Heathens

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


It's a little late. Sorry.

Chapter 10 (v.1) - Episode 2 - July 17, 2017

Submitted: September 04, 2017

Reads: 65

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Submitted: September 04, 2017

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Sophie’s feet dragged on the floor as she was taken to the principal's office. The accusation was simple, a boy with a bloody mouth crying to his mother in the nurse's office. She had been reminded of this all the way there and how she should pity him, and how she would feel if she was there with the bloody nose instead of him. When they told her this she had looked at them, with her bruised cheeks and said “If I was him? Well, I wouldn’t be crying that’s for sure.” 

They didn’t ask her much after that and were glad when they sat her down in the soft, large chair. She was too small for it and it was too low to the floor and she had to stand to see past the horizon of the dark-wood desk. She looked around at all the memorabilia stuck along the walls, trophies, and pictures, vignettes and declarations of achievements. A panorama of the schools' success the principal had adopted over the years. Her eyes came to the window and the shadow there. A little figure, her friend Pip.

The judge was not here, she noticed. It was cold and quiet and Pip began to shout at her.

“Sophie.” He said. She turned away. “Sooo-phie.”

“So-so-sophie.” His front teeth were missing and he spat with each s. “Psst, psst. Sophie.” 

Finally, she threw a pencil at him and hit the window pane. 

“What?” She said. 

“Thanks.”

“You shouldn’t be thanking me. You should be depressed. You can’t even defend yourself and you’re supposed to be a boy.”

“I know. But he was fat and big, I got scared.” His voice quivered.

“I know you did. Wanna know how I know you did? Because I’m here with my hurt face.”

“I’m sorry.” He said.

She adjusted her lips into a neutral position, somewhere between resentment and pride. 

“Do me a favor.” She nodded her head. “Make yourself useful, start selling. I’m losing business because of you.” 

“At how much a bar?” He asked.

“The same price we always have.”

He scratched his head. “How much is that?”

“Two-fifty you dunce.”

“Okay. Where do I get the candy from?”

“What do you mean? What happened to your stock.” She walked to the window with her backpack. Her eyes were beginning to narrow. He knelt and look small under her gaze.

“I lost it.” 

She wanted to drag him up to her to eat him, a horror-movie monster. She scratched at the wood frame and looked up to give herself room to breathe. She undid the zipper on her backpack after reflecting - It was her fault, she shouldn’t have trusted him - and she dumped three pounds worth of chocolate on his forehead. She shut the window, tired of hearing his moaning and heard the door behind her open.

“Trying to escape, I see.” The Principal said. 

“What? No. I was just.” She bit her cheek. “Just looking outside at the kids.”

“Sure you were.” The Principal fell atop his chair. “I can’t keep one eye off of you without you wandering off and doing god knows what. You’re like a damn imp, girl.”

“You always say that.” She sat and crossed her legs. Her arms were close to her.

“And you seem worse every time. You’re too stubborn, it’s like a shield against good advice.” He shuffled paper and found a red note.

“Are you going to call my mom?” Sophie asked. 

“Yeah.” Her eyes fell. “I don’t think she’s home.”

“Cell phone?”

“She doesn’t answer it. Not at this hour.”

The Principal searched her face, what little he could see past her blond hair covered her face. It was just like the other interrogations and it felt just as bad, but he could do nothing but pity. That was worse. Leaving her like a castaway on her small island. He wondered if she was even aware of the S.O.S written on her face.

“Your grandpa then?” He put the pencil down and rung up the phone. 

“Yeah. Grand paw can pick me up.” She looked up. He left a message and looked her over again.

“Why don’t you find a hobby. Join a club, do something with your time. You aren’t dumb. I know that. You know that. But you sure as hell act dumb.” 

“I can’t be that smart if you say I’m acting dumb. I thought part of being smart was acting smart. Like a scientist or somethin’.”

“You’d be surprised. Plenty of people act smart without knowing the part and the dumber they are the more opinions they seem to have, probably trying to make up for how little they know.” He said. “You can find them on TV all the time. Loonies, the bunch of ‘em.” He was writing down information on a slip, that was his kind of justice. 

“I wish you’d act for your own self-interest, Sophie. You could do a lot with your life, you know that. Mrs. Breyer says you’re good at math.” The drag of his pencil sounded sharp to her.

“I am acting for my own self in-te-rest.” She mocked.

“Doesn’t seem like it. You’re like those dare devils, head strong and always shooting yourself out of a god damn cannon. The problem is, girl,” He sniffed. “I’m afraid you don’t even realize you’re flying straight into a dumpster. Have some sense.” 

