The story so far:
I watched the tear slide down the boy's face until it beaded on his jaw line and then silently crashed to the floor. The boy was filled with genuine terror, but I couln't tell if it was a real possiblity or some exaggerated notion like all children make from time to time.
"Jake," I said as I kneeled down beside him, "why I am going to die?"
"I...I can't tell you, Ms. B." Jake said as a few more tears fell from his face.
"Jake," I said sternly, trying to pull out my mother voice, "tell me." This information was dire to me if there was any truth to it but I couldn't show the boy the fear that ran through me.
His face slowly drained of its color and he gripped his cup like a vise. His lips twitched a few times when he tried to speak but after a few seconds, he said, "The Blue Chalk Ladies want you dead."
I tried to control myself but the smile ran across my face anyway. "Is this just a couple of kids at school?"
"Yeah," he said with an obvious torrent of thoughts running through his head, "kind of."
A wave of relief coursed through my body. It was just a simple naive notion but even though it was, it raised another problem: there was a group of bullies at the school. There usually was one in any small town school but I couldn't have my students being terrorized like this. There was definitely going to be detention sllips and parent-teacher meetings in my near future.
"Come on, Jake." I said as I stood up. "I'll walk you back to your house." The poor boy sluggishly stood up and looked at me like a beaten dog. There was an ache in my heart to think that this boy cared about me enough to warn me of some stupidity spouted off by ruffians at school. I wiped the tears from his face and fetched his coat. "There's nothing to worry about." I said as I reached for the doorknob. "Nothing is going to happen."
Jake smiled at me but it was forced. There was still fear inside him.
It felt as if my head was going split apart as I yawned while putting my coat on. I had stayed up half the night wondering if there might be any serious threat in what Jake had told me. Since Amy was coming over later I might be able to speak with her about it and see what she knew of all this. It was still early, though, and there were errands to run before anything could be done. I pulled my coat snug around me and pulled open the front door. The brisk, frigid air slapped me in the face as I stepped outside.
As I made it to the sidewalk, I noticed something right where it intersected with my walkway. It was writing in blue chalk and at first I thought it was just some drawings by the children of the neighborhood. Then I noticed it was written for me. In jagged, almost cryptic letters, it read:
There was once a Hen named Ms. B and she lived in a cage with the other Hens. She wanted to fly and raised a ruccus. The other Hens didn't dare follow because they knew caged Hens didn't fly.
It was odd enough but I just scoffed. Apparently, these were the bullies Jake had spoken of. I would definitely have to figure what was happening so I could protect my children. And since teachers were targets for pranks now, I'm sure the principal would give me a helping hand.
The grocery store was only a mere two blocks from my house and it was even quicker walk as I hurried through the cold. A blast of warmth came over me as I hurried through the sliding doors and I took my coat off as if I could soak it in. As I grabbed a basket and slung my coat across the crook of my elbow, I made my way down the soup aisle.
As much as I hate to admit it, the times at the grocery store are one of my favorite parts of living in small towns. I don't have to think about my job for the FBI or think about my past because I truly feel like a part of the community. No how long or little I've been in a place, the grocery store is the common equalizer so to speak. Everyone I see there, I know and I can have a conversation with. There are the snarky old ladies and the town fools there as well, but they'll talk to me just the same: as if I really was a part of the community.
I couldn't remember how much time I spent in there but it was probably more than I should have. After I picked up the bread that I'd need for the week, I made my way for the check out counter. As the clerk, a pimply boy of probably no more that fifteen, rang my items up, I saw Amy's mother come in through the door so I waved to get her attention and said, "Hello."
"Uh, hi." she said walking up to me but not really paying attention.
"How are you today?"
The woman simply stared off in some random direction and then suddenly, as if she was brought of a trance, blurted. "Oh, I'm fine but...but Amy's not going to be able to come to your house today." After speaking, she immediately started to walk off.
"Why?" I asked a touch louder than a I should have.
"She's sick." the woman said with anger as she disappeared down an aisle.
"What is going on?" I asked myself as I payed the cashier.
As I left and walked back to my house, Jake came back to my mind. The reasoning behind his words seemed just like a naive worry to me but his terror was genuine. Amy used to come to school everyday and was one of the happiest children I had ever met. Now, I was lucky if she made it to school half of the week and her mother was a wreck. I doubted there was any connection but I had to be sure.
The wind was picking up so I pulled my coat snug to my body and clamped my groceries tight under my arm. As I neared my house, I saw something on my door but I could only make out the colors blue and red pasted against its white paint. My curiosity caused me to jog the rest of the way. My feet trampled over the curious note left on the sidewalk from earlier as I made it down my walkway. When I could finally make out what it was, I stopped and gasped. As I stood there with the wind wildly tossing my hair about and the cold air cutting me to the bone, I started to believe Jake. Nailed to my front door with a pair of scissors was a dead chicken under another message in the same blue chalk. It read in a similar fashion but the letters were shaped differently, letting me know there was more than one culprit. The message read:
One day as Ms. B tried to fly, the farmer girl came to calm the other Hens. Once she saw the bad Ms. B, she killed and cooked her in a pie. She also knew caged Hens didn't fly.