"Must we discuss this again?" Mrs. Granger asks exasperatedly. I just stare at her boredly.
"Draden, we can't do this again, and I warned you what would happen." She shakes her head and pulls out my file.
"You know I didn't start it." I say not expecting her to really care. They never do, all their interested in is who has more money. Since I don't even have a family to complain I get the shit end of the stick.
"I warned you. His parents have money, there's nothing I can do." She seems almost guilty. Maybe she dose care, but even so she's not going to help me any.
"So what are my options?" I ask giving up on arguing. It never go me anywhere before, fighting with these people is like arguing with a brick wall.
"I've lined up a list of transfer schools. Places where you can live on campus and it has regular school fees." She starts filling out a piece of paper in her file. Probably my expulsion, and all over some stupid rich kid. I won't let this happen again, I swear it.
"There are three in particular you should look at, the others are far off and I got one yesterday that seems a bit shadey, but I included it just incase." She taps the file between us. So she had it ready before this ever happened. How nice.
"Very well, I'll collect my stuff out of my locker and leave the schools property. Any money that's left in my account needs to be returned." I start chewing on my cheek trying to think of anything I might be forgetting.
"So it's all business now? You act as if you where some teacher being fired." Mrs. Granger says amused.
"Perhaps I consider myself as an equal to you. If I am no longer a student here I no longer need to respect you like a teacher, merely like another person." I point out, she just nods.
"It's a shame things had to happen this way. You're a good kid and your smart. You also have that attitude which is why he was able to goad you." She points out.
"No he was able to goad me because he was picking on someone weak. It's not right how these schools work, but I'm not going to be the one to stop it, it's not worth my time." I get up and grab the folder off her desk. "I hope things get better around here." I add just before I walk out of her office.
I'm sure she would have had something to say, but I'm not interested. The whole systems a let down, you would think that society would have some common decency, but it lacks even the most simple of traits. Compassion, justness, equality, and respect. All that society really exists on is the strong beating down the weak or turning a blind eye to it all. There will never be equality as long as people choose to ignore what happens. Still I've done little to help the situation.
I pull my bag out of my locker and start filling it with the few thing of mine still in the locker. The schools books I shove under my arm and head for the office. I'll give them their shit and be out of here. Though I'll still have to find out if they'll give me credit, I mean we only have two weeks left. Actually, now that I think about it, why not let me finish out my two weeks? Oh well, I don't care but they better give me my credit for this year.
As soon as I walk into the office I realize the girl I had 'saved' earlier is sitting in the chairs. She's still crying. How long has she been here, that whole mess was nearly an hour ago?
I toss the books on the counter and say bye to Pam, the secretary. I walk over to the girl and put a hand on her shoulder. She jerks back like I burned her.
"Hey it's me." I whisper and sit down next to her. Her eyes fill with more tears and she grabs my sleeve, bruing her face in it. "Hey you'll be okay I promise." I feel awkward with her like this. I'm not good at crying myself, though it seems like people are always coming to me crying or upset.
"What if he dose it again?" She sobs through ragged breaths. I reach up and pull her face up so I can look her in the eyes. Her eyes are all bloodshot and tear-filled.
"He won't lay his hands on another person. I promise." I reassure her. She nods and looks away still crying, but it's softer. "Who's coming to get you?" I ask not sure what to do since she's still holding onto my coat.
"My mom. She doesn't get off work for another fifteen minutes." She sniffs and wipes her eyes.
"She didn't take off work?" I ask not really getting why a parent wouldn't come rushing for a kid when their in trouble.
"I didn't want to tell her over the phone, I just told her something bad happened, and that it hadn't been my fault. She'll be her soon and than I'll tell her." She nods her head as if reassuring herself.
"I understand." I tell her, even though I really don't. I never understand why people find it hard to say what they mean. I might word things nicely to avoid hurting some girls feelings, but I don't mince words if it's really important.
"Your being expelled aren't you?" She asks not looking up from the floor.
