pick up his kids from school

Ian ran to his kids' school, not really knowing why but feeling a strange sense of urgency. He only had 10 hours left to live, and he wanted to cram as much things into them as he could.

He forced himself to calm down and walk slowly to the reception. If the kids saw him like this, they'd know for sure something was wrong. And he wasn't going to tell them what was, was he?

"Hello, how may I help you sir?" the receptionist asked, peering up from under the tall reception desk.

"I want to see my kids. Now." Ian knew how rushed and crazy that sounded, and he tried to breathe slowly. "I just want to see them and take them out of school for the rest of the day."

"And what would their names be, sir?" the receptionist asked, her fingers already poised at the keyboard.

"William and Sarah," Ian said without a moments' hesitation.

"And sir-names, please?" the receptionist asked. She made it sound like something no-one would have thought of, but Ian nearly slapped himself. How could he have forgotten something so obvious?

"Oh, yes, sorry. William and Sarah Jane-Grey."

"Thank-you sir." The phone rang just as she typed it in. Her finger hovered over the 'Enter' key, and she looked up at Ian. "Just a minute, sir. Hello how may I help you?"

She talked for a few minutes, Ian growing more and more impatient as the wait lengthened. Finally she put down the phone and turned back to Ian. "Sorry about that, sir." She pressed down the Enter key and watched the monitor as things flashed across the screen. "Ah, yes. William and Sarah Jane-Grey, in room 14B and 12A. I shall get them right away."

She picked up the phone again, but this time to call someone, not to receive a call. Ian sighed; finally he'd see his children for the last time. The receptionist talked for what seemed like an age, made another phone call, and finally turned back to Ian.

"They're on their way." Those four words made him sigh with relief. "In the meantime, why don't you sit in one of those chairs so as not to block other visitors?"

Ian looked back and saw a row of worn beige chairs lining the wall. The paint was flaking off the metal, and the flower patterns decorating the drab beige had mostly worn away. "Yes, of course," Ian said, choosing the least-worn one to sit in.

After a while, he heard the sound of voices in the hallway. Ian had the urge to jump up and see whether or not it was his children, but he kept himself stationary, just in case it wasn't. Ian looked down and started tracing the flower patterns in the beige to pass the time. The voices were getting closer now, and closer.


Ian's head snapped up to see the rosy face of his son and the blonde bobbing head of his daughter following right behind her brother.

"You're here!" Ian said, smiling. He jumped up and embraced them, feeling their warmth and smallness. 

"What's so urgent as to call us out of class for?" his son asked. Ian stared at their young, innocent faces and hesitated. He decided to...

The End

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