Ms. Dayne wasn’t like other teachers. Tyler wheeled out the cart, which was loaded with the tiny jars.
Each jar was labelled with each child’s name and filled with a small black cocoon.
They had been discussing how to care for living things and this was the first project of the year.
On Friday they took them home and Ms. Dayne expected each to hatch and fully develop by Monday morning. Tyler kept his in his room, not bothering to show his parents the jar or its contents.
He spent most of the weekend alone with the black pod. Sunday night he opened it and swallowed it as instructed, and in many homes in the quiet community his classmates were doing the same.
Tyler didn’t touch a bite at dinner and at bathtime his mother thought she saw him lapping his bathwater. His eyes looked bloodshot.
In the morning Tyler’s mother went to wake him for school and found his bed empty.
They were running late, she had no time for games. She looked under the bed, nothing.
As she turned to exit the room she saw the dark moist looking mass hanging from the ceiling.
She moved closer, tempted to touch, when its two red eyes blinked. An appendage with its suckers clamped over her mouth.
A slow sucking sound filled the air in the house and in 24 other houses in the town.
Over the next 48 hours the homes were dark and quiet except for the sucking sounds.
A month later Ms. Dayne introduced herself to a new class, some towns away.
“We’re going to do a class project.” she said smiling.