Grid DeLupo's life leaves little to be desired: her father is a constant drunken mess with a tendency to beat her mercilessly, her little brother taunts her profusely at home, her fellow pupils bully her endlessly at school, and her mother couldn't care less about her.
And then the inevitable happens: Grid's father kills someone. Not just anyone; he kills Grid's older brother, the innocent and kind Caspian, and kidnaps his only daughter, before heading off on a shooting spree.
Shaken and parti
Personally, I hate the very beginnings of books. For one, some can be so very boring I cannot help but lay it down across a table and come back to it when I have enough spare time to allow it a while to gain my interest. For another it can be so slow into getting into a story, or even into the events that lead up to a story, I cannot be sure whether I will ever reach the most important plot. So, with that in mind, I will start my very own novel at the exact point that my life took a turn for the worst. I will not include any of the drab details of days before the adventure, and leave you yawning and wondering when I will shut up. In fact, let me first take you to my capture.
Bright lights blazing like falling stars, bathing the street in a luminescent glow, highlighting the dust kicked up into the atmosphere by my pounding feet. Screams and orders hurled my way, each and every one of them falling upon ears unwilling to heed their warning. I struggled against my captors, lashing out with balled-up fists and clenching my teeth together to hold in the undeniable fury. One blood-soaked hand connected with the face of a Defender and he flinched back in pain. But his grip on my forearm does not relinquish. I can fight all I want, I can deny my fate until the end of time, I can prolong it and provoke it, but it will never alter its course. Ultimately I will always be captured.
I can see that. I can also see that I am only getting what I deserved. I deserve to be roughly handled into the backseat of the Defender hover car, to have thick and heavy cuffs locked over my wrists so that they bite hungrily into my flesh. I may be fourteen, but I deserve it all.
The car was kicked into life and slowly levitated into a starting position. It hovered gently above the ground for a moment, its purpose unknown, and then thrust forward and drifted above the road. I have never had the pleasure to be inside a Defending Hover Car, but I have heard rumours around school. Some of the louder and more obnoxious children recited popular stories about how they have been inside these cars before, because one parent or both works on the Defending Force. I secretly envied them all, but made a show of ridiculing them for their immature excitement. I cannot help but feel the same shrill rush of adrenaline course through my veins as well. I hid my energetic excitement with grunts and growls of displeasure as a way of answering their crude questions, thrown at me carelessly, without any thought to what I might think of the entire procedure.
I felt like an all-powerful being, a creator and a master, inside that car. The air seemed to part around the snout of the metal vehicle and the town of Metropolis was spread out under us like a detailed and structured map. I could see anything and everything before me, and I could observe people without them knowing. But the journey was bitter sweet and all too short, as the Defender Station came into view directly in front of us. The Defending Officer that controlled me lowered his mechanical servant until its base was scraping the ground. He stalled the car and snatched me from its depths, and then led me inside.
As a minor, and a girl at that, my sentencing was issued quickly, quietly and away from the scrutinising eyes of the journalists and cameramen who had followed my case. Life imprisonment in the Metropolis Prison with no chance of redemption. My mother, the only member of my family left, was absent, which breaks my heart. I am truly alone. Utterly helpless. Not even my own mother came to support me. My life has been thrown away like a discarded candy wrapper at the tender age of fourteen.
Confused? I would be. I suppose I should tell you what happened for me to sink so low, and how I came to find myself stuck in a prison for my whole life. Why was I being arrested? Where the hell did the Hover Car come from? Why was my mother absent? What happened to the rest of my family? What is a Defender? All of these questions will be answered in due time. I have a story to tell you, a story that I can tell you freely, in the true and honest details, in the order they occurred, and with everything lacking the lies that poison my reputation. The Defenders cannot influence my rehearsal to you.
At least I have taken you to when my downward spiral of madness turned up some consequences. I will now have to contradict myself, and journey back even further, to when my insanity actually began. Thus this will answer your question; why was I being arrested?
I assume that I should start a little while before the very first events that led up to my incarceration. At least that way you would understand the reasoning behind my actions and my cold-hearted advance towards them.
Before I begin I suppose I should introduce myself. It is only fair on you, dear reader, that you know who I am; otherwise you’ll be following me through my memoires without even knowing my name. I’m sure you’ve been told not to talk to strangers, so it would be even more foolish to follow them around.
