North Shore Horror Anthology: The School


Danger lurks in every corner. While we dream of madmen waving chainsaws in the air and other disturbing monsters, the real culprits of savagery are sometimes the most unexpected ones. That friendly neighbor who waves at you every morning with a big grin on his face – maybe he has a bunch of bodies in his basement freezer, waiting to be delicately consumed piece by piece in a series of elegant dinner parties.

The lady who rings up your purchases at the grocery store and asks about your day – is she the one who slowly poisoned her family until they all died of mysterious circumstances? Or what about that mail carrier? Is he the one breaking into houses he knows will be empty on his route and leaving bizarre stick figurines behind, like he’s obsessed with The Blair Witch Project?

Who can say with any certainty which of us is secretly a demon scratching and growling underneath the guise of a civilized human being?

Haley Wilson, New Trier High School, Class of 2010. That’s who.

Major Griffin went from unknown commodity to trailblazing teacher within a matter of months when he first started at New Trier. Students, parents, and faculty all adored the man, noting his kindness, intellect, and ability to connect with people. Women lovingly gazed at his handsome, Hollywood-destined face while men begrudgingly admitted Griffin had a certain appeal to him.

It seemed like he could do nothing wrong. Everything from his teaching competence to his impeccable fashion sense received high marks from all who encountered him. Very few people didn’t like him, but it’s worth noting at this point that those who didn’t like him could never really say why – at least in the beginning.

“I mean, knowing what we know now, I guess it’s easy to see what was so suspicious about him,” says Debbie Winchester, a mom who has seen three of her kids graduate from New Trier. “But at the time, it was very difficult to see underneath the veneer – the front – the man was putting up. If only we had known[…]”

Indeed, if only more people had realized the truth. If only more people had listened to what Haley Wilson had to say, or rather, plead. Instead, Wilson’s cries for help fell on deaf ears and blind eyes unwilling to even think about a man like Major Griffin being flawed in some way.

But to call him flawed is a criminal understatement. What he did to Wilson during her last year of high school is tantamount to torture – both physical and psychological. But perhaps the most disconcerting observation to note is the lack of action from those in a position to help her; instead of helping her, they stood by and watched her crumble into a million little pieces.

Of course, to get a full and complete grasp of exactly what happened, we should take a look at Haley Wilson’s diary, which was recovered by authorities before disappearing under sketchy circumstances. Several of her entries turn up in the leather notebook discovered on elementary school student Adrian Wozniak.

They are transcribed below (with minor editing for content and grammar).

ENTRY #221

Wow! I am finally in high school! I am super excited! But I’m a little nervous too.

Good thing a bunch of my friends are in all my classes. There are so many other kids around (am I a kid still?). I don’t know most of them. But I think everybody is nervous like me.

Had a good day today. Nice first day. One of my teachers said my last name wrong. She was like, “Um, is Williams here?”

Nobody said anything. She asked a few more times. Then she did this weird blinking thing and looked really close at the attendance sheet. Then she blushed. Then she softly said, “Excuse me. I meant is there a Wilson here?”

I felt really bad for her because some of the other kids were giggling. She looked super uncomfortable! So I tried to be nice and raised my hand and smiled at her. But she didn’t smile back. She just looked at me with a weird glance before moving on.

It made me feel kinda bad, but I’m sure it wasn’t anything.

I’m excited for tomorrow! Yay!

P.S. One of my teachers is really hot.

ENTRY #294

I still can’t believe how boring high school is. And there’s so much work, especially because it’s almost time for finals. I feel tired.

A lot of my friends and I don’t really hang out anymore. They have new friends and I have… well… my own things. I guess.

But wait! One bright note: Mr. Griffin is being super nice to me. I feel like sometimes it’s a little creepy because he’s always so nice, but I guess it’s better to have a nice teacher than a mean one.


ENTRY #358

I gave Mr. Griffin another apple today. I joked I would get him one every Friday almost a month ago.

That’s, like, four apples. He always takes it with a big smile and takes a huge bite, showing off his perfect teeth and perfect everything.

He’s so cool. Sigh.

I know it’s not right, but I wish Mr. Griffin could be my boyfriend. All the girls do, even the cool seniors that are about to graduate.

There are just so many girls who are better than me. I just wish the impossible would come true.

Crossing my fingers. Hard.

ENTRY #400

Here goes sophomore year. I wish summer had lasted longer. Still, Florida was nice. Really humid though (I know, I know, but future Haley, when you read this, I want you to never forget how sticky Florida is).

It sucks school is starting, but the worst is that Mr. Griffin won’t be my teacher this year (but he did transfer over from the East campus, which I find very interesting teehee).

We have some real chemistry. I love how he always paid attention to me when we had class discussions and he appreciated how smart I am.

He appreciated me and what I had to offer.

Maybe I can hang out with him during his office hours. Just have to figure out what they are.

