General Fiction posted October 6, 2017

This work has reached the exceptional level
A school reunion ends badly

Class of 71

by CD Richards

Sudden Flash Fiction Contest Winner 

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

“Hello, Jeff.”
Jeff Ennis began to turn his head to the right, but stopped as a searing bolt of pain shot down his neck and into his shoulder blade. He could just make out the silhouette of Carl Roberts, backlit by the glow of the gibbous moon.
“Damned fine predicament you’ve got yourself into here, mate. Lucky for you I happened to be behind you – this road doesn’t get a whole lot of traffic at night. What was Susie thinking when she booked the hall for our reunion all the way out here? Seems the road takes a turn to the right back up there, and you didn’t. No sign of skid marks, either. Luckily the undergrowth slowed you down a bit. If you’d hit this tree at sixty, you’d be pushing up daises. You really should check your brakes more often, old buddy."
Ennis struggled to speak as the fog of recent unconsciousness began to lift. “What… hap…”
“You’ve banged yourself up a bit on the wheel there, Jeff. You look a right mess. But don’t worry, you’re not going to die– not yet, anyway. You just sit there and let me talk for a bit, while you catch your breath.”
A single pull was enough to make it clear the driver’s door was not going to open without a crow bar.  Jeff followed Carl’s progress in the rear view mirror as he made his way behind the car to the passenger side. The door opened with a hefty tug, and Carl slid in beside the older man.
“So, old mate… do you remember that day you made me stay back in the classroom when you sent all the other kids out into the playground for lunch?” Carl reached into his jacket pocket, removing a well-used Stanley knife. Ennis’s eyes grew wide as he struggled against the sash of his seat belt, but his legs were wedged under the wheel. “What were you thinking when you walked to the classroom door, and locked it with the key from the inside? When you pulled down every blind so no one could see in? Were you hoping to scare me, Jeff? Did you think maybe I’d piss my pants— the way you are, right now?” Until that moment, Ennis hadn’t noticed the warm, wet patch darkening his trousers. “Well, no such luck, old buddy. Even as a kid, I wasn’t afraid of smarmy, arrogant, two-faced pricks like you.”
“You… were… a stupid, loud-mouthed – ” the words were barely audible. Ennis winced between each one, a badly cracked rib making every breath difficult.
“I was fucking ten years old! How was I to know the thing you said in class that day wasn’t supposed to be repeated? Did you really need to spend the whole of lunch time beating the crap out of me with a big wooden stick, simply because I naively passed on a stupid remark of yours?”
As Roberts raised the knife and leaned across towards his ex-teacher, Jeff Ennis screamed—or  would have, if the lung punctured by his cracked rib had allowed it. Instead, he meekly unleashed a feeble whimper.
Carl slashed the sash that had been tightly constraining Ennis’s chest. “Relax, old mate. I’m not going to hurt you. I’m not like you—a pathetic, cowardly bully. Do you remember what else you did? How you went through every single one of my exercise books, and highlighted every single error you’d marked with that red pen of yours, belting me for each one? Well, it didn’t work, Jeff. It could have ruined my life, put me off learning for good—but it didn’t. And no one marks my stories with red ink now. Guess who’s going to receive the first copy of my latest effort? That’s right—your adoring wife. Donna, I believe? She really thinks the world of you, doesn’t she? Should be a real eye-opener for her."
From his shirt pocket, Carl retrieved another object. He tapped it several times, then raised it to his face. “Hello, emergency? Please get someone to Twisted Pine Road in Kenthurst, just past the nursery, as soon as you can. Some old fart’s written his car off on a tree, and he’s in pretty bad shape.”
As he climbed out of the car, Roberts turned to the older man, fixing him with a look that managed to be both withering and contemptuous at once. “Love to stay and chat more, but I’ve got a story to write. Goodnight, Jeff.”


Sudden Flash Fiction
Contest Winner


Regarding word count: and both regard this story as containing exactly 750 words, as does my own count. Microsoft Word 2013 incorrectly counts 752 words, as it regards two hyphenated terms as two words each. I know this because I tallied paragraph by paragraph. In all cases, I believe it is within the acceptable range (748-752).
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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