A Little Perspective From Tom Church

(Not to brag [so I’ll keep it short and sweet]: but I like to write.
Short story. Expect weird. And also, sometimes [and most likely now] my stories are about children who walk unsuspectingly into class to find out their teacher wants desperately, in their madness, to kill them.

Enjoy.)

Lafflem jogged into class, dodging a few textbooks. Several were actually lobbed by disapproving teachers. Lafflem had been hit before- his right arm was now noticeably shorter than his left, and he had a nervous speech impediment due to a combination of throat dysfunction and intense stress. His IQ had dropped three points the day an Advanced History textbook had fractured his skull.

He sat down in a chair, but remained at the ready; sometimes people followed him in. Not many people had satisfied their taste for Lafflem’s blood today, which was for the better- there was only so much that could go around, anyway.
“LAFFLEM!” yelled Mr. Havversham. “You’re several minutes early!” “Yeah, I know,” he said, a bit short of breath. “I’m sorry, I just thought it’d be good to be…” he trailed off, unable to find the word ‘punctual.’¬† “… a good kid,” he finished lamely. “Inexcusable!” shouted Havversham. He rose from his desk and meandered over to Lafflem. “You realize the entailments of such an offense?” he asked, quietly seething.

Lafflem had been physically abused by Havversham before, and he was tensed, ready to run. Havversham cracked his knuckles and rolled his neck. Then he slid his suit jacket off and hung it over a chair. “Do you?” he asked, again. “No,” said Lafflem, quietly. He rose, too, to face Havversham. He was puny by comparison, and very scrawny.

“Alright,” said Havversham, and spat on the tile. “Here’s the deal, asshole.” He kicked a chair to show he meant business. Lafflem winced, feeling the faint, imaginary prod of the pointed-dress shoes in his stomach, his face. “I take you outside, and I kick the holy shit out-”

Lafflem screeched and bolted from the room. Havversham ran to the wall and pulled the fire alarm, and then got on his room phone. Lafflem streaked down the hall and turned a corner into the main strip. He headed straight for the door.

Bursting through it and out into the front courtyard of the school, he looked both ways, and then ran left, where he saw less people. He vaulted over several bushes and then found himself on neighbouring property- a small greenhouse full of flowers and ferns, and beside it, a thin shed.

He ran to the shed and found the padlock open. Panting, he stripped it out of the lock and clambered inside. He shut the door heavily, and immediately started coughing. The dust and dirt was as thick as shit.

He sat down in the corner and shut his eyes. He was tired and he hadn’t learned a damn thing that day. His teachers all picked on him, wanted to kill him. His parents usually didn’t let him sleep inside, and also wanted to kill him. He maintained a GPA of 3.8, somehow.

He watched in wonder as a small rat scampered out from underneath a small trowel, studying him closely. He reached out a hand, and it came closer, remarkably. Then it clamped a thick set of jaws onto his pointer finger, and Lafflem screamed. He watched in horror as his finger came off, easier than he ever thought it would have. The rat dragged it to a dark portion of the shed, and he heard the excited squeaks of other rats as they devoured his finger. He wrapped his hand in his shirt, which, tragically, was white. It was ruined.

Some hours later, he awoke with a start. It wasn’t the rat, he quickly confirmed, that had woken him. It was a strong smell, that of smoke. He stood up, knocking a shelf off the wall. It crumbled to the ground, and everything on it fell. A thick bottle of insecticide split open and fumes filled the shed. He began finding it hard to breathe. Outside, Havversham lit another match and held it to the shed, where he’d doused it with lighter fluid. It caught a little better, and he waved the match out. The majority of the left side of the shed was now burning quite nicely.

Inside, Lafflem clutched his throat, which burned very badly. The temperature in the shed was ever-rising. He stripped off his shirt and held it to his mouth and eyes, breathing through it. A flame licked the inside of the shed, and a small, blackened hole fell away from the left wall. Rats crawled through it and out into the grass, but it was much too small to go through. Lafflem, about to pass out, frantically kicked at the wall, trying to get the hole bigger. Getting it to about crawlspace-size, he wormed through it and out into the grass, burning himself badly. His back was seared red.

Havversham stood over him, looking down in disgust. He doused his aching, sore body in lighter fluid, and then pulled the cigarette he was smoking out of his mouth. “Lafflem, what kind of example does showing up early to my class set for the rest of the students?” he asked incredulously. “I need to put a stop to your antics, buster.” Lafflem barely processed any of what he said, he just rolled over onto his stomach and passed out. Havversham flicked his cigarette onto his body and watched it go ablaze, and then wandered back to the school.

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