ENTRY #429

Mr. Griffin and I hang out all the time. Sometimes he jokes around and calls me his secretary. He makes me blush.

Maybe he is a little uncomfortable with how much I see him though. Sometimes when I walk into the English department office and over to his desk, I see him glancing around at the other teachers who are around.

But if they look back at him, they’re usually smiling. Maybe he doesn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea though.

I know I’m too young. Sad face! 😦

ENTRY #453

I took a little break from visiting Mr. Griffin. I don’t want people getting suspicious and spreading rumors. People know I’m not in his class this year.

It’s been a couple of months and I haven’t even seen him in the hallway. I really miss him!

But I am getting super good grades in all my classes and even in Kinetic Wellness I’m being active. My parents are happy with me and my new friends like me too because I’m obviously super smart and funny.

It’s really early for me to think about college, but I guess now’s a good time to start.

(But I’m really just trying to impress Mr. Griffin.)

ENTRY #588

So Mr. Griffin and I decided we should start seeing each other. Secretly though, for obvious reasons.

We have to be really strategic about it and it can get a little complicated at times. But he said I’m finally old enough where he can be comfortable and he said he knows I had a crush on him.

I’m really excited! But sometimes I do wonder why he picked me… he could have literally anyone he wants.

I don’t think he’s trying to use me though. He’s just way too charming and nice to me.

I know he’s a good person.

ENTRY #700

This diary has been with me forever. It’s holding all my darkest secrets and nobody can ever get a hold of this. If Major (yeah, first-name basis now, deal with it!) even knew about this, he would be fucking furious.

I guess if I were in his shoes, I would be really mad too. But he won’t find this – even now, we only do things at school. It would just be even more dangerous somehow to try and meet up for coffee or a romantic date

There are only a couple of weeks left until I graduate. I can feel this weird tension just flowing off of Major’s body. He still acts the same way towards me, with his megawatt smile and tender touch, but there’s this odd edge to him.

Maybe there’s a hidden darkness inside Major – a side nobody else knows about?

ENTRY #703

So Major asks me today what I see in the future. It seems innocent enough, but he looks at me in a weird way, like he expects me to give him the answer he’s looking for. Which means, of course, that for him at least, there’s a right answer and a wrong one.

I do some “hemming” and “hawing” before I clear my throat really dramatically to indicate I get the significance of his question. I tell him once I graduate I’m going to be hanging out over the summer – with him, duh – and then I’m going to Northwestern.

He stares at me a little longer so I quickly add, “And obviously I’ll still be with you while I’m at college.”

He nods slowly and said, “Obviously.”


ENTRY #707

Okay so that was fucked up. Major smacked me in the face today.

He immediately apologized and helped me get up, but I will never forget the face he made right before he hit me. I’ve never seen someone look that twisted, that evil. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. For real.

My cheek still stings and I’m worried I’m going to have a black eye or some crazy bruise. I’m not sure how I’ll explain that, although I guess I could just stereotype the whole situation and say I fell. I don’t know what to do.

Major is becoming more and more unstable, I feel like. But nobody else can tell. He’s still putting up this front like everything is okay and he’s still the cool and handsome teacher he always was.

But he isn’t.

ENTRY #713

I made the decision to tell my best friend about my relationship with Major. She immediately twitched violently and yelped, “Oh my god! That’s insane!”

I nodded and then she excitedly started asking me dirty questions, like how he is in bed and his… size (hey, it’s my diary but I’d rather keep it somewhat clean).

Here I thought she would care about my terrible situation and instead she’s jumped right over it and now she’s asking superficial bullshit. Some friend I have.

I’m running out of options here. Graduation is right around the corner and Major is becoming more and more physically abusive. And he’s being smart about it too.

After that one time when he smacked my face and he saw how fast my cheek started to puff up and turn an alarming shade of red, I guess he learned his lesson and started to hit my body where it’s usually hidden behind at least one layer of clothing.

Sometimes it’s really small stuff like aggressively pinching my stomach or my thighs, but he’s mastered it completely. It fucking hurts like a bitch and barely leaves any mark.

Another time he “jokingly” said he was going to staple me in the chest and then he really goddamn did it. He actually slammed a stapler into my boob, the freak.

This is my last resort, but I think it’s time I talk to my parents. I don’t want to get the cops involved, but I’m worried about my safety.

ENTRY #714

I sat down with my mom and dad and told them I had something really important to tell them. They were so innocent, sitting there with concerned eyes and caring smiles on their faces. I was their perfect daughter – the one who excelled at school, athletics, and every other aspect of life.

Oh, were they in for a real treat.

I calmly told them, “You know Mr. Griffin? I’ve been in a relationship with him for the past two years. We’ve done things together. And now I’m scared, because he’s been hurting me and once I graduate, I think he might try to kill me.”

