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It was the first day of term, and everybody was still catching up with each other when a tall woman with a severe haircut and unflattering glasses walked in, tapping sharply on the blackboard to attract the attention of her class.

“Okay, settle down. This is your Advanced History class, and I am your teacher Mrs Wright.”

She stood silently at the front of the classroom staring down unruly students until the classroom was quiet, then started handing out textbooks.

“When you receive your book I want you to turn to page seven and read the introduction.”

One of the students, a scruffy looking boy dressed somewhat archaically in jeans and a t-shirt advertising a long-departed music group, put a hand up.

“Mister Parkins, you have a question?”

“Um, yes miss. Are we going to get to use the time machine this year?”

Mrs Wright looked around the class. Eager faces awaited her answer.

“For those students who demonstrate an adequate knowledge of the rules for responsible time travel, yes.” She raised her voice and lifted one hand to quiet the excited hubbub. “To qualify you will need to sign up for the optional classes. The sign-up sheet is on my desk, you can sign up at the end of the class. During these extra lessons we will be running a number of simulations to ensure that you are a suitable candidate. Otherwise you will be restricted to the time viewer only.”

The boy looked annoyed. “But miss, last year the whole class got to use the time machine!”

Mrs Wright looked down at him over her glasses. “Yes. And I believe that it was your cousin, Mister Parkins, who decided to go and kill Hitler, thus forcing the school board to endure the summer-long investigation from the Bureau of Time Travel Control which resulted in the current restrictions. You may express your displeasure with him privately.”

She handed out the last of the textbooks.

“So let’s start the class with a little group discussion, shall we? We don’t kill Hitler. Can anybody tell me why not?”

A forest of hands went up, and she smiled approvingly.

© Kari Fay