His name was Teddy by lancellot
Horror Writing Contest contest entry
“Teddy Chambers,” Mrs. Kirsch called. The English teacher stared at the teen as he sat in the back of the class. She waited a few seconds but he didn’t move. A voice in the back of her head spoke to her: Just move on. You know he’s too shy to speak in front of the class. Just take his paper and…|
Teddy Chambers stood. He was six feet tall, thin, no more than one hundred and thirty pounds fully dressed. He wore his usual baggy blue jeans and a hoodie sweater that he never seemed to take off.
If asked Mrs. Kirsch would’ve said his eyes were hazel, but because his long stringy brown hair always fell over half his face she really didn’t know. Few did.
And that was part of the problem. The fifteen-year-old grabbed two sheets of paper and shuffled his way forward. He walked with his head down as usual. Mrs. Kirsch had tried to get him to hold his head up, but after two or three stumbles, which she later discovered were trips by a few of the rougher boys, she understood why Teddy always watched his steps.
There were whispers and smirks from some of the boys, giggles and snickers from most of the girls as Teddy stopped in front Mrs. Kirsch’s desk and faced, or turned towards the class. Teddy never really faced anyone. Mrs. Kirsch only saw his entire face a few times, and besides some normal acne she thought: if he were more confident and smiled more, he would be quite handsome. But, that would make him more noticeable and she knew being noticed wasn’t always a good thing. For Teddy it was probably the worst.
As Teddy lifted his paper but not his head, Mrs. Kirsch’s eyes naturally went to Jake Founders and his lackeys. She knew calling Jake’s friends lackeys was wrong, even in her head, but a lackey was far better than future prison inmates or thugs.
As she watched, Jake never took his glaring eyes off Teddy. Jake didn’t smile, didn’t smirk and never blinked. His face was that of a predator stalking his prey. He was the main reason Teddy always watched his steps. The reason Teddy never dressed for gym and the pool wasn’t even a consideration for Teddy. Yes, Mrs. Kirsch knew Jake was evil to the core; all the kids and the faculty knew it. But, they also knew Jake’s father was the Sheriff. There was no need to go into what power the rest of his family held, everyone knew Jake was untouchable. Unfortunately, for the students, especially Teddy, Jake was well aware of the giant “S” on his chest.
“You can begin anytime, Mr. Chambers.” Mrs. Kirsch split her attention between Teddy and Jake. She may not be able to have Jake suspended or disciplined but if he made any move to disrupt Teddy’s presentation she would kick him out of her classroom, and deal with the repercussions later.
Teddy studied his paper, took a deep breath and then raised his head. “What I want to be in ten years, by Teddy Chambers.
In ten years I expect to be dead or on death row awaiting my execution. I understand in the state of Florida that it normally takes between ten and twenty years for an inmate to exhaust all their appeals. I do not think I will appeal. I have accepted my fate, and unless something suddenly happens, I don’t think it will change.”
Mrs. Kirsch immediately forgot all about Jake and had turned her full attention to Teddy, as had the entire class. As Teddy read his paper every eye was on him. All whispers and giggling stopped. Girls, who had never so much as glanced at Teddy, now looked at him as if he was bathed in a divine light.
Teddy never looked at his class; his eyes were focused on his paper. “When I was little, I wanted to be a high school teacher, but that was before coming to Jefferson High. Now, I walk through the halls with a heavy, sour sickness weighing in the pit of my stomach. I keep a change of clothes and a first aid kit in my locker. I don't talk to any girls, and don't date. I have been set up before, never again. I wait until a minute before the final bell rings before I go to the restroom. I only bring one sandwich and one soda for lunch. I don’t use the water fountains and I never drink anything at breakfast. Going to the restroom is too dangerous for me. The doors can be locked from the inside and if certain people see me enter alone, I am almost certain to be attacked. Over the past two years I have become well acquainted with the insides of a toilet bowl. I know precisely how much water it contains, when it’s safest to breathe between flushes and how long it takes the bowl to refill.”
“Teddy,” Mrs. Kirsch interrupted, “you don’t have to continue. You can…”
“I’m fine. I want to finish.” Teddy looked directly at his teacher and then, smiled.
Mrs. Kirsch heart almost stopped when she saw Teddy’s smile and the confident gaze in his hazel eyes. Her training told her she should stop him, but something else told her to let the boy go on. “Okay,” she heard herself say.
Teddy turned back to his class and this time his eyes were on them and not his paper. “I cannot remember or tell you how many times I have been beaten in school or after. I do know that I have been attacked four times on the school bus. I don’t ride the bus anymore. I also know I have been to the Principal’s office six times. I don’t go to Principal Elmore’s office anymore either. I’m sure he is okay with me not bothering him anymore. He has a family, a morgage, and a career. I understand that.”
