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The Blessed Sisters of the Five Wounds
More than thirty years later, I can still remember in vivid horror, the tragedy of that day. My swollen knuckles still convulse in agony at the mere thought of that unmentionable terror …
I always got to class early, in order to secure a desk in a far corner of the room. This afforded me a vantage point from which to watch for and evade, any thrown objects. The other boys filed in slowly, their heads bowed; solemnly or in fear, I am still not sure. Their eyes darted side to side, searching for hidden, black cloaked terror. They looked smart in their matching navy blue blazers and slacks, and the starched white shirts that their mothers slaved over, but were never appreciated for.
We were told the girls wore navy plaid skirts and white knee highs, but we were never quite sure that girls even existed; we were assured however, that girls were in possession of an object so lethal, that it would surely damn us straight to Hell.
They found their seats and huddled quietly. One boy coughed and was quickly shushed by the others. To bring attention to ones self could bring down wrath and ruination on all. Many, myself included, rubbed our knuckles at the thought of bringing displeasure to …THEM.
We sat in silence, with much apprehension when a low rumble was noticed. It rapidly grew. One brave soul went to the door and peered out. He turned back to us, his face a grey mask of unspeakable dread. Even as a soldier in the heat of battle, I never saw such a look of absolute fear.
“RUUUUNNNN”, he screamed, and vanished. We quickly followed suit, and emerged into a hallway choked with panic stricken students. They were streaming in one direction, the strong trampling the weak.
Just as I turned my head to discover the cause of this maelstrom, a blood curdling cry went out, “NUUUUNNSSSS”. That cry was quickly squelched beneath a high pitched gurgling hiss.
At that moment, I witnessed a sight that I shall take to my grave, and I pray that no one, not even the French, shall ever see. At first, it appeared to be a solid wall of black bearing down upon us. As this fearsome wave grew closer however, I could make out individual figures. Figures clad in white wimples to symbolize our souls, habits of black to remind us of our irrevocably damned hearts. One hand clutching a Bible, the other …a ruler. With a deafening howl they sprang, as if from the depths of Hell.
Mindlessly, I took to my feet and joined the rush of stampeding students. I was borne along with the mass. Unable to guide my own direction. A chalk board eraser hissed by, only inches from my ear, quickly followed by a pointer; without the protective rubber tip. It neatly skewered a kindergartner in the back. He fell beneath the crush. I never saw him again.
I thought I had reached safety upon exiting the school, but THEY emerged behind us like stygian autumn leaves driven before a hurricane’s gales. THEY charged on, Bibles held high, rulers swinging with a force to shame a Samurai warrior.
Few survived the day now referred to as “Black Monday”. Those of us who did, still return to the spot where so many sacrificed their lives, that the rest could escape the horrific onslaught.
As for myself, the years have numbed the pain, but often I am still awakened by horrible dreams of Sally Field.
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