Loner in War

All of the puzzle pieces seemed to be intact. Our new
principle, Leeman, had no idea what was going to run straight at him like a
bull and knock him off of his high horse. If he thought returning here to wreck
more mayhem on us was going to work, he didn’t have a clue what was in store
for him. He was removed, in part, by us in the first place, and we were
prepared to do so again.

 Our genius plan was to tamper with the fire alarms in
order to set Leeman up for a fire disaster that everybody would know, or would
be lead to believe, to be his fault. Of course, we weren’t ready to light a
flame ourselves. Fires happen, and when one does appear, he’ll be in deep
trouble for disposing all ‘useless devices’.

Before we were able to do all of this, Leeman had done
his best to enact his old leadership. He started with getting rid of every
single extra-curricular activity that wasn’t during school and not in his
preferred time, which happened to be too early for any sane person to cope with.
Lunch was cut by around ten minutes, and core classes were extended. Gym was
basically nothing but stretching now, and all of the other encore classes didn’t
fare off as well either.

 How did we get him in trouble the last time? When Daniel
got into detention one day after sticking up to him, he got onto his computer
and sent out some very compromising E-mails Leeman had been typing out to board
members, who, even though they liked him so much, couldn’t keep him in after
all of the heat they got after that incident.

 Years after, it seemed as though we were reliving that
moment in which we dethroned the tyrant, except this time we got around to
doing it much faster than last time. His reign of terror would be short-lived,
and his exit would spark joy in every student. Everybody, not even teacher’s
pets, had any respect for that monster.

 Right now, we were stationed as far north from our
classroom as we could get. Some clever excuses made the teacher doubt we were
out doing what we currently were. Daniel had figured out some way to deactivate
the alarms without suspicion, and he basically did all of the work.

 “This is one bullet he won’t be able to dodge” Daniel
commented, observing the alarm we had just meddled with. Claudia came back from
around the corner, a wide grin on her face. Sneaking out wasn’t her thing, but
she certainly seemed to be enjoying it.

 “That’s all of them then. Right?” I asked for
clarification. We had traversed around the entire school as quickly as we
could, narrowly avoiding some close encounters along the way with some passing
staff members. It was tedious, nerve-racking work, and I wasn’t convinced it
was all finished.

 “Don’t worry, we didn’t miss any. This was the very last
one. You can all start cheering with joy, as we can just wait for Leeman’s
inevitable downfall” Daniel replied, gesturing around him.

 “I won’t be hollering until I see him kicked out the
front door, and for good this time” Claudia said with finality. Even with her
newfound confidence, she needed to loosen up a bit.

 I think Daniel and I both had the same look directed at
her. “Please” he said, trying to calm her down a bit. “We can’t get caught. I
fingerprints aren’t even on the objects. All signs point towards Leeman pulling
the thing off himself”.

 “Speaking of our wonderful new principle removing things,
he has a big assembly planned for us today” Claudia commented. We looked at
her, surprised, as nobody had been alerted that we knew of. “He just made it up
out of the blue. Not a lot of people know”.

 Daniel frowned. “Either he’s got to get rid of something
else or he’s going to try and get a pity train going for him”.

 I laughed. “He’s got no chance of earning the students
back on his side. We’re done playing his game, and I don’t want anyone else
before us having to play it too”.

 Claudia looked up at a digital clock looming overhead. “Okay
guys, I think our time’s up. We should probably start heading back now if we’re
all done”.

 “She’s right” I said, glancing at the time device for
myself, “if we’re a little late Leeman’s new rule is going to be forced down
our throats”. We nodded, the full intention of making a run for it clear in our

 “So” a voice came from behind us just before we had a
chance to move. Shocked, we all turned around and saw the new principle himself
standing right behind us! “What’re we going to about this”. He walked calmly
over to us, his gray eyes squinting at us individually as he tried to think of
what to do with us. In his hand was a glass of wine, even though there wasn’t
supposed to be alcohol in the school.

 We all held our breath as we realized we had been caught…
red-handed. I felt so stupid for letting our guard down!  We had to have heard the footsteps… unless he
had been watching. Had Leeman outplayed us already when we just started? All I
felt was a cold hatred for the man that stood before me.

 “Only a few years ago I walked into this school prepared
to make a change. Students these days are… far too lazy, and a wake-up call was
in order. Grades skyrocketed while I was in here. Yes, you may disapprove of my
rules, but understand that I had saved this school’s shining reputation with
them! We don’t need these other, extra-curricular activities… they only served
to distract”.

 Daniel opened his mouth for a reply, but Leeman held his
hand up and shook his head. “I’m sorry Mr. Owens, today is not the day for you
to sign me out of this building again”. I saw my friend’s face turn red. “Oh
yes, I know about how I was removed from office. The board would never do such
a thing, so it had to be one of the students…”

 “You don’t think it was a teacher then?” Daniel responded
shakily, still trying to point the blame elsewhere.

