Grubbin' Time 2.0
Lunch was a lot more hectic than Ashley thought it would be. Once they walked through the double doors, they were met with a loud cafeteria filled with students and food. There was a group of older teenagers running along the ceiling, a group of six year olds chasing baby ogres, various scary looking concoctions in drink cups all over the place and there were plates flying above their heads. Ashley gawked at the sight.
“This is very different from dinner,” Ashley noted. Jerry nodded.
“You’re right! It’s better,” he said smiling and laughing to himself. He turned to a group of little boys maybe two years younger than them. With a flick of his wrist, the kids were sent flying to the wall upside down. Jerry burst out laughing while Taylor ignored him and started walking. Connor shook his head with a smirk on his face and followed her.
“Let them down,” Ashley said putting her hands on her hips. Jerry stared at her for a few seconds before finally flicking his wrist again. The kids fell down with a yelp and ran away.
“You’re such a party pooper,” Jerry said, sticking out his tongue.
“Yeah? Well you’re such a bully,” Ashley said back, following Taylor and Connor through the cafeteria. Jerry scoffed and followed behind her. Taylor and Connor led them to the table they had been sitting at the night before but they were the only ones there.
“Where’s everybody else?” Ashley asked.
“They have a different lunch period than us,” Connor told her. Ashley nodded and sat down between Connor and Taylor. Jerry sat across from them.
“It’s for the best,” Jerry said, reaching for a plate floating above his head. “Ever since those kids turned 15, they’ve been messing with us.”
“Why?” Ashley asked.
“They think they’re better than us just because they have their sources. We were used to it because all of the older kids messed with us, but they were our friends, you know?” Taylor said. Connor shook his head.
“It’s really unfair, actually. But what’re you going to do?” Connor added.
“But you guys were sitting with them yesterday,” Ashley said. Taylor shrugged.
“They were our friends, Ashley. It’s hard to just not be friends with them. It’s best if we don’t make them more of an enemy than they already are. And it’s only until we turn 15, so it won’t last long,” Taylor told her.
“But you challenged them yesterday. Doesn’t that make them more of an enemy anyway?” Ashley asked.
“Look, you’re new. You don’t get it. We need to prove ourselves. And when we embarrass them in the games, they’ll have two choices: accept us or ignore us. Either way we’ll be left alone,” Jerry told her. “We’ll talk about that later, though, because I don’t know about you guys but I can eat,” he said laughing. Seconds later, round rice, diced tomatoes and onions appeared on his plate.
“What’s that?” Connor asked. Jerry looked at it and smiled.
“Bhelpuri. My mother used to make it for me a lot,” he said while shoveling a forkful into his mouth.
“Smells yummy,” Taylor said, reaching over and taking a spoonful.
“Hey!” Jerry screamed, rice and vegetables flying from his mouth. Taylor put her spoon in her mouth and closed her eyes.
“It’s spicy!” she said happily. Connor and Ashley laughed while Jerry stared her down.
“If you want Bhelpuri, get your own,” he said shielding his plate with his arm.
“Maybe next time. I’m eating fried chicken and mashed potatoes,” she announced, grabbing a plate. Within seconds the food was there and Taylor was taking a bite out of a chicken wing. Ashley grabbed a plate and nachos appeared.
“Yes!” she said happily and started to dig in. After a few minutes Ashley turned to Connor.
“Aren’t you eating?” she asked him. Connor shook his head.
“Yeah, he never eats lunch,” Jerry told her.
“Why not?” Ashley asked.
“Not hungry,” Connor repeated.
“But-” Taylor cut her off.
“Give it a rest, Ashley. He just doesn’t eat lunch. We’ve tried everything, trust me,” Taylor said dismissively. Ashley shrugged and finished her meal. While she was drinking her water she looked up at Connor, who was staring at a place behind her. She turned around to look at what he was looking at but nothing was there.
“Connor?” she asked. Taylor and Jerry looked up from their plates. Connor ignored her and kept staring. Taylor's eyes widened and she reached out to touch his arm. Almost immediately, her eyes flashed purple, and she seemed to enter the same trance. Jerry's mouth opened and he looked at Ashley.
