Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 177,588,188 Issue: 185 | 8th day of Eating, Y7
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Cafeteria Chaos - Part Two


by shadih_temporary

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The next day seemed as if it were going pretty smooth for the first few hours. Everything was as it always was. But then, lunchtime came 'round. And that's when everything changed.

      The bell rang, signaling that it was time for lunch, at 12:25 PM. All across the school, the oldest pets hopped out of their desks and bolted out of their classrooms, en route for the cafeteria. In Mrs. Green's class, Jean allowed her head to fall onto her desktop and placed her paws over her ears. All the students besides Jean and her friends screamed and shouted as loud as they could when the sweet sound of the bell's ringing was brought to their ears. The group stampeded out of the room, leaving a few desks toppled over and several pencils strewn across the floor.

      Mrs. Green sighed and stood up from her desk. "Jean, dear, would you go get me a newspaper, please?"

      Jean gasped and groaned. "Again?"

      "Yes ma'am," Mrs. Green nodded. "If you're not going to eat, you can at least do me a little chore for the remainder of the week. And next week, Gav can get the paper, and the week after: Ave, then you, then Gav, and so on and so on. That'll be our little cycle. Sound good?"

      Jean spun around in her desk and smiled evilly at Gav and Ave, who moaned as they heard their names called. "That sounds excellent, Mrs. Green."

      Jean hopped out of her desk and skipped out of the room, her tail swishing from side-to-side. As she had done yesterday, Jean made her way down the long hall and into the cafeteria. And yet again, she saw another zoo. Pets were performing all sorts of crazy stunts: throwing food, dancing on the stage, sitting on the lunch tables, screaming super loudly, etcetera.

      That's when it happened.

      For some reason, a small, speckled Usul sitting at a table right next to Jean caught Jean's attention. She watched the Usul chatter loudly with her two friends, showing off her fingernails painted red and her new hairstyle. Suddenly, the Usul coughed. She only coughed once, but it was a rather loud cough. The Usul brought her hand to her throat, wide-eyed, and then reached forward and grabbed her chocolate milk carton. She opened the milk carton and chugged down a few gulps. Her throat hurt badly after that awful cough, obviously.

      Then, the Usul coughed again. Twice. No, three times. Make that four. The speckled Usul's friends, both Usuls (one red and one blue), got up from their seats at the circular lunch table and went to go stand by their friend, rather worried looks pasted on their faces. The red Usul began to pat the speckled Usul on the back, as she continued to cough like a madman. Jean tilted her head as she watched the Usul, small furrows in her brow.

      The speckled Usul's coughing fit then got really bad. She shut her eyes tight as the several coughs kept on blasting out of her mouth. The red and blue Usuls stood by their friend, asking over and over again if she was okay. The speckled Usul then toppled out of her seat, grabbing on to her lunch tray and bringing it to the ground with her. Without thinking, Jean lunged forward, running through a puddle of chocolate milk that had appeared when the Usul's tray fell.

      Jean kneeled down beside the speckled Usul, helping the red and blue Usuls. And what was dreadfully awful was, as the Usul was coughing like crazy, everyone else in the cafeteria kept on talking as loud as they could, like they didn't have a care in the world if this Usul were to die.

      Then, all the way on the other side of the cafeteria, a blue Bori fell out of his seat, coughing like crazy. Several other pets did the same, coughing and coughing and coughing. Jean slowly arose from her kneeling position, eyes darting back and forth across the huge cafeteria as pets collapsed all around her. By this point, the pets who weren't coughing continued to scream and shout, but that's all they were doing. No one was talking with friends. They were darting over to fallen pets, trying their best to help them whilst screaming and crying.

      Suddenly, the speckled Usul ceased the coughing. She gasped heavily, and her bloodshot eyes shot open. She stared at the ceiling for a moment, her hands grasping tightly to her throat.

      "Rebecca?" the red Usul whispered to the speckled Usul. "Rebecca, are you okay?"

      Jean could only stare in fright at the poor, speckled Usul, tears forming in her eyes. Suddenly, a single hair on the Usul's head turned a dark purple. Seconds later, hundreds of the Usul's hairs were turning a dark, dark purple. The Usul's mane blackened completely, and her specks disappeared. To Jean and the other Usuls' disgust, a third eye suddenly formed on the Usul's forehead. Her previous two eyes turned a bright yellow, and her pupils turned red.

      Before the once speckled Usul's face was clearly visible, she flipped herself over and faced the dusty cafeteria floor, her head cupped in her hands. But by then, Jean and the other Usuls knew what had happened. The speckled Usul had somehow mutated.

      Jean stepped back and away from the mutant Usul, in fright. All around her, pets were collapsing to the ground and turning to mutants. Trays clattered against the cold, tiled, cafeteria floor. Pets who had yet to mutate screamed and screamed their heads off. Other unfortunate pets coughed horribly. Jean then fell to her knees and got into an uncomfortable fetal position. Tears ran down her cheeks as she shut her eyes tightly. She couldn't possibly bear to watch the suffering of pets her age.

