Startled. That’s how I’d describe it. Like waking up from a nightmare, but somehow this was different. I could feel it in the air in my room. I felt another presence. It smelled different. The air seemed unsettled, not stagnant like I’d expect. My god, who was in my room?! I was too petrified to move, but too scared not to. It’s so cold in here. I can’t stop shivering. Laying still, I managed to scan my room from the available light that the nearly full moon provided. Empty, just how it should be. Nothing looked out of place. I stretched my neck enough to see that my clock said it was 4:09. What in the Hell woke me up? Maybe it was just a dream, but it sure didn’t feel like it. One things for sure, I have to get some more sleep or school is going to suck. Convinced I was in fact alone, I rounded up all my blankets and turned toward the wall, to try and steal a few more hours of sleep.
I did manage to fall back asleep, because the next thing I remembered was the hateful sound of my alarm clock. Buzz, buzz, buzz! Get up dummy. The world hates you. Time for school. I reached one arm out from my cocoon and slapped the snooze button. On the really rough days, I can survive three snooze cycles and still get to school in time. As I laid there in a semi-conscious state, I became aware of how cold my room felt. This triggered the forgotten memory from a few hours earlier. It wasn’t just in my head. It really was freezing in here. I wonder if there is something wrong with the heating and if the rest of the house is this cold.
Now, with my head swimming with so many things, I knew trying for a few more minutes of sleep would be pointless. I boldly stood up and dashed to my closet to grab a hoodie to throw over my naked top half. I also found my slippers to protect me against the cold wooden floor. I walked back to my desk chair to grab my towel, to head to the bathroom for a hot shower. That’s when something caught my eye. My top tray on my desk was open a few inches, and the corner of a paper sticking out. What in the Hell? I opened the drawer the rest of the way and saw that it was my drawing of the vampire boy. I used to stare at the drawing every night, but it had been a few weeks since I’d been in this drawer. Ever since that night at Jasmines’ when I decided to stop searching for that stupid dream.
So who was in my desk? I know it was shut when I went to bed last night. My mom and dad wouldn’t come in here and look in my drawer. Especially in the middle of the night. This doesn’t make any sense. As I stood there contemplating this, I felt an ice cold blast of wind whip across my midsection. I looked up and saw my window was open a little bit. I leaned across my desk to look closer. That’s when panic and fear ganged up on me. Outside my window, I could clearly see footprints in the snow on my roof. Holy shit! Somebody was in my room last night. But who? And why? And what if they’re still in here?
I backed away from the desk quietly. My senses were suddenly on high alert. The hair on the back of my neck was standing up. I noticed the house was eerily silent. I wanted to run to my parents bedroom and wake them. Tell them someone broke into my room during the night, and that I thought they were still in the house.
Luckily, I stopped myself before I followed through. They would seriously think I went crazy if I stormed in with that story. I needed to search the house. Alone.
I started in my bedroom, dropping down to look under my bed. I edged back to my small closet and looked inside. I then proceeded to all the other rooms in the house, except for my parents bedroom. If there’s somebody in there, my dad can deal with it. I went back to my room, satisfied no one was in the house. I concluded that someone was in my room and woke me when they left. The part that bothered me was, who, and why?
I sat and studied the picture for a while and the answers came to me. There’s only one person who’d break into my room, find this picture, and just leave. The boy in the picture. But there has to be more to it. Why would he come here? That’s what I wanted to know. That’s what I needed to know.
I spent the entire day at school in my own world. I didn’t retain one bit of useful information. I just went through the motions on instinct. I do have a vague recollection of being harassed during lunchtime. Super-bully Jonas and his merry band of thugs threw some food at me and spewed some colorful insults. I didn’t react, so I’m guessing they got bored with me and moved onto someone else. That’s the way they operate. The student body at large, is just a revolving door of victims. Once in a while, the spin stops on you, and you catch Hell for a day. Oh the joy!
Walking down the sidewalk toward my house after school, I spotted something that was very out of place. My dad was in the driveway holding what appeared to be a shovel. I must be hallucinating. The man is actually doing something other than drinking beer and watching tv. It’s a freaking miracle. As I got closer, I realized my ‘two ships passing in the night’ way of dealing with my dad was not going to work. He was shoveling right near where I was going.
“Hey dad. Do…do you want me to finish up?”
