744 words (2 minute read)

Excerpt: Susie Quinn

Some Time Ago…

Augustus Winters, Ph.D, found himself on the third floor of Meadowbridge boarding school, the hallways quiet in the late afternoon. A teacher (what was her name? Ms. Park?) walked by, giving him a friendly nod. She was still young and new enough at the school that the shine of optimism was nearly blinding. Life would beat that out of her in time.

He adjusted his round glasses and straightened his suit jacket as he walked down the tiled hallway, halting in front of a certain door and then hesitating with his hand on the doorknob. Peering in the window set into the door showed that the classroom held a single occupant, sitting and facing the far corner of the room. Dr. Winters pursed his lips, and let his hand fall away. There was really no reason to enter the room, but he found Ms. Quinn one of the most unique students at the school. Most... fascinating.

Her brain could be full of amazing knowledge, if they could only find the correct key to use to unlock it. Precognition was no longer science fiction, and she was one of the few precogs who could reliably tell back what they saw in their visions. Unfortunately she was also limited to a range of about twenty-four hours in the future. Great for telling the weather - not good enough for what he wanted. Needed.

What his superiors demanded. Results. We need results.

Mrs. Finnegan, one of the nurses (Meadowbridge employed a large medical staff, of course), came up beside him. "She’s in a sort of fugue state at the moment, sir. The effects should wear off in a few hours, until then there’s nothin’ to do but wait and see. She’s being monitored," and she pointed through the small door window at the camera mounted in the corner of the classroom. "An’ I’m just a step away, of course."

"Of course. Of course." Augustus nodded briskly. "I was just..." in the area? Fuck. "Curious," he ended lamely. "I’ll be in my office - please inform me of the results."

"Certainly Dr. Winters." Finnegan smiled, but her sharp eyes didn’t share the expression with the rest of her face. She reminded him a little of a shark. Augustus took his leave, walking slowly down the stairs back down to the ground floor.


She sat in the corner of the room with her ankles hooked around the chair legs, hands folded neatly in her lap. Her eyes were open, but glazed, staring blankly at where the walls met in front of her. The rest of the classroom was empty, desks all arranged to face the front of the room except for the one that she was sitting in.

Behind her, sun streamed in through a window, the calls and cries of children at play filtering through the late autumn air. Even three stories up one could make out the shouts from the teams playing field hockey in the soggy grass of the green. Whistles blew occasionally, and still she sat, as still as a statue clad in a lumpy grey wool sweater.

Her blue eyes blinked slowly, just often enough to keep from drying out. Footsteps went by in the hall outside, always continuing, never stopping at the door. Sit there, Susie, that’s a good girl. She sat, legs and back beginning to stiffen from maintaining her post for so long.

She didn’t mind, not really. This new treatment seems promising, they’d said after she’d had the shot. Are you sure? She seems comatose. I’m in here, Susie had wanted to say, but they’d told her to be quiet. She’ll be fine. The effects are immediate, but will wear off in a few hours. Just leave her here with a notebook. She’ll write down whatever she sees.

Can’t see anything, not facing the corner of the room. Susie blinked again, her chest rising and falling with each measured and careful breath. Her eyes closed once more, and the empty classroom fell away, leaving her sitting at the desk in the middle of a vast expanse of nothingness.

The sounds of the game from outside were gone. With her eyes closed, suddenly it seemed she could see... something. Blue sky overhead. Birds singing. The air was warm, and Susie looked at the sunlight on her skin and laughed.

Next Chapter: Excerpt: Mr. Frederickson