The Man at the Window by Rinor Berisha

abstract-art-explainedThe rain gently fell into the dirty railed windows of Jaime’s classroom. The sound of slight scribbles echoed in the quiet room as all the students were viciously writing on their test papers. Mrs.Northrich, a middle aged elementary teacher, was silently browsing a news site while waiting for the first student to finish their test. A pencil hit the ground, and the sound of footsteps followed. Daniel eagerly raced towards Mrs.Northrich’s desk and placed his finished test onto the test basket.

“Did you double-check your answers?” asked Mrs. Northrich with a slight sigh.

“Y-yes miss!” stuttered Daniel.

“Alright then, go back to your seat,” replied Mrs.Northrich, not giving even a glance.

And he wonders why his lunch money is missing everyday, thought Jaime. She continued slowly writing down her test answers, questions she’d seen before, questions she hadn’t. Two times five, she thought. Two fives, five twos, who cares? She writes down the answer, and looks at the next question. Minutes pass, and she finally writes down her last answer. Fifty-five, no more, no less. She perked her head up, and she looked around the classroom. Most of the students had already finished, creating a quiet droning sound of chatter. She gets up and goes to Mrs.Northrich’s desk to hand in her paper. The teacher makes no movements, almost like she didn’t notice the little girl slide her test onto the pile. Jaime walked back to her seat and sat down, and looked behind her. Alvin, her friend, was still writing his test. He also didn’t look like he was almost done, either.

“Hurry up!” whispered Jaime. “You’re going to run out of time!”

Alvin started writing faster. Suddenly, he paused. He looked at Jaime with wide eyes, pleading for help.

“Four times seven!” whispered Alvin eagerly.

“It’s just four sevens! Count it out.” Jaime replied hastily. Suddenly, she looked to her left and noticed Daniel looking at her while walking towards Mrs.Northrich. Daniel grabbed Mrs.Northrichs attention and pointed towards Jaime. Oh, what an idiot, she thought. Mrs.Northrich nodded at Daniel and sent him back to his seat. He sat down with a smug look on his face, and slight anticipation for something to come. Five minutes remained, and Jaime just sat and waited for the bell to ring.

“Jaime, Alvin, please stay after the bell rings,” echoed Mrs.Northrich in a monotone voice.

The sound of scurrying feet and dragging chair legs drowned the bell as the students hurried their way out of the classroom. All but Jaime and Alvin left. Mrs.Northrich remained silent, staring at her computer screen. Her big nose twitched as she adjusted her glasses. Her skeletal hands moved the mouse slightly to the right, clicked once, and let out a nasally sigh.

“Someone told me you two were talking during the test.” she said. “You know you aren’t allowed to talk during a test.”

Alvin and Jaime made no sound. They stared at Mrs.Northrich, like a deer caught in headlights. Mrs.Northrich’s bland but fearful glare persisted, trying to make one of them move in discomfort. But Jaime remained strong, staring right back. The tick of the clock was heard as the room took on an eerie silence.

“I wasn’t talking to Alvin,” blurted out Jaime, breaking the tense quietness.

“Then who were you talking to?” quickly replied Mrs.Northrich.

Jaime stopped for a second to think.

“To myself,” she replied.

Mrs.Northrich took a deep breath, usually a sign that she isn’t too happy. Jaime remained quiet, still looking at Mrs.Northrich.

“And now you lie to a teacher?” asked Mrs.Northrich. She started irritably tapping her pen on her desk.

“No, no, no, this won’t do. You missy are going to report to the principals office NOW!” she exclaimed.

“You have no proof!” rebutted Jaime.

Mrs.Norchrich gave Jaime the most menacing, heinous glare she had ever given anyone in her whole years of teaching.

“I don’t need proof,” said Mrs.Northrich with clenched teeth, slowly bending her pen.

Her pen started to crack, but she didn’t notice. It then exploded, sending ink all over her desk, papers and clothes. Her nose wrinkled in anger, her eyes had widened to two times their size. She slammed her fist against her desk.

“NOW!!!” she yelled at the top of her voice. “NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!”

