Shannon O'Reilly (Chapter 3, page 1 of 8)

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Chapter 3

Friday was Shannon's favorite day of the week. It signaled the end of a week and the end to the bullying and tormenting from her schoolmates. The day was divided into eight periods and she marked off each one in her mind as the day wore on. The trouble that day began in homeroom, as it frequently did.

A new substitute teacher was already seated in the homeroom before the morning announcements began. The teacher had bluish-colored hair and old-fashioned horn rimmed glasses that framed the wrinkles around her well-weathered face. She was dressed in a dark purple cardigan sweater and had fastened a large fat-cat pin near her shoulder. The cat on the pin was resting comfortably on a small pink puffed pillow. The rest of her outfit consisted of a navy blue skirt, brown leotards and brown orthopedic shoes. At first Shannon merely dismissed her as another obstacle to be avoided during the course of the day. It was standard procedure for the students to totally ignore substitute teachers unless they needed a pass to go somewhere in the building.

The first bell rang and the substitute teacher in Shannon's homeroom started looking for the remote to the television set that hung from the ceiling by her desk.. While she was looking in every drawer of the desk for the remote, a loud blasting noise from the television filled the room, instantly startling awake anyone who was the least bit sleepy. The exception was a student named David Jackson who slept through every class regardless of the noise level. This was a tactic that troublemakers used when they had a new substitute. This teacher, however, wasn't swayed by their mischief and merely walked up to the TV and used her pencil to lower the volume. Unfortunately the volume quickly went up again, thanks to the boy who had it hidden in his desk. That's when the trouble began.

"Return the remote to me," she said in a low voice that bordered on a growl. The few students who saw what was going on had their eyes glued to the teacher's face. They secretly wondered what the punishment would be if the culprit didn't fork over the remote. She looked from one face to the next of the boys sitting in the front row. Her face had a stern and unyielding look about it, like someone who had weathered storms rougher than this one.

The boys in the front row were famous for aggravating any new substitute teacher. Their pranks were almost legendary yet school had only been in session for seven weeks. Alexander Monroe, Brett Ryder, Alan Jacobs and Roy Landry all sat with smirks on their faces avoiding the glance of the teacher-turned-huntress. "If you don't give me the remote now, all of you in the front row will be punished. This quickly wiped the smile off of three of the faces, which now looked slightly incredulous. The last boy smiling, Brett Ryder was obviously the troublemaker, and now the teacher knew it. Brett slowly pulled the remote from his desk and pushed it across his desk towards her, never looking her in the eye. "Thank you," she said in a very different, almost purring voice. "Let's hear the rest of the announcements now," she said and walked back to her desk slowly and deliberately, surveying the rest of the class for any more disturbances. The substitute returned the television volume back to normal and everyone visibly began to relax again.

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