Setting the mood by introducing a few characters.
Crawling across the matt grey of the skyline, the clouds began to rumble softly in the distance. A clear indication that it would probably rain in the near future.
Bursting from the doors of the bus, the students (each clad in a yellow and blue tartan kilt and a navy blazer) swarmed towards the school gates before disappearing inside. Picked out among the crowd, several figures stood out. These figures, quite obviously, belonged to the school’s sixth form and, as such, did not wear the uniform but, rather, several different arrays of suits. Also, despite the fact that this was, primarily, a school for girls, several male sixth formers could be seen, although they were excessively few in number.
Sitting down in a low chair, constructed from shiny, almost liquid looking, acrylic, Gina Jayy (Female Student # 17) flitted her eyes around the classroom. The movement of her pupils was slow and lazy, due to the fact that it was early in the morning and she was still (in her opinion) half asleep.
Craning her neck forwards, she placed the palm of her hand against the pale, freckled, skin of her cheek and leaned forwards, supporting her head. Continuing her gaze, through heavy eyelids, she moved her field of vision towards the door that led into the classroom. The pale wooden frame was currently filled with younger students pouring into the room. It always did seem odd to her that registration was taken with members of the younger years.
Suddenly, something assaulted her eyes. It wasn’t particularly offensive (although this notion could be disputed, depending on who it was that you talked to), it was just there. Wandering past the door, was a large mass of long curly hair ( Not by itself you idiot, it was attached to a person.).
Walking slowly, hands stuffed into the pockets of his suit trousers, in a nonchalant manner that almost seemed to scream lazy, the owner of the hair didn’t even bother to look around himself. He remained facing directly in front of himself as he maintained his slow pace and eventually moved out of Gina’s sight.
He aggravated her. Not in an offensive kind of way. He hung out with her and her friends every day, so it wasn’t like she was incapable of tolerating him. Its just that his laid back attitude annoyed her. (God, now it sounds like she was being harsh.) Basically it was a little thing that popped up from time to time that she didn’t like.
He was Will Pryer (Male Student #11)
Male Student #1, Julian Mccans was, too, sitting in a similar acrylic seat. Leaning even further forwards, he bowed his head and peered through his thick-lensed glasses. Continuing to squint, he made several sharp movements with the pencil in his hand, thereby finishing the shading of the sketch that he was working on.
Raising his head, he stared down at his work. It was a large, perfectly drawn, forest landscape… with a smouldering plane crash in the middle.
“S’up Julian,” game a lazily toned voice from behind him.
Turning his head around, so that he was now looking over his shoulder, Julian’s face stretched into a wide, flat, smile. Humming for a brief instant, as if he were thinking about what to say, he replied slowly: “Hey Will.”
“Looking good, mate,” Will said, collapsing into a chair on the opposite side of the table and throwing his bag to the floor as he commented on the sketch.
“Thanks,” Julian said, slowly. “It took me about 2 days…”
“That ‘A’ in art is in the bag then,” Will smirked, leaning back in his chair and pulling out his headphones.
“Hopefully,” said Julian, throwing an almost forced smile towards Will.
He unsettled him. (Oh, God, this is getting to be a popular thing!) It wasn’t anything in particular. Something just seemed off. He barely ever tried in class, yet he always seemed to do well. Also, his taste in literature was far from…desirable (to say the least).
Lately, he had taken to reading a novel called: ‘Battle Royale.’ It wasn’t as if it were an underground novel. Everyone knew about it. It was just common courtesy not to read it. It was, after all, a depiction of people entered into ‘The Program’. Anything to do with ‘The Program’ was best avoided. It was, unfortunately, broadcast on every television channel at the exact same time. The only way to avoid it was just not to watch (which in this day and age was almost impossible, due to the lack of other stimulation.).
Will, however, was far from the collective mentality of the population. He was a strong believer in the concept of: “If it’s not happening to me, I might as well enjoy it. And if it does, I deserve it.”
Walking into the classroom, register clasped in one hand, their form tutor entered. Sitting down at the desk at the front of the class, he pulled a piece of paper from the register and said, in a clear voice (layered deeply with a Geordie accent) : “Will Will and Julian go to the ILC.”
The ILC was the shortened version of the phrase ‘Interactive Learning Centre.’ It was, basically, the fancy name for the room the sixth formers spent their study periods in.
The room consisted of a large space, large enough to accommodate over 150 people (if not in slightly cramped conditions), and numerous desks. The walls along the right hand side, as you entered the room, were taken up by at least 30 computers.
The occupants of the room were (at a quick count) about 33 in number. Stating around each other, they all let out a unified sigh of relief. The Program would only go ahead, if 40 students were present. They were safe.
That is…until the gas was pumped into the room.