"What the-" he started and Ashley shook her head.
"You saw her eyes, too, right?" Ashley asked him. Jerry slowly nodded his head. Ashley looked around their empty table and at the busy cafeteria. “What do we..?” Ashley trailed off. Jerry shrugged.
“The only thing we can do,” he said and grabbed her wrist and pushed her hand on top of Connor’s .
Immediately, there was a bright flash of blue and she gasped. When her sight returned she was in a different place, outside in a clearing somewhere, and standing next to her were Taylor and Connor. Seconds later, Jerry appeared.
“What is going on?” Ashley asked Taylor. Taylor and Connor turned towards her and then pointed in front of them. At first, Ashley didn’t see anything but trees and fog, but then four figures emerged from the fog, running straight at them.
“They can’t see, hear, or feel us,” Connor told Ashley just as she was beginning to scream and jump out of their way.
As the four kids came closer, Ashley realized that she recognized them.
“Wait,” Ashley started, “I’ve seen them before.” The other three turned towards her.
“When?” Jerry asked. Ashley swallowed hard.
“In a daydream. But they were in front of the consul,” Ashley told them. The other three exchanged glances. “What?” Ashley asked.
“We’ve all been having visions and dreams, too. Especially the one when those kids are in front of the consul,” Connor told her. Taylor nodded in agreement.
“We have no idea why, but I think that those are the last of the Parsons, Qualls, Victarians and Fitzgeralds,” Taylor said.
“Okay, but then what is this?” Jerry asked. By then, the other four were kneeling on the ground in a huddle. Ashley was the first to step closer to them. They all seemed to be holding something, a bundle.
“What are they holding?” Ashley asked her friends. They all walked closer too, to get a good look. Connor shrugged.
“I have no idea,” he said. The four kids put each of their packages on the ground side by side and then stood up over them and backed up. Ashley poked her head between two of their shoulders and gasped at what she saw. The packages weren’t packages at all, but babies wrapped in cloth. They were asleep, peacefully and it finally dawned on Ashley that the babies were their babies.
“What is it?” Taylor asked.
“Not it,” Ashley said. “Who.”
“What are you talking about, Blondie,” Jerry asked her.
“I’m talking about the babies!” Ashley said, pointing at the bundles on the ground. Connor shook his head.
“No way,” he breathed.
All of a sudden there was a loud noise and the eight looked up. The four teens seemed to know what the sound meant because at the same time, they put their hands over the babies.
Immediately, their babies and their hands started to glow purple, silver, green and blue.
“What are they doing,” Jerry asked.
“We’re watching just like you,” Taylor said. After a few moments, there was a huge flash of light, and where the babies used to be was nothing but engravings on the ground.
“What is…” Ashley started.
“Remnants of a spell. Those are remnants of a portation spell,” Connor muttered to himself.
“What does that mean?” asked Jerry.
“It means that the speculations are true. If these kids really are the last of the Parsons, Qualls, Victarians and Fitzgeralds, and those really are their kids, then, the consul did not kill them all. The consul failed and the bloodline still goes on,” Taylor told them.
An eerie silence fell upon the four as they watched the other children grab hands. Soon, six people in purple robes broke through the clearing, Mrs. Shire in the lead. She smiled happily and stepped forward.
“Well, well, well. Look at what we’ve got here.”
Then Ashley blinked and she was back in the cafeteria, like nothing had happened. Her friends were obviously back as well and for a few moments they just absorbed what they had just witnessed.
“That was…” Ashley started. Connor nodded.
“I know. I know.” He rubbed his eyes and put his head on the table.
“If what we just saw was real, that means that it’s already happened,” Jerry started slowly. “And if it’s already happened, how did we just witness it now?” Taylor shrugged.
“Maybe it was a flashback,” she offered.
“Yeah, but whose flashback exactly?” Jerry asked. The four sat in silence for none of them had an answer.