It really began when I was 14 or so, when my family moved homes. My Dad had been offered a job with better pay and a week later, we had sold our house and rented an apartment in our new town. We moved during the summer, so it was simple starting at my new school. When the term began I nervously walked from our apartment building to the school, which was rather close. I hadn’t had the chance to meet any local kids so I knew nobody and was scared of having to make new friends all alone. I don’t recall really speaking to anyone that morning, I was too shy. I just took my timetable in a slightly trembling hand and looked to see what my first class was. Math, in room 104. I checked the little school map hand-out I had been given. I looked at that map over and over. I couldn’t see my class room number at all. By then no staff were around me and I began to panic. Where the hell do I go?
I noticed on the layout of the building that there was a whole section to the right of the school that seemed to have plenty of classroom sized rooms but no numbers. The class numbers on the far left of the school were numbers 300-310, the centre of the building had rooms designated in the 200-230 range. I decided my class room ’104′ would logically be to the right. I walked down long corridors. Most of the other students were not new, and so they had already made it to their classes whilst I contemplated my map. Because of this, the corridors were now deserted. In retrospect, I should have just found the help desk and asked them to give me directions, but I was so shy I’d rather try and do it alone.
Anyways, I followed the building layout and at the end of an eerily quiet and long corridor, my passage was blocked by rather old looking wooden double doors that didn’t open when I pushed. This seemed wrong. Like this part of the building was not meant to be entered. I played with the idea that someone had accidentally shut them or maybe I just wasn’t pushing hard enough.
I rammed into the doors with my shoulder and with a scraping sound of metal on wood, they opened. I realized then that I had broken the bolts on the other side of the door which were brittle with rust. Horrified at having broken a door lock on my first day, I was about to turn and run from the scene and just ask someone to help me find my class. I obviously shouldn’t be in this part of the school. The new corridor was old and dusty. The lockers were all hanging open and unused. A faint smell of mold hung in the air. As I turned I noticed the numbers painted on the glass windows of the doors along the corridor. The one nearest to me read; ’100′.
Perplexed I checked my timetable again to assure myself that I had read my class number correctly. It was clear; my room was ’104′, and just along this corridor apparently. I began to walk slowly, looking into the windows of each class I passed. 100, empty, 101, empty, 102, empty except for a plastic skeleton hanging in the corner by a pile of yellowing student lab coats. Still, it was enough to make me flinch. As I checked 103 (empty) I heard the voice of an adult man coming from the room opposite. Room 104. I peeked through the window. Full.
Except it wasn’t what I expected to see. Sure, there was a teacher, wearing a worn brown suit and blue bowtie, and there were students, all focused on this teacher sitting apart from one another on old fashioned wooden tables. What made me pause was what they were wearing. Kids didn’t dress like that anymore, It looked like a classroom from an old film or show. The teacher stood beside a blackboard dusty from chalk.
Despite this oddity, I knocked on the door. I assumed the school had a poor budget. The teacher didn’t notice my knocking, so I quietly opened the door and walked in. None of the students took their gaze away from the teacher, who also paid no attention to me. I awkwardly apologized for my lateness, citing that I had gotten lost. I then made my way over to the only free seat in the room and sat down. I felt my cheeks burn with embarrassment. I must have interrupted the class, I thought.
The teacher began his lesson a few seconds later rather casually. His name was Mr. Telori. He began to chalk equations on the board and got the class to solve them. The lesson was rather ordinary; except for the fact that no calculators were used. Whenever I raised my hand to answer a question, almost to try and win back favour from the teacher, he ignored it and always chose another student to answer the problem. The lesson ended abruptly after what felt like hours. By the end of it I was bored and miserable. I just wanted to get home and complain about the way I was ignored.
When I left the room I felt pangs of hunger. I glanced at my watch and was shocked to see the school day had ended. A whole day of maths? Horror. I had decided I hated that school. I walked slowly home, going over the day’s events in my mind. It was all very weird, but I supposed I would get used to this new school eventually.
When I got home my mother was talking on the home phone. Her face displayed confusion. She heard me come in and frowned when she saw me. She looked somewhat angry and asked whoever was on the other end of the phone line to hold, and then she accused me of skipping school.
Confusion followed. I told her I was in class all day, but apparently the school had phoned to say I wasn’t in any lessons and hadn’t seen me after I collected my timetable. I said I was in Mr Telori’s class in room 104 all day. I must have missed the register when I was late I thought.
My mum paused and told the school on the phone my story. Her expression froze after a few seconds and then she looked at me rather worriedly.
She hung up the phone and told me what the school had said.
Mr. Telori had not worked at the school in thirty-eight years.
Apparently room 104 was part of an abandoned section of the school that hadn’t been used since a school shooting nearly forty years ago.
The school thought I was playing some sick joke.
That night I went on the web to find out if what the school said was true. Quickly I had found old newspaper articles about the school massacre that had been archived.
A madman had simply walked into the school with a hunting rifle and shot a whole class dead. He had blocked the doorway and shot everyone in a math classroom. An old grainy photo showed the class where the murders happened. I recognized it immediately. It was room 104.
An obituary showed tributes to the dead and photos of all that had died. I recognized them, too. Mr. Telori and all the students I had spent a day with.
My heart felt like it had stopped. I felt sick. I felt cold to my bones at that moment.
After that day I changed schools.
Now, years later I’ve written this, my account of what happened to me, which nobody had ever believed. The reason, why now?
Yesterday I received a letter in the post. There was no address; it had simply appeared through my letterbox. It was a class reunion invite, signed by my old teacher.
Credit To: A J M