Dull morning rays filter through the dark ocean curtains of my scrambled room, clothes stretched out as far as the eye could see. Sitting on the floor within the middle of the room fingers tight against the thick fabric of the red and white letterman jacket. The name Hamish wrote in bold white stitched letters across the shoulder blade.
“Hamish? Sweetheart, everything okay in here?” A quiet voice meets my ears as I throw the jacket onto my bed. Standing up the door opens a crack, A short woman’s head pokes through a moment later, eyes puffy and hair a disheveled mess. She tries her hardest to hide it with a smile as she pushes her way into the room. “We got to get going Hamish, your father is waiting downstairs for us.”
“Alright, I’ll be down in a minute.” Stepping over my mess she takes me by the shoulder. Making me turn around to face her she gives me a half-hearted smile.
“Hamish, I know this isn’t gonna be easy but you got to be strong for me okay?”
Reluctantly I nod down to her as she turns her head to look at my jacket, stepping over she picks it up and holds it out to me.
“The first day of a new school, let’s show them what you’re of.” With that, I smirk taking the jacket from her and slipping it on. Giving me a once over she deems me ready with a thumbs up. Shaking my head, we step out of my room and into the hall where my Father stands at the top of the stairs eyes landing on my attire he draws a tight-lipped sneer.
“Do ya’ really got to dress like that?” He enquires as we make our way downstairs.
“Honey not right now, please. It is much too early in the morning for petty arguments.” She quickly intervened as I stop at the door to tighten my shoes. Grumbling he pushes past me and to the car, slamming the door as he gets in.
“Thanks.” Grabbing my backpack she nods and we head to the car shortly after making sure I had everything.
“Check.” I wave the small badge in the air before shoving it back into my jacket. Smiling she fixes herself into the passenger seat as My Father revs the engine.
“Try to make some friends okay.”
“You know good and well with how she dresses no ones gonna want to talk to her.” Receiving a quick slap to the arm my Mother glares him down as he pulls into the front of the school where several students seem to be hanging out.
“Don’t listen to your Father Hamish he just doesn’t understand.”
“No shit…” I mumble in response as I fling the door open, getting out I see my Mother giving me the thumbs up before the old man drives away. Shaking my head, I turn towards the building that will now become my new place of torment. “Here goes nothing.”
Drawing up the steps I weave through the other littering students, some watching my eye while others whisper amongst themselves. Opening one of the double doors with the ID I come face to face with a short gentlemen about shoulder height from myself, fiery locks and deep seafoam meet my own obsidian orbs.
“Excuse me, sorry.” He moves off to the side a bucked tooth smile is quick to meet me. “You must be the new student?” I step into the building nodding as he sticks a dirt-covered glove towards me. Realization seems to hit him fast as he removes the glove. “Nicodemus Ira Tetch, Garden and semi-welcome party.”
During the cheery conversation the feeling of being watched sends a visible chill down my spine. Which Nicodemus is quick to notice and with a chuckle he motions behind him.
“And the lanky man watching us is Ichabod Crane, don’t worry he’s just as curious as a raven with shiny things.”
Nodding I wave over Nicodemus to the mentioned Ichabod whose eyes widen for a second before disappearing into the crowd.
“Not much of a talker but you’ll get use to it.” Nicodemus smiles motioning for me to follow. “Lets get you to the office, they must have your schedule by this point.”
For a moment he pauses turning to face me once more, a dumbfounded look upon his features he finally asks.
“What’s your name lad?”
“My old school called me Hamish but I don’t think this one will.” I mumble the last bit as a look of understanding crosses his eyes.
“Well Hamish, Welcome to Woodworth High if you need anything, and I do mean anything don’t fret to ask for me or Ichabod.”
Nodding a slight smile plays on my lips as we make our way to the front office. As we walk something quickly flashes by my peripheral. After the third time I try my hardest to ignore it. Stepping into the office Nicodemus waves me good bye before disappearing down the hall.
“Alexandria Hamish McCann?” Nodding rigidly I lean back on the balls of my feet.
“If its okay, could I please be referred to as Hamish please?”
