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Estimated reading time — 12 minutes
As Ms. Davis stepped into her new classroom, not a single student paid her any attention. She set her purse down on the desk in front and looked around. All the high school students were either on their cell phones or talking to one another. Not even one had so much as glanced in her direction, but it wasn’t any different from what she expected.
“You’d think they would show their new teacher at least a little bit of respect,” she thought to herself while pulling the class roll from a yellow envelope.
With the role in one hand and a pen in the other, she cleared her throat and waited for the students to shift their attention to her. Most of the class turned in her direction, but a few remained occupied with their own tasks. Deciding not to put up with this, she slammed her fist down and caused a loud bang to echo throughout the room. The remaining students jolted their heads up in shock and stared at the woman in the front of the classroom.
“Sorry I’m a few minutes late. I’m still not used to driving around here, yet. Now that I seem to have everyone’s attention, I’m going to introduce myself. My name is Ms. Davis, and I will be your replacement English teacher for the remainder of the year.”
She looked around the room as she spoke and noticed a few students had already gone back to looking at their phones.
“I just moved from Haddonfield Illinois, so I’m still trying to get used to the weather here in Florida. Luckily, I seem to hav-”
Ms. Davis stopped mid-sentence as a student’s hand shot up into the air and immediately caught her attention.
“You have a question?”
She noticed that whatever she had said that piqued his interest, it had caused his face to light up with an almost unnerving excitement.
“You said you came from Haddonfield?”
And there it was… she hoped that for just one time when she taught a new class, that someone would not ask about it. No matter how much she tried to hide it, someone always managed to find out. Yet, here she was, letting it slip off her tongue like a fool. She swore at herself for not being more cautious.
“That’s exactly what I said.”
With this, a majority of the class started whispering and glancing to each other with wide eyes. Ms. Davis cleared her throat, and the room went silent once more.
“I take it some of you are familiar with what happened?”
A few students nodded, and the boy raised his hand again.
“Were you there?”
This caused the boys in the glass to break out into contagious laughter, while the girls glared at him.
“Everyone, please quiet down. To answer your question, um…”
“John,” he said in a slightly hushed tone.
“To answer your question, John, I wasn’t there that night. I don’t know what my outward appearance says, but I’m a little far off from being born before the Haddonfield incident.”
John shrank back in his seat with embarrassment while the other boys attempted to keep their laughter under control.
“However, my mother was.”
This caused more chatter among the class, which quickly died down as Ms. Davis began to glare around the room.
“What did she see,” a girl asked with an obvious amount of excitement in her voice.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t feel that’s an appropriate discussion to be having.”
A cacophony of groans echoed throughout the room before the last word even left her mouth. The students that she was barely holding the attention of went back to their phones, and a few others donned a look of disappointment. Every time Ms. Davis’ students found out about her being from Haddonfield, they were always met the same answer. ‘The faculty wouldn’t want me talking about this’ or ‘it’s not something I want to discuss’.
“I’m sorry, I really am, but this is hardly something I should be discussing with students. Now if you want to know more about this, there are plenty of videos and news articles online.”
With that, she turned towards the chalkboard and opened a textbook. As she began writing the chapter title in flowing cursive, she heard a student mutter something under his breath.
“She’s full of shit, probably playing it up for attention, anyway.”
In the middle of writing out a word, she stopped. The sound of students writing in their notebooks ceased, and the room became deathly quiet.
Ms. Davis turned her head sharply and glared in the direction she had heard the boy speak from. In a fraction of a second, her outer composure completely shifted as she glared at the boy sitting in the third row. It was not hard to pull him apart from the crowd. His eyes were wide with fright, and the ink pen trembled in his hand.
“Was it you who said that?”
The boy quickly shook his head from side to side.
Ms. Davis slammed the book shut in her hand and laid it down on her desk. Slowly, she walked in his direction. Everyone’s breath hung in their throats as her tall, thin figure inched closer to the boy. As she stood over his desk, she could see his hands begin to shake even more and sweat gather on his forehead.
“For God’s sake. If you’re going to speak about someone behind their back, at least have the common decency to admit it when you’re confronted.”
He hung his head down in shame and refused to make eye contact with Ms. Davis again. She stood in front of him for a few more seconds when an idea came to her mind. Turning and walking back to the front of the classroom, she stood in front of her computer. Entering her login information, she opened the internet browser and scrolled through a list of searched results. Once satisfied, she turned on the projector and switched off the lights.
The classroom was thrust into darkness, save for small slivers of light making their way through gaps in the blinds. Ms. Davis sat down on the edge of her desk and faced the students. Suddenly, the projector finished warming up and the room was filled with a flash of light. After everyone’s eyes adjusted, they could see a newspaper article projected on the chalkboard. Ms. Davis’ form blocked part of the bottom of the image, but they could still make out the headline.
3 Dead in Halloween Night Murders
“So, you think I’m full of shit? Well then, I guess it’s time to clear some things up about what happened in Haddonfield in the wake of these murders.”
