by Karina Fabian -
"Stay close, children," Teacher said in her harried voice. "And do not touch."
Katha watched as his classmates grudgingly obeyed--until Teacher's eye was off them. Then they went back to the usual stupid tricks: shoving and horseplay. Gras stayed close to Teacher, but that didn't keep the bullies from snide remarks. The popular crowd looked bored except when flirting with each other, or what they thought passed for flirting. Only a handful actually paid attention. No wonder Teacher was harried.
Katha trailed behind and fought real boredom. He came here all the time. He knew so much more about these creatures than even Teacher, and yet every time he visited, he discovered something new about this fascinating species behind the glass. If he could just get away from the class! The creatures were their most uninteresting when a crowd watched them because they tended to turn and watch back. Boring!
Not to mention how stupid his classmates got. Like now, as Teacher turned her back to consult with their tour guide: Tourra started trying to engage one in a game of chase by racing from one end of the glass to another to see if any would follow. How original. Next someone would lick the glass, or worse, stick his open mouth on it--yep, Bourz. Figured.
Teacher turned around and shouted, "Quash! Quit banging that glass! How would you feel if someone banged on your house? Come along--time for the next exhibit."
The class grudgingly moved on, Katha with them. As he gave one last glance, he saw one of the creatures wave. He raised a fin and repeated the gesture, pleased that no one else had gotten to see.
When he grew up, he was going to devote his life to the study of these strange creatures who came from the Above and built their tank homes in his world.