Dead of the Class
I hate this job. I hate this job. I hate this job. Kate kept thinking to herself as she watched her sixth period language arts class (which was made up mostly of eighth graders who could barely read or write) file into her classroom.
It was the last period of the day, but unfortunately it was also the worst. None of her classes were anything to write home about either, but this particular class was a living, breathing nightmare. She dreaded it all day every day and things seemed to be getting worse instead of better as the school year slowly carried on. The class was primarily full of nothing but students with behavioral problems, students who didn’t want to be in school in the first place so they put no effort into any of the work she assigned, and students who were destined to wind up pregnant (there was actually a girl in the class who had given birth at the ripe old age of fourteen who thought that it was the greatest thing in the world), in prison, or dead before they turned eighteen.
As usual one or two of the better students who were stuck in the class for some unknown reason came in and took his or her seat quietly while the rest of their classmates stood around talking, yelling out the door at other students in other classes in the hallway, or ignoring Kate as she told them to sit down and stop talking. It was the exact same routine every single day at the beginning of the class despite the fact that school had been in session for well over four months and the students knew damn well how they were supposed to enter the room. No matter how hard Kate tried or how many times she carefully explained the proper procedure for entering her classroom they flat out refused to do what she said or follow any of her directions.
Leonard was standing in the doorway screaming across the hall at Jamal in the doorway of another classroom like he always did, and as usual he refused to stop and come into the room to take his seat until Kate told him to do so no less than seven times. Tanisha and Shauna came sauntering in the room laughing and talking loud enough for the students in the shop class down at the end of the hall to hear them and James and Enoch stood by Larry’s desk as all three of them rapped and made beat boxing sounds as loud as humanly possible. Amaya sat at her desk listening to her IPod and acting like she couldn’t hear Kate repeatedly tell her to turn it off and take her ear buds out as Adam and Jay had a contest to see who could produce the loudest fart (Adam ended up winning but his victory was bittersweet as he accidentally shit his pants in the process).
The bell sounded to signal the beginning of class but as usual everyone ignored it and just kept doing what they were doing. It took Kate almost five minutes to get everyone to take their seats, stop talking (or yelling in Shauna and Tanisha’s case), and get started on the bell work that written on the whiteboard. She took attendance while some of them worked and felt a wave of relief wash over her when she saw that Chaz was nowhere to be seen and was apparently absent. Aside from a few she hated every one of her sixth period students, but she had a special hatred for Chaz. Actually, hatred wasn’t the word for it as she loathed him with a burning passion and wished that he would just move away to another school (or even drop dead) so she wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore.
She knew it was wrong to have such feelings for a thirteen-year-old boy, but he had been such a holy terror in her class that she didn’t feel too bad about it. During her short, three-year teaching career she’d had some very bad students who made her life miserable, but Chaz took the cake. From the very first moment that he’d strutted into her classroom with that cocky little smirk on his face he had been nothing but trouble. He was one of those “bad kids” her professors were always talking about when she was taking her teacher education classes in college, but none of the strategies or techniques they taught her that they guaranteed to work with any student never came close to even remotely working with him. Out of desperation she even met with his parents once but it was useless as they claimed that he was a great kid who never got into trouble at home and was incapable of doing and saying all of the horrible things in her class that she told them about.
He was a skinny little white punk who thought that he was from the ghetto in Harlem or something. He always talked like he was a gangsta and had been known to start rapping loudly in the middle of class for no obvious reason (of course his raps were laced with obscenities and usually included several references to a number of perverse sexual acts). He was a total smartass, had no respect for anyone, and did whatever the hell he wanted when he wanted no matter how much Kate objected to it. It was obvious that he knew how to press her buttons and he got some sort of twisted glee out of getting under her skin. Doing things that would piss her off and disrupt her classroom instruction was the only area that he put in effort into when it came to her class and he excelled at it (he did none of the work she assigned and had failed every quiz and test that she had given).
So far he had called her such lovely names as bitch, cunt, and stupid whore, thrown a pencil at her (she didn’t have proof since her back was turned but she just knew in her gut that he was the guilty party) and brought a water bottle filled with vodka into her classroom. He stuck paper in the motor of the overhead projector which caused it to catch fire, defaced or destroyed several of the class textbooks, wrote “Ms. Lucas sucks donkey dicks” and “Fuck you Ms. Lucas” on his desk with a permanent marker, and stole a bag of candy from her desk drawer (again she didn’t have proof but she knew that he was the one that took it). He’d gotten into two fights with other students during her class and had cussed out several others (as well as Kate) on more than just one occasion.