 “A staff member wouldn’t uppercut me like that. Besides,
you were in my office. Back onto the topic… I saved this school. I deserve
respect, and I expect you three” he said, gesturing to us all, “to follow my
rules without a shadow of a doubt. Lionel and Claudia was it? You’re in league
with Daniel here, and I’m sorry that he was taught you his disrespectful ways.
I know you both are terrific students, so I will wait for that splendid work to
yield results”.

 He strolled over to the fire alarm, examining it to see
the damage we had dealt. “Now, this is impressive work. Dismantle the alarms so
that when a fire appears I will seem guilty”. He gave off a small laugh. “Sadly,
I’m much smarter than you think, and this is vandalizing school property. Keep
these facts in mind”.

 He took another look at our group. “I get it, however. It’s
my first day, you still think I’m the spawn of the Devil, and such things like
that. So… I will pardon this incident”. I felt slightly happy that we were
getting off the hook. “But don’t get me wrong here; if you do anything else
that isn’t straight as an arrow… I will put you in front of the board, and your
fate won’t be a happy one”.

 A smile played on his lips. Our expressions were still
the same; surprised, still scared… and pissed off beyond belief. This man had
no right to do the things he did. His rules didn’t even boost the grades as
much as he proclaimed, and all they did was tear the school apart, causing a
lot of conflicts.

 “There’s an assembly going on today in just a few
minutes. I will make sure that you are attending before the proceedings begin.
After all…” he grinned deviously at us, “we don’t want any more… accidents… do

 Before he left, he pulled out a pamphlet from his pocket
and handed it to me. It was a recommendation for therapy at some location in
the city… a place specializing with stopping patients from doing things such as
suicide. My body grew cold and rigid, an uncontrollable anger coursing through
me. However, I did nothing but stare at this offensive paper that was just
given to me.

 “I hope this helps you, Mr. Stephens. Good day” he said,
tipping an imaginary hat off to us. I barely saw this, having only slightly
looked up to send a death threat to the principle, whether he understood the
look in my eyes as such or not.

 “Oh my God… Lionel, I-“

 I cut Claudia off. “That…” I cursed, shaking my head. “This
is a direct insult towards me… about some day that wrecked all of our lives”.

 Daniel pounded his fist on the wall. “A shot across the

 Claudia took a deep breath. “No… an act of war”.

 “I love the smell of napalm in the morning”.

 I crumpled the piece of paper up and threw it down the
hallway. “He’s made this personal… too personal… and he’s going down. I will
break his skull if I have to relieve him from office… I will not deal with a jerk like him. Not again”.

 Daniel rubbed his forehead with his hand. “And he’s got
some sort of assembly today. All we need is to hear him talk even more than he
already has. If only we could just avoid it… but he said it himself… if we
screw around again, knowing how much the board adores him… we’ll be dead”.

 Claudia began to head off in her wheelchair. On that
note, Daniel and I followed in behind her. By the time we found the gym doors,
it was already time for the assembly to begin. We entered the room only to be
greeted by silence. The whole school had filled up the chairs stationed on the
gym floor, but nobody dared to speak one word. As fate would have it, the three
of us managed to find the only seats that were right next to Charles Franklin

 Not a word was spoken between us, just a glare and that
was all. I could have sworn he looked at me again a few more times, but I didn’t
think much of it. As much as I hated him at this moment, I had to know what all
of this was about.

 “Listen, I know we’re not on good terms now, but just
tell me what the hell is going on please?” I asked him as nicely as I could.

 He took a deep breath, contemplating whether to simply
forget the past and give me an equally simple reply, or to just shut up. I
guess the British exchange student finally opened up to talking. “Apparently it’s
about ‘Reviewing the Year’, whatever he plans to do with that”.

 I nodded my thanks and brought my attention up to the
platform built up in front of us. I realized with a shock that Principle Leeman
had already come on stage. He had been greeted with not one single clap or
anything else that would indicate his presence.

 After tapping the mike a few times to see if it was
turned on, Leeman gazed at all of the students in the crowd, taking a second to
smile when he saw we had made it. He coughed a few times, took some quick
breaths, and stepped closer to the mike.

 “Good afternoon, students. I apologize for this being on
such short notice, but I found it to be very necessary. Do not be frightened… I’ll
make this as short as I possibly can”. A moment to take a deep breath. “This
school has a reputation worth upholding… but as I look back and review what was
happened in my absence, I must say… I am depressed by the chaos”.

 There was a pause as a projector screen came down from
the roof. With a click from a remote, Leeman turned on a presentation, showing
a graph. “This graph shows how much our grades have fallen since I walked out
of this building”. It was obviously exaggerated; there were way too any F’s
displayed in the data.

