The Red Sun
The Untold Son
When I was born my mother said father only held me for a few minutes before leaving. "He held you and looked deep into your eyes." She'd tell me. But it didn't bring me any comfort, he still left us; he left me. When she finally brought me home from the hospital there was a kennel with a note from my father. To this day I still don't know what the note said, she threw it away at that time. But inside the kennel were three dogs; a German Shepherd, Rottweiler, and Pit Bull who I later named Muse, Salem, and Diablo. I don't know why my father would leave my mother or why he left these dogs for me. Was it a goodbye gift? Or maybe it was to give me something to remember him by? I don't know and I don't care to know. The only thing I want to know is why he left.
"Zhen Dion Mávros if you're not up in ten minutes I'll flip you out of that bed myself!" I groan and roll over, my arm landing on Muse's neck. She lifts her head and licks my face.
"Alright, alright I'm up. Look, see?" I sit up, my long, black hair in a mess and bags under my eyes, "I'm up." Muse sits up and continues to lick my face, "Good morning to you too." I push a bulge under my covers until it falls off at the foot of my bed, "If I have to get up, you guys have to as well." A big black blob lifts its head and looks in my direction revealing a white face. It yawns and stretches then walks up beside me. It licks my face then stares into my eyes, "Good Morning Diablo. Where's Salem?" I scratch his head as I stand up and walk off to my closet.
"Zhen, Are you up yet?" My mom yells from the kitchen.
"Yes, I'll be out in a minute!" I open the closet and Salem looks up, his eyes squinting due to the sunlight, "Good morning buddy, how'd you get in here?" I grab a white T-shirt and slip it on, "Muse, go get my pants from the dryer please." Muse runs out the room and I put on a black, buttoned up shirt as Salem walks over to the bed with my boots, "Thank you Salem." I pat his head and as I put my socks on Muse runs back into my room with a pair of black pants that was white straps all over the legs, "Thank you sweetie." I yawn as I stretch my legs into my pants and as I slip into my boots the front door opens and an elderly man walks through with three plastic bags in one arm and a fedora in the other, "Good morning grandpa!" I yell as my dogs run to him and sit down, blocking his path.
"You three always know don't you?" He laughs as he throws down three raw steaks on the floor, "Don't eat them to quick, I would hate to see you choke!"
"Good morning daddy, how was the market today?" My mother asks as he kisses her on the cheek.
"It was better than yesterday dear. But there are still riots happening all over Greece." I walk in and sit down at the table, "If these riots continue the government is going to think there is a revolution brewing!" He sits down across from me and slides a book across it.
"That, my dear grandson, is what your grandmother left you when she passed away." I look at mom who has her head down and I open the book to see photos of me with her and grandpa.
"A photo album?" I turn the pages to see more pictures with them and some with my mother, "Thank you grandpa. I like it a lot." I turn the page and see me standing next to a tall, dark figure that's facing the opposite direction, "Hey grandpa, who's that?" I put the book on the table and point to the picture.
"That is your father, he wasn't very photogenic." I glare at it and I take it out the album. I walk to the trash can and throw it away.
"Are there any other pictures of him in there?"
"No, that was the only one." I walk back to the table and my mom places two plates filled to the brim with eggs, sausage, bacon and pancakes.
"Mom, is something wrong?" I take a piece of bacon and bite into it.
"No dear, everything is fine." She sighs as she places the dirty pans into the sink.
"Well, usual when something is wrong you cook a lot of food." My dogs run to my side and start to beg, "You guys just had three whole steaks to yourselves. This is all I got till I get home today after school-
"Why can't you stay home schooled?" My mom blares out, "I don't want you to go out there all on your own!"
"Zoe, stop babying the boy. The riots aren't anywhere near the schools and they still have police guarding them. Everything will be fine." I take all the bacon and break them up in my eggs.
"What if the riots do reach the schools, they might go into lock down and god knows how long he'll be trapped in there!" I then put all my bacon and eggs onto my pancakes and make a sandwich.
"You're getting hysterical sweetie, he'll be perfectly safe. No harm will come to him." I then put my plate down on the floor so my dogs can get at the sausage.