A girl in the front row raised her hand. All it took was one look for Ms. Davis to recognize her as the over-achiever of the class. She had no doubt that in the coming days, this girl would do nothing but ask questions to maker herself seem smart and kiss ass at every opportunity she got. Before she could even call on her, the girl began talking.
“I don’t think the principal would be too pleased to hear about your language. I also don’t think he would like you discussing such an inappropriate topic in the classroom.”
Ms. Davis smiled and gathered her thoughts for a moment.
“What’s your name, darling?”
“Well, Annie, do you know why I’m sitting here right now?”
Annie shook her head from side to side. For once, she did not know the answer to a question asked in class.
“I’m sitting here because I was the only applicant to fill this position. All the other substitutes that are on file here weren’t up for taking on the job. It’s the middle of September, so it’s almost as if they’d taken on the role of teaching the entire school year. It’s never easy to find a permanent replacement when a teacher passes, but Principal Curtis was lucky enough that I applied.”
Annie was continuing to sit at full attention while Ms. Davis spoke. The other students either had their eyes on her or the teacher. Either way, not a soul in the room was distracted.
“So, to answer your statement about him not liking our discussion or my language, he doesn’t really have a choice. There’s no one to replace me. Now, are you going to set here like the rest of the class and listen to what I have to say, or go to the front office and file a complaint about me?”
Annie’s lower lip quivered. She dared not speak another word.
“That’s what I thought.”
Ms. Davis turned her gaze away from her and back over the class. She scanned their faces and noticed that not even one had a trace of boredom.
“Like I was saying, I’m going to clear some things up about the aftermath in Haddonfield. First, we need to discuss what happened.”
The classroom tensed up.
“On Halloween night in 1978, three teenagers were brutally murdered on the street where my mother grew up. She considers it a blessing every day that her home wasn’t the one targeted. Unfortunately, the people living a couple of doors down weren’t so lucky. Their daughter and her boyfriend were found in their house. There was one other victim found strangled in her car. After those three were killed, another person almost perished that night. Her name is Laurie Strode, and she’s the only one to survive an attack by this man.”
Ms. Davis leaned over and scrolled the wheel on her mouse. The page moved down, and the image of a white novelty mask filled the screen.
She felt the words struggle to come out of her mouth. Just saying them made a bitter taste appear in the back of her throat.
“Who can tell me something about Michael Myers,” she asked while looking at her students.
No one said a word. Everyone’s eyes were glued to the screen in intense fascination. The almost sickly white glow of the projector illuminated their faces, exposing every detail. The only sound that could be heard was the wind faintly blowing against the windows outside. A boy in the second row slowly raised his hand.
“I remember seeing him in a show on Investigation Discovery. They said that Laurie was actually his sister.”
Ms. Davis pinched the bridge of her nose and let out a slow breath.
“This is why so much needs to be cleared up.”
She repositioned herself on the desk and crossed her legs.
“Why do you think we, as human beings, have such a fascination with something like this? What makes a man, if you can classify him as one, like Michael Myers so appealing to us?”
Although the classroom remained quiet at first, a girl in the front row eventually spoke.
“I think it’s because we all have some amount of interest in disturbing things like this. None of us want to admit it, but it’s true.”
Ms. Davis rested her head in the palm of her hand while pondering what the girl had just said.
“That’s a good answer. What’s your name?”
“Lynda,” the girl said in a shy tone.
“Then tell me, Lynda. If we all have at least a mild form of interest in disturbing and gruesome acts, then why were the Haddonfield crimes so exaggerated? One would think that a monster like Michael Myers would be enough to satisfy that craving. Sadly, that could be no further from the truth.”
Ms. Davis leaned over to the computer once more and scrolled down a couple of pages. She stopped on an image of a tabloid cover. The title stood out in an obnoxiously yellow font.
LONE SURVIVOR SHARES BLOOD WITH KILLER
“This… this. Right. Here. Is the root of all the misconceptions you and the public have with the Haddonfield murders. One would think that such a story would be enough to shake anyone to their core, but for some reason, people felt the need to make up lies. They started out small at first but grew and became uncontrollable. My mother said there was one instance where she was waiting in line to check out at the grocery store. On a rack of tabloids and other garbage magazines was a badly edited photograph of Michael Myers filing away at his prison bars with a nail file.
Although I was not born yet on the night of the murders, my mother can still recall it in vivid detail. What made Michael’s killing spree truly horrifying to her and everyone else in town was that no one thought something like this could’ve happened in their own backyard. For the rest of the country, they saw nothing more than a white mask with a news caption underneath it. Where others saw a casual conversation topic, the people of Haddonfield saw the face of pure evil. This is what the problem with all this misinformation boils down to. If someone wasn’t physically there, something had to be exaggerated to really grab their attention.”
Every student was staring at Ms. Davis either out of respect, or a silent means of hiding their discomfort.
“My mother refused to talk about that night with me until I was about thirteen. Up until that point, I was just like the rest of you. I thought Michael Myers was nothing more than a face used to sell less than reputable stories. It wasn’t until my mother told me every detail that I truly understood what lurked behind the black eyes of that mask.