"Yeah. Though it's fine, or it would be if I though things where going to change." I say. I immediately regret it, this poor girl just went through hell, and I'm telling her that things aren't going to get better.
"Things are changing, you've made a difference and no one will forget you. At least the people you saved and their friends. We'll do our best to protect other students." She wipes her eyes and the crying seems to stop. Where is this coming from.
"That's good." I say and smile. It's nice to know I've helped at least some people.
"No you don't." She says wiping her eyes again. "You have no idea what you've done here. You're the hero of every person who was ever picked on for being different. You're the hero of every person that's ever been beaten up or messed with. With you here things are different, I just hope they don't go back to the way they used to be." She clenches her hands into fists so tight her knuckles turn white.
How had things use to be? Where they that bad, did I do that much?
"I hope they only get better." I pat her leg and get to my feet. "I'll pray for you guys." I lie. I'll forget about them soon enough and move on to this next school. Though it's sad I know it's true.
"So your just going to leave? That's it?" She asks as if I could do more.
"Yeah." Is all I say, and seeing the conversation is over I walk away, leaving that place behind me. I really do hope thing get better for them, even if it's not by much.
My feet pound against the hard concrete and I've made it seven blocks before realize I forgot to ask about my credits. With a sigh I turn back around and head back in the direction of the school, I can't believe I forgot about my credits. I guess I got tied up with that girl and totally forgot. Jeeze sometimes I'm so forgetful.
The outside of the school looks the same as ever, somehow I was expecting something different. What exactly I have o idea but something different for sure. I get in the front doors and go into the office, the girls gone and Pam is still sitting behind her desk.
"Draden, did you forget something?" She asks looking up from her computer.
"Actually yeah, I was wanting to know if I'm going to get my credits. I mean we are just a few days away from the end of school and I've already taken finales." I point out hoping it will help. Not like it's her decision though.
"Yeah you will get credit for your classes and sophomore year. Hey what did you say to that girl. After you left she stormed back into the school." Pam asks just before the phone rings. She picks it up and gives me the one second finger I've seen a hundred times. She talks and there's a lot of uh-huh and no before she hangs up.
"I just told her I was leaving and not going to fight about it. I might have said more but I'm not 100% sure what else." I think about it for a second. She did seem suddenly riled up before I left, maybe she decided to stick the day out and proves some sort of point.
"All right you take care." Pam says blowing me a kiss. I just wave and smile.
"I'll not be seeing you." Than I walk off leaving the school for the last time. Unless I realize I forgot something else.
An hour later while setting in my room going through the first three schools one of the kids from down the hall come running into my room. He shouts that there's something huge on the news than runs back off. With a groan I get out of bed and head downstairs where the only T.V. is.
"What's going on?" I ask the old man who runs the foster home.
"Be glad they kicked you out earlier." He says grimly and turns up the volume.
"Today is a sad day in the history of Brookmoor," The lady announcer says grimly. "Just minutes ago a phone call was made to the police station. Shortly after the call there was an explosion destroying the school. The source of the explosion is unknown, but it is being assumed someone tampered with the boiler used to heat the school." A picture flashes across the screen. Firefighters are fighting a giant blaze all across the school. The building is in tatters, and it doesn't look like anyone was spared.
"This is a recording of the phone call made just before the explosion." The announcer says.
"Nothing will ever change." A familiar voice sobs. "This place will always be the same, and I want this to be a message." I don't bother to listen to the rest. It's that girls voice. My mind takes only a moment to put it all together.
She must have been really upset, and I just left her. So she did this, because I did nothing she blew the school to pieces. How strange people can be.
"Draden do you know who that girl is?" One of the younger kids ask.
"No." I shake my head and head back to my room. On one hand I find this whole thing funny. I survived because they didn't want me, because I was causing the school problems. Than a part of me is sad, for Pam, that girl, and the few other decent people that must have died. I wonder if I'm a bad person for not being all broken up over the whole thing. Though I honestly don't care if it dose. I flop down on my bed and go back to the applications for the other schools.
