Safety School

Scott Younkin

The November moon waned slowly as Guy Fawkes' Eve stole away and the morning sunshine flowed across the green lawns of Decembria, Vermont. As they had for countless centuries, the private school, Pixaen, had snuggled and embraced the sleeping girls and whisked them to campuses from Swarthmore to Suwannee, leaving behind moist, rumpled, faintly fragrant sheets and one-eyed stuffed bears. Awakening Brood-Dames whimpered softly when they saw their empty bedchambers. Only Sally, butterscotch hair, button-nosed and dimpled, still slept, a refugee from the academic rapture. Not everyone was cut out for college.

*

The Walrus was a neutered gene mutt, a groaning festering heap. He lurched awake and scratched his leg ulcer with a snuff-soaked fingernail. Slinging aside boxes, papers, and garbage that dated to Big War Three, he fought his way out the door of his mod-pod, body slamming two big rats and a cockroach that had its own zip code. He crossed a yard choked with old copter tires and rusty time-swarmers and rolled Motherworm Five out of the kennel, ruefully inspecting her green chitin. She was thirty-seven and looked it with grizzled fore mandibles and frayed vestigial wings. Her 400 pound bulk was a testimony to her ravenous appetite, as were the skeletal remains of the wheelbarrow load of road possums he had left for her last night.

"Good Morning Fair Patty," he said, offering her a syrup of goat saliva and pureed squirrel. "Time to go out in the world, my lovely anthropod." He rinsed her wrinkled carapace with vinegar and let her roll in a dust bath to kill the lice and megaticks. He fitted the rolling harness and pushed her out to the panel truck. "I hope you are ready, my Darling; the last dance is always the sweetest," he wheezed.

The Walrus drove through the stone gate into the grounds of Purifoy mansion, past manicured boxwood hedges and Peace roses in succulent profusion bordering a mirror pond speckled with wood ducks. The ancient truck, eaten with orange rust, looked out of place with its absurd hand-lettered sign "I am the Egg man." The Walrus stopped his truck by the Olympic sized pool below a party deck covered with pewter pots filled with fragrant Boy Bait. With much grunting and bellowing, he shoved his hairy belly past the steering wheel, plopped to the ground, and opened the back end of the truck, spying Motherworm contentedly munching on an unfortunate stray cat.

From the house, a woman's voice called out, "It's almost twilight, you brain-damaged lout. Move your corpulent carcass or I will show you how we handled men at Sweet Briar."

Fortunately, it wasn't far to the pool. The Walrus positioned Motherworm's ovipositor to run off the diving board then applied the zappo-stims. Her eyes closed and her last yellow eggs flowed into the pool, churning the blue water into a torrent. Cracks formed and erupted along her thorax and green blood drained out her mouth and nostrils. As the blue water filled to overflowing with the oily yellow ova, she thought about a backyard swing and a narrow path across the park. She thought about a little Patty girl that might have a small corner with a doll house and a pink horse in the next world. She thought, and then it was very dark.

"Good job and goodbye, old girl," thought the Walrus as he finished the clean-up and lit a cigar. A couple lost months with a quart and a snort, before he picked up the new Worm, sounded enticing.

That night, the sub-Mistress uncovered the pots and the Boy Bait wafted into the night air. In the great elms, the branches shook as the boys released their claws and began the Single Flight, beating the night wind with six foot wings already warping and shredding. For some, the pool was a bit too far and they plummeted into the dead river canyon where the Gore-Weasels feasted and snarled. The strongest few reached the lights that shone over the Purifoy pool and saw Motherworm's eggs, the final loving gift of her now dead womb. As the yellow filled their eyes, the ecstatic drones dispersed the spermatophore cloud, jettisoning their legs and falling in the Death Drop to the flower strewn ground. Ten thousand embryonic girls soon writhed in the glistening water, each already glowing with promise. In the morning, the babelets were gathered with fine nets and tucked into warm cribs, buzzing with the nectar drone of the teacher voice. Learning; always learning.

*

On a crisp Guy Fawkes' Day morning, the Brood-Dames mixed the sweet morpho-jelly as their egg sisters had since the Second Man Feast. Gooseberries and marmot fleece; snake spume and spider leg simmered in a silver trough. The Mistress kissed Sally, touching her plump cheeks with withered lips, "Awaken special one. You have been selected to be Mother Six. Eat your breakfast then there is much to tell." There were many more jelly feasting days and Sally grew and changed. By the Dog Month, she was big, green, and shiny. "You have been a naughty girl," cooed the Mistress. "I think it is time to call our Walrus friend."


About the Author

Scott Younkin has stories published in Short, Fast, and Deadly, and Lowestoft Chronicle. He believes history, fantasy, and dreams are all the same stuff.