The Terra-Belle Ghost, Chapter 14

I rushed into my class as the bell rang! I didn’t even remember why I couldn’t get there on time, but it was the second instance this week my students had beaten me to the classroom! Last Tuesday wasn’t my fault though- I had to destroy the fear monger that threatened those kids! The tardiness of today had to have been my fault; if it wasn’t, I was sure I would have remembered it! I would have to investigate that later though, my primary concern was getting to my first period lesson before the children there walked out! When I arrived, the hall monitor shook his head at me disapprovingly, and I’m positive if he could have issued citations to the staff, he would have penalized me for this! I ignored him though- I was only slightly behind, so I intended to hasten the delivery of my lecture to make up for the minutes I lost. As soon as I walked in, I recited, “Today, we’re going over the importance of maintaining client relations. Now, who can…?”

            The state of the students caught me so off guard that I froze mid-sentence! All thirty of my pupils had morphed into snakes! Ordinarily, I would have assumed that I was dreaming, but with Damon’s ghost doing the bidding of a guardian of the Netherworld, I knew anything was possible! I would never have listed snakes as my greatest fear, but I certainly didn’t like them much! Plus, with their grand height as well as numerous quantity, they would have intimidated anybody! I considered quietly stepping out of the room until a pink snake spoke with Corvina’s voice, “Is something wrong, Mister Fenmore?”

            “No, of course not!” I fibbed. If the students weren’t aware of the issue, I definitely wasn’t going to bring it to their attention! I supposed that I would have to carry on as though everything nothing out of the average had been taking place, but I knew that would prove to be difficult with all of those creepy eyes staring at me! “As I was saying, we’re discussing the importance of maintaining client relations. Raise your hand if-.” I realized that none of them had any limbs anymore, and requesting for the teens to use their extremities would only bring about unwarranted awareness of this dilemma! I needed to find out how Damon had disguised himself as soon as possible! “Blurt it out loud if you know why companies need to care about their customers’ feelings and experiences!”

            “We’re not gonna do that!” Corvina hissed- literally and figuratively! She slithered towards me and coldly stated, “We have something else we would like to go over!”

            Great Scott! They were just playing dumb about the whole turning into a reptile thing! “You don’t say?” I tried to maintain an even-headed tone as I slowly backed in the direction of the door.

            Corvina affirmed, “Yes!” Two snaky students blocked my exit! I was trapped with Corvina hovering over me, her eyes filled with venomous malice! She circled me and demanded, “We would like to learn why you didn’t give Babelsama his key!”

            “How… How did you know about that?” I stammered as she commenced to wrapping herself around me.

            “You trapped us here!” Corvina hollered. “Give us the key now or you shall suffer the consequences!”

            Not that I had any desire to be cheeky with someone who was threatening to kill me, but I couldn’t come up with any other way to respond to that! “How exactly am I supposed to do that when none of you have any hands?”

            A symphony of angry hissing resounded at my reply. “You fate is now sealed!” Corvina had adopted a demonic tone as she doled out this grave pronouncement.

            This scary cadence frightened me tremendously, but what was worse, after a while, it registered to me that she had pinned down my arms, so I couldn’t’ even defend myself! I still had the ability to talk, so I had to make a feeble attempt to negotiate my way out of this confinement! Freeing myself would have meant having to harm an innocent child though! Okay, yes, she was trying to murder me, but it wasn’t her fault! I faced this conundrum once before when she was a vampire, but I forgave her after I slayed Damon and liberated his victims from that curse. I never believed such a stunt could get repeated, but it appeared as though he had found an avenue that would basically recreate that horrific event! Was that my greatest fear? I took the long shot and offered, “Don’t hurt me! If you spare my life, I’ll give you an A on your final exam regardless of how you do, I swear!” What a foolish choice I made! I admonished myself for not using something more lucrative, and I wracked my brain to produce a better alternative! Very rapidly, I could see that I was too late! As her long, pointy fangs came barreling towards me, I let out a scream…

            I bolted up from my sleeping position with a start! Alright, so I was dreaming after all! Phew! It took me a moment to verify that I was actually in my bed at my home and not continuing that nightmare. Phoebe was by my side blissfully snoring into the night, and I gently touched her side to verify my consciousness. She felt soothingly warm, so I confirmed that I had, indeed, waken up! And, for the record, I view her snores as adorable! They definitely weren’t as loud as Blaise’s! It was hard to tell if he was belting out some loud ones himself because of the thunder sounds playing on Phoebe’s sleep sound machine. I took a deep breath and wanted to return to slumbering, but I was too agitated from that spooky rumination to relax again! I decided to go use the bathroom before striving to snooze once more, but when I flipped onto my back, I espied something in the dark that completely startled me!

            Blaise was standing at the foot of my bed giving me a strange look! I gasped, “Holy shit! You scared the crap out of me! What the hell are you doing?” I didn’t believe that he could have had a non-creepy explanation for this action, and as my loud volume made Phoebe begin to stir, I wondered if I had a valid reason to worry about him…

            “You’ll see in a second!” He had delivered that phrase in such a calm, as-a-matter-of-fact manner that I got the impression he was demented that the horrors he inflicted on others had no effect on him!

            “What do you mean, I’ll see…?” An instant later, I knew exactly why he had given me that creepy remark! An odor so foul that I nearly gagged wafted into my nostrils! As Phoebe hacked from the stench, I shouted, “Oh, jeez! Did you break our last remaining toilet?”