The next day when I go down to breakfast everyone looks sad and half-dead. No one says anything to anyone else. They all just sit there and watch rerun news from yesterday. None of the high school students came back, not a single one of them. Which means there's only me and maybe twenty other teenagers left in the whole town. The others are the kids who skipped or where sick.
After thinking on it long and hard I decided I felt bad about the whole thing, I mean hundreds of students died, which means there are going to be many hundred if not thousands of people effected. Though I guess no one will miss their best friends.
"Draden how are you holding up?" The old man asks. I just shrug, he knows things don't bother me. They don't effect most kids like me, the ones of us in foster homes. Especially when we reach this age.
"Last night the police called, they want to have a word with you." He says as I start eating my bowl of rice chex.
"Why? Not like I blew up the school." I continue eating.
"They're interviewing all students who where not at school during the explosion." He wheezes and choughs. He's going to die soon, wonder who this orphanage will go to? "There are only twenty eight survivors" He says.
"Twenty-eight?" I ask a bit surprised. "I didn't figure that many people would survive.
"I'm counting you and the six kids that where out that day. Twenty-two people survived the explosion. A secretary and a small gym class that had been out for a run." So Pam didn't die. That makes me feel a bit better. Than again she might have told the police I said something to the girl.
They'll say I convinced her to do it since I was kicked out. I would have been able to get her to do it since I saved her, she owed me her life basically. I had motive, and the ability. Though I didn't and they have no proof. I guess I'm paranoid to even be thinking about it. Though I'll have to act properly if the situation is bad, be all shook up and cry. I hate fake crying, and I don't know if I would be able to cheat a polygraph test. That would suck.
"So what time do they want to see me?" I ask washing out my empty bowl.
"As soon as you can go." The old man says. I just nod and head for my room. I change into some real clothes, some jeans, a t-shirt, and my always present green coat.
The walk to the police station is a bit long, but I would rather walk than call for someone to get me. The last thing I need is to be getting into the back of a squad car, that would just be dandy. I walk past a number of people and officers hanging out-front of the station. A lot of them look like mourning parent and family.
Inside it's packed to the point of insanity, people wall to wall, wailing and moaning. Great, I hate crowds and loud noises. I get in what appears to be the line to the front desk. I look around while I wait.
I can see a large cluster of people over a table looking at something, a lot of them are breaking into tears and walking away. Wonder what the hell's on that table.
Than there's a group of officers consoling people and another similar group handing out forms of sorts. I'll bet their hating their jobs right now.
"Are you Draden?" A male cop asks coming up to me. I just nod meekly, I'll go for not super sad but upset I lost friends. "All right follow me." He leads me through the crowds and to the back of station. There's been a number of chairs set up along the wall outside a door labeled interrogation.
I take my que and sit down next to one of the other kids. On the other side of him are two other people a girl and a guy. She's in his lap crying her eyes out and he's just patting her back. The kid next to me doesn't look bothered in the least, than again he looks like a pot head.
"Dude this is so crazy." He says confirming my suspicion that he's a druggy.
"It's not crazy it's really depressing." I sigh despondently. I learned a long time ago you keep the act up all the way through. No breaks, or you get busted.
"Dude your that kid who got really lucky." He practically yells in that pot head/ surfer voice. I just shake my had. God I hate loud mouth idiots.
They'll take this guy in than let him right go, he's go nothing to do with this mess.
"Shut the fuck up you pot-head!" The jock holding his girlfriends snaps. "Leave us all alone." He grumbles than goes back to consoling his girl. The pot-head keeps quite and we all sit there silently. Nearly half-an-hour goes by before the interrogation door opens and a small preppy blonde walks out all teary. She hurries away down the hallway, and the couple goes in together.
"So I heard that some crazy chick blew the place up!" The pot head says leaning in. I clench my teeth and bit my tounge. "They said some rich kid messed with her and she lost it." He laughs. He fucking laughs.
