New School Lucy
By Jamie Burns
My younger sister Lucy and I had just moved to DC to attend new schools. Lucy was to attend an advanced high school for highly gifted teens and me a local college in the DC metro area. I was mostly there to get a free education and keep an eye on Lucy.
Lucy was the one that made it all possible. My super prodigy sister had impressed the school so much that they were now paying for my education just so my parents would agree to let us move across the county without them, so Lucy could attend their school. My parents wouldn’t send her by herself so this was the school’s solution.
We all headed off to DC and got settled in, after a few weeks our parents reluctantly went back to Seattle. Lucy and I started our respective schools and tried to adjust to our new way of life. Lucy was instantly thrilled. After years of attending classes she could have done in her sleep she was finally being challenged. I was also being challenged, but I was not so thrilled about it. School was always so much harder for me than Lucy so I spent most of my time in the library studying or in our apartment doing homework.
Four months into the school year I was finally getting used to my course load and had even been earning a passable GPA all on my own, sans Lucy’s help. Since she was totally immersed in her own school work. We started seeing less and less of each other once she told me they had offered her some extra classes with private instructors for her physical training and her advanced math. I assumed that she was talking about Fencing and some of the math she handled I couldn't even pronounce.
Since Lucy would stay late at school I started to get more involved in the college scene on my campus. I had never been a social butterfly but I had made some good friends that would invite me out pretty regularly. When Lucy and I were home at the same time she would usually fall asleep on the couch while working on homework. It was the first time in our lives I remember seeing her so tired. She would still get up early and head to the track every day. Once I even went with her and she could literally run circles around me.
Thanksgiving came and Mom and Dad came to spend the holiday with us. It was a great visit, that went all too quickly. Lucy and I both agreed that it made us desperately home sick and we would head to Seattle over the winter break. It was just the thing we needed. It was great to be back and visit with mom, dad and old friends but by the end of the break I found I was excited again to head back to my new life and friends in DC.
The night before Lucy and I left Seattle my Dad pulled me aside and said we needed to talk about Lucy.
“How have things really been going over there sweetheart?” He asked.
“Great, we both really like it. Not that we don’t miss you guys.”
“Really?” He asked.
“Yeah, why? What do you mean?” My dad’s concerned face confused me.
“It’s just that Lucy seems so not herself. I mean I’ve never seen her this tired. What do they have her doing?” He asked.
I thought about the question and was embarrassed I didn’t have a better answer. “I um, I noticed she’s been tired but didn't think much about it. I’m not really sure what her exact courses are. I mean, I know she has extra lessons 4 times a week but isn't that pretty normal for Lucy?”
“Sure it was here but at that school it might be a bit much.” He said.
He was right Lucy wasn’t her usual self during the trip home. Now that he said it I replayed the holiday from the previous year in my head. Christmas was Lucy’s favorite. She had always insisted on making cookies, playing nonstop Christmas music, going out caroling and was basically the Christmas spirit embodied. This year she had done none of those things. She was so subdued by comparison I couldn't believe I didn't notice sooner. Quite, subdued, and a bit run down. Other than her usual 6 am run she just lounged around the house. I suggested maybe she was feeling sick since she had been so busy since the beginning of the school year. My Dad hesitantly accepted this as an explanation but made me promise to keep a closer eye on her in the coming semesters. I was happy to make that promise. How had I not noticed how diffrent she was. I guess I was too busy having a good time in my new college lifestyle.
Once we got back to DC and school started up I stopped going out with me friends as much and started to stay home. I would wait for Lucy’s return in the evening with dinner at the ready. After two weeks I realized she usually didn’t get home from school till 8 or 9 at night. I asked if I could come with her to a lesson and see how amazing she had become at fencing but she quickly shut me down, saying that her instructors wouldn't like it, that I would be a distraction and she would just show me sometime on our own. The semester continued and I made it a point to really take care of my baby sister, by making sure she ate well, got as much sleep as possible and giving her a ride to school on all the days I didn’t have an early class. It seemed to make us both happier and it gave me more glimpses of the Lucy I remembered her to be. But I was still getting no where on what Lucy’s school was like. My Dad and I started talking more often about Lucy and the school and we were both feeling more and more concerned for Lucy’s well-being.
We reached April and the cherry blossom trees around the tidal basin were in bloom. My afternoon class had been canceled and I decided to head over to try and see Lucy during her Lunch hour.
That was the day I found out that the school was not just a place for educating gifted teens. It was much more than that. Much more sinister. Because my sweet, kind, little sister Lucy was training to be the ultimate weapon.
Copyright JAMIE BURNS 2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED