Ch 11. High School Ritual: The Straight-A Student

Four high school students encounter an evil spirit. Thoroughly cliched and hopelessly derivative.


After yet another night of barely sleeping, Chad dropped into his seat in first period English. He rubbed his eyes and laid his head on the desk. He hadn’t gone to any football practice or even partied a little. To pass the hours when he couldn’t sleep, he did his schoolwork.

The teacher walked up and down the aisles, handing back the graded tests. She stopped in front of his desk and threw his test at him.

“The principal wants to speak to you later.” He opened his eyes. A+. His lids closed up.

He opened his eyes again and almost tore the paper when he grabbed it. A+. A+?? How??

He stood up and waved to the teacher. “Hey, Mrs. S?! I gotta go now—I gotta see the principal right now!” He took his paper and ran out of the room.

Chad didn’t even knock on the principal’s door—he burst right in without any greeting or small talk.

“I didn’t cheat!!” he cried.

The dean of students happened to be seated with the principal. “Chad?” he asked. “What is this all about? You were accused of cheating?”

The principal waved his hand. “No, no, Chad is not accused of cheating.” He looked directly at Chad. “I was planning on speaking to you about this later, but since you’re both here, let’s do it now.

“Chad, we know you didn’t cheat. We know you’re a very good football player—our best, as a matter of fact—and your academic record has always demonstrated that. But because of your drastic improvements as of late, I regret to inform you, we are revoking your football scholarship.”

“What???”

“Chad,” he continued, folding and squeezing his hands, “you’ve been paying attention in class and completing your homework on time. You’re raising your hand. You just got an A+ on your test. For goodness’ sake, Chad, you did an extra-credit assignment!”

The dean’s jaw dropped.

The principal nodded to the dean, and turning back, said, “We don’t understand what’s causing this personality change, Chad, but it is utterly incompatible with a football scholarship. We applaud your academic efforts, and we urge you to continue, but we must nevertheless rescind it.”

Chad stood up and straightened his chair. He stood quietly for a moment, carefully folding his test in half and smoothing the crease.

“Very well then, sir. I bid you gentlemen thanks for your time.” He bowed his head slightly and exited the room.

He returned to class, hoping he hadn’t missed anything important.

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