FICTION: The House, part 5: A Clean Slate

This story is completely fictional. Any resemblances to names of people and/or places is purely coincidental.

by Peg Pellerin

Click here for the previous installment.

Dave, with Jake’s assistance, measured out the smaller second floor room. Since the room had been made smaller than the other rooms due to the fact that a half bathroom was constructed from one of the large bedrooms, Jake and Miri had decided that it would be the perfect size for storage of linens, towels and other sundry items when the house would be turned into the Bed and Breakfast. There was a child sized desk and chair in the far corner of the room. In order to gain access to the walls, Dave moved the desk to the middle of the room. In the process, something fell out of the storage space of the desk. Jake immediately went over to pick it up to see what it was. He found a thin slab of slate and a pencil made of clay. “What is it?” asked Dave.

“Apparently this was where little Ian was home schooled or the desk and chair were brought up here for storage,” answered Jake. “Boy have we come a long way in school supplies,” holding up the two items to show Dave.

Suddenly they felt as if the floor was undulating beneath them. “Not again!” cried out Dave as he was looking for something to hold on to so he wouldn’t fall over from the vertigo that suddenly struck him. They found themselves in a single room schoolhouse. At the front of the room was a large wooden desk with a small desk and chair facing it and two regular sized desks and chairs behind it. Each desk had a thin slab of slate, a clay pencil and a small rag for erasing the slate. The wall behind the large adult desk and chair sported a cobbled together slate. On the desk were several pieces of clay pencils and a couple of large rags as well as a thick ruler and a wooden pointer. In the corner of the room, near the teacher’s desk was a stool with a dunce cap sitting on top of it.

All of a sudden a transparent figure appeared at the desk. As the male figure, the headmaster, walked to the front of the desk, he was struck by a small item coming from nowhere in particular. “David, how many times have I told you to stop throwing spitballs in the classroom and now you dare to hit me with one?” stormed the schoolmaster.

“What? Me? Wait, this isn’t real!” said Dave.

“We both know it’s not real. Just go along with it to get this over with. Nothing will happen. It will be OK.” stated Jake, referring to what happened in the attic.

“Come here this instance,” ordered the educator. Dave, going along with it, went toward the front of the room toward the see-through teacher. The disciplinarian took the heavy ruler on his desk and ordered Dave to put his hand out.

“Now, wait a minute!” shouted Dave.

“Don’t make this any harder on yourself, boy!” declared the school master. Looking toward Jake for reassurance and getting a nod from him, Dave went to the teacher and put out his hand. Whack came the thick ruler onto his hand.

“OUCH!” yelled Dave. “It’s not real, you said. Nothing will happen, you said. That hurt like H E Double hockey sticks! Yet when he looked at his hand, it didn’t appear like anything happened to it.

Jake started to laugh. “I see you haven’t learned anything either, dear Jacob,” stated the schoolmaster. “Go sit yourself on the stool and place the cap on your head.”

Once Jake did as he was told, everything disappeared and they were back in the linen/storage room. A slight giggle could be heard near the small desk and chair that was sitting in the middle of the room.

“Let’s finish up with the measurements you need and get the heck out of this room,” said Jake and when they left the room he took the slate and clay pencil with him. Another room was ‘cleaned’.

“Jake, Dave where the heck are you?” called Miri from the bottom of the stairs. “Dinner is ready. You guys have been up there forever.”

After taking a deep breath and calming his nerves, Jake called back, “On our way. C’mon Dave. Wait until Miri hears about this!”

“Are you guys OK?” Miri asked after hearing about the second episode to happen in the house.

“Other than our nerves being stretched out and my knuckles hurting, I think we’re OK.”

“Your knuckles don’t even look like they were hit even though I saw that ruler coming down hard on them,” said Jake.

“I felt it though,” said Dave rubbing the top of his right hand fingers. “You have to admit, it was funny when you were forced to wear the dunce cap.”

This evoked a laugh from Miri. “I’m just glad you guys are OK.”

“I heard the kid laughing. This was a game for him,” Jake pointed out.

“It is a game,” Miri asserted. “If we can tough out whatever he has us experience, we can pacify him and he’ll finally leave us alone, hopefully leaving the house.”

Continued next week


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