School Days (498 Words)

Hatherton Lake shimmered in the late afternoon sunshine. The odd angler tried their luck and society's less fortunate gathered in the corners sharing bottles of cheap cider and tales of misfortune.

Brenda Hughes loved days like these, the sky was blue, the sun was bright but there was a crisp coldness in the air. She has taught art at Queen Mary's for twenty years now and still loves her job as much as the day she started. While it was frowned upon by other members of staff, Brenda took every opportunity to get the girls out of the class room and sketch what is out there "in the real world."

With little encouragement her students scattered around the lake, capturing it from every angle. A few opted for the newly restored boathouse, others the bandstand. Jenna sat on her own, away from the others focussing on the upside down world that reflected out from the water.

Brenda tried to remain impartial but she was the first to admit she had a soft spot for Jenna and her talents. Her work had stood out since year seven and has grown in ambition and skill over the years. Anyone else would have made the reflections an afterthought; Jenna made them the centre point.

One thing that did confuse Brenda was the orange eye staring out from page. Thinking that maybe her beloved student was trying a surrealist slant or hinting at the fragility of god that lies within nature. Brenda congratulated her and went to check on the other girls.

As she approached the boathouse she saw the usual suspects slacking off. Brenda watched as Sara Jones flicked an illicit cigarette into the water and quickly rummaged around in her pockets for a mint.

"You wouldn't be littering would you now Sara?" Asked Brenda accusingly  

"No miss I was just . . . looking at the colour of the water, I want to get it right innit" The schoolgirl lies in reply.

Brenda narrowed her eyes looking from girl to girl, knowing she was being lied to but not brave enough to stand up to the gang of four.

"Right well you have twenty minutes left and I want to see something on paper today please girls." She blusters.

With her cheeks burning Brenda turns and head back towards Jenna, she tries to convince herself she doesn't hear the girls laugh as her retreats. Blinking the tears away from her eyes she doesn't see the ripples start to spread across the water. The first thing she hears are the girls screams. She puts it down to their usual histrionics and picks up her pace, even more determined to revel in Jenna's work.

She looks over to the spot where Jenna was sat and see's the girl desperately scrabbling backwards, heels digging into the turf, her skirt riding up showing her white panties. Brenda looks from the terrified schoolgirl, to the water and sees the behemoth rising silently from the depths.

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