A Story by Charles Painter

One boy's normal day turns into a spiral of woe.

The clock in room 218 ticked on at the same old pace it had for eighteen years. The gears clicked by each others by the second; the winding mechanisms pulled the hour hand slowly across the white surface. The second hand clicked closer and closer to the top of the clock. The minute hand, nearly primed, prepared to click into place. A few seconds passed until the second hand struck true.

    Rrrrring! The bell system set off the alarm, and the halls of Washbrook High School filled with the students who so desperately wanted to get home and shrug off the day of work and confinement. And from room 218, a boy stepped out, still filling his backpack with papers and textbooks.

    Michael Stroncut was just leaving his seventh period class, biology. It had been a very long day, and he was surprised that boredom and sleep hadn’t overcame him during Mr. Waldo’s invigorating lecture on cellular respiration. His backpack slipped out of his hand and fell into the congested artery that was the hallway. He grabbed the back and scooped the contents off to the side away from oncoming traffic.

    “Probably should have done a better job back in the classroom, Mike,” he muttered to himself as he tried to fit the mass of papers back into his pack. He grabbed the zipper and yanked it in his anger. It snapped off and left him with a much less efficient backpack. Michael sighed, slowly brought the stub of a zipper across and got back up. Into the coursing river of students he stepped; he was swept down the hall out the school’s front doors.

    December 6, 2012 was a cloudy day, the sky was covered by a scant layer of gray that you could barely see the sun through. Michael plodded out to the blacktop and leaned against the tall black fence. An unidentified projectile suddenly struck him on the forehead, certainly not forcefully, but enough to shatter whatever daydream Michael was having. The juice-box dropped to the concrete, calming Michael a bit, but still not presenting the tosser.

    It was Josh of course, Michael’s oldest friend. He slid up next to Michael on his skateboard, popped it up, caught it, and stuck the landing, just like he always did.

    “So how ‘bout that biology lecture? Bet you had plenty of nap time in that class,” Josh started off.
    Michael laughed and said, “I mean, Mr. Waldo just keeps getting older and older! One day he’s just gonna stop moving or something. I don’t even know.” The two burst into a chorus of laughter for a moment like they had done since they were young children and it took them a bit to calm themselves.

    “Oh man, that guy is just so...” Josh shook his head, swallowed, and jabbed an elbow into Michael’s kidney. “So, you and Vanessa.”
    “What? What are you talking about?” Michael spurted out, suddenly very surprised and uncomfortable.

    “Don’t think for a minute I didn’t hear about you and her going to the movies tonight. You can’t keep your bro from finding this stuff out.”

    “Yeah, well, it’s no big deal. I’m just taking her to see that new documentary thing tonight on whatever that stuff is. I think it’s like, politics and conspiracies and liberals, conservatives, you know.

    “Dude, that sounds really boring.”

    “Yeah, well that’s what she said she wanted to see.”

    “You certainly know how to pick them.”

    Michael chuckled, leaned back, and sighed. “Yeah, man. I’m just worried. I don’t wanna screw anything up, you know?”

    Josh clapped him on the back. “You’ve got this man. Now be gone! You must get ready for your super-exiting date-cumentary!”

    “I really hope you don’t want to be a comedian when you grow up,” Michael shouted back as he took off towards his home.

    Michael was fortunate enough to live relatively near Washbrook High; it took him about ten minutes to walk from his home to there if he went through the city’s thoroughfare, Main Street. The cloudy day had turned windy, with cold damp breezes pressing on Michael as he walked through Main Street on his way home. He continued past the quaint little shops of Washbrook, casting his glance into the shop windows, seeing what caught his fancy. He would need to go Christmas shopping soon. The movie theater was ahead of him. Michael felt his heart beat a bit faster as he thought of going to the movies with Vanessa; tonight would be fine. And who knows, maybe he’d enjoy the movie. Sure, documentaries weren’t his type, but-

    Michael’s train of thought came to a tragic crash as he felt the strong, rough grip of hands around his throat and mouth. He screamed in muffled surprise as he was flung back into an alleyway. Michael kicked and thrashed as he was brought back through the alley by his assailant. He was shoved into a door, thrown on the ground, and the door closed. The room was black.

    A light slowly flickered into existence, a blueish white artificial glow. Michael slowly blinked and tried to find the source of his capture and the light, and came face to face with a site that made his blood run cold. A man stood above him, dressed in rags of cloth. He had a berserk white beard that thinly coiled around his face like a lion’s mane, his eyes were an unnatural pale blue, and his mouth, filled with teeth like yellow corn twitched uncontrollably.

    He placed his hand over Michael’s mouth again. Michael tried to scream, but the man’s hand was strong and calloused. The assailant shoved his other hand into Michael’s pocket. Michael screamed again, but the man did not do what Michael thought he would. He pulled his hand out and checked Michael’s other pocket. He didn’t find what he was looking for.

    The man let out a grunt. He huffed to himself and began to shake. He looked around the room frantically and then gasped as if in realization. Keeping his hand on Michael’s mouth, he ripped the backpack off of Michael. The assailant rummaged his hand in the backpack for a few minutes and pulled out one of Michael’s binders. He flipped through the papers and ripped out one. It was one of Michael’s science quizzes.

    The man stared at the paper for a moment. He began to grumble to himself. “Michael... Michael Stroncut... heh. Heh heh. Hehahahah!” The man broke into a raucous laughter, a huge bellow that sounded hollow in it’s sheer insanity. “I found you!” the man shouted. His breath smelled like rotten fruit. He leaned in closer to Michael’s face and whispered in a rough voice, “I found you, Stroncut.”

