'The Death of Jason O'Brian'

By Nausikaa

In year eight, I had the meanest, cruellest science teacher in existence. Mr Darke set the hardest tests, with the hardest criteria, and then punished any student that got less than ninety-five percent correct. The class lived in fear of him, forced to study chemistry twenty-four/seven to pass the quizzes. Every morning it was as though a troop of zombies marched in through the door.

As for me? I'm not afraid of Mr Darke. I'm a rebel. A rock star. Well, I will be- when I get a band. Two weeks ago I discovered where Mr Darke kept the questions for the tests—and the answers. I've had one hundred percent for ten day days solid. Perfecto. Gold.

Well, until that day- when it all went wrong.

It was the Monday morning test, when Mr Darke would set us the questions for the criteria we were due to learn that week. The class trudged in, slumping into their seats, the bags round their eyes wide enough to encompass the O2 Arena. Several dropped from their stools like flies, snoring on the lino, chewing on salivated colouring pencils.

I crossed my arms on the desk confidently, flashing my winning grin. The door swept open, and in with the breeze came Mr Darke, hand through his black oily hair. His crimson eyes ran over the class, taking us in with a sneer. They landed on me, flittered with suspicion; alone in the class I sat to attention. The rest had gone to sleep on their pencil cases.

"Good morning class," he hissed, in his weird, eastern European accent. Everyone jumped to attention.

"Good morning, Mr Darke," we all chanted back, the sound a low, morbid drone. I hear it's debuting on The Greatest Funeral Anthems of all Time.

He flashed off to the blackboard, briskly rolling back his billowing sleeves and snatching up a piece of chalk. He stabbed at the board, rolling off the questions I'd already memorised. My peers stared at them blankly; one erupted into bawling tears.

"You may now begin," Mr Darke said, and I smirked and began scribbling answers at top speed. I was so in the zone that I didn't even notice that the teacher was standing right next to me, and when I looked up I jumped. He was sneering down at me and my sheet, and then wordlessly pointed to my draw next to the bag rack. My heart missed a beat. I was sure he could hear the blood pounding in my chest. Knew that I was guilty.

You see, I'd taken so many sheets from Mr Darke's secret stash that my draw really WAS bulging. It swelled out like balloon of truth, wood straining under the weight of my cheating. And Mr Darke had noticed.

"What's this?" he hissed, mouth close to my ear. I shivered. My courage had left me. I cowered in my seat. He was going to find out. Sure, I might be a rockstar- but rockstars could be afraid too!

He crept closer to the draws, swishing his cloak behind his back. The whole class held its breath. He poked the draw.

It exploded.

Like a volcanic eruption, pencils and sheets of paper went everywhere. Erasers, protractors. Crayons and felt tips and jell pens. A shower of paper clips. A squall of biros. Textbooks and workbooks and…. answer sheets.

Mr Darke was blown off his feet by the force. He stood up, looking ruffled and concussed, a pencil sharpener wedged up his nose, tarred and feathered with glue and glitter. Shredded paper covered him like beautiful white snow.

And in his hand was last week's questions.

"Boy," he seethed, eyes flashing red, "you are about to get the biting of a lifetime."

I shrieked as he flew at me. Saw my life flash before my eyes. It was tough, y'know, having a vampire for a science teacher.