Young Talent (pt 2)- September Short Stories
Continued from pt 1...
The Alderwood Middle School’s recess yard was located adjacent to the school’s cafeteria. Children could be seen milling out of the double metal doors eager to soak in the spring sun.
Teachers were overseeing the kids as they dispersed into smaller groups. There were the kids that fought over the basketball court, the group who tried to sneak around the back of the school to have a smoke, the hopscotch crew, the soccer gang, and of course all of the other cliques.
Mr. Halloran, the school’s art and music instructor, was patrolling the recess yard whistling to himself. He enjoyed these little breaks in the day almost as much as his students did.
He noticed a group of kids trying to start a fight over the schools only basketball court. This was a common occurrence during the recess break. It typically meant he would have to intervene, help establish a pecking order, and then mosey on to allow them their freedom.
Splitting the group into four teams of five boys and girls, he backed away after taking the honours of first toss.
This was the usual routine when it came to monitoring a recess break. Keep the peace, interfere briefly, and then back off to let them figure out their own fun. There was the odd time he would have to break up a fight, in those cases he had to bring the kids to the main office, explain the incident, and then let the school councillor sort it out.
While walking away from the basketball court, he looked across the recess yard to where he saw Emily Aldritch. She was in her usual spot, tucked behind a bleacher, nose in one of her books.
He considered going over to spark up a conversation with her, it was a shame to see such an intelligent young girl spending yet another recess by herself. Emily was one of the few people that expected art class to have structure. He liked that about her. Most of the other kids assumed his class was just an extended playtime.
Mr. Haloran decided against it. It was important to ensure that the students didn’t know that the teachers actually chose favourites. He decided to check the smoking area. At this point in time there was bound to be a couple of students hoping to sneak in a cigarette.
Two girls strolled passed him walking in the direction of the bleachers, disregarding them he continued on his mission.
The girls –Tracie Evans and Haley Mirewood- approached Emily and began talking to her. Tracie grabbed a notebook off of the ground and started to flip through it. Emily stood up and could be seen trying to keep her cool.
Everything happened in the blink of an eye. At first, Haley could be seen grabbing the notebook from Tracie’s hands, then she collapsed to the ground and began to bang her head against the ground.
Tracie screamed, but before she could make much of a fuss she seemed to disappear. It was enough to raise the attention of some of the other middle school students.
Emily was standing over Haley. She reached into the unconscious girls hands and retrieved the notebook. Looking up she saw the eyes of countless students looking at her in shock.
She had always been the silent type, rarely interacting with other students, and often picked on.
“Hey what the- Look at what the weirdo did!” One of the kids on the basketball court pointed in the direction of the bleachers.
The other students, naturally assumed Emily had gotten into a fight with Haley.
Emily began backing away slowly, clutching her notebook to her chest. Her lower lip quivered as she saw the other kids stop and focus on her.
“What did you do to Haley All-bitch?” Naomi Richards, close friend to Haley and Tracie, was approaching Emily. She looked ready to finish the presumed fight.
Emily turned tail and ran.
A group of five kids decided to give chase, Naomi leading the group. Emily ran past the fence that surrounded most of the school. The woods were her only sanctuary.
Mr. Halloran heard the commotion but was on the scene too late to settle anything. He saw to Haley and reported the incident to the main office. An unknown group of kids were off school property, not the worst recess, but certainly not the best.
Haley, it appeared, would likely have head trauma. He noticed blood trailing out of her mouth and to his horror saw that she had managed to bite her own tongue clean off. It was possible to have it stitched, but the odds of her talking properly again were weighed heavily against her.
Naomi and the group of kids that had joined in the chase were now in the woods with Emily. They ran as fast as they could but it was clear that the little girl had a good head start on them. They stopped periodically, listening for branches snapping and the heavy thud of her trainers.
“Hey All-bitch, you can’t run!” Naomi yelled out to her between breaths.
“Naomi, I don’t think we should be in here. We’re going to get skinned by Ms. Murdoch when we get back to the school. Besides, that weirdo is already going to be in a whole mess of trouble.” Danny Langille spoke up after they had finally stopped.
