10 comments

Thriller

John dreaded taking another class, he was sick and tired of it all. When he had taken up this career, he hadn't realized how it would drain his creativity and soul, but the more classes he took, he realized his creativity was of no use in this profession.

He tried to find all the ways to make it interesting, more than his students, he wanted to make teaching fun for himself but that seemed like a far away dream, there was no possible way to make something so boring, even a bit interesting!

So he gave up, that seemed like the best choice he had, he could no longer afford to burn himself out. He needed to conserve his energy to be able to teach another day.

Every year felt like a cycle in which he was trapped, with no way out or no choice in how things went. Every batch of students were the same, as if they were the same people in different bodies.

He sighed as he walked into the class, it was going to be another monotonous year but his gaze caught sight of a young woman sitting at the back, she seemed eager, something he had never seen before in his students.

As he taught, she was the only student who asked questions, he was surprised at her eagerness to learn and tried his best to clarify all her questions. He came to know that her name was Samantha and that she had always found biology interesting.

For the first time in his teaching life, John felt a surge of energy, a passion began to overtake him, he had never enjoyed teaching this much. He was finally being appreciated, an appreciation he hadn't felt in years.

The classes seemed more exciting as the semester continued, he was amazed at Samantha's knowledge, she even rivalled his own knowledge of some topics. He felt grateful that he had such an amazing student in his class.

She stayed back sometimes after the class was over and they discussed about the latest research in the field of biology. With Samantha, he felt as if she was his colleague rather than his student and that made the discussions even more exciting.

He was unsure whether he should invite her to his house, even though she felt like a colleague, she was still his student and he knew he had to maintain some boundaries but the allure was too great to resist and he invited her over, pushing his anxiety at the back of his mind.

She showed up over the weekend, her smile seemed to light up everything, it was the brightest he had ever seen. As she walked in, she couldn't help but admire his trophies and certificates. He was taken aback for a while, it had been a long time since anyone even glanced at them.

With a burst of excitement, he explained proudly how he achieved each trophy and certificate, they were his achievements but he hadn't felt that way until now, as he stood there, his heart swelled with pride.

He made tea for her and some ham and cheese sandwiches to accompany it, he had many guests over the years but never had he felt this excited. There was an aura of positivity that had filled the house and he felt truly blessed for being able to experience it.

They chatted for a long time, the hours seemed to fly in Samantha's company but John didn't seem to care, he finally had something positive in his life, something that took him out of his dull and monotonous life.

He didn't realize but suddenly the conversation shifted to more serious topics and he ended up revealing to her that he hated his colleague Natalia, by the time he realized his mistake, it was already too late, he had spilled out every detail and there was no going back now.

His face flushed with embarrassment which turned to pure horror as he realized what consequences it could have on his professional life. A part of him trusted Samantha but still, she was a stranger and he didn't know how that information would be used against him. His mind raced with all the worst case scenarios.

Samantha sat there, lost deep in thought, her expression was unreadable. He had met several people in his life and he took pride in his skill of being able to read people's thoughts as if they were a book but Samantha proved too challenging.

The silence suffocated him, he got up and opened the window, he felt awkward doing that but he needed some fresh air to quell his anxiety. To his surprise, Samantha didn't even turn back and glance at him, she was still lost in her own world.

"Maybe you should tell her what you think about her, it is better to be honest with your feelings, rather than hide them and suffocate in them", she said after much thought.

That advice struck him, he found it stupid, he had expected her to give better advice but he realized she was still young and had a lot of things to learn, that's not how the adult world worked, even if you felt suffocated, you could never be really honest with your feelings, there was always too much at stake.

That night, he couldn't sleep, his mind kept him awake, the word suffocate pranced in his mind, he had dismissed her advice as stupid, a silly thing coming from an inexperienced person but he couldn't shake off the feeling that there was some truth in her words.

