Copyright © 1996-2003 Sarah Henderson.
Last updated 14 October 2003

short stories


I step out of my house, treading gently on the stepping stones sunk into the soft ground. They guide me down through the trees, surrounded by birdsongs, to the concrete landing pad. In a straight line through the clearing is a region where there is grass but no tall trees. In school we are told that this used to have black stuff, called road, on the ground, but now it's just a clearway for the airbus. Our school is very proud of it's airbus. It's so fast that it can pick up all the people from my school in just fifteen minutes, and there's twenty-six people at my school. It's solar powered, like all the others, but it's heaps more comfortable. I'm the newest person at my school. I've only been there for three weeks. The teacher hasn't seen me do my maths yet, but I'm good at it! My Dad's been teaching me at home. I can read, too. I can read all of the signs in town, and some of the big writing on the News-screen at home. The airbus is here. I didn't even notice because it's so quiet. It floats so high above the ground that I have to climb four steps to get into it. The steps slide down to me, then slide back up again after I climb into the airbus. I sit down in one of the big padded seats in the front of the bus. There are huge plastic windows to see out of. I watch as we approach my friend Juliet. She climbs in and sits down behind me. She told me once that ages ago, people used to have little airbuses, which could only hold one or two people. I don't really believe that, though. If there was only one person in an airbus, that person would get awfully lonely. We are getting very close to the town now. There are lots of people walking around and lots of other airbuses above us. There are so many people all over the place, it would be easy to get lost. I got lost once, when I was little. I was running all over the place looking for my Dad, but I couldn't find him. Luckily I saw one of my Dad's friends, and she helped me to find Dad. He was looking for me, as well. I don't get lost any more, though. I'm a big boy now. Were almost at school, now. We just have to get into the elevator stream. Our school is in a huge building outside town, which has heaps of other schools in it. All of the schools airbuses get there at the same time, but they can't all unload at once because there are only four docking doors. We have to wait in the queue, then go whooosh up the side of the building to the docking door. That's the fun part because it feels as though your stomach is falling out of you. School is fun, but the teacher still hasn't asked to see my maths or reading. I heard the teachers arguing today. One said that they have to pretend to teach us, but the other reckoned that once the helmet went on it wouldn't matter anyway. I don't know what they were talking about, but I think it has something to do with the robot hat we sometimes have to wear. It has all funny coloured wires sticking out of it and going into the wall. Sometimes people go funny when they wear it, and they don't know who I am afterwards. The airbus ride home was a quick one, and I couldn't wait to tell Dad all about my day. We sat around talking while the Tidy-mice cleaned up our dinner, until it was time for me to go to bed. I walked through the Auto-shower and got into bed. Dad tucked me in and gave me a hug. As he left the room, I heard him whisper, "You're so lucky to be a kid in the twenties."

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