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SHEPHERD OF SHARKS

by

Andrew Iliadis



"Rolland!" my mother screamed as I laid in bed still.

The sun shone through a tiny space in the shades and landed on my face. I lay there for a while, thinking of nothing but how nice it looked, the tiny light fighting, finding its way through the brown drapes. I was ignoring my mother and at the same time I felt as if I shouldn't be. Actually it was more like I knew I shouldn't be, those were the rules, but I didn't care. I was enjoying the light. It was nice and warm on my forehead, comforting me. My mother hollered up at me again. The light began to burn so I finally got up. I slowly changed my clothes, wondering why I have to get up. I felt so sedated I didn't even want to put forth the effort to see my mother and talk about the upcoming day. As I walked downstairs the smell of breakfast made me sick. I've been in an abnormal mood lately, it was hard for me to take anything down. She was cooking eggs and bacon for me and I didn't even feel like eating.

"Rolland, good morning honey. Hurry you're going to be late for school."

I didn't want to go, let alone hurry to get there. Why should I be in hurry to feel uncomfortable with those inextricable pricks?

"I spoke with your teacher yesterday, she told me you weren't in class. She told me you haven't been to class in four days. Rolland, you can't afford to miss school anymore."

"Mom, I told you..."

"Oh stop it, Rolland. Why would you let them prevent you from succeeding? Stay in class, don't think of it as your giving in, think of it as your defying them."

I didn't say anything and I began to pick at my breakfast. Man, I thought, why should I be in company with them, all it does is make me so, so angered I can't even describe it. I pushed my plate away and got the keys to start the car. My mom came out and she drove me to school. My school wasn't far, just around the corner, I wished it were further.

"Okay, see you, sweetie. Take care and call me when you get home."

"All right, bye Mom."

She slowly rolled away and vanished around the corner. I walked up to my school and stood in front of the steps leading to the front doors. The large concrete steps intimidated me. Their silence echoed the wind, which whistled as it passed. The sun was not out and the day was the colour grey, with the anticipation of rain in everyone's mind. People began running around in a hurry to reach their classes on time; I slowly began to climb the steps. I got to the doors and there was this girl walking right in front of me. Her name was Natalie Rosen. She was in my marketing class, which we were both heading for now. Funny, I knew her name and she probably didn't even know I was in the same class with her. I began to walk through the entrance, right behind her, when the door shut and smacked me in the side of the head.

"Shit," I said.

"Look out," she called back after she had already gone through. She didn't hold the door open and felt that "look out" was enough to not feel uncomfortable about her lack of courtesy which I'm sure she didn't even think twice about. I felt my head and a bump was already beginning to form. I reached down for my books that had dropped, no one having offered to help. I made it to class five minutes late and the teacher, Mr. Gheatwrite told me to wait in the hall. As I waited for him I heard inside the class. People, you can't afford to be late. We begin our work on time and all of you should know this by now. Rolland here is one individual who seems to take school as a joke, well I'm hoping you all realize how stupid that is. This is an institution, and punctuality is a must. Now why would you come to class if your going to be late, I certainly don't want you here.

Fine, I thought, and I walked away down the hall.

Anyone could have opened their mouth and told him why I was late, everyone saw my books fall. Natalie at least should have but she didn't. They let him go on about how incompetent I was and how they should seek guidance through the mistakes of others. I didn't care if he didn't want me there. I didn't want to be there either. I started towards the back door of the school, I thought I'd walk over to the plaza just to kill time until next period started. I went over to the arcade, I thought I'd entertain myself for a bit. I opened the doors and a man, wearing a red apron, tapped me once I fully entered. He tapped me rather hard and I thought it definitely rude. I think he worked there.

"Do you have change, young man? If you don't, get out."

He worked there.

"Yes, I have a little."

"All right, just don't be hanging around."

"Yes sir," I said. Yes sir. Why the hell did I have to take that rudeness from him? I guess I didn't want to bother saying anything, I just wanted to play a game. I went over to the old-school games. I saw Lemmings, which was one of my favourites. You have to guide these little people around obstacles and save them, finally leading them to a safe place. I deposited a quarter and began. Man, I wish I said something to that man. I wish I said something to Natalie. They should know that they are inconsiderate, they should know how ignorant they are. Who was to say I was just going to loiter around the arcade? I hate when people assume things.

"You, give us your change." These four older kids were standing around me waiting for me to respond.

"You hear me pussy? Give us your fucking money!"

What could I say or do? Nothing. That's what I was prepared to do, nothing, except to give in to them once again. I reached into my pocket and slowly felt around for my change. My fingers were shaking; they were slipping around the money. I was staring at them the whole time. I stared at them as if they just killed my mother, as if I was about to cut their throats. I dropped the money into their hands, staring, and as the money fell, so did the Lemmings in the game. The money landed in their hands and my Lemmings fell to their death. I kept staring. I didn't really see it coming but I knew that it would have happened. One of them punched me in the side of my face and I fell to the ground. They began to drag me outside and I fought to get loose.

"Hey, " the old man from the door yelled. "Take it outside."

I died when I heard him say that. He didn't care that they were about to let me have it, he cared about his arcade, and whether the blood would ruin the games.

"Please," I said. "Just don't, you don't have to."

They didn't listen and dragged me behind the plaza. I was on the ground and they started to kick me. A boot in the face made my nose begin to bleed and I heard a crack. My ribs began to hurt; it felt as if I was being stabbed with each breath.

"Think you can stare at us. Who are you? Huh, tough guy!"

One of them kicked me in the groin and I couldn't breath. I grasped my stomach while lying on the ground and felt an another fist in the back of my head. I couldn't move or breath and they still kept kicking and punching me until I couldn't even feel it anymore. I couldn't see; my eyes were covered with blood. Everything was a haze of red, blurring its way out of reality. It began to rain, and they stopped. They checked my pockets and left, rushing through the field of the school. I couldn't get up; each motion brought forth a sudden sharp pain, so I laid still, my arms around my chest, gasping for air. I thought about them as I watched the rain hit my face. Not just the ones that just beat me but all of them. None of them could sympathize or feel or know how to act humane, it made me sick and I threw up and then passed out. I didn't feel at all mad though, I just slipped a little deeper into my trance, my coma, my...peace. As the blood left my body from every fresh orifice, crawling its way through the tiny cracks and crevasses in the pavement, the rain washed it away.







ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Iliadis lives in Toronto, Canada. He is currently about to enter university and has had a passion for writing about the infinite and mysterious emotions in life since childhood. His work consists mainly of short stories that offer readers the chance to experience untapped feelings in the vast palette of human emotions. This is his first submission on what he hopes will be an ongoing career as a writer.




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