same way, but he would continue talking as if you couldn’t hear him, including during tests. There was a point when I had to go sit next to him just so that he would stop talking during the test. Another set of students, Co, Lo, T, and Ch, would get off task, though the two girls (Ch and T) were only allowing themselves to be goaded off task by the boys. Then there were three who were incredibly annoying: E, A, and D. D was another one of those blatant refusals, but she literally did nothing. On her last test, she scored a .5 and received a note telling her to arrange time outside of school if she wanted to fix it. (Quick note, the schools around here use Standards Referenced Grading [SRG], which means that student work is usually graded 1-3, though the total range is 0-4. 0 means no evidence was turned in; 1 means an attempt was at least made; 2 means you’re getting there, but need help; 2.5 means you’ve almost got it, but not quite; 3 is you met standards [so this is an A]; 3.5 and 4 are above and beyond, into extended work. On a regular grading scale, 3 = A, 2.5 = B, 2 = C, 1.5 and lower = D, 0 = F.) Not only that, but she has issues with some of the other black students in the class, notably A and E. Although D is usually the problem, A and E are the ones who push her into it. The one time I gave D an isolation (the first time you’re sent out of class) was the time E and A were either saying things or giving her looks that just kind of set her off. And once the mood was set, she lost it. Digging loudly in the highlighters the way you would through legos (keep in mind, this is a test day, it’s supposed to be silent), loudly telling other students to “stop bugging me,” getting defensive when told to sit and do her work, even though her test and pencil are sitting in the desk that’s behind her because she turned around to face E, and eventually yelling at the substitute (Although she didn’t technically yell at him, he asked her to go sit down [after getting up to talk to E] and work on her test, and she shouted, “I’M SO ANNOYED!” It was at him, but not at him.). And that was the point that I had had enough and told her to come get the think sheet and get out. A was a student who got in trouble in the hallways a lot because he was part of a certain group of boys who always hung out around the drinking fountain during passing time, but he also wouldn’t do work unless coaxed through the whole damn thing or given no option but to do the work. E was a pretty good student, though particularly talkative and there’s obviously the whole thing with D.

Even after all of that, 6th period was still a class of good kids. All the other students were annoyed with the kids who ruined it for everyone, and there were times when they were all perfect angels. Then there were the hell days that you just try to get through. Speaking of ruining it for everyone, that refers to the Rating and Mystery Student thing I talked about in my last post. At the beginning of the year, my CT set up a system for behavior accountability. Each class came up with their own social contract, writing down their own rules for classroom conduct. When all the rules were agreed upon and written down, all the students signed their names at the bottom. After that was set up, at the end of each class period, they get to suggest a rating 1-5 for their behavior based on the social contract, 1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest. Several students get to share their opinions, and they have to give a reason why they think the class deserves that rating. They know that my CT or I have the last say in what their rating is, so they have to convince us to agree with their assessment. If the agreed upon rating is a 4 or higher (4.5/5), they have earned a “Mystery Student.” At the beginning or end of class, CT or I draw a popsicle stick with one of the students’ names on it. If the student has also earned a 4 or higher in their own behavior, he/she gets to sign the list on the board. Once the class gets to 19 signatures, the 20th time is assessing everybody, so it has to be a perfect 5. Once they get all 20 slots, they’ve earned a Mystery Student Party, which just means they get to bring snacks and/or a drink and watch a movie. It is entirely possible for a class to earn a 4, but the Mystery Student to not earn it. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is incredibly subjective. CT and I would often say we drew a student’s name and be making it up, picking a random student we think deserved it. Or, when we think that the class was good, but don’t want to give them a Mystery Student, we’ll say that Mystery Student didn’t earn it. We did do it the honest way the majority of the time, but there were times when it was better to simply make it up to make it work. Teachers are sneaky like that.

This has also gotten long, so I’ll split it again. I like not-too-long pieces of writing to read on a blog. If I make them too short or cut them in weird places, you can let me know and I’ll fix it.