    Michael did not make a sound, instead he simply stared into the ice blue eyes of the man who held him captive and now knew his name. The man held him there and did not move, he instead stared at Michael with his dirty grin,

    Michael couldn’t say how long he was held there by this man, who gazed into his eyes with expectancy. At some moments he would pause, close his eyes, and smile. It reminded Michael of churches he saw on TV, where the audiences raised their hands and seemed to enter a trance. It was like he was waiting for something.

    Time ticked by. Michael still couldn’t come up with a way to escape this man. His grip was strong. Finally, the assailant’s grin faded into disappointment.
    “No...” he trailed off in a deep voice. “That won’t do. I’ll have to-” he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a newspaper. He scanned it over and shook his head. The man uttered a few obscenities and punched the floor. His grip on Michael’s mouth strengthened.

    A chime from within the room went off. The man froze and looked around. It was Michael’s cell phone; someone had just sent him a text message. From the corner of his eye, Michael saw the content.


Hey Mike, the movie starts at 6:30, so pick me up about six, alright? See you then!

    The man grabbed the phone and read the message, and a smile set again. “Six thirty...” he mumbled to himself. “All I have to do is hold you hear till then and-” he stopped. A look of dread spread over his face. The man stared down at his wrist. Michael noticed for the first time the man was wearing what appeared to be a watch, but it was different. It had a strange blue glow on it, and looked like there were things... hovering on the watch. Like a hologram from a movie.

    “No... no no no!” the man shouted. “I only have two hours! No!” The man released Michael’s hand for the first time in many minutes. He thrashed about the small room in a fit of rage, kicking, screaming, delivering unspeakable anger. “I- I didn’t want to, but I will! I’ll do it for all of em’ I will!” the man shouted. He stormed out the door at a sprint. Michael ran to escape, but the man had barred it. Michael screamed at the top of his lungs, but no one heard. No one came.
    Michael sunk down onto the floor and buried his head within his hands. He was too worn out to cry, he just needed to escape. He looked around the small room. It was probably the storage for one of the town’s shops. The light flickered for a moment, and his eyes caught sight of the newspaper that the assailant had dropped. Out of sheer brokenness of self. He crawled over to it and picked it up, wondering what this could have told the man about him.

    What he saw did not make sense.


“The world longs for a direct leader who knows how mankind functions,” says Sovereign Stroncut. Stroncut’s rise to power has been called meteoric by all as the man to unite the once unruly nations of Canada and the United States into one, great power that is Nation of Atlantica. To think it was only a few brief years ago that Sovereign Stroncut was only a representative in the American government, then president. We here at Atlantic Revolution talked with him about his first climb to power.

AR: What was it like, moving through the American government?

SS: To tell the truth, it was sickening. Having to go about agreeing with their ideas of democracy and their hypocritical views on equality was demeaning, to say the least. However, it was in this place I was truly able to dig my heels in and convince them that I would, of course, be their best leader, or president, as it was called.

AR: How did you make the decision to declare war on Canada?

SS: That’s simple. My new nation of Atlantica was strong, but I needed stronger. I needed a power that not only competed with the other nations of the world, but dwarfed them in size and greatness. Annexing Canada was the easiest way to do so.

AR: How did you go about convincing the people to join the nation of Atlantica?

SS: Truly, I simply had to tell them about it, and once they realized just how glorious it would be, they were more than happy to oblige. Of course, there were those who did not see the glory in my vision. You’ve heard of the insurrection surely. Crushing them was easy enough (laughs); and someone has to be made examples of.

AR: I remember my first public execution. It was something else, the destruction of Atlantica’s enemies. I just had so much... pride.

SS: I’m glad you did; they’re not just there for nothing. A nation with rebellion can not function on the inside. That is why we have the Code of Loyalty; that’s why you all recite it every morning.

AR: Here’s a question I know all our readers want the answer to. How on earth were you inspired to create  this great nation of Atlantica?

SS: This question does take me back. It was a day back in 2012, October I believe. I had just left school and was going to take a childhood fancy of mine to the movies. She wanted to see the documentary: The Ideal Nation. Well, I wasn’t too keen on the concept, but decided that to win her fancy I would watch the movie. Let me tell you, that movie clicked it for me. That movie showed me the corruptness of America, and what this nation of people could become! Alone, with the false freedom of America they were without purpose. But with me, with Atlantica, they now have purpose. A reason to live! That film showed me that; I do not think I would be the same if I hadn’t seen it, so I am glad that I did.

    Michael stopped reading there. His hands were shaking, as was his head in disbelief. This could not be real. He looked over The Atlantic Revolution again, looking for something, anything. The date at the top said March 28, 2073. It simply could not be real.

    The door that lead into the small room burst open and the assailant walked in. He leveled a pistol at Michael’s head. Michael gripped the paper and closed his eyes.

    His hand began to go through the paper. Michael opened his eyes and looked down at the paper. It was... fading. The paper was ceasing to exist. It began to melt out of existence, and soon there was nothing left. There was nothing there at all.

    The assailant’s gun dropped to the floor. Michael thought the assailant had dropped it out of astonishment, but when he looked up, the assailant himself was becoming transparent.

    He was laughing and crying hysterically. He reached to grab Michael but went straight through him. Michael could barely hear him laughing as he faded out of existence. His almost entirely transparent eyes looked into Michael’s with an insane sort of joy, and he was gone.

    Michael fell to the ground and tried to think.

© 2012 Charles Painter

Author's Note

Charles Painter
This story came to me in a flurry. It was an idea I needed to pen down. What are your thoughts? How could it improve?

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It actually is a pretty good idea.But you can't leave it as it is, and I don't know where you can go with it. But it definitely shows your potential as a writer.

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Added on December 10, 2012
Last Updated on December 10, 2012
Tags: ficiton, time-travel


Charles Painter
Charles Painter

Nowhere, RI

I'm a young writer working on getting where I want to be. Take a trip into my mind. more..

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