Empty Seats

He glances approvingly over the neatly typed list of names in strict alphabetical order, pinned down on paper, just the way he prefers them. Here they’re manageable, silent and well-behaved, unlike their owners, prowling the school corridors, rowdy and loud.

So many names...his finger runs down the list, lips tightening or relaxing into a rare smile as he reads.
A new school year. Everything bright with possibilities. Then the phone rings and he listens to the bored voice tell him what happened the night before. He picks up a pen and slowly scores through two names.

The first to fall.

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