The story so far:
A blank expression covered my face. I wasn’t prepared to handle a situation like this. Was this child delusional? A million words were stuck in my mouth and couldn't find an escape. Suddenly a distinct roar of an old Ford truck howled down the street. Jake froze in place listening to the terrorizing sound. His shaking hands released the mug and the steaming liquid poured over my imitation leather cushion. Without even realizing what he had done he got up from the seat and frantically hustled to the door. “Wait, what’s the matter Jake?”
“I shouldn’t have told you, my father will punish me! I must go say my prayers now or I’ll be in even bigger trouble. But, Ms.B, well, I know you don’t deserve to go to Hell!” He hugged my waist tighter than anyone ever before, then sprinted down the block leaving the door wide open.
I felt nauseous. What would someone say that could’ve been so misinterpreted? Maybe someone had found out about the investigation. But, he’s just a child, I reassured myself. He knows not what he says.
I turned on every light in my house. Living alone all these years, it became a ritual whenever I felt anxious. I always trusted my instincts because in most cases they proved to be correct.
I thought I’d grade some papers and not procrastinate for once. I opened my briefcase and searched for the quizzes. In their place I found a torn out piece of notebook paper. Scrawled over the page read,
This town doesn’t deal well with the unknown. Leave if you know what’s good for you and take your foul spiritism with you. Or else.
I gasped. It must all be a cruel and demented joke. Although the handwriting appeared mature, I had to question, could it be my students? I debated whether or not to report this threatening letter to my sergeant, but decided against it. All the male officers already gave me grief about every little thing. But I know it was just because I was always assigned the best cases.
The sun had set yet it was only 7 o’clock. It would only take about fifteen minutes to retrieve my quizzes from the school and the walk would ease my anxiety. I passed a few women knitting on a porch, but before I could wish them good evening, they swiftly moved inside. I continued walking but pondered on their odd actions The cool breeze chapped my lips, and leaves rustled all around me.
When I arrived at the school, Pete was already there. When his eyes met mine all expression was erased from his face. He appeared a bit edgy. I waved but he just turned away and continued mopping. The chill down my spine returned. I suddenly felt even colder than I had when I was outdoors.
For about ten minutes I rummaged for the papers in my desk as fast as possible, no luck. Everything seemed so much louder than during the day. A leaking faucet echoed from the bathroom. The air vent sounded like a ghastly wheeze. I decided to give up.
When I exited the school every front light of every house was off. A few blocks from the school I found myself in front of a crimson wood house wrapped with a white porch, it was Jake’s house. The curtain fluttered as someone realized I had turned my gaze to their direction. I shivered. The remaining part of the walk home I felt extremely uneasy. They were watching me.
Ding, ding, ding. I peeked out from under my covers and a bright morning sun ray hit my face. I wrapped myself with a holey old robe and stumbled my way to the door. When I opened it I was surprised to see two men dressed in taupe police uniforms.
I nodded hesitantly, almost blowing my cover.
“You are being charged with attempting to injure another with voodoo slash witchcraft. This isn’t tolerated in these parts. Therefore you must show up to court promptly at 7 o’clock on Monday morning.”
I was completely and utterly shocked. “Excuse me? I am very familiar with the law and you can not charge me with such a thing!” my voice rose and the younger deputy stepped back in fear and seemed somewhat paranoid.
“Ma’am you should be grateful that we aren’t arresting you this very moment. And I do strongly suggest that you do not attempt to leave town. We WILL find you.” He started down the porch, “Oh and Ms. Baker, my daughter Amy will NOT be having lunch in or anywhere around this house!”