Chapter Two: David Hunting

In a small town called Royal City, a small boy named David Floren is in a small Middle School waiting for Lydia McCubbins to show up. He is not doing this out of choice, but because his older brother John is there to keep him from doing all the things he really wants to do.

Impatiently glancing at his watch, John turns to David and says, "When is she supposed to be here, anyway?"

"Oh, about five minutes ago." In actuality, Lydia is supposed to be there in about five minutes, but John doesn't know this and he is impatient to leave for high school. John is a junior this year, something he's terribly excited about. Not really.

Receiving that answer, John loses his patience. "I'm going to leave now, okay? Go to your first class or something, and... I don't know. Stare at the ceiling. Just please, David, don't blow anything up."

"Lydia's going to be pissed off," David reminds John. "You guys were going to meet each other today, and since you've been just sending her checks and short notes that she can't even read (because you have crappy handwriting) for a whole year, she really wants to see you in person for once."

"Well tell her I'm sorry, but I've got stuff to do. And your handwriting is just as crappy as mine is. Bye, Dave. Here's Lydia's check, by the way. Please give it to her."

"See you John." Once David is sure that John has left, he runs to the boys' bathroom, cackling evilly. There he pulls some old fireworks and a bunch of gunpowder out of his backpack, along with a box of matches.

Speaking insanely to himself, he commences stage one of his evil plan. "Well, this shouldn't make too big of an explosion. At least I'm not bringing an atomic bomb to school or anything. Mwahahahaha..."

Meanwhile, Lydia has just arrived at school and already realizes that something is wrong. Neither David nor John (as far as she can tell) are anywhere in the Middle School. Whitney, who has been looking for Lydia everywhere, runs over.


"Shh! Don't say my name so loud," Lydia chastises Whitney. She puts on dark sunglasses and a trench coat, apparently trying to look inconspicuous.

"What's up? Why are you dressed like that?" Whitney asks, puzzled. "It's not Halloween, you know."

Lydia, pulling a large tranquilizer gun and a pistol out of her backpack, answers in a hushed whisper. "I think I might have to go David hunting."

"DAVID HUNTING?" Whitney yells, very excited and very much in awe.


Whitney apologizes hastily, then, "Can I help?"

Lydia, loading the tranquilizer and making sure the pistol is in order, seems doubtful. "I do not know for sure whether you possess the mental capabilities, but it is highly doubtful."

Pouting, and thinking of stealing Lyd's gun, Whitney exclaims, "But I wanna!"

"All right, all right... you may. But it is imperative that you be very, very quiet."

"Okay!" Nit-Wit ponders this for a minute. "What's imperative?"

Sighing, Lyd shakes her head in remorse. "That's what I thought..."

Lydia and Whitney hide behind a bench for several minutes, Whitney looking around at all the students moving to and fro. Lydia is busy searching the crowd for David and listening for some kind of explosion. They are there for about five minutes; still nothing happens.

"I can't stand it," Lydia says. "I'm going to go look for him. You stay here and if he comes this way, run and get me. Got that?"

"Got it!"

Lydia leaves. Nit-Wit forgets about David in seconds, running over to chat mindlessly with a few random people instead. After a while all the people get annoyed and are convinced she's a witch, because they have a strong urge to burn her at the stake and that's what you are supposed to do to witches. They have already begun building a large bonfire in front of the school and have tied Whitney up. Being too busy chattering away to notice, her life is in grave danger until Kayla comes to the rescue at the last second.

"Come on, Nit-Wit! Shut up and lets go."

Whitney can't believe how silly Kayla is being. "Can't you tell I'm in the middle of a conversation?"

Staring at the rising flames with increasing apprehension, Hairless replies, "I can tell you're about to die if you don't come with me. Let's run!"

Kayla runs, dragging Nit-Wit along with her. It takes a few seconds for all the dumb students to realize that the person they were going to burn is gone.

"Hey, come back with our witch!" The student population exclaims this all at once, and grab pitchforks, running after the witch and her rescuer.

