Jeremy went to the museum for a class field-trip. He and his friends, Arnold and Scott, were prepared for the best day ever. They all loved the museum and its many sights and sounds; the models of ancient pharaohs, emperors, and kings. Arnold said he’d spend the most time learning about Japanese history, since he’d become such a stupid weaboo after getting hooked on anime. Scott was prepared to keep his distance from the dinosaurs after watching Jurassic Park last weekend. As for Arnold, he wanted to visit the medieval exhibit.
They arrived at the museum in the morning after ten, just on time. They all followed after Ms. Jennings – their teacher – single-file into the building. All around there were ooh’s and awe’s from the children. Not excluding Jeremy and his friends. A giant dinosaur skeleton hauntingly hung from the domed ceiling. Scott noticed it and then vomited before passing out and being taken from the building by the Ms. Jennings’s assistant. Jeremy and the rest of the class were given their special lanyards, where she then explained the rules with strict pronunciation.
1. No yelling.
2. No Running.
3. No shoving.
4. Be back by one in the afternoon, that’s when we’ll all be leaving.
They’d have three chances to keep the first three rules, and then they were going to be sent back to the bus. It made Jeremy nervous because he recognized immediately that all three of those rules went against his natural characteristics.
Then, with a skirt smile she humorously shooed them off with her hands and said, “Fly now, be free!”
Jeremy didn’t hesitate to break rules 2 and 3 by shoving through his classmates to escape the crowd, while yelling, “WOO HOO!”
Ms. Jennings called him back immediately after back to her side. He’d broken two rules already, but she let him off with only one penalty. She’d be keeping an eye on him for the rest of the trip, which, if Jeremy’s prediction was correct, meant that he’d be able to do whatever he wanted with only the security guards to stop him. After being forced to watch the rest of the other students disperse in a contrastingly orderly manner, she let him off his leash and he went free.
The extra time spent to watch his classmates was exactly what he needed. Another school bus pulled up, where another crowd of students filed out behind their teacher and entered inside. The teacher leading them was Mr. Ruffus, a haggard old man with a hunch in his back and only one eye. He was an avid fan of Hello Kitty and has his eye-patch stylized to have the little anime kitten on front. Jeremy heard him shouting at the students as they followed in terror behind, “Haul ass, haul ass! Come on, come one! Haul ass, ye’ landlubbers!”
Jeremy made strides for the nearest exit – which was the astronomy exhibit, yet stopped in his tracks when he noticed a familiar student hobbling in the class. Ashley, wearing her favorite purple coat, stepped inside and took her place among the others while Mr. Ruffus checked in at the main desk. She didn’t notice him, but instead also took notice of the giant dinosaur skeleton hanging from the ceiling. She awed, incidentally flashing her pink braces before becoming self-conscious and shifting to smirk.
Impulsively, he raised his hand and waved frantically at her. He almost yelled, but caught himself at the last moment and instead yell-whispered to her. “Hey! Ashley!”
Ashley turned her head from the flying skeleton dangling above their heads to see him, and cheered up. She smiled bright again, knowing well that her braces were showing. Jeremy and she were close friends, almost lovers in a way, to which she felt the comfort to have her little embarrassments be seen by him alone.
She waved back, responding, “Hi, Jeremy!”
They joined together once she received her lanyard and was bid free to explore the museum. They bumped shoulder to shoulder as they walked along to look for an exhibit to explore. Jeremy still wanted to visit the medieval exhibit, but Ashley wanted to learn about Genghis Kahn, and so they went into the Oriental History exhibit.
Arnold was already there in the exhibit, on his own little planet. His face was pressed-up tight against a display case of Japanese samurai armor. He didn’t seem to notice Jeremy and Ashley passing by.
They found a wax model of a smug-faced Mongolian in white hemp robes standing in a display case. The plaque at the bottom read “GENGHIS KAHN. 1162 - 1227” And beneath the title was a text-wall abridging his entire life.
Ashley’s eyes lit up at the sight and immediately took a pocket-sized notepad out of coat pocket and started writing down notes on it. Jeremy looked at the stoic Mongolian for only a while before he started losing interest. Once he was bored with Kahn he asked Ashley, “So, what are you doing exactly?”
“It’s for an essay,” she responded softly. Her words were short and she didn’t make eye-contact with him; instead, she scanned every minute detail of the wax statue’s get-up.
