The Scariest Haunted House Project - Ever!

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Chapter 3: A Crazy Idea

“James - are you listening?” He had been looking out the window, his mind wandering elsewhere when the teacher spoke to him.

“Hmm, what was that, Mr. Chang?”

“I was saying that we will be having a special assembly tomorrow. Principal Jenkins has a special announcement to make,” frowned Mr. Chang. He was balding, with a fringe of black and white around the edges. He also had a little black moustache and a long, thin beard that wiggled as he talked. 

James pulled his fingers through his thick mop of blonde hair as he turned to face the front of the class. He wasn’t actually combing it or anything - he was trying to spike it back up a bit because he liked his hair messy. He had seen a tidy looking bit reflected in the glass when he was looking out the window. Can’t have that! he thought.

He sighed, and tapped his pencil on the desk as the teacher resumed talking to the rest of the class.

The next day, the entire school assembled in the gym, with the children sitting cross-legged on the floor facing the stage. There was a little podium up there with a microphone. Mrs. Altworthy, the ancient school secretary, was checking to make sure it was working. She tapped on the microphone and nodded at the squeal from the speakers.

She went behind the podium and pulled the microphone down closer to her mouth. She was quite short, so the children close to the stage could only see the top of her coiled up white hair. “Principal Jenkins has a special announcement - and a special guest.” She stepped to the side and walked off the stage as Principal Jenkins came in from the other side and strode up to the podium. He was of medium height and a little plump, with dark skin and a frizz of black hair that was going grey.

“Good morning children,” the Principal smiled and looked out over the gymnasium. Everybody liked Principal Jenkins.

After the briefest of pauses, the children replied in unison “Good morning, Principal Jenkins”. James stifled a yawn.

“We have a special guest with us today, and as Mrs. Altworthy mentioned, we have a very special announcement,” began Mr. Jenkins, as he motioned towards the side of the stage. A tall, well-dressed woman with a long dark jacket came out onto the stage and walked over to stand beside him at the podium. She had pale skin, a thin face and long black hair that she had twisted into a bun on the back of her head.

Tim stared at her. Kinda looks like a vampire, he thought.

“This is Principal Moldiva, from Wilkins Intermediate School. She moved here last year from Romania. As you know, her school is right next to ours, and many of you have brothers or sisters there.”

“Better there than here,” muttered Ben. He smiled at the thought of his big sister being a little kid in the Middle School this year.

Principal Jenkins continued, “Principal Moldiva and I have been discussing some ideas on how we might help you prepare you for the future, and I think you will like them.” He stepped to the side and motioned for Principal Moldiva to take over the microphone.

She gripped the edge of the podium with both hands. She had long, pale fingers with red nails. Tim shuffled back, just a bit. He nudged Tom. “Isn’t Transylvania in Romania?” he whispered.

Tom put his finger to his lips.

“You vill no doubt be familiar,” she began, “with pairing of zee older children vith zee younger ones. Zis is a buddy system for helping younger students and giving older ones an opportunity to lead zee younger ones.” She paused and looked over the students assembled in the gym. She flashed them a dazzling smile.

Her teeth look really sharp, thought Tim. He shifted uncomfortably. Was she looking directly at him?

“Principal Jenkins and I have talked about it for some weeks, and ve vant to do a special activity to promote collaboration between zee Intermediate and Primary schools.”

Many children groaned, as they were happy to finally be rid of their older siblings for a while.

“However, ve vant zis to be fun for everybody. So, ve have a special announcement to make.” She stepped to the side and motioned Principal Jenkins back to the podium.

Tim was a little relieved when she stepped back; she was a little creepy and it had looked like she was staring right through him while she was talking.

Principal Jenkins cleared his throat. “We are going to have a contest, with teams made up of children from both the Intermediate and Primary schools. Each team has to have at least two children - one from each school. You can have larger teams, if you like, but you need to have a fairly even mix of students from both schools. If you don’t know anyone in the Intermediate School that you would like to match up with, we will help match you up with another student.”

The children stared back up at the podium, waiting.

He continued, “October is coming up in a few weeks, and we thought it would be fun to have a contest to see who could make the best Halloween display.”

The children were looking around at each other, smiling. This just might be interesting, thought James. He sat up straighter to get a better view of the stage.

“There will be prizes for the best displays. The top three teams will each win…” he paused. The children were now paying close attention. “…A bag of chocolate bars for each team member. Second place also gets a special Friday lunch in the school cafeteria.

Oh no, not mystery meat Friday! thought Tom.

"The winning team will get to have a victory feast at the Pizza Place.”

The room erupted with cheering and children talking excitedly. “I’m gonna win!” crowed Ben. Tim and Tom exchanged knowing looks. Same old Ben, Tim thought.

“Signup forms will be posted in the hallway by the office,” called out Principal Jenkins. He was nearly drowned out by the noise of excited children. He started to say something else, but changed his mind. He just smiled and waved as he walked off the stage.

Principal Moldiva followed him to the edge of the stage and paused. When she reached the steps, she turned back for a final look at the students. Tim found himself looking directly into her eyes. He shivered. She slowly blinked, turned her head and then walked swiftly down the steps and out the side door after Principal Jenkins.

Tim watched her as she left, her long black jacket (or was it a cape?) flowing behind her. Definitely a vampire, maybe - but I hope not! He shivered again and then walked over to talk to James.

Contents | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | >> Chapter 4

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