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Trauma

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Summary

Trauma run, they fly and they look pretty cool and mysterious. But when Apollo joins them, it's not as fun as it seems. Especially when she's running and flying for her life. Trauma is a mysterious group of youngsters that run around the city, revered and admired by most. Apollo supposes that it's harmless fun- something to do in a city full of corruption and terrible crimes. But when news of arson attacks increase, Apollo finds that not only does she need to survive the usual hassles of the city, but corrupt politicians, missing family, treacherous friends and irritating love issues are all on her agenda too. And it's all just making her angrier.

Genre:
Action / Drama
Author:
BexTK
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
51
Rating:
5.0
Age Rating:
16+

Chapter 1

PART 1

“I know what you’re all thinking,” speaks Martin Stellan, clear and resounding. “… but Trauma puts us all at risk. The fires are where they start- a small fire to a paper bag here and there- all harmless fun. It’s most likely a copycat anyway. But how do we know for sure that it isn’t the real Trauma at work?”

The entire hall is silent, and I can see that there isn’t a student in the room who isn’t absorbing each and every one of his words; everyone’s eyes are fixed on the podium. “They’re a dangerous bunch,” Stellan continues. “And it seems the best I can do is tell you that you shouldn’t get involved. At your age, you are more susceptible to Trauma’s charm. And no doubt many of you believe that they are your Urban Heroes. But perhaps you should stop and think whether it’s right to laud such a fun-loving gang, when innocent lives have been lost in their name.”

Mr Stellan’s words hold weight to them, and the effect is hugely visible. The talk took a much darker turn than anyone anticipated, and it makes everyone feel uncomfortably guilty.

The hall is filled up for our special end of year meeting. Noel Garage and Martin Stellan have come to visit our school, specifically our Year group- 11- as some sort of political stunt to show that they are in tune with today’s youths. They are, in fact, loved by all; despite the awkward tension building in the room.

The politician just stays there like some grand orator. He certainly isn’t good with reaching out to young people- that’s one thing I’m certain of. But his counterpart, his long time work partner, and his best friend, rises from his chair on the stage and takes to the podium. In a very stern voice, with a wagging finger, he frowns at all of us. “... Don’t do drugs. Never drink alcohol. Safe sex. And don’t copy Trauma.” This has the room easing up and laughing, relieving the awkward tension. “I wasn’t the only one who felt a little… you know…” he pulls a jovial grimace, pointing back at his partner. Even I have to laugh, because he’s just like the man I see on TV, funny and absolutely charming. Mr Garage even has Mr Stellan trying to hide a bubble of giggles behind his hand. “We weren’t even supposed to talk about Trauma. This was supposed to be us saying so long, farewell and good luck to all of you who finished school… but I guess it was inevitable for talk to guide itself to those guys.”

From the floor, a boy’s voice cries out, “Yeah! Trauma rules!” Pan’el Jacobs, without a doubt.

“Who said that?” Mr Garage scans the room. “If it isn’t Pan? You didn’t hear the talk Martin just gave you about those guys?” Pan shrugs from his seat. “Oh yeah? Well, don’t come in tomorrow. You’re fired.”

“Trauma sucks!” Pan calls back, trying to redeem himself. The room ripples with a wave of snickers.

“Yeah, I thought so.”

The assembly quickly rounds off with a humble message from the city’s beloved MPs. Then, they go off into the dining room with teachers, cameramen, photographers and other people of apparent importance to drink bubbly alcohol and try the hors d’oeuvres that our school brings out to impress. It’s nothing like the cheap pasta they’ve served me every day for five years that they said actually constituted as lunch.

Mr Noel Garage and Mr Martin Stellan quickly dismiss the year with another wave and a wish of good luck as they go.

As Year 11 leaves early on their last day of school, after the talk from the two politicians, we can all prepare for a six-month long holiday after strenuous exams before delving into apprenticeships and-or higher education. There’s no point of thinking about results. They’ll arrive in two months. But now isn’t the time to think of work when you’ve just finished school. I’m sure I’ll come back to school, though, and I’m sure everyone is thinking the same thing. It’s supposed to be a time of studying and choices and work experience and growing up, but everyone knows that it means absolutely jack. It’s a damn year off.

“Finally! Holidays are here! No more school! Ever!”

“Oh my gosh, yeah! I can’t wait to sleep when I get back home!”

I’m oblivious to everything, until my friend nudges me, snapping my gaze away from the window. I was just looking out at the city. It looks quite nice today, especially the way the mist hangs around thinly and allows little rays of light to escape through its barrier.

The scenery is the only thing nice about this whole place.

“What are you looking at?” asks Kajin, a good friend of mine.

“Oh,” I mumble, “Nothing.” I give her a smile, but it quickly vanishes when I notice Pan looking in my direction. My heart clenches in aggravation, because I just know that he’s waiting to say something stupid to me. “I’m going to head out now, Kajin. I’ll see you later, ok?”