I am Grid DeLupo, only daughter of Archer (my father) and Eydis (my mother) DeLupo. Evidentially, the name Grid means peace, but ask anyone who watches the news what their opinion is, and they will say Grid is the devil, an evil child possessed by demons and darkness and death. Some will even go as far as saying I am Satan’s child, but I am sure Satan never had children, according to my religious studies lessons. Also, Lupo is wolf in Italian, and my father once told me that his grandparents were Italian.
My mother is the descendant of a Norse family, as it suggests in her name and my name. I would consider myself English.
I have an older brother, Caspian, whom I love very much, and a younger brother, Tofi (Norse for thunder), whom I despise with a passion.
The only other important detail you may need to know about my existence is that I live in what you would consider the future in a city called Metropolis. Metropolis is a huge city that was formerly called London back in the early 21st century. After a particularly bad spate of bombings in 2030 as a result of what almost collapsed into the third world war, the city was repaired and rebuilt to become bigger, and improved. In the process it had wittingly merged with surrounding towns and cities, and had now left a huge, grey scar on the map of the British Isles.
Well then, that’s that. I’ve introduced myself, and we are now acquaintances, so perhaps you would be more trusting of me and allow me to tell you my side of the story. Don’t, however, let the fact that I’m a fourteen year old (fifteen in a couple of days) mass murderer (how can killing five people and injuring one count as a mass murder? There are so many others worthy of the title I am forced to wear) sway you and frighten you away. Please, read my book. You need to know this. I don’t want you to see me as a monster.
Okay, if all of this talk of death and trials and killings is putting you off, I must add that I am just an ordinary teenager, with all of the anger issues and aggression problems I am sure you are in possession of. The only thing separating me from my fellow classmates is that I had quick access to a knife when my rage exploded like a volcano.
Enough side-tracking, let me begin.
6th of September, Monday morning, first day back at school after a luxurious six weeks of paradise. It was raining outside, pouring down with such force it seemed as though some unearthly presence was spraying Metropolis with a colossal hosepipe. Grey clouds, heavy with water droplets and weeping, shrouded the sky and a cold wind whipped the trees relentlessly. At 7am my alarm started blaring loudly, beeping and beeping continuously, steadily growing louder and louder. I reached a floppy hand over the side of my bed and brought it down angrily onto the alarm, silencing it, and possibly smashing it. My body was still in a state of dreaming and was aching with exhaustion. I kept my eyes closed even as I sat up abruptly and slid off the bed, exposed to the elements as the quilt fell away from my body.
It was not the alarm that had annoyed me, it was the meaning of it, it’s purpose for arousing me so early, and one word could sum up my personal hell; school.
Anyone who enjoys school in the slightest is off their head, and really should see a doctor, or whoever looks into the issue of mental health. If the official school day had been shorter, then yes, I would like it more, but the best part of the day is eaten away. And by what? Learning? Give me a break. We don’t learn anything at that school. The teachers are completely useless, and only the more enthusiastic students learn anything, and nine times out of ten they had to teach it to themselves. Why, I ask you, must children be made to suffer six hours of wasteful ‘education’, when they could be at home, learning more by playing the Xbox or watching paint dry than they do from lessons? Our head teacher once gathered us in the hall, and proclaimed, “Sitting before me is what will one day be the future generation of bright minds eager to live their lives and do well. I see intelligent pupils who have the possibility to be great”
He spoke as if he was king, his voice booming with pride, his tone demanding his expectations be reached. If you were to say to me “name me one person from your school who is famous, or has done something great”, I would not be able to name a single person. By choosing South Metropolis School as my place of learning, my parents had doomed me, albeit it unwittingly, to a life of misery.
However dull and listless the school’s atmosphere may be, and however difficult it was to learn, I still felt as though it was my duty to bring the head teacher’s foolish words about, in ways I could never have imagined.
I slipped on my school uniform, a horrid combination of a black blazer, at least a size too small for me, a black jumper, ripped in many places from catching it on door handles, a white polo shirt, faded to grey from use, and black trousers, creased from abuse. One thing, and one thing only, sprang to mind when I whisked past the mirror; how damn neat and businesslike I looked. Without the blazer I appeared to be a Goth, but this assumption could be batted away when I considered my dark brown hair.
