New Kid at School

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

Fletcher awoke groggily as his hand automatically hit the snooze button. He knew that he shouldn’t just lie in bed, but he was way too tired to deal with anything, even if it meant having to go to his new school with his curly hair sticking up in a dozen different directions. He grappled with his consciousness and snooze button for a fairly significant amount of time before finally rolling out of bed. He looked around the unfamiliar room that he had moved into the week before. They had been moving so much recently, his new school, WilliamHarrisonHigh School, was the third one he had attended that year. He hoped that they’d settle down soon. Junior year was hard enough without all the bouncing around. Besides, who had thought of naming a school after Harrison, that joke of a president who died a month into office after catching pneumonia after talking for way too long? He looked over at the poster he and his best friend made back in Ohio. It was a spoof of those “Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Kindergarten” posters, but dedicated to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy instead. Fletcher smiled wistfully at the poster. It was so true. That series had more knowledge, as eccentric as it was, than school could ever offer him. He could spend days pouring over those books. And books in general. Alternate realities were much more exciting than the real world. He got lost in his thoughts, in his new room of old things. When he finally snapped out of it, he had just barely enough time to brush his teeth and run to school.

He had little difficulty finding his way around school. Most schools were set up in pretty much the same way. It’s as if they were all based on one blueprint. Fletcher had moved so much throughout the last year that he had picked up on the subtle trends of new places. Unfamiliar places no longer fazed him. He went through the motions of the day: attended his new classes that were far too easy for him, met a few quasi-interesting people, as well as his new teachers. Though he seldom had time to settle down and actually make friends, most people seemed to like him wherever he went. It was sort of ironic since he was pretty introverted. Though it was nice meeting new people, he would much rather have some stability. Besides, most people were the same anyway, much like how all the schools were the same.

There was one girl in his History class who caught his eye, though. She had really short, spunky, bright violet hair and wore lots of red lipstick, but what really intrigued him was that she was carrying around a copy of Frankenstein. It was one of his favorites, and he could always spot it from a mile away. Oh, he could speak of that tale for hours: the layers of complexity in that book, the beauty, the fervor, and the distorted nature of the tragic monster. The utterly painful beauty of the novel forced him to swallow it whole in one sitting. It was a truly incredible book, but he hardly ever saw anyone else reading it. Old English captured so much more emotion and life than the modern tongue, but it seemed as if none of his peers appreciated it. So much life got lost in the common tongue.

The lunch bell abruptly snapped him out of the world inside his head. The girl with the violet hair slipped out of sight. Fletcher realized how hungry he was since he had skipped breakfast. Furthermore, he didn’t have time to pack a lunch and his stomach growled angrily at him for it. He dug through his pockets and found enough change for school food. High Schools weren’t legendary for good food, but his hunger dulled his judgment. Fletcher shifted up to the counter, carefully balancing his tray in his hands. The lunch lady who had bright orange nails and lips plopped an unidentifiable mass onto his plate. She reminded him of Nurse Ratched. He didn’t trust the “food”.

He traveled through the mess hall with the glob and some chocolate milk balanced on his tray, looking for someone he could sit next to. It was horrid; that awful feeling of loneliness and not belonging in such a crowded place. The chatter of his fellow peers exploded in his ears. A few people waved at him, but it was the oh-he’s-new-so-we-may-as-well-pretend-to-be-nice sort of wave. Where were the genuine people? He wasn’t in the mood to babble idly so he settled down on an uninhabited table. He looked down at the glob quizzically, and poked it with a spoon. The spoon got stuck in the glob and he couldn’t pull it back out, no matter what he did. He was utterly flabbergasted by the meal. Though he had eaten many unpleasant school lunches, none of them could compare to this. He kept on poking it with the spoon that was halfway stuck in the mess. The glob sucked at it as if it were quicksand.

“Hello. Is anyone sitting here?”

Fletcher looked up from the glob and saw the violet haired girl. He had to keep from letting his jaw drop. She looked a great deal cuter up close. Her intense hair shone in front of her eyes, the sun danced on her porcelain skin, and a thin black dress gently clung to her figure. Unconventional, yes, but her look was endearing. To whom did he owe such great luck? He somehow managed to stammer out the word “no” after about six or seven “ums”. Though he was introverted, he still wasn’t used to being nervous around new people. With his eyes on her, he didn’t notice that his spoon had been fully swallowed by the glob.

“Alright, well, I’m going to help populate this table with you. Your name’s Fletcher, right? Actually, another kid just moved here too, just a couple of days ago. It must be a popular time to move or something. By the way, my name’s Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth! What a glorious name! It was the name of fragile beauty, and of Victor Frankenstein’s only love. Yet of a tragic end, from Victor’s failure to follow through with his promise. A quote popped into his head: “I thought I saw ElizabethâÂ?¦ Delighted and surprised, I embraced her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death.” Fletcher shuddered. “Hue of death,” he subconsciously whispered.

“What?” asked Elizabeth, clearly astonished.

“Oh, um, nothing. I just remembered a quote, that’s all.” He felt like a fool.

“Oh really? What quote?”

Fletcher recited the quote for her and a slight flush came over her face. “WowâÂ?¦ I never thought anyone else appreciated Frankenstein like I do,” Elizabeth said as she pulled the book out of her purse and flipped it open. “It broke my heart when Victor chopped the future love of the monster. I couldn’t understand why he did that; I mean, he already got so farâÂ?¦”

“And if he didn’t destroy her, then Elizabeth would have lived, and it would have been perfect. However, a perfect ending wouldn’t have fit the dark theme of the book. Besides, perfect endings are only in fairy tales, and sometimes not even then.” It always bothered him that he would most likely never get the perfect ending that those childhood fairytales promised.

“AHHHHHHHH!!” screamed a voice out of nowhere. It startled Fletcher enough to make him almost jump out of his skin. He didn’t notice it, but no one else seemed to be shaken at all. Fletcher turned to see a frail kid struggling with the same sort of gooey glob that dwelled on his plate. It clung forcefully to the boy’s fingers, rapidly crawling up his arm and seemed to expand further as the boy struggled to combat it. The glob had turned into a vicious hunter and the boy was his juicy prey. Fletcher could only watch, frozen with horror, not able to tear his eyes away. It was all over in a minute. The glob deflated and returned to its previous size almost instantaneously after covering the entire boy. His life had been truncated in the most bizarre manner.

“Did you-? Just? That boyâÂ?¦” stammered Fletcher. He wondered how the seemingly perfect girl could watch a boy get eaten with such indifference.

“I’m actually amazed that he wasn’t attacked earlier,” said Elizabeth placidly as she pulled a peanut butter sandwich out of her bag, “the food here has been far less potent than usual. I wonder why that isâÂ?¦”

Fletcher’s eyes grew even wider. “You mean this sort of stuff happens often?”

Elizabeth smiled slyly and replied, “Haven’t you noticed that we have no freshman class?”

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