Get Better Soon

Get Better Soon

by Michael S. Collins

May 22nd
Dear Miss Stevenson,
Please put your feet up, and get better soon. The doctors tell me you had a lucky escape, and should mend in no time. Please accept this collection of get well soon cards, from the children and staff. I’ve arranged them, taped to each page of this journal. You don’t need to be an Arts teacher to do that! Now, you rest up, let the nurses spoil you, and I’ll see you in a few days.
Best wishes,
Charlie (headmaster Charlie, not the janitor. Though he sends his wishes)
P.S. Sorry to hear about Dave. Terrible luck, him dying.

* * *

May 5th
Dear Mrs S,
Sorry to hear you’re not well, please to get better soon!
Lots of love,
Linda(P3)

* * *

May 5th
Dear Mrs S,
Please get well soon!
Love,
Janey(P1)

* * *

May 6th
Hey Ms S!
Imagine nearly dying hiking. Cool! I’ve always wanted to go hiking. Wish mum would let me. Get better soon; the substitute is a bloody nightmare. Sorry to hear about Mr S, Dad heard about it down the pub, said he was friendly. Take care.
Jack (P7)

* * *

 I had a dream you were dead and I was scared then I woke up and you were not dead you were dying then you nearly died you didn’t die I’m so glad you didn’t die you’re my favourite teacher please get better soon take care
(Someone forgot to sign this.)

* * *

May 9th
Dear Mrs S,
Thanks for saving my sister.
Best wishes
Cendrine(P3)

* * *

May 9th
Dear Mrs Stephenson,
Is it true that you took on a monster with twelve fangs and pointed claws? Cool. I heard it from Jamie. We don’t have many monster killers in the school.
Best wishes
Jack(P6)

* * *

May 12th
Dear Julie,
Words cannot express my sorrow at what happened. The school sent three teachers and thirty children on the outward-bound expedition. We lost seven children and one teacher. I am told you are responsible for saving the life of every child who returned to Glasgow. I am sorry about Dave, but I know you loved each other deeply, and that his…sacrifice will linger. Keep in mind, the parents don’t hold you responsible.
Best wishes,
Patricia Dunn,
Co-Chair of the PTA

* * *

May 14th
Dear Julie Stevenson,
Resign! Children died under your supervision.
Yours,
Cecilia Fairgreave
Co-Chair of the PTA

* * *

May 22nd
Dear Miss Stevenson,
Take no notice of the previous letter. No idea why I included it. The school backs you 100%. I was there; I saw how you protected us. Protected me. Take care.
Best,
Charlie (Headmaster, not Janitor)

* * *

May 10th
Dear Mrs Stevenson,
The Headmaster has asked me to send wishes, Mrs S. I’m afraid to tell you I still have bad dreams. I still see that thing with red eyes. Is it really dead?
Best,
Janey(P7)

* * *

May 17th
Patient recovering.
Rescind DNR.
Ignore patient comments about “monsters”.
Memory badly altered.
Signed,
[consultant doctor]

* * *

May 21st
Dear Mrs S,
I hope you are on the mend. I’ve been told your memory isn’t great just now, and is unlikely to return. As it was you who helped get me a place at St Ninian’s, and I was on the mountain, I feel I should try and explain what happened, best I can.

We reached Nevis camp site with no problems, unless you count trying to set up tents, and awoke the next morning fresh to take on the mountain. You and the Headmaster had an argument about which route to take. You thought that, as we were children, the walking route made sense. The Headmaster wanted to go up the scree.

We went up the tourist path as you suggested, but we were soon lead off the path while you argued with your husband and found ourselves in the no man’s land between safe route and experienced route. It was on the rocky climb back to the path that the headmaster picked up what we all saw was an engraved stone. It had Gaelic on it, too. “Bidh mi a dhion bho chron bheinn.” The Headmaster pocketed the thing, and we tried to continue up to the top.

Getting to the top was the easy bit, it was getting back down which proved tricky. The road seemed to meander, like the mountain itself tried to get us lost. By night, we were no further from the top than when we had been hours previously. Some other kids were scared, so you sang to keep up their hopes. That’s when the snow came.

Only, this didn’t feel like snow, it burned to the touch, and the wind seemed to have the aspect of a furious teacher. You and Mr S insisted we kept walking down the mountain, the headmaster wanted to return to the top and camp there.  We kept going.

I don’t know who went missing first. But I do recall when the mountain took Jay, dragging him below the rocks and stones as if they were quicksand. It horrified to see, and we all began to realise the mountain was alive, and after us.

The conditions started overwhelming me by this point, so I missed the bit where the beast showed up. But my mum heard the story from the janitor, and most of the mums – bar Miss Fairgreave, you know, Jay’s mum – all think you were marvellous. Gerard says the rocks formed into a sort of reddish monster, and charged towards our group. At this point, you and Mr S walked ahead of the children, and refused to yield. It got to Mr S first, and he died, and you still refused to let it get to us. That you took that engraved rock from the headmaster’s pocket, and threw it at the monster.

That things became calmer, and the rest of us got away safe.

I’ve spent a week in hospital myself, nothing serious, smoke inhalation, I guess. I’ll be back on my feet soon. I wanted you to know that everyone knows you saved us. Thank you for being a hero.
Best,
Ray(P7)

* * *

May 21st
Dear Mrs S,
The Headmaster has informed us that there is an engraved stone in your possessions at the hospital, which is stolen property. The Headmaster has also pointed out your carelessness in looking after the children in your care, and so we wish to inform you of a disciplinary meeting in a week’s time.
Best wishes
Linda
PTA Chairperson

* * *

May 23rd
Dear Miss Stephenson,
Thank you for bringing the children down safely. If we ever have to face a creature again, I’ll be right by your side this time. Thank you for accepting the blame, even if you were in a coma for the last three weeks. That inscription, incidentally, I translated it. It’s weak Gaelic, but loosely, it means “I will protect the mountain from harm”. Quite curious, I thought.
Best wishes
Charlie

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Michael S. Collins
Michael was born in a building since demolished in a universe thankfully still standing. Getting older by the day, he has writing for Diabolic Tales and the Celestial Toyroom, and was formerly a Fortean Times book reviewer. Michael lives in Glasgow with a daughter and one wife, but no pet llama…yet.

3 thoughts on “Get Better Soon

  1. The structure was both novel and intriguing, although it led me to expect something which focused more on the ironic and satirical, rather than the reveal of a monster.

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