Student Teaching- First Placement

For the past 8 weeks, I’ve been student teaching at a middle school here in the Midwest. I bet that as soon as I say what grade I was assisting with/teaching, most of you will have a reaction somewhere along the line of, “Goodness, you’re crazy. I could never do that. You brave woman. etc.” I’ve heard variations of that a lot, and even though I can understand why people would react that way, I think those kids get a lot more flak than they deserve. But, out with it already! I was teaching English in a 7th grade classroom. Any time I say I’m working in a middle school classroom, I get some sort of that reaction. Then again, that’s pretty much what everyone says when I say I’m going to school to be a teacher too, so whatever. I have plenty I can say about people’s reactions and thoughts about teaching, but that would be a different post entirely. This one is focused on my first student teaching placement.

Overall, I actually really enjoyed it, and the kids were all really sad when they learned it was my last day. It was really nice, considering the number of students I was about ready to set on fire because they were completely refusing to do their work, even though they were more than capable and would do well if they would just do it. That was actually my favorite part. A lot of the students, probably feeding off of my frustration with them, were frustrated with me, and so I was really happy that they were actually going to miss me. For the most part, the kids were really good. I have some issues trying to figure out where a normal 7th grader should be in my English knowledge, so it was nice to have my cooperating teacher have plans from last year that we sort of reused/revamped to make it work. That helped me keep my expectations from being too high, so I was more effective as a teacher. Seeing students go above and beyond that work was an awesome feeling. That sort of high when your kids have a lightbulb moment is a fantastic feeling and completely worth the troubles of teaching 4-6 classes every day.

I had 4 periods of 7th grade Language Arts to teach, Periods 1, 2, 6, and 7. There were only 7 periods in the day, so each period was about an hour long. Wednesdays were also early releases (students would get out early so that teachers could do professional development), so there were only 45 minutes of class time. That seems kinda long when you just say the words, but it went by really quickly. Especially when the beginnings of pretty much all of our classes started with SSR (silent sustained reading). In general, you need 3-4 minutes at the end to clean up and get ready to leave and do Rating/Mystery Student (I’ll explain later), 30-45 minutes for the lesson (poor 1st period is the guinea pig to judge how much time is needed), 5-25 minutes of silent reading, and 3-4 minutes to transition from passing time to class time. That doesn’t include thing you don’t think about: time to pass out papers/notebooks/highlighters/glue sticks/etc., student questions, announcements over the intercom, unannounced drills, a student deciding that the best time to sharpen their pencil is in the middle of you giving directions to the class, argumentative/disruptive students, and so many other things. An hour sometimes feels like an eternity; other times it feels like I need another full hour.

Needless to say, being with these kids for 4 hours each day, 5 days a week, for 8 weeks, you develop preferences towards students or classes, generally the slightly quieter, more cooperative students/classes. It’s not that the louder class periods are made up of bad kids, or that quiet kids = more engaged kids, it’s simply that it’s easier for the teacher when the students are quiet (until you want them to get loud, and then you have an issue). 1st and 2nd period were the quieter ones for me. It’s early morning still (Seriously, we started at 7:40. The middle school I went to started at 7:55 and the high school started at 8.), so the students are all still too tired to really go crazy. Which isn’t to say that they couldn’t. The rivalries and feuds in 1st period became very obvious very quickly. There was a group of boys, 2 in particular, that had issues. One, L, was super sensitive and didn’t know how to react without flying off the handle and took everything personally. The other, C, liked to play into that super sensitivity and really didn’t have to say a lot to get L going. It could be something as simple as saying that L’s favorite Pokèmon was stupid. Add to that two more boys, Ja and Jo, who would pick at school things or gang up with C, respectively, and you have a recipe for disruption and conflict. And then the girls who sat around L (because my CT [cooperating teacher] and I wrote the seating chart to keep the boys spread out) started joining up with the boys, especially in the last two weeks of my placement. In fact, all of my classes went from good kids to Good Lord, shut up now! Stop talking when I say stop talking! kids in the last two weeks. So the combative boys, the won’tshutup boys on the other side of the room, the giggly, whispery girls sprinkled in, and the period had its problems.

