Extra-Curricular (Unsuccessful CAMRF Entry)

Published by Banzai in the blog Banzai's blog. Views: 82

[Copied and pasted from my external blog. Please do take a look. I'm trying to update regularly, every few days or so]

I wrote and submitted this 500-word piece for the Campaign for Real Fear but unfortunately it didn’t make the final ten. It was hardly a surprise, as some of the best in the genre were entering, but since I’ve written it, I thought I’d at least share it with you lovely people. And do keep an eye out for the winners. The best ten stories will be published in a future issue of Black Static (which, for those who don’t know, is the single best short horror-fiction magazine on the UK market), and it’s gonna be pretty damn interesting to see what comes out.

Anyway, without further ado, I give you the first piece of my original fiction that I’ve posted here (though possibly not the last):


Extra-Curricular
By Matthew S. Dent

They sit there, watching me. Always watching me with those soulless, empty eyes. They sit there, row upon row, eyes leering and their mouths open. I can feel them sapping me. Sucking the life out of me.

It turns my sweat to ice.

These little monsters. These unspeakable things that I am forced to teach. Their grey, otherworldly appearance, those ghostly cloying voices, and those relentless, unyielding stares.

My brow is slick with sweat, my hair soaked. My heart is beating out of control. Do they know? Can they hear it?

A knock at the door. A head pokes around. The Geography teacher from the class next door, I don’t remember his name, but he supports Man United. He’s saying something, but my ears won’t focus on the words.

God, he looks awful. Pale and sallow, like the life and passion has been sucked right out of him. He looks afraid to go back, or to come too far inside. I’m not alone. But what does it help? Both of us are powerless against these little fiends.

He’s finished talking, and I gather he’s asked something. I nod, and that seems to be enough. He looks disappointed, heading back to his own personal hell. As he goes, I can see them drinking his soul. Small, smoke-like wisps, trailing back through the doorway. Then the door closes, their links break, and their attention is back on me.

They are stealing my soul away.

‘Sir?’ one of them says.

The world shifts. Gone are the greyscale waifs. Gone are the soulless eyes and the ravenous mouths. They are children. Just children. Their exercise books open, pens lying idly by as they chatter innocently.

The one with the spiky hair, on the front row, looks at me concerned. He asks, ‘Are you alright sir? You don’t look well…’

For a moment I doubt. Could I be wrong?

But no. The illusion slips, and the cold, terrible reality of those things crashes back. That’s all it ever was, an illusion. But I can’t escape.

They’re still looking at me. They never stopped. Leeches, draining away my lifeforce, those smoky strands running out of me, to them. My own life, ebbing away.

I open the drawer, to distract myself. The usual clutter. The next one is empty. The third has a broken mug, two confiscated phones, a small plastic bag of white powder- MCAT probably- and a flick knife.

It feels cold and heavy. I should have reported it when I confiscated it. I still could. The walk to the headmaster’s office would be a relief. But only temporarily. I’d have to come back after.

I look up. They’re still there. They won’t go. They won’t stop staring, and feeding. Oh, those vacant and hungry faces.

I need a more permanent solution. My hand tightens on the flick knife. Rid the world of these wraiths. Permanently.

I have to stop the staring.
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