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"I wasn't asleep sir, honest."
"No, but you were falling asleep." his English teacher replied with a firm sarcasm. Liam, still disorientated, felt a little too arrogant and replied over confidently "no, I was just heavily blinking, sir."
Before his teacher could screw his face up even more than he had already, the stick insect of a deputy head stampeded through the door with a swoosh and clang as the door flung to hit the wall that held it.
“Liam Michaels get to the headmaster’s office now!” Miss Scarman stood in the doorway with her icy stare. Her white shirt was tucked in as always, adding more width than her tiny hips ever could. Her backbone was probably the only thick part of her body at all; the graffiti in the boy’s toilets made that very clear. The classical joke of the school was that the only thing that stood out from her body was the unnecessary bra she wore (another rumour communicated by pen to wall).
She stared through her small rounded spectacles and down her long pointing nose, scanning the class from right to left. From her invisible hips, she lifted her estranged forefinger and pointed at her target with a flick in her wrist, similar to that of a witch.
Liam gulped, closed his book with a light thud and went after her. His class synchronised their sadistically haunting whispers like the tormenting poltergeists they resembled.
As he reached the door a paper ball hit his back. Mike, the bully, called to him as he swung on the back legs of his chair "what did you do this time loser?"
Liam ignored him and miserably stepped into the open hallway.
The corridor seemed to drag on as he took his quick sharp steps to keep up with Miss Scarman, the deputy head. Liam smirked as he reassured himself that old 'Scarface' was definitely a miss; nobody had ever seen her with a man, not even a women; it appeared that not even a desperate, frail, old codger would go for her.
They passed the columns that held the upper floors. The pillars surrounded the playground in the centre where lonely benches stood waiting excitedly for their imminent attention, he peered over to his favourite spot and thinking to himself: I'll be there soon, just ten more minutes.
He looked to Scarman's bony upright back and hoped that it would only be ten more minutes. He prayed that he would get his lunch on time, just for the full fifty minutes that they had too scoff the entirety of their lunchboxes, to then receive indigestion for the final lesson of the day.
Mr Bullock was waiting for them as they reached his office; he gave a brief warming smile to Liam as he walked in. It was only a quick smirk to add confidence to the boy’s nerves, but it failed to give the desired affect. Liam sat down nervously.
Liam was sat next to a man who appeared to tower over him, he was wearing thin sun glasses as black as space, and even darker than that, for space had the sun, whereas there was no brightness to this man at all, he was emotionless in his straightforward uniform of a black suit. Liam was staring up at the brute of a man as Mr Bullock coughed for his attention.
"Liam, these men need to speak with you." he immediately noticed the shrieking worry on the boys face, and attempted to reassure him soothingly "now don't worry, these men are like the police, they have all the paperwork and your parents will be informed. They would just like a quick chat."
The brute shot up in an instant gripping Liam by his arm with his bear sized paws and crushing grip. "Come on then son." The brute spoke in a roaring deep voice, which with all credit due, attempted at a softer tone, despite failing horribly.
Liam reluctantly stood and continued take large steps to keep up with the giant. As the door shut behind them two other guards peered down to him, both wearing exactly the same uniform and glum emotionless expressions.
They escorted him away, plodding along as the two in front of him fiddled in their internal blazer pockets. Liam collapsed to his knees! His arms were still being held behind him, and the long steel tip punctured his neck! The warm liquid spurted into his veins and he felt it rushing around his body! Their job was done. The light faded from every corner as Liam fought to keep his eyelids open. It was no use, he drifted away and the darkness as black as their glasses had taken him.
"Are you sleeping in my class Mr Michaels?" his English teacher beamed ferociously. Liam opened his eyes wide, realising he was back in his classroom. He pondered for a second: was it just a dream?
"No" Liam replied half heartedly "no, of course not".
His teacher continued to mumble at him, but Liam was far away, deep inside his own mind. He looked at the clock on the wall behind him then quickly turned to the classroom door. Miss Scarman charged in, flinging the door open “Liam Michaels get to the headmaster’s office now!”
Liam, half in shock, expected it, somehow, and he hurried after the departing teacher. He suddenly remembered! He paused as he reached the door and sidestepped. A paper ball missed him by an inch.
Liam was amazed! His lips were apart as his jaw had dropped. He looked all around with sudden head turns, almost as if he was panicking, but the emotions were more of excitement than fear.
Scarface quickly shook him from his thoughts as she called for him in her sharp screeching squeal. He hurriedly went after her, but after a second thought he crept away down to the other end of the corridor.
