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Nathan Kennedy (The Story of Illae)

By Donovan Levine All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Romance


The transition from middle school to high school is never simple. It's often a complex path of twists and turns that leave you wondering who you are. When you're succumbed to this daily routine of dull ordinary life, sometimes you're just left trying to look for whatever solution you can to break out of it. That's what happens to 7 students who join an afterschool secret society called Illae that dares to challenge the world itself. When things turn south, Nathan Kennedy is left to stand up to him.

Part 1 - The Freshman

Nathan Kennedy. The scrawny, dense, generic school kid without many characteristics. For as long as he’d been in school, he was always the outcast. No matter where he went, or what he did, it seemed, he could never escape that he was a loser to everyone, the typical kid at the back of the class. Neglected. Scorned. Broken.

Before you pity him, just know he isn’t very innocent either. He picks on other kids too. What everyone else does to him, you might say it was deserved.

Nathan didn’t understand kindness, but it might be because he had never felt it himself, or that he was never shown how. In school life or home life, you’re more or less taught what you cannot do over what you can. He never understood what he was supposed to do, how he was supposed to act, what manner of actions would have been better. It was just never shown to him. He had hardly anyone in his life to talk it over with either. Perhaps to cover that shame of being lonely or having no one, it might have driven him to try and knock others down and degrade who he ‘believed’ could, so that the ‘cool kids’ could recognize him, and maybe just maybe he would be accepted by them.

However it never actually worked. Of course when you treat someone like dirt, sometimes they throw dirt back. When Nathan disrespected somebody, they disrespected him back - harshly. The majority of kids just saw Nathan as a short-tempered disrespectful loser. And they weren’t half-wrong. But Nathan didn’t get it. He saw that the same ones who seemed to be liked and adored by everyone as the same short-tempered and disrespectful people, who treated him the same way, yet did they ever get dirt thrown back at them? If someone were to throw mud in their eyes, they’d have a line of people to defend them, and Nathan was just outnumbered.

Nathan just cursed his fate of always being the one that couldn’t catch a break. It’s unfair. Why me. I just want to be noticed. The same thoughts, flowing through his mind, and forced to endure while under the pressure of schoolwork, and being understood by parents.

It was freshman year. High school would begin. The only thing on Nathan’s mind was to make the best impression he could, and make this year his special chance.

Of course things were a little more complex than this.


Oh! The high school sweetheart! For guys, crushes are either a blessing or a curse, and for Nathan, it was a bit of both. Valerie Chester. A magnificent his view. Seeing her whenever he could just made everyday seem a bit more bearable. But obviously, with his reputation in the school, he couldn’t even get close to her. As if she were in a class so high above him. And of course, she had the hots for someone else. Bruce Benj, a sports fanatic, daring, a little stupid, but one of the most popular people in that school. And he was all that was on Valerie’s mind in turn. Bruce was just about everything Nathan wanted to be but couldn’t be. By that time, Bruce had already figured out what he wanted to do with life. Nathan just had no clue. He was so obsessed with being accepted by others that he neglected finding and building a path for himself in the future.

Girls fell head over heels for Bruce. Everyone wanted to be his friend, whenever he did something, news of it seemed to spread so quickly, and he was definitely accepted by people. Even teachers and other parents admired him. Teachers scolded and hated Nathan.

Rather than love and respect, Nathan’s heart grew and fostered hatred for people.

It was freshman year for him, it was a new start in a new building. Its a time where everyone is racing and striving to make an impression, to make their mark in the school. Get involved in every club, every extra-curricular activity, every sport, every society, every possible way they could get ahead, students would go for it.

Segments of awkward, humiliating, and inappropriate experiences that occurred throughout middle school came to a convergence in beginning of senior high. Nathan was not one willing to accept anything less than a fulfilling high school life as reconciliation for having such an awful middle school life. The neglect only destroyed his brain, the humiliation silencing it, and the hate only consuming it.

Several confrontations happened during the first half of that year. Let’s say, Nathan got beat up by Bruce several times while trying to stand up to him. Bruce barely acknowledged his existence at all, even while he was mid-punching him in the face. His best bros would vehemently joke about beating others up, and going to the gym as their routine conversations. They were buffs. All they would do would just involve pure brawn. When a weakling like Nathan got in their way, it was not much of a competition after that. Nathan only got a few chances to even speak to Valerie. He would occasionally say hello, and she would say it back. That was often the furthest he got. He was far too separate from his heart’s love. Likewise with Valerie. When she got to confront Bruce, she often got flushed and couldn’t manage to get words out of her.

That kept up throughout the end of that semester. Nathan’s chance of a new life and first impression only faded from his sight and slipped from his grasp. Just as well, Valerie saw her own chances slipping when she realized that she wasn’t important enough to be worth Bruce’s time. She and her other friends saw this too in their own experience. Valerie was often seen among her friends as the most out-going and the most popular. Yet still, she was within the circle of people that wasn’t at the top of the chain, and that made Valerie feel less valuable.

It would happen later on that two more people would be of significance. Their names were Irene Orton, Melody Fox, and Tina Osborne. Tina was Valerie’s best friend who competed with her for Bruce. Irene was among the smartest in her class but was often feeling the same neglect as Nathan, except not as harsh or with nearly as much heartbreak, yet she could sympathize. Irene would often find herself in sympathy for Nathan, yet he would never notice. And the confrontations only continued.

Nathan came home most days about ready to either punch a hole into his wall, smash his head against a window, or cry into a pillow. Anything to erase the frustration of each day. His head constantly pounded with the stress of keeping up with everyone else just so he wouldn’t have to be the odd one out every time. The exclusion infringed his own abilities to keep up in school and focus on talents, and a future, and his own skills. In freshman year, those are what are to be pursued, yet his concentration would only be to have all the friends, all the popularity, all the attention. He constantly went with the flow of the crowd. Trying to be like everyone else in vain admiration.

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