Unexpected Student

To Rix Scaedu’s Prompt, set in Year 17, 2011. 

Luke was running pick-up duty, and it was making him crankier than usual, which, for this year, was saying something.

He was down to one student left, and their plane was late.

He’d lost two students in the last three days to plane crashes.  He was furious, twitchy, and upset, but mostly he was chomping at the bit in a way that he could do not a goddamned thing about.  He’d put the bit in his own mouth, after all, to stretch a metaphor.

The plane was announced.  He tried to stop pacing.  It wasn’t this girl’s fault that the world was at war.  It wasn’t her fault he couldn’t go fight, or that other students and former students were dying.  None of that was her fault.  All she’d done, as far as he knew, was get on the plane she’d been put on because of a deal her parents had made with Regine a generation ago.

Four people walked towards him, four teenagers, two girls and two boys.  One of them, in front, was holding two hands and looked like she wanted to be holding another hand somehow.

“Are you Luke?” she asked.  “They said you’d pick me up.  These are my friends, and they need somewhere to stay.  They can come with us, right?  You’re not going to turn them away, right?  It’s just – something attacked the airport as we were leaving.  There’s no place left to go.”

Luke indulged in a bit of silent swearing.

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