"What about bullies? Zhen has never had to deal with that sort of thing! What if they beat him to death?" I grab my bag and walk out, eating my breakfast sandwich.
"I'm pretty sure Zhen can handle a few bullies, right Zhen?" He looks across the table and I close the door behind me.
"Of course I can handle a few bullies." I walk down the street and wave to an old lady who's watering her plants, "Good morning Ms. Anita!"
"Good morning dear!" I take another bite of my sandwich and I turn to the left and a young man waves at me.
"What's up Zhen?"
"Hey Hunter, you excited for our first day of tenth grade?" I hand him my sandwich and he takes a bite out of it.
"You bet, I still can't believe your mom is letting you go to an actual school."
"Yeah, she threw a fit right before I left. My grandpa came over today as well. He gave me a photo album that my grandma gave me in her will."
"Were there any pictures of your dad in it?" I snatch the sandwich out of his hands and finish it, "Calm down man. I just find it kind of weird you don't even want to know who your dad was."
"I don't care to know, but if I find him and after he's done giving me his shit excuse for leaving me and my mom out to dry, I'll break his nose." We turn a corner and I gaze upon the school. Yellow buses unloading children, students talking and laughing on the courtyard, police officers standing next to their cars. This is what I always wanted? I pictured a sophisticated place with students respecting each other's space and excited to get back to their studies. Not a loud, annoying place where kids are constantly bumping into each other and already wishing Summer Vacation was back, "I want to go back home." I stop in my place and Hunter grabs my arm to try and drag me.
"Come on dude, it's not as bad as it looks."
"It looks like a place parents send their kids when they don't do anything but sleep and pick their noses during class." I put all my weight into my legs Hunter pulls me harder, "Just take me back to my house."
"Zhen, you're going to do this, whether you like it or not!" He tugs on my arm and flings me in front him and proceeds to push me, "You're acting like a child!"
"If I go to my first day, will you stop pushing me?" Hunter then stops and I fall flat on my back, "Next time, give me a warning when you're going to stop pushing!"
"Yeah, next time." He helps me up and we walk up the steps to the front doors of the school, "Welcome to your first day of middle school brother!" I look around and instantly see the stereotypical cliques; Jocks, Cheerleaders, Nerds, Goths, and the Preps.
"Wow, school is exactly like my mom predicted it would be, besides me getting beat to death." I stick close to Hunter like a child would at the store, "Why is everyone so loud?"
"That's school for you. And can you not cling to me like a monkey please? I have a reputation to uphold." He scoots me aside and continues walking.
"What is with you and reputation? You're not that cool." I nudge him with my elbow and he smirks.
"In this place Zhen, reputation is everything. So be smart about what you say and do." He guides me through the doors to the main hall, "This is what we like to call The Dome it connects all the classes to each other and to the main office. The main office is down tunnel five." He points to the tunnel straight ahead and guides me down it.
"Why is the school built like a hamster cage?"
"Oh, this is all because of the riots. The news reporters assure us that Crete is riot free but if I can say so, we have the worst of it. They haven't reached our little town of Spili but I say that's a load of crap." He pulls me into a building and knocks on the desk in the middle of the room.
"Why hello there Hunter, excited for another year of school?"
"Not as excited as my friend here!" He pushes me forward and the woman stretches out her hand.
"Why hello there dear, you can call me Ms. Vikki. Is this your first year here?"
"Yes ma'am." I take her hand and shake it, "My name is Zhen Mávros." She nods and looks to her computer. She types something and then examines the computer screen.
"There you are!" She then clicks the mouse and the printer roars to life, "This is your schedule." She takes it from the printer and hands it to me, "Hunter, can you give Mr. Mávros a tour of the school and show him where all his classes will be?"
"Sure thing Ms. Vikki!" Hunter grabs my arms and drags me out of the office. I then look at my schedule as he leads me back down the tunnel to The Dome, "Do you like your classes?"
"Yeah, I'm in all advanced classes. Judging from what the school looked like I wouldn't even have guessed there are smart kids going here." I hike the strap on my shoulder higher so my bag doesn't fall off, "So the first class I have is AP Literature."
"That's down tunnel three." He grabs and guides me down the tunnel to another building and he pushes me into it.
