Jerel Page is an action/adventure screenwriter from and based out of Atlanta, GA. As a child he always enjoyed controlled chaos in the realm of fiction. Whether it was a high speed chase on a freeway, an epic showdown on a battlefield, or an agent looking to take down a shadow government seeking world domination. His love for the genre influenced him to pick up adventurist hobbies such as combat sports, rafting, gun ranging (a term I’m sure he just made up), skiing, hiking, and even enlisting in the United States Army where he served as a Field Artilleryman for five years.
THE VANISHING ACT
Everyone had their own crazy opinion about what went down this weekend up in the Appalachians. I teach in a small town about an hour outside of New York City and not much happens in this town to begin with, so you easily notice when something does. Like the National Guard rolling up in a convoy of at least thirty heavily armed vehicles, or the town sheriff department calling in the state police for backup, as well as the countless FBI agents pouring into town. Sounds like something out of a Stephen King novel, except it all actually happened.
I came into work Monday morning to find that my class of twenty students was now a class of nine. There was little to no traffic on my way to work so the possibility of a traffic jam was off the table and it seemed very unlikely that over half my eighth grade students would skip the day knowing I would definitely notice. So the only explanation for their absence is it had something to do with what ever happened this weekend.
“ Do any of you know where the rest of the class is?” I asked my remaining students, who sat calmly in their chairs as if the absence of their fellow classmates went unnoticed.
“ Haven’t you heard Mr. Simmons,” answered Amber, a brunette girl sitting in the front row. “ Thirty two people went missing in the Appalachian Saturday.”
“ What,” I said, the only word that could fall from my lips. I listen to the radio every morning on my hour drive to work and there was no mention of this anywhere. All they talked about was some man who committed suicide in an art loft Friday afternoon, but nothing about vanishing people something I’m sure would be all over CNN by now.
“ Where did you hear this Amber?”
“ It’s a small town Mr. Simmons people gossip.”
I looked around the class at the numerous empty seats and bit my lip as my heart began racing fearing the worst. “ Are any of them people in this class?”
“ No.” answered Jimmy, sitting two rows behind Amber. “ No one from the school is missing.”
I sighed in relief.
“ But I did hear the National Guard blocked all the entrance roads into the mountains.” added Jimmy.
If this was the case then that would explain why half of my class was absence. It also explains why the schools parking lot was more empty than usual. But what it doesn’t explain is why I was left out of the loop as far as information goes. I understand that I am one of the few teachers who does not actually live in this town, but a little heads up would have saved a lot of confusion.
“Alright guys hang tight while I make a phone call.” I said, grabbing my cell phone from my desk.
The rest of the class began chattering amongst themselves. As the phone rang, I managed to pick up on a few of the conversations around the room. Amber and Sarah believed there were vampires lurking in the mountains attacking citizens and disposing of the bodies. Chris a strongly religious boy believed that the rapture had arrived and taken them all away. Sean believed something similar, except it was aliens instead of a divine entity.
Jackie is a movie buff, she thought a train crashed carrying a scientific experiment leading to its escape. Which made the most sense only there was no railway through the mountains.
“ I’m telling you guys it was the illuminati,” blurted Finn, leaping confidently from his seat. “ My dad think so as well.”
“Sit down Finn.” I said, dialing a new number after receiving no answer.
After Finn’s outburst, Charlie the gamer voiced his opinion about an evil corporation turning the missing people into zombies attempting to explain why they went missing.
“ Bro that is the plot to Resident Evil,” said Finn.
“ What if it was a cult or the Grim Reaper.”
“That is ridiculous.”
At some point I tuned out my students as I tried calling a fourth number. But just like the first three there was no answer. Where the hell are all the teachers I thought. Since I couldn't reach anyone by phone I figured why not do things the old fashion way… door to door.
“Guys stay here I am going to head down to the principal's office for a second.”
I stepped out of the classroom and as I turned the corner down the hall I ran into a dark man dressed in a black suit. He was the first fellow adult I had seen since stepping foot in the building, and judging by his stoic pose and dark colored suit I assumed he was one of the F.B.I agents sent into town. So I remain frozen in place waiting for him to make the first move, and move he did.
“ Hello Mr. Simmons,” he said, with a Cheshire smile on his face. “ I’m Adam. Are you enjoying your stay .”