"AHHHHH!" screams Hairless, suffering from both fear of being forked and bitter disappointment from the realization that she might die without kissing Salad. "Whitney, you owe me a really big chocolate bar! AHHHHHHHHH!"

Her friend is not listening, preferring instead to chatter mindlessly. "Hi! Hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi-"

"Okay, STOP, before you turn blue in the face! I am already tired from all this running, so it's hard to see how you can..."

"But I'm so happy to see you! I haven't seen you all summer! I'm not really happy to be back in school, though. I hate school. School is boring and not fun, because you actually have to think in school."

Panting, Hairless replies, "I'm not so worried about the thinking. But if we have to run this much every day, I'm transferring somewhere else."

Meanwhile, Lydia is moving stealthily through the crowd of people, dodging this way and that and looking for any sign of David while listening for an explosion. She ducks into a classroom, where a teacher is hanging some little sixth grader upside down from the ceiling by his toes.

"Hello, Mr. Perkins. Who have you got there?"

"Oh, hello Lydia. This is Ryan Lefler; I caught him trying to steal one of my pencils. I pay a lot for my pencils, you know!"

Ryan vehemently denies the accusation. "I didn't steal it, I was going to use it to pick my nose!" He writhes and twists in pain. "Oh, please help me, someone! Please get me down!"

Perkins laughs evilly. "You're damn right you didn't steal it! I caught you, you little twerp! Never try anything funny when my back is turned; do you know why? I HAVE EYES IN THE BACK OF MY HEAD."

Clearing her throat, Lydia decides to leave before she somehow becomes involved in this insane situation. Looking for David and his explosives was a much more practical use of time than torturing innocent children. "Uh, have you seen David Floren anywhere?"

"I haven't seen anything since Perkins put me up on the ceiling!" Ryan screams some more and begs Mr. Perkins to get him down.

"No, I haven't! What, do you think I have eyes in the back of my head?" the insanely strict teacher says, chuckling at his student's obvious pain and discomfort. "He's probably off doing some science experiment..."

"Okay, bye! Thank you very much." Under her breath, she mutters to herself, "That's what I'm afraid of." She searches several other classrooms, to no avail. Just when she is about to give up all hope, and is getting rather thirsty... David shows up, walking up behind Lydia as she is at the drinking fountain.

"Hi," he says.

She spits water all over, shocked that he is actually speaking to her of his own free will. "David! What are you doing here? You've been in the boys' bathroom this WHOLE TIME?"

Straight-faced, he nods his head. "Yep. Diarrhea."

"Um... okay... thanks for telling me. So, where's John? He was supposed to be waiting at the school with you. We were going to meet each other today."

"He didn't want to see you," David lies, just for the fun of it. "There were other things he wanted to do and you're just not important. But here's your check for lots of money."

Lydia is very pissed off. Wanting to change the subject, she gets back to what she's good at. Threatening David. "You didn't blow up anything, did you? If you did I'll have to beat you with a stick again!"

"No, of course not." Not yet, he thinks to himself, and can't resist an evil chuckle.

"Well, all right then. This year we have six classes together, so you'll only be in one class without me there to watch you."

Boredly, David inquires, "What class?"

"First period. So, I'm going to inform your teacher, Mrs. Clark, of the situation. Right now would probably be a good time. Let's go."

Lydia and David walk down the hall to his first class, where David takes a seat and Lydia goes over to talk to Mrs. Clark. However, it is not Mrs. Clark sitting in the teacher's desk.

"Hello... Mrs. Knox," Lyd greets her.

Who is Mrs. Knox, you may be wondering? Well, it is my profound displeasure to explain to you exactly who she is. If you can bear to call her a she, and not and 'it,' that is. Mrs. Knox is an old, crazy substitute teacher who is nearly half deaf and wide enough that she has to sit in two chairs. Her hair is gray, and there is a small round bald spot on the top of her head. She wears huge, thick square glasses.