            Blaise assured me, “No, no! This a frequent occurrence, I just wanted to make sure y’all were awake before we began working on it! Hey, Miriam! It happened again!” As Miriam lumbered in with a plunger, Phoebe and I prepared ourselves for another long night of restlessness! Miriam and Blaise bickered while the commode got repaired, and I inwardly prayed that the rest of our Friday would go by much more smoothly!

            The next morning, Phoebe and I felt so sleep deprived and mentally exhausted that we hardly had the energy to move at all, which slowed down our routine quite considerably! We managed to make it out the door at a time that would still allow us to get to work on time. We were about halfway there when my tire suddenly went flat! I had no clue how that could have happened- I take good care of my baby! I had a vague idea on how to change a tire, but I was so wiped out that not even an online video tutorial could have saved me! I was extremely tempted to call Manuel and tell him that we weren’t coming in because the two of us needed to go to an emergency therapy session, but then a stroke of luck finally crossed our path! A mechanic just happened to be passing our location when he spotted us, and he put the spare on in, like, ten seconds! He didn’t even charge us, although I had to promise to come see him when I needed my muffler fixed! It felt gratifying to actually have the universe take pity on us and throw us a bone, but we still had the stress of making it to our classrooms before our students! I did not want to invite the possibility of my awful vision coming to life!

            I had to sprint to get to my room before the bell rang! As I rushed down the hall, I passed by the hall monitor, who shook his head at me disapprovingly- exactly how he did it in my dream! I convinced myself it was a mere coincidence, but as I stood outside my door, I hesitated to open it! It was difficult enough to experience it once! I didn’t want to meet that same fate for round two! Yes, I would have used what I learned from the mistakes I made in my dream and hopefully opt for tactics that would deal out more favorable outcomes, but still, who wants to battle against an army of snakes in a tiny space? I chewed over the details of that scenario, and eventually, it clicked for me that during that nightmare, I walked in without taking a glance at my students first! So, I made the decision to crack the door slightly and scope the scene prior to entering. If they were all snakes, I would slam the door shut and… I don’t know! Call an exterminator? How does one handle a situation like that? I inhaled deeply and then I took a peek…

            “Um, is everything okay, Mister Fenmore?” a towering, athletic boy stood behind me and stared at me peculiarly. I saw a few stragglers were waiting to go inside as well. The children at their desks stared at the door in confusion, and my alleviation over their human form washed away and swiftly morphed into a slight ego bruise!

            “Of course, I’m fine, George!” I lied as I picked myself up and entered with the bravado of someone who had done that antic intentionally. “I was actually demonstrating a point from today’s lesson on maintaining client relations!” Another lie, and clearly not a convincing one! I elaborated further, “Humor and lightheartedness are essential in strengthening business ties! Who wants to liaise with a stick in the mud?”

            One girl observed, “Oh, that’s why you were being weird! Ordinarily, you just make corny dad jokes!”

            Wow, does no one like my dad jokes? I tabled that notion temporarily as I addressed the class, “There are several different types of comedy that you can use in a professional setting, and physical gags like my weird entrance are among them We’ll explore all of them today! So, who’s ready to laugh?”

            I pictured everyone getting excited over a prospect like that, but no one got enthused at all! Half the kids were now dressed in all black attire, and I guessed the FAUK club wasn’t very high-spirited! I didn’t comprehend why the rest of them seemed so glum until Corvina spoke up (in a non-demonic voice, thank heavens!), “Sorry, Mister Fenmore! I’m a little bummed ‘cause my friend Steven dropped out! He was in a cool band, he was so talented, and we were supposed to go to the same college to make his music famous! Now that can’t happen!”

            A few others seemed to have a similar experience and concurred with her sentiments. I could see a few empty chairs, and I pondered if they were simply absent or if they had quit too. It crushed me to think that apprehension over the fear mongers were impeding so many people’s futures, and I refused to stand for it! I had to renew my efforts in fighting back against Damon’s evil plot! I recalled how miserable he got when the children in the parking lot reveled in the rain of cotton balls, which made Casper panic but everybody else happy, and it occurred to me that if we increased the level of glee on campus, it would become more difficult for him to unleash his attacks! I turned to the class and informed them, “They can always return! Let’s give them a reason to miss it here and have some fun! You can win clients and classmates back in the same way! So, riddle me this: Why are ghosts terrible liars? … ‘Cause you can see right through them!” A couple of people tittered, and then I invited them all, “Come on! Who else has one?”

            “My uncle likes to tell this one: Did you hear about the scarecrow who won the Nobel Prize?” George chimed in. “He was outstanding in his field!” To my delight, their degree of giggling increased a little!

            “Well, my mom shared this one once,” Corvina piped up, which thrilled me since she was so downcast previously! “Where would you find a cow who’s having a really bad day? At McDonald’s!”

            The whole class chortled, and while I was glad that my vegan neighbor wasn’t around to hear that one, I was overjoyed to witness my plan working! Soon, my ruddy morning became a great one because we spent the whole session laughing! I didn’t stick to my planned lecture, but I elevated their moods, and that was a higher priority right then! They left for second period with smiles on their faces, and I couldn’t wait to repeat this approach with the next bunch! As the kids emptied the room, a pencil on the floor unexpectedly turned into Damon! He glared at me fiercely before drifting off! As the early birds trickled in, I knew I had to focus on getting them equally as elated as the others, so I hurried to process what just went on! I couldn’t believe that my dream almost came to pass for real! He didn’t make them into snakes, so what did he have in store for me? I vowed to create a positive atmosphere around me so I would never have to ascertain the answer!

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