The three grew up together. They were in the same kindergarten, and remained in the same schools—even classes, up until the incident. They used to be the best of friends.
Yes, they used to.
“Who’s that?” Cuddled up in a tiny corner of the room, little Mitsu asked. She was pointing a tiny finger at the man who had just entered the classroom. He appeared to be in his fifties, with graying hair and crinkles around his eyes. There was a cold demeanor about him that made the little ones a bit uncomfortable.
“Mr. Jaeger, I think,” Allyce answered, somewhat unsure.
“It’s Mr. Jaeger,” Hazen confirmed. “I saw his name today, before coming into the classroom. He’s Mr. Dolphus Jaeger.”
Mitsu mumbled the new teacher’s name under her breath, over and over again, like she had just eaten something bitter and was trying to get the taste out of her mouth.
“Good morning, class,” Mr. Jaeger said, squinting his already-small eyes at the class of small children. The children stood up and greeted him back, bowing their heads in the process.
“We’re going to learn about ancient civilizations today,” Mr. Jaeger continued, not seeming to care whether the children were listening—they were, though, since this was the first time he’d made an appearance. The man opened a brick-thick book, and began reading from it, saying numerous words that the kids could not understand. Eventually, Mitsu yawned.
Mr. Jaeger had seemed so engrossed in his recitation that none of the little ones thought he was paying attention to them at all, but this was proved to be wrong when Mitsu let out the first yawn. The man stopped reading all at once, and squinted at the little girl. The expression on his face made little Mitsu freeze in fear. At the same time, a book from the bookshelf behind her fell onto the floor with a loud thud. It was a picture book, like many others in the room. The book’s pages turned, by an unseen force, to one particular page. Hazen, Allyce, and Mitsu turned around to see it.
“Pay attention when I am speaking” was the only line on that page. However, Mitsu had yet to learn all the words in that line, and so she glanced sideways at Allyce, who read it out loud.
After that, a deafening silence filled the room, one of horror, as Mr. Jaeger merely continued glaring, not even bothering to say whatever he had in mind.
“Carrying on,” Mr. Jaeger announced, and went on reading. Although it was still as difficult to comprehend what he was saying, nobody complained in any way—not even with a quiet yawn.
Another time, one of the boys forgot to bring his homework to school. The homework itself was—understandably—hard enough to finish. The poor boy went, almost trembling, to the front of the classroom, reporting his mistake to Mr. Jaeger.
The whole class dropped all they were doing, their eyes on the two.
It was the same squinting eyes, the same solemn tranquility. This time, it wasn’t the bookshelf that became odd—or any furnishings in the room, in fact. The student himself was lifted of f the ground by a few inches, as if a board he had been standing on had floated upwards.
After this incident, naturally, there was not another child, ever again, that forgot to bring homework.
But that was only the beginning.
Mr. Jaeger’s patience was extremely limited, especially when it came to quizzes and exams. The abovementioned paranormal occurrences soon became trivial matters. It didn’t take long for Allyce, Mitsu, and Hazen to notice that the class would not survive much longer if Dolphus Jaeger continued to be their teacher.
It was only three months into the school year when the first student got hurt. She had forgotten a concept regarding ancient China, as reflected on the test paper. It happened to be a term that Mr. Jaeger had repeatedly stressed on in class, and so she was punished for forgetting it—even though it was monstrous enough that kindergarten children were given written exams on such serious topics.
Red whiteboard markers automatically began writing the following words on the board: SO WHAT IF YOU ARE A GIRL? A TERRIBLE MISTAKE WILL HAVE YOU PUNISHED FOR ITS OWN SAKE.
A stamp flew from the teacher’s desk and knocked the girl to the ground. She yelped as she fell, but was otherwise too scared to say a word.
All the while, all Mr. Jaeger did was stand there at the front of the classroom.