First Pass at Beginning a Sci-Fi Tale

It was late enough that the cleaners had already been through and the floor smelled like lemon and wax. I could see them finishing up towards the end of the hall, light-industrial labourers with small frames and arms a foot or more longer than their legs. I watched them for a minute, enjoying their easy practiced motions. One was sweeping up whatever dirt and clutter the day had left while behind it two more used wood handled mops to burnish the floor.


At the other end of the hall Zack Lucas was accepting congratulations from a steady stream of smiling professors and gushing undergrads. Tucked under his arm were a bunch of rolled posters and a film canister he would gesture to occasionally as he smiled, nodded, and shook hands. I was standing at my locker moving text books around to create some space for the posterboard backdrops of my own project. I soon abandoned the effort and with a firm shove I jammed the posterboard in, the stiff material cracking as it yielded to the locker’s confines. I looked down the hall to see if the noise had attracted any attention but no one seemed to have noticed.

            Past the small crowd I could see the custodians finishing up. There were three of them, all the same light industrial labour breed. They had small frames and arms almost twice the length of their legs. One was sweeping the hall while behind it the others were mopping, leaving a coating of lemon-smelling wax in their wake. Their movements were precise and consistent – there were no lazy sweeps of the mops or corners left untouched. Something in them was almost graceful, despite the mundaneness of their work. The crowd around Zack Lucas was oblivious to them

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