“Has anyone seen Chaz?” she ask, hoping and praying that he was absent even though his name wasn’t on the absentee list that was emailed to all the teachers each morning.
A few students shrugged while the others just ignored her completely and carried on with what they had been doing. Several were talking and laughing, some were grabbing books off the shelf in the back of the room and only a few were doing their work. Kenneth, a big fat redneck kid who always smelled like an armpit (and was almost as bad as Chaz) was sitting in his usual seat in the back of the room with his head down on his desk and appeared to be sleeping like a baby. A very ugly baby.
Thank God! Maybe he’s deathly sick and won’t make a sound today! Kate thought, hoping that Kenneth would sleep through the entire class so she wouldn’t have to put up with any of his usual bullshit or smartass comments.
A sudden silence fell across the room and Kate knew without looking that Mr. Brant, the assistant principal, was glaring into her classroom window (reminding her of a Jack O’ Lantern sitting in a window around Halloween) to check and make sure that she had her class under control and that the students hadn’t killed each other. Mr. Brant wasn’t any help when it came to Chaz or any of her other problem students as he would just send them back to her class several minutes later each time she sent them to the office. He was a condescending fellow who always talked down to her like she was stupid and every time she complained about something that one of her students had done in class he told her that they were just being rambunctious and she was overreacting.
Brant stared into the window for a few more seconds before giving her a little nod and walking away. To her surprise the room was actually pretty quiet and the students were working like they were supposed to even though Brant was no longer watching them. Just when she was on the verge of thinking that it was going to be a good class period for once the door flew open and Chaz stood there smirking at her.
It was that smirk that she hated the most about him. It was cocky, arrogant, and let her know that he knew that she hated his guts but he didn’t care. It also let her know that he was aware of the fact that he could do whatever he wanted and there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about it. Every time she saw the smirk on his face it made her want to slap the shit out of him repeatedly or grab him by the throat and strangle him until it left his face permanently.
“Where have you been, Chaz?” she asked as he strutted through the door and made his way to his seat beside Kenneth, the dreadful smirk on his face the entire time.
“None ya.” He mumbled.
“Excuse me?” she responded, feeling her face growing hot with anger.
“None ya business!” he spat, making some of his classmates chuckle.
“Do you have an excuse that explains why you were so late coming to class?”
“Nope. I don’t need no damn excuse!”
A few more people laughed and Kate fought the urge to tell him to get the fuck out of her classroom and never come back since it was a waste of time for him to be there in the first place. He lay back in his seat with his hands behind his head and propped his feet up on his desk like he owned the place, fully aware that he had won this round with her.
“You can’t just come walking into my classroom whenever you want without an excuse slip.” She said.
“I do whatever the hell I want, you ain’t my mom.”
“Take your feet off your desk and sit properly like everyone else!”
“Make me, bitch!”
He refused to budge and sat there smirking at her while she stared daggers at him. There were a few giggles coming from the other students but for the most part the room was silent as everyone waited to see what was going to happen next.
Kate stood there giving him a dirty look, feeling her heart race. She pictured herself grabbing him by the hair and pulling him out of his seat and then slamming him to the ground in a heap and then kicking and stomping on him until either she got too tired to continue or someone pulled her off of him. Fortunately she was able to resist the temptation as doing so would effectively end her teaching career permanently (she hated the teaching profession but she wasn’t really qualified to do anything else with an English degree and she enjoyed having the summer off). Instead she just shook her head in disgust and walked back to her desk, feeling embarrassed, defeated, and cursing herself for not pursuing some other career when she had the chance.
“That’s what I thought.” Chaz said in a cocky tone before he burst into a fit of loud, obnoxious laughter.
Once again Kate had to stop herself from lunging across the room and inflicting physical abuse on him. She knew when to pick her battles and since she knew that this was one for the “lose” column she decided to just let it go. There was really nothing that she could do that wouldn’t result in her being fired, arrested, and most likely sued by Chaz’s parents so she decided to try to move on with her lesson plan since she had already wasted too much time with him in the first place.