As he dressed up and got ready to head off to work, the word suffocate still refused to leave his mind. It was stuck in his mind, making him miserable and he saw no way out of the misery, so he decided to tell Natalia. It wasn't as hard as he thought, Natalia was hurt but surprisingly he didn't care about it.

Since that day, he felt himself growing even closer to Samantha, she radiated a positivity that he had always yearned for. She guided him in how to be honest with himself, how he needed to let go of his fear and he soon felt brave enough to face the world, like he had never felt before.

He told the Head of the department, James, that he hated his work ethic and imposing attitude, the university needed more creativity in handling things, things couldn't keep going the same way. Unlike Natalia, he wasn't just hurt, he berated John and made sure to tell him his place.

John was furious, he even thought of quitting, he wasn't serious about it though, just something his mind made up to calm down his fury but even that didn't seem to work, no one had insulted him like that before, he had his dignity, that people like James couldn't take away!

"Maybe you should just get rid of him", Samantha said casually.

Those words shook him, sometimes her advice was too mature but other times it seemed plain childish. She was asking him to commit murder and was so casual about it, he wanted to laugh in disbelief, how could she be so casual about it but she just stuck to her words, she refused to give him any other alternative.

He was frustrated, he decided to keep a distance from Samantha but something in him couldn't forget her advice, it had settled deep within his mind, like a plant that had sprouted. Anger was building up inside him and it took over his soul one day as James again berated him over not following the schedule.

He grabbed a pen from his desk and stabbed James till he stopped screaming, when he came back to his senses, it was too late, he had killed James and there was no escaping it, he couldn't even get the blood off his shirt, he was arrested before that.

As he sat in his cell, regretting his actions, regretting letting anger win over his mind, he recalled the day he met Samantha and despite his mind being filled with regrets, all of them paled in comparision to the biggest regret of them all, the regret of letting Samantha interfere in his life.

November 09, 2023 15:08

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10 comments

Martin Ross
15:42 Nov 16, 2023

Chilling character study! The telling made it all the more so, and the point about anger (irrational emotions) over the mind (reason) is so relevant to modern society, especially here in the U.S. where violence and bigotry have run roughshod. It’s a deceptively significant story — the stories I’ve read this week really underline the stress and anxiety of college. Very nicely done!!😊😊

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Sarah Saleem
16:17 Nov 16, 2023

Thanks a lot!✨️ That's exactly what I wanted to convey, when we let our anger get to us, we become our own enemy.

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Edd Baker
03:55 Nov 12, 2023

Fun, increasingly uncomfortable read, which is a great combination! "It wasn't as hard as he thought, Natalia was hurt but surprisingly he didn't care about it." This is my favorite line from the whole story. Aside from being incredibly funny, in hindsight upon reading the end it says a lot about John. Meekish and timid, which you could easily mistake for being nice, but ultimately somewhat  uncaring and having empathy problems. Aside from a sort of loathing and dread, the only real, passionate emotion John feels (bedsides the happiness fr...

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Sarah Saleem
07:45 Nov 13, 2023

Thanks!✨️ I love the insight you gave into John's character.

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Jorge Soto
01:36 Nov 10, 2023

The pen is mightier than the sword! Maybe Samantha isn't a real student, just imaginary? Nice story, I like the pacing of it.

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Sarah Saleem
06:42 Nov 10, 2023

Thanks!✨️ Samantha is real, it's John's feeling of being stuck in monotony that draws him towards her.

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Hannah Lynn
21:00 Nov 09, 2023

Wow did not expect that ending. We really have to be careful who we let into our lives!

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Sarah Saleem
06:43 Nov 10, 2023

Thanks!✨️ Exactly!, we should be careful whose advice we take.

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Mary Bendickson
18:59 Nov 09, 2023

This took an unexpected turn. Obviously, all pens should be banned. thanks for liking my Hometown Boy

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Sarah Saleem
06:46 Nov 10, 2023

Thanks and welcome!✨️ He would have used a paper cutter or pencil then.😂

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