Hey protagonists, long time no post! So I know it’s been a long while and I apologize for that, but I have been hard at work with a lot of life stuffs. Like most people, I do work a full time job and with the holiday season quickly approaching, it is getting more and more stressful. Not only that, but as I posted about a month ago, my computer was stolen so I had to go and purchase a new one which greatly dampened my wallet. There were a few other things here and there like debating on if I want to return to school for the spring semester or wait until autumn (I’m waiting until autumn), and some family stuff. But, I’m all caught up with that and now I’m ready to get back to work!
So, while I was away I have been doing a lot and a lot of writing. If you are at all curious, my current word/page/chapter count is: 28,216 Words/69 Pages/10 Chapters. Compare that to last time I updated which was the first of September and I was at 8,629 Words/21 Pages/3 Chapters. Now to some that may not be super impressive, but I take great pride in this. Not only that, but I have passed the total word count of my first draft already. The entire first draft of Spring-Heeled Jack was 27,148 Words/73 Pages/16 Chapters.
Down below I do have the third and final part of the second draft’s Chapter 1. Now, when I upload other chapters, they aren’t always going to take up three posts, but the first is a bit longer than the others. So far, only one is longer. Anyways, here is Chapter 1 of Spring-Heeled Jack!
The next morning, Atticus awoke to the seven o’clock chime of the campus clock tower. It wasn’t the loudest sound imaginable, but being the light sleeper that he was, any faint sound could wake up Atticus unless he was stone asleep.
His morning regiment started off with the same old first step: roll out of bed. In doing so, he spotted Brock still sitting at his desk in the corner passed out from studying. He couldn’t be sure exactly how late Brock stayed up studying, but Atticus assumed it wasn’t too long.
Atticus shuffled his way over and nudged his roommate awake.
“Studying a bit too hard, I see?”
Brock grumbled and sleepily pushed him aside. Atticus laughed and continued his way to the bathroom.
Now onto the second step: Washing up. Atticus brushed his hair, his teeth, took a quick shower and changed into his Fortuna Prep uniform: a white button up shirt, an indigo sweater with golden trim and the Fortuna Prep logo over the left breast, and a pair of black slacks.
As he was finishing up his business in the bathroom, Atticus heard Brock finally wake up in the other room. In a hectic rush, Brock stubbed his toe on the desk and let out a high pitched yelp.
“Why didn’t you wake me up,” he shouted.
“I tried,” Atticus said. He tried his best to hold back his laughter, but it was no use.
When he made his way out of the bathroom, Brock quickly shoved past as he tried to frantically brush his hair and put on his uniform.
“How long did you stay up last night?”
“Way to late!”
Atticus laughed and picked up a comb off of his desk and began to slick his hair back into just the way he liked it.
“How can you be so calm,” Brock shouted from the bathroom. “I know you’re smart, but isn’t this at least a little bit stressful? It’s worth forty percent of your grade!”
Atticus shrugged. “It’s all just memorization,” he said. “And it’s not forty percent, it’s thirty-five.”
Brock scoffed off the remark as he made his way out of the bathroom. He looked good for getting ready in such a short amount of time: his black mangled mess of hair was combed into a less chaotic fashion, his face was clean, and his small rectangular glasses rested perfectly on his nose. You’d never believe that he’d woken up less than five minutes ago. Together, the two grabbed their school bags and headed off to class.
Today was the history midterm. All classes had their exams on different days as to not overwhelm the students and Brock used that to the most extreme degree. Each class was treated as an intense study hall to finish cramming in every last bit of information before the exam. Deep down, he knew he’d do fine.
Finally, the day had reached its final class: U.S. History. Professor Varnum sat at his desk, taking roll as all the bell rang and the students got to their seats.
“Michael Nelson?” Nothing. Professor Varnum looked up from his desk and scoured the room. “I said Michael Nelson, are you here?” Still nothing. The professor grumbled under his breath.
“It seems that someone is trying to skip out of their exam. If anyone sees Mr. Nelson later today, tell him that there is no point returning to my class!”
Atticus was felt with a feeling of dread. Yesterday, Mike had looked so down. Under the weather as he said. All sorts of terrible thoughts began to run through Atticus’ head and a queasy sensation formed in his stomach.
Brock sank into his seat. “Poor Mike,” he whispered. “I wonder what happened. Do you think the stress got to him?”
Professor Varnum began passing out the exam, and once each student had theirs he went through the rules: “Don’t forget that this exam is worth a large portion of your grade, so take your time. When you complete the exam, you may come place it on my desk and you may be excused for the rest of the day. If I catch cheating of any kind, you will be granted an automatic zero for, not just the exam, but the entire course. Now, you may begin.”
Instantly, pencils went to work on the paper. The test was over five pages thick and contained over one hundred questions all covering topics from early American history: From the settlement of Jamestown in 1607 all the way to the conclusion of the American Revolution in 1783. Professor Varnum expected the test to take nearly the entire class period for most students.
Much to his surprise, Atticus was not his ordinary student. Right from the get-go, Atticus thought the test was a breeze. Like he told Brock, basic memorization skills were all he needed to ace the test, but mesh that with his desire to know what happened to Mike pushed him to work even faster. In less than ten minutes, Atticus had completed the exam.
As he made his way down the lecture hall, Professor Varnum looked up from his papers and rolled his eyes.
“Mr. Whaelord, you know you’re not allowed to ask questions on exams of this caliber.”
“I don’t have any questions sir,” he said. “I’m finished. May I be excused?”
The professor stared at Atticus through his dark black tinted glasses. You could never see the professor’s glare, but you could always feel it. It was like he had heat vision, but it couldn’t melt steel, just warm you up to uncomfortable levels.
“Do you mean this as some kind of joke, Mr. Whaelord? This kind of disruption won’t be taken lightly.”
“I-I’m not joking sir. I’m actually done.” Atticus set the exam down on the professor’s desk. “It really wasn’t that hard of a test to begin with.”
“Do you honestly expect me to believe that you could complete this entire exam in less than ten minutes? While I have half a mind to send you to Principal Shepard’s office this instant.”
Atticus was never good with confrontation. He wasn’t the bravest student at the school, that was for sure. All sorts of little things scared him: spiders, big dogs, the dark, and getting yelled at by old history professors were some of his biggest phobias. Luckily enough for Atticus, Brock wasn’t afraid of such things.
From his seat, Brock shushed him. “Professor Varnum, you need to keep your voice down. There’s an exam going on.”
The professor’s face beamed a bright red.
“Mr. Mackenzie, that is not funny!”
“Sir,” Atticus chimed in, “why don’t you grade it right now. I promise it’s all done.”
Again from his seat, Brock said, “And I bet it’s perfect!”
“Another outburst from you, Mr. Mackenzie, and I’ll send both of you to the principal’s!”
Varnum glared back at Atticus and down to the exam. He sat down with a hard plop, picked up the test as well as his favorite red pen used to point out errors, and went straight to grading Atticus’ paper.
Atticus watched as the Professor’s eyes darted across the page, his pen always at the ready, but whenever he wanted to mark something wrong, he couldn’t. Varnum couldn’t bring himself to believe it, but Brock was right: Atticus’ test was perfect. He wanted to mark something wrong for whatever reason he could, but he knew as a teacher he couldn’t do such a thing.
It only took the professor a minute to examine each answer, and since every answer was correct it required even less time. He placed the exam down on the table, his hands twitching with frustration.
“Mr. Whaelord, you are excused,” he mumbled.
And with that, Atticus thanked his and bolted out of the classroom.