      Jean finally managed to gather up enough courage to get hop up and bolt into the school kitchen. But, right before she did so, Jean managed to catch a glimpse of two mutant Usuls kneeling beside the mutant Usul that was once speckled.

      Inside the kitchen, Jean could not hear any of the terrible coughs and screams found just outside the door. Several of the fluorescent lights in the kitchen were flickering like crazy, dimming the lighting in of the kitchen. It truly was a very eerie place, and Jean wasn't very sure if she wanted to be there. Suddenly, in the very back of the kitchen, Jean heard something made of glass shatter. Instantly, Jean shot out of the kitchen like lighting, her heart beating like crazy and sweat trickling down her forehead.

      It took Jean a few minutes to notice that most of the screaming and coughing had subsided. Three of the school's nurses were running around the cafeteria like mad, hoisting newly mutated pets up off the ground and out into the hall. Some of the students and teachers helped. Yet Jean could only watch. She couldn't possibly go anywhere near those pets in such awful conditions.

      Pretty soon, all of the mutant pets had been taken out of the cafeteria. Random teachers were walking calmly around the cafeteria, ordering students to sit down and remain calm after further notice. Jean found it so amazing how teachers remained so calm in such frightening situations, such as this one. They act as if nothing ever happened, and go on yelling at kids to be quiet and to park it in a seat.

      Before a teacher could walk up to Jean and push her into one, Jean decided to plop down into a seat beside a rather shaken yellow Yurble. All Jean could do was stare at the ugly, circular lunch table, thinking of what had just happened. That's when she spotted Mrs. Green all the way on the other side of the cafeteria. She was looking around the cafeteria with a rather puzzled look on her face, as if she were looking for someone. At the sight of Mrs. Green, Jean stood up. Instantly, Mrs. Green spotted Jean, and zipped across the cafeteria towards her.

      "Jean, there you are!" Mrs. Green cried.

      Immediately, Jean lunged forward and into Mrs. Green's arms. The two embraced one another in a long, warm hug. "Oh my gosh, Mrs. Green, it was horrible!"

      "I can imagine so," Mrs. Green said. "Are you all right?"

      "Yes, I'm fine. I show no signs of mutating. At least… I hope."

      "Hmm… nah, you look fine to me,"

      Jean nodded, and sat back down at the circular table. Mrs. Green sat next to her.

      "Jean, what… exactly happened?" Mrs. Green placed her hands in her lap.

      Jean sighed, and told Mrs. Green everything that took place in the cafeteria. She started with talking about the speckled Usul that caught her attention for some reason, and how she mutated first. She talked of how the pets suddenly just dropped to the floor, coughing like crazy. She talked of how the coughs weren't normal coughs, the incident in the kitchen where the lights were dimmed and she heard the shattering of glass, and how random staff members at the school rushed the mutated pets out of the cafeteria and ordered students into seats.

      "Wow…" that was all Mrs. Green could come up with. But she was truly shocked as Jean told her story, you could tell.

      "Yeah," Jean nodded and sniffled.

      "Why do you think all of that stuff happened?" Mrs. Green questioned Jean even further.

      "I… really don't know," Jean sat and thought about it. "Where are Gav and Ave?" she finally said.

      "They're still in the classroom," Mrs. Green replied. "They have no clue as to what went on down here."

      Jean sighed and laid her head on the lunch table. "I wish I was like them… I wish I were clueless as to what happened, too. It's just… the worst thing ever, having this on your mind."

      Mrs. Green began to pat Jean on the back, "Eh, don't worry about it. All these kids need are a few good ol' paintbrushes, and they're back to normal."

      "It's not so much the fact that hundreds of pets in our school just mutated that worries me," Jean closed her eyes. "It's whatever it is that caused the mutation that worries me."

     ***

      Later that night, it was raining. Hard. It had been pouring rain ever since school let out. Gav and Ave were with Jean at her house. They were helping one another out with the homework that was amazingly assigned that day, regardless of the cafeteria incident. The trio was working diligently on a trigonometry problem, when Jean took her pencil in both hands and snapped it clean in half.

      "Uh… what in the world?" Gav raised an eyebrow at Jean.

      "I can't take it anymore," Jean blinked. "I want to know what caused those pets in the cafeteria to mutate, and I want to know now!"

      Ave scoffed. "Isn't it obvious? The nasty, slimy, twitching cafeteria food that they've eaten their whole lives did it!"

      It was obvious that Ave was just joking around, because after he spoke his words, he burst out laughing, along with Gav. Jean, on the other hand, did not. As she lay on her stomach, Jean placed her elbows on the wooden floor and her chin on her hands. She thought hard about what Ave said, and a light bulb suddenly went off in her head.

      "Ave, you're a genius!" Jean suddenly exclaimed, startling her two friends.

      "I… am?" Ave looked confused.

      "Yes! And you're absolutely correct!" Jean smiled from ear-to-ear.

      "Yay! What do I win?" Ave grinned.