I won’t bore you with the dismal procession of breakfast, but I might add that my dickhead of a little brother did manage to catch me unawares and send milk from my cereal splashing onto my blazer as a result of a carefully rehearsed sticking-out-of-his-foot routine. I couldn’t retaliate, as my mother was standing in the kitchen, somehow oblivious to her youngest son’s unforgiving bullying of her only daughter.
She didn’t hesitate to scold me, though.
“Grid! Your new blazer is ruined!” she shouted at me.
“If you’re so pissed off by it I won’t take it to school!” I yelled back, annoyed with Tofi, annoyed with my mother, annoyed with school, annoyed with the alarm, annoyed with every name under the sun.
“No swearing young lady!” my mother retorted loudly.
“Or what!? You’ll cut my tongue out? You’ll ground me for months on end? You’ll wash my mouth out with soap? Pissing lot of good that’ll do!”
I couldn’t restrain my rage. It was like a rabid Staffie, drunk on the thrill of a fight, tugging with all its might on the leash and roaring to its heart’s content. I couldn’t rein it in.
I knew that things had shifted up a notch when she addressed me by my full name. What came next could only be more shouting, perhaps physical violence. Tofi was bound to intervene and take mum’s side, Caspian was bound to step in and take my side. I couldn’t be dealing with that today. No freaking way.
“Goodbye, I’m going to school now.” I hissed through gritted teeth, finally dragging that enraged Staffie back, hitting it across the head as punishment and throwing it into its cage, metaphorically speaking.
Storming out of the kitchen I picked up my rucksack, which contained all the general school crap such as pens and diaries, and slipped my trainers on. After dumping my blazer lazily onto the table with a sigh, a not-so-subtle hint to my mother, I stomped moodily out to the front door.
I made it to school with at least ten minutes to spare, and had to resort to sitting atop a wall that ran around the school car park in order to pass the time.
The thing about school is that it looks so miserable it always brings forth an image of suffering. Had a tourist, or someone who hadn’t seen South Metropolis School before, walked by it and glanced at it, they would have said, “that’s a prison.”
Then they would have seen the children dragging their sorry forms in and out of the door, and then they would have added, “A youth detention centre.”
Personally I don’t blame them. What with its grey walls and grey doors and grey blinds hiding smashed windows, the school wasn’t exactly softening the hearts of its pupils.
I was bored out of my skull, kicking my legs against the wall and clicking my tongue, trying to form a rhythmic song or tune, when it came.
A fifteen year old monster of a girl, two heads taller than me and twice as thick (actually, no, I won’t be modest. She’s twice as FAT as me. She has enough to keep her warm in the winter, that’s for sure), Emma Miller was the most mental kid in this school by my standards. She had long blonde hair, vicious green eyes ready to tear out your soul, and chunky red lips caked in gloss. In her hand she held the new Inferno Phone, the latest fashionable gadget. I thought it to be quite useless myself. It was a thin sheet of translucent reinforced plastic, covered in icons and images. The Inferno was basically the screen of what used to be called mobile phones, but it was touch sensitive. What a load of crap. Apart from that it didn’t need charging as it was solar powered, and there were many interesting and time-consuming games available. But games hardly redeemed it and it’s uselessness.
“Oh look, the stray’s here.” Emma hissed to her two cronies, another girl called Chloe Newton and a boy named Arran Jones. Both were just as thick and evil as Emma.
“Oh look, it’s the donkey and her saddlebags.” I retorted.
Emma’s grass-green eyes widened in shock and Arran took a defensive step forward; I had never spoken to the trio like that before. I suppose I wasn’t in the mood for their teasing and bullying today. I’d had enough of it from my mother and little brother.
“How dare you!” Emma shouted.
“I’m sorry, I don’t speak Donkey.”
I was expecting a thrashing, or at least a few punches from each of them, but I was quite literally saved by the bell. Usually that thing would mean nothing more to me than the start of another terrible day, but today it was my saviour, my shrill, loud saviour. Emma, Chloe and Arran backed away slowly, as if contemplating their next move. In the end they retreated, heading off in the general direction of the giant stampeding mass of kids already rushing to get to the first class of the day.
Reluctant to join the schoolchildren, neither eager to arrive on time nor to be forced forward by the unstoppable wave of children, I hovered around the wall for a moment or two, savouring the peace. When the playground had cleared, revealing the handful of stragglers, I walked across and headed straight into the school building.
At the time I was a fourteen year old, innocent enough, happy to learn, bully victim. Murder was the last thing I thought about. For the time being, at least.