Chapter 15: A bloody end to the holidays
Once school started, Mike found he was not so thrilled. Instead he tried to think of the holidays and forget about the dreaded building that lay in front of him. When he saw Bradley burst out of the double doors and point a fat finger at him, his fear turned into reality.
“You son of a bitch!” cried the bully. “You try to commit suicide, your bastardy friend tries to stop you, and your bitchy crush tries to help you.” It was January fourth and Mike just tried to stay calm as Bradley spat out the words into his face. “Now when I said I was going to keep bullying you, I wasn’t lying, but now I’m gonna beat the shit out of you!” He grabbed Mike’s coat with two hands and launched him down the hill. Mike kept rolling and rolling until he got to the bottom. He had his backpack on so his face kept getting pushed into the ground.
Once on solid ground, he felt very dizzy and couldn’t see Bradley running down the hill. When the bully got to the bottom of the hill, he grabbed Mike by his backpack and swung him into a thorny bush. Mike could feel pain rush up his body as he felt the tiny needles dig into his skin. At this point, a crowd had now gathered. “This is for going out with my girl.” He punched Mike hard in the face. Mike felt as if his jaw was broken as the rough pointed knuckles slammed themselves into his flesh. “This is for you saving that bastard Ian.”
This time, he picked up Mike and dropped him so hard that his back smacked the pavement like a wrestler about to perform his last act before victory. Painful shocks were shooting up Mike’s body as his body was beaten.
“And this will teach you never to piss me off again.” He got on top of Mike and began repeatedly punching him. Fists hit Mike’s stomach, cheeks, even nose, and all Mike could do was lay there helplessly as Bradley attacked him. And with every strike, Mike’s pain worsened.
A few meters away, Cindy could see two figures. One was lying on the ground and the other was on top of the other, fists a blur. When Cindy got closer, she realized Bradley was looming over Mike constantly punching him! She ran towards the scene, hoping to save Mike in time. But as she pushed through the growing crowd, it slowed her down a fair bit. All Mike heard was, “Bradley, what the hell are you doing?”
It sounded like Cindy’s voice. Bradley turned around. He picked up the dazed Mike who had blood smeared all over his face and pushed him into Cindy. “Here bitch, take him!” he cried. The two of them fell into a heap. Cindy helped Mike up and took out a tissue from her jeans pocket to wipe the blood off Mike’s face. Once Mike looked less likely to be involved in a fight club, she went up to Bradley.
“Stop bullying Mike,” she said jabbing a finger into Bradley’s chest. “You have no idea how much you’ve hurt him. He has a bloody nose, a black eye, a bloody lip, and he’s in so much pain.”
“No, I won’t stop bullying Mike. This is only the beginning,” said Bradley triumphantly.
“Don’t make me do this,” threatened Cindy.
“What are you going to do, shoot me?”
“No, but I’ll do this.” With that, she slapped Bradley hard in the face. The crowd cheered as the harsh sound rang out. Bradley clutched his face as if he had lost all feeling in his cheeks. He blinked from the strike and removed his hand where a large red circle was visible on his right cheek.
“Fine,” said Bradley trying not to look at the crowd. He clenched his fists. He so badly wanted to punch Cindy in the face and just keep hurting her until she was in a worse state than Mike. But he knew he couldn’t; especially with this many people around. He stared at the weak 14-year-old boy still lying on the ground. He would get back at Cindy for ruining his work. For now though, he just walked away. “Just you wait!” He pointed a finger at Cindy. “I’ll get back at you and then you’ll be crying for mommy.” Cindy ignored him as Bradley headed into the school fuming. When he had left, she picked Mike up from the ground.
“Don’t listen to that jerk,” she comforted. “He’s just trying to get attention so he doesn’t reveal what a loser he is.” Mike just nodded as they headed into the school.
Mike and Cindy’s first period was Math and nobody seemed to take notice of Mike’s injured self. He wanted to throw a chair at the window in order to get their attention but wondered if anyone would actually look up from their desks. He did know that if he did commit this act of destruction, Mr. Crad would just blame him for destroying school property. He hated this school.
As Mr. Crad discussed integers, Mike’s thoughts went back to the scene that had occurred a few minutes ago. He was so deep in thought that he didn’t realize that Mr. Crad and his overly gelled spiky black hair were staring right at him. He seemed to be waiting for an answer.
“Cindy,” Mike blurted without thinking.
“No Mike, negative four plus positive three does not equal Cindy,” said Mr. Crad sighing at the pathetic boy sitting in front him. His sigh indicated that he was apologising to the class for Mike’s stupidity. And it got worse when the whole class burst into laughter at Mike’s answer.
