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The school board president folded his hands together. “We’re in agreement, then.”

“Yes,” Laura said. “Her clothing is far too revealing.”

“Extremely inappropriate,” Frank added between sips of coffee. “This is a school, not a night club.”

The president nodded. “Very true, very true. I tell ya one thing: if my boy was in her class, I’d demand that he be moved. These are kids! They don’t need to see her parading around in yoga pants and low-cut blouses and goodness knows what else!”

The door to the meeting hall shook in its hinges. The windows hissed and rattled.

The president turned to Mary. Before he could tell her to take care of the nuisance, the door flew open. Its doorknob smashed through the nearby drywall.

“Never mind, I got it,” he said. He grunted his way out of his chair, stomped across the room, and paused at the threshold.

Outside, it was raining blood again. Blood and phlegm. The sidewalk that ran from the administration building to the elementary annex was slick with the pink-green sludge.

The slurghs were more active than normal tonight. They slithered through the parking lots. They played monkey in the middle with the heads of small children. They climbed the walls in twos and threes, leaving trails of smoldering mucus behind them. On the rooftops, slurghs clawed at each other with blood-encrusted talons.

The president slammed the door. He returned to the group at the table.

“My apologies,” he said. “Let’s get back to what’s important. Now, as far as Miss Miller is concerned, are there any comments before we vote?”

The eastern window shattered. A slurgh pressed its scaly, dripping face to the hole and flicked its tongue against the jamb. Mary approached the window and shooed him away. She found an old bulletin board against the wall and dragged it over to block the view.

Frank shrugged. “Nothin’ that hasn’t been said. Her little outfits are absolutely unacceptable.”

Laura had to yell to make her voice heard over the roars and death-rattles of the slurghs and their victims. “She doesn’t provide a healthy environment for the kiddos! And that’s what we’re here for, right?!”

There was an explosion nearby. Sounded like a slurgh chomping through the gas tank of another school bus.

The president cleared his throat. “Agreed. Let’s vote, people. All in favor? Those opposed?”

The hands were raised, and Mary counted yeas and nays. She counted nays, anyway. She scribbled into a notebook, double-checked her tally, and shook her head.

“The motion to grant tenure is denied,” the president said. “I’m confident we made the right decision. We can rest easy knowing our children are safe.”


Justin Short lives in Missouri. His fiction has appeared in places like DarkFuse Magazine, Crimson Streets, Broken Pencil Magazine, and Dear Abby. Find out more online.