It has been a long time since I did a FFF, and to restart the semi-regular feature, I wanted to put up the opening chapter of one of my novels. This story is called The Good Teacher and was the second novel I ever completed.
The book is essentially a psychological thriller told in the first person. The story is told by Peter, someone I’d class as a person not to trust.
It took a few moments for everything to come into focus. My lungs burned with cold air as I breathed in. It was after dusk, and the fog from my own sight was only making it more difficult to see. Instinctively I felt around for my glasses. To my fortune they were only inches from my face.
They were cold and wet as I placed them upon my face. I had to wipe the condensation off of the lenses though it all only improved my ability to see slightly.
The ground was damp and cold. I could feel that it had seeped through my clothing and was chilling more. I was sore and weak.
I struggled to remember the last few moments of my last being conscious. The most that I could remember was my apartment. But that could have been from anytime. Maybe it was an hour ago; maybe it was days ago.
Only a few moments passed before my memory started to reassemble itself, however laggardly.
As I got some focus I could see that there was nothing around, only trees and whatever else may decorate these woods. The smudges and condensation on my glasses hindered my vision though. And God only knows now how the hell I got to here from where I was before. My mind was only slowly bringing me the last moments. But it was all coming back nonetheless.
I got up slowly not knowing what to expect. I quickly dismissed any nervous thoughts. I needed to focus; that was all.
I could not see well. It was still quite dim on top of foggy glasses, though without them it was worse. I circled around a few times before finally landing my eyes on her. She was still and lying in the grass only a few feet ahead of me. I was not sure for a moment if what I was seeing was indeed real or if I was just imagining things with the lack of light.
I moved slowly towards her expecting her to jolt awake at any moment. It bothered me to even see her there with me. It meant that fears of what my mind was assembling were true. I wanted to just be dreaming this all up. As I reached for her I realized that there was no life in her. Although it was dark, I could not see nor could I hear any movement from her. No breath, no twitching.
Her clothing looked as though it was stained dark in spots from what I could only guess was her own blood. It was all that I could do to touch her and be sure that my feelings were true. She was cool to the touch. I knew then that it was true.
“She’s dead, Peter,” a familiar voice sounded behind me. I jolted up and looked around trying to catch where the voice was coming from. I knew it was him. “Surprised? Did you expect that things changed in the last few hours? You saw me kill her.”
He had been behind me to my left. I only was able to see his silhouette against the dark backdrop of the trees. I tried to see if he was holding anything. Nothing was in sight though. That gave me no greater ease however.
“What are you doing, Eric?” I asked as strongly as my hoarse voice could stand. I sounded sick. My voice felt only worse with all of the cold air passing through it.
There was only silence. I began to wonder if maybe this was again something from my mind. If only I were so lucky.
“Eric?” I said again. He had to be there. “I know that you’re there. What the hell are you doing?”
There was still silence. I stopped moving towards her instead starting crawling to where I thought Eric was. I heard a click as though a pistol was being cocked. The shadow of Eric grew as though he had been seated when I first saw him. “Don’t move any closer, Peter. You don’t want to end up like her, do you?”
I looked up at him. I could see a little color from his skin, not too much though. It made him a bit more real than before. Trying to stand and face him I was met by the butt of the pistol against my face.
The stinging was only worsened by the cold, coarse ground that my face was now pressing against. My hands tried to press myself off of the ground. I thought that I could feel blood running from somewhere on my face. It hurt all over already and made it difficult to really tell.
His foot stepped right in front of my face. I heard the grinding of the dirt beneath the rubber of the sole of his shoe.
“Why are you doing this?” I coughed as I began to climb back to my knees.
Eric kicked me severely hard in my stomach. The blow sent me onto my back onto her cold body. She didn’t move; she didn’t grunt. At that instant I knew that she was indeed dead. Before I wanted to believe that there was still hope.
That acknowledgment still didn’t blind me from the pain Eric’s foot introduced to my stomach. I yelped like a scared dog on impact.
“You should know why this is happening,” he said calmly. “You only brought this onto yourself, Peter.”
“What do you mean?” still grunting from the pain of Eric’s inflicted wounds. Despite my inquiry, I knew what he meant. How could I not?
There was just silence again. Quite possibly Eric was trying to think of what to say to me. It was probably more likely that he was more surprised that I would ask such a question. In his mind I couldn’t defend myself from this. I am sure of that. He was so damn headstrong.
And this was my fault.
I was met with another kick in the stomach. His boot felt as though it had reached my spine this time.
Almost instinctively I grabbed his leg when he kicked me. Shaking me off as easily as he stood there, he kicked me again. This time I was able to hold onto his leg enough to pull him off balance.
My concern for the moment was that he would still have the gun when he fell. To my fortune it had bounced from his hand as his elbow hit the ground.
I reached for it right as he kicked my stomach again. He had recovered more swiftly than I was able. I had only gotten my fingers to graze the barrel. I yelped. The pain of his boot at the edge of my ribs was too much to bear, but my adrenaline kept me from completely succumbing to the pain.
Eric had the gun within seconds of my being kicked. I was up charging at him at that moment as well. Impacting against him, I screamed.
Two shots pierced my ears as both of us tumbled to the ground.