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There Will Be School Tomorrow   By:

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You will possibly shudder, but you will certainly remember for a long time, this story of what happens when Tomorrow's gently implacable teachers are faced with a problem for which there seems to be only one solution....

there will be school tomorrow

by ... V. E. Thiessen

There is a quiet horror to this story from Tomorrow....

Evening had begun to fall. In the cities the clamor softened along the streets, and the women made small, comfortable, rattling noises in the kitchens. Out in the country the cicadas started their singing, and the cool smell began to rise out of the earth. But everywhere, in the cities and in the country, the children were late from school.

There were a few calls, but the robotic telephone devices at the schools gave back the standard answer: "The schools are closed for the day. If you will leave a message it will be recorded for tomorrow."

The telephones between houses began to ring. "Is Johnny home from school yet?"

"No. Is Jane?"

"Not yet. I wonder what can be keeping them?"

"Something new, I guess. Oh, well, the roboteachers know best. They will be home soon."

"Yes, of course. It's foolish to worry."

The children did not come.

After a time a few cars were driven to the schools. They were met by the robots. The worried parents were escorted inside. But the children did not come home.

And then, just as alarm was beginning to stir all over the land, the robots came walking, all of the robots from the grade schools, and the high schools, and the colleges. All of the school system walking, with the roboteachers saying, "Let us go into the house where you can sit down." All over the streets of the cities and the walks in the country the robots were entering houses.

"What's happened to my children?"

"If you will go inside and sit down "

"What's happened to my children? Tell me now!"

"If you will go inside and sit down "

Steel and electrons and wires and robotic brains were inflexible. How can you force steel to speak? All over the land the people went inside and sat nervously waiting an explanation.

There was no one out on the streets. From inside the houses came the sound of surprise and agony. After a time there was silence. The robots came out of the houses and went walking back to the schools. In the cities and in the country there was the strange and sudden silence of tragedy.

The children did not come home.

The morning before the robots walked, Johnny Malone, the Mayor's son, bounced out of bed with a burst of energy. Skinning out of his pajamas and into a pair of trousers, he hurried, barefooted, into his mother's bedroom. She was sleeping soundly, and he touched one shoulder hesitantly.

"Mother!"

The sleeping figure stirred. His mother's face, still faintly shiny with hormone cream, turned toward him. She opened her eyes. Her voice was irritated.

"What is it, Johnny?"

"Today's the day, mommy. Remember?"

"The day?" Eyebrows raised.

"The new school opens. Now we'll have roboteachers like everyone else. Will you fix my breakfast, mother?"

"Amelia will fix you something."

"Aw, mother. Amelia's just a robot. This is a special day. And I want my daddy to help me with my arithmetic before I go. I don't want the roboteacher to think I'm dumb."

His mother frowned in deepening irritation. "Now, there's no reason why Amelia can't get your breakfast like she always does. And I doubt if it would be wise to wake your father. You know he likes to sleep in the morning. Now, you go on out of here and let me sleep."

Johnny Malone turned away, fighting himself for a moment, for he knew he was too big to cry. He walked more slowly now and entered his father's room. He had to shake his father to awaken him.

"Daddy! Wake up, daddy!"

"What in the devil? Oh, Johnny." His father's eyes were sleepily bleak... Continue reading book >>




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