“Nnhh. I’m almost done here.”
I started to walk up toward the house, as I didn’t know what else to do, when he grabbed my arm to stop me.
“Just what in the Hell were you thinking? Did you think I wouldn’t notice?”
“Stay off the god damn roof! It’s icy and you’re clumsy. Probably fall off and break your neck.”
I pulled my arm away, wanting to make my escape before too many more questions were asked. He caught my attention, when he said, “and!…do not write on your window anymore. Clean it off.”
He swatted the back of my head with his gloved hand and I jogged up toward the front door without further comment. What was he talking about, write on my window? I didn’t write on my window. I bolted up the stairs as fast as my legs would let me. I needed to see what he was talking about. Maybe it’s another clue about what happened here last night. I made it to my room and looked directly at my window. Sure enough there was something written on it. It looked like a finger was used to cut through the frost that had built up on the cold surface. I walked closer as the words started to come into focus. From the edge of my desk, I could make out the scrolled message. ‘Please stay home,’ it read. In sloppy, hurried letters. Please stay home. What the Hell is that supposed to mean? I was hoping for some prophetic, life changing message, but this is what I get.
Disappointed, I sat on the side of my bed and pulled off my coat and hat. I tipped over backwards and stared at the ceiling. I think I understand the message, but why now? I hadn’t even gone out looking for him for the last few weeks. I was done already. He should have known that. Unless…he wants me to do the opposite. Or maybe he wants me to stay here and wait for him to come over. He knows where my room is and he knows how to get up here. Maybe tonight he’ll come back. That has to be what he meant. He’s coming back to see me and he wants to make sure I’m here.
Somewhere in my mind, I had convinced myself that he was coming over tonight. I went over all the scenarios I could think of, and him visiting again made perfect sense to me. I vowed to stay up all night and wait for his arrival. I would leave my desk lamp on, so he could see I was awake, waiting for him. It was evening now, so I decided to get a quick shower, so I’d be clean and smell nice when he came over.
Some time in the early morning, I dozed off, unable to hold on until I had to leave for school. When I woke up, I didn’t see any evidence that he’d come over. I was a bit disappointed, but maybe he’d come tonight.
I went through another bullshit day of school. Even more tired than I was the day before. I fell asleep in half my classes. Jonas gave me a bunch of shit again during lunch, but I just ignored him, like the day before. He must not realize I have a lot more important business going on than worrying about being afraid of him. He’s such a stupid asshole.
For tonight I decided to put a note out for my potential guest. I had serious doubts about being able to stay awake very late tonight as I was already feeling super tired. I simply wrote ‘come back’ on a sheet of paper with a black marker, and stuck it to the outside of my window. If I left my desk lamp on again, he’d no doubt see that something was stuck to the window. Hopefully that would make him come close enough to read it. I made a quick dinner and spent the rest of the night in my room. Right up until I fell asleep sometime around eleven. Like I said, I was exhausted.
I didn’t sleep well at all. I tossed and turned and just couldn’t get comfortable. Again, when morning came, I didn’t see any evidence of an overnight visitor. I was starting to think that he was not planning to come back. Maybe his message to me meant what it said. Maybe he doesn’t want me to find him. Maybe that was goodbye.
I was a little more alert at school today, but I just couldn’t get into it at all. My mind was working me into a serious depression. Why did he have to do this? I was over it. Done. Then out of nowhere he comes back into my life. At least it was already Thursday. Only one more day of this and I’ll be able to spend two days just sleeping and doing nothing.
I was sitting at my usual spot for lunch. Pretty much minding my own business. I sat with four other kids I barely knew. I don’t think any of us knew each other very well. It was like we were using each other for the sake of appearance. No one wants to sit alone. I guess I should have expected more trouble from Jonas, but I really wasn’t on my game. So it did catch me by surprise when I felt something slimy and hot hit my head just above my ear. There was an immediate chorus of laughter coming from the direction of the impact. My hand instinctually shot up to the side of my head where I discovered cheese. That fake cheese that squirts out of a tube for nachos. It was in my hair, my ear, and oozing down my neck, onto my shirt. I glared over my shoulder and saw Jonas and his friends cracking up. I shot up out of my chair, pushed the table out, and yelled “mother fucker!,” as I made to walk over to him.
