Monday, April 7, 2014

The Plan

The following is a piece of fan fiction from Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia. 

Chapter 9.5
The Plan

(the following is a deleted chapter from Bridge to Terabithia)

Miss Edmunds could see that Jesse had taken a liking to Leslie. They sat together in every music class, and Jesse smiled the most when he was with her. For a reason she couldn’t quite explain, Miss Edmunds couldn’t help but feel jealous. As weeks turned into months, however, that jealousy boiled over into rage—a rage that made her resent Leslie…hate her, even. Jess and Leslie would traipse into class together laughing about anything and everything, and it wasn’t long before Miss Edmunds undertook the task of finding out what it was about Leslie that Jess loved. Not that Miss Edmunds loved Jesse—but it had been a long time since anyone had cared for her the way Jess did. And she wasn’t about to lose that affection to a quirky, eleven-year-old girl. The bell rang, signaling the end of the school day.

     “Wait up!” Jesse screamed as Leslie bolted out the door.

     “I’m waiting,” she said, impatiently. “Terabithia is waiting, Jess.”
     Terabithia? What’s Terabithia? thought Miss Edmunds.

     “Okay, okay. I’m coming!” Jess snapped back. They made a beeline for the bus, laughing the entire way there.

     “Enough was enough,” Miss Edmunds thought aloud. Determined to silence the very source of Leslie’s and Jess’s happiness, Miss Edmunds got in her car and followed the bus to their stop.

The bus came to a halt and through the opened doors, Jess, Leslie, and May Belle poured out. Miss Edmunds set her car in park, watching as the three skipped down the path back to their homes. When she noticed Jesse usher May Belle in a different direction, however, she set her car back into drive, and followed the path that Leslie and Jess were walking through. They arrived at a bank.

“Catch!” Leslie shouted, hurling a rope toward Jesse. Miss Edmunds eyed the rope, noticing that it was the only vehicle that could transport Jess over the bank. The rope was fragile; one slip of the hands or snap of the twine would send either one of them to their deaths. Miss Edmunds grinned.

“We’ll see how long Leslie will be your best friend, Jesse Aarons,” she mumbled under her breath, through gritted teeth.


Miss Edmunds spent the entire night laying out the blueprints for her evil plan. It was perfect. She had spent the rest of the afternoon cutting slits in the rope, weakening it the best way possible. She would leave a note on Leslie’s door the next morning, saying:

Went to Terabithia! Come meet me as soon as you can!

She had studied Jess’s handwriting for a long time; forgery wouldn’t prove a challenge for her. It was about 7 in the morning; all that was left was to call Jess and invite him to the Smithsonian. She knew how much he wanted to go. And that way he wouldn’t be there when Leslie fell into the creek. It was perfect. Gazing out the window at the torrential downpour, she picked up the phone and dialed.

“Jess? Miserable weather, ain’t it? I was thinking of going down to Washington—maybe go to the Smithsonian or the National Gallery. How would you like to keep me company?”

***I would like to thank Nadia for the inspiration behind this depraved piece of fan fiction. The idea arose out of a misunderstanding between us during a conversation we were having about the book. I had inadvertently implied that it was Miss Edmunds’ fault that Leslie died, and after I corrected myself, Nadia and I thought, Imagine if it were? We found Chapter 10, “The Perfect Day,” both ominous and strangely placed. Why would Miss Edmunds call Jesse, her ten-year-old student, and invite him to spend the day with her in Washington? I am not suggesting that there are pedophilic undertones, but to me, it seemed like a contrived plot device to get Jesse out of the way so Leslie could get herself killed. The final chapters of the book center on Jess’s denial and guilt, and Miss Edmunds’ invitation seemed like the perfect way to make Jesse feel guilty for being absent during Leslie’s death and not being able to prevent it. Overall, we found the chapter weird and even superfluous. But, given the misunderstanding that had just occurred, I thought I would make the chapter purposeful by inserting this “hidden, deleted chapter” in the mix. I’m a sick person. I know. And I’m not sorry for it.

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