In a cackling voice that is evil, yet somehow incredibly stupid, 'it' (Mrs. Knox, that is), speaks. "What? I can't hear you very well."

"Hello! My name is LYDIA, and this is DAVID." Lyd gestures to David, who waves to Mrs. Knox but at that very moment is secretly wishing to blow up the fat old substitute with a nuclear bomb. Anything smaller and less powerful wouldn't make a big enough explosion.

"I must tell you that David constantly has an overwhelming urge to make things explode. I don't know how long Mrs. Clark is going to be gone, but every morning... if you could just check his binder, coat, backpack... you know, for gunpowder or any type of explosive materials, that would be great."


Mrs. Knox stares stupidly for a minute. She ponders this new information. Then, slowly, "Would you like some candy? Or some gum?" She herself is chewing a piece and both David and Lydia think she looks rather like an old cow.

"No, thank you. You probably drooled on it... well, goodbye David. Be good."

David tries to hide his glee at being left with a teacher that is so stupid she doesn't even know the time of day. "Bye, Lydia! See you later!" His voice betrays his excitement, and Lydia walks out with a suspicious frown on her face. On the other hand, Whitney and Kayla are not doing much walking.

"H-have we outrun them yet?" Kayla Hairless pants, struggling to keep running. Nit-Wit is gliding along with ease beside her, and starts jogging backwards to see whether the mob of students is still behind them. "Most of them, yeah. there's a few still chasing us." Whitney waves at them, and resumes facing forward. "They're getting kind of tired, though."

"Well I'm getting really tired, so we'd better find somewhere to hide soon."

"I just found the somewhere," says Whitney, and points to the somewhere.

"You have got to be joking."

"No, I'm dead serious."

About thirty seconds later the remaining part of the angry mob passes by, most of them having forgotten why they were running in the first place. They continue onward anyway because running and screaming your lungs out is great fun and totally mindless, both of which are excellent reasons for doing something. They pass on by, and Kayla can no longer contain herself. She screams.


"Well, fine. If that's the way you feel..." Nit-Wit starts climbing out of the garbage bin, and wipes leftover spaghetti from her shirt with an old napkin.

Sobbing, Kayla says, "Oh, Whitney! This is so terrible. I feel dirty and gross... and... there's... SOMETHING CRAWLING UP MY SHIRT! AHHHHHH!"

"Are you okay?" asks Nit-Wit, jumping back into the garbage.


Seeing what is crawling on Kayla, Whitney laughs. "Oh, how cute! Don't move! It's a ten-foot long earthworm! Oh, so cute. I will call him Dilbert!"

"Dilbert? DILBERT? Oh, just get me out!"

"Okay, okay! I think we're going to be late for class."

At that very moment David is in his own class, waiting for just the right moment to ask to go to the bathroom. Mrs. Knox waddles up to the front of the room, and begins speaking in her croaking voice. "Now, class... today you are going to read all period. Mrs. Clark is still on vacation and will be back very soon. I'm not exactly sure when... but until then you will be reading all period and recording everything in your Reading Log. Now, are there any questions? We are going to be reading all period, you know."

That's what we always do anyway, thinks David. Reading is what F.I.R.S.T. class is for. He raises his hand just as the loathsome substitute is about to take the first bite of a giant chocolate bar.

She looks slowly and stupidly at him. "Yes, Mister Floren?"

"Could I go to the bathroom?"


"No? I really have to go. If I don't I just know something terrible will happen."

"Quiet, Mister Floren!"


"I said quiet! I have to tell the class what we're doing today."

"But, you already..."

"Now, class... today you are going to read all period. Mrs. Clark is still on vacation and will be back very soon. I'm not exactly sure when... but until then you will be reading all period and recording everything in your Reading Log. Now, are there any questions? We are going to be reading all period, you know."

"You... already did. That's okay. I like hearing things several times." Feeling resentful and making plans to murder this sorry excuse for a human being, David is quiet. He resists the urge to use his telepathic abilities to squeeze her tiny, pathetic little mind into oblivion and instead plans something almost as wonderful. "Mrs. Knox, if I don't go right now I'll explode!"

