2 - The Museum

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I looked around. Some kids were banging their heads on the table and some were flipping off the teacher in private.

"Now class, please follow me." Ms. Fields walked towards the door and strode out of the room.

I stood up, stretched, and copied what the teacher just did. I, not surprisingly, was the first one to the door, because my class thought field trips were lame in high school. "Idiots," I muttered.

A couple minutes later, everyone was nicely lined up outside in front of a waiting school bus.

"Okay, class! Into the bus!" Ms. Fields cheerfully shouted and climbed aboard, the class slowly following.

Once on the school bus, I found Kimberly and Aria sitting beside each other. "Hey, can I squish in?"

Kimberly looked up from her phone. "Nope. Sorry."

I frowned. "But...you guys are my friends."

"Well, you know, ditching is what we do. We just thought we'd be better off by ourselves," Aria said.

I felt hot tears swell up. "Friends are not supposed to do that, jerks." I climbed to the back of the bus. I felt as if the whole school were hating on me now. I stuck two hands into the pockets of my jacket and took a seat.

"Hey."

I whipped my head around to see a boy who was a bit taller than me sitting in the back seat as well as I was. "Hey."

The boy leaned back in his seat and faced the front while the bus started up. After a long pause, about five minutes or so, he said, "I'm Gale."

"Audrey." I half-smiled to myself. Suddenly, the bus came to a halt in front of a white building that looked like a smaller version of the capitol in Washington D.C. "Looks like we're here."

A screech filled my ears as the faulty brakes of the vehicle came to a stop.

"Okay, class!" Ms. Fields stood up from the front of the bus. A clipboard with a ton of papers in it was being held in her left arm. "Please go and sit on the steps while we wait for the museum to open."

I stood up and tried to sound cheerful. "Come on! We don't want to miss the excitement."

Gale smiled as his dark blonde hair bobbed. "Yeah. I'll follow you."

I felt my cheeks grow warm as I noticed I was staring at his face. I bit my lip and stepped off the bus. Why had I done that?

"What happened to you?"

I found myself sitting on the museum's front steps beside Gale.

"Um, well, my friends kinda ditched me."

"Oh..." He coughed. "That's unfortunate."

"So why-"

Suddenly, I felt a tap, a hard tap, more like a push, on my shoulder. I turned to see Kimberly and Aria towering over me. "What are you doing talking to him?!"

"Yeah, did you hear that he's Kimberly's boyfriend?" Aria snapped.

I widened my eyes and turned to Gale, who was scratching the back of his head. "Yeah, I forgot to mention that."

"Get out of here before I beat you into a pulp." Aria narrowed her eyes and punched an open palm.

"Okay class! The museum's open. Let's get inside!" Ms. Fields led the way through the big glass doors.

I narrowed my brown-green eyes back at Aria and Kimberly while slowly striding up the steps and into the museum where everyone was going.

The museum's first room was an arched-ceiling, black-and-white tiled flooring hallway. Right when the hallway opened up into a much bigger expanse there was a gate where you bought tickets and showed them to an employee.

"Alright class! Please line up over here," Ms. Fields shouted, waving her hand wildly over to the right side. The manager, who was in a black collared shirt with tan pants, was standing in front of a long narrow corridor with the same arch and the same flooring. I walked along with my class, almost like being tugged by a current so strong I couldn't go back.

"Students, this is Mr. Fields, the manager here at the museum, and also my brother," Ms. Fields gestured to the man who was about a foot taller than her.

"Okay everyone, first we are going to see a short film of what happened ten years ago. The special museum theatre is just down this hallway. You all get special privileges because you have one lucky teacher," he winked at Ms. Fields. "Follow me please," he nodded at my class and then headed down the entryway.

I ran my hand along the smooth wall, and after about fifteen seconds of walking, the corridor opened up into a small but nicely cleaned cinema. There were about ten rows of seats with ten seats per row. Ms. Fields led the way into one of the middle rows. As we sat down, the film started.

Ten years ago, a presence, an alien presence, shook the earth...

The intro had started. Looks like this clip would show us about the robots that hit Chicago ten years back.

We were once friends with them. We thrived with them...but one day, they left, never to be found again.

A short clip appeared on the screen. It showed humongous mechanical-looking things blasting off into the sky, until they vanished.

The video went on for about another five minutes, then it ended and the lights lining the steps turned on. A voice over the intercom said, Thank you for watching this short film. Please proceed to the doors on the left. We hope you have a fine time here at the Chicago Museum.

The class started to stand up and stretch their arms. I followed suit.

I saw the manager stand up from one of the front seats and head for another small arched hallway. The class filed on ahead. This hallway was smaller. You couldn't even stand next to a friend, like you could in the other one.

"We are sorry we have to keep the hallways so small. It's for security reasons," Mr. Fields yelled from up ahead.

Immediately, the corridor opened up into a wide, high-ceiling, well lit room. It had a bunch of things, things that looked like they came from those things in the film, in thick glass cases that were fogged.

"Charles, you can unfog the cases now!" Mr. Fields called up, sticking a waving hand up at a room that was just above the place where we entered. An older man pushed a button and a whirring sound was heard. When I looked around, the glass was slowly revealing ancient artifacts from ten years in the past.

Suddenly, I felt a great presence draw me towards one of the smallest cases in the whole exhibit.

"This exhibit is called the Ancient..." Mr. Fields's voice was barely heard when I felt my legs walk me toward the case I was telling you about.

When I peered through the glass, I saw a tiny, very tiny shard being suspended by a white, almost transparent hook. I felt something click in me. It was like one huge body twitch. It was so hard it almost hurt.

"That is a piece of the All-Spark."

A sound made me jump in place and I whipped around to find Mr. Fields peering into the glass like I had been doing.

"What's the All-Spark?"

"It is the very thing you were staring at, except  it used to be a cube the size of a football. It brought life to every mechanical object within a two-foot radius. That's why we have to keep this one in the middle and out of harms way," Mr. Fields nodded around the room.

I looked around as well, seeing that this particular case was a little further away than the rest of the cases. "Wow. That's amazing..."

"Yep. It's our most priced possession here." And with that, he walked away to another group of students.

This shard gave me a really weird feeling, I thought. How much power does this little piece hold?

I just so happened to look down, because when I did, shock coursed through every one of my bones.

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