Re-Open The Schools

Bud Fugate

“Take your time Julie,” Officer Winston said as he pushed a Styrofoam cup of black coffee across the small wooden table in the interrogation room of the small neighborhood police precinct “Tell us what happened from the beginning.”

Julie was a sobbing mess, her normally perfectly styled hair was a tangled mess, her clothes were ripped and covered in blood and burn marks.  Her makeup, running down her young beautiful face as she began to relay the events of the day.

“It was my first day on the job, I was supposed to be a teacher’s aide for Mr. Anderson…. Oh, Roger!  Roger!” she stopped her story short and began sobbing hard, her face in her hands.

“Roger is Mr. Anderson?” Officer Johnson, Winston’s partner said from the corner of the room where he was taking notes on a small notepad.  Julie nodded her head, took a sip of the black coffee and continued her story.

“I was supposed to be a teacher’s aide for Mr. Anderson.  Second and Third grade, science and mathematics.  I had been waiting for this moment my whole life, ever since I can remember all I wanted to be was a teacher, I love children...oh the children…” the tears continued to stream down her face as she continued, Winston staring intently, Johnson still scribbling notes in the corner.

“I got to the school early, so early that the secretary hadn’t yet shown up and the janitorial staff had to let me in the building.  I was thrilled.  I took all of my things to Mr. Anderson’s classroom, 107 on the first floor across from the gymnasium, and started disinfecting the student’s desks as per the new protocols and when I was done…”

“About what time was this?” Officer Johnson interrupted from the corner, not looking up from his notes.

“About...uhm...7:30? I guess?”

“Go on…” Officer Winston said giving a cold glare back to Officer Johnson who still hadn’t taken his eyes off his notes.

“When I was done I went to the principal's office to talk to Mr. Doreen to inform her I was there and you know, I knew there was something off about Doreen from the moment I met her…”

“Off?” Again, Office Johnson asked a clarifying question from the back of the room.

“Yeah, she had this creepy look in her eye...but I could never imagine…” the story collapsed again as Julie couldn’t hold back from crying, “THEY ARE JUST KIDS DAMNIT,” she yelled as she pounded her still handcuffed hands on the table.

“Please continue…”

“Ok...uhm...well...I was disinfecting the desks and….no…. hmmm...where was I?”

“You had just met Doreen.”

“Ah yes.  I met with Doreen and she gave me my badge and the access code to the door so I wouldn’t have to bother the janitor anymore. She also gave me a pamphlet about the COVID-19 safety measures, you know? Wear a mask, socially distance in the hallways, disinfect, disinfect, disinfect. When the teachers take lunch, since we're older and more vulnerable, we were to do so off-premises. I went back to Mr. Anderson's classroom and I met him, he is...was….I’m sorry”  She paused again, this timing trying to hold back her tears “He was a kind man, and we went to the front doors to welcome the kids back to school.  They were so happy and ready to learn. You should have seen their faces! They were so happy!  And they hugged their parents and said goodbye….and goddamnit, the parents don’t know, do they?  Did you tell the parents what they were doing?”

“Please calm down miss” Officer Winston reached his hand across the tabled placing his hand on hers and encouraged her to continue “Tell about how the fire started”

Julie took a moment to compose herself.  She paused, cried a little, winced, cried again and then took a big deep breath in and exhaled out slowly to continue her story.

“We were supposed to take our lunch of premises the pamphlet said, but I figured ‘Hey, I’m 22, I’m young and healthy COVID shouldn’t impact me like the older teachers’ so I decided to take a stroll around the school grounds and soak in my new environment and that’s when…” she shuddered and the tears began to stream down her face “...And that’s when I saw what they were doing to the kindergarteners”

“You mean, what you think you saw?” Officer Johnson interjected again earning another glare from Officer Winston.

“I know what I saw goddamnit!” Julie screamed as she bashed her hands on the table, Officer Winston reach across the table but the comment set her off. “They had them sedated, on the cots in the play area and they...they...they were taking blood or something from them, I don’t know they had all these tubes and wires hooked up to the kids, and...they’re just kids and...and...and...and I was going to run to the office to tell Doreen what was going but I saw her, I fucking saw her in the room with a needle taking whatever they took from the kids and injecting it into herself. So, I did the only thing I could think of to save those kids...I started a fire in the hallway and pulled the alarms.”

“You started a fire? To save the kids? From their teachers who were…” Officer Johnson looked down at his notes “Taking their blood or something and injecting it into themselves?”

“Yes...Yes!”  She shrieked louder as she reached across the table grabbing Officer Winston’s hands and staring into his eyes looking for mercy. “I didn’t think the fire would get out of control like it did and I didn’t know the kindergarteners wouldn’t wake up, I swear. Please!  You gotta believe me!”

Officer Winston pulled his hand from her as she collapsed on the table in a heap, sobbing and moaning.  He raised two fingers motioning for his partner to come closer.  He turned his head and whispered under his breath just loud enough for Julie to overhear.

“She knows too much, make sure she doesn’t make it in the morning, she can’t speak publicly.  Make sure it looks like an accident.”

 

As Officer Johnson nodded in approval, he closed his notepad and made his way towards the now howling young woman and dragged her out of the room and into the hallway.  Officer Winston remained at the interrogation table and finished her coffee.

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Bud is a father of 4 and a lifelong horror fan. When he's not driving his wife crazy by making her sit through an 80’s horror movie with a $3 budget, he's deep in a YouTube rabbit hole looking at the next wild conspiracy theory. Find him on Twitter @budfugate and at letterboxd.com/budfugate