Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/zSZJn9KDbj0
THE DOWNPOUR eased up just before Tommy left home. Still, he chose to take the school bus rather than cycle. The teenager exited the bus and made his way up the driveway towards school, not caring that he was wishing away the day.
Some of the Mids, with their side ponytails, structured shoulder jackets, and baggy, cropped trousers mingled in the courtyard. The term ‘Mids’ came from Tommy and the other Horsemen, for the kids who were not geeky enough to be a nerd, and not cool enough to in the clique; so middling, somewhere in between.
A few jocks sat on the handrail lining the eight steps leading up to the mustard-colored entrance doors. The athletic teens were taking it in turns to knock books out of kids’ hands as they passed. When a kid bent over to pick them up, a kick up the backside sent the kid tumbling down the steps. Hilarity ensued for the brainless minority.
A fashion parade of cheerleaders, sporting big perms and hair, shared a mix of lace gloves, leg warmers and cut-off sweatshirts. Showing a little flesh over their high waist jeans, leggings and miniskirts, the clique watched the world go by from their perches on the Football team players car bonnets.
A few of the nerds were gathered under a tree, admiring something in a magazine. Oversized blazers appeared to be on the dork menu, with a side of one-tone shirts and thick-rim spectacles. Tommy squeezed his coat tighter round his chest, to hide his own blazer.
He couldn’t see the magazine cover, which annoyed him a little. Rather than dwell on it, he looked for his friends within the few hundred kids currently converging on the high school. He couldn’t see Kurt or Ted, but he spotted Mikey sprinting across the courtyard, his ruddy features noticeable before he doubled over to catch his breath.
“Hey, Mikey, sorry I didn’t meet you at the park entrance this morning. I took the bus.”
Mikey shook his head, “You … need …”
“To save little Timmy from the well?”
Mikey shook his head, “To …”
“Do the truffle shuffle?”
“Learn the ways of the force? Give me a clue here, Lassie.”
Tommy’s smile faded as he spotted, over Mikey’s shoulder, Zack’s car screeching into the car park. Skidding across the wet surface, the car came to an abrupt halt a few inches shy of a teacher’s parked car.
Mikey jabbed a finger at Zack’s Corvette, and then drew a thumb across his jugular. Tommy knew exactly what his friend meant.
“I didn’t do anything to upset Zack.”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
“What did I do?”
“I didn’t do her.”
“You kissed her.”
“I didn’t kiss her; she kissed me. Wait. You told him?”
Mikey shook his head.
“Then who did?”
Tommy swung towards a furious teenager. Zack was around six-foot, with wide shoulders, slicked back hair, and a George Michael six o’clock shadow. The kid never took off his beloved leather jacket, which would have been a good thing on any other day. Today he removed it, showing off a plain black t-shirt, and a look that said he wanted to crack some heads. He wore ripped jeans and happened to be the instigator of the trend that was now running throughout the school like a virus.
Like the courage crawling up his ass crack, Tommy had nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. And the beating of all beatings was headed his way at light speed.
EAGER to witness the early morning bloodshed, every kid in shouting distance surrounded the two boys.
“Fight, fight, fight …”
The chant seemed to get louder as the spectator’s circle started to force the boys towards each other.
Zack vaulted a school bench like a hurdler, leaving Tommy wondering if he would ever look so cool while doing the same thing. He spotted Daisy forcing her way through the crowd. She was shouting and trying to get to Zack.
The older kid ran towards Tommy, clenching his fists. “You think you can kiss my girl, and I wouldn’t’ find out.”
“Zack, wait, it’s not what you think.”
“I knew you had a thing for her. Well, it’s time to pay the price.”
Tommy held up his hands. Zack’s punch went through the middle of them, and the darkness descended faster than a closing Death Star blast door.“I can see the light …”
THE DESIRE to be in Daisy’s arms came out of the blue. The tightness of their embrace, the thrumming of her heart as he pulled her closer, her hands clasping the base of his spine, her perfect eyes taking in the love outpouring from his devoted heart. His lips locking with hers, the smoothness of her tongue, the kiss, a moment hidden from time.
Tommy’s love for her he could not deny, even as the school prom quickly faded away, right before his eyes. Replaced by a dull, overcast cloud front, and raindrops, hundreds of them, running down his cheeks, his throbbing skull reminded him that he was just hit by a meat meteor.
Amid the downpour was Ted, smiling as manically as the Riddler.
“Ground control to Major Tom?” he said, shoving Tommy’s shoulder.
“Shut the hell up, Ted.” Mikey jostled Ted to one side and knelt next to his best friend.
It hurt watching Tommy hit the grass like a dead weight. And then to listen to every kid in the crowd laugh at the fight that ended before it even started.
“Where am I?” Tommy tried to lift his head, despite it feeling as heavy as a bowling ball.
“You’re on Mongo, Flash. And Ming just kicked your blonde ass.”
“Is everything a joke to you, Ted?” Mikey snapped.
“Not everything. Well, I say not everything, what I mean to say is …”
Mikey turned back to Tommy. “Are you okay, dude?”
“How long was I out?”
“About four centuries. You even overshot Buck Rogers,” Ted said, leaning over Mikey’s shoulder. “We had to wait until they created time travel, so that we could come back, tell you to duck. I guess we were too late. Damn time travel traffic. And don’t get me started on that Delorean. I mean, who chooses a Delorean over a Trans AM?”
Mikey turned in a flash. “Ted, as usual, you’re not helping.”
“Don’t bite my head off. It’s not my fault he felt up your sister.”
“Okay, okay …” Ted started dispersing the crowd. “There’s nothing to see.
This is not the kid you’re looking for. You can go about your business. Move along, move along.”
Tommy struggled to take a knee. Most of the kids were still in the circle, pointing his way and ignoring Ted’s attempts to move them.
“Like the kids around here need any more ammunition to throw my way. Now they think I’m a love criminal.”
“Ignore them,” Mikey said.
“Did I do well?”
“If doing well is getting floored with one punch, then you aced it, dude,” Kurt said from over Mikey’s shoulder. “Oh, crap. Here comes the Whip.”
The gathering scattered, leaving Ted standing alone in the dispersing circle.
“Yeah, you better run. Next time I catch you all cheering, I’ll kick your asses myself.” Ted swiveled on his heels and almost collided with a grey-haired man in a pressed suit and waistcoat. “Oh, fu–”
“Don’t you have a class to get to, Theodore?”
“That’s an affirmative, sir.”
Whitmore looked down his nose at Ted’s rucksack. Ted smiled, leaned down to pick it up, and slinked off, grabbing Kurt on the way.
To the kids at Rosewood Falls High, Principal Marshall Whipmore ruled the corridors like this generation’s Wyatt Earp. Rumors were rife of the grey-haired disciplinarian’s horsewhip never being too far away from a pupil’s legs, or his trusty ruler from the back of a kid’s palms. The punishment rumors had yet to be proven legitimate.
“You two boys care to tell me what you were doing out here?” Whipmore asked.
“Nothing, sir. He just tripped,” Mikey replied.
“I didn’t ask you, Mikey. I asked Tommy. Well?”
“I tripped over a tree root sir. I didn’t see it. Damn things are everywhere.”“It must have been some stumble, considering your eye?”Tommy reached for his left eye and felt a lump the size of melon three inches from his eyebrow. “Er, yeah.” He glared at Mikey and mouthed, what the f***.
“May I suggest you go and see the nurse, and get some ice on that lump?”
“Yes, sir. I’ll go straight away.”Whipmore waited until Tommy passed by before he said, “And if I catch you fighting again, it will be the whip, boy. You hear me?”