When the police discovered the bodies, it seemed that the whole neighborhood, my mother included, turned up to watch from the sidelines. Most of the people lining the sidewalk were still wearing Halloween costumes. As the first body was taken from the house on a gurney with a sheet draped over it, the crowd began to realize the weight of what had happened. All voices were hushed as the night air was filled only with the sound of wind and tumbling leaves. One by one, the bodies were pulled from the house. Gradually, local news vans swarmed the area. By this time, my mother and her friends had returned home.
It wasn’t until later in the night that they captured Michael Myers. Apparently, he had been shot by his psychiatrist while attempting to flee. As two police officers took the injured man towards a police car, he was approached by the cameraman of a smaller news station. My mother said that when he approached the officers, he asked them to take Michael’s mask off. To this day, she still can still remember what happened next with vivid detail. One of the officers grabbed onto the top of the mask and slowly lifted it off. What the camera saw next was the face of no man but living proof that Satan himself walks this Earth. My mother recalled him looking like any other man you might see walking down the street. It wasn’t until she looked at his eyes that she realized what Michael really was. Burning deep inside those seemingly empty eyes was something she can still only describe as pure evil.
Now to some of you, that sounds like a cliché, but I want you all to stop and think for a moment. Close your eyes and try to imagine this. Think about what it must be like for a person to be purely evil. I’m not talking about cruel intentions. I’m talking about a complete lack of remorse and no compassion for human life. Imagine what a person must be like to see a human being as nothing more than a tally to add to the scoreboard.”
Ms. Davis scrolled the computer screen once more until an image of a man flashed on the screen. He stared into the camera with a blank expression.
“Many of you know Michael Myers as a man in a mask from all those tv shows, but very few, if any at all, have actually seen what he truly looks like. Trying to sell a human face as evil didn’t work as well as the mask. To this day, the people of Haddonfield still fear that face. Although some fear it more than others, it seems that everyone understands what feasted on the innocence of their town all those years ago.”
She scrolled the screen to the bottom of the web page. The last article was dated as being published a couple of years after the murders.
“This was the last article that any of those magazines published about Michael. It was almost as if by the following week, the world had forgotten about him. He was now in prison, and the country moved on to the next sickening story that satisfied their hunger for disgust. However, the nightmare wasn’t over for Haddonfield. Everyone in town knew that Michael was in prison, but that hardly did anything to settle their nerves. He had broken out once, so the fear that he would do it again lingered over the town. To this day, some residents still fear that he will return. This is the difference between Haddonfield and the rest of the country. Everyone else got their sick kicks watching ‘news’ stories about him, while Haddonfield lived in his shadow for years to come.
When I was growing up, the fear of Michael Myers had dwindled some, but still had a strong presence over our town. No one took enjoyment from hearing his name or reading about his killings. Parents set strict curfews for their children. They acted as if Michael could easily appear from anywhere and unleash Hell upon the town once more. None of you can know what it’s like to grow up in fear of something so evil that just the sheer mention of his name would send a chill down your spine and make your stomach churn. There was always the lingering feeling that someone was following you or that someone was watching through your bedroom window. This wasn’t like being afraid of a monster in your closet. In our case, the monster had walked the streets, and you could still see the footprints.
To the rest of the country, Michael was just a face. To Haddonfield, he was a horrific evil who still cast a shadow over the town. Sadly, the media couldn’t exactly sell our view of what he really was. So instead, they turned him into a gimmick until there was hardly any truth to his story. With time, I’ve learned that an exaggerated lie sells better than the plain truth.”
Ms. Davis stopped talking and studied the class. Some girls had shrunk back in their seat while others were nervously glancing around. Even some of the boys seemed to be on edge. The discussion had begun with the class listening eagerly, but slowly devolved into an understanding of true evil. Some had handled it better than others, but even the strongest had been broken.
“This is why I don’t talk about Haddonfield around other people. They see Michael Myers as nothing more than a novelty meant to fill late-night time slots and be a brief discussion topic over drinks. To us, he still walks the streets of our little town. He still watches people through their windows at night. He still waits in the shadows to claim his next victim.”
She scrolled back to the image of an unmasked Michael Myers and zoomed in on his eyes until they filed the screen.
“When the Haddonfield Sheriff was interviewed about that night, he talked about his discussions with the psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. According to him, Dr. Loomis had stated that in all the years he had observed Michael, he was never really looking at him. Instead, Michael was looking past everything, looking at that night in 1978.”
Ms. Davis glanced back at the screen. Even after all these years, the sight of his gaze managed to fill her with an unsettling sense of dread.
“My mother has told me numerous times over the years what she saw in his eyes that night on the television. At that moment, Michael wasn’t looking into the camera. He was looking past that, and what he saw was another night… the night he would return to Haddonfield.”
A single tear escaped her eye and rolled down her cheek. She quickly wiped it with the back of her sleeve before turning to the class.
“In some ways, though, it’s almost as if he never left…”
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