How to Get (Nearly) Killed in the Bathroom
To say Seth Tristan was annoyed was an understatement.
It all commenced when they shifted to England because of his father’s archaelogy gig in the nearby University but that wasn’t why Seth was in a pissed-off mood that morning.
It could be the stupid, pretentious uniform of a crisp buttoned shirt and ironed navy blue trousers or it could be that every vestige of data- apps, music and whatnot- was flushed down the toilet due to the idiocy in which his twin sister had displayed wonderfully just a few recent nanoseconds ago.
“It was an accident; I swear I’ll make it up to you.”
Seth did what he did best: he ignored her.
Zahra always had a problem with technology; her birthday iPod was malfunctioning the first five minutes she touched it. “Christ,” She muttered and she blew a strand of red hair from her face and slumped back into the corrugated cab seat.
His attention span reversed into the predicament he had been sweating over since their plane has landed in British grounds. His father had forced him, despite there was only two weeks left of school, to attend the nearby Richmond comprehensive.
Ever since he had touched down in the Heathrow airport, he felt as if a feverish flu had overcome him. His head ached quite frequently at night and the birthmark enclosed into his wrist itched excessively and it didn’t have anything to do with the incessant perpetual cycle of being the new kid again.
Being the new kid was not what Seth was particularly new to. His father’s work took them literally everywhere in the States, from living in a musty barn in Montana to an Upstate apartment in New York.
His expectations on his popularity- despite their dad’s ardent enthusiasm on aforementioned non-existent subject- were drastically low. The only group of “friends” (to put it charitably) he would normally sit on a cheap cafeteria table was a ragtag bunch of outcasts and awkward literary geniuses he hated making small talk with. It was miserable and reclusive but Seth didn’t really care.
He stood by his motto: new place, same shit.
His mother died in an accident in Manhattan when he was a few months shy from his first birthday. He barely knew her and wondered if his life wouldn’t be so humorlessly boring and dethatched from others if she was still alive, perhaps the reason why his father leap from places to places abundant was to discard the pain of losing his wife. It explained why he had been single all these years…
His dad-Regales Tristan- worked as a historian on multiple mythologies and religions, jumping from universities and professors to shady dealings with wandering miscreants on the side of the road who were either A) homeless B) obsessed with supernatural cults and holy rituals or C) both with serial killer motives.
Although his father talked animatedly about legends and musty history which was embedded into his head by his Dad at least a thousand times, there was this large chunk of him Seth never really bother to contemplate about. His father was always cautious and had no close friends. Another reason why Regales Tristan was perpetually single but who was he to talk? Girls who he had, like, nine classes with never heard of him- ever.
There was one time when Seth was invited to a sleepover by this very friendly boy at school when he was four and his dad freaked big time. He made them packed all their belongings at the dead of the night and drove on until they were out of the state of Pennsylvania. Talk about paranoid.
He glanced over at his opinionated sister with her bleached flaming hair and doe hazel eyes with stubby eyelashes. Her fingers clutching a frayed book with bended page tips and cracked end, engrossed in a book she had read way too many times before going back to staring aimlessly outside the window.
Dark clouds gathered threateningly around the area as the cab sped past the oh-so sunny London, driving in sporadic paces to the unpredictable traffic due to the rush hour of the city.
London was a cool place. For starters, it was different from the dramatically exaggerated greatness of a typical American town but after shifting from places to places so many times everything blended together into this gigantic chunk called the world. However it was different than the numerous suburbs he had stayed in. London reminded him of his hometown, New York, but with an older and a more sophisticated ambience encompassing it.
“We’re nearly there.” Seth said to his sister, nudging her in the elbow.
“I know.” Her annoyed response was said subconsciously as she shut the book and shoved it back into her tie-dye bag with the chunks of metal smiley pins jangling rattling adjacently together.
They were nearly late when they reached the school.
