Published on Friday, February 25, 2011 by Viking Voice
This fiction piece was written for the Viking Voice in The Norseman.
“We lose so much in this life.
Shouldn’t some things stay, she said,
but it was already gone,
no human sound, the poplars
and oaks cut down so even
the wind had nothing to rub
a whisper from, just silence
rising over the valley
deep and wide as a glacier.”
-“The Day the Gates Closed”
By: Ron Rash
It’s been about a week since school started and I’m already ready for winter break. School in general makes me sick. I guess it’s the whole high school thing. I heard sophomore year was the worst, which I’m definitely not prepared for.
All my classes are pretty decent, except for my history class with the new teacher Ms. Eichelberger. She’s this weird Nordic lady and she walks with a slouch from her wide, broad shoulders and her long, tangly hair covers her distorted face and hangs down to her gigantic nose. It’s like she grows new blister things, pustules I think they’re called, every day and they cover her face and her hands. Even though she looks infected with something extremely unpleasant, I’m not going to lie, she’s one of the nicest ladies I’ve ever met.
Ms. Eichelberger may be a nice lady and all, but she is definitely weird. If you get too close to her, she twitches and kind of snarls like a dog, yet she has this look of hunger in her eyes. It’s so creepy.
Anyway, after this week, I have a feeling this year will be an interesting year, especially with having freaky Ms. Eichelberger as a teacher.
For the past nights there’s been a thunder storm which keeps me up at all hours. I haven’t gotten much sleep so I’ve been walking around like a zombie.
I saw a poster for the upcoming dance where the girl asks the guy. I really hope this girl Helga asks me. Helga is always my partner for our Sumba class. She’s so pretty with her long dirty blonde hair and almond shaped eyes. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure she has no interest in me and is going to ask the most popular guy in school, Paco, who has a six inch tall Mohawk which he guards with his life. I like how Paco rhymes with taco because I start thinking about walking to Taco Bell after school with my best friend Phranklin, and we always have a good time.
Anyway, in history class today, Phranklin went up to Ms. Eichelberger’s desk to ask her a question. I guess he started to get too close because Ms. Eichelberger started to do her weird twitch thing and eventually one of her pustules exploded all over poor Phranklin! He got grossed out so he went to the nurse and got sent home which totally ruined our plans to walk to Taco Bell after school.
Later on, Ms. Eichelberger stared at me like I was a piece of fried chicken while I was just chilling at my desk listening to my iPod. It was really awkward.
Things are getting weirder and weirder with Ms. Eichelberger. I think I’m the only one that’s noticed though.
Before school, I was walking over to the vending machine to buy a Fuze when I passed by Ms. Eichelberger’s room and saw her eating something. I kind of stood at the doorway, unnoticed and watched her eat like she hadn’t eaten in twenty years. But the weird part was what she eating. It seemed to be a plain old salad but when I looked closely, I swear I saw fingers, yes fingers, in her salad. I couldn’t believe it! I blinked a couple times, trying to get my head together before I decided they were just pieces of chicken. I must be really be tired. I still haven’t been getting much sleep because of the thunder storms.
Helga still hasn’t mentioned the dance to me. I’m starting to think she’s not into me at all.
Today we disected a frog in Biology and I told Mr. Verde I was a feeling a bit woozy from the lab, so I got a pass to go to the nurse. I didn’t really feel sick; I just hated the class and felt like leaving. Coincidentally I ran into Phranklin who was also roaming the hallway. He told me some interesting news.
“Dude, did you hear Ms. Eichelberger bit Mr. Friend?” Phranklin asked me.
“Who’s Mr. Friend?” I said stopping to tie my shoe.
“He’s our principal, bro. He’s the guy that says over the intercom every single morning, ‘Put a smile on your face and have a sun shining day!” imitated Phranklin. I nodded and we moved on changing the subject.
I swear Bryan High is getting weirder and weirder everyday.