“Yeah well go back if you want. That little piss stain is going to get it. Did you see what she did to Haley?” She hissed in Danny’s direction. “You can’t run you little bitch, we’re not giving up!”
“Well, to be honest, I didn’t actually see what she did. I mean, did she push her?” He couldn’t help but try to speak reason. “Like, at one point, Haley was standing then she was just on the ground. Odds are she was asking for it, they’re always picking on Emily.”
“Whatever Danny, you get lost if you don’t want to help us find her.” She sneered “We’ll make sure we don’t hurt your little girl friend too much.”
“Oh fuck off Naomi, I’m going back. I just don’t see the point wasting time chasing after her.” With this he left the group and walked back in the direction of the school.
The group continued walking through the woods, there was a path that had been worn down which slowly revealed a flowery meadow.
In the centre of the meadow was a pond, and sitting next to it was Emily.
Snaking out of the pond was a column of water, it morphed and shape shifted as the kids watched it. Emily was running her hand over it, admiring the flow of water.
Naomi and her group looked on in confusion. Most decided they were too scared to approach her and turned tale. It would be easier to deal with the principal than try and understand what they were witnessing.
Naomi was the only one to remain behind, she wasn’t sure what to do, but there was enough anger welled up in her that she decided to ignore the water for now, and confront Emily.
“Hey, what the hell is wrong with you freak?” She called out to Emily.
The column of water instantly fell into the water. There was no splash as it slipped back into the pond. The surface remained clear, as if the column had never existed.
“Naomi, I don’t want to talk about it. Just leave me alone.” Emily spoke up quietly, not turning to look at Naomi.
“Like hell I’m going to leave. What are you doing back here anyways fre-“ She gasped and grabbed her throat, unable to finish her thought.
“I said, leave me alone.” Emily turned and faced Naomi.
Her eyes were no longer bright blue and instead they had changed to solid ebony.
Naomi’s eyes bulged as she grabbed her now swelling throat. Unable to fight what had overcome her.
“People like you, could disappear, and no one would care you know.” Emily was now walking slowly towards her former pursuer.
In an attempt to back away, Naomi tripped over a root at the opening of the meadow’s path. She cart wheeled her arms and fell back, head hitting the ground as she landed. Stars appeared before her eyes, by the time her vision returned, Emily was standing over her.
The root she had tripped over began to squirm underneath her. It slowly wrapped itself around her ankle, then made its way to her other, holding her to the ground.
“It’s amazing what I can do, if I set my mind to it. Maybe you should have thought of that.” Emily sneered down at the trapped girl. “I have a few ideas about what to do with you. Haley and Tracie had it coming by the way.”
Naomi attempted to fumble and crawl away, but the tree’s root had her locked in place. She was crying now, her throat had become engulfed, when she tried to cry out all that came was a hoarse gravelly sound.
Smiling, Emily turned and looked past the pond for a few moments.
“You know, you really shouldn’t be out here all by yourself. There’s no telling what kind of wild animals might find you.” She returned her notebook, dusted it off and walked back to Naomi. “I always pictured one of these roaming through these woods, who knows, it might just appear.”
She held her notebook open, revealing a large brown bear. It was in this very meadow, but in the picture, it seemed to be clawing at something on the ground.
“Well, I guess I should be going.” Emily’s eyes had returned to their innocent blue hue. “Good bye Naomi, I think I’ll go back to the school. Luckily, I don’t think anyone would believe what the others saw.”
She walked away, leaving the silent gasping Naomi trapped under the tree root.
A rustling could be heard in the wooded area just past the small meadow.
Minutes passed, eventually the swelling in Naomi’s vocal chords stopped, however she was still rendered mute. The rustling became louder as something drew closer to the meadow. Tears streamed down her face as she looked in the direction of the sound.
A brown bear was slowly ambling out of the woods. Its coat of fur was thick, and pristine, as if it had recently been groomed. The large hulk of a creature paused at the edge of the pond and drank up the cool water that had been shape shifting minutes prior.
Sniffing the ground, it began to make its way towards Naomi, who was now wriggling desperately to escape as her ankles bled against the root that pinned her. The bear first sniffed the root that held her legs in place, licking at the blood that was beginning to trickle onto the floor of the forest.