I forgot I was going to do this, but since I wrote one the other week I intend to share with you a Hallowe’en-themed story, as promised. Hopefully I’ll then write a few more to keep us going until the end of October, before the NaNo madness begins. That said, this one isn’t scary so much as mildly amusing…At least, it made me smile as I wrote it (which entailed half a bus journey the other week constantly repeating it in my head in an attempt not to forget a thing). I hope you enjoy it!
By Eleanor Musgrove
Jim Grant arrived at school late one Monday morning, for the first time in years of teaching, after some sort of very slow protest march delayed his bus by half an hour. Upon arriving at the school, he met Karen, one of the sixth-form tutors, looking decidedly pale and apparently determined to greet him at the door.
“Morning, Jim. Glad you’re here, the Lower Sixth are literally eating each other’s brains.” Figuratively, he thought irritably, but didn’t argue.
“Yeah, they seem to just forget the rules over the weekends. Good luck with them!”
“No, Jim, wait-” He ignored her; he was late enough without stopping to trade idle chatter with someone else who should also be teaching.
“Mr Grant,” a Year 11 girl mumbled as he passed her in the corridor. She seemed barely awake as she trudged in the opposite direction from him, and she didn’t seem to want to continue the conversation, so he assumed that that was what passed for a greeting on a Monday morning.
“Mr Grant, Sam bit me,” he heard from a younger pupil somewhere in a nearby classroom doorway, and decided that one of his colleagues could deal with that. The Year 7s weren’t his responsibility, at least not until tomorrow afternoon.
He stepped over the unmoving body of a Year 10 student, only to find more of the boy’s classmates scattered along the corridor in similar positions and covered in what he assumed was fake blood liberated from the Drama department. Surely this was the most ridiculous attempt to get out of PE that the school had ever seen.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” he muttered, as he stepped over the last sprawled student, but he didn’t ask any of them to move. After all, it might be some sort of avant-garde Drama performance; the new Drama teacher seemed like one of those sorts.
When he arrived at last in the History department, his home turf, as it were, he was surprised to find several of his class leaning wearily against the wall beside his classroom door.
“You can go in and sit down,” he told them – and then Abby Smith stumbled forward, looking as if she was about to be violently sick. He automatically reached out to steady her, and felt a sharp pain in his arm as he finally took in the grey complexions and… rotting faces? Yes, the rotting faces of his students. He made it into the classroom, followed by the herd of students he’d stumbled upon outside, and slumped into his chair. Whatever was wrong with his students, it seemed to have completely destroyed their concept of personal space. He glanced down in time to see livid red marks on his arm, blood beginning to pool in the indentations, before he blacked out.
Jim opened his eyes with a groan. He appeared to have been bitten. Apparently, there were zombies in the school. Well, that was a surprise. He would have thought there would have been warning signs.
“Braaaiiins…” his class were chanting, shuffling towards the door, and he frowned. This was completely unacceptable.
“No! No, no. That won’t do at all, 9C. Don’t you young people pay any attention to what you put into your body?”
“That’s not what I mean, Hayley. Sit down, all of you.” The class exchanged bewildered looks before sinking back into their seats. “That’s more like it. Now. You don’t want to eat your schoolmates’ brains. They’re battery brains, they’ve been filled with nothing but repetitive nonsense to get them through irrelevant standardised testing for the last seven to fifteen years. Do you really want to eat that?” There was a general moan of dissent, and then a boy at the back spoke up.
“…Teachers’ braaiins?” Jim rolled his eyes.
“Heavens, no, Peter. We’ve been here all our lives, we’re even worse. No, what we want are free-range brains.” They stared at him blankly, restoring some normality to this otherwise unusual Monday morning. “What I suggest, 9C,” Jim explained to them patiently, “is a bit of a school trip.”
…Well, there you go. I hope you enjoyed it (please let me know your thoughts in the comments and if you’re going to share it around that’s fine, just please link back to this post) and I’ll be back tomorrow with – hopefully – something a bit scarier!