Residential Horrors

This place is both school and residence,
where I have come to live and work –

‘Live’ is a stretch – these old walls hold
secrets, tension dissuading recreation.

The work is meant to be education, but
survival seems to be what we are learning,

the students and I, shivering in the isolation
of this cold setting – fields of rolling green

within our view torment us – the open air
as inaccessible as the homes we long for.

Inside, the heat is stifling and the constant
clatter of keys and rustle of gowns, starched

and unforgiving, remind us of the permanency
of our stay – perhaps, I am just too young,

too fresh to be a teacher here – have visited
this place before in the dream time, known

it’s horrors, am all too awake now, certain
that the hidden places exist, that evil lives

within these walls, is watching us, waiting –
have seen movement behind shutters, where

none was warranted, heard breathing at the
grates in the baseboard, am skin-crawling

paranoid, everywhere eyes, ears, but no voices.
All too afraid to speak – two children are missing.

The authorities have investigated; say the girl
ran off with some fellow, and that the boy went

home, but I know this not true – runners are brought
back and punished into submissions, and home is

not an option – something sinister is at work – my
heart aches.  She was such a bright child, optimistic,

despite oppression, a light in our days, I cannot imagine
where she would have run to other than her own demise,

uncharacteristic really.  And he, tall and strong – a silent
oak among us, gentle and peaceful – he endured much;

why is he suddenly gone?  I cannot stand by, and let this
happen, must investigate – will myself to pry the grate

loose, peer beyond into the murky space below – spy
concrete, a warehouse like cellar – a single light bulb

burning in a corner, interrogation style. I shudder, am
compelled to learn more, search for an entrance,

encounter locked doors, my paranoia peaking – there
is movement – a man emerging from the horrid depths

an authority figure;  I sigh with relief – I am not alone
in my suspicions – those in charge are on the case.

(photo from globalnews.ca)

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