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The School Project
By Matthew C Herch
Monday, March 26, 2007
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
A fifth-grade student plots to kill his teacher with the help of the rest of the class.
“Alright class, settle down!” The old teacher screamed from behind her aluminum and faux wood desk.
“I’m not dealing with you kids today. Your punishment for being so nasty is this: I want you to copy fifty pages out of the Webster dictionary. I want it by tomorrow, after recess.”
Gasps filled the air as the children of Mrs. Hollow’s fifth grade class realized their fate. They would be forced to copy the dictionary, which would take most of their T.V time to accomplish. The children hated that, and some spoke out against it.
“Mrs. Hollow,” screamed one male child from the back of the class. “you can’t make us do anything. You’re just an old hag, what can you do?”
Mrs. Hollow was appalled by the boy’s horrible attitude. However, because she always believed in turning the other cheek, she simply kept silent as the entire class began mocking her. They’ll get their day, she thought.
The school bell rang, signaling the end of the day just as the children had quieted down. They all slipped on their colorful jackets, grabbed their character lunch pales and book bags, and headed out the door. Mrs. Hollow had grown accustomed to not escorting the children out of the school. She was afraid of the children’s parents, and rightly so. If the children were bad, how bad would the parents be?
Chris arrived home with his parents at around 3:45 PM, which was a bit later than usual. They had stopped to buy dinner at the local taco joint and he found that to be the perfect opportunity to ask his parents for supplies for his next school project.
“We’re making homemade rope.” He had said in a sweet voice. “I need about twenty feet of twine.”
His parents seemed uninterested as they conducted their constant business calls. They simply nodded. As the family turned into the driveway of their single-family suburban home, Chris thought about the plan he and his fellow classmates had devised concerning their teacher.
“Hey Chris,” His father yelled from the driver’s seat. “the twine’s in the garage in that bin where we keep the Christmas decorations.”
Chris jumped out of the black SUV and ran to the garage. It had always been a chore for him to open the garage door, but today he was so full of energy that it seemed like he was lifting a feather. The garage was in disarray, as it usually was, but he was able to find his way through the jungle of wires, boxes, and old magazines. There, along the back wall, was the box labeled “Christmas décor.” He lifted the top and set it aside as he dug through the meaningless items. A few glass ornaments, some tinsel, and some crappy garland were all that were left. His family never celebrated an actual Christmas anymore. They barely remembered presents, usually giving him some cash from their pockets to tide him over until his birthday, which they also forgot more than once. They were just too busy with their own lives to worry about him, and it killed him inside.
He finally found the twine among the garbage in the box and stuffed it into his pants pocket, while placing the lid back on the box. Hopefully the plan would work otherwise there would be hell to pay.
The next day, in Mrs. Hollow’s class, recess was about to start.
“Alright kids, your dictionary assignment is due after recess; if you don’t have it, I suggest you do it now!”
Just as Mrs. Hollow finished her sentence, the recess bell rang. The class full of snotty rich kids ran out into the warm spring day to put their plan into action. Huddled around a large tree toward the back of the playground, Chris and his classmates presented their supplies. Everyone had brought twenty feet of twine and Chris had brought his backpack out with him.
“Alright,” Chris started. “let’s get this rope made before recess ends.”
Just as the bell rang for the end of recess, the kids finished creating the twenty-foot-long rope. Chris stuffed the creation into his backpack and calmly walked back to Mrs. Hollow’s class. He had always hated Mrs. Hollow. Not only was she poorer than anyone he had ever met, but she was stern and demanding as well. None of the children liked her at all, and they let her know it. But today was the last straw. What’s one less teacher anyway?
The children were settling into their desks when a tiny girl from the group shyly raised her hand.
“Yes Ms. Demetria?”
“May I get a tissue?” Asked the girl, in the sweetest voice she could muster.
“Of course you may, and thank you for being so polite.” Mrs. Hollow pointed at the rest of the class. “If only the rest of you could be as nice as Ms. Demetria here.”
Ms. Demitria, whom the rest of the class knew as Susan, walked to the corned of the room where the tissue sat, along with a large stone paperweight. While Mrs. Hollow’s back was turned, Susan grabbed the heavy paperweight with two hands and walked behind Mrs. Hollow’s desk, toward the garbage can. Just as she passed the desk, Susan lifted the stone above her head and brought it down on the teacher’s head. Blood spattered onto her uniform as Mrs. Hollow fell forward onto her desk, covering it with her blood.
Chris quickly reached in his backpack and grabbed the rope the class had just made. He tied it into a noose, as he had read in a book once and threw the other end around a light fixture hanging from the ceiling. He tossed the untied end to another classmate as he lifted the teacher’s head by her hair and slipped the noose around her neck. Mrs. Hollow’s eyes were moving, and they began welling up with tears. Could she still be alive, he thought? His mind told him that the next part would solve that.
