School Days

It was never easy telling someone their ‘perfect little angel’ was a bit of a monster. Especially when said ‘angel’ was likely this way due to improper parenting.

I knew this would be the case the moment I brought up Rachel’s behavioral issues to her mother, Eliza Jane.

Eliza was the daughter of a wealthy recluse, their family had been involved in medical business for apparently the last century. They owned several hospitals and even helped design some of the newest state of the art equipment. Things that could create the absolute smallest incisions with no scarring.

But with wealth can come pride. Entitlement.

“This isn’t a laughing matter, ma’am. We need to talk about your daughter’s behavior towards others.”

I’m not going to lie, Eliza’s appearance made my skin crawl. It wasn’t the albinism, not really. It was the fact she wore such thick black wigs that contrasted so sharply with her skin and made her look like a doll made of china. The large pink eyes and frail frame didn’t help.

Eliza lowered her hand, she had stopped giggling but a smile was still on her face. “I’m really not sure there’s a problem, Ms. Matthews,” She said, her voice so soft it was barely above a whisper. I always had to strain my ears to hear her.

I pressed my lips firmly together. “Mrs. Snow. If this was just a strong willed child, I’d overlook and even guide such emotion into a constructive outlet. But this is different. Rachel is in the second grade and she still throws a tantrum at the smallest thing that does not go the way she wants it.”

“She’s used to getting her way at home, that’s all.”

I wanted to scream. Deep breath, I cannot scream at parents, I love my job, I just hate the bad parents. “That… that is not a trait that should be encouraged. Especially when interacting with others. This week alone, she’s slapped three other girls for wanting to play something other than toss the ball.”

The temptation to scream just grew stronger as Eliza shrugged. “She knows what she deserves, and she wants to get it,” She said, as if that should explain everything.

“It’s not how I run things in my classroom.” Put the foot down. Be stern. But kind. “Your daughter can follow your rules at home, but here, she needs to play nicely with others. She’s one of my most intelligent students, she can learn to follow the rules.”

Eliza cocked her head to the side. “But what if she doesn’t want to?” She questioned.

What the actual hell.

“… I’m afraid that’s not an option. Not to mention Rachel’s violent temper has crossed a line today.” The reason I finally had to call in her parents. I still had no idea where Mr. Snow was. Eliza said he didn’t like to leave the house, but I think I just got blown off. “During a disagreement with a classmate, Rachel took a pair of scissors and started hacking away at the other’s hair and face. It’s lucky she didn’t take out an eye. The parents won’t be pressing charges,” likely because the Snow family would bury them in lawyers, “but this is dangerous. If she’d had something sharper, or had gone for the neck, it might not just be a few stitches and some ice to help the other girl heal. Now, I’m going to be clear. If there is one more infraction from Rachel, I’m going to have her suspended and talk with the staff about a permanent expulsion. She might only be a little girl, but the seriousness of the attack against her classmate is far enough.”

I felt the temperature of the room drop as Eliza’s eyes narrowed and she frowned. For several seconds, she stared me down, before she finally sighed and stood. “If that’s how it must be… I suppose Rachel should study from home now. Away from students who have such a disrespect for her.”

I was blown away by the utter denial of this mother. Every parent loves their child, but Rachel was a down right sociopath! Before I could recommend therapy for the child, Eliza walked out in a huff. As if she was the one who had her time wasted.

Well, that settled that. After clearing up the classroom a bit and making sure the doors were locked, I headed out.

God, I could use a smoke. I’d mostly kicked the habit after college, but every now and then the itch crawled in the back of my throat. I had a pack in my car for days like this. I made my way over to my car and pulled out my keys, only to drop them as I attempted to put them in the lock. I groaned and went to my knees to pick them up.

When I looked under my car I saw a pair of legs on the other side.

With a startled scream, I jumped back up and backed away.

There was no one there.

After running around the car a few times, armed with my keys between my fingers, I realized I’d been paranoid and seeing things. Kicking myself, I opened my car door and got inside.

Screw today. I could use a smoke now. I pulled one out of my glove compartment and lit up right there.

When my head started to spin like the globe in my classroom, I realized my cigarette had a funny taste.

I woke up chained by my wrists, neck, and ankles to a desk in a windowless room.

“Ms. Matthews! Ms. Matthews!”

A wadded up ball of paper bounced off my head. I groaned and attempted to get up. The shackles on my ankles tightened considerably and started to cut my skin until I sat back down with a bump.

Everything in this classroom was old fashioned, from the desks the two children sat at to the chalkboard. I glanced around wildly, but there was no sign of another person other than the children, who were clearly free.

And one of them was Rachel.

“Hi, Ms. Mathews!” Rachel waved. “This is my cousin, Marshall! He’s my age!”

The boy got up and bowed. “How do you do,” He said before he said, those shiny blue eyes looking like a plastic toy’s.

My face felt cold. So did my hands. I swallowed before I spoke. “Rachel? Where am I?” I asked.

“My private classroom! Mother said I could use a private tutor!” Rachel said with a giggle. She wadded up another piece of paper before tossing it at my face. “Now teach us! Teach us! Marshall’s last tutor had to be sent into the garden, so teach us both!”

I shook my head. No way. This could not be happening. This could not be happening to me. This had to be some form of gruesome nightmare.

Rachel sighed before looking at Marshall. “Show me that thing you did to the servant who stepped on your shoe, I wanna see it…” She whined.

Marshall beamed before he stood up, going into a crafts box on a shelf and pulling out a pair of scissors. “I had a knife to do it last time, but the scissors will do,” He said before walking to my side and yanking on the chain.

The chains pulled me flat against the desk, whamming me in the forehead so hard I saw stars. I groaned in pain, but it was nothing to what happened next.

I felt the scissors clutch the skin between my thumb and pointer before it snipped down. I screamed in agonizing pain, unable to move due to how tight the chain was pulled. Marshall laughed as he moved onto the next finger, snipping until my left hand was entirely mutilated.

I smelled his bubblegum toothpaste as he leaned down beside me.

“Teach us before I move onto the other hand.”

When I was allowed to sit up, I clutched my mutilated fingers to my chest, sobbing. I’d always been weak to pain. Marshall was back at his desk, smiling as ever.

“First lesson is mathematics, yes? I wanna work on division today, get up to the board and show us some division!”

The shackles on my ankles clenched so tightly I felt blood running down into my socks as I forced myself to the board. It was too painful to write with my dominant hand. I had to start getting used to writing left handed. I had no choice.

“R… right, let’s start with the basics… cut up a pie in so many pieces…”