Seth adjusted his blazer for the hundredth time that morning when he stepped onto the school courtyard, unpleasant with the stiff material encompassing his gawky limbs. “I hate this.” Zahra tugged her black school skirt before marching into the school with him trailing slowly behind her.
The school was a large brown building with a flat roof, the bricks were well worn; but it was built in classical, old English style. Greenery played a large roll on shrouding the grounds surrounding the school building, clumps of bushes and wild, dull plants tangled together into one big, gigantic assemblage of revolting evergreens.
The hallways were obnoxiously noisy with echoing, cream walls and glaringly bright fluorescent light illuminating the whole room. Here we go again, Seth thought wryly.
After a few misguided turns and perplexed directions, they found the administration office. The Vice Principal, Mrs. Abbey, was not a happy camper. She kept raging on about how they could’ve equivocate ‘unorganized transportations’ if they were more ‘responsible’ and do more ‘time management’.
Seth really wondered what crawled up her ass and died but he refrained from rolling his eyes. The corners of Zahra’s lips twitched in agitation as she narrowed her deep set hazel eyes when the Vice Principal harangued about her tomato red hair and unkempt blouse collars.
After that unnecessary, evitable berate from the Vice Principal, they collected the timetable and newsletter with the Principal’s note on last few weeks of school and a reminder about graduation for the seniors or Year Twelve as how the British name the grades.
They journeyed down the long hallway with echoing, glaringly white walls and shiny trophy cases with fake, gleaming golden miniscule statues staring at the perpetually moving cliques of students in a perturbed manner before descending down a pair of stairs only to find out all the corridors were the same: no lockers, white and dull.
“Excuse me,” Seth poked a pug-face boy who was laughing raucously with his friends by a tight corner. “Do you know where all the lockers are?”
The dude glanced at him oddly. “Classrooms obviously,” A pug face boy with a strong Cockney accent scoffed. “Christ, Americans are idiots…”
“Keep talking and maybe someday you’ll say something intelligent!” Zahra narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms. “Racist bigoted idiot,”
“Take a chill pill,” He hissed and hauled her over to the silver hunks of drinking fountains by the corner away from the rude pug-face boy. The last thing he needed was to be lectured by the kindred, reasonable Mrs. Abbey…again.
Zahra cooled down (thank God) but she never stopped shooting the pug face boy dirty looks at his supremacist comment. People regarded them as air, crashing and bumping into them as they rushed to their classes. Occasionally, a few stared at Zahra’s hair but they were almost invisible to the others.
He was fine with it.
He noticed that the social system in London were nearly similar to the ones in America. There were the cliques who are stereotypically pretentious and shallow as their entire personality with the impassive disregard to people who were “uncool” while the majority of the lower class of the pyramid worshipped them like gods. His motto had never been truer.
Just when they pivoted sharply at another archway towards their first lesson for the day a girl who was running to her classroom accidentally came crashing head on towards him, sending the agendas and spare notebooks flying across the passageway of navy uniform cladded students.
“Oh God,” She gasped when he toppled over onto Zahra, nearly knocking her onto the ground. “I’m so sorry!”
His sister prevented him from impacting the ground dramatically with an overwhelming flair of embarrassment by pushing him back up irately. “Here,” She handed him his disconcerted planner. “This is yours.”
She smiled warmly at him and pushed the notebook into his hand. “Thanks,” Seth pocketed the notebook into his black bag pack and slung it back onto his shoulder.
She wasn’t wearing a replica of Zahra’s pleated blue skirt, white buttoned top and navy blazer but a sloppy swimming sweater and tights. Her jet black hair braided into a long side plait with two yellow smiley pins to clip her fringe from falling into her intense Asian dark eyes.
“You’re Americans,” She said, sounding delightfully surprised as she hoisted her blue knapsack onto her back.
“What gave it away?” Zahra asked bluntly, the tone was flippant rather than snide.
Seth shot her one of his shut up and be nice looks and Zahra returned it with the classic one finger salute because she had no other insults to spare him with. Oh please, Seth snorted.