"What did I say about the pushing and pulling?" I fix my shirt and he guides me to my first class.
"I'll meet back in The Dome to show you your next class o.k.?" I nod and he turns to leave.
"Thank you Hunter."
"Don't mention it bro, see you after first period!" He opens the door and runs off to his class. I sigh and open the door to an empty room.
"Why hello, class doesn't start in another minuet young man." An elderly man that looks like Albert Einstein's twin gets up from his desk and approaches me.
"Oh, I'm new here. My name is Zhen Mávros." I extend my arm and he grasps it with full strength.
"That's a good, strong name Mr. Mávros. I'm Dr. Aíma and I'll be your Literature teacher this year." He releases his grip and goes back to his desk, "Let me get your text book for the year."
"Aíma, that means blood. Your name is Dr. Blood?"
"Yes, strange name. But I like it, makes me sound intimidating." He walks back over and hands me my text book, "I'll explain everything when class is in session." He walks back to his desk and the bell rings to start school, "Just pick a seat anywhere." I nod and walk to the back of the class. As soon as I sit down kids burst through the door. I look around the classroom as kids fight for seats and talk loudly, I just sit there; quiet and in my own little world.
"Who's this?" Something slaps the back of my shoulder and I'm brought back to the loud and annoying reality, "Hey kid, you're in my seat." A tall but slightly fat kid is standing over me like a mountain. Then someone else slaps the back of my head.
"Hey, I think he said you're in his seat. So scoot to the front nerd." I look at him and smirk.
"If my memory is correct, we're all in AP Literature, so calling me a nerd doesn't really make sense. And Dr. Aíma said I can choose any seat I want, so you best deal with not being able to sit next to your boyfriend." The teacher stands up and starts to write something on the white board and I'm slapped by the both of them on the back of my head before they get up and find two empty seats near the front of the class. I smile as he instructs the class what to do with their text books.
After class was over everyone charged out of the class and after everyone was gone I get up and walk back down the tunnel. Hunter waves me over and guides me to my next class which is AP Calculus.
"How do you have Advanced Calculus when you're only in the tenth grade?" Hunter punches my arm and laughs, "You're such a nerd!"
"It's not called being a nerd; it's called using your brain. You should try it sometime!" I laugh as we walk down tunnel six and I pass the two kids who were slapping me in first period. One makes a cutting movement with his thumb across his neck and the other pounds his fist into his palm.
"I see you made some new friends first period?"
"Yeah, they were very friendly." I laugh as we walk into the building.
"I'll meet you at the end of this tunnel like last time. See you later." I wave goodbye and enter my next class.
The last two periods before lunch were a blur. Nothing special happened besides a fight in third period. The classes were long but I didn't mind, I like school, whether it's at home or on a large public campus. Hunter meets me at the end of third period and escorts me to the courtyard behind the school where everyone eats.
"Lunch is an hour and a-half long since we merge with the elementary school and they have recess at this time." He sits me down on some steps and drops his bag next to me, "Wait here while I get us some food." He leaves and I'm left sitting there.
"Well look what we have here boys!" The chubby kid yells behind me as he kicks Hunter's bag down the steps and stands next to me, "Fresh meat!"
"I'm actually a sophomore so why don't you go fight someone who can't fight back. Like fourth grader. But I think even they can kick your butt." He laughs and someone boots me down the stairs.
"This one has a mouth on him guys!" I hear footsteps surround me as I pick myself up.
"This is a fair fight." I look around and six guys are surrounding me, "Six to one. You guys really like to play by the rules huh?" I'm then tackled to the ground and they all start to kick and punch me. One kid gets a good kick at my face and my nose starts gushing blood.
"Make fun of me in my school huh? Well you'll soon learn your place fag!" He kicks me in the stomach and I lose control of my breathing. They back up and I get on all fours gasping for breath, "Had enough fag?" He kicks me and I fall on my side, blood staining my face and hands. Then someone else grabs my hair and lifts my head.
"I believe he asked you a question!" He shifts my head to face him and my vision starts to blur.
