Logan jostled his way through the corridors, attempting to find his locker. After five minutes searching, he eventually found it. He entered the combination and swung it open. The other kids had beaten him to it. Insults and slurs were scrawled upon the inside of the door, and a rotten egg was placed in the centre of the locker. Logan gagged as he removed the egg with a tissue and placed it in a bin. He returned to his locker to raucous laughter from the other students. He did his best to block out the sounds as he began scrubbing the remainders of the egg from the locker. He was so intent on ignoring everything around him that he never noticed Alyssa arriving next to him.
“Looks like we’re locker buddies huh?” She said. Logan jumped, causing her to laugh. “Sorry if I scared you” she smiled, then noticed the mess in his locker, “Aww they didn’t do that to you too did they?” Logan merely nodded. “Here, let me help you”. She took out a tissue of her own and reached in beside him, brushing her hand off his as she did so. Logan didn’t know if it was an accident, or intentional, so he continued to clean. She smiled at him again. “It’s ok to talk you know, I don’t bite....always” she said, a twinkle in her eye.
“How did you get past all of this? What made them stop?”
“The thing that saved me was also a curse” she said, sighing, “Brett, the captain of the football team decided that he liked me. He had the rest of them stop, so he wouldn’t be seen as chasing the ‘uncool’ kid. Needless to say, I turned him down, but he thinks I’m just playing hard to get. He still chases me, tries to force us together. If any other guy even tries me, he immediately takes it upon himself to ‘defend my honour’ and beats the living shit out of them. Of course, he moves from girl to girl every day; he is allowed apparently. But yeah, it was because of him that they stopped. Annoying really, whenever I like a guy they just end up hurt because of it”.
“He sounds like fun” Logan said, his tone indifferent. “I somehow doubt someone is going to take the same view with me. I hate being the new kid”. He slammed the locker shut. “Why always me?” He walked away, leaving her standing there. She quickly caught up to him and put a hand on his shoulder.
“You don’t have to go through it alone” she said.
“I have been the new kid seven times, this is the eighth time in the last four years. The new kid is always alone”.
“Not this time” she smiled at him, “Come on, let’s get to class”. Logan sighed, smiling in spite of his misgivings and followed her. They sat together at the back of the class, and Alyssa’s friends soon joined them.
“This is Abby and Imogen” Alyssa pointed to each of the girls in turn, “girls; this is Logan. Abby had long, blonde hair that hung to her waist. She was quite slim. She had a distasteful look on her face when she saw who Alyssa was sitting with. Imogen was a redhead. She was incredibly thin, almost unhealthily so it seemed to Logan. She forced a smile in his direction, but that was the extent of it. They sat and turned away from Logan and Alyssa, talking in whispered voices.
“I hope I’m not driving your friends away from you” Logan said.
“Don’t be silly. They’ll come round”. Logan smiled at her, then surveyed the class. Nobody was looking at him, bar one boy at the top of the class. He was big and had a shaved head. He was staring daggers at Logan, cracking his knuckles as he did so. Alyssa saw him looking. “That is Brett. Take my advice, stay away from him”. Logan intended to.
The rest of the morning passed as could be expected. Each of the teachers took it upon themselves to have Logan; the new kid, stand up and introduce himself to the entire class. He felt as if he were a monkey on display for the entire world to see. He felt as if the world were trying to assess how he would react to being placed in the spotlight, portrayed as a fool. He felt alone.
The lunch bell couldn’t have come soon enough for Logan. When it did, Alyssa had to go off with her friends. Logan trudged to the canteen alone. He had just taken his seat, when a shadow fell over him. Brett stood before him, flanked by two of his cronies.
“New kid. I’ll let you off with a warning this time, seeing as you are new, and don’t know the ropes. I run this shithole. That girl you were talking to, she is mine. If I see you talking to her again, you’ll get what’s coming to you”. His friends laughed. They seemed to be under the impression that Brett had just said something funny and clever. “Understand?”
