A frustratingly warm breeze swam through the open windows on the right wall of my spacious, first-floor classroom.
Poorly hung educational posters relating to punctuation, figurative language,
and poetry terms clung to the walls in a surprisingly stern matter (a few of them with only one or two pieces of torn tape saving them from falling to the floor) scattered
in multiple heights and positions all over. Despite only being in the first week of June, the heat outside felt like it had been here since the dawn of time.
I adjusted the USB connected fan on my table so the airflow would hit my face directly. The fan was weak, making the attempt to cool myself down even more pitiful.
Anyone watching would shake their head, empathetic with an undertone of sorriness.
My eyes shifted to the desk (three seats toward the back, to the right two rows) that my remedial pupil had rented for the day. Rhonda Normms, a quiet girl if I ever saw one.
She has long, dark, and pencil straight hair that stopped just past the middle of her back.
Her porcelain skin was unusually even-toned, despite the dark purple sweater and black jeans she wore on that day.
The lack of redness in her cheeks and sweat on her brow rose childish jealousy in my chest, but I swallowed it to make room to speak to her.
Her right elbow was propped on the desk, her hand against her temple, and a soft, focused look on her face. Gently, I spoke, not to rudely disrupt the concentration she had mustered.
"Rhonda, how are things with that problem?"
It was a paper on comma placement and rules right under twenty problems.
It honestly wasn't difficult, even considering my weaker English students, but obviously still giving her slight problems.
If you looked hard enough, you started to notice strange things about her face and posture. Her lips seemed almost cartoonishly dragged down, pouty enough to seem swollen.
Her eyes looked bloodshot and puffed around the lids. I noticed how she was slouched, but it seemed more intense than a tired student..
she looked as if her puppetmaster mad taken the support from her body, her spine bending and stuffing gone.
She looked up when I pulled a chair from a nearby desk and dragged it next to mine.
I smiled warmly, an attempt to make her more comfortable, and the one I received back was weak and transparent. I noticed her eyes were dull, obvious despite her jumpy glances.
She rose from her seat and walked to the chair I had pulled up like a dog that just chewed up his master's favorite pair of shoes. When she sat, she plopped, air rising from the heavy drop.
I slid her paper over in front of me and began to scan it, pushing my glasses up my nose.
I felt her eyes on my back, so I glanced at her in the corner of my eye and saw that the deflated expression she had worn hadn't changed.
Before she noticed my gaze, I dropped my eyes back to the paper and eyed her messy scribbles and dark marks the ab eraser could not fully hide.
I heard a sigh from behind me, slight annoyance in it. "Commas are stupid. Why does one punctuation mark need so many rules? It's borderline ridiculous."
The snappy tone in her voice was quite a surprise, but pleasantly so.
I smiled and with humor in my voice spoke back, "Rhonda, I won't drill the importance of English rules into your head as I do in class," still looking at the paper- "Now, I'll tell you what.
Go grab your notes on the rules we wrote down earlier this week, see if that helps." As I swiveled in my computer chair to face her, I finally heard it.
Heavy, ragged breathing- almost on my neck. My body froze before my eyes even finished reaching her face. The sight was horror movie material.
The yellow undertones in her skin had drained completely, her skin was as white as my walls.
Her jaw was twisted so far to the right, there was no doubt in my mind it was dislocated, maybe broken the more I focused on it.
Her eyes were rolled back, but not quite enough, as I could see the bottom of her pupils.
Her tongue lolled, the jaw not in any position to hold it back, and I could see it was swollen to the nature of a corpse. Her sleeves had been pushed up, and I saw her arms were covered in cuts.
I finally stood up, then realized there was nowhere to go; fear of even touching her and her chair both blocked me from moving.
Instead, I backed up into the wall and attempted to flatten myself against it. The fear was intense, it ran through my veins and hitched my breath.
I screamed at myself, do something, just move don't touch it oh god please help Jesus why does she smell like that- yet, a single word had not come from my mouth.
It staggered to fully pin me to the wall, and the head dropped to the side as if the neck had been snapped as well.
Her face was nearly on my chest, and I pulled my head as far upwards as I could, scared to even look. There was a rotting smell, but even stronger was the smell of coins.
Coins, why co-oh my god it's the blood it's my student's blood
Her hand reached up and forcefully drew my head down, into the smell, closer to the nightmare that I could not escape from.
There was an unearthly growl emitting from her throat, and breathing like a pug out of breath.
As her grip dropped, my legs gave out and my vision blurred, blurred, then went black.