This is my contribution to Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenge, where each week another 200 words is added to the story. The first 400 words have been written by others, the last 200 are my contribution to the story. Dave Kearney wrote the opening 200 or so words, and Rebecca B. did the second tranche.
The lecture theatre door slammed shut with a bang so loud half the room jumped in their seat. Alice descended the stairs, not oblivious to the 200 pairs of indignant eyes boring through her, and took the only available seat at the front of the class. Professor Gordon Kane stood at the lectern and looked over the top his glasses at her. “Welcome Miss Turner, what a remarkable entrance. I was just about to introduce my colleague to your classmates, may I continue?” Alice’s face burned so hard she thought her hair might catch fire. Kane gestured toward a tall man wearing a green turtleneck and a tweed jacket with leather patches at the elbows. “I expect that many of you will recognise our guest,” he said. She recognised him immediately, in fact he was the very reason she was late for class. “His book, Changing Minds, has spent the last six months perched at the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list, his television show of the same name has surprised and delighted audiences around the world and we are very fortunate to have him here today. It is therefore, my very great privilege to introduce, Dr Lucas Spencer.” The room erupted into deafening applause. Dr Spencer moved to the lectern and held up his right hand. “Thank you Gordon, thank you everyone” he said. “I’d like to ask for five volunteers.”
Hands of eager participants shot up all over the room. Dr. Spencer’s scrutinizing eyes grazed over them. He took his time carefully selecting those he brought up onto stage. When he reached time for the fifth volunteer his eyes found Alice. She had slouched into a seat in the back row of the room. He stared at her despite her unraised hand. “Ms. Parker?” His voice boomed. “Shit.” Alice muttered under her breath. A girl in the row in front of her snorted and turned to eye her. “Ms. Parker, join us on stage. I see your willingness to volunteer is a bit lacking.” The room turned almost as one to stare at her. She couldn’t show weakness and try to leave. She knew that everyone thought he was going to save the world. Refusal would net her pariah status on campus for the rest of her tenure. She hid her reluctance as she made the excruciatingly long walk to the stage. He greeted her at the stairs with a knowing look. “Thought you could hide from me, did you lovely?” he whispered. “I think you may regret toying with me Lucas,” she replied under her breath. “We’ll see.” His eyes lit up and he turned to face his audience. “Now, who wants to see the next level of human evolution?”
+++++ My 200 +++++
The volunteers had assembled in line on stage. Spencer pulled a small, black box about the size of a pack of cigarettes from his coat pocket. He walked to student at the far left of the line. “Put your right index finger into the box. You might feel a tingle, but otherwise the experience will be painless.” Doing as he was told, Roger Crabtree inserted his finger into a hole in the end of the box. Spencer did the same with each student in turn. Alice, standing stiffly at the end of the line, stared hard into Spencer’s eyes as she slid her finger into the box. “Well, this is somewhat irregular, but I suppose it can do no harm” she said, as he pulled the box away and walked briskly to a table set at the center of the stage. Students in the crowd murmured to each other as Dr. Spencer attached the black box to a laptop computer and typed furiously at the keyboard. “Just a few minutes, and then we will see what we will see,” he said, and gave his chin a rub. The black box began to glow, becoming incandescent. “There we are. Let’s begin.”