The English Teacher is a spooky story about a young girl who notices something strange about the new teacher at her school.
The Summer holidays had ended and it was the beginning of a new school year in the Czech Republic. There was a young girl in Prague who did not want to go to school. Her name was Barborka, but her friends called her Bara for short. Although she wasn’t the best student in her class, she still managed to get good grades and actually enjoyed learning new things. It wasn’t the schoolwork that she disliked, it was the teachers.
No matter how hard she had tried to behave herself, the year before, she always seemed to get into trouble with the teachers in her school. Every week, something had happened that caused her to be the object of her teachers’ anger and frustration. They would often make her stand at the front of the classroom, give her hundreds of lines to write or punish her with extra work. It made Bara dread the thought of going to school and she was worried that this year would be worse than the last.
When she arrived at school, on the first day, she was surprised to find that there was a new teacher in her English class. The English teacher was a woman in her 30s, with a sour, humorless face. Her light brown hair was done up into a bun and she had a mole on her upper lip. Bara hoped that this teacher would be different from the rest.
After lunch on Friday, as she was going back to class, Bara dropped her books in the hallway. When she bent down to pick them up, she noticed that the school janitor was staring at her legs and licking his lips. She gave him a disapproving look and pulled her skirt down over her knees.
“Creepy old man,” she muttered under her breath.
Later that day, Bara was sitting in class, listening to the English teacher ramble on about grammar and punctuation, when a girl named Verunka raised her hand. The teacher stopped in mid-sentence and pointed to the young girl.
“Verunka, do you have a question?” she asked.
“Yes Miss,” said Verunka. “Why do your moles keep changing?”
The teacher appeared suddenly confused and flustered.
“What are you talking about?” she asked.
“The moles on your face,” said Verunka. “They keep changing. On Monday, you had one mole, but on Tuesday and Wednesday you had three. Now it’s back to one again.”
All of the kids in the class began laughing. It was such a bizarre and random question.
“Your eyes must be deceiving you,” replied the teacher, angrily. “As you can plainly see, I have one mole on my face. Now, if you have nothing relevant to say, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from disrupting my classroom and keep your foolish mouth shut.”
Throughout the rest of the day, Bara noticed that the English teacher kept staring at Verunka. It seemed as if she was seething with rage and there was hatred in her eyes. At the end of class, as the other kids were leaving, the teacher called Verunka over and told her she wanted to have a word with her. Bara was just relieved that, this time, she was not the one getting in trouble.
On Monday morning, when Bara got to school, she noticed that there was one empty desk in the classroom. Verunka was absent. In fact, she didn’t turn up for school the next day, or the day after that. Bara began to wonder what had happened to her, but when she asked around, nobody seemed to know.
There was something else that was bothering Bara. She had begun paying more attention to her English teacher’s appearance, making detailed notes in the back of her book every day, and had noticed something very strange.
The teacher’s moles actually were changing.
There was no doubt about it. On Monday, she had one mole, but on Tuesday, she had two. By Wednesday, it had gone back to one mole. But that was not all. When Bara consulted her notes, she found that, on Monday, the teacher had been wearing a band-aid on her little finger. On Tuesday, the band-aid was gone, but by Wednesday, it had returned.
Bara had a sneaking suspicion that something very odd was going on.
That evening, after school finished, she decided to follow her teacher and find out where she lived. She unlocked her bike and cycled around the block a few times, until she saw her teacher’s car pulling out of the school parking lot. Bara followed the car, making sure to remain at a safe distance, until they arrived at a small apartment building in the suburbs.
The teacher parked outside the dilapidated building, walked up a flight of steps and disappeared through the front door. Bara locked her bicycle to a lamp post and was just about to go up the stairs, when she spotted the teacher coming out again, carrying a large, black plastic bag in her hand. The young girl quickly hid under the stairs and watched as the teacher came down, then went behind the apartment to dump the rubbish.
“This is my chance,” thought Bara.
Gathering her courage, she ran up the steps and slipped through the open door before the teacher returned.
She found herself standing in the kitchen of a small apartment. Looking around, she was shocked to see a woman sitting at the kitchen table with her back to her. From behind, the woman looked exactly like her teacher.
Suddenly, she heard the sound of the knob on the front door turning. Looking over her shoulder, she realized it was her teacher returning from dropping off the rubbish. Bara just had time to climb into one of the kitchen cupboards and hide before the woman saw her.
Sitting in the cupboard, afraid to make a sound, the young girl could hear the two women talking to each other in hushed tones. Then, she heard footsteps approaching and the sound of another woman’s voice as she entered the kitchen.
Peeking out through the slats in the cupboard door, Bara could see everything clearly. There were three women sitting at the kitchen table. Bara could hardly believe her eyes. It was too shocking to believe. All of them were identical.
“Triplets!” she thought to herself. “Of course! It all makes sense now. That’s why the teacher’s appearance kept changing. The three of them must be working at the school on alternate days, all of them pretending to be one woman. That’s insane!”
Just then, Bara saw a man walk into the kitchen. It was the school janitor. One by one, the women stood up, hugged him tightly and kissed him on the lips.
“Oh my God,” thought Bara. “They’re all married to one man. They’re bigamists!”
“What would you like for dinner tonight, Darling?” asked one of the teachers.
“Same as last night,” replied the janitor.
“Breast or Thigh?” she enquired.
“A nice, juicy thigh,” said the creepy old man, licking his lips.
One of the women opened the door of the refrigerator and Bara’s eyes almost popped out of their sockets. She had to cover her mouth to stifle a scream.
Hanging in the freezer was the dead body of her missing classmate, Verunka. Her hair was frozen stiff and frost lined her eyebrows and eyelashes. There was a long, thin icicle dangling from her nose. Both of her arms and one of her legs had been hacked off at the joint.
Then, out of the corner of her eye, Bara saw the janitor suddenly sit bolt upright in his chair. His head was cocked at an odd angle as he held up his nose and began to sniff like a dog.
“I smell something!” he cried. “i know that stench! It’s the scent of a young girl!”
All four of them got up and began searching the kitchen, peering under tables and throwing open cupboards. Bara cowered in her hiding place, trembling with fear as she listened to them sniffing and snorting like animals, trying to catch her scent.
Suddenly, the cupboard doors were wrenched open and she saw the school janitor standing there, surrounded by his three wives. He was drooling at the mouth at staring at her bare legs.
“Fresh meat!” he cried as he beat his chest with his fists and howled like a wolf.
“Fresh meat! Fresh meat!” echoed the women. They started grunting like pigs and began leaping around the kitchen on all fours like crazed monkeys.
The school janitor grabbed Bara by the hair, pulled her out of the cupboard and wrestled her to the ground. She tried to fight him, but he climbed on top of her and pinned her shoulders to the floor with his knees. His wrinkled mouth opened wide, revealing crooked and misshapen teeth. Saliva dribbled down from his lips and splattered against Bara’s face.
She screamed in horror and shut her eyes.
The next Monday, at school, Bara’s classmates noticed that she was missing. When she didn’t turn up for class the next day, or the day after that, they began asking around, but nobody had any idea what had happened to her. None of her classmates could have guessed that, as they sat listening to their English teacher drone on and on about verbs, nouns and pronouns, Bara’s frozen corpse was hanging in a meat locker at the teacher’s apartment and her severed limbs were in a pot, slowly simmering on the stove.