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Adventures in Akadia

Chapter 27

First Day of School

     As the golden glow faded, the children found themselves once again in the halls of White Creek Elementary. The warm Akadian sunset had been replaced by the bright overhead lights of the school.

Turning around, they faced the door to room 143. It looked just as it had when they had first seen it.

     "We're back!" Gabriela whispered.

     Now realizing everyone at home had no idea where they had gone, Lukas felt a sudden rush of worry, "Wait, how long were we gone?”

     The kids exchanged nervous glances, realizing how worried everyone must be. They had to let everyone know that they were okay!

     "C'mon," Jamari urged, leading the way.

     Their footsteps echoed against the linoleum floor as they hurried, but their sprint was interrupted by a stern voice.

     "Hey, no running in the halls!" a grown up called out from behind, stopping them in their tracks.

     They turned to face one of the aides that worked at the school. For a moment, the kids just stared at the adult, wondering how they would react to seeing the kids that had been missing for over two weeks.

     But the adult didn’t say anything, they just stared until a confused look came over their face and they said, “Well, shouldn’t you be getting back to class?”

     Jamari swallowed nervously and then blurted out, "What day is today?"

     The grown up tilted their and replied, "It's the first day of school. Are you kids lost?"

     Thinking quickly, Gabriela spoke up, "Oh. No, we’re not lost. We were just... uh... heading back to class. We were in room 143."

     The aide raised an eyebrow, now even more confused. But before she could say anything else, the children dashed off, eager to end the conversation.

     Once they were out of earshot, the group slowed down. 

     Elizabeth asked in a rushed voice, “Wait. So it is still the same day here? How is that possible?”

     The kids paused to think about it. Jamari admitted, "I don't know,” after a pause, he asked, “Does that mean we didn’t actually go to Akadia? Was that just some kind of dream?”

     The kids' faces went from confused to sad as they wondered if their adventure had actually happened.

     Gabriela’s eyes widened as she noticed Elizabeth’s necklace, “Look, we still have our gifts!”

     The others quickly checked for their own gifts and breathed a sigh of relief.

     Returning to their classroom, the kids found the rest of their classmates working on the same assignment as when they had left.

     Ms. Quinn looked up in surprise as they entered, "Back already?" she asked.

     The children exchanged a quick glance at one another, unsure of how to explain being back so soon.

     "Um, yeah," Jamari replied, “It was a super quick meeting. Super easy.”

     Ms. Quinn wasn’t totally convinced, and her face showed it. She opened her mouth, about to ask something else, but decided not to and instead gave a simple smile. She nodded and gave a slight movement of her head toward their desks, signaling for the kids to return to their seats and finish the worksheet.

     The kids sat back down, their hearts still racing and their hands clutching the gifts from Aurelia.

     To the kids, it was strange how uninterested everyone seemed to be in their return. Their classmates just stayed focused on the assignment they were working on. Cleary, their classmates had no idea the group had just returned from an adventure through a magical door. The group exchanged a look to one another, realizing that this was a secret, an unbreakable bond, that they now shared.

     Throughout the day, the group shared little moments. Just before lunch, the class was given some free time to do arts and crafts. Jamari pushed a piece of paper to the center of the cluster for the others to see. He had drawn a group of Quotidians playing bubblyball. The others giggled at his picture and immediately started making their own Akadia-themed art. The kids became very chatty and giggly at their group of desks, drawing some glances from their classmates. At one point, even Miss Quinn looked toward the group in surprise. She had not anticipated that cluster getting along so well, especially this early.

     At lunch, the group sat next to one another. As they were eating, Elizabeth accidentally spilled some ketchup on the leg of her pants. Normally, this sort of thing would have been a catastrophe. Instead, she simply grabbed her napkin and started wiping at the ketchup.

     Imitating a Quotidian voice and vocabulary, she said, “No biggy biggy.”

     The others laughed and used Quotidian voices for the rest of lunch.

     Heading out to lunch recess, Elizabeth turned to Gabriela, “Do you want to come play with me?” 

     Gabriela nodded excitedly and the two grabbed jump ropes. As they played, Elizabeth introduced Gabriela to some of the other girls in the class.

     As they jumped, they noticed Jamari had gathered a group of kids together out in the field. With Lukas’ help, Jamari looked like he was trying to explain something to the group of kids. As they saw his movements, it became clear he was teaching everyone to play bubblyball!

     At the end of the school day, Miss Quinn had everyone gather up their things and line up at the classroom door.

     Once lined up, Miss Quinn asked, “Did everyone have a good first day?”

     “Yeah!” the children called out, the most enthusiastic responses coming from Elizabeth, Lukas, Jamari, and Gabriela.

     The bell rang, echoing through the halls and setting off the rush of students. The friends emerged from the front doors of the school, stepping out into the bright afternoon sunlight. They paused for a moment to chat before going their separate ways. 

     As they did, a familiar voice came from behind, "Well hello friends, did you have a good first day of school?"

     The group turned to find Ivy standing alongside three of her friends. Each of them had wide smiles.

     One of the boys standing next to Ivy asked,"Is this them, Ivy?"

     Ivy continued to smile and nodded, "Yep, this is new group."

     A girl standing on the other side of Ivy asked anxiously, "How did your challenges go?" 

     The group spent the next several minutes exchanging stories about the challenges, about the Quotidians, and the gifts they had received.

     Ivy and the other older kids then said goodbye and left the friends once again standing together.

     Lukas couldn't help but wonder out loud, "When do you think we’ll get to go back?"

     The group exchanged thoughtful glances. They hoped it would be soon, but couldn’t know for sure. With a grin and a shrug of their shoulders, they all set off in different directions.

     Jamari, remembering he had football practice, broke into a run, looking back to wave at his friends, "See you tomorrow!" he called out cheerfully.

     Lukas, off to catch the bus, gave the girls a quick "See ya!" before heading off.

     Left standing together, Gabriela and Elizabeth waited by the line of cars, chatting happily as they waited.

     Their moms happened to pull up in the line one after the other. Giving each other a tight hug, the girls parted.

     As Gabriela hopped into the car, her mom greeted her, "How was your day, honey?"

     "It was so good! I think I’m really going to like it here," Gabriela replied happily, surprising her mom.

     Meanwhile, as Elizabeth settled into her car, her mom asked, "How was the first day of school?"

     Elizabeth thought for a moment and then responded with a smile, "It was perfect!"

THE END :)

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