Spring/Summer 2021 Issue

London

Abigail Nichols-Brewer

London was taking a test. Not a small test like an elementary school math quiz or something. She was taking the biggest test of all.

London was trying to survive.

Some idiotic teenager had set their high school on fire for some reason and now everyone was trying to get out.

Currently, London was stuck in her Chemistry classroom. Which didn’t bode well. Fire and mysterious chemicals never went well together; They usually ended in big explosions.

So yeah. London was not in the best position. She glanced around the room trying to figure something out when her eyes caught on something. A vent.

See, here’s the other thing about London. She loved movies and books and just stories in general. And so, naturally, a vent meant an escape route.

Pushing over a table and climbing up on it, London could just barely reach the cover and… well. She wasn’t able to do anything. 

She glared at the vent, screwed tightly shut.

“Hey, Alan!” London called. “Do you happen to have a screwdriver or something?”

Alan was known for somehow having pretty much everything you might need, so, predictably, he pulled one out of his backpack and tossed it to her.

Yet another fact about London. She did not play softball. Mostly because she had terrible hand eye coordination and couldn’t catch anything to save her life. Literally.

She lunged for the thrown object, but missed and the screwdriver flew across the room and crashed into a container, shattering it. A shattered container, full of chemicals. Just what she needed on top of everything.

London would have groaned or otherwise reacted, but she was too busy ducking from the ensuing explosion. Or, well, trying to.

Unfortunately,  she was unsuccessful in her attempts and got a facefull of explosive fire.

Said explosion threw her backwards and into one of her classmates.

Lying on the floor, London tried to take stock of what was wrong, besides the excruciating pain, but only got so far before she blacked out.


The next time London opened her eyes, she wasn’t in pain anymore. Nor was she in her body. She was floating a foot or two off the ground and, London noticed, above her body.

She had pieces of wood from the tables and plastic from the bins lodged in her chest, dripping blood and her arm was twisted at a strange angle. The rest of her limbs were lying still and lifeless.

London could only stare.

As she stared at her mangled body, something caught her eye.

Someone stood in the doorway. He wore long, black robes and had yellow-orange eyes and blue hair that almost looked like it was on fire. 

Her first thought was that he looked comically similar to Hades from the Disney movie.

And then London noticed the scythe “Possibly Hades’ was holding.

Her second thought was that perhaps this actually was Hades.

As the man walked in, London went still, trying not to draw attention to herself.

It didn’t work.

Hades started walking towards her and didn’t stop until he stood directly in front of her. He stared down, and she stared up, both of them looking at each other. His scythe was menacing, looming, and curved over her shoulder, almost touching.

Neither of them moved.

Hades poked her body with his foot. She just flopped a little.

“You’re dead.” He spoke, his deep voice echoing through the room.

London stared. Whatever she was expecting to hear, it definitely was not that. She glanced down at her body and started to pay more attention to the small details. She couldn’t hear her own breathing. She wasn’t moving. And, perhaps the largest giveaway, her chest wasn’t rising and falling. 

She moved her eyes back up to meet Hades’.

“It seems that way, yes.” London whispered, not really wanting to admit that, even to herself.

She wasn’t scared of dying, per say, but she also didn’t feel ready for it to happen this early. She was still in high school, not even a legal adult yet. She thought about all the things that she would never get to experience again. The companionship she found in her friends. The joy in the books stacked all around her bedroom. The love of her parents.

Her parents. They still thought she was at school, peacefully learning without a single threat of danger. They wouldn’t know. They wouldn’t know anything. All they would know is that she had died in the explosion resulting from a fire.

That train of thought was interrupted by Hades lifting his scythe and beheading her, sucking her soul into the blade, where it would stay until the man got back to the Underworld.

“Avocados”
Sam King