I expected a number of emotions. Anger? Sadness? Understanding? What I didn’t expect was laughter; they laughed and laughed, my dad clutching his side and howling into a sofa cushion while my mom, ever the dainty and polite lady, heartily giggled into both her hands as her cheeks flushed from the exertion.

What choice did I have but to just glare at them and wait for them to stop. If I had to be the adult here, so be it.

And yeah, eventually they did stop.

My dad whimpered, “Honey, I know you’ve had a crush on that man for almost half a freakin’ decade now, but this is really too much!”

Mom nodded in agreement and said, “Your imagine was always a real pool of zany ideas!”

And there I was, sitting stoic and poised in my chair, and I solemnly said, “I am not lying.”

Then we had like a miniature staring contest, which I won.

It started to sink in for them. They calmed down from laughing. They looked at me for a little bit in silence. Then they looked at each other.

ENTRY #715

My parents decided they should talk to the school first, see if we can resolve this in a quiet manner. But when they contacted the school, they were stonewalled. My parents got nowhere and they were constantly put on hold or transferred to another department.

This went on for hours until it became clear to us the school had no intention of indicting their most popular and competent teacher in a scandal.

We contacted the police next. I was interviewed at home (they wanted me to be “comfortable”) before I was taken to the station. I was questioned further, but I began to notice a disturbing trend: nobody seemed to actually care.

That’s the scary thing about Major’s influence; it goes far beyond the school’s proverbial fences and extends over the entire community. He’s done a lot of charity work (because of course he would) and, you know, he’s an incredible guy for the most part.

I still don’t understand what’s going on between us, like why he’s become so dark, but I also can’t understand if there’s this pressure, how is he coping with that and acting like nothing’s wrong with everyone else?

ENTRY #716

I’ve been crying for a while now. Obviously my parents have said I can’t see Major – Mr. Griffin – anymore. But I miss him. I’ve loved him for almost half a fucking decade. He did so much for me.

I wouldn’t be the writer I am now without his persistent guidance to make sure I would achieve my full potential. But I’m also not a moron; I know I can’t be with him because he’s so unstable with me. I think he’s just becoming overly possessive.

Maybe I tried too hard to get him to like me, or maybe it just worked too well. Imagine that. Out of all the girls in the world, somehow I made Major Griffin possessive of me. Normally that might be thrilling or send tingles down the back of my legs, but now I just want this to all end.

My parents and I have a weird relationship now. They barely talk to me and I have this gnawing feeling inside me that they’re going to tell me not to go to Northwestern the following fall, and instead take a year off to recover.

Also, graduation is coming up in a few days, and I get the unsettling feeling that rumors are starting to spread. It’s a small community. People talk.

And I’ll sometimes catch other kids staring at me, heads tilted like they’re thinking, “Her?”

This is all a nightmare. Meanwhile, my friends tell me Mr. Griffin has been more cheerful and upbeat than ever. Somehow he’s achieving peak “perfection” while I’m drowning in misery. Nobody has given me a life vest and I just want someone to reach out and yank me from the pitch black water.

ENTRY #721

So, I walked up to receive my degree and nobody clapped. Which is fine. We’re not supposed to clap for anyone until the end, but the tradition is we always clap for one or two kids everyone liked who weren’t necessarily the most popular in the usual way.

We didn’t clap for Kiefer Cromwell-Johnson, who passed away not too long ago in a creepy tunnel, but instead we all stood and bowed our heads in a tremendous moment of silence.

Eventually my name was called. It was quiet, as it should be, until someone in the back yelled out, “Whore!’

It echoed through the stadium (New Trier has a ton of kids – my graduating class was over a thousand) and floated up and into the air and disappeared. But not really. People shifted around uncomfortably while I yanked the diploma and quickly walked off the stage.

When I looked up to try and see if my parents were there, their seats were empty. Turns out they had left to wait in the car. I guess they’re ashamed of me.

ENTRY #739

I feel lost. I am all alone. Everybody knows about the relationship I had with Mr. Griffin now. Nobody is by my side though.

All my friends have left me. My parents don’t talk to me. The police refuse to pursue any leads and call me a liar. And the worst thing is that Mr. Griffin is getting away with everything.

Just like I suspected, my parents said they’re not paying for my tuition. That means I’d have to pay everything by myself and we all know I can’t do that. Which means this is just their cruel way of saying they don’t want me going anywhere.

I mean, god forbid I start fucking a Northwestern professor, right?

I don’t know how much more of this I can take. It’s funny how life can seem so amazing and then almost immediately, just with the snap of your fingers, everything goes away.

ENTRY #750

I’m done.


That was the final diary entry from Haley Wilson. Her body was found shortly after, in her bathroom tub. She had slit her wrists and bled out.

She died with her eyes closed, so one can’t say what her finals thoughts were. Perhaps she was just relieved it was all going to be over soon.