Chapter 1...

Has anyone ever given you the "potential" speech? You know the one. The one where they always uses the phrase "You have such.... potential." Don't you just hate that speech? I know I do. Of course anyone probably would if they heard it as much as I do. I swear everyday I get that speech from at least two people. Sometimes it's a teacher or a parent, but it really pisses me off when I hear it from my friend's.

They always start by saying my name by sort of stretching it out and then taking a pause afterward. You know where there voice sort of lowers as they do it? And they won't exactly look at you straight? Like "Zen..."

Zen's my name by the way. Didn't want you thinking I was going to be calling you Zen or anything. I don't think you'd want the name. Yeah it sounds sort of cool, but when you're me, and you have my name, people always think it must reflect my personality. God that bugs the hell out of me when people do that....

Anyway, back to the whole "potential" thing. They always start by saying your name that way and not looking at you. Then they'll turn to look at you and that's when you can tell whether they're gonna yell first or not. They always give you one of two looks. One of them is like that "I'd kill you if it wouldn't get me in trouble" look. That's when you know they're going to yell. When I see that I have this instinctual reflex thing that causes me to block out pretty much everything the person says for the next five to ten minutes. I sort of developed that because I got tired of listening to that shit. I mean really, what good does yelling do? No good at all, that's what good it does. Of course, it always pisses the people off more if they realize you're ignoring them. Sometimes someone will be yelling at me and they'll get so worked up that that little vein in their head starts throbbing. When that happens I can't help but start laughing at them. I mean that vein just cracks me up. I can't help it really. Of course, the laughing isn't really a bad thing. When I start the person usually gets so frustrated that they scream and walk away.

Of course, I don't mind the yelling. It's the times that people don't yell that get to me. I screw up... a lot... and I know I do, and then some asshole will just give me a guilt trip. They get all sad, and sometimes they start crying, all because I did something wrong. I mean, I'm entitled to my mistakes; it's no reason for them to cry is it? It just bugs me.

I bring this whole thing up because at the moment, I'm getting one of those speeches. She's crying too. She always cries. I don't get. I didn't do anything too wrong...

Okay... I guess that's a lie. I guess I actually screwed up big time this time. You see, it all started six days ago when I was in school. I was in Math class. Pre-calc to be precise. That actually surprises a lot of people. They all think just because I can't stay out of trouble for more than three minutes at a time that I must be some stupid ass punk. I'm not obviously. I'm really smart. No really, I am. I've never failed a class... well at least I've never failed one for getting bad grades. I usually fail, but that's because I ditch, like, all the time. It's not my fault school is so freaking boring.

Anyway, where was I? Math class, right? Yeah, I thought so. So I was in Math Class and the teacher was jabbering on about something I'd never be able to use in everyday life, like they usually are. I was ignoring him and doodling in my notebook. I think I was drawing a monkey... or possibly a giant knight with two twisted blades, full battle armor, and a magic sphere embedded in his armor... or maybe it was a monkey knight, I don't really remember. Anyway, I was doodling and the kid behind me tapped my shoulder. He always does every class. His names Kar. Well actually his name is Ernie, but he told everyone his name was Kar because he thought it made him cooler. It didn't really. It made everybody think he was, but he was still lame old Ernie to me. He was one of those white kids that wore their pants really lose so that they have to hold them at the crotch. Then they talk all stupid like they're a gangsta. It was sort of funny too because he was the richest kid in school. I was at his house once and I swear it was big enough to be its own zip code.

Anyway, Kar tapped me on the shoulder and I turned to look at him. I tried not to laugh when I saw his hair. He died it a blondish-red color and shaved the right side completely off, but left the left side really long. It looked ridiculous, but everyone seemed to like it... for some odd reason. I think it's because most people our idiots... just one of my little theories. Anyway, I looked back at him. He was wearing his sunglasses over his hazel eyes, and was trying his best to look tough. I gave him my usual annoyed look. Where I sort of raise my left eyebrow and give one of those annoyed smiles. I hope you know what I'm talking about. If not... well... just pretend I was using the face you use when you're annoyed.

He said "Yo dawg, you hear about Zack?"

I continued to stare at him with my annoyed face. He paused a moment and looked around to make sure no one else was paying attention to him before saying, "I mean, did you hear about Zack?"

I refuse to let him talk "gangsta" to me. It just bugs the hell out of me, so I won't respond unless he talks to me in English... well American at least.

"No." I said. I remember making sure to give that "and I don't care either" tone of voice, but he didn't get the hint I guess because he continued by saying, "Dude, the Daggers took him."

Now that caught my interest. You see the Daggers are this gang. No one can prove it but everyone knows they pretty much run the town. They get away with everything. I mean everything too. They kill people all the time and the police don't even try and go after them. They are... they're bad news. And what Kar just told me was that they had accepted Zack into their group.

Zack is one of our friends. He's even more trouble then I am. I met him like two months before when he came to our school. It was the last school in the entire state that he could go to. He'd been expelled from every other one. I met him when we both tried to blow up a toilet in one of the boy's bathrooms. Man, it would have been great, but we got into a fight and somebody turned us in before either of us could pull it off. Needless to say, we had beaten the shit out of each other. I think that's why we became friends actually, as stupid as that sounds.

Anyway, like I was saying, he told me they accepted Zack into their ranks and Kar suddenly wasn't annoying the hell out of me anymore. "When did this happen?" I asked. I think by that time I had turned almost entirely around in my chair, around that time at least.

"Last night" he said. "He told me they had said they had had their eyes on him for a while now, like they were scouting him or something."

"It's possible." I said in response. "Who knows with those guys..."

"Yeah, and get this..." Kar said. Then he leaned in close and sort of did that shifty eye thing where you look back and forth real quick. "They want to meet us."

"Us?" I said, almost forgetting I was trying to be quiet. The people in the seats around us turned and stared at us for a moment before looking back up at the teacher. I turned to make sure he wasn't starring at me. He wasn't.

"Yeah us." Kar said after a second.

"Why?"

"I don't know; that's just what Zack told me." Kar answered. I just stared at him for a moment. I would have been sure he was lying except he didn't twitch. He always twitches right below his left eye when he lies. I just sort of sat for a second thinking about it. For some people, an opportunity like this was a dream come true, but I wasn't sure I was one of those people. I mean, I'm a trouble-maker and all, and mischief is like my nature, but I wasn't sure if I was the type of person that could be part of a group like the Daggers. I just sort of sat there, thinking about that until Kar waved his hand in front of my face. "Anyone home?"

"Huh?" I said... or maybe I said what... oh well no matter.

"So do we want to meet them?" He asked me. I guessed he must have asked while I was thinking, because he said it with that tone people use when they're repeating something as if they've already said fifty times.

"I don't know, do we?"

"Well I'm going to." He told me. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity." I guess that means Kar is one of those people. I still wasn't sure if I was or not, but I did know if I decided I was one of them then I'd kick myself for not taking that chance. "Alright, I'm in."

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Author's Note: This is defiantly not my best work, but I've gotten a few compliments about it, thought I'd put it up. Please, if you took the time to read it, give it a small review. If you like it, check the other stories I'm writing: Bladewarriors (Story ID: 1256604), or The Touchstone (Story ID: 1432066). Thanks!