What Christopher Writes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Mrs Collins is fascinated to hear the stories her pupils write. One child is fascinated by a certain topic.
Based on a true story.

Mrs Collins clapped her hands to get the attention of the class. Her pupils, all between seven and eight years old, stopped writing and looked up from their exercise books.

‘It’s time to read the stores you have written. Have you all finished?’

‘Yes, miss.’ the children called out.

‘Good,’ Mrs Collins pointed to a girl on the front row. ‘Emily, you can go first.’

Emily shifted eagerly in her seat. She launched into an exciting story about a girl who goes looking for treasure.

Mrs Collins went through a few more of the children. You could tell what the child was interested in by what they wrote. There were lots of stories about superheroes, and aliens, and cowboys. A lot of the tales were far-out. Then there were the more grounded kind of story. Sarah read a story about a rescue-dog called Bailey. The teacher guessed that in Sarah’s household there was a canine of the same name.

Next, she pointed to Christopher. As he began to read Mrs Collins’ heart sank. Not again. Vampires. It was always vampires with this kid. His stories were never about the Wild West or Martians. It was always the Undead. It couldn’t have been healthy for a young child to be so obsessed with such dark subject matter. If it carried on, she would have to speak to the parents. If this was what he was writing, goodness knew what he was being allowed to watch at home.

As Christopher finished his story, with the vampire escaping from the clutches of the vampire-hunter, Mrs Collins pulled her reading glasses down and gave him a disapproving look.

‘Vampires, Christopher?’

The boy nodded.

‘And what was last week’s story about?’

‘It was about a school librarian, miss.’

‘Who was?’

‘She was also a vampire, miss.’ the boy admitted.

‘Next week,’ she tapped a long red fingernail on the desk, ‘no more vampires. Is that clear?’

‘Yes, miss.’ Christopher replied.

Mrs Collins moved on to the next child, who read a story about an eight-year-old who became a popstar.

 

The following week, Mrs Collins went through the pupils, asking them to read aloud the stories they’d written. Again, it was the random selection of topics, wild and fantastic tales. It was important, she felt, to keep a child’s imagination active.

‘Christopher, would you like to go next?’

The boy nodded and opened his exercise book. He started reading his story, opening with a coach and horses running through a forest road on a moonlit night.

Mrs Collins fixed the boy with a stern glare. The teacher had an inkling where this was going. The story went on with the stagecoach arriving at the castle and the coffin being unloaded.

‘Christopher.’ warned Mrs Collins. ‘We said no vampires.’

The boy stopped reading.

‘Have you written a story about vampires?

The boy nodded, reluctant to voice that, indeed, he had written another vampire tale despite being told that the subject was forbidden. Mrs Collins shook her head in disgust.

‘Nice boys don’t write about such things, Christopher.’

‘No, miss.’ the boy said.

‘You will not be reading anything next week.’ she tutted. ‘You will hand in your story and I will mark it. And no vampires. Can your tiny little mind take that in?’

The boy said nothing.

‘Well?’ Mrs Collins yelled.

‘Yes, miss, I understand.’

‘Good.’

Still fuming, Mrs Collins told the next child to read.

 

At home time, once the classrooms had emptied, Mrs Collins headed to the staff kitchen to wash her coffee mug for the next morning. As she scrubbed the stains from the inside of her mug, she checked her appearance in the mirror above the sink. She tucked a strand of red hair behind her ear.

‘Excuse me, miss?’ called a voice.

Mrs Collins turned, quite startled, to see Christopher standing near the door.

‘Yes, what is it, now?’

‘I would like to apologise for my story.’

‘These stories, these ideas.’ She sighed. ‘Where do these vampires come from?’

‘Transylvania, miss.’

‘No, that’s not what I meant. A boy your age shouldn’t be writing such things.’

Christopher shrugged.

‘See you in the morning.’ she said.

The boy left without a word.

Mrs Collins returned to scrubbing her mug and checking her hair.

It was only on the drive home that it occurred to her. The boy. Christopher. That pale, odd, child. He had no reflection.


Submitted: December 24, 2020

© Copyright 2021 CTPlatt. All rights reserved.

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