I felt my face hit the pavement and I yelled out as the impact made my head feel like it had just split open and I skidded across the gravel path, my upper arms and lower legs chaffing from the protective position I was in.
This wasn’t my fault.
I refuse to accept any responsibility on my part. I was blameless and guilt-free and if anything purely a victim in this situation.
Let me explain how this all came about from the very beginning.
I was born in Leighstone in- ... No, maybe not that far back...
My name is Akara. Before you guess it’s not from Japanese, it’s a Thai name. Mom’s from Thailand, dad’s a muggle. Anyway, I’m turning seventeen this summer and I’m male. My favourite music is usually screamo or just any old weird bands. I like it when they dress up, face paints and all.
I go to Central Leighstone Secondary School, the second most prestigious school in Camroe city and I hate it and I hate everyone that goes there even the cleaners who don’t like me even though I’m the cleanest person there because they assume if I’m a problem kid I’m their problem as well. All the kids suck major hairy arsehole and the teachers are patronising wankers who like to think they can walk on water.
Every day I wake up and take an hour walking to school even though it’s only ten minutes away just so that I don’t make the grave mistake of coming in on time. I did that once and I shit you not a teacher came in early to check to see if I was there, was surprised to see I had managed to come in on time and congratulated my form room teacher as though she made it happen somehow.
My biggest problem with teachers is they like to take credit for every little achievement you make and they take no credit for anything bad you do. Fail a test? All my fault. Get a hundred percent? Well done teacher your skills must be commendable.
Despite my hatred of all things education particularly at my school the bane of my existence was actually just boredom. To escape the crippling inactivity at home I hung out at the skate park near the centre of town after school till it was too dark to see (there were three lamp posts that should have lit up the skate park and they were all broken... probably vandalised but not by me) and the kids started leaving.
I had friends at the skate park and mostly they didn’t come from my school. Most of the people there were such goody-two-shoes it was hard to breathe around them.
One kid called Emir came from my school, he was alright but we never saw each other at school. He was a short, slightly dark kid with thick rimmed plastic glasses, braces and dark hair. If I’m right he’s in the year below me.
“Watch out!” I heard a voice say before Misbah came flying past me as I was walking at a crawling pace across the park. He tried to turn when he didn’t really need to and fell off the skate board awkwardly but not dangerously.
“Sorry!” I waved my hand at him.
“Idiot!” He yelled.
Misbah was another of my friends, he had sort of darkish ginger hair and dark brown eyes. He was taller than me. We nicknamed him ‘Mischief’ because he has been kicked out of two schools already. One for low attendance and another for messing with a teachers computer and playing a video called ‘two girls one cup’ in assembly. They only got about 30 seconds in, no one was scarred by it yet, as he let us know on a regular basis.
I sat on a bench nearby and saw Bobby walking past and yelled out to him.
He turned around and walked over.
“Whats up,” He greeted me with a bro fist, something I’m not comfortable with to be honest. I always feel like I hold my fist too high and end up doing some kind of limp wrist bro fist. I’m always down for a regular good old hand shake if I’m being real frank.
“I need bike oil or something this wheel is squeaking.”
He nodded and walked over to another bench where his backpack was sitting and handed me the back to just open and look through. Friendly? Yes. Wise? Probably not with all of these kids.
As I was applying the bike oil Emir jogged over to me and sat next to me out of breath.
“Hey Akara,” He panted.
I gave him a weird look while I was putting the bottle back into Bobbys bag. “What’s up, why are you so out of breath?”
He took a minuted, a little hunched over.
I stared at the patch of sweat on his back and really couldn’t figure out what he had been up to. As far as I knew the most activity this slightly chubby kid ever got up to was roller skating or skate boarding.
“I’m.” He gasped. “So. Out. Of shape.”
I laughed loudly. “Well, yeah. That’s news to you?”
He exhaled loudly, “I ran four blocks.”
Four blocks... that’s a lot for a kid that tried to hide in the teachers office to get out of sports day.
