Elias replaced his toothbrush and took up his eyeliner. When he was finished applying it he paused to consider his reflection. He was happy with it today, which was a rare occurrence. His long hair was behaving itself and he had woken up with enough time so that he didn't have to rush. He was happy with how he looked today.
He grabbed his schoolbag from his room and headed downstairs. His mum was already up, smoking a cigarette by the back door. She didn't look at him as he came in. Elias said nothing and went to the cupboard beside the fridge and grabbed an apple. After taking a bite he noticed that his lip stud left a line in the flesh of the fruit. This almost made him smile. Until he noticed that his mother was staring at him.
Elias stared blankly back. It was obvious to him that she was still hung over from the night before. Her bloodshot eyes were fixed on him with venomous anger.
She looked him up and down with a cold glare. "I better not get another letter from that school or so help me God you will be out on the streets." She growled at him, pointing her cigarette, held tightly between two yellow stained fingers.
Elias took another bite from his apple and nodded. He knew the warning signs and heeded them with strict vigilance. He headed for the door. She wanted a screaming match, and just as he turned the corner into the hallway, a lighter, missing his ear by millimeters, smashed into the door jamb. Elias flinched but continued on. He grabbed his jacket and was closing the door behind him when he heard her offer him a loving farewell from the kitchen door.
"TAKE THAT FUCKING MAKE UP OFF POOF!" She screeched at him before the door clicked shut. Well, as loving as she ever was.
He took out his i-pod and started his walk to school, enjoying his apple. Mondays mornings were probably the worst. During the week he was normally headed to school by the time her cravings woke her up and at the weekend she was either out all night or just didn't get out of bed. But Elias wasn't thinking about that. He was thinking about his art project that he would be working on today. Still wasn't sure what he would be doing but a few ideas were starting to crawl slowly towards the edges of the spotlight in his brain. He figured that he would have a good idea by last period though, when he actually had the class.
School was a fifteen minute walk from his house. By the time he got there, there were very few students scattered throughout the building. He removed his head phones and the silence assaulted his ears. It was always so quiet in the morning. He headed up the stairs to where his locker was, passing someone on the stairs that he didn't know, something that didn't happen very often with a school the size of his. He had heard rumours of a new student last week, and assumed that this was her. He felt sorry for her. It was hard being the new girl. And the kids at this school were ruthless and cruel.
When he got to the top of the stairs he turned left and headed down the corridor. There were a few people here, a low drone of voices and mutterings. Elias headed to the far end of the corridor. His locker was the first in the line and when he got there, the three girls that had been standing at the window immediately left. Elias started taking his books out of his locker. He was studying the timetable of classes that he had cello taped to the inside of his locker door when something caught his eye.
The new girl was obviously looking for her locker as she stood staring at them with a piece of paper clutched in her hand. She looked shy and unassuming. A small girl with about as much presence as a breathe of wind. A dangerous thing to be around Ryan McHugh and his crony Patrick Barnes. They were exactly the type of ruthless kids that this school was overrun with and they appeared to be leaning on the locker that she wanted to get to. Elias watched curiously, their words clearly heard in the quiet corridor.
"Can I just-" She began, but was cut off by Ryan.
"I'm sorry about the accident." He said quickly. He sounded sincere and Elias was sure he looked it too. Elias narrowed his eyes.
"What accident?" She asked, confused.
The two boys looked at each other before Ryan answered. "Well something awful must have happened to cause that atrocity on your head." He leaned forward and said in a stage whisper, "Does your dog have a fondness for eating hair?" Patrick chortled at this. Ryan reached out to touch her hair and she smacked his hand away viciously. Elias closed his locker.
"Wow! We got a little fighter here Patrick!" Ryan said mockingly.
Elias walked quietly up until he was directly behind Ryan, and he leaned against the locker just like he was. The new girl stared a him shocked, her fist clamped tightly around the paper she held. Patrick glanced at him and gave Ryan a frightened look. Ryan's stance tensed, but he held his ground. Elias let a faint smile touch his lips and he folded his arms. No one said a thing. The corridor had gone silent. The seconds crawled by uncomfortably, Ryan becoming more and more tense and Patrick's expression becoming more and more stricken.
"Fuck. C'mon." Ryan said and walked off. Patrick looked relieved. Elias watched them go, his smile broadening. "Hey little Doggie!" Ryan threw over his shoulder, " Watch out. You might catch something if you hang around those lockers too long."
She looked at Elias and Elias looked at her. He normally refrained from direct eye contact, but this was not intentional. For just a second, the anger that she had felt towards her two antagonisers was still present on her face; in her eyes. For a split second Elias's heart stopped and his vision failed him. He could not see her eyes, just two black holes were her eyes should have been. Two bottomless pits that dragged at his insides, making him feel cold. But it was just for a second, then he blinked and it was gone. She was the shy and unassuming girl with he DIY haircut again, looking at him with gratitude.
"Thanks." She said. Elias, his mind swimming, nodded his head and returned to his locker. He opened it and pretended to search for another book.
What had just happened? Was it lack of sleep? And he didn't feel so good now. He felt queasy and light headed. The last thing he wanted to do right now was go home. He used his hair as a curtain to hide his face and he stared at her. She left some things in her locker and just before she left the corridor, she glanced down at him, but he was confident that she didn't know he was looking at her. She looked at him with curiosity and a little confusion which he didn't understand. As she disappeared round the corner, his head started to pound.
Elias wasn't sick often, but he knew when it wasn't something that could be shaken off. There was nothing else for it; he had to go home. He grabbed his bag and walked as quickly as he could off the school grounds, hoping to god that no teacher stopped him. He was lucky today. When he got to his house he was thankful that his mother had already left for work. She would be no help in this situation. He was only over the threshold of his bedroom when he blacked out. He woke up in the dark and a cold sweat, ravenous.