Mrs. Fletcher looked around the rows of eager young faces in period 3
Biology. She spied one, in particular.
"Chrissie, will you please come up to the board and take these notes down
for the class?"
The girl mumbled something that sounded like, "Yeah." She shuffled over to
Mrs. Fletcher's desk and accepted the piece of chalk from her hand. As she
began to speak about what would be covered on the test they were going to
have two weeks from now, Chrissie copied it down on the board in her neat,
flowing handwriting. Since many of the students complained about not being
able to read that of the teacher's, she had decided to let them write from
now on.
Finally, the writing was finished. "Chrissie, you can stop writing now,"
Mrs. Fletcher said. She heard the sound of footsteps and assumed it was
Chrissie; but the chalk did not stop. "Chrissie, you can stop now," she
repeated. Still the sound of chalk. "Chrissie, you can-"
"I already did," said Chrissie. Then Mrs. Fletcher watched as her face
turned from innocence to horror. Those of the other students did the same.
Mrs. Fletcher turned around in her chair to see what was going on.
The chalk floated a good 5 feet above the ground in midair. Being written
on the board were words "HELP BLOOD HELP ME BLOODBLOOD HELP PLEASE" Mrs.
Fletcher watched until the chalk floated over to her desk and fell down two
inches away from her hand. Then Chrissie fainted.

Declan got out of the car. "I am being very generous with you. A whole 6
inches of window space. Now don't try anything funny." He was, of course,
talking to Mole. Mole shrugged in a dog shrug, whatever that looked like,
and yawned.
"Good idea. Naptime. Maybe sleep off those biscuits you eat too much of."
Declan walked away, with a kind of lopsided gait. He had never been to
Acorn Ridge High School before, but had heard of them in the news many
times. Supposedly a lot of students from there went on to technical
colleges. Anyhow, they were almost always in the headlines for some reason.
This reason, however, was not your run-of-the-mill story.
He walked into the main doors and looked at the front hallway. There were
several framed photos from both local and out-of-state newspapers. The
large sign said "Alumni Wall of Fame." He didn't recognize any of the
photos, but they all seemed to be about either tech or sports. A new gene
discovered here, a football victory there.
Declan made his way to the front office. It was very large. The woman at
the desk was covered in wrinkles, but probably because she smiled so much.
Her hair was a crown of silver, with a few stray wisps here and there, and
she was remarkably thin.
The phone rang. She picked it up, and nodded for him to sit down. He did
so. His office companions numbered one; a boy wearing a torn blue tee
shirt. He ran his fingers through his wet spiky hair, then stared at
Declan.
"What're you in for?"
"I'm not in here for anything, I'm a visitor."
His upper lip curled up in surprise, then he said, " I'll just bet. "
"No, really, I mean it."
The secretary hung up the phone.
"Are you looking for the guidance office?" she asked him.
"No, I happen to be looking for a teacher. Name of Fletcher."
"Oh, you mean Audrey? In Science? She's in room 103."
"Where's that?"
"Just down the hall; can't miss it."
"Thanks." Declan turned around to leave. As he did, the kid gave him a
sneer. Declan sneered back.
Declan walked in the door. A student was sitting in one of the chairs,
probably doing a re-test or something. She had brown hair, almost black,
and was slightly chubby. She seemed very interested in her work.
"Excuse me? Do you know Mrs. Fletcher?"
The girl looked up. There was a small scar on her face, just above her left
eyebrow.
"Yeah. I'm in her class, actually. She's coming back in a minute; just had
to photocopy something." The girl smiled. "You want to ask her about a mark
or something?"
"Why does everybody here think I'm a student?" Declan muttered under his
breath. Then, to the girl, he said, "More like 'or something'. I'm a
professor, from NOU. Ever heard of it?"
"Heard of it? My friend's sister goes there! It's her first year, and she's
obsessed! Jamie's always complaining to me how in her letters it's always
'NOU this' and 'NOU that.' "
Declan laughed. " Do I know her?"
"Carmen Enzi."
" No, it doesn't ring a bell. Sorry."
The door opened. A tall woman walked in, clutching a gargantuan stack of
papers. She had a blond bun, which made her look older than she was.
"How's it coming along, Chrissie?"
"Almost done. I just have four more questions to go."
"Great." Then she noticed Declan. "Oh, do I know you? Let's see, 10 years
ago.....grade 11 Bio?"
"Sorry. Wrong guy."
"Oh dear, I didn't mean to."
"It's okay. That happens a lot around here. My name's Declan Dunn."
"Audrey Fletcher." She tried to shake hands, but almost dropped the papers.
"Oops, I forgot about these." She plopped them down on the desk, then
extended her hand out to shake his.
Declan took it. "I'm, uh, here because I heard about the little, incident
you had here." He motioned towards the blackboard.