Giving me a once over she looks back to her computer screen without a single peep to my question. After a few moments she hands me a sheet of paper with several classes on it, in the corner my name has been marked out and in nice cursive is ‘Hamish’ looking up at her she gives me a smile and thumbs up.
“Mr. Brian will want to speak to you before you head off to class so if you can take a seat and wait patiently. He will be back in less then 5 minutes. Give or take if Mr. Ichabod doesn’t try to stop him again.” Confused she chuckles and waves her hand. “Mr. Ichabod is the library curator and he’s been trying to get funding for a few new things but Mr. Brain isn’t letting up anytime soon.”
“Oh…” Taking a seat you can imagine my surprise when exactly five minutes later a tall dark suited man strides into the room, the lanky Ichabod right behind him. His sentence cut off as soon as he spots me.
“We will finish this later Silas…”
“Until then Ichabod.” Smiling towards me he motions with a wave of his hand for me to follow, Ichabod’s eyes trail us before the door closes. “Alexandria?”
“Hamish please.” I cut him off which raises a brow questionably before leaning back in his chair.
“Alright, Hamish.” He bites the name out with a tinge of confusion as I nod. All hopes of making this easier slowly disappears as he continues to look me over confused. “First O would like to welcome you to Woodworth High, Most people here call me Brain or Mr. Brain. Either one your comfortable with. I would like to ask you a few questions before I release you out to the halls of my school. Also, to give you some of the rules that will not be tolerated while within these walls.”
Nodding slowly I play with the sleeve of my jacket as he smiles and takes out a small booklet. Sliding it across the desk, I take it as he clears his throat.
“Rule Number One.”
1. PDA will not be Tolerated within these walls by any means.
2. Loss of I.D will not be tolerated and suspension till further notice will be put into place.
3. If found within any ‘Marks’ such as the nationally listed ‘X’ anywhere on the body you will be placed under police surveillance till proven human.
4. Checks will be administered upon entry and exit of every school day.
“Today you got a free pass thanks to Mr. Nicodemus who I was informed meet you at the door this morning.”
Nodding he continues to list off a few weird rules, most circling back to the Marked Ones and other PDA type rules.
Its been over five years since the first quote on quote marked one appeared and lost control. Most understand why it happened, poor guy was cornered anyone would have done anything to protect themselves. But a good ninety-five percent of the world believe those with marks ate nothing but dangerous freaks.
Once he was finished he takes out a stack of papers, placing them before me he smiles and holds out a pen.
“Signing this means you understand the rules and will follow by them.”
Taking the pen from his grasp I quickly place down my signature, flipping to another page he stops me a half crooked smile on his face.
“One major rule I had forgotten to mention. If you see anyone with a Mark please report them immediately. We can not have ‘Them’ roaming our pristine halls. Also, if you could sign this with your birth name that would be fantastic.”
Not really wanting to cause any trouble on my first day I sigh and scribble down my dead name on the other paper before dropping the pen and leaning back. Taking the sheets back he smiles and fixes them into a neat stack before placing them in a folder which he marks with the initials A. M. Rising to his feet he places the folder into a filing cabinet as the sudden feeling of being watched strikes me. Looking around my eyes land on the large double windows right beside Mr. Brain.
Outside the window sit two nicely trimmed bushes, across from them sit a large expanse of grass and trees. Only to be hindered by the parking lot that is occupied with either teacher and senior vehicles.
But as my eyes draw back to the bush I am meet with the inkling sight of golden glaring orbs. Watching us curiously till they meet mine, diving into the underbrush and completely out of sight.
Turning to face me Mr. Brian looks between the outside and myself. “Beautiful isn’t it? Mr. Tetch does very well tending to the schools needs.” Nodding slowly he motions towards the door. “He will be showing you around the grounds about noon during lunch period. Please follow the rules and we are glad to have you join our schools family.”
With that he leads me through the halls to my first class, the clatter of students going silent as we step inside. The Teacher stand her green and yellow flower dress flowing at her ankles as she smiles, clapping her hands together.
“Ah, I’ve been waiting all morning to meet you.” She gestures with a wave to the class. “Welcome to my Class, I am Mrs. Joyce, I am best known as the aperture Math teacher. Math and equations are the game and having fun is the main plan.” Giving Mr. Brain a curt nod he turns leaving the room with a wave.
