Bryan Beal


The last echo descended into the vacuum that the room now was. It was eerie and subtle. Reid Moran loved that time, that moment, when he was finally alone in his classroom and free of those who thought they were hear to learn. Looking out the window, he saw the last of his class run for the gate and home.

He packed up his pens and planning book, put them in his satchel and sat down at his desk. He caught a whiff of the hours-old coffee that was still sitting on his desk. Reid picked up the mug, took a sniff and, with a shrug, sipped a little of the cold liquid. It was always good, but it did nothing to stave of the hunger pains.

Reid caught a glimpse of one of the junior teachers waiting for her ride. He felt the pains a little more intensely. Downing the rest of the coffee, he walked out to chat with Faith Gilmore. She was wearing a pair of tight, black slacks with a floral print blouse. Her dark hair and bright blue eyes lit up when she turned and saw Reid approach. He had always been nice to her.

“Your lift late?”, Reid asked, glancing up and down the street outside the school.

“Yeah, my flatmate isn't the most punctual person around.”, Faith replied.

“Like some of our kids, huh?”, Reid commented drawing a laugh from the much younger woman. “Why don't we keep watch from my class? We can see right to the gate from there.”

“Sure. Got to be better than here.”

“I even have crappy coffee, if you like.”

“Sounds delish.”, Faith smiled as she followed Reid back to his classroom.

Reid dragged a chair from the nearby staffroom for Faith and they settled down with fresh, warm mugs.

“New flatmate might be useful.”, Reid said, smiling around his mug.

“Yeah, but she has her good points.”, Faith smiled.

“That's something, I guess.”, Reid said in mock seriousness.

Faith laughed lightly, a pleasant sound.

“It's been a rough day today, hasn't it?”, Faith said. “Actually, this week.”

“You're right. It's been weird.”, Reid watched her closely.

Faith slouched into the chair and closed her eyes as she breathed deeply, enjoying the aroma of the coffee. Her breathing evened out and deepened as she relaxed and let the week's stress leave her body.

Reid stood up quietly. He glided to stand behind Faith and started to gently massage her shoulders.

“What th...oh, that is good!”, Faith whispered, a protest choked by the soothing relaxation suffusing her body.


“Have you seen Faith Gilmore around?”, asked a worried looking woman in her beat up old Volvo, stopped outside the gate of her friend's school. Her green eyes exuded fear and stress about her friend.

“Can't say as I have. I haven't seen her since last class, sorry.”, a sympathetic Reid replied.

“If you see her, ask her to call Gayle, could you?”

“Of course.”

Gayle pulled away from the curb to continue her search. Reid watched the rear of the Volvo vanish down the street. The hunger pains were gone.

©2023, Bryan Beal