To her surprise the rest of the class remained quiet and focused on their work. She didn’t know if they felt sorry for her after her altercation with Chaz and decided to give her a break for the rest of the period or if they were just tired of talking and acting like a bunch of little assholes but she didn’t care as long as they kept doing what they were doing. Of course Chaz was the exception as he sat at his desk rapping about a variety of inappropriate things as loud as he could while making sure to include enough profanity to make even the most seasoned of sailors blush. He stopped after just a few minutes though when he realized that no one was paying any attention to him and decided to do something else to get a rise out of someone and cause trouble.
“What’s wrong with you, fat ass? You eat an entire cake by yourself again or did you find out where your alcoholic dad’s been hiding his stash and drink all of it?” He asked, putting his hand on Kenneth’s shoulder and shaking him in an attempt to make him raise his head from his desk.
“Leave me alone, I don’t feel good!” Kenneth growled without moving from his current position.
“How bad do you feel?”
“You feel like shit?”
“Yes, I feel like shit, now leave me the fuck alone!”
“You look like shit too, but then again you always do so that’s nothing unusual.”
“Just shut up!”
“I know why you feel so bad; you’ve probably got the AIDS. It wouldn’t surprise me at all; everybody knows that you’re a big fat faggot who sucked Tommy Miller’s dick under the bleachers last year during gym class.”
“Shut the fuck up you stupid bastard before I shut you up!”
“I’d like to see you try, Shamu!” Chaz roared, jumping up from his seat and getting in a fighting stance.
“Sit your scrawny little ass down before I beat the shit out of you, bitch!” Kenneth answered, finally raising his head and turning to face him.
“Say that shit to my face!”
Kate saw Chaz take a step forward just as Kenneth waddled out of his seat and stood up. Before she could do anything (not that she really wanted to anyway, she would love to see them beat the hell out of each other) Chaz gave him a hard shove to the chest that caught him off guard and knocked him off his feet. He landed on the floor like a ton of fat, fleshy brick and Kate decided that she better step in before things got out of hand (she hated both of them but if someone got seriously hurt or died on her watch she would be held responsible for not acting sooner). She approached them just as Chaz delivered a very hard kick right to Ken’s face as he struggled to lift his tremendous girth off the floor, knocking one of his teeth out and making it fly across the room where it landed right in Crystal’s mouth and went down her throat as she made the mistake of picking that exact moment to open her mouth wide to yawn (though the tooth came right back up seconds later-as did the pizza and corn she’d had for lunch- when she barfed all over the front of herself and the floor in response).
“You cocksucker! I’m going to fucking kill you!” Kenneth shouted as the rush of adrenaline gave him the strength he needed to get to his feet in a surprisingly quick manner this time around.
“Stop it right now!” Kate ordered, wondering why Mr. Brant never did his Jack O’ Lantern bit when she really needed him.
“Come on, Tits! I’m going to fuck you up!” Chaz hissed, making an obvious reference to the fact that Kenneth was so obese that he had a pretty impressive rack that most girls his age would kill to have.
Kenneth moved toward him with his hands balled into meaty fists and preceded to projectile vomit a stream of blood, puss, and what appeared to be undigested Count Chocula cereal at Chaz, hitting him right in the face and chest.
Chaz made a loud gagging sound and started to back away, wiping the puke from his face with his hands. His classmates reacted in shock and some of them (including poor old Crystal who was having a pretty bad day herself) actually threw up as well in response. Kenneth went down on his knees and vomited another mixture of blood, puss, Count Chocula cereal, and the added addition of some slimy, bright yellow substance that looked like it might glow in the dark if someone turned the lights out.
Chaz took off his shirt and wiped away the rest of the vomit that was clinging to his face and chest with it. He looked pale and Kate wondered if he was about to be sick himself as it was obvious to everyone in the room that he had gotten some of Kenneth’s puke in his mouth (and had most likely swallowed it) a few moments earlier.
Judy, one of the students in the class that wasn’t a total piece of shit, leaned down beside Kenneth and rubbed his back as she asked him if he was okay and if there was anything that she could do to help him. Any other time it would have been a very nice gesture but at the moment it was a bad idea and one that she would soon regret.
