The Sacrifice | Part 2

As an avid reader and prolific writer since elementary school, Kevin Potter always knew he’d be an author. He wrote his first short story, about a magical pair of shoes, at the age of 9 and has been working at it since. After spending many years on different business ventures, he has finally returned to his first love: writing. Kevin is currently finalizing the prequel novella to what promises to be a lengthy epic/dark fantasy series entitled “The Calamity.”

Below is Part 2 of 3  installments for Visitant.
◄ Read the previous installment, Part 1


“Good morning sweetheart,” the mom said sweetly when I strolled into the kitchen an hour later.

I responded with my usual noncommittal grunt.

Unperturbed, she beamed at me and placed a plate of eggs, potatoes, and toast on the table for me.

This was one of those times that I had to temper my irritable and distant nature with tolerance. It wouldn’t do to offend the people who provided for me.

I never used to consider such things. But burning through thirteen foster families in two years changes a kid’s priorities. Plus, that was a life I had no desire to return to. Facing those poor, uncaring faces whose only care was the paycheck I represented. The constant shuffling from one home to another when they didn’t know what to do with me anymore.

No.

I couldn’t go back to that.

I had a good thing going with these two. They were wealthy, and seemed to want what was best for me. Never mind that they had no idea what that was. Best of all, though, they accepted they would never understand me, and no longer tried to.

So I offered a slight, crooked smile and sat down to the breakfast she’d made.

“Are you nervous about today, Luke?”

“No,” I mumbled through a mouthful of eggs. “Why?”

“Well, this is the third time we’ve moved you up a grade, but it’s the first time you’ve skipped two full grades.” She paused to look at me with raised brows.

I had nothing to say about it, so I shoveled another forkful of potatoes into my mouth. Concentrating on food had gotten me out of a lot of conversations I didn’t want to have. This one would be the same, I expected.

She took the cue and continued, “I’m worried that it might be too much for you. That there might be too many things you haven’t learned yet. That being so much younger than your classmates might be too much of a burden this time.”

Oh. That.

An annoyed sigh fought for release from my lips, but I managed to choke it back, swallowing my bite of potatoes.

“You don’t need to worry about that. I’m ready. And besides, I could never relate to the kids closer to my age.” That much is true, at least, I thought.

The worry cleared from her expression and she smiled down at me. “Okay, honey. If you’re certain, then I won’t worry about it.” She grinned and added, “Too much.” Then she giggled.

For her benefit, I offered the best smile I could muster. I could never tell her, but I wasn’t worried about it because I didn’t care. Even with kids four years my senior, I would be among my inferiors.

No one knew it yet, no one but me. But I had a destiny. A great destiny.

I didn’t know what, but I knew I was going to do great things in my life.

Shoving the last of my breakfast in my mouth, I got up to leave.

“Can I give you a ride?”

“Nope,” I mumbled through my toast.

“Are you sure?” she asked in concern. “Not even for your first day?”

I stopped, choked down the last of my toast, and turned back to her, no longer faking the smile. “No. I’m fine. I can manage on my own. You don’t need to worry,” and I headed for the door.

“Okay,” she said, her eyes dropping to her toes. I closed the door behind me.

What does she want from me? I thought in annoyance.

◊◊◊

The walk to school took longer than I expected, but I made it in plenty of time.

As I expected, saying the other students gave me strange looks would win you the ‘Understatement of the Year’ award! Most were curious, but some looked annoyed or perplexed. A small minority seemed on the verge of hostility.

Whatever, I thought while walking through the halls of the huge school to my first class.

As the first student to arrive in class, I had my pick of seats. But I had to show the teacher my schedule and school ID before he believed I belonged there.

The way he raised his bushy brows at me made me want to punch him.

He’ll be as bad as the ignorant teenagers, I thought, irritated, and took my seat at the front of the class.

Within minutes, more students came filing in. Immediately, the whispering behind my back began.

“Who’s the kid?”

“Is he lost?”

“No, I bet he’s the teacher’s kid.”

“What a ballsy little shit, coming in where he doesn’t belong!”

“No joke!” came a resounding chorus of agreements and several muted guffaws.

When the bell rang for class to begin, another dozen kids ran in from the hallway. They raced to their seats, all but one, a large, rotund boy, reaching them before the bell stopped.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” the teacher said, wagging his finger at the boy. “Not the best way to impress the teacher on the first day of school.” The boy nodded and slunk into his chair without a sound.

The moment I turned my head back to face the front of the classroom, the whispers began again.

The teacher cleared his throat, offering a loud, “Ahem,” silencing the buzz of whispering behind me, and brought the class’s attention to himself.

Of course, I thought, annoyed. It never fails. No one wants to push the teacher on the first day. Not yet. They have to get a feel for him and figure out what they can get away with before they start trying to push his limits.

Even among kids so much older, or rather, especially, I supposed, it shouldn’t have surprised me. It just hit home what I always knew. They never changed, not at any age. They just kept pulling the same juvenile crap they always had.

In my disgust, it was a struggle not to spit.

That first class proved to be as long and boring as I expected. A few rudimentary basics and a broad overview of what he meant us to learn over the course of the semester. I could have fallen asleep if not for the endless run of tense whispering behind me. Never mind all the piercing eyes I felt trained on the back of my skull.

The bell rang ninety minutes later. I was slow and deliberate in gathering my things before I rose from my desk and moved toward the door. Even so, I had to sidestep three separate attempts to trip me on my way there.

Okay, let them play their juvenile games, I thought. I’m the one who’ll come out ahead in the end.

Through the halls to my next class, there were six more attempts to trip me. And no less than eight separate guys tried to walk right through me as if I didn’t exist.

Yet, I managed to make it to my class alive and in one piece. Hallelujah!

The second class went much as the first, even down to the three attempted trippings on my way to the door.

Sidestepping the three idiots at the end of second period, I sped out the door and toward the cafeteria. Again, I had to dodge several teenagers trying to make me into a punchline.

I suppose their midday activities would have been much too boring without me.

When I got to the cafeteria, four of the biggest, beefiest teenagers I had ever seen were waiting at the entrance. Each was well over six feet tall and wore a tight-fitting spandex tee-shirt. Bulging muscles even Mister Universe would be jealous of rippled beneath the stretchy fabric.

Lay off of the steroids, guys.

Before I reached the cafeteria, the closest two reached out and hauled me up, several feet above the floor.

This can’t be good, I thought.

◊◊◊

► Final installment: Part 3

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