Jose floated above the desks, scowling at his replacement. Mr. Lagheri was definitely a better teacher. He never yelled at his students or shamed them publicly, but he hadn’t attended Jose’s funeral either. Shaking his invisible head, he floated towards Duncan, in the corner as usual. Duncan slouched more now. He had more piercings. If he went on like that, he’d end up like his peers, in jail for drugs or dead on the streets. If only Jose had given him a chance. If only he hadn’t yelled at him that one time. Those…many times. If only he hadn’t fudged the assessment records. Well, he could fix it now in death. He could make it up to this one student.
Jose had practiced with small objects for days, moving them, making them hover. It had made him exhausted, however that was possible. He’d never worked so hard in his life. Now he moved to Duncan and nudged his pencil. Just a slight motion. He didn’t want to startle him.
Duncan saw the motion and jumped, then looked around to see if anyone had noticed. He shifted and tried to look out the window again, but Jose knew his attention had been grabbed. He slowly spun the pencil, then picked it up so the tip was still on the desk.
Duncan was blinking hard as he looked at it, sweat beginning to form on his forehead. Jose knew he had never been the most imaginative student, and something like floating pencils was beyond his grasp of reality. Jose picked the pencil up fully, to write his apology, but Duncan snatched the pencil and his bag and ran out of the room, eyes wide.
Mr. Lagheri called after him. “Duncan, not again! You’ll be suspended!”
But Duncan ignored him and sped on, out the double doors and towards his home.
Jose sped after him, raising small rocks as he could, yelling silently for Duncan to stop. Duncan turned once to see the floating stone and gave a sound like a frightened bull as he ran straight into the street.
Jose was focus on holding up corporeal matter. Duncan was focused on the magical stone following him.
Neither noticed the horns of the bus until it was too late.
“So you just concentrate really hard,” Jose told him, watching as Duncan strained to shift a tack on the table. “Try to put all your you-ness into your hand. That’s it. You’ll get it!”
The tack shifted, just enough to get it rolling.
Duncan looked around at him, his face shining. “Thanks for helping, Mr. Ramirez. This ghosting stuff is harder than it looks on TV.”
Jose nodded and smiled. He had gotten a second chance, and this time he would be a good teacher. This time, he’d do it right.