Second was probably the overall best behaved class, even though they degraded in the last few weeks. The decay was really only with certain students, likely because they now felt comfortable enough with me as a teacher and were, essentially, daring me to go through with the disciplinary action I had at my command. There were honestly just 2 girls who drove me nuts in this class period, B and J, but they would get everyone else distracted with their BS and the train would jump the track. Good students would get off track because of these two and them distracting everyone else. J was especially good at disruption. B would mostly just talk (getting out of her seat to go talk with her friend on the other side of the room was the most annoying thing she did), but she would also turn around and bother the boy sitting in the group behind her (here’s a handy guide to how the room was set up, so you know what I’m talking about). She would mess with his hood, mess with his chair, and, once, tied the arms of his sweatshirt (the one he was currently wearing) around his chair, effectively strapping him into the chair. J, on the other hand, refused to do any work towards the end of my placement. She was given 3 class periods, roughly 2.5 hours, to finish her benchmark test (a district-wide test for 7th graders), and just didn’t do half the test. She then got graded on what she completed, but that makes both me and my CT frustrated and sad. We want to be able to give the students good grades, but we can’t make students do the work. J would also be disruptive under the guise of being helpful, even though she knew that was complete BS. The time this specifically stands out in my mind is when we were cutting out a sheet of paper to glue into their notebooks for vocab (we were behind, so to speed up the vocab lesson, we gave the students a sheet of paper with the word and the example already on it, missing only the definitions, so that we didn’t have to wait for them to write all of that down). J went over by the door and picked up the recycling bin to “help” by picking up paper scraps. The thing about this bin, though, is that it’s approximately 1.5′ x 2.5′, like this, which is pretty damn big to be hauling around the classroom, especially when there often is barely enough room between desks for me to walk through. So got maybe three feet from where the bin was when she started banging it into desks and nearly dropped it, which was very loud and completely broke the train of thought. I told her to go put it down, and she said she was being helpful. I told her that no, she was not, she was being distracting and needed to put it back and go sit down at her desk. The most annoying part of all of this was that she said and did these things with the most idiotic smile on her face, like being disruptive and annoying was her life goal.

That actually seemed to be a trend in the school, because the students who were the worst behaved in class acted like it was cool and fun to get the teachers annoyed, even though they all hated to serve the subsequent consequences. That’s something that I just don’t understand. When I was growing up and going to school, it never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever occurred to me that I could say “no” to a teacher. When a teacher told you to do something, as long as it wasn’t completely awful (I’m not talking blind obedience here, we were still encouraged to use good judgement), you did it. The only questions asked were to clarify what the teacher wanted, not if you could get out of it. It seems that students, more recently, have decided that teachers don’t have the authority to tell them what to do and that saying no or pissing off the teacher is simply a game. I don’t understand it.

(gonna break this off here and continue in a second post, as this one is getting a little long.)

London! (Part 7)

DAY 6 (cont)

After the British Museum, we were all super tired and desperately wanted to sit down and eat. We decided to go find the Pizza Express that Section Leader’s Girlfriend (SLG) wanted to eat at, so we went and wandered down Oxford Street. Oxford Street was incredibly pretty; it’s a major shopping street and they had the decorations for New Year’s up, pretty orbs that were blue lights hanging all across the street. It was awesome. But we were mostly just wanting to sit and eat. We were getting incredibly frustrated when we wandered several blocks down the street and didn’t see one. Thankfully, SLG remembered that we had the addresses of all the restaurants that took our vouchers in our little pocket guides, and we had somehow made it to within a block or two of the restaurant without knowing it. So a short walk and many threats of giving up later, we arrived at Pizza Express.

