Back to School
August 22, 2012
This week's challenge from Flash Fiction Friday is to write about going back to school.
Today, here in my little burg, is officially “back to school” day. Kids and parents are up early, breakfast is being quickly consumed, houses frantic as kids and parents race out the door to usher in a new school year. Roads are congested with parents driving kids to school and street corners are lined with kids waiting on buses, myself adding the prior as my daughter enters her last year of school. A senior at last. Though I wish I’d been more encouraging to get her to learn to drive. It’s a trade off I guess, do I want an hour more sleep or a lower insurance premium? Right about now I’m thinking I could use a little more sleep.
To celebrate the new school year, I present you with a “back to school” word list.
Prompt: Write a story using the following word list: Traffic, New Shoes, Calculus, Bus Stop, School, Principal
Word Limit: 1000 Genre: Open Deadline: Wednesday, August 22th at 9:00 p.m. ET
My story follows, it's about 400 words.
Back to School
It's the first day of school and I can hardly wait to start, I love this day. Last summer feels like a vague blur, boring, the same old same old. I've a school bag full of supplies, a new windbreaker, and a pair of bright new sneakers. They're the same brand as last year, but I still like them. Hopefully they'll stay nice for at least one day this time. Last year Dan and his football buddies caught me at the bus stop, before I even got into the school, and dragged me and my shoes through every muddy puddle they could find. I think the only thing those jerks like about school, other than football and cheerleaders, is picking on kids like me.
It's a nice cool Ohio day, sunny and fresh smelling. School buses have rumbled up to the curb, cars full of kids are tooted their horns, friends are hugging and chattering after a summer away. I don't see anyone I recognize, but then I only have a few friends here.
I dart through a break in the traffic and head up the main steps. I've already checked my schedule so I know that my first class will be calculus, my favourite. Last year our Math club did really well, hopefully this year we'll go all the way to the Nationals.
Principal Gordon is standing just inside the door, scowling, arms folded, shoulders of his jacket ready to split at the seams. He's an ex-football coach, and ignores kids like me. Apparently my being president of the Math club means nothing to him. I nod as I pass, just in case, but his gaze seems to pass right through me.
I scurry down the hall, head down, shoulders hunched. I'm beginning to think I might make it to my locker unscathed - no one has yelled at me, or swatted me across the head, no one has even jostled me.
There's a new display case by the main office, with some photos and clippings in it, so I pause and peer inside. Looks like some kind of memorial thing, for a school shooting. That's strange, because I don't remember anything like this at any of the city's schools last year.
I peer at the three photos, all serious looking yearbook shots. The first two are vaguely familiar, and the third one - shit, it's me!
It all seemed so cozy until...
Posted by: Lewis Peters | August 23, 2012 at 04:30 PM
I'm not sure which was the most moving part - that he was being bullied or that he was dead. Very thought-provoking - now, at last, people are taking notice of him ... he's even famous. I read somewhere (might have been our lit forum?) about a girl at a British school who couldn't get a boyfriend because she liked maths - so she gave up maths to study something else. Great (almost dead-pan) tone throughout - and, I think the saddest part is where he seems to cheer up when he realises he is no more.
Posted by: frances | August 23, 2012 at 05:45 PM
How desperately sad. I believe you've captured the concept of being bullied completely. But, it's not just that. It's as if he passed through life pretty much unnoticed. That is, until one of the nasty ones needed a victim. He's free now, sort of, but it appears the outcome of his tragic end is to continue to wander the school hallways, feeling the same apprehension and the same fear. Perhaps it's only on the first day of school, and the rest of the year, he's at peace--somewhere. I sure hope so.
Very moving story. Well done!
Posted by: Joyce Juzwik | August 24, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Exactly - I like doing that
Posted by: Ravens | August 25, 2012 at 12:43 AM
I meant the ending to show his realization that he's dead - but if it leaves some people thinking differently, then that's a bonus for me.
Posted by: Ravens | August 25, 2012 at 12:45 AM