She said, “You can go on without me. I’ll be here a few minutes… “
He didn’t want to part ways with his close friend, but he figured he could go bug Arnold instead. Maybe Arnold could teach him how to read mangos – or whatever they were called.
“Sure thing,” he responded.
Ashley seemed to be on her own planet.
So he went to the other side of the exhibit hall and found Arnold drooling over an ancient painting of another samurai warrior. The samurai in question was drawing his katana in combat against a raccoon with giant bean bag-sized testicles. At last, Arnold noticed Jeremy sidle up next to him, to where he smiled, pointed at the painting, and proudly proclaimed: “That’s a tanuki! They have magic balls!”
Jeremy didn’t quite know how to respond to that. “That’s cool,” he said faintly.
Arnold saw right through him and frowned. “You know, if you can’t appreciate such a
colorful and rich culture, then you can go look at the dinosaur fossils instead.”
It wasn’t a half-bad idea, Jeremy thought. He nodded briefly to Arnold and turned to leave.
Before leaving the exhibit hall to the main room, Jeremy’s attention was captured by a strange sarcophagus. The flesh-eater box in mind was meagerly secured behind a box of velvet-covered ropes. Jeremy squinted to read the markings inscribed in the stone, but couldn’t see well enough. Then he noticed a plaque similar to the one Ashley was reading earlier and decided he’d help himself before leaving.
TARANTUALA COFFIN. 994 – 995.
Captured by the keyword of “tarantula,” he decided to read further. The box was found in western China in a tomb belonging to an unknown king. It’s said that when a proper spell is cast the box will unseal and unleash a massive swarm of spiders to kill and devour everyone in the area. Archeologists suspect it was used as a scare-tactic, since scans have proved that the box itself is actually solid stone.
He turned to face Arnold and called out from across the hall. “Hey, Arnold!”
Arnold looked away from a Buddhist monk corpse he found to face Jeremy. “What?”
Jeremy pointed at the box. “Can you read Japanese?”
The young boy’s face lit up. “CAN I?” Then he added, “A little.” He ran over to meet beside Jeremy in front of the spider box and squinted. He said while reading. “All I know are a few characters that I learned while watching Yu-Gi-Oh.”
He started pronouncing the characters; “Fu – mah – san – po – ki…“ He shook his head in dismay and said, “It’s just gibberish.”
Jeremy added, “Oops. I think it’s also in Chinese as well. “
“That explains everything. Welp. I’m going to go find the tanuki again.”
“Hold on,” replied Jeremy. He looked back at the spider box and looked closely, squinting. “I wanna try.”
Arnold rolled his eyes at him. “You don’t even watch anime. How are you supposed to read th-“
“Fu Manchu!” Arnold exclaimed arms-up at the box.
“Did you just-…” Arnold was lost for words.
“I tried,” pardoned Jeremy in a shrug.
“Never say something like that again.”
The lights in the exhibition hall started flickering on and off. Someone screamed in terror of the dark.
“Was that you?” asked Jeremy to Arnold.
Arnold’s lips were quivering. “N-no… “
The lights flickered again. This time the room started shaking in an earth-quake.
Jeremy clung to Arnold, shouting, “The roof’s gunna fall on us!”
“Earth quake!” panicked Arnold. “I don’t want to die!”
The quake stopped and the lights stopped flickering. People gasped panicked words in the distance and groups were coming back together. Security guards came from around the corners, warning students to leave the building in case the earth quake returned.
The security guard that stepped into the hallway started ushering them out. “Come on kids, come on! We’re going to get to safety, ya hear?”
Both complied and started walking hurriedly out of the hallway for the main room. As the security guard passed by the spider box behind the ropes, the box’s lid violently tore open and a spray of black-bodied spiders engulfed the man. The man screamed, “LORD HELP ME!” and his cries were quickly silenced in a flooding pile of creepy-crawlies. Arnold and Jeremy were running now, both screaming bloody-mercy.
The spiders continued to flood out of the box’s dark confines behind them. It was like a fire hydrant burst in the street and everything was getting soaked. The spiders that came out were as big as adult hands, bearing huge teeth, and red skulls on their thoraxes. They moved as swiftly as mice, but could jump into the air and wings would sprout from their backs and they’d take off like hornets.
Ms. Jennings heard the cries of Arnold and Jeremy as they left the Oriental exhibit. She frowned deeply and screamed, “WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT YELLING?”
All Jeremy could do to excuse himself in light of the crawling, furry tsunami behind him was “I ACCIDENTALLY SPIDERS!”