“Why?” I didn’t mean to sound like a dick, if he was trying to get in shape then fine but it seemed out of character.
“Atlas and his stupid friends.”
Oh, those kids.
“You have problems with them?”
He groaned, “I do now!”
He took a deep breath. “This really wasn’t my fault.”
“Right.” It was definitely his fault.
“Like it wasn’t I promise.”
“Okay.” Yeah, really definitely his fault.
“I stole his phone.”
My eyes went wide, what the fuck... I started to reply.
“Wait! No. It wasn’t my fault, hear me out!” He took a breath and ran a hand through his greasy hair. “He and his wanker friends were picking on another kid in my year, Ethan, and he was just taking it like it was everyday and maybe it even was and I was just kinda sick of seeing them looking all smug and getting away with it because they have money to buy themselves a tutor and bribe the school not to notice and so I stepped in like...
“Atlas told him to fuck off if he tried to touch him again, I don’t know if he did or whatever I wasn’t around to see anything but they’re always picking on him and so I told him that no one would ever intentionally touch him. So yeah, Atlas was really pissed and he went and, strutting his stuff acting like he has friends in high places... well he probably does but that’s besides the point.
“That arseface ends up knocking my textbook and pencil case out of my arms and the pencil case went flying into that pond thing I couldn’t even find it because of all that green shit on top so that was that my pencil case was just fucking gone.
“So, I got really mad and saw his bag was sitting on the wall and I grabbed it but saw his face and freaked out so I just tried to grab something from it and it just happened to be the phone and I didn’t want to steal it I just wanted to throw it in the pond but suddenly I was holding something that cost so much that I couldn’t possibly just chuck it in the pond because I’d be saving up to pay him back for his phone for five years if I did so I just froze and when he started storming towards me I got freaked out and ran for it.”
I went still.
“So...” I took a second to take that all in. “They’re still following you or you lost them?”
He shook his head. “I lost them, I lost them. Oh man I’m winded.” He groaned, “Do you have water?”
I passed him my bottle.
“Wait, so you still have his phone?”
He nodded, looking miserable. “What the fuck do I do? I didn’t mean to take it... I’ve proper stolen it!”
“Give it back to him idiot!”
He glared at me. “Well genius, I never thought of that. I guess I’ll go and return it and get my arse beat bloody.”
“Well...” I frowned, no, he was right I didn’t want to be in his position. “You have to return it at some point.”
“Wow, captain obvious coming in to save lives.”
“Maybe you can go back to the school and leave in on the bench near the pond and say you never actually left with it.”
He shook his head quickly. “Then why did I run?”
“Because he was chasing you.”
His eyes brightened a little, then he returned to scowling.
“No, what if the phone gets stolen, then I can’t even return it, I’ll get my arse beat every day until he figures his hands are hurting too much.”
There was a silence while we both tried to think up a way to get him out of the situation he had gotten himself into.
“You’re an idiot.” I told him after a while.
He sighed loudly and took a big chug of my water and returned the bottle to me. “You can say that again.”
Then I saw the looming figures heading up the path towards the skate park.
“You are an idiot!”
“Well alright I did give you permission.” He chuckled.
“No,” I told him, “Look.” I pointed at the boys.
Emir visibly paled.
“What are you gonna do.”
He turned to me looking desperate. “Help.”
I groaned, “You can’t drag me into this as well!”
“As well as who! I haven’t dragged anyone else into this yet, you’ll be the first one!”
“Oh god, you’re lucky I’m as stupid as you are.”
The boys had spotted us and they were approaching fast.
“Give me the phone.”
He struggled to pull the phone out quickly enough but eventually handed it to me.
I took a deep breath and stood up and took a couple calm, confident strides towards the boys and it took me about two seconds before I was face to face with the leader of the goons, Atlas.
I’d never actually met Atlas face to face before, just heard about him because he was the only other kid in the school that had a bad reputation aside from me. Only I was more of a passive delinquent, someone who didn’t do anything and occasionally mucked up in class, he was the type to chase people around apparently.
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