 “The problem with this, of course, were the
extra-curricular activities. I’m sorry that they had to go… but we need to make
sure our students get the most focus they can so their homework and tests are
top-notch. Now, I’m confident in our students giving their all. Grades will
indeed improve”.

 “Now, this isn’t just the only cause. Social lives inside
of school are so sidetracking for the students that roam these halls. Maybe
this is all because of gossip and this boyfriend-girlfriend thing. A new rule
has been placed, stating that no signs of affection can be shown in the
hallways”. Not one complaint was shouted, but the pain was felt. Not many
people were single in this school, the only one I knew being Daniel, and those
days were numbered if he stayed as nice as he was now. The fact that Claudia
and I were going out too… that stung.

 Of course, he had more rules up his sleeve to dish it. “Furthermore,
there will be no talking in the classroom without being instructed by a staff
member”. I could feel the cuts digging into me as I realized he was going to
destroy our lives the best he could. “I realize that you all must hate this.
But, nonetheless… this is all, very, necessary”.

 A hostile mood has swept over the crowd. Some angry
whispers and looks were exchanged… not some, hundreds. Social lives were kind
of important to the average, everyday student, and taking away the liberty of
having one upset everybody. The teachers were starting to look confused at
these rules, as though wondering themselves how this could possibly help us.

 “There have also been some… startling events that took
place this year. I’m saddened to say that we had two suicidal attempts, one by
Lionel Stephens and one by Charles Dascher”. He mentioned me? Is he really that
cruel? I also looked over at Charles, having never known he tried to do such a
thing. His face was buried in his hands, not to hide tears, but just to hide
his face. “Both of these men are outstanding students… and because of social
lives, they did this. It all connects, you see? Doing what I’m doing will help
save lives”.

 “Even more frightening… the death of Craig Johnson. Now,
the details of that whole scenario are not out to the public, but I do know we
had shot by police officers after having been told repeatedly to drop the
firearm he had been carrying. Only a week afterwards… Samantha Joy shot herself
with a shotgun”.

 I almost stood up at this. “What!?” I whispered loudly to
myself. I didn’t like her anymore after what she did to me… but did she seriously
do that? Suicide… blasting her brains out with a shotgun… oh God it sounds

 “As you can see… not everybody can be saved. But I will
do my best to make sure that I save our reputation, our grades… and our people.
Now, I thank you for listening to me today, and I’m sorry for dragging you out
of the classes for such a short period. I hope you all have a good day”.

 I stood up and ran to the podium in the midst of the
polite applause that was offered to his speech. Claudia and Daniel had
protested, calling for me to come back, but this man was not going to get away
with insulting me and trying to dish out a sob story to cover it all up. He turned
around and noticed me approaching, and smiled.

 I stopped in front of him, the obvious question of “why?”
showing in my face. He began his explanation.

 “You see, I knew you wouldn’t want me coming back, and I
knew the students didn’t either. The only way I could get them to trust me is
by doing what I just did”. It was all just another devious plan by our

 I waved a finger at him. “You have no right to insult me,
call me out, and the expect everyone to jump on board your bandwagon after
giving a nice little ‘speech from the heart’. You are not going to ruin another
year of school, Leeman, and if you don’t believe that, you can watch me”.

 He laughed and shook his head while maintaining eye
contact with me. “Now, I don’t think you will, Mr. Stephens. My new rules are
going to be inflicted as fast as they can, and that means that they are being
used right now as I speak”.

 I shrugged. “Rules can be broken”.

 He looked at me, slightly surprised, and angry. In a
hushed voice, he leaned closer to me. “Are you saying that now I’m back in
office, you’re going to trash your wonderful grades and the opportunities to go
with it so you can go rogue and kick me out of my position?”

Claudia and Daniel had appeared behind me. She looked
concerned, but Daniel seemed to have the same anger inside of him that I had
inside of me now. We were both not ready to put up with this particular
individual. I looked back at them both, and my eyes caught Claudia’s. She had
that look in her eyes again; she was ready to start trouble. Not only that, she
understood my message as to how we would start.

 “I’m not saying” I said, walking back to Claudia who had
now stood up from her wheelchair. In front of the new principle, we shared a
long, passionate kiss, which Daniel didn’t seem disturbed by, and rather happy
that Leeman looked rather disgusted by it. We broke apart, and I took a look at
the principle. “I’m doing. And I’m coming after you”.

 “Let’s go” Daniel said, directing us out the door. I
heard Leeman call out after us.

 “You have no idea what hell will rain down on you if you
decide to quit!”

 I stopped, smiled, then sent a reply. “I’ll take my

 As we walked out the door, the three of us shared a
smile. It was time to break some rules, and make sure that they were never
mended. Daniel offered a good-bye as we walked off in his own direction. I had
another kiss with Claudia before planning my next move to get rid of Leeman.

 His days were numbered… and now he knew it.

The End

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