Teddy turned his eyes to Jake and the two stared at each other for a few seconds.
Finally Jake smiled.
Within seconds, three of his friends all smiled or made forced laughs too.
Jake nodded his head toward Teddy, as if to say, ‘keep going; cry if you want. I’m going to do much worse after school.’
Teddy nodded in return. He lowered his report to his side.
Mrs. Kirsch let out a breath she had been holding. “Alright, next up is…”
“Actually, I don’t blame the Principal,” Teddy continued, not looking at his report, “Mr. Elmore isn’t a bad man, just a weak one. I know this because I was also weak. I don’t even blame you, Jake. I really don’t. You aren’t evil, not really. You may have tortured me, beat me, and humiliated me, but you’ve never tried to kill me. An evil person would have ended my life long ago. But, you’re not smart either. I know, you get decent grades, but that’s not what I mean.” Teddy opened his hand and let his report fall to the floor. “Do you know what it’s like to be afraid for six hours a day, five days a week for nine months straight? Do you know what it’s like to be in a room full of people and know for a fact, that no one would lift a finger to help you if you were on fire? Did you know that the Sheriff’s station is exactly five and a half miles or a seven minute drive from this school; four in an emergency?
I bet you didn’t. I bet you thought you could do whatever you wanted and no one could touch you. Your dad is the top cop in Stanton. He has a badge, wears a bullet proof vest and has a gun.”
Many of the students began to look around. Their eyes darted from Teddy, to Mrs. Kirsch and to the door. Sweat began to run down the faces of many of them, despite the air conditioning cooling the room. The smile on Jake’s and his friends’ faces had dropped and been replaced by a growing reddish flush.
Teddy had always been someone most people simply didn’t notice or looked at. But just then every student noticed that Teddy, unlike the rest of them, was still wearing his backpack.
Mrs. Kirsch watched in disbelief as Teddy slowly slipped the backpack over his right shoulder and slid his hand inside.
Teddy’s eyes were now laser focused on Jake’s red face. “All this time, it took all this time for me to realize you’re not your dad. You don’t wear a bulletproof vest. You don’t have any superpowers. You’re just a normal person, like me. You breathe, you sleep, you bleed, and if your heart stops… you die.” Teddy smiled and shook his head. “I don’t know why I never thought of that before. Did you, Jake? Did you think about how human you are? How vulnerable; just a little boy, playing god. But you’re not a god. Not a cop, no vest, and no gun. You would think, with all that you’ve done to me and others, you wouldn’t walk around with nothing. Tell me,” Teddy held his backpack in his left hand, with his right hand inside and slowly coming out. “Did you really think there would never be consequences for you? Did you think you were evil? Do you want to know what real evil looks like?” Teddy slowly walked towards Jake. “Most people don’t know. My dad doesn’t. He doesn’t even know, I knew the combination to his gun safe. Parents are like that; teachers and principals too, I guess. They see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. It must be nice to be able to block out whatever you want.”
As Teddy passed, students jumped from their seats and ran for the door.
Jake’s three friends never looked back as they pushed students out of their way while running out.
Jake leaned back in his seat. His eyes were glued on Teddy’s backpack and the hand inside. His white chalky lips trembled as tears ran down his rosy cheeks. He shook his head from side to side. His mouth opened and closed, but no sound came out.
“Teddy, Teddy, please!” Mrs. Kirsch had not fled; she stood behind her desk, with one hand under it, frantically pressing the newly installed panic button, all the while knowing Teddy was right, the Sheriff’s deputies would never make it in time.
Teddy heard and ignored Mrs. Kirsch. She wasn’t a bad person and he hoped what she was about to see didn’t harm her too much. “I want you to see true evil, Jake. True evil will take a life without tears, without mercy, and without hesitation.”
“Please, man. Please, I… I’m so…sorry,” Jake stuttered.
“Not yet,” answered Teddy as he pulled the handgun from his pack. “But, you will be.”
“Teddy!” Mrs. Kirsch screamed.
Long after multiple interviews with police and officials were completed and filed away and the media had moved on to the next tragedy. Mrs. Kirsch could still hear Jake’s screams each time she entered her classroom. The School Board offered to reassign her or at least move her to a different room, but Mrs. Kirsch declined. In her mind that classroom room represented her biggest failure as a teacher, and she intended to remember how she and the school failed Teddy and Jake. Teddy was dead and buried, and most of Jake’s mind was dead too. She hoped one day he would leave the asylum and lead a better life, than the one he started. She also hoped that Teddy Chambers found peace on the other side; a peace he never had on this side.
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