Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The water closet gurgled alarmingly but she had no time to call the handyman.
Madame Pilon rounded the corner and almost tripped on the small and delicate figure of Emilie.
“Oh, dear, do you need to use the chamber?” she asked, for the use of Francais was one way she instilled higher culture, an awareness of a greater world into her young charges.
Emilie was about seven.
“No, Madame,” the lisping, half-whisper came in reply.
“Well, what is it, then?” Madame Pilon asked.
Emilie’s hand came up and she was about to suck her thumb, something Madame Pilon would not abide in her classes.
“Please don’t do that,” said Madame Pilon. “Come along then, we must begin the class.”
“I don’t want to,” said Emilie, turning her face away, and then looking back.
She clung to Madame Pilon’s legs, the top of her head obscured by the floating, shimmering tutu the madame wore when instructing.
Madame Pilon gently tried to pry her off.
“Emilie! What is the matter?” asked Madame Pilon.
“Marjorie’s being bad,” said Emilie, sucking her thumb in earnest. “I don’t like her anymore.”
“Oh, well, don’t you worry, we’ll soon put a stop to that,” Madame Pilon assured the child. “Come along now, let’s go dance and have some fun.”
Holding on to Madame Pilon’s left hand, Emilie struggled manfully to resist, and to hold Madame Pilon from going into the studio.
“Emilie!” gasped Madame Pilon. “What is the matter with you?”
“She’s a vampire,” said Emilie in a breathless revelation.
Madame Pilon threw her head back and laughed.
“Oh, Emilie! You are so precious,” she said, patting the wide-eyed child on the top of the head.
Dragging the child along the hardwood flooring of the hallway, with her little slipper-clad feet forlornly scrabbling in protest, Madame Pilon rounded the corner, laughing and giggling and trying to jolly the child along.
Emilie, clearly frightened or kicking up a fuss for some reason, wriggled and pulled and struggled to get away. Madame Pilon would have none of such misbehaviour in her school.
“Now, you must participate in the class, Emilie,” she said. “I don’t want to get in trouble with your mommy!”
“No! No!” cried Emilie, tears streaming down her round face. “I don’t want to!”
Madame Pilon pulled Emilie into the room, almost over-balancing herself, and turning, gently pushed the little girl over in the general direction of the long wall with its mirrors and the bar.
Faces in the mirrors regarded her in horror from all sides.
The silence was horrendous.
A cluster of little girls huddled in the far corner, faces white, and a deathly stillness hung over them.
Monseiur Arpeggio lay on the highly polished parquet, beside his piano, in an ever-widening pool of bright red blood. His dead eyes stared accusingly at the slowly turning ceiling fan as if to ask one final question.
Madame Pilon stood rigid in shock, staring at the smeared, wet, bloody little red footprints on the floor. Her mouth opened to scream. She heard a snuffling sound behind her and she spun around.
Marjorie was there, with dark red stains all over her normally pristine tutu. Her face was red and wet, and covered in gore.
She had a wild look in her eyes. Madame Pilon’s hand flew up to her mouth, staring at the unthinkable, the incomprehensible.
Marjorie took two steps and was upon her, clinging, clambering, crawling up her front…Madame Pilon screamed at the strength of the little girl, and the look in her eyes, and the fangs, and the blood all over the place.
Madame Pilon screamed, and screamed and screamed, but there was nothing to be done about it.
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