“You keep calling me the senseless one, but have you ever thought that maybe it’s the world that acts a little dumb.” She said. “Everyone’s too selfish if you ask me. Too demanding.”

“Sophie.” He rubbed his nose bridge. “You punched a kid.” 

She lit up.

“I pushed him too. I brought him to the floor and got him three good times before he punched me. It reminded me of when I socked Clarice. She deserved it too, I don’t hurt nobody that doesn’t deserve it you know that.” 

“What I’m worried about what you qualify as deserving it.” 

“Hurting me or my friends. That’s it.” She crossed her hands and blew the hair from her mouth. The Principal raised his finger and all a sudden came the grandfather like a rogue white-strawed tumbleweed. He blew it, went across, looked around and kind of spun in his excitement. 

“Where is she?” He said. Sophie raised her hand. “What’d she do this time?”

“The same thing she always does. Got in a fight.” The Principal handed out the slip.

“Whatever she did she can explain. She’s responsible and I trust her.” The Old Man said.

“I know. You do this every time, I know the both of you pretty well. You’re frequent customers.” The Principal sighed. “I’m not even going to bother. She knows what she did, don’t you Sophie.”

“Yes, Nicky.”

“I’m Mr. Colefield to you.”

“You’re just Nicholas. Just another old person.” She said.

“Alright Sophie, alright.” He almost laughed and would have if he didn’t feel so red about the name Nicky. His father called him that and he hated him. “What kind of punishment do you think you deserve? Be honest.”

She looked at her Grand father and the dazed face he had, she looked outside to where she imagined Pip crawling. Her face still stung and it began to stain her white face.

She smiled. “A week suspension. I think I must’ve broken that prick’s nose.” 

“Don’t curse.” They both shouted.

“I’m not giving you a week. You might enjoy that, you’re getting three days instead.” He said. She smiled. “And don’t be so proud of that fact, for God’s sake Sophie.” 

He pointed them away to the door but with held the grandfather for a bit. 

“Have you considered sending Sophie to therapy?” The old man pried the principal's hand off. It looked like he hurt the grandfather. “I know a guy, he’s local too. I have a teacher who goes, she’s even recommended me about it too.”

“This family has never seen a quack doctor and never will. Good day, Nicky.” He puffed up.

The Principal sighed. The old man left and out they went to the car. Not a word was spoken as they drove. They sat in silence, the radio provided white noise as they toured the city. On the corners of streets were the drawn out flowers and candles. Sophie kept her eye at the offerings and the pictures, she did not want to forget their faces, she felt that maybe, that she was the only one who’d remember them and it meant that much more being the chronicler. 

She realized it had been like this for a while, staring out at the families and police and the pictures that had fallen and cracked their glass frames. It only got worse as she got closer to her house, by then the whole sidewalk seemed like a garden of misery. But there were no officers this time. There were only the lonely men and women on the porches sitting and scratching away at lottery tickets, the stray pit bull who barked a muffled warning at her. They stopped, there was a distant wail of a police officer car.

“I’m sorry.” She said.

“That’s good. Remember how sorry you are and behave next time.” He said. 

“You aren’t staying?” She asked.

“No, I got the store to run.”

“Let me help.” She tried closing the door but the grandfather would not allow it. 

“If I let you help this wouldn’t be much of a punishment. Stay home, behave, play nice.” 

“No one's here.”

“Good, God knows your mother can’t handle you. Lock the doors and study you hear me? Behave.” He said. 

She dragged herself out of the car and stood on the side walk. The old man felt bad for her as he waved at her. But eventually, she waved back. 

She turned around and the sound of engine roared before it died into a distant howling. This was home. The broken chain link fence, torn and bent. The ruined lock. It all reminded her of home. She pulled at the fence door, it would not budge. She hopped, opened it from behind and started for the back of the house where the trash was collecting into an overstuffed black container. The plastic bags and cartons of milk were spilling out as she rolled it to the front. 

Ah, this was home.

Grimy, unpleasant. It felt like a part of her she did not want, but it was hers. She walked into the house and found the phone on the side of the wall. Looking around at the sheet of dirt around her furniture, the broken glass face of the table, the clock ticking away, it all made her dial faster.

“Who’s this?” The voice asked.

“Pip. We’re going to work.”

“Right now?” He asked.

“When else? The business forecast looks good for the next couple of days.” She smiled. “We’ll follow those crazies with the money-baskets.”

“Ain’t they priests?”

“Doesn’t matter. They always bring a crowd.”


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