By Beth W., 7th Grade
It was her first day as a lunch monitor at St. Golding Academy. As Mary stood in front of her closet, she had reached for the familiar black dress but hesitated and chose a navy blue one instead. For the past two years, she had worn black every day to mourn the deaths of her husband and only son. But today, Mary had finally taken her mother’s advice and dressed differently.
The red brick school where she now worked was just down the street. The once neat street was covered in rubble and fragments of what used to be people’s homes. She walked quickly for fear that memories would come spilling to her again.
Once inside the building, the administrator eyed her suspiciously. The last lunch monitor had just been caught smoking inside the janitor’s closet.
“Follow me,” she snapped.
After a brief tour around the cafeteria and an explanation of her duties, the administrator strutted out just as the boys were running and pushing each other through the door. She was taken aback.
A boy with red hair and freckles sat down amongst the students chattering with animation. He was crowded by curious students waiting for an answer.
“Is it true that you were on an island without grownups?”
“Did two boys die?”
“Did you kill them?”
“You killed them, didn’t you?”
The boy shook his head, cut another piece of his meatloaf, and placed it carefully in his mouth. She had remembered now, something about a group of boys being stranded on an island. It had been in the newspapers after the war, but she vowed she would never look at it again.
His sidekick, sitting next to the boy, picked up his fork and shouted angrily,
“We hunted pigs! That’s all.”
After a brief moment of silence, the boy wiped his mouth with a napkin.
“Of course it happened.”
The children began to draw near, hoping to hear more of the boy’s wild adventure.
“Now, it all started when Ralph claimed to be the chief, and sent that weird one to spy on us. “
“You mean Simon?”
“Ah, yes, whatever his name is. He was about to kill Roger when I had to stab him in the back with a spear.”
The sidekick began to get this game and continued.
“Then the fat one came and went for Jack. They wrestled on the side of the cliff, and both of them almost fell off. But in the end, the fat one fell because I threw a giant rock at him.”
It angered her very much. These boys thought this was just a little game. They had no regard for his life and the consequences of their actions. Why…that was just like the war that we had. She tried to hold back her tears. She kept on replaying that day in her head, when her son’s commander had called to tell her the bad news. How she had suddenly turned cold and fainted. How, when she woke up in the hospital, only her mother was there crying quietly into her handkerchief.
The athletic boy with the melancholy eyes sitting on the other side of the lunch room was now the center of attention. He turned pale and tried to think of something to say. Boys from all over pointed their stubby fingers at him hoping for an explanation.
“We’ve got to talk about this fear that we all had! Why I was frightened myself! Piggy, he was a smart and loyal friend who could have won a Nobel Prize for Great Britain if Roger hadn’t killed him. Simon, he was a kind boy and we murdered him, all of us. “
Gasps could be heard and now all eyes were diverted on Jack, waiting for a response. The boys thought it was an entertainment of sorts.
Suddenly, the students heard sobs coming from the corner of the cafeteria. The new lunch monitor had burst out crying and collapsed to the floor. The boys were stunned, looking at her oddly. Then the bell rang signaling that lunch was over. They quickly threw away their trays and trampled over her to their next class. Only Ralph stayed behind and kneeled next to the broken woman. He reached out and took her hand.