TITLE: DAWN OF SHADOWS
GENRE: MG SCI-FI
Zeno jerked his head back as a three foot long stick slammed down on the desk in front of him. His teacher and legal guardian, Katie Burrows, arched her thin torso and scowled.
“Where is it that little boys go to when they don’t pay attention?” she asked in a light cheerful voice.
Zeno stared into the tiny wooden room. Six other children in tattered clothing, all girls ranging from seven to twelve-years-old, watched him with various expressions: anger, curiosity, confusion. Only one face contained sympathy.
Maddy opened her hands slightly upward. “Say something,” she mouthed.
His eyes slid down to the frosted glass desk. Chips and dings marred the surface, but despite its apparent age and use, icons flickered underneath with a cartoon background of a boy running in dark clothing. Zeno’s fingers slid across the edge of the desk. The stick thwacked down a few inches in front of them. Ms. Katie grabbed his chin and yanked his face up. She closed the distance so their noses were almost touching. Staring into the flecks of her green eyes, he smelled chewed peppermint leaves on her breath.
In the five years he had lived with Ms. Katie, he could not remember a time when she didn't smell of a flower or fruit or some other wonderful aroma. Even her shoes smelled like roses. She was thirty-two, unmarried (which was common in the Outlands), and full of hate.