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Into the Unknown
Author's note: This is my very first book, and I'm so proud of how much it's evolved and changed. I hope you'll be able to enjoy the tale I've been able to formulate over the years!
Let’s see, after a long torturous day of school, what have I learned today? Staring at the clock doesn’t make time go faster; in fact, it makes it go even more slowly. Painfully slow. So now, as I continued staring furiously at the innocently ticking clock, all I could do was repeatedly tap my pencil on my desk as I waited for bell to jingle, as my Spanish teacher Mr. Chip would put it. But in the front my algebra teacher, Mrs. Wallace, continued drawling on about numbers and all that jazz while I impatiently waited for the bell. For the umpteenth time that day, I glanced at the clock. 3:40, still ten minutes until my sweet freedom.
I sighed and stopped my pencil tapping, turning my attention reluctantly back to Mrs. Wallace. Mrs. Wallace always reminded somewhat of that mean librarian you constantly see telling you “SSH!” when it wasn’t you who was the one who was talking. Her hair was a dull brown pulled into a tight bun; her face was stern and strict with no traces of kindness or humor. She was bony, lanky, and tall; she towered over a lot of the other teachers. But to me the worst were her eyes, they were grey and blank, like a little girl discovering there was no such thing as Santa Claus. Today she was wearing a long dull green dress that swayed gracefully at every move she made.
Suddenly, she stopped writing the complicated math problem she had been working on and turned to the class, her harsh glare striking fear into the bravest of students. Even I held back the temptation to flinch.
After many taunting seconds, Mrs. Wallace smiled a fake smile.
“Ah, Ms. Williams…” She purred darkly.
Somehow, I knew this was coming.
I sighed dramatically, but replied, “Yes, Mrs. Wallace?”
The smile on Mrs. Wallace’s face widened, she lifted the yard stick she always carried around for no apparent reason, and pointed it at the now finished math problem.
“Could you please come up here and work this problem out for the class? I would greatly appreciate it.” There was a kind edge in her tone, but I didn’t buy it.
“Of course,” was all I could manage through gritted teeth. I swear, this teacher was out to get me. It’s not like I ever did anything to her, I was a perfectly fine student, but it was like it was her goal in life to make my life horrible.
I heard sighs of relief when I rose up from my desk, probably because everyone was glad they weren’t in my position. If only I could feel that same relief!
Though my stomach was churning with disdain, I boldly strode up to the board past all the purple desks. Yes, I repeat, purple desks; along with matching purple chairs. I honestly thought the desks looked awesome, but they had one fault: the chairs couldn’t fit into the desks. Let me tell you, I’ve seen plenty of annoying things due to the fact that I had three younger brothers, but these desks were definitely troublesome.
On the way to the board, I pasted the desk of Luke Shields, football superstar and an annoying boy who never shut his mouth. He had a head full of dark brown hair, and hazel, almost green, eyes. His face was still had small traces of baby fat, and I took every chance to laugh at him about it. I always called him Godzilla behind his back; due to the he had to be at least at six feet in height. His sister, Ginger Shields, also went to this school, but she was even worse than him. She was what you called, “The-oh-so-annoying-prep-that-thinks-she’s-all-that”. Sadly, their father happened to be an important man at this school, in other words the principle, so no one dared to tell them off. Well, save one: me.
He glanced at me as I walked past him and winked one hazel eye, and I childishly stuck my tongue out at him.
I bumped into Luke’s desk purposely; his pencil, textbook, and pen fell to the ground with satisfying thuds and clatters.
“Oops, so sorry, you know me, a big klutz.” I pretended to sneeze to disguise my laughter as Luke shot me a go-jump-off-a-cliff look, and I happily shot the same expression back.
In the front, Mrs. Wallace coughed loudly, and I held back the urge to roll my eyes. I knew I was taking my sweet time, but I wasn’t really ecstatic at the chance to solve a math problem.
“Kimberly,” Mrs. Wallace hissed, “I’m sure the class would be quite pleased if you stopped flirting with Luke and come solve this question so we can all move on with our lives.”
Oh, some life you have. I thought angrily as the class erupted into laughter. With one last glare at Luke, I sped-walked the remaining space between me and the board.
Mrs. Wallace handed me a blue expo marker, her false smile never faltering, and I snatched it from her grasp. I could honestly say without a bit of remorse that I hated this teacher, and I was pretty sure she hated me just as much.
At my position at the board I could feel the stares of the other students boring into my back, and I despised the smugness atmosphere Luke was radiating. This was completely unfair; math is my worst subject, and here I was stuck, in plain view of all my classmates, attempting to solve the math problem. I hadn’t even so much glanced at the problem, but by the joyous expression plastered on Mrs. Wallace’s face I could tell I wouldn’t be able to solve it.