“Perfectly”, Brett was too stupid to realise the mocking tone in Logan’s voice. He strode away, seemingly satisfied with himself. Once he had finished eating, Logan went outside into the yard. He found a corner where no one else was, sat down, and stared around him. He took out his lighter and clicked it. He watched the flame as it danced, then put the lighter away. It would not do to be caught with it on his first day.
When it came near the end of lunch, Logan noticed a commotion on the opposite side of the yard. He walked over to see what was going on, and found himself next to Alyssa near the front of the crowd.
“What’s happening?” he asked.
“Brett. He’s bullying Dax again”.
Alyssa pointed toward the centre of the crowd. Brett was standing over another kid. Dax was a scrawny specimen with long, curly black hair. He wore glasses and an Iron Maiden t-shirt. He was scrambling around, picking up his possessions from the ground. “Brett threw him down because he didn’t like the way he was dressed today- too Goth-like apparently”. Alyssa evidently did not approve of Brett’s way of thinking. Neither did Logan. Brett kicked Dax as he came to close to him, and Dax shrank back, clutching his side where the boot had landed. Everyone was laughing. Logan felt his anger rising. He knew he shouldn’t get involved. But he was sick of taking other peoples shit. He dropped his bag, and then felt Alyssa’s hand on his arm. “What are you doing, Logan?” she whispered. He shook her off and moved out into the circle.
“Leave him alone”. Brett turned to look, dumbstruck. Who would dare interrupt him?
“I thought I told you, new kid, I run this place. That means you don’t tell me what to do. You don’t piss me off”.
“Well it looks like I just told you to leave him alone”. Logan moved in front of Dax, creating a barrier between him and Brett. For a moment, Brett looked as if he would do nothing. The crowd waited with bated breath.
“You’re a dead man, newbie”. Brett advanced toward Logan, who held his ground. The bigger boy hurled a right hook at Logan, who sidestepped. He used Brett’s momentum against him, grabbing his arm as it flew by, and flipping him. Brett landed in a heap on the ground. He was back on his feet in a flash, anger in his eyes. Just as he advanced toward Logan again, one of the teachers broke into the circle.
“What is happening here?” he asked.
Brett stared daggers at Logan. “Nothin sir” he said.
“I should hope not. Back inside, all of you”. The circle began to disperse, everyone whispering excitedly.
“See what the new kid did?”
“Is he trying to sign his own death warrant?”
“Brett’s gonna kill that fool”.
Once the teacher had walked away, Brett came over to Logan and stared him down.
“You are fucked, newbie. Big mistake. Watch your back”. He stormed off, his cronies following him. Logan turned to Dax.
“Y-yeah I’m ok”, Dax got to his feet, “Thanks for... you know... sticking up for me”.
“Don’t mention it. I’m Logan”.
“Dax”. They shook hands. “I- I need to get going. I’ll see you around though?”
“Yeah sure thing”. Dax thanked him again, and then hurried off. Logan went to retrieve his bag, and found Alyssa standing where he had left her. Her face was unreadable. Logan stood there awkwardly, not knowing what to say.
“That has to be one of the most stupid things I have ever seen someone do” she said, then laughed. “You’ve just made yourself an enemy. I told you to stay away from him”.
“I couldn’t stand by and let him keep harassing Dax”.
“Well your bravery was more stupidity than bravery. Brett won’t forget this. He will get you back”.
“I’ll be waiting”. She said nothing for a long moment.
“Well look on the bright side, you got a new friend out of it. That has to be the fastest a new kid has made to friends in the history of new kids” she laughed. Logan couldn’t help but smile. “Although, if he sees you with me now after this, he really will come after you. I don’t know if our friendship is the best thing for your health”. She laughed again. Logan loved the sound. It was like a chorus of angels. “Come on, let’s hurry before we’re late”. They went back inside for the next bout of classes.