      Jean punched him in the shoulder playfully. "Anyway, seriously. Ave, I think you might be on to something when you said the cafeteria food mutated the pets. Let's look at the facts. First off, us three did not mutate. And, us three did not eat the cafeteria food. Everyone else in the cafeteria who did eat the cafeteria food mutated! Also, I have reason to believe that the cafeteria food from yesterday mutated these pets. Because, I saw some pets who were just sitting on the stage talking mutate and stuff. That means anyone who did not mutate today but ate today's cafeteria food will mutate tomorrow. And since it seems like the mutation takes 24 hours to take effect, it'll be during lunchtime when it happens. Plus, the kitchen is one of those really creepy kitchens where it's eerily quiet, everything is as bright white, and the lights are flickering,"

      Gav and Ave exchanged glances.

      "And guess what?" Jean smiled. "We're going back to the school! Tonight! RIGHT now!"

      Gav and Ave hopped off of the bed in shock.

      "What?!" Gav exclaimed.

      "You can't do that!" Ave bellowed.

      "I can," Jean snatched her coat off of her desk. "If you don't want to come, it shows me how much of my friend you really are."

      Jean placed her purple, heavy coat on and walked out of her bedroom, shutting the door behind her. In the silence of Jean's bedroom, Gav and Ave sat back on the bed and looked around, not knowing what to do. Gav began whistling to himself, and Ave kicked his feet.

      Finally, Ave hopped off the bed and groaned. "Hey, sorry Gav, but… yea."

      He departed the bedroom. Now, Gav was alone in the very quiet bedroom. He lay down on the bed and stared at the ceiling. He sighed and said, "Okay… I'll do it. I know I'm not gonna like it, but I'll do it."

      He hopped off the bed and exited Jean's bedroom.

     ***

      As Jean and her friends parked their bicycles in the front of the school and removed their helmets, they began to get second thoughts. In the darkness of the night, the school that always looked so simple and boring looked very much like a haunted castle from the books Jean read.

      Ave gulped. "We're not really going in there… are we?"

      In the far distance, the trio could hear the howl of a Werelupe.

      "Well, I'm sure you don't want to stay out here," Jean replied, turning to look at Ave, who was sweating like mad.

      The three looked at one another, and suddenly dropped their helmets and bolted inside of the dark school. Gav let the front doors to the school shut behind him, and when they slammed shut, the echo of doors shutting rang throughout the school. It was truly very creepy.

      "Wow… I've never seen the inside of this school at night!" Ave stared in awe at his surroundings. "It's cool!"

      "It's scary," Jean corrected. "Now, come on! Let's get to the cafeteria!"

      Ave and Gav nodded, and the three tore down the hallway and into the dark and gloomy cafeteria.

      "Whoa!" Gav exclaimed upon entry. "I never noticed how big this cafeteria was! I guess you can't tell with all the pets in here…"

      "Whatever," Jean said. "C'mon, into the kitchen."

      "Why the kitchen?" Ave stopped her. "Why are we even here?"

      "I want to know what caused the mutation," Jean spun around to face Ave. "And like I said before, I think it has something to do with the cafeteria food. And where o' where might the cafeteria food be? My my, the kitchen, of course!"

      "How about we… go?" Ave shrugged.

      "That's what I'm doing," Gav sighed. "Sorry Jean, this is just too creepy for me."

      "Yeah, ditto. Sorry, man," Ave said.

      The two waved goodbye to Jean, and departed the cafeteria. Now, the blue Wocky was alone… alone in a room with a door. And on the other side of that door, was the kitchen. Jean slowly inched across the cafeteria, and to the door. Eventually, she was standing right in front of the door. Jean gulped, shut her eyes tightly, placed her paw on the door, and grimaced as she pushed the door open.

      It was extremely dark in the kitchen, almost pitch black darkness. However, something was different about the kitchen. It most definitely was not quiet at all. Jean could hear the sounds of pets talking, glass knocking against other glass, liquids being churned, and some other sounds that she couldn't determine what it was. Jean made her way through the kitchen until she could see the stoves and ovens. It was the fat Bruce and Elephante she had met yesterday! They had rather large pots of a stew of some sort sitting on a stove.

      As the Elephante mixed the ingredients and the stew together with a large, wooden spoon, she chattered with her friend. "Oh my goodness, girl, do ya wanna know what he says to me when I did 'dat? He talks about some, "I like your shoes," and I'm sitting there going… "What the…?"."

      As she had done before, the Bruce stared off into space, nodding occasionally to give the impression that she was listening. But then, all of a sudden, something horrific happened. The Elephante reached for something that Jean couldn't quite make out. Then, she found it to be an oddly shaped glass jar, filled with a foul-coloured liquid. The Elephante popped the cork off of the jar and turned it upside down over the stew, allowing the liquid to pour out of the jar and into the stew.

      "I still don't understand why we have to come in at midnight to cook food for the next day," Jean heard the Bruce speak for the first time. She had a very quiet, shy voice.

      The Elephante tossed the glass jar behind her, hoping it would land in the trash bin. Unfortunately, it missed and slammed against the wall, shattering into about five pieces. Jean stared at the glass shards for a few moments, and found that they resembled the face of a Mutant Chia.

      "Oh my gosh…" Jean whispered to herself. "Transmogrification Potions…"

To be continued…

 
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Other Episodes


» Cafeteria Chaos: Part One
» Cafeteria Chaos: Part Three



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