If you’d ask me if monsters existed I’d look at you like you were crazy. Well... that was until the day my life changed guess you could say I’m pretty unlucky haha.
My name’s Oliver Hope, there isn’t really anything special about me. I don’t have any special talents and I’m far from physically fit. There is something I guess I could say is unique, at the age of sixteen I’m already out of high school. I didn’t really see no point in rushing into college. I felt like I deserved a two year break after years of advanced classes and placement testing but as usual my mother thought otherwise.
My childhood was far from perfect my father left soon after my younger sister was born. He is honestly a blur to me I can’t seem to remember anything about him. I keep convincing myself that he was a bad person anyways and that we were better off without him in the picture anyways. Not like it mattered it’s like any picture involving him just disappeared like him. I felt like he shouldn’t be able to take credit for what he wasn’t around to witness, our growth.
My mother wasn’t the best mother in the world but she always attempted to try her best considering she was single a majority of my life. Her ambition was probably passed onto me and it driven me to do the best I could academically. I just wished my younger sister got the picture... She’s been a little rebel for as long as she could crawl!
“Where’s the challenge?” I bragged in the game chat. Gaming definitely was was my only means of escaping the bitterness of reality. It was a confidence booster seeing my ranks and how skilled I was against anyone. Call me conceited all you want but, dam I’m good! My mom saw anything related to gaming as a waste of time or just something that was decaying my mind.
I always got the feeling that my mother thought I would never amount to anything in life. Like I would be one of those kids who lived in their mom’s basement for the rest of their life. It annoyed me, but what could I do? I never really applied for jobs in my area because I can’t really work anywhere full time. I didn’t want to be accused of ditching school and get fired. Things were fine until a job found me instead.
“Oliver honey!” My mother called from the living room.
The pitch of her tone made me nervous to even want to approach her. It was the kind of tone where you knew you were going to be set up. I turned of my game and eventually got the guts to go see what she wanted, but I could have never anticipated for what she had to tell me.
“Sooooo don’t be too upset with me but an old friend of mine maybe had a position for a job and I may have asked for you to be hired” She smiled eagerly.
“What’s the catch...?” I hesitated to ask.
“You may want to pack your things because the job comes with your own suite and meals!” She answered with glee. She had the motherly look of “you can’t say no to this.”
“My friend doesn’t directly work within the facility but they have connections into the facility and knew what to say to get you hired.” She explained.
“So... You mean to tell me that none of this seems a tad bit odd to you?” I asked raising an eyebrow in suspiciously. “You’re so desperate to get rid of me you’re sending me away?”
“No! I just want you to do something with your life. What better way than getting a basic job as a janitor for this high school?” Her tone sounded like she was trying to convince herself she was doing the right thing.
“A high school I bet you’ve never even heard of before...” I grumbled back.
“That’s beside the point, sweetheart... Anyways, a bus should be here to pick you up tomorrow.” she urged.
“You really want me to leave?” I glared.
“It’s not that... can’t you see I want you to just explore options do something with yourself? You can’t lock yourself in your room every day because you hate the world!” My mother responded.
My younger sister eventually came home from school she threw her bag and quickly ran to her room. My mother looked at me as if, maybe it was my job to play detective and find out what was wrong. I approached her room with caution... If it’s one thing we didn’t have in common it was her mischievous nature... She loved setting traps around the house to scare me and my mom. Not like anything was unexpected of the little girl, she gets her intelligence somewhere down the line in our family tree. She’s top in her class from what the teachers say, maybe she’s following in my footsteps. Even so... the trouble making will be her downfall she was always rebellious.
“Sophie?” I called out, eager to not fall for one of her traps again.
As expected, I turned the doorknob and was greeted by the usual storm of rubber bullets. I backed into the wall. I’d rather not get hit by them again.
“Leave me alone!” she cried out turning to the opposite side of the bed.
“Hey Soph what’s wrong?” I asked, reaching my hand to touch her shoulder.
“Why do you care? You’re not my dad, just my brother!” She snapped back.
Ouch... I hate to admit it but she was right, sometimes I could be inconsiderate and forget that she’s affected by that bastard too. I mean... I tried my best to be there for her, but deep down I know it was me being in denial about our father’s absence. When she was in Kindergarten, I showed up for her father-daughter events so she wouldn’t feel left out. Even if she was embarrassed I knew deep down she was grateful for it. I suppose pain can get so strong you end up building walls to distant yourself from others.