“What are you gonna do about it little bitch. Huh? I’ll fuck you up!”
The reality is, I don’t know what I was going to do about it. He would kick my ass. There’s no doubt about that. But maybe I’d be able to get a shot in first. Make him feel some pain before he dished out mine. Just as I was getting into swinging range, I felt strong hands pulling me back from behind. Another set of hands were doing the same to Jonas. Authoritative voices could be heard, shouting “hold it. Stop! This is over.”
Jonas was dragged one way and I was tugged another. The look on Jonas’ face told me he was no stranger to this type of scene. He didn’t seem to mind as he smiled wickedly toward me.
“See ya’ later pretty boy,” he taunted, as he was pulled out of my view, into the chaos of the lunchroom.
I tried my best to mask my fear and to keep from crying. If I cried, that would be the end of me. I’d never be able to live that down. Ever.
After a short cooling down period in an empty classroom, just outside of the cafeteria, I was allowed to leave. The security guy believed my story and told me he was willing to let my foul language slide, as long as I promised to keep my nose clean, and not retaliate. I told him I just wanted to get the cheese out of my ear and get a t-shirt out of my gym locker. He accepted that, and I was on my way. I walked back through the cafeteria toward the nearest bathroom, to get the slimy shit off of me. I was standing at a sink, washing my face, when I heard a voice behind me.
“Well now. Where were we pretty boy? Oh yeah, I’m gonna fuck you up.”
I looked up into the mirror. Stunned. It couldn’t be. How in the Hell is he not in the principals office getting suspended? I could see to my right that his gang was blocking me from any chance of escape. I was trapped and totally fucked. This was gonna hurt.
I decided I was going to take it like a man and hopefully he’d be done with me for good. I turned the water off and grabbed a paper towel to dry my hands and face. This seemed to piss him off, as he shoved me away from the sink toward a wall.
“Quit stalling!,” he barked. Backing me into a corner. “Are you gonna fight me or take it like a bitch? Come on. Hit me motherfucker. Maybe you’ll get lucky.”
He shoved me over and over. Slamming my back into the brick wall behind me. I could feel my heart thumping in my ears. I felt about two hundred degrees and like I might pass out.
“That’s what I thought. Just a pathetic little bitch. Come on! Swing at me! Hit me! Let’s do this.”
I just kept looking at him, deadpan. He wasn’t going to break me. I was not going to show him fear.
“What are you looking at faggot? What’s your problem?”
“I don’t have a problem. You do. You like this? Picking on kids that never did nothing to you? Smaller kids. Do you really think I want to fight you? Do you think it’s fair? I never did nothing to you.”
“It’s not gonna work. You’re not getting out of this. You might as well take your best shot.”
“Makes you wonder huh. Everybody hates you. You are such a fucking loser.”
The next thing I knew, all the air was gone. He punched me right below my ribcage with everything he had. I tried to fold over and regain my bearings, wishing I was lying on the floor, but he held me up by my shoulder.
“You hit like a girl,” I somehow managed to force out between my clenched teeth. I’m not sure why I said it, but I did.
He reared back and delivered another one, a little harder than the first one. It hurt. A lot.
“Fuckin’ pussy,” I said through a mock smile.
Maybe enraging him wasn’t the best idea. The next one he threw split my lip wide open. As I teetered forward, the next one caused my nose to gush. I tried to put up a guard with my forearms, but he kept landing damaging blows to my face. My eyes stung with pain. My nose was on fire. My mouth tasted like blood. Luckily for me, he punched himself out pretty quick. My battered body collapsed to the floor, but he wasn’t done. He started kicking me, screaming spit and venom. Hatred. It wasn’t until his two ‘friends’ stepped in and pulled him off, that I was free of his onslaught. The whole thing lasted under two minutes, but it felt like an hours worth of punishment.
I couldn’t hold back the floodgates, as I started to cry audibly. It wasn’t just the beating. It was a collection of a few years worth of sadness, loneliness, and pain. I felt like I was exactly where I belonged. Laying on a filthy bathroom floor, in my own blood and tears.
I heard a bell, followed by the sound of chair legs and plastic trays. This meant that in less than a minute, this room would fill up with kids. I did not want to be seen like this. I found enough strength deep inside, to will myself to crawl to the last stall. I climbed onto the toilet, and sat silently until the horde came and left.