“Have fun.” With that the door closes and Mrs. Joyce motions to a desk beside her own.
“You’ll be sitting here for now till I can move the desks around to accommodate your level. Before that, what are your pronouns?”
For a split second I am utterly baffled, mouth ajar as I take my seat.
“They/He please.” I finally say as she lays a sheet of paper onto my desk. Taking it up she nods and takes a seat at her desk. Turning it over I eye ball most of the equations as Mrs. Joyce continues marking what I could only assume are the worksheets from before I was lead in.
After a while I slip the paper back onto her desk, she takes it placing it into a stack and shuffling it.
“Alright everyone, we are going to grade each others papers.” Standing up she continues to shuffle the papers before passing them out. Once done she pulls a clipboard from her desk and with a smirk she begins to announce answers.
Halfway through the worksheet the bell rings, interrupting her, sadly she places the clipboard down and folds her arms over her chest.
“Well time flies when your having fun. Just leave the papers on your desk everyone and we will return to them first thing tomorrow.” With that everyone packs up and rushes the hall like a safe haven. With a tight grip on my pack I stare down my list of classes.
“Oh this is gonna be fun…” I grumble searching the numbers above the door before giving up and finding my way to the library. Reaching the third floor the sign bold above the double doors, adorned with the wooden sculpt of a raven its beady black painted eyes follow me as I step through. The soft whispered argument reaches my ears as the doors click closed, cutting off whoever was speaking before a lanky face pops from around one of the farther shelves. Waving sheepishly, his brow rises slightly before disappearing back behind the shelves as though I never entered.
Striding up to the front desk I can seem Mr. Crane peek out from behind some books before letting out a sigh.
“No need to be so down Ichabod, who could it be?” Mr. Nicodemus voices come from the aisle as he stumbles out catching his footing he looks to me. “Hamish dear boy how are you? Fairing off I presume?”
“I'm kind of lost.”
“That’s what happens when they don’t give you a chaperone… lost and confused.” Nicodemus hits Ichabod’s arm causing him to flinch and rub the spot. “What it's true.” He grumbles, taking his seat behind the desk. Holding his hand out I place my schedule into it. Glaring at it for a second he places it in front of me.
“Your next class is on the this floor last door on the right as soon as you step back out into the hall.” Nodding I take back up my schedule, thanking both of them I quickly rush back to the doors.
“If you need anymore help let us know. My dear Ichabod would love to help.” Nodding I turn back to see Ichabod hitting Nicodemus in the shoulder. Shushing loudly with a hiss Nicodemus laughs waving me off as Ichabod hides behind his desk.
Stepping out of the library I make my way to my next class, and from there the day seemed to go by smoothly. Introductions, and normal new kid questions, and as the last bell of the day chimed a stream of students poured from the double doors. Rushing to and fro off the grounds until only those who waited for their rides where left.
Out of the corner of my eye as I sit leaned against the stone steps Mr. Nicodemus tosses up a few large bags of soil, the label of a smiling plant making me chuckle as a dark mass slips under his feet. I watch as he steadies himself before dusting off the dirt from his shoulder a wide smile upon his face as the mass slips between his fingers. Catching my eye he places a finger to his lips before stepping into the rustic baby blue truck.
Wide-eyed I look away my thoughts whirling as Mr. Brains words hit me like a freight train.
‘Should I go tell him? No. No that wouldn’t be right I’ve seen thst thing most of the day and it hasn’t bothered anyone yet. Should I just ask Mr. Tetch?’
Mind continue to move in the fast track to headache vile I barely register the horn from my Dad until a hand lands on my shoulder.
“Hamish sweetheart? Everything okay?”
Snapping my head up from my thoughts I nod slowly.
“Yeah, yeah sorry Mom was stuck in my thoughts. Old man ready to go?” She nods, her ashy brown hair draped over her shoulder like a shawl tied neatly at the bottom as she turns to the car. Sharp tired eyes glare us down as I swipe up my pack and together we head home.
‘Tomorrow is going to be interesting…’