FanFic:Sodor Academy Part Five: January
Next Part: Part Six
Previous Part: Part Four
After the first snow at Christmas, the weather got steadily worse. The drifts piled higher and higher. VIctor and Mr. Avonside had to work very hard clearing the paths between buildings.
One morning, there were ominous clouds on the horizon. Throughout the school, the P.A. crackled.
"Attention, students. Due to excessive amounts of snow, all classes have been cancelled for the day. We do not recommend exiting the dormitories, as a severe blizzard appears to be approaching."
All of the students heard this except:
James, who was sleeping,
Gordon, who was listening to his favorite band, "Express Trains", at over 100 db,
Henry, who was on his way to the nurse's office,
and Toby, who was busy trying install a boilerr in his tram engine, which he'd been working on all night.
"Ugh," said James miserably. "This snow is too deep."
"You'd think they would have cancelled classes," added Gordon.
"I'm going to contract pneumonia!" moaned Henry.
They slung off their bags and began work on their locomotives just as the blizzard broke outside.
"So they're all too lazy to come to class." said James. "Not even Victor's here!"
"What is that godawful noise?" cried Henry, putting his hand to his ears.
It turned out to be Toby, who was welding a boiler. The other students tried to get him to stop, but the noise was too loud.
Suddenly, the lights went off, and with them, the welder.
"Hi guys. What's going on?" said Toby, noticing them for the first time.
"Look's like the power's out," said Gordon.
"We'd better report it to fat Hatt," grumbled James, who started for the door. He pushed as hard as he could, but the door wouldn't open. "Huh?"
Toby peered through the windows, where nothing could be seen but whiteness. "It looks like the snow's blocking the doors."
"We're snowed in," finished Gordon.
"WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!" shouted Henry.
"We're not gonna die," said James nonchalantly. "Just because we're snowed inside a workshop with no power, no heat, no food, and no water- oh no . . . "
"WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!" shouted James and Henry in unison.
"Please," said Toby. "Let's just look for food. We can drink the snow."
"You can't drink snow! Snow isn't water!"
"Sure it is!"
"No it's not!"
"All right, let's look for food. We can light a fire with the firelighter's tools."
Soon the four were gathered around a small fire. Gordon was roasting a can of baked beans. James was playing a harmonica. Henry was breathing into a paper bag.
"What's up with Henry?" asked James.
"He's hyperventilating. Does it all the time," said Gordon.
"Has anyone here read Lord of the Flies?" said Toby suddenly.
"No. Why? A fly king isn't going to help us."
"It's a book about kids who get stranded on an island and slowly kill each other. Considering that we're trapped here with limited food and no plan of action except to wait for the snow to melt, which could take days, even weeks, I think we need to find a way to agree that we won't start having homicidal thoughts."
Gordon sounded interested. "What are you going to do?"
"I thought maybe we could draft a contract."
James snorted. "A contract? Please. Don't go confusing us with your namby-pamby contracts. If we're going to agree on it, I say we use the time-honored tradition of spitting on it." He spit on his own hand and held it out. Henry and Gordon did the same. Disgusted, Toby obliged. They all shook hands.
About a day had passed. James and Henry were playing a makeshift game of checkers with bolts, with Duck advising Henry.
"Jump this one. From there, you're all set up to king yourself, and he can't touch you."
A few minutes later, Henry had captured all of James' pieces.
"Hey guys, come look at this," called Gordon.
They walked over and saw a battered old lorry.
"What are you going to use this for?"
"I figure if we get it running we could bust our way out of here."
Soon the lorry's engine was sputtering promisingly, and Henry had cleared a path to the door.
"Um, I don't think this will work," said Toby.
"Why not?" said James.
"Well, I've been calculating it, and ramming the doors would burst them open, but it would also make them collapse. I say we don't risk it."
"Listen, Toby-boy," growled James. "We're trying to get out. We finally come up with a way and you smash it with your stinkin' science. I say enough! Are we gonna listen to this do-nothing? NO! So SHUT UP, SMART BOY!"