Alvin and Jaime leaped off their seats and sprinted out of the classroom, and made their way to Mr.Ward’s office.

Both children sat quietly on their chairs as they waited for Mr.Ward to settle all his papers. After the final stack was placed where it needed to be, Mr.Ward quietly put his hands together and looked at the two children. His face was dull, boring, and bald. He had quite large shoulders, but also a slightly large belly. He always wore a full suit, and carried around a suitcase. He reminded Jaime of a businessman.

“I heard from Mrs.Northrich you two were not behaving today,” he blandly stated.

The two remained quiet. Mr.Ward looked at both of them before he spoke.

“Cheating on a test is one thing, but you also had the idea that you can talk back to a teacher,” said Mr.Ward. “Inconceivable!”

“But I jus-”

“Here we go again!” interrupted Mr.Ward. “What did I just say!”

He began to angrily scribble down something on his notes.

“Detention for the both of you!” he said. “I think you know when and where.”

“Yes, sir,” both children replied in unison.

“You may leave now,” he said.

Both Jaime and Alvin stood up and pushed their chairs in, and left for their next class.

***

            Jaime opened her front door slowly, afraid of what was to come. She looked inside. Both her parents were standing there, waiting. They both had their arms crossed, and they didn’t look happy.

“We received a call from the school today,” said her father, initiating the imminent conversation.

“We are not very happy,” said her mother.

“All I did was help Alvi-” replied Jaime before she was interrupted.

“But that was against the rules!” exclaimed her father. “You also were acting VERY rude to all your teachers!”

“We have to take this to counseling!” exclaimed her mother. “Maybe we should start with that medication the doctor recommended!”

“NO!” shouted Jaime. She ran up to her room, with tears forming in her eyes. She slammed the door, and jumped on her bed. Minutes past, and Jaime just took her book and read for the rest of the night.

The final bell rang, and all the children sped out of their classrooms and on their way home. Everyone but Jaime and Alvin, that is. They instead made their way to the detention room. Room 308. They entered the room, and sat down at a desk. A teacher they didn’t know sat in the front of the room, reading the newspaper. The teacher said nothing, not even acknowledging the fact that they were there.

Minutes past on the clock, and Jaime was becoming restless. Still thirty more minutes until 4:45. The teacher still remained at his desk, hardly moving since the detention started. Suddenly, he put his newspaper away, and looked at the kids over his rimmed glasses.

“I’m going to go make a pot of coffee,” he said. “Do not move.”

He stared at them for a few seconds before he got up and left the room. The door snapped shut, and the footsteps became quieter. Suddenly, Alvin stood up.

“Let’s have a look around!” he said.

“No!” exclaimed Jaime. “We’ll get into much more trouble!”

“Only if we get caught,” he replied.

Alvin started looking through the desks for any valuables, but Jaime remained at her seat. She started getting restless again. Oh, It won’t hurt to just have a little stretch, she thought. She stood up and wandered around the room. What a boring room it was. Old wooden desks, fogged tinted windows. The lights were sometimes flickering, creating a sort of creepy effect. This room seemed much older than the others, she thought. There were a lot of old wooden shelves and closets near the back.

“How curious,” quietly muttered Jaime as she noticed an oddly placed floor tile. She stepped closer to it. She bent down, and moved it a little. It budged, but it was heavy.

“What’s that you’re looking at?” asked Alvin.

“I don’t know,” she replied.

Alvin took a closer look at it.

“Let’s lift it, I think its a trap door!”

They both took each side, and lifted the big tile. It made a small opening, but big enough for them to fit. They both looked down, but it was all black.

“I wonder what’s down there,” said Jaime.

“Let’s find out!” exclaimed Alvin.

He quickly put his feet in first, and slid down the hole. Suddenly, he was gone.

“ALVIN!” shouted Jaime. No answer. Suddenly, she heard footsteps again, the teacher    was coming back!

She hurried back to her seat, forgetting about the open hole. The teacher walked in, and looked around.

“Wheres the other one,” he said.