It was wonderful to be out of the cold and sitting down. Mostly the sitting down. The service in England is not at all like in the US. They expect you to simply sit and talk for forever and so they’re kind of aloof and hands off, which worked for us this time. We were very happy to just sit and talk and drink water for a long while, even after we were done eating. The boys had Pollo ad Astra pizza, which was chicken, tomatoes, and cheese. The girlfriends had American, which was literally just a pepperoni pizza, and I had margherita pizza, which is just cheese pizza. We sat there for a very, very long while. SLG got a piece of chocolate cake and ice cream, which we kind of shared around the table, which was also pretty good. Between the 5 of us, we drank two full pitchers of water by the end of our time there.

When we were done eating, we got back up and went wandering down Oxford Street back towards the station to do some shopping and eventually get back to a Tube stop near our hotel. Most of us didn’t really find anything, but it was entertaining to go through and look at everything. People take shopping seriously on Oxford Street; there were a huge number of multi-level sales, about which we got confused when we forgot that English labeling of floors and American labeling of floors is different. Instead of the first floor > second floor thing that Americans use, where first floor is the one you come in on, the English use ground floor > first floor > second floor. SLG bought something and SL was pretty happy about it, which made the rest of us grin. After that, we didn’t really feel much like staying on Oxford Street with all the people and we couldn’t find what SL was looking for anyway, so we went back on the Tube. After we took our last ride, we went to get the money back off of our Oyster cards, because then we could just use that to get our souvenirs or for our end to the trip that night. The one clerk was super slow and didn’t seem to understand what we were saying, but then she was off shift after one person got her money back, so we switched to the other clerk. The new clerk then told us that she couldn’t do what we were asking, and we were like, uh, well, she just did it. The Clerk got super pissy with us and practically threw our cards at us.But whatever, we got our money off our cards. We came out near a souvenir place so that Bride and Groom could get something and so that I could get myself a London jacket. It took me two stores to find what I actually wanted in my size, but it’s a super awesome, super warm, super comfy and I’ve warn it constantly since I’ve gotten back. Bride and Groom found what they wanted, and then we walked back the rest of the way to the hotel.

After we deposited our things in our rooms in the hotel, we traded SLG (who hadn’t been feeling particularly great all day) for Roomie and headed back out for drinks. The night before, SL, SLG, and a few other people had gone out to a pretty awesome little pub, and that’s where we were headed to end our trip to London on a fun note. It was a super chill little place, and there were a lot of fun people that we ended up meeting, like an acting troupe from one of the shows near the Thames and the London Eye. We started the night outside, just talking and drinking, sharing stories of when we almost got in trouble at our university. Groom and I shared our story about how we were personally responsible for a change in policy/rules between years because we were not easily trampled on people when we got in trouble. Nothing besides that ever came of our getting in trouble, probably because our RLC (Residence Life Coordinator) left and we got a new one the next year. We all got kinda drunk. I’ve never much liked the way alcohol tastes, but they had a really good Swedish cider, Koppaberg mixed berry, that was good enough that I could drink it fast enough to get drunk. This was the first time anyone but my ex-boyfriend and his roommates had seen me drunk, and the first time they had seen me in any manner besides goody-two-shoes and quiet. It was really funny, because they all thought I was a lot drunker than I really was. It’s mostly because the first two things that happen when I get drunk are 1) I get super giggly and happy and 2) I lose control of my balance and find it really fun to half fall over. Movement feels really weird and awesome when I get drunk, so I purposefully sway back and forth, and I end up drunk staggering, which is a lot of fun to me. But it was an awesome night, and they were all wondering why they had never gotten me drunk before. We eventually walked back to the hotel around 1, and I was loudly talking in a British accent the entire way back, laughing the whole way. We immediately went to sleep when we got back, making sure we were hydrated and packed up for the next day’s travel.

