Dream school. They call it Lucky High. They’re constantly told how lucky they are to attend such an incredible school. But it’s all a lie. There is no life for these students after high school.
Just released on Amazon! LUCKY HIGH by Dave Buschi.
Somewhere in New Zealand
DRAFT DAY. This year’s class was considered one of the best they had seen in years. The bid caller took the podium as a video began to run on the wall behind him. Those attending virtually, and those sitting in the large circular chamber, had a digital catalog showcasing each offering.
“50 bid to start,” said the bid caller. He acknowledged a raised hand. “Now 60, now 60, 70 is the new bid, now 70, 80 is the bid, 100! Do I hear 110? 120! Now 120, now 120, 150! Do I hear 160? Now 170. 200 to the gentleman in the back of the room!”
The crowd in the room stirred. The bid caller kept up the rhythmic chant as the bid steadily progressed upwards. When it crested 500 there was an audible collective gasp.
“Now 500, now 500, do I hear 520?”
A woman up front raised her hand.
“550!” the bid caller barked.
“Now 570, now 570, now 570. Sold! For five hundred and fifty million to the lady up front!”
The video for “Elle” faded out, and bidding on the next offering began.
HER MINDERS watched as she moved her legs furiously trying to keep her head above water. Her hands were bound and the weight kept trying to pull her down. They’d hobbled her with a heavy iron plate that was connected to a chain around her waist.
Another girl was kicking nearby. She’d been thrown in at the same time. Number 495 didn’t look at her. That way only led to fear and hopelessness. She focused on kicking, but the chain wasn’t making it easy. Her legs kept hitting it. And without being able to paddle with her hands, her body kept tilting forward. She managed to get high enough for another breath.
With each kick the weight grew heavier. Exhaustion was taking over. The other girl, No. 1210, was no longer beside her. She’d gone under. The minders made no effort to rescue her. They just stood there watching.
Anger surged inside No. 495, but there was nothing she could do. Nothing but keep kicking and damning their very existence. Time held no meaning. She didn’t know if she’d been in here ten minutes or ten hundred. She was singularly focused. Kicking to steal another breath, then dipping under. Repeating that action again and again.
She choked and coughed as water got in her lungs. She hadn’t kicked hard enough. She sank lower. In a panic, she put more into it, but it was short lived. She had nothing in the tank. She was spent.
She could see No. 1210 at the bottom—limp, not moving, tethered to her chain, hair splayed out like some jellyfish. Frantic, No. 495 looked up towards the surface as she sank. She tried to kick, but to no avail. Her legs were noodles.
With blurry vision, she could see her minders at the pool’s edge. They were looking down at her impassively with clipboards in their hands. Not doing anything, just watching. Next to them was him—the visitor—an enormously obese man with rodent-small eyes, which looked like black dots on that fleshbag face. His lips were curled in a cruel smile.
She choked and felt an unbelievable tightness in her chest as an explosion of white obliterated her world.
She opened her eyes.
Realization set in. There was no pool. No water.
Instead, she was awake. Her bedsheets were drenched from sweat, as were her tee shirt and pajama bottoms. It took her a moment to reconcile, remember where she was. She was in her bed. In her room. All familiar, down to the photos and posters on her walls and stacks of library books on her desk.
That had been a dream.
But even as she reaffirmed this reality, and told herself she was safe, she couldn’t help but think that place and pool had been familiar. Like she’d been there before, and not just in a dream.
Shivering, Elle got up and went to the bathroom.
She stared at herself in the mirror, still haunted. Her face, most of it hidden by long strands of chestnut hair, showed a young teen with rosebud lips and hazel eyes that could look blue in certain light. There was something wistful and sad with the set of her features. It was almost as if some great tragedy had occurred in her life and its weight had forever marked her.
“DON’T FORGET your pills,” her mother said.
“I took them,” Elle said.
“You remember what happened when you didn’t take them.”
“I said I took them.”
“Oh … sorry. Ready? We’re running late.”
Elle checked the time on her phone. Practice started in eighteen minutes.
“We’re fine, Mom.”
Her mother started the car.
“What did you say?”
“I said we’re fine.”
“Oh … did you have a good sleep?”
Her mother pulled out of the driveway. As they headed to school, Elle’s dream was fast becoming a foggy memory. Minutes later, she wouldn’t remember it at all.