Recess. Some kids in the schoolyard are running wild. The girls skip rocks, skip rope, while the boys kick things around. Not this gathering. No. These are the children solemnly discussing in the shaded corner by the tree. They exchange in-the-know glances as others in the yard would baseball cards, or lousy lunch items. Here, in this circle, were told horror tales of the public teleportation service.
They had heard them all before.
“A man waiting for you with a shovel or a gun.”
“Half body transportation”
“Booths with the bottom dug out and a noose hanging, waiting for a neck.”
“No, no. With a pit of stakes.”
Much clamour erupted at the sound of this last variation. It was good.
“A pit of snakes.” Some repeated differentially.
Much worse yet were the tales of morphing. These were respectfully kept for last. They needed to be worked up to. These were the all-time favourites, saved for the very last moments before the call of the bell. At the ripe moment, a boundless conjuring would ensue in which would be bread to life, in rapid succession, the vilest of imaginings. These would gradually evolve from simply brutish and repulsive creatures to outright savage and nightmarish beings of claws, blood and fury. All in good time, though, and with much regard for the slow exponential progression.
“You could fill the cabin with water.”
The company of beastmongers knew not who had perpetrated the offense. A rabbit lay in their midst. The pack shuffled as they all looked about suspiciously, teeth bared.
“I guess there’s also good odds of getting sick if there’s viruses inside the booth too.”
The voice had spoken again, insultingly matter-of-fact in tone. This, the hidden rabbit’s last blind jab, had not fallen on deaf ears. The young boy pushed his glasses up on his nose, and, in one swift imperceptible motion, was swallowed whole. As though teleported. Disappearing from the schoolyard into a far more cruel and merciless place than any rigged booth; to meet a far grimmer fate than the very worst of the morphing tales. Here, in the dark corners of childhood.