Academy of Change

Angelica has always been the top of the CSA-- an Academy where kids learn to fight crime. But when she is eleven, everything changes with the meeting of a strange and talented girl from Oklahoma who was allowed into the Academy without enrollment. What will this mean for Angelica's cushy spot as top dog?


9. Rules



I hear the six-thirty bell ring and roll over. I did not want to wake up. Today Amber would learn her schedule and I would have to miss all my classes. Fun. I hear snoring off to my left. I get up and- I'm still dressed? I remember laying on the end of the bed, but, how did I get here? I look over at Amber. She is half-way on the bed, half-way off and snoring. I shake my head and go to the bathroom. I look awful. I run a comb through my hair, grabbed some clothes, and walked to the shower. I have time.



The second I hear the water turn on, I knew it was safe to get up. I knew she wondered about how she was where she was. I could feel it. I guess that's what happens when you have 'strange' experiences throughout your childhood. I climb out of bed and pull out some shorts and a blue t-shirt. I have no uniform yet, so I have to wear my regular clothes. I get dressed quickly and walk into the bathroom. I brush and comb my hair, slick it back in a pony-tail, and set to work on cleaning my face and brushing my teeth. "I hope the water isn't like back home." I mumble as I turn the faucet on.



Stepping outside in the cool morning air, I breathe in deeply. I love the smell of the Academy in the morning. We had already eaten breakfast and had an hour until classes- some kids have active classes first. I sit on a bench and close my eyes. Amber was trying to do a backbend- without help- with a tree for balance. I hear a thump, she probably fell, and shake my head.

"You know," Amber says grunting as she gets up, I open an eye, "You could show me my classes during this time instead of sitting. I have my list." She holds up the blue slip that indicates her Academy schedule.

Closing my eye I reply, "As much as I love my schooling, I do need a break. Besides, I have no tests or major homework. I would like to relax before my centering class, Amber." Centering class is my first class of the day. It's almost like meditating mixed with yoga, and a few other things. I hear a rustle of paper and a cry of triumph come from Amber.

"That's my first class!" she says. I open my eyes and sigh. She is too persistent. A bell chimes to alert everyone that class will start soon. Everyone around us picks up their backpacks, stands in the regular formation, and walks toward their classes.

I stand up with my backpack on my shoulder, get into formation, and walk toward my first class.


Angelica walks away with her hands locked tightly behind her back. I run to catch up with her. I look around and see that everyone else is walking like that. No one is talking, and it's weird.

"Angelica?" I ask. She doesn't even turn her head and shushes me. I stop abruptly. "Angelica."

She stops and spins around so fast that her hair whips into her face, glaring at me. "What?!" she says sharply. I step back. She sighs, "Sorry. Look, the way it is here is that you walk in formation and not talk. Talking slows you down, when you slow down, you become late for class. It's the rules." She turns and starts walking away.

"That's a stupid rule." I say following her. "What is this place anyway? A school or a military academy?" I don't even try the formation thing- it looks uncomfortable. Angelica keeps walking.

"We will be I trouble for breaking the rules, Amber. They have camera and microphones, courtesy of some techno-wiz." she says as she rolls her eyes. I give up! I walk the way normal people do all the way to class.

We finally walk into a room that looks like an indoor garden, it's breathtakingly beautiful. Of course Angelica is unfazed by it. There is a tall blonde woman at the front of the class. There's no tables.

"Okay class!" She announces, "Today is breathing day. Everyone get a mat." As everyone gets a mat she finally notices me and walks over. "Hello dear. I am Mrs. Lina, but you may call me May. What is your name?" she says, extending a hand.

"Amber, ma'am." I say, taking her hand. She smiles.

"Well, Amber, I still need to get an extra mat for you, so sadly, you won't be able to join us today." She says ruefully. "If you like, you can sit on the bench and observe."

"It's okay, ma'am." I say walking over to the bench. Angelica looks at me from her mat and shrugs. I'm guessing this has happened before.

"Okay, class," May says, "let's begin." she starts counting and telling the kids how to sit. Every five minutes they move to a new position. After 30 minutes she gives them a break. Before Angelica can come over to me, there is a knock at the door and a man steps in, whispers something to May, and exits. "Amber and Angelica are needed in the Headmistresses office immediately." she says.

Angelica and I look at each other. Her face is cold and says it all: It's your fault. She walks out of the room and I, not knowing where to go, follow.

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