The Emergency Protocol


School. It was inside the main building. Students milled about, some talking and laughing, others trudging begrudgingly towards lockers and classes. At the top of the mezzanine that overlooked the main lobby, a boy was standing there, clearly unimpressed with the situation. Joshua walked up towards the boy. The boy didn't turn to meet him, but merely began what had become a morning ritual.

"Look at these people, frivolously wasting their lives in mundane acts of mediocrity. Little do they know that among them is one whose intellectual superiority will one day overshadow their pathetic lives!!!" declared the boy.

"Hey Jon, busy monologuing to your future subjects?" said Joshua, tongue firmly in cheek.

"Oh good, my minions are here!" replied Jonathan to this provocation.

Matthew looked around in mock surprise. "Minions, where?!"

"Never mind..." said Jonathan. "Where's Sarah?"

"She went to get Mary," explained Joshua.

"Isn't she a bit young to get married?" said Jonathan innocently.

"What?! No I mean... You know Mary, M-A-R-Y!" said Joshua in annoyance.

"Yes, I know. It was too good an opportunity to pass up," grinned Jonathan.

"Whatever, we've got an exam, let's go," said Joshua.

The others went about their way, distracted as they were with getting to class. Joshua stood perfectly still. His train of thought abruptly derailed as all around him a blurry succession of images: the future as it might unfold. He saw a blurry Jonathan turn and step in one direction at the same time as he saw him turn in a slightly different one, before a more solid Jonathan turned and actually walked into the blur. He saw this for each and every individual around. All around, the lines of reality blurred about weirdly, all the possible steps followed by the actual person. It was happening again.

"Guys, I err, I'm feeling another headache coming on... gotta go to the washroom and down some Relievers, see you in class!" he said as he ran towards a door.

He tried his best to make it inside without stumbling. All around him now, sounds and images that he knew might or might not be, were phasing in and out. He looked into the mirror. He saw what he was about to do. He saw what might happen if he fumbled, pills scattering across the counter.

"I don't have time for this," he muttered.

He turned away and pulled a bottle of pills out of his backpack. A label said: "Supresrycin." This was his secret weapon against the chaos, a special prescription for when these attacks happened. With a quick twist and tip, a single pill fell into his palm. He took it without hesitating, then turned open a faucet and gulped down the water to wash it down. The confusing images of possible futures quickly faded away with the rush of water. He looked again into the mirror grimly. Only the present Joshua stared back.

He rushed out of the washroom and back into the hallway.