The Academy 1C

It was only as he walked into the building, behind Bernie and in front of Annie, that Butch recognized it as a field house, an indoor athletic training facility. A large oval running track, eight lanes wide, loped along the outside edge. The interior was large enough that Butch imagined it could contain two football fields. From the ceiling hung several thick mesh curtains, some stretched thin across their width, others bundled in waves at one end, and even though Butch had never seen a building like this before he instantly knew the curtains were hung from tracks running across the ceiling, and could be opened or closed as needed to define a training or competition area.

Thock. Butch turned towards the sound to his right, looked towards the center of the building, saw an area of tennis courts enclosed in chain fences. A man and a woman, clearly not students, Butch guessed they were teachers, were hitting tennis balls back and forth to each other. Butch scanned the area quickly, saw a sand pit that he recognized from watching the Olympics on television as a landing area for the long jump,

“They forget to pay the heating bill?” Bernie asked, head turned in Annie’s direction. Butch quickly realized that the field house was not much warmer, indeed almost seemed colder than the crisp autumn air outside.

“I don’t think they have central heat or air-conditioning in here,” Annie replied. “Usually people are training, so they don’t mind it being a little cool. I remember Si telling me they bring in portable heaters sometimes in winters, and big fans in the summer.”

“So this place does have power?” Annie nodded, pointing up at the banks of ceiling lights. “Makes sense. Coach Dan said we were going to use electronics for our fencing tournament today. Or practice, or whatever this is.”

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