As Kris sat at her desk, she saw that Leia’s desk was indeed empty.

She couldn’t help but question as to what the real reason was for her absence.

Her attention was then averted to the door as it closed with a creak – to the next teacher to enter the classroom.

His appearance was sharply different from the others she’d seen so far.

He wore casual business clothes but that wasn’t what made him different.

The man’s slender stature stood well over six feet. His jet-black hair pulled back into a gentle ponytail that hung between his shoulder blades.

His face was wide with a hawkish nose and intense green eyes which suddenly veered toward her.

And lingered squarely on her face.

The hair on her body bristled and she quickly glanced away.

Who was this guy?

Like Mr. Munts, he carried a briefcase. Only his was faded and worn.

He set it down on the table in front and pulled out a large stack of papers.

“G’afternoon class.” He said in an odd accent as he skimmed through the pile. “Have your exams prior to break graded.”

His hand stopped suddenly on a paper.

“Huh.” He muttered and glanced up.

Chills ran down Kris’ spine when she realized he was looking directly at her.

His gaze went back to the stack. “Overall, everyone did fairly well.”

The man walked down each row and placed the exam on each desk.

When he came to hers, he paused before setting her exam down, and moved on.

Her hand shook as she touched the paper.

Dare she look?

Letting out a deep breath, she peered down.

B-.

Okay, that was much better than her essay.

Kris closed her eyes.

What was she thinking?

She didn’t do any of the work for either one.

“Anyone have any questions?” The teacher now back to the table.

Silence.

“Alright then let’s move on to Modern History.” He said as he picked up a chalk and began writing on the black board. “We will go over the geography of the world, before and after The Great War.”

Kris watched as the man scribbled The Great War and beneath were two columns. One for Pre – 1942 and the other for Post – 1967.

“Okay, we have seven continents.” He drew a terrible picture of each continent on the Pre 1942 side.

“Prior to the war there were approximately twenty-three countries in North America.” Wrote the number within the continent. “Fourteen in South America, fifty-four in Africa, fifty for Europe, forty-eight in Asia, three in Australia, and in Antarctica there were no countries just territories claimed by about fourteen countries.”

He stepped back to study the blackboard for a moment before turning to face the class.

“Now who can tell me when this war began and in which country did it begin?”

A hand rose from the front row.

“Yes, Miss Morgan?”

 “It officially began on September 12th, 1942 in the United Kingdom, more specifically in northeastern England.” Deanna spoke in a loud, firm voice.

“Correct.” The teacher wrote X in the general area where England was located. “We won’t be covering the whys and whatnots for this war today, but we will briefly look at how it reshaped our world geographically. Who can tell me when and where the war ended?”

Several hands rose.

“Mr. Emetou.” The teacher chose Jaff.

Jaff nervously cleared his throat, “Thank you, Mr. Kreig. The peace treaty was signed on August 21, 1967 in Asmara, Eritrea.”

“Correct.” The teacher said.

On the Post 1967 side, he proceeded to redraw the seven continents.

“The war ended in 1967 when the Nons-Anthro Peace Treaty was signed in the capital city of Eritrea in eastern Africa.” Mr. Kreig marked the X in the general area for the country.

Kris felt her mouth slowly drop open as her head spun.

What? No World War 2 or Korean War or what about the Vietnam War?

If they called this one The Great War was there even a World War 1?

What kind of a war was it to have lasted twenty-five years?

She resisted the urge to dig into the backpack for the history book.

“Now, due to the nature of this war, many nations ceased to exist.” Mr. Kreig quickly added numbers to each continent. “North America went from twenty-three countries down to nineteen. South America, twelve countries. Europe down to thirty. Asia, twenty. Australia actually expanded to ten countries. Antarctic now had twenty-one territories.”

Kris noticed that the continent of Africa was left blank.

Was that intentional?

She received her answer in the next instance when the teacher turned to face the class once more.

He wore a grim expression.

“Africa sustained the greatest damage from the war. Going from fifty-four countries down to—” He returned to the board and wrote in the number. “Ten.”

Mr. Kreig paused for a moment.

“So, let’s review.” He brought up the white chalk and began to hurriedly scratch it across the rough surface. “Prior to the start of the war, there were a total of one-hundred and ninety-two countries. When the treaty was signed, there were one-hundred and one countries.”

He spun around, his eyes dark, “Which meant we lost fifty-two percent of our total countries in twenty-five years which amount to nearly 1.5 billion of lives…lost.”

The teacher was visibly shaken as he set the chalk down on the table.

“For your homework, I want you to list all the countries that no longer exist due to The Great War. Thank you.”

He picked up his briefcase and walked out of the room.

For several moments, no one said a word as the silence weighed heavy on Kris.

Holy crap, she leaned back in the chair.

It was then she noticed how pale Jaff looked.

Africa.

He had a very distinctive West African accent.

Holy crap continued to echo through her mind.

Under Another Sky – Landing Page