Uncapping the marker, and trying to ignore the revolting odor it radiated, I raised my head slowly to face the evil numbers and symbols I just adored so much.
Have you ever heard of a brain fart? Well, I just had one. Either that or my brain exploded, but no matter which one was fact, I was doomed. No, I was NOT stupid, just making that clear, but I’m sure Mrs. Wallace wrote down the most difficult problem she could think of: Setting me up to fail, in other words.
“Good luck, Kimberly!” Luke sang mockingly, and I twitched, resisting the urge to turn around and plant my knuckle into his jaw. I would prefer to not get a referral.
I read the equation on the board over again, and again and again…still nothing.
Sneaking a peak at the clock, I mentally groaned as I realized I still had six minutes left of this child abuse. Whoever said an education would be good for kids lied; a big, fat, bluff.
There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I could not do this, but of course, I still had my pride to keep and wouldn’t let that little twerp Luke and evil algebra teacher have triumph. Sure, all I wanted to do right now was run out of the classroom to the safety of my house (Though it was a good distance away from here, and I already did my PE time!) and grab the nearest ice cream jug to chow down on, but hey, I could at least give it a try. This was one of those moments I regretted tuning out Mrs. Wallace’s lectures.
With a sheepish and somewhat nervous shrug, I began trying my best to solve the algebraic equation. Yes, I was scribbling down random things I guessed had to do with it, but it was my best bet. If I actually understood what the foreign symbols meant, it would be a miracle.
Sweat was forming on my brow, and I snatched at all the common sense I could grab hold onto to solve this dang math problem.
Finally, after what seemed centuries of stabbing myself in the head with a knife, I wrote an answer down under all my senseless scratch work. I was positive it was wrong, and again by only looking at Mrs. Wallace’s face I knew I was right about something for once. I failed: epically.
I turned on my heel away from the board to face Mrs. Wallace, and I handed her the expo marker to signal I was finished. She smiled sweetly at me and tapped the marker on the palm on her hand in a very creepy fashion. Any second I expected her to turn into an evil demon and attempt to rip my face right off.
Of course, she didn’t tear off my face, but instead sent me back to sit at my desk. I grumpily followed her orders and returned to my seat; careful to avoid the gazes of my classmates.
“Now class,” Mrs. Wallace began, pointing to my work, “This is exactly what not to do with this type of problem, so thank Ms. Kimberly for giving us a wonderful example!”
Despite myself, I felt my cheeks warm up as some of the students turned in their desks to stare at me, and the daring ones called out obnoxious “Thank you!”’S
Oh, why couldn’t I just turn invisible and slip out the window?
Seeing she just ruined my day, Mrs. Wallace happily quieted the class and went on to explain how I should have solved the problem while I sulked in my chair. There was no point listening to her now; I already embarrassed myself for the day.
Instead, I returned to glaring at the clock. Four minutes left; it was strange how that could seem like forever to me. I sighed and folded my arms across my desk, and laid my chin down onto them. Closing my eyes, I breathed out heavily. Stupid school; it was like a leech, it sucked the life and energy right out of you.
A piece of paper suddenly came flying through the air and thudded down onto my desk, and I frowned. Whoever was bothering me while I was trying to rest was going to get hurt. It was bad enough I had to run an extra mile in PE, receive an extra dose of torture because of Mrs. Wallace, now I had to deal with someone?
In front of me there was a piece of crumpled notebook paper and I raised both eyebrows at it. I glanced around the room, and there was Mister Luke himself giving me thumbs-up sign and a wink; perfect…
With an irritated sigh, I unfold the paper, and read over Luke’s messy scrawl:
Wow, funny stuff out there Kimberly, funny stuff. You should have seen the pitiful look on your face! Pure gold there! I wish we were allowed to use camera phones during school, ‘cause that was a moment worth saving! Though honestly, I think you’re cute when you’re embarrassed.
I stopped, mentally gagging before reluctantly continuing.
Anyway, we should go out sometime! I know this great Chinese place we could go to…So yeah, I’ll pick you up at your house at seven!
Okay, first of all, how can someone be so vain to think just because he asked I would accept? And, how did Luke know where I lived? But I knew one thing for sure: I. Will. Not. Ever. Date. Him.
I furiously began scribbling down a reply on the paper, ready to throw it smack into the middle of his forehead.
I will not go out with you! Get this through your head:
I HATE YOU.
I folded the paper back up angrily and got prepared to toss it. I pulled my arm back behind my head with the note in hand, and was about to fire when the bell suddenly blared throughout the entire classroom causing me to freeze.
Now it decided to jingle.
I sat in my desk for a few seconds, sizzling in annoyance, rage, aggravation, and every negative emotion possible as students filed their way past me out of the room. Today, the world was against me. This is why I hated this period: Algebra, Mrs. Wallace, Luke; what could be worse?