“I…I don’t know he left,” Jaime said quickly. She looked back, and the hole was covered. I guess he covered the hole himself, she thought. The teacher let out a big sigh, and wrote something on a slip of paper. He then sat down, and Jaime waited the rest of the detention.

***

It was the next afternoon, almost time to go home again. Jaime was very worried, Alvin wasn’t seen all day. She wondered if he was trapped down that hole, how horrible that would be. But she thought, if he could close it, he could open it. The bell rang, and Jaime left the classroom, and made her way to the old detention room. She looked inside, no one was there. She opened the unlocked door, and entered. Quick as a rabbit she ran to the tile, and used all her strength to lift it.

“ALVIN!” she cried.

No reply.

“Are you down there!?” she shouted again.

Still no reply. She looked at the hole for a few seconds, and then decided to just go inside. She put her feet in first, and suddenly, she felt light headed. The world started to go dark, and she passed out.

A strange looking face was peering down at Jaime. Oval eyes, pointed ears. Her hair was wavy and white, all over the place but neat.

“Hello,” it said.

Jaime looked around. She was in a beautiful white room, filled with elegant furniture and a bed. A tall pale looking woman was standing next to her. There were children at the end of her bed, looking curiously at her.

“Where am I?” she asked anxiously.

“A room,” replied the woman.

“Who are you!?” asked Jaime frantically, now getting frustrated.

“We are the children,” one of the kids replied.

“Who?” she asked again.

“The children!” another one said.

Jaime quickly threw off the bed covers and ran to the door. She opened it, and outside she say a small village; little houses with gravel pathways, a fountain in the middle. There was a small park with swings and a slide, and trees surrounding the entire village. She started panicking, and then teared up. All the children from the house ran outside.

“What’s wrong?” one of them asked.

Jaime looked up.

“I have no idea what’s going on!” she replied, still sobbing. “I just passed out, and now I’m here!”

The children remained quiet. Suddenly, the woman with the pointy ears walked out of the house.

“You are in another world,” she said. “City.”

Jaime looked at her.

“City?” she said, through her sobs.

“Yes. You came here just like the rest of the children.”

Jaime looked around. She looked at all the faces of the children, they looked about her age. She then remembered Alvin.

“Where’s Alvin?” she asked.

“Ah,” replied the strange woman. “He did come here but…”

“But what?” quickly asked Jaime.

“He was taken.”

“Taken by what!?”

“The Parents,” said the strange woman.

Jaime remained silent, looking at the woman.

“The Parents live in the City,” she said. And then she pointed in a direction. Jaime looked over, and saw an enormous building. She wondered how she did not see it before, it looked like it touched the sky. The building seemed to bend a little bit, curving towards her. The more she looked at it, the more it started to curve.

“Stop!” exclaimed the woman. “Do not look there for too long.”

“What are Parents?” asked Jaime.

“They’re the minions of the Man,” replied the woman. “The Man at the Window.”

Jaime stood there, thinking about all that has been said. She then remembered Alvin.

“Where did Alvin go?” she asked.

“He was taken,” she replied. “Into the City.”

“Well get him back!” she cried out.

“I cannot go near the City, and neither can the kids,” she replied. “The only person is you.”

Jaime thought about it for a moment.

“Ok I’ll go!” she said.

“Then we will rest for tonight, and prepare tomorrow morning.”

All the children went back to their houses as the sun was setting. Jaime thought about what would happen. She was very confused, and still in shock. It was a hard sleepless night, with a little sobbing throughout, but she finally fell asleep.

It was the morning. Jaime, the children, and the strange woman were walking towards the City. They walked for what seemed like a long time, but the sun was still in the far east. They finally arrived. There was a big, grey wall with a giant gate. The wall went on forever, going around the city limits. The big building was even more visible than before, with other buildings there too.

“You must go alone now,” said the woman. “Take this with you.”

She handed Jaime a red balloon.

“What’s this going to do?” asked Jaime, slightly annoyed.

“Pop it when you find Alvin,” she said. “Now go! The door will close soon!”

Jaime looked at the wall. The gates started slowly closing, creating a loud creaking sound.

“Go!” cried out the strange woman.