Before I know what's going on I'm on my feet slugging him in the face. There are several screams from father down the hallway and I'm grabbed by a bunch of police officers.
"You shut your fucking mouth. Don't talk about the dead like that." I practically spit on him and the officer holding me escorts me to a room by itself. He sits me down and gives me a water bottle. I down it and he sits down with me.
"What did he say?" He asks, I can tell he's upset as well. I'll bet he had family who died.
"He was saying some bad stuff about a girl. Said she was crazy because…" I start but stop. "Look I would rather not talk about it." I shake my head and just look at the top of the table. I think there's some sort of mustard stain here.
"I understand." The officer says sympathetically. "Normally we would lock you up for something like that," He sighs, "But I'm not going to since I understand. Everyone's upset about this. I'll have you in there next so you can get this over with." He's acting nice but I have a feeling it has more to do with the fact that I'm well known for being a problem.
"Thanks." I just nod and continue to stare at the stain on the table.
I wonder what I'll say. I guess I'll stick basically to the truth, since Pam will have seen the whole thing. I'll leave out the line about things being hopeless. Wouldn't want that out there, would surely raise red flags. I sit there going over the conversation in my head. What if they blame me, I mean what if they really blamed me? I put my head in my hands and sigh heavily.
Almost on que the door opens and an officer comes in.
"Your up." He says. I get up and follow him to the interrogation room. I make sure to take my bottle of water, if you leave it behind they can take it for some purpose or another.
The interrogation room is small and very basic. One table, two chairs on either side, and it's all metal. The room has some sort of rubber flooring and walling and it has one of those double mirrors. I'm half tempted to wave to the people behind it. Though I ignore that impulse and sit down. A few minutes later an older looking officer comes in.
"I'm officer Bradley," He starts sitting down. "I've been looking at your file. One prior count of assault on a student and you where expelled the day of the explosion. That's very interesting." He puts the file between us. I really want to pick it up and read it.
"Is it in there that the charge of assault was because some punk was beating up a girl." I say angrily, I had to spend a week in juvenile detention and forty hours of community service. A bit of a sore spot for me.
"I know, I talked to the officer that handled the case. I also spoke to the secretary who had last seen you. She didn't have a bad word to say about you." His whole attitude changes. "She said you even saved and tried to console the girl who blew up the school."
"Yeah." is all I can think to say. It doesn't sound like he doesn't think I have anything to do with it.
"Look I just need to know exactly what you did from the time you left the school the first time." He leans back and I start talking.
"I walked out leaving the girl sitting there, she had stopped crying by than. I headed down Burgundy St. and took my normal route home. About six blocks away I realized I had forgotten to ask if I would be receiving my credit for Sophomore year. So I went back and asked Pam. She told me I would. She mentioned the girl had gone back into the school. I though she must have decided to stick it out, though I didn't understand why. I left and head back to the foster home." I finish there not thinking I would need to tell him anymore.
"What did you do after that?" He asks. Apparently I do need to tell him.
"I went through some offers for schools that Mrs. Granger gave me." I sniff a little at the though of her being dead. Not really sure how to feel, but I act sad.
"All right, that's all we need. We already talked to Mr. Sanders, the head of the Orphanage, he confirmed that you didn't leave your room from the time you got back until the news was announcing the explosion." He starts to get up.
"Wait, I have to know. Was it her? The girl I saved?" I ask looking at him hoping he'll tell me it wasn't. For some reason I want it to not be her so badly.
"Sorry, but it appears it was. We'll never be absolutely sure, but it seems that it was her." He says sadly. I just nod and get up.
Officer Bradley escorts me up front and to the front door. I get a lot of stares, I doubt it's because I'm being escorted. I'm sure they're all just gawking at my odd appearance. Odd how they didn't notice me before. Actually I'm sure they did, but I was worrying about this whole thing. Now it's over and so fast. Not even a shred of suspicion, you would think they would point fingers at me for a number of reasons. Though I guess people are stupid.