Cthulu-Trolls and Playground Equipment

6 09 2011

The stairway down was dark, an occasional flicker of light fell from sparsely placed torches held loosely into the dank stone walls. The air was thick, a thin veil of moisture fell across my face as I walked, materializing from seemingly nowhere. My chest had grown heavy some time ago and the weight increased the further down I crept. The steps were slick and getting worse, a constant reminder to the depths surrounding me and to the gravity of the place. I placed one hand on the walls to steady myself. A deep, rhythmic thump like the pulse of some gargantuan beast flowed from the wall into my fingers. What could this mean?

Before long the stairs were replaced by level ground, the small passage opening into an expanse many times its size. It was lit brightly by fire-pots hanging from somewhere overhead as big as elephants. It was beyond measure, the walls and ceiling disappearing into the farthest reaches of the space, so far as to stump any attempt at discerning if they truly had a proper end.

At the far end were the children. All of those that had gone missing this past month. I hurried to their sides. Each was kneeling wide-mouthed, a gaze of terror fixed upon the floor in front of them where great tomes of archaic description had been placed. About them chains were draped, thick enough to hold down a horse, crushing any thoughts of escape. None of them would respond to my touch or to my voice.

“What is this place?” I said aloud. My questions did not go unanswered. There was a croak from behind me, a pointed, raspy voice produced by the beast, tentacled and thick with muscle.

“Anaria Lo. Sharath O. With us they stay, with us they die.”

Fatigue washed over me as it approached and I fell unconscious to the floor remembering nothing until the chains were already laid and the book was being placed, with the care one might see in a parent putting a child to rest, on the ground before me.

And that’s about how kindergarten went.

Yup, you got it. Kindergarten. My son’s first day was today and that was about as accurate a description as I could possibly give. If by accurate we mean entirely made up. And description being nothing but highly generalized metaphors aimed at establishing a conservative rhetoric in terms of the function of public, state-based education in modern America.

Or something.

Either way that’s sort of how it felt. We had arrived and got checked in, and before too long I was clearly labeled a visitor and my son, a student. (By means of a shirt with a sort of punch-you-in-the-face orange color.) After the branding had been concluded we moved to the playground where my son immediately started to enjoy playground equipment the likes of which I had never dreamed when I was a child. Not one place did it look like you may even end up with a proper splinter.

They even had their own rock wall. I was jealous for a moment but managed to contain such thoughts and remind myself that I am an adult and consequently don’t use silly children’s playground things like swings, moneky bars and those really awesome twisty slides that go really fast when you go down and its wet because it just rained the day before am totally jealous.

Afterward there was a retreat to the classroom where children mingled while the adults went off to a meeting about health and routines and child psychology and what not. It made me realize just how lucky I was all those times my parents had to handle the parent teacher meetings while I enjoyed myself satisfied in the knowledge I wouldn’t have to worry about such ‘frivolous’ things.

Oh how times have changed.

There was lunch and further discussion until the end of the day in which we all went to the gym for a sing-a-long. It was wholesome and the kids seemed to love it so that’s all that matters.

I’m not going to lie, it makes me feel old. Not that I am by any means, I have yet to see thirty years myself but it puts a new spin on your world view escorting an even shorter life through its early milestones.

I can say that I like the school a great deal. The teachers give very good impressions and the support staff exceed others I’ve met on personality alone. The people seem to give a damn and that’s huge with me. I always disliked the idea of teachers that had given up on teaching. Set themselves to autopilot as it were unknowingly flying their students into the side of Mount Everest.

The facility is well maintained and the elementary school is kept separate from the middle/high school. So hopefully the only source of learning profanities will remain the adults he lives with and not other more raucous children who overuse them. It was a long, informative day and by the end of it I think I’m more tired than he is.

Hopefully he won’t have to deal with that trollish thing.





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