"Shut up or I'll hit you with my cane!"

"Oooh, you're bad! I got that on my tape recorder. Now let me go to the bathroom, or else I will have you arrested for threatening to abuse a poor little kid."

Mrs. Knox has fallen asleep from all the exhausting arguing, and does not hear David's last remark. A little drool is hanging from her mouth.

"I'll take that as a yes. Bye, everyone!" he waves to his classmates and walks out, going to the bathroom to retrieve fireworks, gunpowder, and a little dynamite from up in the ceiling where he stashed it all. After a few minutes of deep pondering, the rest of the class realizes what has happened and runs out screaming and yelling for joy.

Lydia is in class, listening to her teacher drone on about rules and regulations when it happens. The explosion is a dull yet penetrating BOOM, shaking the very foundations of the school. She doesn't speak to anyone or make excuses for her behavior, just gets up, pulls out the tranquilizer gun and walks out of class. As she gets nearer to the explosion students run past towards the exits. Only a few are brave enough (and stupid enough) to head in the direction of the disaster. In Mrs. Clark's room, a huge hole has been blown in the wall. There is rubble everywhere and the only ones inside are David Floren, Mrs. Knox, Whitney Christensen, and Kayla Harris. Nit-Wit and Hairless are both covered in week-old garbage, and they smell really bad. Mrs. Knox is tied to several giant fireworks. David is a few feet away and sheltered by the teacher's desk, about to light the fuse with a large match.

"David, put the match down!"

"Or what?" he says, annoyed.

"Or I'll kill you!"

David considers this. He puts the match down. Lyd is relieved. I can't believe he actually thinks this is a real gun... or that I would shoot him. Nit-Wit and Hairless both watch, horrified.

"Now, back away slowly." He does this, but she decides to shoot him anyway, just as a precaution. A tranquilizer wouldn't actually hurt anyone, of course, and an unconscious David is a good David. This decision is a mistake. The gun somehow gets jammed, David runs to light a match, and Lydia is forced to pull out her handgun.

"David, don't move!"

He ignores her.

"Don't move! STOP! I don't want to have to hurt you."

"Shoot him! Hurry," yells Hairless excitedly.

Lydia aims the gun; David lights the fuse. He then sees her pointing it at him and begins running out through the wall that has been blown away. She tries to make herself pull the trigger, but can't.

"Why didn't you shoot him? You should have," says Kayla.

"Just... shut up. Now," Lydia replies. She then proceeds to go running after David.

Whitney looks over at Mrs. Knox. "Should we put out the fuse?"

"No way," Kayla tells her. "I just wanted to see David get shot. Mrs. Knox can die for all I care."

Whitney hesitates, while Kayla runs for cover. She decides to put the fuse out but it is too late. Everything blows up in a shower of sparks. Mrs. Knox is dead.

Walking in straight from a nice vacation in the Bahamas, Mrs. Clark surveys the room and knows that the school year has truly begun. "What happened here?"

"David happened here, that's what!" exclaims Whitney, and proceeds to tell the teacher everything. Needless to say, everyone at school goes home for the rest of the day while police try to piece together what has happened. No trace of Mrs. Knox is ever found. An hour later Lydia finally finds David, sitting near the edge of a dirt road with his feet in a canal.

"What do you want? Go away!" He gets up, ready to start running again.

"Don't run, David. I don't have the energy to go chasing you some more."

He cautiously lets her approach. "You're going to tell my parents, aren't you?"

"No," Lydia says, sitting down beside him. "I think they'll hear about it anyway, though. I've never asked; why do you like blowing things up so much?"

"I don't know. I suppose it's just a way to relieve stress."

"Wow. You must have a lot of stress, microbe!"

"Sure, whatever."

"Just go swimming when you feel stressed."

"I can't swim."

She stares at him for a moment, then shoves him into the canal. "You're such a liar."