With one last sigh, I gathered my composure grumpily and got to my feet. I snatched up the black and white checkered backpack resting against my desk, and slung it over my right shoulder with much more force than needed. It hit my back, and I nearly doubled over from the impact.
Straightening up with a groan, I noticed Mrs. Wallace had abandoned the board and had gone to her teacher desk and now seemed to be grading papers. I was tempted to shake my fist in her direction, but I didn’t; knowing my luck today she could be grading my test we took earlier, and she definitely had the power to put an F on it if I upset her.
So instead I trudged away from my desk in the middle of the room, and out the door into the sea of high school students. At first the task was difficult; the hall couldn’t have been more packed, but I was finally able to squeeze in, and then I began to run.
Seeing the green lockers and tiled flooring fly past me still made me feel like a foreigner in an unknown land, because high school was completely different than middle school. Not only was high school much bigger, but the students, teachers, and events were all so new and confusing. I had learned some things in my short time as a freshman however; this was definitely a dog-eat-dog kind of place. In middle school the worst possible thing you could do was get into a cat fight with another student, but that wasn’t the case here. On the first day of school a group of junior boys were busted for being caught in the bathroom with drugs, and were expelled.
After that incident, my mother had freaked out on the school board saying how horrible this school was for allowing such “hooligans” attend there. She actually wanted to withdraw me right away, but Lake View High just happened to be the best high school in the county so she would have faced some of the same problems anywhere else. It was just the way high schools operated.
Besides, I loved Lake View despite it’s, uh, occasional flaw. It was something new, and by all means exciting. I mean, I wasn’t so excepting of change, but high school just turned out to be a good kind of change. More freedom was provided now that I left my middle school years behind me, and one of the things I hated most was having limited freedom. Besides, I was a sucker for some action.
I could also meet different kinds of people, but there were also some I wouldn’t have minded never meeting in my life… (Aka dense Luke, his bratty sister, and horrible Mrs. Wallace.)
I rounded the corner and continued on my way down the crowded hall, occasionally waving to a friend or two as I went by. Sometimes I would stop and hug a close friend, but then I would hurry on so I could meet up with my best friend, Maria.
Maria and I met every day after school at my locker to walk home together. We actually used to meet at her locker, but this year that irksome Ginger Shields owned the locker next to hers, and we agreed that it would be best to avoid World War III. My locker just happened to be closer to the school exit anyway, so the solution was to just set my locker as our meeting spot. I didn’t mind either the arrangements; the farther away I was from the evil demon Ginger, the happier I was.
Ugh, I shouldn’t be thinking about Ginger right now. Luke and Mrs. Wallace was enough to fret about.
Happy thoughts, Kimberly Just think happy thoughts! I told myself, blocking out the images of Mrs. Wallace, Luke, and Ginger. Just think…Your locker is right around this corner where Maria will be waiting…
But I, for maybe the hundredth time that day, was wrong. Maria was not there; only the empty air and bits of dust fabric was accompanying my lonesome looking locker. The scene was somehow depressing, and it made my already crotchety mood worse.
With a sigh that would have made the dead seem cheerful, I strode up to my dark green locker, and began working on decoding my combination.
Turn left before stopping on 37, go right and halt at 7, then go left again and finally 73…
I tugged. Nothing happened. I tried the combination again, and pulled, but my locker remained immobile. For a third time (Because three was a lucky number after all!) I attempted my locker.
With a cry of frustration, I hit the locker with my balled up fist, my last aim at it magically opening, but only ended up leaving a nasty bruise my hand and embarrassing myself when several heads turned and looked at me. I quickly turned so I was facing the locker, my face boiling.
How anyone could have such a bad day was beyond my knowledge. It seems, to me at least, the happier I am when I wake up the direr day I would have. It was kind of a twisted irony, and I had to say at the moment, irony sucked.
“Uh, excuse me?”
“What?” I snapped, and whipped around prepared to bite off the head of my new source of annoyance. Gee, couldn’t people see that I was in no mood?
A boy, cautiously a good distance behind me, was what I discovered when I turned around. He wasn’t just some boy either; he was a mega fiiiiine boy.
His hair was a light shade of brown that stuck out sloppily in all sorts of direction, and his eyes were a chocolate brown color that were staring warily at me. Finely tuned muscles made up his chest, legs, arms, and my lucky guess was he was on the football team along side with Luke, but this guy was so much hotter as far as I could tell (Well, anyone compared to Luke could seem like a God)
Maybe this day wouldn’t turn out to be so dreadful after all.
“Oh, hi!” I chirped, a little too cheerfully, it seemed, because he carefully scooted backwards away from me. I chose to ignore that, and let a toothy grin spread across my face.
“Uh, yeah, hi.” He responded awkwardly in an alto voice, and I relished the sound of it caressing deep within my ear drums.
“So,” He continued in the same awkward tone, “why exactly are you abusing my locker?”