As soon as Kenneth turned his head toward Judy, Kate could see from across the room that he looked different. His corneas were a sickly shade of yellow and his pupils were blood red. He had a crazed look on his face (more so than usual) and his flabby skin had a putrid green tint to it as opposed to the ghostly white that it normally had since he spent all of his free time inside in front of the television stuffing his face with junk food instead of going outside and getting any exercise (and a tan). He made a horrible roaring sound that didn’t sound human before he lunged at Judy, barely giving her time to scream before he sank his yellowed teeth into the soft flesh of her throat.
It was a surreal moment for Kate (and for a few of her students who weren’t busy screaming and crying) and it took several moments for her mind to register what was happening right in front of her eyes. She kept telling herself that she was still at home in bed and that the entire day had just been a dream, but the shrieks of the students and the terrible sounds Judy was making as Kenneth ripped out her vocal chords made her come to her senses and as much as she didn’t want to she had to deal with the fact that everything that had happened was real and she was wide awake watching it all take place.
The room erupted into a flood of utter chaos just a few seconds later when Judy (who was still being munched on by Kenneth) pushed him away and then with the speed of a cat she jumped across the room and took a bite out of Tanisha’s shoulder. No longer interested in his initial target Kenneth decided to help himself to Leonard’s arm, biting into it and tearing off a huge chunk of flesh.
Zombies. My students are turning into zombies and eating the others. Kate thought to herself, still not sure that she believed it despite everything she’d witnessed.
A couple of students had the presence of mind to run to the door to escape to the hallway and Kate did the same after sidestepping Judy as she flew across the room at her, intent on having her for desert since she was done with her main course of Tanisha. It wasn’t to be however as she crashed headfirst into the wall instead, but she bounced back quickly and settled on eating Quincy (who was trying to hide under a table) instead.
Kenneth and Leonard (who was now infected as well) attacked the remaining students who were too scared or stunned to make a run for it and James and Dion became infected in the process while Tonya and Aaron were the next to be eaten alive instead (Kate wasn’t too sure which ones were more lucky). Chaz stood in the back of the room swinging a chair at the newly infected Melissa and Lakesha who were both literally chomping at the bit for a piece of him.
Kate ushered Ginger and Dontay (the only students that were still alive that she cared anything about) through the classroom door to safety and slammed it shut behind her before taking a moment to make sure that none of them had been bitten. Ginger was sobbing uncontrollably and Dontay just stood there silently looking like he was going to pass out at any given second, but neither one of them had a bite mark on them thankfully. Kate did her best to comfort both of them with soothing words as she fished the keys to the door out of her pocket. She knew that she had to stop the infection from spreading (praying that it hadn’t already happened somewhere else) and the only way to do it was to lock the zombies inside her classroom so they couldn’t get to anyone else.
As she used the key to lock the door from the outside (it was a very old school building and oddly enough when the doors were locked from the outside they couldn’t be opened by anyone that was inside the room) she peeked into the window and was taken aback by what she saw. Her classroom looked like a warzone as there was blood all over the wall, floor, and desks, random body parts scattered everywhere, and several hungry newly-appointed members of the undead chowing down on the unfortunate students that were locked inside with them.
“Let me out Ms. Lucas! Please!” Chaz (who suddenly appeared on the other side of the window in front of her) begged with a terrified expression on his face.
It was probably the first time that he had ever addressed her as Ms. Lucas instead of some sort of negative name, and she couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Make me, bitch!” she shot back with a smirk before turning to walk away.
“Let me out of her you bitch! Help me! You can’t just leave me in here with them!” he screamed as he pounded on the door with both hands before he was grabbed from behind and pulled to the ground by a handful of his hungry classmates.
Even though there was a number of screams coming from the room as there were several students still inside Kate could distinctly hear Chaz’s the loudest as the zombies tore him to pieces and devoured him.
She started walking down the hall with Ginger and Dontay wondering to herself how and where Kenneth got exposed to whatever had turned him into a zombie in the first place when Mr. Brant came hurrying around the corner with a worried look on his face.
“Good Lord, Ms. Lucas! What is going on in your classroom? Mrs. Webb and several other teachers called the office and said that there was screaming coming from your room like someone was being murdered!” he gasped.
“Nothing to worry about, the students are just being a little rambunctious as usual.” She answered before walking away with her two of her only remaining students, knowing full well that Brant would rush into her room to investigate what was happening.