The children were only supposed to climb over the huge foam vaulting box, then land safely on the crash mat on the other side. There were two queues, one teacher, and twenty students. Everything was within parameters and manageable.
Until Clyde had his turn.
Instead of climbing over, the 8-year old stood up tall, and almost immediately lost his balance. He had moved in such a smooth and quick manner, to do an unprecedented thing, that Mr Rogers the gym coach could hardly cry out and rush over before Clyde fell over the edge.
It was an awkward landing, somehow head first, and everyone heard the sickening crunch. Most the other kids stopped what they were doing and stared at the still body of Clyde Kape. A handful rushed over to gawk or assist or God-knows what.
And before his eyes, Mr Rogers saw Clyde straighten his bent neck and get up, a wide smile on his face, as though nothing had happened.
The kids who were nearby immediately screamed and ran away, causing the rest to stare in fear or panic themselves. Mr Rogers was infuriated. He grabbed Clyde firmly by the arm and yanked him off the mat.
He blew his whistle and got the other kids to line up, before marching them back to homeroom, all the while Clyde in his firm grasp. Once the other children were safe in their classroom, he walked briskly to the headmaster’s office, the boy in tow smiling serenely the whole time.
“Headmaster? Sorry to bother. We’ve got another one,” Mr Rogers said into the headmaster’s office, without even knocking.
“My GOD they keep popping up… What’s its name?”
“Clyde Kape, sir,”
“Alright, Clyde, sit there. Rogers, lock the door please,” instructed Headmaster Smollet. From his desk drawer he produced a water pistol. Clyde grew still, eyes fixed on the pistol.
“It is exactly what you think it is. Vinegar and iodine.” Upon hearing that Clyde Kape hissed and scampered backwards, into Mr Rogers who was guarding the door. Mr Rogers shoved Clyde, hard, and it fell to the ground.
“Tell me your brood location, now,” the headmaster said, leveling the pistol at Clyde.
“Death to Earthmen!” it spat. In a flash Mr rogers seized the thing called Clyde and the headmaster promptly squirted its chest, once. Its skin that came into contact with the wet patch on its shirt started sizzling and bubbling, and the creature let out a shrill cry of agony. It tried to break free but Mr Rogers held on strongly.
“Last chance. Brood location, right now, or I’ll make it hurt worse.”
“PARAMONT STREET. ABANDONED HOUSE. LOT 57. LET ME GO!!!” it cried out, still obviously hurting a great deal from the burn.
The headmaster calmly wrote down what was written, then looked up and smiled. He retrieved the pistol and without flinching shot the thing full on in its face, several times. The unearthly screams did not last long as its throat melted, till all was left was gurgling noises and a body that still writhed vigorously, desperate to break free. As the neck fully melted, a little orb-like object became dislodged and fell to the ground. Moments after, the whole body went limp, and started smoking. Mr Rogers let it drop unceremoniously to the ground, and picked up the orb.
Casually, he handed it over to the headmaster who then opened his left drawer and deposited it into a glass jar filled with a certain liquid, a several more of such orbs. He screwed the lid to the jar tight, then pushed the desk close.
By now the body of the thing had nearly totally evaporated, leaving behind just the clothes. Mr Rogers dutifully picked them up and disposed of them.
“That’s the fifth this month alone, Sir, it’s wearing me out,” Mr Rogers said as he sat across from his boss.
“I know, Pete, it’s quite a drag. But their presence, or infestation, is real and we’ve no choice but to do our part. Say, what gave this one away? Did it do something completely ridiculous, like the previous two?”
“Yes, in a way. It took a big fall and snapped its neck. If you ask me, they’re getting bolder. It’s almost like they want to be caught. Mocking us, even. I don’t get a good feeling about this, sir.”
The headmaster only frowned, deep in thought. The ends of his lips got more down-turned and he looked properly bothered.
“It’s scary, but you do have a point. They are in fact getting bolder. I’ll pass that on to our contact, then. Mr Rogers, thank you once again for impeccable work, and if there’s nothing else, you may leave.”
“My pleasure. Thank you, sir.”
Once the door had clicked shut, the headmaster took out his communicator and hit the quick-dial key for his contact in the government task force. Another report to make, yet he couldn’t shake the feeling that they weren’t getting any closer to solving this problem. On the contrary, it felt quite the opposite…