The girl evaded Zahra’s tactless with oblivious ease. “So what do you think of London so far?” Her buttery British accent brushed upon the words, lacing it with an aura of sophistication that all English people had. He wished he had an accent- it was like having a superpower; making people listen to you so that they’ll bother to listen to him drone on and on about a mandatory essay for a school he’ll probably only be in for three to four months.
“It’s okay, I guess.” He guessed about a horde of other mindless little towns but it was the only half-assed response he could come up with at the moment.
“Glad you don’t hate it,” She laughed while Zahra muttered sporadically under her breath. “I’m Astoria Lee but people call me Toria. Are you two together?”
Seth and Zahra exchanged glances of horrified expressions at the ludicrous suggestions.
“We’re siblings,” Zahra corrected adamantly, her fingers playing with the small red pocket lighter in her pocket with imprudent disregard to the astounding capability of her uniform catching on fire.
“Fraternal twins,” They rattled in unison as if they had been saying it a thousand times.
“Oh sorry, it’s just you don’t like siblings,” God, if he had a penny every time he heard that he would’ve own the world already. The only physical resemblance they shared was hazel eyes and pale olive skin. Their personalities didn’t help much either.
Zahra was loud. He was quiet. She alerted the whole goddamn media about her opinions while he liked having his trap shut and blending into the backgrounds.
“Good,” Zahra smiled mischievously. “It’s nice to know I don’t look much like a genetic freak,”
“Shut up.” He resisted the temptation to give her a good flick on the neck and grinned at Toria, who watched the banter in amusement. “I’m Seth and this is my evil twin, Zahra.”
Zahra rolled her eyes and scoffed at his pathetic attempt of a comeback. “So what are your first classes?” Toria followed them as they strode past a section in one of the identical hallways of the school where it was the noises.
“History,” Zahra announced noticeably over the mild, pronounced hums of chatter.
“Oh, me too!”
“Science,” Seth said with relief flooding his body when he re-read the schedule and saw the little inscription in morbid, austere print on the crumpled paper.
Science was, thankfully, his forte. It was one of those things that came naturally to him- it wasn’t as frustratingly irritating as Math and he was not as linguistically literate as Zahra was.
“Oh, I’m in your history class!” Toria saw a peek of Zahra’s wrinkled schedule and beamed at Zahra as if she was glad Zahra had finally found her guardian angel which Zahra raised one of her naturally arched eyebrows at. “Maybe I can show you around at Morning Tea?”
Before they could asked her what was Morning Tea, one of the punk rock girls by the bathrooms caught their attention by shouting across the hallway.
“Toria, hurry up and get your arse over here!” Her dark hair shadowed over her face except for a couple of blue eyes.
Those dangerous almond ice blue eyes bored into his dark hazel ones and her uncanny imitation of Mona Lisa’s surreptitious smirk was spot on.
“Well, it’s nice meeting both of you and I hope you’ll enjoy your stay here in Richmond,” She skipped over towards the last person you expected a bubbly girl like Toria to be friends with.
“Weird kid,” Zahra’s frizzy hair nuzzled him in the nose when a sixth former the size of a refrigerator slammed past her without a half-hearted apology.
It happened so suddenly. His wrist began to itch severely like a pestering rash when scorching, clamorous pain seared into his head so viciously- similar to the migraine he received last night but magnified tenfold. “Ouch,” He gasped, clutching his head.
“What?” asked Zahra placidly, eyebrows arched like an alley cat.
“Nothing,” Seth shut his eyes to blocked the pounding pain in his head. God, the headache’s a bitch, he rubbed his wrist.
The agony ended as soon as it had come. He opened his eyes, trying to shake off his heaving head.
The cramped passageway was dispersing as students hurried over to their first classes for the day in packs with sneakers grinding onto the cheap white tiled floor with squeaks rebounding against the walls.
And that was when he saw her.