“Oh, by the way,” she adds. “Do you want to come to Hot Chills on Thursday? We’re all heading to Quarry Park.” I give out a groan of apprehension, pretending to decide on whether or not I’m coming, but I’ve already made up my mind, and the answer is no. “Too late- you promised you’re coming, so you’re dead if you don’t show up.”

Behind me, Pan and Phil burst out laughing and groaning. “No!” cries Pan. I try to keep my head turned away from him, ignoring him, but then they start to call my name to get my attention. I still ignore them until Pan throws an empty bottle at my head. This brings a laugh out of the audience. “Why are you inviting her?” I don’t look at him, knowing that I’d only upset myself if I were to fall into his bait and retaliate in any sort of way. After eight years of snide comments and rumours being spread about me- all originating from one boy’s mouth- I’ve learnt to keep my distance and pretend that he doesn’t exist in my personal bubble. But it’s very hard to when his comments are spoken every day.

Pan grabs Jina to sit on his lap, rubbing my dying friendship with her in my face, secretly saying: Look at me! Your “friend” is dating your worst nightmare!

However, today, I decide that I don’t have to take it. “Whatever, Pan.” Kajin is taken by surprise slightly, especially at the gentleness of my voice, but the frustration is evident. “I was invited. Get over it.” Jina glares at me for speaking against her boyfriend, so I only stare back with unreadable eyes. But, of course, Pan has something to say about it.

“Go perv on someone else’s girlfriend.” It sounds like banter, especially with his ever-present, charming smile, but when he speaks to me, it quite obviously isn’t. Other people may see something different- they see Pan as the friendliest person within the school’s walls- but I see him as another prick the city could do without.

I really don’t want to deal with this. With a sigh, I slide off my desk, saluting Kajin goodbye. As I walk out, Pan feels the need to take a few more jabs at me. “Have a nice holiday, Apollo!” he waves politely. “And tell your brother not to set fire to anymore old people. One was enough- but two…?” Not many people hear him, but of those that do, Kajin is the only one to look sorry at the comment.


It must be Pan’s mission to make me react in an explosive way. I don’t ever plan to.

After an intense hour at the school’s gym, spending half my time on the treadmill, I make my way home. I’m about to leave bad memories of this stupid school behind for a very long time, but someone calls for me. “Apollo,” Joey breathes out. I’m surprised he’s still in school, but then I see his wet hair and smell the toxic stench of chlorine on him. He probably stayed in school to help the younger kids with their swimming lessons again at the school’s pool.

“Hm?” I ask tiredly, with a foul look.

“Look,” he begins, “I’m sorry about earlier. Phil and Pan can be pricks- you know that. Ignore what he says about Artemis. He doesn’t understand the limits of banter.”

“Yeah, it’s cool,” I shrug. My words hold no meaning. “Forget it.”

“I’m serious- I’m sorry. I really am.” I look at him hard, but I know I can forgive him. “Are we cool?”

A small smile breaks my lips. “Yeah, of course.” He doesn’t smile back, though; he just gets straight into what he really wants to talk about.

“Apollo, everything they said about your brother is true.” I don’t reply. It’s not the first day someone’s mentioned the rumour, I just hate the fact that they can laugh and insult me and Art when I sit right next to them. “Art and Dylan are best friends, but Dylan said he’s getting a little worried about him, you know.”

“Why?” I ask.

“He wouldn’t tell me much, all he told me was that Artemis was there on the day of that fire.” Joey can read the doubts I hold for my own brother, so he quickly consoles me. “He didn’t do it, but I think he has something to do with it… you know what I mean.” The sad thing is I do. Joey’s eyes look like a ghostly blue screen; the gentle flare in his eyes accentuates just how worried he is. “There’s something going on with him, Lo. We’ve all known each other for years, and if there’s one thing I don’t want to see, it’s your brother screw over mine.”

... I feel gravity behind Joey’s words. “Please, talk to him. Tell him to stop whatever he’s doing, because Dylan’s going to face the same consequences. When Art goes off, Dylan starts acting all weird. When Dylan’s in trouble, Art’s there to say he didn’t do it. Those two are inseparable, but-“

“-That’s got to stop,” I finish for him. Our emotions are in sync for this moment: there’s stress and guilt, but a bad foreboding- they’re going to dig themselves into an inescapable grave and as elder siblings, we can be sure our parents are going to kill me for being Artemis’ older sister, and Joey just for knowing me. The sad thing is, I’ve already tried talking to him, and he’s made it perfectly clear that he doesn’t want to talk to me… so it seems like this awful future event is unavoidable. What do I do to make him stop?

“The stresses of looking out for stupid people, huh?” nudges Joey, trying to lighten the mood. We’re both so similar with our seemingly dissociative personalities and idiots younger brothers.

“Yeah.” I rub my arm. “The things we do.”

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