The caretaker had just stepped out of his supply closet when Liam appeared; "quick" he murmured "let me hide in there." The caretaker smirked with his hands behind his back, standing tall and feeling the essence of his authority as he replied in his put-on deep voice "run along kid, or I'll take ya’ to Bullock."
"I'm sorry Jim" Liam began in a confidently cocky manner "I guess I'll just have to go tell him that I was here with you while you were..." he left a brief pause and aggressively beamed "…smoking!" Jim automatically backed down, lifting his hands up revealing the cigarette between the fingers of his right hand.
"Alright, alright, keep ya’ voice down." He reluctantly whipped up his collection of keys and undone the lock, closing it to leave just a small crack as a peep-hole. Liam moved his face closer to the door and whispered "thanks Jim" in a sincere and honest manner, knowing what his fate would have been otherwise.
The bell had rung and the wait was over. The stampede of famished teenagers filled the corridors. The crowd marched to the canteen at the other end of the school. He inconspicuously stepped out and casually followed the crowd in their unruly formation as they headed towards the canteen via the main gate. He kept his head down, clenching onto the strap of his bag that was tight across his chest. He took deep breaths, attempting to calm his nerves. The men were nowhere to be seen.
Suddenly he spotted three of them coming out of Mr Bullock's office; they looked impatient which was surprising. Another brute was position at the gate! He was surrounded! Liam flailed his head around begging for a way out. He was getting left behind by the crowd as he began to panic. He stumbled forwards. A portion of chips hit the floor, minus the ones that were glued with ketchup to Mike Flanagan's plump stomach. Liam gulped and immediately regretted living; of all people, why did he have to fall into the school bully, especially as his size reflected his love for food.
The men in suits had just finished their aggressive interrogation of why Mr Bullock could not get one measly child into an office, when they heard a group of chanting students in front of the school gate. All three brutes synchronised lowering their glasses and peering over the top of them to scan the crowd. The leader gasped briefly. "Target acquired" he muttered sternly to the other two while still focusing on his prey.
Mike was still laying punches into Liam's face as he sat on top of him crunching his ribs and flattening him underneath his hefty buttocks. The brutes gripped the bully and tore him off of Liam. Liam laid still and allowed the darkness to come to him once more. His slightly raised head fell backwards, hitting the hard pavement unconscious and still.
Liam gasped for air, flinging his eyes open. He was in total darkness, apart from the small crack that revealed the midday sun. The bell rang and the stampede of famished teenagers filled the corridors once more. The crowd took him like the tide would in a river, sending him around towards the main gate. He looked up briefly to see the fearsome brute stare down the teacher who he had once thought was the most formidable man he could ever meet.
He slipped out of the crowd, keeping his back to the wall that arched up and opened up the school to the freedom beyond. All that was in the way was the intimidating gate that rose even higher than the guarding brute that stood in front of it. Liam watched as Mike walked by munching on his chips; he remembered what had happened last time.
Liam reached into his bag, feeling around for the right object. He lifted his arm up and lightly flipped the apple into the air. He looked around to see if anyone was looking and aimed with his eyes, focusing on his target. He lobbed the apple round the corner, just missing the brute! The apple exploded upon impact against the gate, smothering the left shoulder of the guard. For once Liam was thankful that his mum put out of date apples in his lunch.
The brute had stormed out to the four-by-four that was parked awkwardly on the path. The gate was left open, ready for him to return to duty once he had cleaned up. Bad move on his behalf.
The gate was a bit stiff and it creaked against the rusting hinges, but Liam managed to squeeze through with enough silence to secure his freedom.
Liam staggered into his room, collapsing onto his bed exhausted. He laid down, snuggling into his quilts. His eyelids began to feel heavy, too heavy. The darkness of slumber dominated his consciousness, sending him back into his deep trance.
Liam's eyelids peeled open, just before he was about to be shouted at. “I wasn't asleep sir, honest.”
“No, but you were falling asleep” he quickly replied with a firm sarcasm. Liam ignored the statement and got up, packing his bag to leave. His teacher smirked and raised his voice to the class with his mocking humour "it appears he is still dreaming. Liam, there is ten more minutes left."
"Oh no sir!" he replied confidently with his shoulders back and his chin raised "I am not a dreamer, just a heavy blinker." He opened the class door, just in time to see Scarface heading towards him.
This was reality; he was sure of it; he could feel the difference, he wasn’t sure how, but he could feel it. He knew exactly what needed to be done. He understood his unique aptitude of sight; it was the power to escape. He did not have to put up with any problems any more, not those people after him, nor Mike or Mr Bullock. He was no longer held down by his weak teenage youth, he was free!