"Yes, of course, that." She stared off into space for a few seconds. "It
was quite traumatizing for a few of the students. Some of them didn't even
come to class today."
"I'm leaving now," Chrissie called. She picked up her bags and got up from
her seat.
"Just leave your paper on my desk." Chrissie did so and exited the room.
"Any idea why it may have happened?" Declan asked Audrey.
"No, nobody is really sure. There's a rumor going around that a student
died in this room and his spirit haunts it. Of course it's all just silly
stuff." She walked over to the window as if to look out, but then changed
her mind and stood back to the pane. " I don't believe in ghosts."
"Well, would you mind if me and a couple of friends checked it out? It's
kind of a hobby for us."
"I don't know. It might upset the students, and some of the parents
wouldn't like it either."
" Oh, it's all safe stuff. Don't worry, we aren't going to shoot them up
with drugs or anything. Just look around the room. You know, observe. Like
a science experiment."
" When you put it that way.....I guess it might be worth a shot, if only to
calm the kids' fears. What exactly did you have in mind?"

Peggy heard the footsteps.
"You know, maybe I ought to dig a moat around my office."
"Nah, nothing that drastic. Just put in a doorbell." Declan walked in and
flopped down onto the couch. " I've got a new assignment."
Peggy looked up from her computer. "What is it this time? Did you find
something weird in your fridge that you want the lab to test?"
Declan stretched himself out and relaxed more. "Ever read the book "Matilda
", by Roald Dahl?"
"No, I can't say that I did."
"Okay, there's this girl, see? Name's Matilda. Anyway, she has a bad
start, but she's extremely bright. Her parents hate her, the principal of
her school hates her, so what does she do?"
"I give up; what does she do?"
"She asks her teacher, who is actually the principal's niece, a few
questions about her life at home when she was a child. Then, when the
principal visits the class room, Matilda writes on the chalkboard that she
knows the principal killed her teacher's father, and to give her back her
house and money. The principal high-tails it out of there, of course."
Peggy looked at him. "So what? She wrote on the chalkboard. How does that
scare the principal?" She paused. " I'm assuming there's a catch to all
this."
"Oh, there is. She was doing it with her mind. Telekinesis."
Peggy sighed. Another ghost thing. "Is that what happened to this teacher?"
"Yeah. Except she's not a witch lady."
"We've done this before."
"Come on, Peg. That was just kid's stuff. Imagine what kind of incredible
force must have to be exerted, what kind of concentration one must have to
have in order to move anything, let alone a piece of chalk, with such
precise movements. We are not talking random brain waves zapping anything
in their path. We are talking skill. Accuracy. That just doesn't happen on
its own. Those were words up there! Words! Not scribbles!"
"All right, I understand. Some literate spirit is writing messages on the
chalkboard." She sipped from a Coke can. "I suppose you want me to help
out."
Declan fiddled with his hands. " Well, for starters, you could arrange a
field trip with the school to the hospital. They're starting a new project
about brainwaves."
"And I'm guessing that wasn't the teacher's idea," Peggy said dryly.
"Actually, it was."
Chrissie walked into the old house. It was filled with smoke. She coughed a
little.
" Who's there?" a drunk voice called out.
"Chrissie."
"Ah, come on up, Chris. We almost had to start the meeting without you."
The owner of the voice coughed loudly, then rasped, "We're making the plan
now." More coughs.
Chrissie climbed the dirty staircase to the second floor. The hallway was
strewn with dead cigarettes and dirty clothes.
She paused before the door, and then walked in. The first thing she saw
were 3 other girls. She knew them well. The next thing she saw was the bed.
It was an old bed, and the mattress was sagging, but it still managed to
hold their weight, and a lot more. There were sheets piled on the bed,
mildewed beyond belief. She had to hold her nose because the stink of the
sheets, along with alcohol and cigarette smoke was more than she could
bear.
"Well, did you get them?" She sat down on her coat instead of the bare
sheets.
"Yeah, we got tons." Jamie had spiked red hair that climbed up the back of
her head like a grotesque caterpillar. "Look." She pulled back the sheets
to reveal 4 pistols, a steak knife, and a pocket knife.
"Where did you get them from?"
"My dad has a bunch of these. He won't miss these 4. As for the knives,
one's from the kitchen, the other from my brother's camping gear." Kiley
spoke. Her blond hair was cropped short like a boy's and she wore blue
contacts.
Chrissie picked up a pistol. She felt it, cool in her hand, like a slick
pipe. "They're just for protection, right? I mean, we aren't actually going
to shoot anybody, are we?"
"Nah," Nisha spat. She ran her fingers through her wet, brown locks. "It's
just in case anybody gets too close."
Chrissie looked down at the gun again.