By D. W. St. John

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Celia knew why she was here and didn’t like it. Why should she be different? Recoiling from the frosty stare, Solange followed O’Connel inside, curious what to expect. The vice principal’s office was a small, windowless room not much bigger than a janitor’s storeroom. A small desk and two chairs filled it. An old paddle, drilled with holes, hung on the wall, thick with dust. Solange hated the look of it. If inflicting pain was the only way you could reach kids, you’d lost already. O’Connel shut the door and punched up the number, putting the call over the speaker.

There were two zeros. Outraged, one of the two slammed her notebook to the desktop. “Why’d we get a zero? ” she said, lip curled back over small, sharp teeth. ” “Yes, I can,” he said, eyes smiling. ” She turned away in her seat, disgusted. “I’ll have my mom call the school about this! She knows Mrs. ” O’Connel nodded. ” “Mr. ” The room quieted. O’Connel found a perch on the edge of his desk. “Maybe you’re asking the wrong question, Moses. ” Moses frowned, shook his head, not getting it. ’” Chelsea raised her hand.

Celia knew why she was here and didn’t like it. Why should she be different? Recoiling from the frosty stare, Solange followed O’Connel inside, curious what to expect. The vice principal’s office was a small, windowless room not much bigger than a janitor’s storeroom. A small desk and two chairs filled it. An old paddle, drilled with holes, hung on the wall, thick with dust. Solange hated the look of it. If inflicting pain was the only way you could reach kids, you’d lost already. O’Connel shut the door and punched up the number, putting the call over the speaker.

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A Terrible Beauty by D. W. St. John


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