The long night of Mrs Jones

It was the day before the equinox. Amanda Beverly Jones was driving home from school in her Austin Mini, a car which was the usual target of the kids from Beluga High, where Amanda was an Art teacher. This time, they decided to “express their emotions” on it, covering it with some kind of blood substitute used in movies, and gluing a few animal bones here and there. An inscription “zombie car” on the trunk door completed the masterpiece. On her way home, Amanda caused two accidents: a driver who was too busy laughing at her didn’t see the truck coming on his right, and was now fighting for his life in the local hospital; and a pedestrian who had a close encounter with a street light post while looking at the “zombie car”, causing him a serious head trauma. But Amanda didn’t pay much attention to it, she was too busy being furious at the kids.

When she finally arrived home, she turned the TV on without even thinking. In her mind, there were images of ways she could make her high school students pay, not only for this last prank but for the miserable life she got because of them all. She checked her emails, a few news sites, and distractedly microwaved her dinner, that she ate without even realizing what it was. It didn’t matter much. All what mattered was revenge.

One of her social networks friends had sent her a funny link, something about vodka being a good way to solve creativity problems. It wasn’t such a bad idea, after all, and Amanda got the vodka bottle out of the fridge. After a few shots, she realized it was close to midnight but she wasn’t any closer to the perfect revenge she was seeking.

“I can help you”.

Amanda jumped. The creature was looking at her from the top of the vodka bottle. His skin was blue, he had pointy ears, big eyes, long white hair and was dressed like if he was just back from Woodstock festival. The first one.

“Don’t be afraid, I’m here to help,” he tried to reassure her.

“Who… what are you?” She couldn’t believe she was actually talking to a hallucination. What else could it be, after a few vodkas, after all?

“I am not a hallucination. I am an Alien,” he smiled.

“Aliens don’t exist!” she retorted. “Besides, you look more like some dyed brownie.”

“In fact, I’m a Hobgoblin, but these days I noticed that humans were reassured if I pretended to be an Alien,” he admitted on an apologetic tone.

“Hobgoblins don’t exist!” Amanda conveyed all her inner certainty in her words, despite the effects the alcoholic beverage had on her.

“So, what am I? A figment of your imagination?” The Hobgoblin sounded a little miffed.

“Exactly!” Amanda giggled.

“You didn’t drink that much vodka.” The Hobgoblin’s voice conveyed an interesting mixture of irony and dryness.

“So, Mr Hobgoblin, what are you here for?” Amanda decided to play along.

“As I said, I can help you. The name’s Puck, by the way,” he introduced himself.

“Nice to meet you, Mr Puck. And how could you help me?” Amanda was quite amused.

“I can help you retaliate against the scoundrels who defaced your carriage,” he informed her with a mischievous smile.

Amanda smirked in return. It was the only thing she was thinking about since she saw what these punks did to her faithful car. “What do you propose?” she asked, hopeful.

“I’d say the punishment should be at the level of the crime committed. They transformed your car, I suggest I transform them too.” Puck’s eyes were sparkling.

“What would it cost me?” Amanda inquired. She wasn’t drunk enough to forget that supernatural pacts were always tricky, even though she didn’t actually believe in the supernatural.

“Nothing, of course. I’m just doing it for fun! I love punishing scoundrels.” Puck laughed.

“Then do it!” Amanda said fiercely.

Puck wrinkled his nose and pinched his left ear. “Done! Enjoy your revenge!” He laughed and disappeared.

Amanda looked at the empty spot where the Hobgoblin was sitting, at the top of her bottle of vodka. “I shouldn’t drink that much,” she told herself. She looked at the wall clock. 3:30am. “Time to get some sleep,” she thought.

She was lying on her bed and probably dozed off for a few minutes when she heard the noise. She jumped, fully awake. Something was rattling at her entrance door. She took a deep breath. Raps and scratches and knocks… It wasn’t only the door, it was also the windows downstairs. Amanda wasn’t a coward, but a woman alone in a house at night could be quite vulnerable. She tiptoed down the stairs, without turning the lights on. The sounds kept going. She walked stealthily to the door, looked through the peephole … and recognized one of her students.  That was it. This time, she’d have them all expelled for this. But first, she needed to know the names of all those involved. She opened the door, looking all around.

They did a good job with the makeup, she admitted. They were all disguised as zombies, with more talent than they used on her car. “You crossed the line, this time,” she warned them. “You’ll have to explain this to the Principal.” She was using her “bad teacher” voice, which intimidated generations of high school kids. She kept staring at them, as they were still playing zombies, with these stupid noises and empty faces. She still believed it was a prank until the closest student bit her hand.

Amanda screamed, took a step back, and slammed the door closed on the teenager’s face. She was bleeding. She tried to reach her cellphone, before noticing that she was in her night gown, without any pocket. The phone was still on the bed table, upstairs. Amanda ran to the kitchen and grabbed the biggest knife she could find, just when the living room’s window exploded, and a couple of teenagers slowly came in.

They didn’t seem bothered by the pieces of glass they got from the window, Amanda noticed, but she didn’t have much time to think about it, one of the kids was trying to grab her. She plunged the knife into his chest, but he kept walking. That’s when Amanda realized they weren’t playing.

The zombie invasion of the town started that night. It was the longest night for Miss Amanda Jones.