This is chapter one of the sequel to ‘Murder in the School’, which is available in the Kindle Store as an e-book. You can buy it here:
Spring Comes to Primrose Primary School
Saturday March 12th 1999.
“Take that, you bitch,” came a voice full of hate, and Ms Althea Gardner, the Head Teacher of Primrose Primary School, in the urban sprawl known as Langwitch, came crashing down in the shower cubicle in the corner of her newly appointed office. As she fell, she gashed her leg and hurt her back. Her assailant used the same statuette, which Althea herself had used to despatch her friend and lover Alex during the Christmas holidays. The attacker rendered a blow to the side of Althea’s head, which caused her to black out as she fell. She was left for dead. However, the blow didn’t kill her and her attacker ran off before Althea came round.
Just before Christmas, Althea Gardner, Head teacher of Primrose Primary School in Langwitch, discovered that her paramour, Alex, was cheating on her with a mystery lover. Althea became empowered with rage and struck out at Alex with a statuette, causing her to fall down dead at her feet in the Head teacher’s office. It was a crime of passion.
To hide the body was a top priority and Althea achieved that by dragging it across the playground and into the boiler house, using a key she had stolen from the Caretaker’s keying. Gerald, the caretaker, was the only person who went in to the boiler house as a rule and he couldn’t get in because he couldn’t find his key.
After Christmas, Gerald used a ladder to climb up and look through the little window into the boiler house and there he saw the body of an unidentifiable woman (Alex) in the gloom. Gerald loved going into the boiler house to be on his own and wouldn’t accept that the body would rob him of his privacy so he made plans to get rid of it. Painstakingly he chopped it up and burnt it in the furnace, then cleared up every trace, or so he thought, and pretended nothing had ever happened. So far he had got away with it…but the Ka of Alex Simmons was still around causing mischief.
Althea Gardner had many enemies in the school. She swept in with an electric broom in September 1998 and using modern management techniques, commenced the instigation of a total “shake-up” of the existing staff. One by one she bullied the staff until they left, but there was another motive for Althea’s arrival at Primrose Primary School. She was placed there to effect the total destruction of the school so that in January, when the school inspectors arrived, the school would be seen to fail and then be closed. If the school was closed, the Local Education Authority would save a lot of money and if Althea was successful in closing the school, whilst appearing to make it succeed and improve, then she would be given a prestigious job in the office next door to her lover, Alex.
In the short while between September and Christmas, Alex fell in love with her boss, the Officer in Charge of Governors, and together they were plotting to leave Langwitch together. When Althea discovered that Alex was being unfaithful, she lost all sense of reason and put an end to Alex.
Now – March 1999.
As Althea regained consciousness, she found herself, naked and very shaken, slumped awkwardly at the base of the cubicle with water running over her bruised body. For a short while she wondered where she was, remembering an outdoor shower in Marrakech, where she had spent some happy times with Alex in years gone by.
“Where am I? What the hell…Oh my God, I’m bleeding and my head, oh my head…”
She pulled her thoughts together and sat up painfully. Her leg hurt and the gash on the front shin, was quite deep and bleeding. She grabbed a towel and started mopping. There is no doubt that Althea collected enemies like some people collect stamps in the short time since September, when she first arrived at Primrose Primary School. Any one of these enemies could have been responsible for the attack.
As she sat in a wet, feeble heap with the large white towel against her wounds, her eyes scanned her large office. She could see her desk and on it she could see the mail. Amongst the mail was the dreaded result of the Ofsted Inspection, which had taken place at the beginning of January. The Ofsted inspectors had descended upon the school like an unkindness of ravens and caused stress and distress in every classroom of the school. Althea clawed herself up into a standing position and made her way over to the desk. She felt quite fizzy and dizzy.
“I must get some clothes on; where is my underwear, where did I put it?”
Althea was confused.
“Where is my dress, ah, there it is. I wish my leg would stop bleeding. It’s turned the towel red…”
She rambled on, shivering from shock and cold.
“Someone hit me, who would do that? I haven’t got any enemies.”
But she had, lots of them.
When she was dressed, Althea sat in her chair at the desk and tried to restore her composure. She routed through the aggression of post on the desk, looking for the envelope containing the inspection results.
“Have we passed the inspection? What good would that be, now that Alex is dead? We had such plans, such wonderful plans for our future and now, whether the school passes or fails, and there is no future for Alex, no future for me. How I am undone! Why did I let my temper get the better of me? Alex, forgive me, darling Alex, I didn’t mean to kill you. Please Alex, please, please.”
Althea started sobbing. Tears washed through her fingers as finally, the enormity of the situation she found herself in, crashed into her thoughts.
The letter was at the bottom of the pile of mail. Althea picked it up but as she did so she felt her consciousness slipping before she could open it. She slithered to the floor and lay still. By the time she was found, the parents and protestors had all departed from the school field leaving a mountain of litter behind them.
The dignitaries had gone home and peace reigned once more at Primrose Primary School, or did it? Hardly! It was Mrs. Wales, the General Assistant, who discovered Althea in her office.
“Ms Gardner, the field is clear… oh hell, what has happened in here? Althea, what’s wrong?”
Mrs. Wales rushed across to the prone body of Althea Gardner and saw the blood on her head and her leg. She was horrified. It was obvious that Althea had been attacked.
“Somebody has hit her but who and what with?”
She looked around the room and saw the statuette lying on the floor by the shower cubicle.
“Better not touch it,” she thought.
She telephoned for an ambulance because she didn’t like the look of the Head Teacher. She was concussed and needed expert attention. Mrs. Wales stayed with her until the ambulance came and then accompanied her in the ambulance to the Accident and Emergency Department of Langwitch General Hospital.
The protest was over. Parents and protestors, campaigning to prevent the school field being sold off by the council, returned to their homes.
Mrs. Manipulator, the full time secretary, picked up the letters on Ms. Gardner’ desk and opened them. She opened the letter with the Ofsted crest on it and spread out the report on the desk. She scanned it quickly and said:
“Oh, oh, oh!”
She ran down the corridor to find Mrs. Phillips, the Deputy Headteacher.
“Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Phillips, it’s arrived, it’s here, the results.”
Her high-heeled shoes clip clopped on the highly polished floor of the school corridor as she ran to deliver the important letter.
Comment: So what will the letter say? Will the school pass it’s Ofsted Inspection? What do you think? and has Ms Gardner, the Headteacher got her comeuppence at last?
As in life, not everything is that simple, is it! Not every murderer is caught and sometimes one murder creates the perfect conditions for another.