It was Monday, the 6th of March 2017, Alas Cove High Reunion. Ethan had made up his mind, his steps light, steady, his breathing regular. But the static voice in the distance changed everything. Room 62 was directly to his left.
"You hear that?" A voice behind the closed door of room 62 said. A TV show went quiet, chuckles ceased. Ethan could sense a presence moving towards the door to open it. That was it, life and death hinged on the opening of a door. He was one known for steady hands, but at that moment those hands were trembling as his shoulder dipped further under the load. Sweat trickled down his forehead and into his eyes. Blinks couldn’t help him. And he dared not lift an arm for backup, risking another sound.
Before three days ago, it had been twenty-seven years since Ethan had been in Alas Cove. Everyone who graduated in ‘95 had grown to make something of themselves---those who didn't were still haunted by the errs of their past. And Ethan knew.
He was the one with the zero-point-eight GPA at Alas Cove High, the one who peaked on his own grades after crumbling his results papers into balls and hid them in his backpack. He did those a lot in Mr. Samuels' science class, though not as often as he did in Ms. James' math class. But both were on the wrong side of the fifty-percent pass mark, and only a mere seven percent separated the two.
It must've had something to do with the reason he quitted school in 1990 when he was thirteen, "The system makes a man look like fool," he said once, and hissed his teeth. "It judge a man by his ability to find X and Y, and all kinda crap that have nothing to do with real life. I man don't need all this crap. I don’t give a damn bout X, and Y even worse—it comes after X in alphabet."
Ethan actually proved he didn’t need them, got a job as a trainee in the bomb squad unit of Chicago in ‘97. It wasn’t mentioned that his father was a senior navy officer in the State then, Commander Andrew McLaren. Ethan was drilled in law enforcement, military training and combat tactics for seven years. It showed at his interview: he deciphered all the scenarios thrown at him. It got even more interesting when they took him to the field. He demonstrated competency at a veteran’s level. Of course X and Y showed up again, but by then he’d learned to smile at them. They were like the various swamps he’d used as waterbeds.
Stay Tuned For Chapter 3...