It was the middle of my ninth grade year- right before Semester Break, I believe.
"Chester Millner," Mr. Barnabees, the middle-aged teacher standing in the front of the classroom, said aloud as he looked up from his classroom role sheet.
"Here!" a long-legged boy, with dark brown hair hanging in front of his eyes, shouted at the sound of his name.
Chester sat hunched over his desk whispering to the few other kids sitting around him. As Mr. Barnabees continued down the role, Chester happened to glance out the window. Before he turned back to the girl talking beside him, he noticed a boy, with shaggy, obviously not brushed, dirty blond hair running on the street without shoes. It was strange because you never saw anyone walking bare foot on the street. The sun always shone straight down on the town, so the sidewalk was so hot, it could melt a hole through the sole of your foot.
I felt as though I was Roy from the book, Hoot. I saw some strange kid my age running on the street without shoes.
He was staring out the window. Taylor, the blond boy sitting in front of him, was looking at Chester. "Chester? Chester, you okay?" Taylor asked as he waved his hand in front of Chester's face.
Chester snapped out of it and replied blankly, "Yeah. I thought I saw somethin’, but I was probably just seein' things."
"Yeah." Taylor turned back around when the teacher walked near them.
The dismissal bell began to chime through the halls of the school.
"Wait! Class, don't forget that your projects are due tomorrow," Mr. Barnabees raised his voice before letting the eager class jump up from their seats to leave.
He picked up his bag and hurried out of the building. After watching the busses pull away, he started walking on the sidewalk to get home. He reached a crosswalk and stopped to look for oncoming vehicles. There were no cars anywhere on the street. He stopped for a moment to look around to see if he could see anyone.
I wasn't concerned for my safety until I noticed that there were no people nor cars anywhere on the street. Then I began to worry.
"Where is everyone?" he asked under his breath to himself. As he said that and looked around, he saw that running boy sitting on the roof of the bakery down the street to his right.
After considering walking over to talk to him, Chester decided not to talk to the strange kid. Instead, he crossed the street. The sun was beating down on him causing sweat droplets to build up around the edge of his forehead. He wiped his arm across his forehead as he strode down the street. Not a cloud was in the sky to provide any shade.
I heard footsteps behind me.
The running boy grabbed Chester's shoulder making him stop.
"What do you want?" Chester asked with a hint of irritation in his voice as he turned around and pushed the blonde boy's hand from his shoulder. He tried to look tough even though, on the inside, he was scared out of his wits.
His hand was ice cold. I could feel it through my shirt when he grabbed my shoulder. It sent a shiver down my spine.
"I saw you walkin’ alone. Being alone isn't safe," he replied seriously with a slight smile across his face.
"But you're alone," Chester pointed out matter-of-factly.
"Well," he paused, "I guess I am." He stuck out his hand. "My name's Steven. You?"
Chester took it, and they shook hands. "I'm Chester. Nice to meet you, uh, Steven."
"Chester, you wanna see a magic trick?" Steven's facial expression and tone changed.
"Uh, sure," he replied nervously.
"Give me your hand." Steven took Chester's hand.
Steven held his hand tightly. Suddenly, he pushed Chester to the ground holding his hand behind his back as if he was arresting him. Chester's face scraped across the scorching concrete. He yelped in pain as newly-opened scrapes touched the hot road. Steven pinched a spot on Chester's shoulder, and he fell unconscious.
The last thing I remember of that moment is hearing Steven's voice saying, 'Sorry'. Then, everything went black.