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If you asked Skyler Wyler how his first day back from Christmas break would start, he would say something like this. After a 2 mile walk, he would enter his school through the back way, next to the school maintenance shed. The school janitor leaves it open for him; he understood what it was like. Walking down the school hallway, most teachers had not even gotten to school yet, but he knew that one would definitely be there. Dr. Charlie, the school animal science teacher; he was fascinated with animals and had been for the past 50 years. He knew almost everything there is to know about animals.
Skyler thought animals were okay, nothing he spent a lot of time studying though. Skyler loved to draw them though, he could draw anything. Animals, skyscrapers, people, and objects, and that’s what he would do until the bell rang for 1st Period. Dr. Charlie would be at his desk grading papers, and Skyler would find a desk near the back of the classroom. He did what he normally did on days like this, take out his drawing notebook and placing it on the ceramic lab table. The only sound in the room was Skyler’s pencil smoothly shading an Egyptian pyramid he started yesterday and Dr. Charlie’s occasional “hmm” as he came across another last minute assignment.
But that’s not what happened.
When Skyler got to the door of his house that morning, he felt odd. He couldn’t put his finger on it, so he ignored it and headed out. He had a HotPocket in one hand and a soda in the other. Tugging on his skull cap with the fingers he could free, he brought it farther down his head covering his ears. It was the end of Christmas break, but the winter cold was just getting started. Turning the corner towards his school, Skyler froze in midstep. It was Blake Gipson. He was standing motionless across the street, several feet away. Skyler felt like he was the next victim in a Michael Myers movie for a split second; Blake just stood there with a menacing stare. The only thing he was missing was a large kitchen knife, but Skyler didn’t put it past him.
Skyler quickly scanned his surroundings trying to come up
with an escape plan.
Option A: Keep walking and act like he didn’t see him.
Option B: Turn around and make a break for it.
Option C: Take the alternate route he devised over Christmas break (sacrificing his HotPocket in the process).
Since he knew Option A and B would inevitably mean an early morning twisted wrist and a bloody nose, Option C at least gave him a chance. He was only 5 more steps from where he needed to be to cut right and sprint towards Mrs. Johanna’s backyard; she was the town loony. Desperate times will call for desperate measures, he had thought when he made the escape plan.
So somehow he started walking again, not daring to look again at Blake and right before he took the last step, he couldn’t help looking over to where he had seen Blake standing. And just like in the movies, he was gone. He had disappeared somehow while Skyler analyzed possible escape options. Figuring he still had no choice, Skyler toss his HotPocket and bolted towards Mrs. Johanna’s picketed fence and hopped over using one arm. Quickly making it across the yard, he hopped over the other side and into Dr. Grange’s backyard, who was ironically the town psychiatrist. And before going into Mr. and Mrs. Breeze’s yard he turned left. Last week the Breeze family got a German Shepherd that used to be a police dog and was not too fond of unannounced guests. When Skyler got to the street he barely looked both ways before crossing it and running diagonally across another lawn and between two houses.
He finally reached the park, which was the riskiest part, since he would be exposed from multiple angles, making him an easy target. But if he made it, he would be right near the rear door of the school. The one that should be open for him. So he kept running, tightening the straps on his bookbag. He dashed past the elderly people taking morning walks and scattered a group of geese assembled near the jungle gym. Once he got to the park’s side gate, he detached one of the bars he had loosened beforehand. Then he threw his bookbag off, slid through the bars of the gate, pulled his bag through, and turned to continue running. Glad I skipped breakfast, he thought. He was now at the side of the school building, near the back with only a few more strides till he was home free. He checked his watch as he got close to the back corner of the school. Then as he turned the corner, lifting his head, everything began to slow down. His body tensed and bullets of sweat surfaced on his forehead. Slamming his foot down, he almost fell over as he stopped just 3 feet away from his worst nightmare.