Mrs. Taylor’s level figure stared up at him. The once Kryptonite marbles, subject to that teacher stare—the kind that could halt a student in mid-sentence—were now stiff, glossy, like the film on standing gravy. Unnerving in life and in death. He walked forward, dragging his shoes on the carpet in short strides.
He nudged her ribs with his shoe, but she didn’t move. He half expected, hoped, she’d smile, laugh, and crack a cruel joke. And then with lively dedication, morph the situation into some kind of teaching lesson. Saying, “Don’t commit suicide or you’ll do the same thing to your family.” Instead her body lay still, limp.
Next to her leg an open EXPO leaked a quarter-sized blue blotch onto her khaki skirt. Corey glanced at the board. It appeared that Mrs. Taylor had been in the middle of the word: onomatopoeia. Instead it read, onomato and half of the p. Out of some primal duty and respect for the dead, he knew he couldn’t let the marker continue to leak all over her dress. Corey snatched the marker up, searched for the cap, and discovered it wedged between Mrs. Taylor’s forefinger and thumb. Tainted by every scary or suspense movie made, Corey abandoned the idea of taking the cap from her hand, for fear that her body would rise, hauntingly animated, and grasp his forearm during the cap rescue. Then later the zombie teacher would devour his pulsating brain straight out of his severed skull. Swallowing, he set the naked marker on the white board tray; his civic duty or some kind of duty completed.
Corey sucked in a heavy breath through the nose, caught a whiff of something sweet and moldy. Its source momentarily escaped him, but then as realization hit, so did a wave of nausea. The smell of fresh blood was weakening enough, but the acrid smell of gallons of blood souring within a rotting corpse sent Corey sprinting to the wastebasket and puking up his donut breakfast.
Lightheaded and wheezing, Corey leaned against Mrs. Taylor’s vacant desk, terrified of the stench of death. His moist eyes spotted a bottle of apple-scented lotion next to the stapler. He snatched up the bottle, turned to Mrs. Taylor’s corpse, and squirted pump after pump onto her rubber torso, staining her blouse with scattered pink dollops of hand lotion. The entirety of the scene was so revolting and blasphemous that even Poe might have recoiled from it.
He stepped away, shaking. I better get some help, he thought.