They were sitting in desks with their faces around- Short Fiction

The class was full, and none of the students were talking, creating a pseudo-silence only present in libraries with one fly inside. The teacher, who was new to working at the public high school asked the question again which instead of entering the student’s minds and being interpreted it entered their ears and garbled itself into something lost and forgotten like a dull pencil in the back of a locker at the end of someone’s 7th grade school year. Not one student was listening, and the one teacher did not know what to do. The students did not even talk amongst themselves or dress up in any particular aesthetic. They dressed in hoodies often, or the occasional sweater, or mono-colored short sleeve tee usually red or blue or green. Some classes at the beginning of the year one or two students would try to answer questions in dry (not in a funny way), but not precise terms. Most homework got done, yet no one did all the assignments and everyone had roughly the same B minusish give, or take grades. She had initially tried reporting it to the principal, but it was “a very silly idea for a very busy man”. She often sighed loudly after she noticed that her students did it as well in class sometimes.

The room had a paneled ceiling, paneled with the sort of white spotted cardboard rectangular tile that made the rooms in the school look like an office space. The teacher switched to lecture style, which made her students turn in their homework with less quality, and lower frequency. This did not change when she went back to the traditional question, and answer sort of thing that teachers did in movies. She tried putting up many colorful posters to cheer up the high school students. Stuff with cats on them from the early 2010s. Someone said something about “Cats” to a response lacking laughter. She was afraid to speak in the lunchroom about her class’s issues since everyone else seemed so frustrated with their students talking in class or even skipping class (which her students did not seem to have a reason to do). She no longer gave students not in her class detention if she encountered one without a hall pass, she really wanted them to enjoy themselves. Everyday she taught what she had studied for years to the bored unrioting masses, and received no affection or even collective youthful rebellion.

She drank lots of coffee throughout the day, and increasingly less water. Her students had never seemed like water drinkers, and had some Dunkin donut’s cups from the morning long into the afternoon. She had the same food everyday for lunch, and her eyes felt like metal weights were sitting inside by the the time the day’s last bell called out her heavenly salvation. She spent more, and more time to go to sleep each night waiting at least an hour with her eyes closed till it happened, and she could try to dream. She brushed her teeth in the morning though she did not know if it was enough because her had been getting yellower and her face, and bones felt tight an out of practice gymnast who had been turned to stone mid stretch.

One day a student wore a pink long sleeve, and had no backpack. She had seen other students (not her perpetual pests) who wore hats and eyeshadow, and, skirts, and band logos and tie dye, and hair dye, not carry their backpacks, not hers, not even purses, or shoulder bags. Her students had backpacks ranging from blue to dark green to red. The student who had a pink shirt raised their hand for the first time, but then put it down. At this point the teacher normally choose random volunteers, but decided to make this student pay for her sin. The student answered the question wrong though, and she had to just tell everyone the answer even though some people had gotten it right anyways on the homework.

She saw something weird with them for the first time, but it was always there and she did not comment because it was so nice. The students had no faces except the shapes of their faces attached to their heads which where as empty as googling “rolling planes” and a full as an red ant’s in a New York city rat exterminator's office that was too busy to call the bug guys. Their faces where not on their skin but in the air in front of them fidgeting. Some wore glasses which was funny looking since the eyes stood in front of their desks. When class was over she walked through the hall seeing how special her student’s where compared to the diseased hoards of images that the other teachers had. Even the other teachers in the break room had faces bound so tightly to their skulls that their noses needed to be pulled out to the smell the coffee that they sucked into their infinite rows of daggerish slowly yellowing fangs. She finally had a noisy class. She sighs in relief.