“I care because I’m supposed to.” I took a step and hit a trip wire. I ducked, dodging a swinging pot of water.
“They don’t get it...” I could feel her wall cracking.
“They don’t get what?” I sat on the edge of her bed.
“You believe me right! Monsters exist.” She shot up quickly.
“I’m sure they do.” I patted her head.
“Then why do they bully me about it!” she cried.
“Some things are just so unreal for people to believe...” I answered knowing her active imagination was active at its peak for her age.
“You don’t get it! I saw one of my friend’s change into something!” she cried.
I wanted to believe her... The tone of her voice wasn’t the one when she’s lying.
“Monsters exist, Oliver, I’ll prove it to you one day!” she seemed eager.
“That will have to wait for a while...” I told her.
“Why?” She asked.
“I um... will be leaving for a while tomorrow” I paused.
“What...?” her voice cracked.
“You can’t...” I could see her eyes get puffy again.
“Until then...” I smiled. “Be yourself, get your proof. I’ll support you all the way!”
“If you aren’t here... who’s going to...” She couldn’t even speak between the gasps for air.
We finished our talk when my mom called us for dinner. It was the most awkward thing ever. No one said a single word. I couldn’t blame them, because this family was clearly dysfunctional.
“I’ll handle the dishes...” I said glumly gathering everyone’s plates.
After the dishes, I attempted to go to bed early. I hardly slept that night... Who could? I kept tossing and turning. Was this just to get rid of me? Maybe for once she was being a mom and doing what was best for me.
“Dammit...” I sighed in anger.
I fell asleep disappointed, who wouldn’t be? Felt like I was being thrown out of my home. The next morning dawned and sure enough, a bus had been waiting for me outside of the house. My mom kissed my cheek, handed me a debit card for my monthly allowance, and sent me on my way.
“Good morning, Oli!” My mom greeted me.
“I’ll pass on breakfast...” I mumbled walking past her cooking on the stove.
“Oh...” I could see the look of sadness in her eyes. “You sure it’s going to be a long ride and I’d feel bad if I let you leave on a empty stomach...”
“It’s fine I don’t have an appetite right now.” I shrugged.
I waited patiently for this bus to arrive, the directions stated that it’ll honk a few times and would wait at least five minutes. I sat and waited until the sound of a loud honk could be heard throughout the street. With a hug and a kiss on my cheek, she sent me on my way.
“Oliver wait!” I heard Sophie stampeding down the stairs. “You can’t leave! You just can’t...” She ran with tears in her eyes.
“It will be okay... you’ll be fine.” I hugged her.
“Please, I’m begging you!” she wailed out.
“It’s not my choice... but I’ll be sure to visit!” I tightened my hug.
“Promise?” she wiped her eyes.
“Promise.” I confidently answered as she made it a pinky promise.
I walked out of my house that morning. Sure enough, the bus was waiting for me. It was awkward because it was a school bus, I haven’t seen one since I graduated. It brought back many memories. The doors opened, and it startled me when a bat flew out. I glanced back at my family before climbing on and said my final goodbyes.
“Hello...” I said to the bus driver who gave me a stare cold enough to make my skin feel like someone froze it solid.
I glanced around the empty bus; It was weird for a high school, you would think the bus would have kids... and some decent lighting. The bus was dark inside the window from the windows were tinted from the inside almost as if the driver wanted no light inside the bus. The weird thing is the outside you could see the inside perfectly what kind of illusion was this? The driver slammed the door shut and I could no longer see the outside there was a dim light coming from the dashboard other than that I was in complete darkness.
“Heading to Téras Academy? ... Heh, that’s a scary ass place kid.” He snickered as his cigar burst into a much larger flame, his entire body leaving just his skeleton surrounded by flames.
“W-What the F-” I couldn’t even finish my sentence.
“Buckle up, buttercup.” He laughed hysterically as the bus took off at full speed leaving nothing but a trail of flames behind.
I couldn’t even have the time to sit down I flew to the back of the bus.
I couldn’t process what was happening. Everything was moving so fast. What was this man? What was this bus? Even that couldn’t compare to the situation I would find myself in at the school...