With that, James picked Toby up and threw him into the bed of the truck. "Let's go."
Gordon pressed down on the gas, and the lorry shook and rumbled. Suddenly, it roared forwards towards the door. Henry pulled out his paper bag. James and Duck held on for dear life. With an earsplitting crash, they flew towards the doors. They crumpled on impact, and the lorry sped forward into six feet of snow.
"Come on, baby," said Gordon. He pressed down as hard as he could. The door frame rumbled.
Toby moaned. "To use a very tired phrase, I told you so."
Gordon gunned the engine. The lorry jumped forwards, and Toby tumbled out. He clutched the bumper with one hand, but was lying on the floor. The door frame started to collapse.
"James!" shouted Toby. "Help!"
James started to, but then thought about it. He pulled back his hand. Gordon gunned the engine again. With a roar, it burst through the snow. Toby lost his grip, and the last James saw of him was the small boy about to be crushed by the falling door frame.
"You were so brave, James!" said Percy in admiration.
"I tried my hardest, but Toby just couldn't hold on. I nearly fell with him, but-" James sighed. "He let go. If only I could've saved him."
"You did the best you could, James," said Thomas.
The three had returned safely. No one had seen James abandon Toby, so he had put his own spin on it. IT had worked. James was showered with praise, and there was a feast held in his honor.
That night, James went to bed smiling, thinking of how everyone loved him.
But he couldn't sleep. In his mind's eye, he saw Toby, the weird little kid, staring at him. Saw him holding on, saw himself ignore his cries for help. Then, there was a loud buzz, the noise of Toby, welding the boiler. James jumped up and started pacing around the room.
"I tried to save him. I did. He couldn't hold on!" The buzz got louder.
"James, what are you babbling about?" groaned Edward.
"I TRIED! HE DIDN'T HOLD ON!" The buzz continued.
"I DIDN'T MEAN TO! I WAS STUPID! PLEASE! NOOOOO!" Still the buzz went on.
Maddened by the noise no one else could hear, he threw open the door to his room and dashed into the hall.
"I KILLED DUCK!"
The other students groggily shoved their heads out their rooms.
"I'M SORRY! I WAS STUPID! BUT I DID IT! I KILLED TOBY!"
"No, you didn't."
James jumped out of his slippers. There, before him, was Toby, his brown clothes tattered, his shirt missing, his hair charred and caked with snow, but alive.
"TOBY! YOU'RE ALIVE!" James hugged him, then awkwardly stood back.
"What is going on?" There stood Sir Topham Hatt, dressed in his XXXXXXL pajamas, his top hat on his head.
"IkilledTobycausehewasannoyingIdidn'thelphimanditwasstupidandthedoorframefellonhimbutheshereandhesaliveandI just told you everything, didn't I?"
"Yes, you did. But you'll be punished later. Toby, how did you survive?"
"When the frame fell, I crouched in the lorry's rut, so it didn't kill me. I survived by drinking snow-which is water, by the way-and came up with an escape plan. First, I dug a tunnel as far as I could. Then, I removed my shirt, and stuffed it behind me, into a puddle of gasoline that leaked from the lorry's tank. After making a blast wall between myself and the puddle, I lit the shirt, using it as a fuse. When the flame reached the gas, it exploded, turning the tunnel into a cannon, and sending me flying to safety.
"That makes no sense," said Edward.
"It's a CQSA (complicated, quasi-scientific answer)."
"Makes perfect sense, then," said Edward, "except for one thing. The flames from a gasoline explosion should have killed you. Why are you alive?"
"My only guess is that the door frame, and the walls around it, contained asbestos, which sufficiently dulled the heat of the blast."
"Who would use asbestos in a workshop used almost daily by kids?"
No one noticed as Sir Topham Hatt left the hall, because they were too busy cheering as Toby and James shook hands and smiled.