She appeared like a mirage with her regal face bathed in ghostly light, her pale green eyes wide alive with fear and her dark hair hung limply by the apples of her cheekbones. Her white pallor skin had scrapes and contusions marked all over her thin, sickly body.
“Did you see that?” Seth asked his sister.
“What?” Zahra’s eyes lingered at the spot where his eyes were fixed pointedly onto. “I see nothing. Jesus, can we not be late on the first day of school?”
She pulled him away from the bathroom doors at the same time his throat constricted tightly, creating friction and convulsing violently.
He tried to get the words out- four simple words: I need the bathroom- but he was afraid if he did, the leftovers from last night he had for breakfast would spew out all over the reflective floor.
“Bathroom,” He choked out to Zahra before clapping his mouth with his palm and allowing his gag reflex defense mechanism to kick in as he take off to the bathroom with Zahra’s soft mumble of an “okay” and her roaring, completely subtle yell across the hallway that she’ll be in the classroom.
Wheeling around, he fumbled past through the crowds and ran inside the bathroom. Breathing sharply, he hurled himself upon the ceramic sink and splashed water shakily onto his face. Staring in front of the mirror of smashed prints and bored little annotations hand-decorated by the male occupants of the school, he rubbed his eyes; trying with all the luck to convinced himself he wasn’t sick nor crazy.
His mark started to prickle like a metal detector in a steel room but he ignored it and inspected the unhealthy knots forming on his temples to the size of the topographical map of Mount Everest. He desperately tried (and failed) to massage himself back into a therapeutic state when a boy no less than a few years away from Seth ambled in.
The boy’s lanky dark hair shadowed over his face, bright muddy green eyes limpid between strands of split ends and his face gaunt, doubling his actual age when his body was tall and athletic- he was packed with more muscle than Seth dreamed of having.
Those green eyes stared at Seth with an unsettling manner as Seth washed his hands, murmuring softly to get to class in a bitter, here-we-go-again-life-sucks-so-much tone and advanced to the bathroom door when the boy began whispering an incantation which let iciness spread throughout the room.
Numbness crawled into the Seth’s limbs; he stood motionless and frozen in a half-pace to his destination. The fact that thought I’m going to die ambled into his skull more than what the hell is going on uncertain him quite a bit but not as much as the distressing thought as what is happening to me?!
He tried to peel his lips agape so he could scream or call for some sort of help but it was like he had stared into Medusa’s deadly, patronizing glare and transformed into a statue with moving eyes.
His nerves crawled into his throat and pulsed with terror when the unsettling green orbs bore into his dark hazel ones, the incantation grew louder and he recognize the language from one of his father’s Historical Translation papers. Celtic, Seth urged his hand to break out of this unrealistic, wacky- even for his standards- dream.
Black smoke suddenly weaved out of air, his eyes widened, curling up his nostrils and poisoning his lungs with god-knows-what. He could nearly see his funeral where Zahra would pop the champagne bottle and call it a celebration. That was depressingly morbid.
The burning temptation to cough on the nauseating, gaging vehement fog was killing him as his wrist seared, doubling the pain. So I die like this, Seth contemplated dryly just a few moments before an honest-to-god, earth-shattering explosion erupted.
The impact penetrated Seth into the brick bathroom wall opposite of the boy but the “wall” had crumbled into a burning heap of rubble and dusty remnants of plaster. His skull vibrated, nearly shattering and he dropped like a sack of potatoes.
By all incompatible means he could still hear the hasty drumming in his ears to the beat and air ventilating his lungs. He blinked his eyes open cautiously with trickles of sticky crimson liquid running into his eyelashes.
He stretched his fingers to test out the sensation of his body parts moving and functioning like they should be, his head felt like it split open. So he was alive. That was a pleasant surprise.
“You’re alive?” The green-eyed murderer snarled.
Seth wanted to reply with a half-hearted, sassy retort of no shit, Sherlock but his disjointed thoughts spiraled around his head like animated stars on cartoon before passing out of the floor.
© Copyright 2016 QueenofEverything. All rights reserved.