Wow, my first day at school and my mother has predicted the worse. Though I know I won't be beaten to death the wounds will take a while to heal. My vision becomes more blurred and I can taste steel in my mouth. I choke on air as I try to speak, "Go die!" I yell as blood drools out of my nose. They all start to laugh.
"I believe I couldn't hear you quite well." He punches me in the eye and his friend grasps my hair again, "What did you say?"
"GO DIE!" I scream. They all start to laugh but its cut short as the chubby kid falls to the ground like a ragdoll. Then one by one, they all drop like flies. The guy gripping my hair falls beside me and I scoot all the way back to the steps, holding my chest. Someone grabs my arm from behind me and lifts me to my feet.
"What the hell happened here?" I look to my side and Hunter is holding me up, "Zhen, what did you do?"
What did I do? I look to my side to see the kids lying on the floor not moving at all. I gesture to my face as he sits me back down and goes to the kid's bodies and puts his fingers on their neck.
"They're all dead!" What did he say? My eyes widen and I start to panic. My heart starts to beat loudly and my face gets hot. Dead, how the hell could they be dead? I didn't touch them at all! He grabs his head in shock and looks towards me, "What did you do Zhen?" I look at him in shock and shrug my shoulders.
"I yelled die and they all just dropped! I swear I didn't do anything else! How could they be dead?" Hunter grabs my arm and leads me back up the steps, "Hunter where are you taking me?" I stumble up the steps and he leads me across the court yard to The Dome, "Hunter can you please say something?" I scream.
I grab onto my chest again, my heart is pounding against my chest. I feel like I'm having a heart attack.
"I'm taking you back home." He kicks the front doors open and two police officers look in our direction.
"Where do you two think you're going? School isn't out yet." One of the policemen points with his baton, "Get back inside!"
"My friend was in a terrible accident; his house isn't far from here. I'm taking him home to get patched up." The policemen look at each other and then examine my face.
"Alright, take him home." The police let us through and he swings one of my arms over his shoulder to support my weight.
"You could at least try to help me out here!"
"I can't feel my legs and everything is swirling." I swing my head back to get rid of the dizziness but it just makes it worse, "I think I'm about to puke." I drop on all fours and hurl all over the side walk.
"We need to get you home fast!" He picks me up again and walks at a faster pace. We turn a corner and I can see my grandpa getting into his car, "Excuse me sir! Can you help me?" Hunter yells.
"Oh my lord, what in hell fire happened to him?" He drops his keys and runs to my side, holding up my other arm.
"Some kids jumped him during lunch! Just help me get him inside!" They drag me over to the front door and I can hear my dogs barking. Grandpa opens the door and my mom runs at him.
"These dogs have been barking like this for the past ten minutes!"
"Hi Mrs. Mávros, can you open the door more?" Hunter says, directing her attention him.
"Zhen's been in a terrible accident dear. We need to patch him up." My mom looks at me and covers her mouth.
"You were right mom; I should've waited until I was in High School." My mom then faints and my grandpa sighs.
"Get him inside, lay him on the couch, I'll deal with her." Hunter drags me inside and my dogs start to lick my hand.
"Hey guys, want to hear how my first day of school went?" Hunter lays me on the couch and the dogs all lay beside me, wincing.
"Excuse me sir, you have to leave."
"I'll do no such thing! This is my family!" My grandpa stands up and points at me, "That is my grandson!" Muse sits up and licks my hand. Salem and Diablo lay their heads on my lap.
"With all due respect sir, you really have to go." Hunter grabs my grandpa's arm and escorts him out of the house.
"What gives you the right to care for my family?" He yells as Hunter pushes him out the door, "My grandson needs me!" Hunter then slams the door and locks it.
"What are you doing?" I try to sit up but Hunter lays me back down.
"Stay down Zhen!" He runs over to my mom and tries to wake her, "C'mon Zoe! Wake up, we have to go!"
"Go where, I don't understand. Where do we have to go?" Hunter then slaps my mom and she jolts back to life.
"My baby, where is my son?" She stands up and runs to my side, "Oh Zhen, I knew I should've waited until you were in High school!" She places a hand on my cheek and tears well up in her eyes.
"Zoe, we have to go." Hunter places a hand on her shoulder and everything goes black.