Geometry today was so boring, I can never pay attention so I have no idea what’s going on in that class. I normally take a nap during that period, but I figured I was way behind, so I decided to stay awake through the lesson.
Anyway, at lunch today, while about 50 people cut in front of me in line, Phranklin told me some more strange news.
“Hey Gilbert, did you hear Ms. Picklerado is in the hospital?” Phranklin asked me.
“Who’s Ms. Picklerado?” I asked finally getting my tray of I don’t even know what.
“She’s our Latin teacher, man,” Phranklin answered. “Anyway, no one knows what’s wrong with her. She just randomly got really sick and she ended up in the hospital.”
I nodded, thinking of our principal, whatever his name is, that got bit by Ms. Eichelberger and has been out of school, sick, ever since then.
“You don’t think freaky Ms. Eichelberger has anything to do with that do you?” I asked in a hushed voice.
“I don’t know, bro, but something is definitely up.”
All my teachers are disappearing, and no one knows where they’ve ran off to. This is really, really weird.
After school, Phranklin and I decided to go to the library and do some research on Ms. Eichelberger instead of walking to Taco Bell. We didn’t find much on her. Phranklin snuck into the file room in the library while I “accidentally” made a shelf full of books fall over as a distraction. The librarians were pretty ticked off at me, but it worked. Phranklin got Ms. Eichelberger’s file, so we left.
We decided to walk over to Taco Bell anyway, and read over Ms. Eichelberger’s history there. The only problem was the lady didn’t have much of a history at all.
“Dude, all it says here is that she moved to Bryan from The Nordic Republic of Idiootti, wherever that is, and got a job as a teacher,” Phranklin said with a mouth full of his burrito. “No kids, no husband, no nothing!”
I looked through her papers and found something interesting.
“Hey, check this out,” I said. “It says here that she was put in The Center for Rare Diseases Hospital. That must explain why she looks so… you know.”
Phranklin took the paper out of my hand and read it over.
“She must be getting all the other teachers sick too! She must be contagious!” Phranklin jumped out of his seat with a paper in one hand and his burrito in the other. “She’s coming after us, Gilbert! We’re all going to die!”
I’m starting to think Phranklin’s right. Ms. Eichelberger could be carrying something deadly. I don’t know what, but I’m going to find out. Or maybe she just ate a bad burrito. Who knows?
In Zumba today, Helga told me she’s dating Paco that rhymes with taco with the 6 inch Mohawk. I guess there are other fish in the sea, right?
Phranklin and I went to the library today during history. We’ve been trying to find ways to get out of that class and as far away as possible from Ms. Eichelberger. We don’t want to take any chances, no matter how nice the lady is.
We did research on The Center for Rare Diseases Hospital, which is where Ms. Eichelberger stayed. I’m surprised the librarians allowed me in after that incident, I’m just not allowed over by the shelves. Anyway, we found some pretty helpful stuff.
“Hey Phranklin, it says here that this hospital treats patients that are highly contagious with some really freaky diseases,” I said. “It’s like, completely isolated on the island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. No one is allowed over there unless they have some weird, incurable disease.”
“I wonder what disease she has and how she got away,” Phranklin said pulling out a sandwich from his bag, completely ignoring the NO FOOD OR DRINKS ALLOWED sign that hung in the library.
“Well,” I said, hesitating with what I was going for next. “All the teachers that have been around Ms. Eichelberger have gotten whatever she has. And she bit our principal, um-“
“Mr. Friend, man.”
“Right, Ms. Eichelberger bit Mr. Friend. Why in the world would a teacher bite a principal, or anyone in that matter?”
Phranklin took a bite from his sandwich and looked to be in deep thought. He suddenly looked up at me with wide eyes.
“You don’t think she’s…” Phranklin trailed off. I nodded.
“Yeah man, I think she’s-“ I looked around and leaned in closer to Phranklin who had his mouth wide open with food.
TO BE CONTINUED…