Lunch just ended and the first bell rang.
“Kiara, Fatou! Hurry up or we’re gonna be late!” yelled Brianna.
Kiara comes up to her, leaving Fatou behind, “Man, calm down! We’re not even late.”
“A’ight whatever, imma head to class,” Brianna starts walking to class, her headphones beating loud in her ear like a heartbeat. As much as she dreads going to English B, she knows her grade is on the line. It’s not the class that she doesn’t like, it’s just…the teacher…Mr. Ashkenazi. He just as always seems a little ‘off’ to her.
Brianna tries to clear her mind as she reaches the classroom door, but it seemed to be locked. “That’s weird…” she thought to herself, “it’s already 1:00. Class should’ve started by now.” She tries not to think anything of it, as she reaches for her back pocket and a picture of her best friend, Nialli. Wiping the tears from her face, she recalls that Nialli disappeared just over a week ago. No one had seen or heard from her since. It was strange that the last time Brianna saw her was right after English B class that Friday. Vividly she remembered how Mr. Ashkenazi had asked to speak with her after class, alone, and that was the last she saw of her.
Suddenly, the class door busted open and Mr. Ashkenazi stepped out, his face directed towards Brianna’s, wearing a crooked grin on his face, as if it were an accessorized necklace. “Please, come in.” He said, his voice raspy.
“Uhm…okay? I mean that kinda was the plan, Mr-”
“Sit!” He said, his patience altogether nonexistent.
[End Of Class]
Brianna shoves her books in her bag, trying not to be late for her next class. “Kiara! Wait up for me! Please.”
“Fine, hurry up.” She submits to her friend’s recurring plea.
Brianna throws her bag over her shoulder and catches up with Kiara at the door way, but before they get a chance to leave they hear, “Kiara, wait!” Mr. Ashkenazi hisses as he walks up to them, “can I talk to you for a minute? I wanted to discuss your phone use in class today.”
“But I have cla-” she starts to say before he cuts her off.
“It’ll only be a minute. Brianna, you can leave, Kiara will see you in class” he smiles.
“Uhm…okay…” Brianna hesitates “Bye Kiki, see you in class.”
“Okay” Kiara replies, Brianna could sense the fear in her voice.
[End Of Gym Class]
“Fatou! Where’s Kiara??” Brianna asked with a hint of fear.
“I don’t know, I can call her?” Fatou said.
“No…it’s fine, she just, probably skipped or something…”
“yeah…probably.” Brianna could hear the doubt in Fatou’s voice. “Well anyways…I gotta go…bye Fatou.”
[Two Weeks Later]
Snap! Snap! Snap! “Earth to Brianna!” Fatou’s snapping brings Brianna back to reality. Brianna looks around at Omar, Fatou, and Quincy, who are the only people in class besides her. Everyone else just went missing, almost like they had fallen off the face of the earth.
“Hey, come back to reality! If Mr. Ashkenazi catches you spaced out in his class,”
“He’ll eat you!” Omar says, cutting Fatou off.
“Or cast a spell on us!” Brianna added. They all chuckled.
“Hey!” Mr. Ashkenazi’s voice boomed like thunder. “Stay. Focused.” He said as he cleared his throat. “Now I’ll be stepping out for just a minute, Stay. Focused.” He repeated, closing the door behind him.
“Stayyy focuseddd” Brianna mocked.
“Ugh, he’s such a grouch.” Quincy whined.
Just then, they heard muffled screaming. “You guys hear that??” Brianna said.
“Yeah! It sounds like it’s coming from Ashkenazi’s desk!” Omar yelled.
Brianna walked to the desk, her friends huddled behind her. She slowly picked up a piece of paper, staring down at Ashkenazi’s phone. “Nialli?…” Brianna whispered. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing, all the classmates that had disappeared, were now staring back at her, screaming, through the phone screen.
Suddenly, the class door slammed shut, and the whole room got dark. Ashkenazi was now grinning at them. His face green, his nose long and slouched, black wings flapping behind his back, “You kids should’ve stayed focused if you knew what was good for you.”
“What did you do to them?!” Brianna yelled.
“Oh, you know, just a little spell of mine.” Ashkenazi chuckled.
“Eat Quincy first!” Omar yelled.
“Oh wow, disrespectful!” Quincy replied.
Suddenly, thunder roared outside like a lion. All four of them screamed as they were bolted into the phone.
[Ashkenazi’s House Later that Night]
Ashkenazi walks to a shelf in his room, clenching the phone in his hand. He slowly places it on the shelf and steps back, staring at all the phones, listening to kids yelling through the screens.
“Let us out!” Brianna screamed, leading everyone else to join in a rebellious chant.
“Now, now, hush,” Ashkenazi hisses as he sits down in his velvet chair next to his fireplace. He sips his tea and starts to chuckle. “Ahhhh, I can’t wait till next year.” And the students of 7th period English B were never heard from again.
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