March 16, 2008

First Bell

The focus of this story actually shifted a little from what I originally planned, and I've decided it's not going to stand alone. Ergo, the ending is...vague and odd. The whole thing is vague and odd, but it feels so damn good to finish something for once, if only half way.

The physics class was rather quiet, thank goodness. It was a Wednesday, for one thing, and the students seemed to be silently reveling in the liberation that comes with no teacher and a laid-back sub. She hadn’t even told the class her name, just descended unto them like a shadow, observing. The class, when they needed her (which was rare), decided to call her Miss F.

Miss F was behind the teacher’s desk making sure the class didn’t try to set anything on fire. She didn’t have to worry really, the class wasn’t going to disturb her or anything else. And she wasn’t going to disturb them. No distractions, just an hour-long free period.

Midway through class, however, she heard a noise coming from one of the rows upfront. The noise got stronger and stronger, not an unpleasant sound but a gentle twinkling, like the chiming of bells. An odd ringtone for a teenager to have, but nonetheless it was definitely a phone. Miss F sighed and shook her head with a sly smile.

“Alright, turn it off, you know school policy.”

The ringing didn’t stop. Each student pulled out their phones and confirming that they had been turned off. The bells continued to chime soothingly and the class looked at each other. “It’s not me,” they chorused.

“Then…who is it?” Miss F asked hesitantly. She suddenly got an idea. “Oh! You know what I bet it is? Isn’t there a church around here?”

The ringing abruptly stopped. A few giggles passed through the class, sounds of relief. Miss F leaned back in her chair and folded her hands on her knee.

“Just the church bell ringing…what is it, noon?”

“No,” a boy in the front row replied, checking his watch. “It’s 12:15.”

“Huh, a little late…well anyway, it was nothing.”

The class fell into silence once again. Chatting, reading, studying. Miss F sighed, strangely relieved, and turned her head to look out the window. The twinkling of the bells irritated her a bit in the back of her mind; she’d never heard any church bells that sounded like that. But that must have been what the noise was. It wasn’t the school bell, and judging by the class reaction it wasn’t a cell phone. It could have been something from another class, however; there was a sub next door, maybe they were watching a movie. If that was the case, she should go tell them to tune it down a bit…

A dull ringing erupted from the back of the class. The bells. First slowly, like a funeral knell creeping like a cold mist from the back of the class. Then the noise grew louder and louder, rising like a hellish symphony. The sound rattled the classroom, shook the floors and made the desks vibrate. Glass beakers fell from shelves and shattered and the students ducked and covered their ears against the deafening noise, but no amount of insulation could stop the sound from penetrating; the thunderous bells continued to jolt the room. Miss F was under her desk, purse over her ears, her eyes darting around in terror. She could barely see the class with her vision being shaken by the tolling bells. She cried out to them, praying they would be able to hear her.

Class!” she yelled, trying to be heard over the droning of the bells and the frantic shrieks of the students. “Get out! Run!

Some students were already crawling for the doors, the paralyzing noise of the bells weighing on their back and pinning them to the floor. One student, a brunet covered in sweat, grabbed the knob of the door and tried to force it open with his free hand, his other hand holding his ear. Blood was dripping from his nose and his nails were digging deep scars on the side of his head from his grip, but the bells still rang through. He pleaded and twisted the knob, but it wouldn’t budge. He knew, somewhere in his head for a fact that it wasn’t locked, making his hysteria even greater.

“I—I can’t!” he cried out feebly over the noise. “It won’t open!” Another girl was on top of him, dragging her broken nails down his arms and leaving deep lacerations, the blood spilling on the floor in time with the bells.

“What do you mean you can’t?!” she and several others cried out at once. The sound of glass shattering followed as, one by one, the windows of the glass exploded. No longer dulled by such weak defenses, the bells pealed in all their glory, brazen and proud, as the class continued shrieking in agony on the floor.

In the midst of the discord, the bells began to dissipate. They grew quieter and quieter, tinkling out like the noon clouds fading into the distance to make room for the sun; soon enough, only the hoarse screams of the class and Miss F remained. And these too began to soften as the students realized their torture was finally over.

The screams were hushed to harsh panting and whimpering, moans coming from every student. Some were still trapped under their desks, some were piled against the door. The brunet holding the knob had suffocated and his arm had been broken under the weight of the rush of students trying to pry the door open. Too exhausted to move, the mass sank lower and lower, the dull pops of broken bones a pale comparison to the sharp tolling of the bells.

Suddenly, a girl in the back of the class began shrieking again. The very noise offended everyone around her, still trying to get used to the quiet. Her guttural screams continued as she rose to her knees, her once-blonde hair rubicund with the blood pouring from her nose, ears, and eyes. She raised her hands and plunged her forefinger and thumbs into her eyes as if to pinch them out and the jelly-like substance ran down her face and mingled with the blood. She did this several times before proceeding to strike her head upon the stained tile surface of the floor, driving her fingers deeper into her sockets. Finally, she rolled over onto her side and, with a final whimper, died. She was silent. The class would have cheered if they’d only had the heart and the voice.

All was finally silent. Some students even found a bit of strength left to stand. Those that could began to inch slowly towards the door, kicking at the expiring mass on the floor. A curly-haired student pried his dead classmate’s hand away from the door and, with surprising ease, opened it before collapsing into the hallway. Another student walked on his back and made a left turn towards the lockers, a few students staggering behind him. It was time for their next class and they had to move quickly before the late bell rang again.

0 had something to add:

Post a Comment

Please share some knowledge. Or amuse me at least :O