This story is by Mike Boze and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The history teacher position opened up in time for William Morris to apply and start the year. Rumors existed of photos showing the previous history teacher in a compromising situation with an unknown female student.
He left town without a trace.
In the first weeks of school, Maggie Chandler noticed how overwhelmed Mr. Morris seemed to be and she manipulated herself into the role of teacher’s assistant.
Maggie noticed the lesson plans, jumped up and grabbed the stack of papers. “I can do this for you, Mr. Morris.” Walking down the first two rows of desks, Maggie passed her best friend and co-conspirator, on anything she could think of, and winked at Rose Hunt.
Rose smiled and returned the wink.
“Are you sure this will work?” Rose tried to hide the stress from Maggie’s latest scheme. Rose would never admit her fears of Maggie’s schemes taking them deeper into the rabbit hole.
“When does one blow up in our face?” She thought, afraid to voice her concerns.
Maggie laughed and shook her head.
“It’s foolproof, I tell you. If I knew who sent the photos of Old Man Winchell, I’d give them a kiss. Mr. Morris will crap his pants when he gets a letter threatening him of the same thing . . .”
Maggie paused and a fake shudder shook her body.
“. . . Can you imagine anyone wanting to get naked with Winchell? How old do you think he was? And he always smelled of some kind of menthol rub.”
Maggie looked at Rose and acted like she was going to stick her fingers down her throat to vomit.
Both girls laughed. Rose forced her laugh.
“So you think he will fall for it?” Rose could feel her fears swell up within her. Everything they did prior could be checked off to teenage stupidity.
“Now we’re crossing a line too hard to erase.”
“We need to make him leave fast,” Rose stammered, “I could never face him at school.”
Maggie leaned in close to Rose. “We give him 24 hours to come up with the money . . .”
“Enough to get some cool stuff and I think I want his car too.”
Mr. Morris owned a vintage MGB GT Hatchback, black over red with wire wheels.
“Why . . .?” Rose fought a panic attack. “. . . How would you hide it?”
Maggie smiled. “Grandma stopped driving since grandpa died. I can put it in her garage. She never goes to the backyard anymore. Next fall we’ll be going to college and it will work out fine. We’ll be the coolest hot girls on campus.”
Rose remained silent.
“Oh . . . I think we’ll ask for 10 grand a piece.”
The thought of $10,000 calmed Rose’s nerves slightly. “You think we could get more?”
Maggie turned and smiled.
Mr. Morris sat on the stool studying the lesson plan worked out on the blackboard. It was a couple hours after school ended and it surprised him to hear the door open. He turned and saw Maggie Chandler step through the doorway wearing a large hat pushed back on her head.
He returned the smile. “Miss Chandler, what keeps you here so late?”
“Mr. Morris, I just want to thank you for letting me help around the classroom and the extra attention you have given me. My Mom would crap her pants if I failed this class.”
Maggie stepped up close enough to place her hands on his knees.
“If there is anything I could do for you I wouldn’t hesitate . . . anything.”
Before Mr. Morris could reply, Maggie reached up and held both sides of his face, pressing her lips to his. She continued holding the position until he pushed her away.
Rose leaned away from the window and looked down at the camera. She could see ten photos of Maggie leaning towards Mr. Morris. Two of these were throwaways because Maggie’s face was partially exposed.
One photo showed the two kissing.
The last photo showed what appeared to be Mr. Morris reaching for Maggie’s waist, while they kissed.
Mr. Morris awoke early recalling Maggie’s stunt. It had been late or he would have contacted the principal. She would have to be moved to another classroom, regardless.
Walking past the doorway to the living room, he noticed the manila envelope lying on the floor. Opening it up, he saw a photo of him sitting on the stool. The next one showed Maggie with her hands on his knees. In the last photo they were kissing, his hands reaching up. Not a single image of Maggie’s face.
Behind the photos he found the letter.
You have 24 hours to leave $30,000 in the trunk of your MGB – along with the keys at the old strip mine– or Principal Phillips will receive a copy of these photos.
If you go to the police, I will tell them how you raped me last night.
You need to pay for what you did and leave and don’t ever come back to school.
Mr. Morris smiled thinking how naive Maggie Chandler could be.
Rose did not sleep all night worrying about the envelope. When the phone rang, she screamed. Maggie awoke, mumbled some words sounding vaguely similar to “. . . What in the schmuck?”
Rose handed the phone to Maggie and leaned in close.
“Miss Chandler, its William Morris. I would like you to come by my house and let’s talk this over. I would like to end this so neither of us gets hurt.”
Maggie screamed into the phone, “You raped me Mr. Morris . . .” and turned to smile at Rose.
“Maggie, we can work this out. Money is not an object for me. I have a very large inheritance and $30,000 is nothing. The car, I could drive it off a cliff and never think another thought of it. Come to my house around noon. I’ll have the money. And bring Miss Hunt. I know she is involved.”
Maggie hung up the phone, jumped out of the bed and began to dance.
Rose wanted to vomit.
Rose watched Mr. Morris place the title on the table.
“How do plan to hide the fact you have my car.”
Maggie was silent staring at the title and keys.
Rose answered. “Don’t worry about it.”
Her reply betrayed her nervousness. Mr. Morris turned and stared. His eyes were so intense she dropped her head in shame.
“Miss Hunt, I don’t know you very well . . .” Mr. Morris paused, turning towards Maggie. “But you Miss Chandler . . .” Maggie looked up from the title. “. . . I have gone above and beyond to help you get into the college you want.”
Maggie’s voice could not be more indifferent. “Mr. Morris, where is the money?”
Dropping his head in capitulation, he walked across the room to the dining room buffet and a large white filing box.
“Before I give you the money, I need to know where all the copies are of those pictures.”
Rose could feel the terror swell up within her watching Mr. Morris turn around, the box in hand. She turned to Maggie and saw a similar look.
“We have dozens of copies hidden everywhere.”
Maggie’s voice betrayed her lie.
Mr. Morris’ eyes narrowed, his mouth forming a smile.
“You’re lying, you dumb bitch. Your faces tell me everything I need to know.”
Both girls froze.
“How smart you must have felt, Miss Teacher’s Pet, and how stupid I must have looked.”
Mr. Morris pushed the lid off the box and pulled out a stun gun firing 50,000 volts into Maggie’s chest.
Rose turned towards Maggie’s scream and vaguely, almost like a dream, saw Mr. Morris take two steps and strike her on the cheek just under the left eye.
Unconsciousness happened instantaneously.
The pain in Rose’s check jarred her awake.
Looking down she saw her hands tied and she could feel the tightness of the seat belt across her chest. In front of the car she could see the flooded bauxite strip mine.
Rose looked around to see Maggie, dead, behind the wheel of her mom’s car.
The sound of Mr. Morris’s voice from the back seat terrified her.
“For your edification, I created that fake picture of Winchell. By the way, he’s in the water off to your left. I hear it’s over 60 feet to the bottom. The funny aspect of this school, I thought it to be the least desirable of the three I picked. Maggie’s stunt creates problems though. You two going missing will be high profile, creating questions. I’ll have to wait before I begin my games with naughty, slutty teenagers like Maggie. Guys like me enjoy the hunt and I had such plans for Maggie. The grooming had only begun.”
Rose felt the plastic bag slide over her face.