Mr Slate by Rachel Smith

Sam watched with dismay as Bobby sprinted round the corner, the white shirt of his school uniform half-untucked, the red tie askew. 

“I did it!” Bobby said, brandishing a whiteboard marker, swiped from Mr. Slate’s classroom. Sam scowled as it was waved in his face. “I could have done that.” 

“Ha! Go on then.” 

“Break’s nearly over.” 

“Scared?” 

“No. I’m not—” 

Bobby launched himself into a chicken imitation that made Sam flush bright red. He was not scared, but if Mr. Slate caught him sneaking into his classroom… well, he didn’t know what he’d do, but it wouldn’t be good. 

“I’ll do it tomorrow, the bell’s about to—” 

“Chick-en! Chick-en! Chick—" 

Huffing, Sam shoved Bobby aside, stalked round the corner and after a quick look to check no teachers were looking, darted through the double doors. Stepping lightly so his shoes didn’t squeak on the floor, he approached Mr. Slate’s classroom. Bobby had left the door ajar, so Sam slipped inside… and froze, his heart thumping hard in his chest. 

Mr. Slate was sitting behind the desk, halfway through a cheese and tomato sandwich. He looked as surprised as Sam, though without the panic. 

“Hello Sam,” he said, smiling, “Need something?” 

“Um.” Sam frowned, his fear ebbing. Mr. Slate just wasn’t as scary holding a sandwich. He seemed almost… normal. Feeling suddenly brave, he asked, “Could I borrow a marker, please? I’ll bring it back.” 

Mr. Slate leant backwards, one finger tapping against his chin. Sam held his breath. “Alright,” he said eventually. He actually looked amused! “As long as you bring it back.” “Thank you, Sir!” 

Sam sauntered back outside and just before the double doors swung shut behind him, his ears pricked up. 

He could have sworn he heard Mr. Slate actually laughing


Published in Issue #21

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