He formed a line of classmates to pull on the rope from strongest to weakest, himself being in the back.
“Pull!” He yelled.
The kids began pulling the rope as hard as they could, lifting Mrs. Hollow into the air by her neck. Chris could hear her struggling to breathe, which soon turned into liquid coughs, and then nothing. She was dead, he was sure of that. They let go of the rope and watched as the limp body fell to the floor, making a loud thud.
Frantic footsteps could be heard in the hall outside as the children struggled to make themselves cry and appear panicked. The door swung open and the principle stood in the doorway, shocked by the horrible scene.
“Oh my God!” He yelled, covering his face with his shaking hands. “She committed suicide.”
Chris smiled within himself, proud of the elaborate plan they had produced. He felt a bit guilty as he was herded out of the classroom, the police filing in and covering the doorway with caution tape. In less than an hour they realized that Mrs. Hallow had not hung herself; they saw how her head had been bashed in by the paperweight. The police put the school into lockdown and began shouting commands left and right. Chris could see his parents along with all the others gather outside the building. They stood alongside the squad cars and detective units.
In no time at all, Chris and the other children, as well as most of the teachers who came running to the scene had found themselves locked in the gymnasium of the huge school. As he waited to be interrogated he felt no remorse for his actions; he even decided to tell the truth to the detectives. He didn’t care in the least bit what happened to him. He would be away from his uncaring parents, and besides, what’s one less teacher anyway? Just as he was about to enter into a makeshift questioning area where a stern-looking investigator stood, he heard the explosive sound of the gymnasium door slamming into the wall. A man of about fifty years of age walked into the gym like a hit man determined to fulfill his client’s wishes. Chris watched as the man pulled a black object out of his red windbreaker and raised it into the air.
A bright flash accompanied by the distinct sound of a gunshot filled the gymnasium. All around him, people fell to their bellies and covered their heads with their arms. The adult’s screaming and the cries of the many children filled Chris’s ears. He joined the others on the floor. In the very back of his mind, Chris knew who the man with the gun was after.
He looked up and over the mass of bodies frozen in fear. The man looked around the room and lowered the gun to his side.
“Someone here killed my wife. Unless one of you confesses, you’re all gonna die one by one!”
The man with his clean shaven face and conventional corporate garb aimed the gun at the head of one of Chris’s classmates. He could see it was a female. The man grabbed the girl by the hair and pulled her to her feet. He wrestled his arm around her neck and placed the barrel of his 9 mm pistol against the side of her head. Chris could finally see who it was. Susan, the girl who had hit Mrs. Hallow on the head with the paperweight was being held in the arms of his teacher’s husband.
“One of you had better confess now or this girl is going to die.”
Chris knew that the girl was only following the orders that he himself had given to her. He couldn’t let her get killed. The killing was his idea in the first place. Besides, he thought, the police will take him down before he gets a chance to kill me. If there was one thing his father had taught him at an early age, it was that you must take responsibility for all of your actions.
Knowing this, Chris slowly stood up from the floor and placed his hands on the top of his head as if he were being ordered to do so by the police. The man immediately pulled the gun away from Susan’s head and watched as she fell to the floor whimpering like a scared puppy.
“You! You killed my wife.” The man said as he pointed the gun at Chris.
Chris just stood silently, accepting the truth and finally understanding the magnitude of what he had done. Tears began to well up in his eyes as his emotions began falling apart.
“Don’t cry, kid. If you can take a life, you can deal with having a gun pointed at you and having your life taken away.”
Chris’s nerves readied for the pain and torment of a gunshot as he saw the man’s finger tighten against the trigger. A bright flash followed by an intense burning brought Chris to his knees. The burning started centered on his abdomen then quickly traveled throughout his body. He looked down at his stomach as he lay against the floor and saw his blood flowing freely out of his stomach. He covered the gaping hole with his small hands which quickly grew weaker and weaker. He felt his body begin shaking and a foul tasting liquid enter his mouth, but his concentration remained centered on the man with the gun. It was the last thing he would ever see.
The room grew dark and his body became cold as his father’s personality. Chris’s eyesight was gone and soon his sense of feeling left too. His sense of hearing remained for the last few seconds as his breathing slowed. He heard many more gunshots and the sounds of the brass casings hitting the gym floor. He heard the panicked screams of adults and children and the rushed shouting of a group of police officers. The final sound he heard was the sound of a body hitting the floor right next to him. Oh how he wished he could feel the warmth of the body, whoever it was.
His hearing left him and he was finally alone in the darkness of his death. Nothing more could be done for his body or his eternal soul. Suddenly, the darkness lit up with the wicked flares of a million fires. A fearsome laughing filled the darkness as he walked toward the open door decorated with skulls.
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