Oh, sorry. I hope you weren’t coming for another episode of Hybrid. I’m afraid it’s been set aside so I can work with it the way I wanted to. This week’s prompt inspired me to start the prequel to my novel, Changing Tracks. Back before Jane was Jane…she was Clara. A young school teacher in Heber City, Utah (about 1864)…
Remember, this is a meme with many contributing authors, so make sure to click the link at the bottom of the image to take you to see more!
Anyhow, as always this is un-edited mostly, so forgive any errors. :
Clara wound her way through the empty desks. One by one she set clean slates at each seat, and under each she left a note.
The scavenger hunt she had planned would take the whole class down by the creek, to the bottom of the crag hidden in the foothills. There she hoped they would make the same discoveries she had, if they followed her clues properly.
Outside trips like this were the reason she had so many students, not just in her district, but from the surrounding districts. The children learned a lot, and very few parents complained, however the school superintendent did.
She shuddered at the thought of him and the ‘compromise’ he’d agreed to. One she despised more with each and every visit. If Tommy ever got wind of it and what she went through, the superintendent would face a fate worse than death—and she’d be out of a job again, just like in New York.
Thankfully the war, and Tommy’s duty to the President, kept him away most of the time. Having a Pinkerton brother didn’t have many perks, but his near-constant absence was one of them.
Laughter shook her out of her reverie, the children’s rambunctious approach pulled her out of the thought process. She rushed to get the rest of the notes and slates in their places and back to the front of the room before the door opened.
While most of the children played outside until she rang the bell, a few came in early to finish work if they had it, or sometimes just to chat. She hoped none of them ventured a look under their slates before everyone could come in for the surprise.
“Good morning, Miss Young.” Annalee skipped in and set her books under her desk. The peppy little eight year old with a shock of bright red hair set her hands on her hips and scowled. “Christopher says we ain’t going to—”
“Aren’t going to.”
“Aren’t going to do our trips no more. Said the new superintendent don’t want them. Is he right?”
The chalk in Clara’s hands clattered to the floor, shattering into several pieces. She blinked and spun around. “New superintendent?”
“Yuh-huh. Papa says he’s coming today. Something about Mr. Clayton being transferred suddenly.”
Clara clenched her jaw and tilted her head. “Oh, he was, was he? Where to?”
“Somewhere far.” Annalee shrugged. “But is it true?”
“Well, we can certainly hope not. I hope our new Superintendent is just as—forgiving—of my teaching methods as Mr. Clayton was.” Clara swallowed down the bile rising in her throat and forced a smile. “Why don’t you go outside and play? We have a few minutes left before I ring the bell.”
Once Annalee raced outside, Clara sighed and leaned back against the blackboard. The whole thing reeked of Tommy and his manipulations. How had he known? She’d been very careful on his last visit to leave no clues of the ‘arrangement’ or her displeasure with it. That brother of hers could smell a lie from miles away.
If he’d done this, he’d better have found her a far more easy-going Superintendent to deal with her unique teaching style or all of his sneaky, slimy, dirty tricks would have been for naught.
Well, if the new superintendent was visiting today, she’d best get to work. No better way to meet him than teaching the children her way.
For she’d have it no other way.
No matter what she had to do to keep her school how it worked best.
She’d already proven that once, and she was prepared to prove it again if need be.
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