The Thing in the School
It was an old school, with a long and varied history. It had been a manor house, a convent, a boarding school and was now a day school for girls. It went about its daily routines never knowing what lurked in its lonely attics. Girls yelled, were told off, played on the field at lunchtime, learned or failed to learn, exploded out every day at 3.45 onto crowded buses or jostled and skipped their way home on pavements littered with different colours of uniform, never knowing the danger they could be in.
Once the school was dark and silent, the thing in the attic awoke; it uncoiled and stretched from its dusty sleep. It fed on human remains: dust, hair and the remnants of breath which lingered on the air. It flowed easily down the twisted staircase which led from the attics, and into classrooms searching for anything it could consume.
A teacher was working late in a French classroom, one winter’s night, just hoping to finish marking a set of year 9 exercise books. She had not realised the time. She sat at her desk, glasses perched on her nose, ticking, correcting and despairing. There was no family to go home to; she’d given her life to teaching. Only five more books to go. Tick, tick, cross, and the thing in the school was coming closer, silently creeping on its snake belly.
In the morning, the deputy head was surprised he had to arrange cover for Miss Holly’s lessons. She had not missed a day in school for years. The caretaker found her bicycle still locked to the fence. Gloria Day’s French homework book was slimy and torn, four others were missing.
The thing in the school slept on, replete.
2 responses to “Twilight Zone story for Hallowe’en, by Angela Topping”
Angela, I really like your story. It’s so in the tradition of scary Halloween storytelling, holding us rapt in anticipation of the dread moment the monster appears. The way you’ve infused the cosy familiarity of the old school with an air of ancient menace is very well done.
I was inspired by Halloween myself this year. My triolet ‘Hexed’ is on Grandy’s Landing, if you’d care to check it out sometime.
I hope you’ll do more flash fiction to compliment your poetry, Angela. I’ve always loved Walter de la Mare’s creepy tales as well as his poetry; the combination works well. I’m delighted, also, to note from your previous post that you’ve begun a book on faerie tales as well as writing a children’s novel. I look forward to seeing these in due course.
Best wishes, Paul
Thanks, Paul. Your support and interest is much appreciated.