Mrs. Lane just sat there for a moment behind her desk…stunned. With shaky hands she picked up Deborah’s assignment in one hand and her grading pencil in another. With a pause she set the paper on the desk and placed a grade on the top of the page.
As she was about to place it onto the graded stack with the others, she paused and then reconsidered the grade.
She marked out the initial grade,
And replaced it with one she felt more comfortable with.
“Let’s see what Deborah and the family thinks of that.” She thought to herself with a confident smirk. And placed it on top of the pile……
And smiled as the next round of students filed into class.
The story can’t end like that…..
“The Family Tree Assignment” Part II
The following class was her advanced writing class.
All of the students went to their seats and chatted and giggled until the bell rang.
The students quieted down, faced forward in their desks, and awaited instructions from Mrs. Lane.
Mrs. Lane just sat there staring into space, unaware that the next class had begun.
One of the students in the front row cleared his throat….loudly….and spoke,
“Mrs. Lane?…….Are you ok?”
She shut her eyes and blinked a few times to snap out of it.
“Ohhh..yes I’m fine. I was just lost in thought over your next writing assignment…it’s umm…ummm..right here…here it is.” She stumbled for words and grabbed Deborah’s tree picture from the desk and held it up.
A student from the back spoke up and said, “You want us to act like a tree…and leave? Sweet! Even I can do that!”
Laughter erupted from the room. It broke the spell she was in.
“No. No. What I want is for each of you to find an image of a tree that best represents your family and write about it. Be creative and….have fun with it.”
She paused for a second then continued,
“I need to get some water. Take out your computers and begin. They will be due tomorrow.”
She left the room to get some air and a drink of water.
“Why did I give them the same assignment? I don’t want to see any more damn trees!…..Get yourself together girl. Don’t be scared of a 14 year old girl…she earned that F….by lying!” She thought to herself.
She returned to class to finish out her day.
The following day she returned. She didn’t fear facing Deborah. She feared of what might or could occur after she faced Deborah.
The writing assignment had to be given back to the students after grading. Any assignment that received a failing grade had to be returned….signed by the parent as acknowledgement that they were aware of their child’s grades and progress.
She started off the class after the bell rang by handing back the papers to the students reminding them that any failing marks had to be returned with the signature. Then returned to the front of the room to explain the next assignment.
As she turned around she noticed a hand waving in the air.
“Yes, Deborah….” She asked
“May I talk with you after class about my grade on this paper, please.” Deborah shyly said as she twirled her pigtail in between her fingers
“Umm…sure.” Mrs. Lane replied.
The bell rang and Deborah slowly got up from her desk. She grabbed her books and pencil and made her way to the teachers desk at a snails pace.
She reached the desk, placed her books down, and retrieved the “F paper” from a folder. She placed it in front of Mrs. Lane (and her wide open eyes) and spoke.
“If you know what is good for you…you will change that grade to an “A”. My family goes not accept failure. AT ALL.” Deborah stated in a stern, perturbed whisper.
“I can’t do that Deborah. You must get it signed and return it to me. Now shoo…off to your ne…”
Deborah interrupted by stabbing her sharpened pencil through the cover of her binder and spoke again.
“Fine. But this is far from over…..c ya later, Mrs. Lane.” Deborah replied as she yanked the pencil out of the binder.
Deborah held the pencil up by the eraser and blew on the broken end as if it were a revolver that had just been discharged, looked Mrs. Lane in the eyes, smiled, and left before the next class fully arrived.
The advanced writing class filed in and awaited instructions for the day. Mrs. Lane asked them to please turn in their assignments. After receiving them, she asked them to sit quietly and excused herself.
She returned with another teacher and explained that she wasn’t feeling well and would be going home for the day. She introduced them to the substitute and told them they could have a free day to use their computers and would hopefully see them tomorrow.
She then gathered the turned in papers and the rest of her things and went home.
She arrived at home and immediately went to the wine cabinet and grabbed the first bottle she saw. She opened it with the wine opener.
Twist twist twist
The sound of the cork exiting the bottle was a nice sound. She didn’t bother with a wine glass. A plastic tumbler was sitting in the counter, so she just filled that and drank. She didn’t sip or let it breathe…..she just drank.
She pulled the advanced class assignments out of her briefcase and considered grading them….but drank instead.
The next thing she remembers is waking up tied to a chair in her own basement.
Deborah, dressed in black, was sitting in front of her sucking on a blow pop.
“So Mrs. Lane….” Deborah began.
“I have been looking over your “advanced class” assignments that were on your table…..looks like all they did was have fun with it. None of these flowery family descriptions are honest.”
Mrs Lane tried to interject, “Why are you..”
“SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP! I’m the teacher here. Look at these!” She picked up a random picture, held it in front of Mrs. Lane’s face and read some of the description that went with it.
“Ohh..I picked a treehouse because I was adopted and I don’t know my real family….but my adoptive parents love me like their own….STUPID LIES!” Deborah said condescendingly.
“Or this one..”
“My family tree is a history of happiness. We have been blessed from the roots up with….LIES…I think I just threw up in my mouth a little….”
Her face got redder as she picked up the next.
She throws that one aside and grabs another.
“I’m so mad I can’t even read this one….our family is as happy a twisty palm tree on the beach?….WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!!!”
Deborah flings it aside. Then reaches inside the folder she brought from home and brings out a picture of her own and carefully places it on the table in front of Mrs. Lane.
“Look at this one.” Deborah said calmly as she placed the blow pop back into her mouth. She twisted it around for a second, then bit down to get to the gum.
She took the stick out of her mouth and placed it into her pocket. And then calmly continued.
“This is my follow up picture of my family tree. The main trunk is still my Grandma….but the branches that WERE reaching toward the sky are now the roots that are overtaking YOUR house. All you have to do to stop it is change the grade to an “A”. Do that….and all this will be forgotten.”
She stepped back and allowed Mrs. Lane to speak.
“All this for 1 failing grade? I don’t understand…no one is perfect…you know I drop the lowest grade anyway why all the fuss? You could go to jail for kidnapping me!!”
“No one will believe that sweet, innocent Deborah did this to you….kidnapped you?…in your own house?….there will be no trace of me…you got drunk and passed out. I told you my family were masters at their craft. My family are magicians of crime…have been since that damn family tree was planted. I know the ways… I just choose not to follow them. You change my grade to an “A” and like….Abra-Ca-Deborah….I will be gone. HA…that was funny. Like get it? Abra-ca-DEBORAH?”
“Ok ok I will change it. Just untie me.”
Deborah smiled and went around to untie her teacher.
After releasing her from the ropes she went back to her folder to retrieve the failed assignment.
She pulled it out and looked up with a smirk. But it was too late.
Mrs. Lane has gotten up from her chair, picked it up by the backrest and swung it at the child who held her hostage. Knocking her out cold.
She retrieved her cell phone and called 911.
“I have had a break in. Get me the police.”
What Deborah did not know was that Mrs. Lane lived in an area prone to break ins.
2 years ago her house was robbed and ransacked while she was on vacation. The perps were never caught. They entered through the basement. She has kept it bolted shut since then.
To prevent it from happening again, hidden video cameras were installed throughout the house. They start recording, automatically, once any lights in the home are turned on.
Mrs. Lane went to the closet and retrieved the tapes that recorded the evenings events.
As she heard the sirens in the distance Mrs. Lane looked at the child in black that was knocked out unconscious on the floor and said,