The Legend of Mr. Martin

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After their initial ecstasy of meeting the world's last Internet celebrity had petered down a bit, Jason and his Jonas Brother counterpart, Billiam Mahoney, agreed to a temporary lull in the fighting. And just like that, children from both sides of the conflict commenced behaving much as you'd expect children their age to behave. Rowan had spied quite a few of them doing everything from trading grimy old Yu-Gi Oh cards to swapping the latest chapters of their vampire/werewolf fiction. He found the abrupt change in their attitudes toward each other rather disconcerting. For the moment the children were stunningly unprejudiced in regards to gang affiliations or toga color.

Together, the leaders from each group led their exciting astronaut visitors on a tour of the ungovernable mess that was Charles Grober Middle School, whilst confirming, through colloquial narration, much of what Rehearsal had suspected back in the "Beiber" corridor. After the initial Spacekid-frenzy had abated, Jason and Billiam had quickly settled back in to their affected post-apocalyptic accents and syntax patterns.

The story they told was a good one. If you like gruesome shit.

The children who now populated the school were the survivors of summer camp based out of the school's cafeteria and gymnasium. As Rowan had pointed out in an earlier chapter of our story, the Cadaver Apocalypse had occurred during a Charles Grober Summer Break, thus stranding these summer students inside the school. This was a providential turn of events, as the school provided them with better shelter than their respective homes would have. Where many of their parents were soon infected and assimilated into the sprawling cadaver menace, the children survived unmolested in their WW2-era harborage.

As Rowan had suspected the moment he saw the lead paneling on the classroom window, a "Cleanbox," courtesy of the US Airforce, featuring anti-radiation salves and reams of lead-paneling, had been airdropped onto the roof of the school some time before the Turn.

Under the courageous leadership of one of the surviving camp counsellors, the aforementioned Mr. Martin, the Charles Grober students spent much of their time in the school's sub-basement, a legitimate concrete reinforced WW2 bunker where the survivors had wisely transferred all of their food rations and clean liquids. Turns out Charles Grober Middle School had been designed and built during the height of WW2 Nazi paranoia, and it was one of the very few public schools in the United States to feature such a shelter.

But following the conclusion of WW2, the shelter was relegated for use as a combination storage area/graveyard for old equipment and supplies nobody knew what to do with. By keeping the children in this bunker for large blocks of time, insisting everyone take daily showers, and strategically positioning the government-issued lead paneling, Mr. Martin had helped the students sruvvie the initial Turn that turned regular people into People.

But what happened next was this: In time, and despite Mr. Martin's most exacting precautions, the background radiation that blanketed the Earth began to take its toll on the surviving humes. With the exception of Martin himself (the youngest and healthiest of the four adults), all other surviving camp counsellors eventually became People. One of them managed to kill and start to eat a student before being impaled in the face with a nail-stick, the deathstroke being delivered by Mr. Martin himself.

Aware that he, himself, was losing the physical battle against the omnipresent radiation, Mr. Martin redoubled his precautions. Rules rules rules. This is when he famously came up with the idea to use large sheets of mural paper-which had been cleanly stored in the minimally radiated bunker-as disposable "lead lined" clothing, thus eliminating the need to waste water washing irradiatiated garments. Before use, the interior of each article of paper clothing would be first scribbled upon copiously with Number 2 pencils, of which the school had had a seemingly inexhaustible supply.

As you might guess, the grueling process of "leadening" the paper clothing, which required hours an hours of work each day by a scheduled rotation of designated students, began to weigh on the students' overall morale. The children didn't see why they had to work so hard on something that was likely making only a marginal difference insofar as radiation exposure was concerned. Meanwhile Mr. Martin himself, hoping to save his strength to postpone his own impending Turn, would hang out in the bunker all day and no longer even raise a hand to help with the leadening.

The students, under the instigation of Jason and Billiam and a since-cadavered kid named Randy, grew more and more resentful of brave Mr. Martin's ever-lengthening list of rules. Soon the kids dispensed with the leadening process altogether, and when frail Mr. Martin was unable to discipline the key players in this revolt, he was seen as weak and useless and obsolete. His rule was coming to an end.

Anti-Martin sentiment reached a fever pitch. Finally, following the leads of Jason, Billiam, and Randy, the children filed into the bunker one day and bashed Mr. Martin's head on the pretense that he had finally Turned, though, judging by Jason's tone as he told this part of the story, Rowan could tell that this hadn't been the case.

And so ended the reign of legendary Mr. Martin. The Children were born.

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