DAY 7: Going Home

Breakfast was served at the normal time, but this time we ate in the little hotel restaurant where the rest of the hotel patrons ate normally. We had more options, including hot things, and we all ate a lot more than we had for the rest of the week. It was really nice, considering  we were going to spend the rest of the day traveling. At varying times, our flight groups were required to meet in the hotel lobby and we rode the coaches back to Heathrow. Going through security was pretty simple, which was nice. Not a really big fan of airports or all the people, but this side of Heathrow was really nice. They were really trying to get you to buy the duty free things, so all the stores were pretty good looking. Roomie and I got some lunch, cuz it was a decent amount later from breakfast and we weren’t sure when we were going to eat on the plane. While we were sitting there with Bride and Groom, after we finished eating, the fire alarm went off. That really super sucked. There were hundreds of people trying to evacuate that one area and there was not a whole lot of room to get anywhere, because other doorways were contributing to the giant stream of people. Once we got a very long ways down the hallways, to where the airport security guys were, we finally got a gate number. Of course, it was exactly back the way we had come, so we had to wait for the security people’s go ahead, and we were looking at making it to our gate with maybe 10 minutes before boarding.

Annoyingly enough, I hadn’t gotten a seat number when I got my ticket. Apparently, the airline had overbooked the flight and didn’t print seat numbers on several tickets, hoping that people wouldn’t show up. Roughly 20 people from our 80 person group had to go get seat numbers as soon as we got to the gate. Although, I have to admit, that made me extremely lucky, because I ended up with an aisle seat behind the bulkhead, so I had all the legroom in the world. It was super nice. I hate plane rides, still, because I couldn’t even pretend to sleep for this one. I ended up sitting and trying to sleep, waking all the way up every time my head dipped. I eventually got tired of that and made it past my awkwardness and got my carry-on out of the overhead bin to get headphones. I then watched a super horrible movie (the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) all the way through, hoping that it would get better at some point. It didn’t. I don’t really feel like going into a rant about it, even though I wasted that two hours of my life, so I’ll just leave this here. That video covers pretty much all the issues I have with the movie in a mere 23 minutes of quickly going through all of this crap. After that, I was thoroughly annoyed and stopped watching everything and went to listening to music and reading Dune, a book that I enjoyed the first time around was ready to read all over again. That’s how I spent the rest of the flight. At the end, my head started aching and I could feel that I was getting motionsick, which sucks. I hate motionsickness. When we finally got off, we went through security/customs. It was completely different from the last time I came back into the country. I filled out the customs card, but then we went through automated machines, which asked different questions. On my customs card, I declared the packaged food in my suitcase, but the machine didn’t ask about packaged food, so I didn’t have to declare it on that. And the rest of the agents only looked at the receipt from the machine. I know it wasn’t something I really needed to worry about at all, because they don’t really care about prepackaged food, because it’s not something that carries in problems. Still found it really weird.

When we were finally through and out in front and on buses, we were only 6 hours from university. Hooray. When we got on the bus, the bus driver told Roomie, me, Groom, Bride, SL, and SLG, as well as the other people who sat around us, that the heat in the back of the bus wasn’t as effective as the front of the bus. We said it wasn’t really a problem. How wrong we were. The back of the bus was maybe 30-40 degrees. None of us could sleep, curling up into out coats/significant others and trying to pass the time. We ended up stopping to pick up supper, so it was a nice little warm up time. It was still much too long to sit in the back of the bus, freezing, and completely unable to do anything but shiver. Thankfully, when we got to the University, the building was open so we could go inside to wait for rides. It took another 30 minutes for my mum to get there, but then finally got to sit in the warm car, which was so much nicer than the bus, and drank an entire bottle of water. Another two long hours of driving on the most boring highway in the middle of the night (we managed to get to the university at midnight), we finally got home. And immediately pass out.

 

I spent the next several days detailing my trip to all those who asked about it, and showing off my pictures. It was a fantastic trip, and I’m so super happy that I decided to go on the trip no matter what it took. It was probably the best experience of my life so far. Now I just need to save up to be able to make a trip to New Hampshire and one to Austin, Texas. That’s for another time.