Nobody noticed what he was doing at first. It was subtle, nothing more than a wobble. But as Will’s anger rose, his actions became less subtle, more evident. This was a problem.
He watched as Joey started, once again, to go off on Rachel. He’d probably caught her looking at another boy again, or chatting inappropriately to one of his friends, or any other pathetic reason he could conjure. Will had seen the routine many times before, but always did nothing as Rachel actually seemed to enjoy it; it was their dance, their thing. But recently she had seemed more upset by them and it became clear she was tired of this lovers’ masquerade. So, as Joey’s voice grew louder, so did Will’s irritation. It was unfortunate – for both of them, Will thought, but mainly for Joey – that he had already spotted the old computer monitor resting on top of the IT classroom’s storage cupboard. It was one of those early models whose sheer size was only matched by its weight. The classroom was nowadays fitted with much smaller, flatter screens, of course, but Mr Jenkins had fought to keep a couple of these older monitors handy “just in case”.
Will tried to stop himself, he really did. He had begun trying to teach himself the best way to deal with his new “issue”. He had never really considered himself as having much of a temper, but it had become clear that even the slightest irritation could cause the issue to quickly get out of hand. Just ask the raccoon which surprised him in the garden last Wednesday. Poor bugger.
So it was posing to be quite a problem that Joey was throwing one of his tantrums right in front of him. The computer screen shook a little harder and, unbeknownst to William Macintosh, someone was watching.
* * * *
While the rest of the class chit-chatted away, some watching the argument taking place, others ignoring it entirely, only one person sat still. Summer Stanley was watching him, as she often did. Sat behind Will, and out of his line of sight, she could see that the events unfolding at the front of the classroom had his full attention. She watched closely as he watched closely, face ahead, focused and strong. Summer didn’t say anything as she saw the computer screen above Joey Massey’s head begin to shake. Hell, what would she shout? “Watch out Joey, flying IT equipment!” She’d look even sillier than everybody already thought she was. Plus, she didn’t much like Joey anyway. She watched for a while longer, just to make sure: it was most definitely moving, the screen glistening in the mid-afternoon sun.
That’s when it happened.
When later interviewed by police officers, most of the pupils would say it looked as though Joey slipped on a sheet of ice, legs flying into the air as his top half hit the deck. It was an apt description. Summer actually missed this part, such was her focus on Will. She didn’t miss what happened next. With Joey now led face up on the floor, the shaking monitor rolled of the storage cupboard and fell to earth. There was no drastic movement, Summer noted, but a gentle roll, as if an invisible giant had flicked the monitor with its index finger. If the roll was gentle, the landing was not. As it came crashing down, smashing Joey Massey’s skull with an attention-grabbing crunch – so loud, Max Harper would later claim to have heard the smash from halfway down the corridor – the entire class stopped.
For a moment, silence. Quiet realisation.
Then, noise. Lots of it.
Rachel screamed and turned away, before falling toward the floor herself. One of her friends – conveniently placed nearby in case this latest quarrel got out of hand – managed to cushion the fall by part-grabbing her as she fell. Then she turned, saw a computer monitor where Joey’s head should be, and screamed herself. Then she threw up a little, covering her unconscious friend’s back. Summer watched as some of her classmates ran from the room, some cried, some also screamed, and those which dared take a closer look also filled the floor with their putrid bile. But they all seemed to be doing something. All expect Will… and herself.
* * * *
The screams were deafening, a reaction Will had not taken into consideration. Girls his age didn’t like seeing IT equipment where heads should be, apparently. Mental note made. He felt sure that, once the dust had settled, if anyone figured out what he had done, they’d probably thank him. Will noted that not a single one of Joey’s friends rushed to his aid, just in case he was still alive. He wasn’t, of course – the pints of blood and traces of brain now covering the floor of Room 815 was evidence of that – but they didn’t even try. Regardless, he really needed to get these emotional impulses in check; he couldn’t be throwing around school property whenever someone got him all riled up.
And so he rose up from his chair and strolled out of the classroom, away from the scene of the impossible crime. Such was the commotion, nobody even noticed him leave.
* * * *
Summer watched as Will bounced up from his desk and slipped out of the classroom. Some students were now on their cells, frantically dialling for help. She already knew it would be of no help to Joey: he was most definitely dead. So, as the class continued to scream and panic, as Rachel continued to be unconscious, as Joey continued to be faceless, Summer followed Will and slipped out of the classroom unseen. Not that she expected to be.
Such was her happiness at that moment, she didn’t even see Mr Jenkins until he was already on top of her. Their shoulders met and, being much smaller than he was, she stumbled to the floor. He stopped for a moment – a puzzled look etched across his face – and surveyed the open air around him. His bemusement was quickly halted by another scream from within his classroom. Summer watched as he rubbed his eyes and rushed inside. She then popped to her feet and scurried down the corridor, hoping to catch Will as quickly as her little legs would allow her. She had so much she wanted to share with him.
They’d make quite the couple, she fancied.