Remembering how tired Headmistress Ferris had once grown at the end of the day, Michelle smiled to herself as she strode down the hallway. While she, like many others, had been shocked and saddened when Ferris had inexplicably decided to put a gun to her head and end her life, Michelle had to acknowledge that maybe it was all for the better. Clearly, Michelle was younger, and stronger, and better able to handle the many stresses and concerns associated with running a school. Frankly, she thought she was doing a pretty good job.
As she walked, Michelle noticed one of her girls, Heidi, standing at the edge of a crowd in one of the hallways. Heidi had always been quiet, and obedient, and her blonde hair and freckles gave her a cuteness that was easy to miss as the girl tended to hang near the back of a crowd. Michelle noticed her, however, and determined that the girl would be an excellent addition to the goods Michelle would begin gathering in about a week.
With a curt nod toward her students, Michelle continued her trek. Fewer students populated the administrative branch of the castle, which Michelle preferred. They stayed out of her way when she needed to work. While she wasn't particularly busy at that moment, Michelle appreciated that the students knew their bounds.
Humming to herself, Michelle entered Headmistress Ferris's office- no, it was hers now. Too often, she forgot about her abrupt promotion in status, although she was growing to like the respect the position gained her, not to mention the considerable raise in her salary.
"You're in a good mood," observed a voice Michelle had never thought she'd have to hear again.
Turning around, Michelle found herself confronted with an apparition. While the person standing in her office looked as solid as any other human being, Michelle knew she had to be seeing a ghost because there was no way Sarah Jones could be free, in this country, or in this town, let alone alone in her office. Michelle's breath caught in her throat.
"What, aren't you happy to see me?" Sarah pressed with a confident raised eyebrow and an odd quirk to her lip, as if she knew a secret.
Actually, Sarah might have smiled that way because she did, indeed, know a secret, and it was a secret that had the potential to ruin everything Michelle had built, not to mention ruin Michelle's life. Trying not to make her actions too obvious, Michelle inched toward the desk behind her, where she kept a hand gun.
The police had questioned Michelle about the gun's existence and placement in the school after Ferris had killed herself, but the gun had been different than the sort that had shot the bullet through Ferris's brains, and when Michelle had demonstrated that she had a permit and that the students had no means of accessing the gun, the police had more or less left her alone.
Michelle would never have dreamt of meeting with slave-dealers without arming herself, and now the gun's presence would help her get rid of a nuisance once and for all. If selling Sarah into slavery hadn't solved the woman's problem, killing her might. Sure, Michelle would later have to dispose of a body, but she'd worked her way out of more challenging situations before.
"Sarah," Michelle breathed, speaking aloud to hopefully distract the woman from her own actions. "You're here. I'm surprised you managed a way to get all the way back home."
"I guess you could say I'm resourceful," Sarah answered as Michelle reached in her desk. Slowly, she reached for the drawer; she couldn't make the movement too obvious. Oblivious, Sarah continued to talk. "Your abuse of power is over, Michelle. It stops today."
"I'm afraid not," Michelle replied, lifting the gun to point it at Sarah's head. "Sorry, Sarah," Michelle intoned. "I didn't want it to end this way, but hey; what are you going to do?"
"You're going to put that gun down- slowly," responded a new voice. Michelle heard the familiar click of a safety being released on a handgun, and froze. Once more, the voice spoke up, just behind her. "Put the gun down, Miss Church."
Michelle breathed in and out once as she placed the voice. It was that of Sarah's old boyfriend- Robi, the police officer. Aware that she had no other choice, Michelle lowered the gun while on the other side of the room, Sarah smirked.
The weapon had barely hit the floor before Robi pushed her over the desk and handcuffed her. "You're under arrest for more crimes than I really care to list right now," Robi intoned, but after a moment, he began to recite Michelle's many wrongs, anyway.
Robi led her out of her office, then, and into the hallway, where more police officers waited. The local police force was so incompetent as to make this arrest as much a humiliation as it was a bitter defeat, and Michelle felt as though she might vomit while she was led away. She should have known everything would go wrong; everything had started to go wrong as soon as Sarah had showed up.
Michelle glanced back over her shoulder, but Sarah was no longer visible. "Keep going," Robi grunted, pushing her further down the hall. She trudged, aware that she was being led to a squad car that would take her to prison.