Afflictions: Part Thirty One

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TW: Blood , Violence

Ashley stood silently with Arte outside of Dr. Flores’s office, waiting for him to return. The receptionist had said he was on the phone and to give him a minute. She tried to think of something to say, but was coming up blank. Things had been a little tense between them since Friday, when they confronted Webb.

She’d tried to work out exactly what was wrong, but Arte didn’t seem to want to talk about it. They hadn’t had a fight or anything since she had come back from the prison with Vanessa, but this was usually how they fought when Arte was upset about something. Arte would clam up, and she’d spend the next while trying to work out what was wrong, sometimes she did and sometimes she didn’t. Regardless, Arte would talk when she was ready.

After a few moments, Dr. Flores emerged from his office. “How can I help you ladies?” He smiled and motioned them inside. Standing off to the side of his desk was Mr. Kriska, the assistant principal that Arte said gave her the necklace.

“So, we have a kind of vague question for you.” Arte said as she sat down across the desk from them. “Have either of you noticed anything supernatural or weird going on in the school?”

“Let’s see…” Dr. Flores put his hand to his chin. “As far as supernatural, I don’t think there’s been anything really that we know of. That is, unless you want to classify any of the strange things you already know about as supernatural, that being Mrs. Maguire’s disappearance and Mr. Webb’s strange behavior. I could see a few supernatural explanations for both of those, and I imagine there’s something supernatural going on, since they called you two in to investigate this, but beyond that, I can’t think of anything strange going on.”

Mr. Kriska cleared his throat. “Dr. Flores, I believe the matter that you were just speaking on the phone about falls into the realm of ‘weird’.”

Dr. Flores looked to Mr. Kriska and thought for a moment. “I suppose it does.” He turned back to Arte and Ashley. “While the police have already decided this has no relevance to the investigation of the disappearance, I suppose you might find it relevant to the conversation. We’ve been finding trash and miscellaneous closets being disheveled for the past couple of months.

“We believe this is due to a homeless person finding his way into the school at night and sleeping here. I say at night, because they’ve never been spotted here during the day, and their mess is usually found in the mornings. That isn’t to say that we’ve found them here at night, but I feel it would be quite a good bit harder to hide here during the day.”

“Oh, well that is a little weird…” Ashley muttered, then turned to Arte. “Do you think that could be connected?”

“Maybe…” She thought for a moment. “And there’s nothing else?”

“Not that I can recall, no.” Dr. Flores shook his head. “Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.”

“Oh, no you’ve helped a lot!” Ashley smiled as she got out of her seat.

Arte and Ashley filed out of the office, with Mr. Kriska following afterwards. Once they were out of earshot of Dr. Flores, Arte turned to Mr. Kriska.

“Is there anything you’ve noticed?” She asked.

He raised his hands and shrugged. “I’m just here to observe, not to interfere.”

“That looked an awful lot like interference back there.” Arte pressed.

“Me? Break the rules? I’d never.” Mr. Kriska gave a wink, and then went on his way.

“So would you call that a lead?” Ashley asked.

“I’d say so.” She nodded. “There’s one more person I want to talk to, though.”

She took off down the hall, and Ashley followed after her. Webb was absent today, so she had a pretty decent idea of who they were going to talk to. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later, they rounded the corner of the history hallway and went into Mr. Wentz’s room.

“Hey, you two!” He said with his usual smile. “What can I do ya for?”

“Ashley and I were just having a debate, and we wanted your take on it.” She sat up against one of the desks near to him. “I’ve been having weird feelings of déjà vu lately, but only when I’m here. I think there’s something supernatural going on, but Ashley thinks I’m just tired or something. You’ve been here longer, so do you think there’s something going on here?”

“That’s an easy one.” Wentz got up from his desk and began to pace around. “It’s the stress that’s getting to you. Being an inexperienced teacher is enough, but with the added stress of an active investigation into a disappearance? That’s a double dose.”

“See, he thinks so too.” Ashley tried to play along with whatever Arte was planning.

“I wish they’d just arrest the obvious culprit already.” He rolled his eyes. “They’re saying they’re looking into ‘elements in her home life’, but there’s an obvious suspect just running loose at the school. He was just ‘in his apartment alone’, with nobody to back up his story. It’s all very convenient isn’t it?” He sighed. “Anyways, I got caught up ranting. I think it’s probably just stress. A few students have been talking about something similar in one of my classes, so I think it’s an epidemic thing.”

“Maybe you’re right…” Arte looked off in thought. “Thanks for your input. It probably is just stress.” She turned towards the door. “Anyways, that’s all I had. I think we’re gonna stay a little late tonight, and see if we can’t get some planning done for next week.”

“Alright you two.” He waved. “Don’t stay too late. I hear there’s a bum camping out in the school late at night.”

They waved and made their way back to their classroom.

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Hello traveler! You’ve happened upon my serial, or maybe found it intentionally. If you like what you see, be sure to check out the reading guide and read the rest of the series! This may be season 3, but there’s pretty comprehensive recaps, so it’s not as if there’s an enormous backlog.

Barely getting a blurb in this week, as I’m completely drowning at the moment.

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