Boilers and Professors

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Boilers and Professors

Post by Guest on Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:14 pm

"Go! Run Annabelle!" Martin shouted above the chaos that swelled around them. "Go! Get on the ship! I'll follow!"
Fear colored Ann's eyes as she ran ahead of Martin, trying to reach the ship before it left port. The sun was red, shedding a strange red glow across the world, enveloping it in what seemed like blood. Screams penetrated the night around her, people crying for their loved ones, trying to get them to the ships before the world was destroyed.
Ann turned to find Martin, the ship only a few feet away. "Come on miss! Are you on or off?" The gruff voice of the door master asked as the crowds surged around her, pulling her to the ship.
"Martin!" Ann shouted, ignoring the man. She felt rough hands around her, pulling her onto the ship as she called out.

Ann's screams faded into the loud steam whistle on one of the large boilers as she pulled herself from her memories. She shook her head and grabbed Gigi, her favorite wrench. Curses flew from her mouth as she ran down the wall of the large boiler room. "Shut up you bloody-," her curses were drowned out as she hit the large boiler with Gigi. She paused, thinking she heard someone call her name, but her attention was turned back to the boiler as it screamed at her again.

"Damn you," she growled, hitting it again. The boiler's screams stopped short, rattles and crashes heard inside it before it gave a large thud and a spurt of steam flew out from its valve. She grinned to herself as it began to work regularly again, putting her hands on her hips in triumph. She turned to go back to her chair only to find a man only a few feet away. She jumped, a scream caught in her throat and coming out in a high pitched grimacing sound. She looked around for a slight moment, the man just smiling at her.

“Hello, I am-“ The man was cut off as he ducked, Ann swinging Gigi wildly. “Whoa!” he took a step back as she swung again. “Careful there, you might hurt someone Miss Reed.” Ann froze at the mention of her name, her eyes wide as stray locks of her dark curls hung in her sweat covered face.

“Who the hell are you and how do you know my name?” She asked, holding out Gigi threateningly.

“Ethan Watts, and your name is on your badge,” Ethan said with a small smile. “I’ve also heard a great deal about you. A university boiler room is no place for an engineering genius like yourself. I’ve come to offer you a job.”

“Sorry but I’ve already got a job. So…kindly leave. You’re not supposed to be down here anyway.” Ann shifted her body, staring at him warily.

“In a damn boiler room Annabelle. Didn’t you want something better for you when you left Earth?” Ethan asked, letting his hands lower. They had been in the air for a while and were starting to go numb. His kind brown eyes gaining a slight spark to them when he mentioned Earth.

Ann’s eyes hardened as she stared at him. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said darkly. “Earth died over fifty years ago. Do I look fifty to you?”

Ethan shook his head and held his hands up again. “No, no of course not. Then again you don’t look like you were born in the 1950s.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. No one lives that long,” Ann said, her eyes dark as she gripped her wrench, tighter. “Leave. Now. Before I call security.” Ethan sighed and gave a small nod, starting to back away.

“Yes ma’am. But please, if you reconsider…look me up.”

“In your dreams,” Ann hissed as she watched him leave. She stayed in place, waiting till his faded footsteps reached the door. She heard the door open, and then shut before she let out a deep breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. How had he known? Who was that man? She quietly made her way back to her station, only to find a letter sitting in her seat. The front had an inscription of black ink and calligraphy she hadn’t seen in ages.
To Miss Reed, Dream Bigger.

Ann rolled her eyes and stuffed it into the back pocket of her tan overalls. She had them undone to her waist, the arms wrapped around her middle while her top had a white tank top. The outfit was against code, but it wasn’t like anyone was there to see her. She was always the only one when it came to day shift. She didn’t know why it was like that, probably because she was a girl. It was like being stuck in the fifties again, a fact that really irked her since she had never lived in the fifties before.

She heard the whistle blow and grinned, quickly fixing her overalls to be on right, then grabbed her things and dashed out of the boiler room. Kepper would be there soon enough to take over. She went to the worker’s dress room and got changed, soot still smudged on her face. She walked out of the work room ten minutes later, fixing her bun so it looked more presentable. Thin wire framed glasses rested on her nose while she wore dark tan pants that were tucked into her large black boots, a white top, and her favorite brown vest that carried her pocket watch.

I’m in the home stretch now,
she thought to herself as she neared the door, hoping to avoid Dean Higgins. She quickened her pace, her eyes darting down the corridors around her to make sure he wasn’t there. Then, there it was. That horrid, ominous mono tone voice. “Miss Reed! A word,” came Higgins’ voice from down the hall.

“Damnit, so close,” Ann grumbled to herself before turning slowly and forcing a smile on her face. “Yes Dean Higgins?” She called back, not really wanting to walk down the hall to him. In her opinion, he smelled like prune juice and goat, neither of which were a good smell, and the smell only got worse the closer you got.

“Come here, I want to discuss your position here.” Higgins said, waving her over. Here we go again, he’s going to give me the “women shouldn’t work” speech again isn’t he? Ann’s thoughts towards the old man quickly soured as she made her way over to him. She stopped in front of him, forcing herself to breathe through her nose so she didn’t have the taste lingering in her mouth. He motioned her into his study, which she entered reluctantly, the smell of prune juice, goat, and brandy being over powering. He made his way around her, past all the stacks of books that surrounded them, and to his desk.

Ann briefly heard him as he began in on his speech about the rightful place of women as her eyes scanned the small room. The walls were covered in shelves that stretched to the ceiling, all of them filled with various books that had been acquired in the recent years after the destruction of Earth. There were two leather chairs sitting in front of her, then a large mahogany desk, then Higgins, and then his large, claw foot chair with the high back. She always felt like she was in the office of a war lord or something, like she should be running because at any moment, the dull Dean Higgins would turn into Hitler.

While she was trying to imagine Higgins as an evil overlord, she heard a small phrase that brought her from her thoughts. “We’re letting you go,” Higgins said as he leaned back against his precious high top.

“Wh-what?” Ann spluttered, blinking rapidly as if it would improve her hearing by doing so. “What do you mean you’re letting me go? I’m the best engineer you have!”

“That is irrelevant Annabelle,” Higgins said as he leaned forward. “You are being released from your duties as of today. Your check will be mailed to you and you will receive a bonus of fifty pounds. I don’t expect to see you back here, Ann.” His cold eyes stared at her, then glanced towards the door. “I presume you can show yourself out.”

Ann stood there shell shocked before she turned and walked from the room. She felt numb, not even noticing as Richard, a mechanic from the same department in the university, came running up to her, shouting her name. This had to have been the worst, creepiest day of her life.

“Ann! Ann you dropped something!” Richard called as he caught up to her. Ann turned and looked at him, adjusting her glasses slightly that were starting to steam from the tears that hadn’t fallen. Richard’s face softened slightly and he sighed. “Higgins give you the sack too, huh?” He shook his head and looked down at the letter in his hands. “I got mine this morning. Oh, you dropped this by the way,” he said as he handed the letter to her.

“Thanks,” Ann said numbly as she took the letter, glancing at the lettering. She froze, a thought occurring to her. “Come on, Richard.” She grabbed his hand before he could say anything, and pulled him out of the University, clutching to the letter.


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