School of the Dead

School of the Dead by Avi Read Free Book Online

Book: School of the Dead by Avi Read Free Book Online
Authors: Avi
means . . . ?”
    â€œThe school collapses and we all die.” Peter laughed.
    The thought I’d had before returned:
There’s a lot of death attached to this school.
    The day was long, but I got through. At Penda, at three o’clock you were supposed to check in at homeroom before leaving. But when I did, Batalie asked me if I would mind staying after school, saying, “We should go over some things.”
    Knowing I was heading home to an empty apartment, I said, “Sure.”
    â€œHave you picked a sport?” he began.
    I shook my head.
    â€œYou’ll need to. Along with a Wednesday club.”
    Jessica must have overheard the remark, because as she left the room, she looked at me and smiled. I was flattered by her interest.
    â€œI’ll be right back,” said Mr. Batalie. “I want to get things you’ll need. Take a look at the class portraits. Good way to know people.” He left the room. In the hallway I saw him chat briefly with Jessica and then walk off.
    I was alone—except for Uncle Charlie, who was looking at me from the back of the room. “Was this place as creepy when you were here?”
I called to him.
    When he faded away, I muttered, “Thanks.”
    I stood by the picture wall, which had a headshot of every student in the class. Under the pictures there was a banner, which read:
    Beneath each picture was a sheet of paper on which people had scrawled comments.
    Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Great response paper. Rich
    Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Loved your polka-dot neck scarf. Lucy
    Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Terrific soccer player. Mia
    There were many messages for some people. I guessed they were the popular kids. Others had fewer. Under Mac’s picture, one remark:
Your ideas are curious. Jessica
    Under Jessica’s picture, it read:
The way you look at things is cool. Mac
    A second line:
You have original ideas. Mac.
    I got it: The Weird History Club people kept to themselves, or were forced to. “The freaks,” as Peter had said.
    I checked for a picture of that blond, curly-headed boy, the one I kept seeing, or thought I kept seeing. I didn’t find him, but there was that blank space. Was it Austin’s? The kid who disappeared? Was it going to be mine? Sort of strange to think I was going to take a disappeared kid’s place.
    Batalie returned, papers in hand. Noticing where I was standing, he said, “I change the comment-board sheets every week. Please note: only signed, positive remarks.Anonymous, negative stuff is forbidden.”
    â€œIs there a picture of everyone?” I asked.
    â€œAbsolutely. Right, I’ll need to put your picture up. Let’s take one.” He set the papers on his desk, pulled out a phone, and aimed it at me. “Smile.”
    â€œI don’t, much.”
    â€œWell, starting a new school in a new town is hard. And someone close to you died. So sorry.”
, I asked myself,
do all these people know about Uncle Charlie?
    I said, “There’s one kid’s picture I don’t see.”
    â€œWho’s that?”
    â€œI don’t know his name. Blond, curly-haired boy.”
    Batalie looked up sharply, alarm in his eyes.
    â€œYou know,” I said. “The kid who looks like the painting in the school office.”
    â€œOh, the Penda Boy.” Batalie forced a laugh. “We like to say his
Penda, but not in class.”
    I was about to reply,
But I keep seeing him
checked myself, since I wasn’t really sure I
seen him
Instead, I said, “Mr. Batalie, I’m replacing someone named Austin, right?”
    The alarm in Batalie’s eyes intensified.
    I said, “What . . . what happened to him?”
    Batalie turned to his desk. “Let’s go over some things. Have a

Similar Books

Neighbourhood Watch

Lisette Ashton

Keep the Window Open for Me

Elizabeth Ventsias

Tek Power

William Shatner

Plains of Passage

Jean M. Auel

Dead Sea

Tim Curran

Waking Sarah

Krystal Shannan

Tantric Techniques

Jeffrey Hopkins

Sight Reading

Daphne Kalotay