Thursday, 18th August, 2011
When the new staff was announced at morning break, I honestly think that all of us were in shock. When we thought ‘new’ staff, we thought wrong. They were all old, especially the new History teacher. With one glance to my best friend, Tiffany, we thought: Hey, this might be a crap year after all! She rolled her eyes and continued eating her scone. The jam began to dribble from the back, dropping onto her new skirt. “Crap!” she whispered and looked at me as if to say: Oh, my, God! Drama! Mid-life crisis! I rolled my eyes and quietly handed her some tissues, which was hard, considering there were two people between us. She mouthed a thank-you and began to wipe the jam as I regained focus on the group of tweed-covered teachers that were lined up on the stage. It was break, so people were quietly chatting, but through previous experience, I found it best to remain quiet. I counted how many teachers were there, going through the letter that had been sent to our parents, informing them of the new staff names and which department they were in. I recounted them three times. Something wasn’t right. One was missing.
“And, last, but not least, Jayne!” Our head teacher gestured behind her. We expected to see another old person standing there, but there was no-one. The spot was empty. “Where’s Jayne?” I heard the head whisper to the new RE teacher. He shrugged. Concern spread across Ms Park’s face. Her forehead began to crease, glancing over us in case the teacher had got lost in the crowd of teenagers. But she wasn’t there. We all began scanning the hall, and I even pretended to have X-ray vision (sadly, I don’t actually have it) just to make sure our newest teacher wasn’t there. The school was still quiet, even though the lost teacher still hadn’t appeared. All of a sudden, a loud humming came from outside. A car’s engine was revving up the school’s bus lane.
The doors burst open and a body fell through the doorway. Three more followed. The two smaller men picked up the body that had fallen and pinned it up against the side of the stage. Her hands were bound behind her back, her mouth covered in duct tape. One eye was bruised shut and a deep gash tore from her right temple down to the left-hand side of her chin. Tears were streaming down her face. I could see the pain in her face. The two men picked her up by the back of the neck and threw her down the aisle of the seats. Blood streaked the uneven tiles as her muffled cries echoed through the hall. We all knew none of this was a joke. Our normal teachers that had remained throughout the summer holidays stood at either side of the hall in shock. Seeing the fear on Mr Nolan’s face told me that this wasn’t a joke.
The body of the woman was picked up and thrown against the stone pillar at the back of the hall. A harsh crack came from the pillar as a small part of it crumbled away and the woman fell back, revealing that a horrid chunk of her face had been replaced with blood. The smallest of the men that had been hurting the poor woman ripped the duct tape off of her mouth. She screamed and fell to the floor, only to be picked up and punch, twice, in the stomach. Blood sprayed from her mouth and she coughed coarsely. The two men pinned her shoulders back as the tallest man, who hadn’t taken any action yet, stepped forward. He produced a knife from the inside pocket of his leather jacket and held it by his side. Finally, the silence was broke when he said, “Jayne. You’ve been a bad girl.” There was something sly in his voice that made beetles run up my back. I looked at Tiffany, who had now turned pale with a few tears running down her face, and I felt my stomach flip. The blade was gleaming in the headlights above us, set on the stage.
“Where is it?”
“What?” Jayne was testing his patience. I could hear it in her voice.
The man laughed and ran a finger up the knife’s blade. The blade made a small incision in his finger as he said, “Don’t temp me, honey.” Jayne spat on the ground, two inches from his feet. The spit wasn’t saliva, but blood. He scoffed. “Like I said, you are no daughter of mine. “Son’s,” he gestured towards the men that held Jayne in place, “you know what to do.” They nodded and started punching the woman. She groaned with each blow, blood spurting from her as though she were a fountain. “All right,” said the father, “enough.” He advanced forward to Jayne, who was now hunched over.
“Now, where is it?”
“Never…tell…you!” she said, panting.
“Well then…” The father took another few steps forward. The blade gleamed more in the yellow light. Jayne knew what was going to happen. She looked up at him, waited until he was only three steps away with the knife raised and lifted her leg, quickly. It caught her dad under the chin and there was a sickening snap as he fell to the ground. She looked at the body then to her brothers. She shrugged at them and said, “Now, do I have to spell it out for you?”
They ran. Fast. Their footsteps thudded on the ground and we all turned back to Jayne She nodded at Ms Park before collapsing on the floor, right beside her dead father.
It took five teachers, three gallons of water and eleven slaps on the face for Jayne to resurface. Mr Nolan was holding her head, but helped her sit up. They had cut her hands free, but where the tape used to be was raw flesh, deep pink and burning. The new Chemistry teacher, Mr Michaels, was checking her pulse, but his hands jerked away from the heat that came from the tape burns. “Ha,” he chuckled nervously. His hands were shaking. Jayne attempted to pull her wrists away, but her strength was gone.
Her head swayed from side to side as her eyelids began to drop again. Mr Redford, our old Chemistry teacher, had collected an oxygen cylinder and face mask (why the school had one of those, I don’t know) and was helping Jayne breathe by the good old-fashioned way of resuscitation, just without mouth-to-mouth. Her eyelids fluttered slightly, but she remained conscious. Mr Nolan was attempting to wake her up, whispering in her ear. None of us heard what he was saying, but it made Jayne smile. Blood was leaking from her mouth and she was coughing. Mr Nolan sat her up properly and held her head against his shoulder. He stroked he hair and continued whispering in her ear. She laughed quietly occasionally.
Ms Parks was on the phone, to an ambulance no doubt. Us students had been ordered either to the back of the hall or back to class, depending on which teacher was or wasn't there. I remained in the hall.