The Road to Somewhere
“Helen! Pay attention!” Shrieked Mr Jeffreys. His brown eyes scowled at me for interrupting his tedious maths lesson of useless and complicated formulas and other things incomprehensible to me. I immediately sat up straight and looked to my classmates sniggering at me, for it had been their little joke that put me in trouble. Mr Jeffreys made his way to the back of the class where I sat, his tall, thin body slaloming in and out of the sea of desks and glaring right in my direction, he firmly gripped the blue board pen as if it were a dagger. I could feel my heart beating faster and faster as he came closer and closer, fear rising up from the pit of my stomach, my face was tomato-red. “Helen, why can’t you just behave? Get up! Now,” he demanded. I slowly rose up out of my seat, lowering my head in shame. The teacher extended his long gangly arm to the door. I had to go see The Head about whatever I had apparently done.
As soon as I was through the door I heard stifled laughter and the smack of high – fives. I looked down the hallway, not in fear but in embarrassment for having to speak to The Head. As I made my way to the stairs the feeling of embarrassment died away and I just walked down the endless flights of stairs, down into what felt like my Hell, as I descended further down the levels of dante's inferno I could feel the flames reaching out making my skin tingle, and by the time I reached the last three steps I was breathing fast, my palms sweaty from the fiery terror of Hell. The worst of it was still to come, unknowingly awaiting my arrival from behind a big, brown wooden desk laden with paper and coffee ring stains. I swallowed loudly before I entered Hades’ Lair, a small attempt at suppressing my rising fear of the unearthly horror that sat in the large red chair only four feet away from where I stood, I cowered behind the door.
Finally I knocked, the hard garish yellow surface bruising my knuckles; my first punishment. “COME IN!” screeched The Head. I opened the door slowly and walked in until I stood directly in front of Hades himself. “Oh… YOU.” said The Head, his green eyes analysing every part of my school uniform, checking for un-tucked shirt or jewellery, but I did not have any of that. He took one breath and started his endless torture that I knew all too well, for I had been in this room, this torture chamber, too many times before and all for the same reason.
“Helen, you are going to go nowhere in life! You never pay attention in any of your classes, one of the first signs of a failure!” Hades’s whole body had gone red from his raging temper, and high blood pressure. He carried on shouting, I could feel myself almost crying, trying to stroke away the tears before they leaked out from my eyes.
Then one thing he said stopped all my attempts at suppressing my emotions: “Helen, if you stay at this school, MY school, you will be on the road to nowhere, and it is your entire fault. I have no choice but to expel you, go pack your bags now and leave this place. It will do us all a big favour.” The Head ended his speech and pointed to the door with a short, fat, sweaty arm.
I ran out the room, pushing the tears from my face, I am useless he said, I am on the road to nowhere. I kept running until I got to the stairs, where I stared up at the endless flight that seemed to stretch into oblivion. With every step I took my crying lessened, the tears began to stop, I felt somewhat better with every step that took me higher and away from Hell. I began to smile, and almost laughed at the fear I felt when I solemnly walked down these stairs less than fifteen minutes ago. I stood up straighter, embracing this new feeling of delight and contentment, when I reached the top of the stairs I did not look back, I only looked straight ahead and started to run again, all the way to my bedroom where I quickly packed my things and changed into my jeans and a white top. I could not wait to leave this boarding school. I carried my suitcase all the way through the school until I reached the main doors where I stood, looking through the windows at my future, the road to somewhere that I will turn on to from the one that went nowhere. I took a deep breath and opened the heavy doors, and breathed in the fresh, cool air of new beginnings.
Thank you for reading my short story. I would welcome any feedback in the comments below.
© 2019 Jemma Hulbert