Jaime sprinted all the way down the path to the gate, reaching it before it was even halfway closed. Suddenly, everything was grey. The road, the sidewalk, the buildings. she looked behind her, she couldn’t see the woman or the kids, it was like a fog was on the boundaries of the City. She looked around again. No one was here. There was an eerie silence about.

“Hello?” cried out Jaime.

No response. She started slowly walking forward, tightly gripping the balloon in her hand. She kept walking and walking, going through street after street. The streets had no names, and the constant greyness made Jaime become lost. It was like going through an impossible maze. Hours past, and Jaime became very, very tired. She sat on the nearest bench, and started weeping. She then heard a siren.

“Oh..” whimpered Jaime.

She started to get scared, and ran to a nearby stone monument and hit behind it. Suddenly, the doors from the buildings across the street burst open. A grotesque figure stepped out. A Parent, she thought. The monster had pointed hands and feet, and an ugly disfigured face. Two rows of evenly sharp teeth formed a menacing grin. Its eyes were black and triangular. Jaime let out a whimper. The thing start moving in an unnatural way, walking down the street. It made no sound at all, not even its footsteps on the ground. Suddenly more and more of these things piled out of the buildings. Jaime looked to her right, and saw a Parent looking right at her.

The Parent opened its mouth, and let out a high pitched screech. Jaime screamed, covered her ears and ran as fast as she could. All the surrounding Parents turned at the same time and sprinted after her, like a group of crazed spiders. They were gaining on her, when a hand shot out of the ground and grabbed her leg, tripping her. She looked over, and a sewer lid was open. The Parents were seconds away from catching up, so she had no choice but to jump into the dark hole.

She climbed down the ladder, hoping that whoever took her down here was a friend. They finally reached the bottom, and a light started to shine. She looked at the face, and it was

Alvin!

“Alvin!” she cried.

“Jaime!” he replied back. The two hugged, then quickly stopped, feeling a bit embarrassed.

“What is going on!?” asked Jaime frantically. “What are those things!?”

“Parents!” replied Alvin. “I…I don’t really know what they are.”

The two stood quiet for some time, still both in shock.

“Who… Who is the Man at the Window?” asked Jaime slowly.

“I don’t really know either, just… I think he controls those things, the Parents,” replied Alvin.

“Oh… the balloon!” cried out Jaime. She still had the balloon in a death grip, even from jumping down the sewer hole. She then remembered what the strange woman said.

“Hold on to me!” she told Alvin.

“What?” he asked.

“Just do it!”

She grabbed his arm, and then when and bit the balloon with her teeth. It popped, and suddenly she felt very light. She then began to pick up speed, going up into the air. She and Alvin went up the ladder, and smashed through the pothole lid (hurting their heads a bit) and all the way up into the sky. As they were going up, Jaime looked at the giant building. It curved faster than before, and eventually It was like Jaime was right next to it. She could see the Man. He had a balding head, wore a suit, and had glasses. But she noticed something else too; he had no face. She closed her eyes, and they drifted all the way back to the village.

They made it on the ground, and the children with the strange women all ran up to greet them.

“You did it!” cried out the strange woman. “You brought him back!”

All the children started cheering.

Suddenly, the strange woman’s face turned into a large frown.

“But all is not well here. The Parents are going to attack,” she said. “They are going to kill everyone.”

Jaime and Alvin stood there saying nothing.

“We need your help, we need all the help we can get!” she said. “But there is the portal back to your world. You can stay or you can go.”

The woman pointed to a glowing hole in the dirt. Jaime and Alvin both looked at it, then looked at the strange woman.

“We need to defeat the Man, or he will take us all and turn us all into Parents,” said the woman.

“Sorry,” said Jaime.

The woman started to cry. Jaime grabbed Alvin and jumped into the portal, and they both blacked out.

Jaime ended up in her room. A knock was heard on the door. She flinched, still scared from the experience. The door opened, and her parents came in.

“Here are the medications, Jaime,” said her mother.

“We have to start taking them now,” said her father.

They placed the glass of water and medication bottle on her desk, and left the room. Jaime took the bottle, opened it, and swallowed a pill.

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