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By: Flynn Meagher

10 minutes.  9 minutes. 8 minutes.  7 minutes. 6 minutes. 5 minutes.  4 minutes. 3 minutes. 2 minutes. 1 minute left until school ends and summer vacation starts.  It's finally here. I’ve been waiting for this since school started back in September. I’ve been counting down the days on my calendar for what seems like forever.   It's finally here. 10 seconds left. 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. “ITS SUMMER VACATION,” I scream. And then I wake up.


“What was that Tim?”  I hear my teacher say.  “Huh,” I say groggily. “What did you just say?”  Kids around me were snickering. I guess I had said “ITS SUMMER VACATION” by accident while I was asleep.  “Alright, Tim. Come to my classroom after school.”


I’m nervously tapping my foot at the back of the classroom in my last class.  10 minutes. 9 minutes. 8 minutes. 7 minutes. 6 minutes. 5 minutes. 4 minutes.  3 minutes. 2 minutes. Now just 1 minute left until I have to go talk to Mrs. Garfield.  Oh jeez. I’m so nervous. Mrs. Garfield is one of the strictest teachers I have ever had.  I heard that she once kept a kid in her room for a whole day and only fed the kid stale bread.  10 seconds. 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and the bell rings. My hands are shaking now. I walk over to her classroom.  I walk in. “Sit down”, she says. I'm worried she’s going to put me in her closet. She comes over to where I am and sits down.  “Were you sleeping in class Tim?” she says. “Yes, ma'am,” I say. My hands are shaking under the desk that I am sitting at. “Why were you doing that?” she asks.  “I guess I was just really tired.” She gets up and starts pacing the room. I suddenly realize I missed my bus. “Mrs. Garfield, my dad won't know where I am. He always picks me up after school at the bus stop.”  “Don't worry,” she says, “I contacted your parents and they said it was fine for you to stay after school a little longer.” I start shaking nervously again. If she contacted my parents then they probably know that I got in trouble so I’ll probably lose something at home.  “Tim, you are going to come after school every day for the next week to help me clean up my room.” Oh no. “But I have afterschool activities,” I say. “Those can wait, I will tell the people who run those activities that you will be with me after school instead of them.” I go home feeling sick and nervous.


When I get to my dad’s car I see him looking out at me through the window.  “Get in the car,” he says. When we get home my mom is waiting there for me in the doorway.  “Go to your room,” she says. I brush past her and walk into my room. I climb into my loft bed and try to get to sleep but I can’t.  After a few minutes, it starts raining. I sit up in bed and bang my head on the ceiling. “Stupid ceiling” I yell. I get down from the bed and grab a book.  I look down at the book I grabbed. It’s the dumb book I wrote when I was in 1st grade. It’s about the trip that I took to Florida over winter vacation. I laugh to myself and start reading it.  The whole thing is just a lot of pictures with a few words that my first-grade teacher helped me write. The first page is just me as a stick figure holding an ice cream cone. After a few minutes of reading my mom walks in.  “Time for bed,” she says. I start to get confused. “But it’s only 7:30” I say. “It’s still time for bed” Mom explains. “Fine.” I get into bed and turn the other way. “Goodnight” she says. I don't respond to her.


In my dreams, I see my school and I am trying to get out of the door and I am an inch away but I can never reach the door so I sit down in the middle of the hall and start to cry.  Everyone around me can get to the door and everyone around me is getting out the door. Someone reaches down to try and help me and I try to reach up to grab their hand but it slips away just as I reach it.  Eventually, everyone is gone and all the lights turn off. Mrs. Garfield walks past me with white glowing eyes. She looks down at me as if to say something then just walks away. Other teachers leave and I see the moon come out.  I hear a deep rumbling noise and I turn around. A big void with two eyes coming out of it is coming at me. I start to scream but before I can it envelopes me. I start falling. Falling and never stopping.


I wake up in a cold sweat.  The door bursts open and my parents charge in.  “Are you all right?” they both ask. “Yeah,” I say.  “We heard you scream in the middle of the night.” “I'm fine.”  “Okay, but if you need anything you can come into our room.” “Okay.”  “Goodnight,” they say. This time I respond by saying goodnight.


I wake up in the morning and immediately groan.  I have to work with Mrs. Garfield after school instead of going downtown or playing sports with my pals.  I start getting ready for school. I eat breakfast and get my backpack ready. I'm so nervous when I step out the door to get on my bus.  


I have a normal day at school until the end of the day.  I start slowly trudging to Mrs. Garfield’s room. A few of my friends ask me if I am going to go downtown with them.  I lie and tell them I can’t and that I have to go home to do some stuff. I get to Mrs. Garfield’s classroom. She is leaning over a stack of papers on her desk.  I stand in the doorway. “Come in” she says. I do. “What should I do?” She tells me I can start by sorting all the math sheets into different grades. I do that.  After about a half hour it doesn’t seem that bad. “Next you can sort the computer cart and plug them all in.” After about two hours she tells me I can go. She also gives me a chocolate bar.  “Thank you” I say. I come back every day after that for the next week and every day she gives me a chocolate bar. After the last day, I kind of don’t want to leave. “You're free to go” she says.  When I get to the door I pause for a second. I turn around. “Thank you” I say and walk out to the parking lot where my dad is waiting to take me home.

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