“Oh,” said Mike very quietly as he sunk lower and lower into his seat. He stared at his desk and pretended he hadn’t spoken.
After school, Mike was the first one to step outside. He wanted to get away from that old dilapidated building as quickly as possible. He didn’t need people constantly staring at him and furiously whispering to their friends. He wanted to be left alone so he put his hood over his head and walked away. His destination was not home though; he was heading to the Lawrence subway station because his mother wanted him to purchase a pad of paper from Tools to Go.
When he arrived on the platform, he took a subway due south to Eglinton and, once he arrived, headed towards Tools to Go which was located in the Yonge Eglinton Centre. His coat was zipped up all the way and he had his face mostly covered by a green scarf. To anyone, he looked very suspicious. The cashier also thought this when Mike approached him with a pad of paper.
“I’m sorry sir, but I must ask you to remove your hood and scarf.” The cashier was a short man that looked to be in his mid thirtys. He seemed to be very nervous looking at Mike because his hand was trembling uncontrollably.
“How about you just search me,” offered Mike in a muffled voice trying to avoid the man’s stares.
“I’m sorry sir, but I cannot touch you. I would be charged for abuse. You must remove the items that are concealing your face or I must ask you to leave the store.”
This is ridiculous, thought Mike. “I won’t tell and I’ll make sure you don’t get in trouble.”
The man snorted, picturing this scrawny kid defending him in front of his overweight boss. He could see his boss laughing in the boy’s face clouding him with cigar smoke as he puffed away.
“I will not ask you again.”
Mike couldn’t believe this, but removed his scarf and hood. The man gasped, but tried to hide his shock. “I’m…so sorry,” he uttered staring at Mike’s mutilated face. Mike handed him a twenty-dollar bill to shut him up and waited for his change. The man quickly cashed the purchase in and placed the change on the counter.
From the corner of his eye, Mike noticed a handful of glittery pens sitting in a plastic case beside the cash register.
THREE GREAT COLOURS!
were the words written on the side of the pen.
Cindy would like that, he thought. If he got that for Cindy he would definitely know if she liked him. He reached for it when he noticed the price tag on the plastic casing.
Was Cindy worth this trouble?
Yes, he answered his own question. He took the pen that came with the colours baby blue, pink, and purple and handed it to the man.
“I’ll buy this as well.”
The man didn’t even question Mike’s taste. “Take it.”
“Please, just take it.” He tried to not look directly at Mike but at the butons on the keyboard.
“Are you sure?”
“O.K.,” said Mike, stuffing the paper in his backpack and the pen into his right coat pocket. “Thanks.” The man just nodded as Mike quickly left the store. As he headed back to the subway he wondered, Could my face really get me free stuff? He doubted it. The cashier was just terrified of him.
On the subway ride, Mike accidentally bumped into a girl as the train neared Lawrence Station. The pen that Mike had just bought fell out of his coat pocket and hit the floor. To Mike, it sounded a little bit louder than necessary. The girl saw the pen and picked it up for him. “You dropped this Mike,” she said as the bright blue eyes stared at him. It was Cindy.
“Uh…um you can have it,” said Mike quickly as the doors opened and he dashed out. He was so shocked and stunned that he took the wrong exit out of the station and had to walk an extra five blocks to his house.
When Mike finally arrived home, Cindy was waiting at the door. “What are you doing here?” he questioned.
“It’s Wednesday,” replied Cindy.
“Oh.” He unlocked the door, mentally slapping himself for his unawareness. He wondered if this meeting would be a repeat of the last.
When the two were sitting on the couch in the living room, Mike wondered what would make Cindy happy. It was January and it was freezing outside so he asked her if she would like some hot chocolate.
“I would love some,” was her reply.
Once they were sitting on the couch with their steaming delicious mugs of hot chocolate, Mike noticed that Cindy was still holding the pen he had given her, which had accidentally been dropped unexpectedly. Mike pretended he was very interested in the fluffy carpet in order to avoid eye contact with her as Cindy started opening her binder to compound sentences. “I think you have a good idea about compound sentences,” she began. Mike nodded, still looking at the carpet, so Cindy continued. “So, today we’re gonna learn about run-on sentences.” Mike nodded his head again. He wondered if Cindy had even noticed he had been staring at the carpet. As Cindy started discussing what a run-on sentence was, she gave Mike examples to back up her discussion. “For example, there’s this,” she said, “I saw a bird singing in a field which the cat saw and ate he was very hungry and hadn’t had breakfast that morning.”
By the time the hour was up, Mike had a pretty good idea of run-on sentences. He thanked Cindy and opened the door for her as she left his secluded home. Another day of tutoring had ended.