Aaron's only problems are bullies... until he's thrust into an unimaginable world of chaos & pain. How do you save the people you love from killers if they're already dead?
“What a freak-show.”
“Have you seen his hair? I mean, what’s up with that?”
“He wears eyeliner, what is he gay or something?”
“Why do they even like kids like him into this school?”
Welcome to my lovely life of getting spit on and shoved around because I’m different. Let me introduce myself:
Name: Aaron Austin Jade (or Gay boy Emo as my classmates refer to me as)
Height: 5”4’ (Not the tallest in the bunch)
Weight: 7 stone (Get picked on for being puny)
Hair: Straight black bangs and spiked up at the back
Features adults don’t approve of: Acid green snakebites, small black ear stretcher in left ear, eyebrow piercing and eyeliner.
Favourite bands: My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Green Day, Panic at the Disco, Nirvana and Anthrax.
Favourite shoes: Bright green Doctor Martens.
Likes: Art, music and shoes.
Hates: Orange fake tan, greasy pink lip-gloss, sports and car movies.
So, that’s pretty much the run down on me.
I sigh and plug my headphones in, blocking out the whispers. I stare at my feet as I shuffle down the corridors, trying to avoid tripping over any of the feet that seem to suddenly stick out in front of me from nowhere. I couldn’t really care less what other people think of me while My Chemical Romance is blasting in my ears. I’m listening to Skylines and Turnstiles; it always makes me feel better. I’m not really paying attention to what’s going on around me and that’s probably why I end up sprawled on the hard linoleum floor with a crowd of cruel ‘normal’ students surrounding me with their annoying squeals of laughter. I just grab my books and scramble to my feet before I can get attacked by bullies or something equally as horrible.
Right now I wish I was in the graveyard. That’s the place I always go when I need time to think, or be alone, which is most of the time. I truly hate school, it sucks because don’t know anyone there who’s into the same stuff as me. I like rock and metal, the other students like popular music, I like skinny jeans and eyeliner, they like chinos and short skirts, I like piercings and tattoos, the rest of the people like pink lip-gloss and high heels.
Yeah, East Marcomb High is my own personal hell. I don’t like the school, the school doesn’t like me. I’m pretty sure the only good thing about this place is that I know all the hiding places for when I’m being chased by the football team. When I say football, I mean as in the game where you kick the ball into goals- the English game- not the American game which looks much more fun.
I finally reach my locker and I shove my English books inside, then I look at the side of the door to check my next class. The messy purple scrap of paper that I wrote my classes on is stuck up using a few old Fall Out Boy stickers and a little blu-tack, it might be a little torn, but I can still read it so it’s fine.
Physical Education- Coach Warner- GYM
EW, no. I hate PE with a passion; they try to make me do sports that I don’t enjoy at all. It doesn’t help that Coach Warner seems to have a certain place of hate in his heart especially for me, I think it’s because I don’t like swimming or football which are our school’s two main sports. I like running, but I do that in my own time when I need to clear my head or run from unwanted attention. I’m just debating whether to bunk off or go and argue about why I don’t have my kit for the next hour when I’m slammed into the metal doors beside me.
“Now that was rather uncalled for,” I say as I pick myself off the floor and look up at the guy who shoved me. Jake Harrens, six foot four of pure evil, is leering down at me. I try hard not to roll my eyes at his ridiculous demeanour and match his stare with my own intense ‘I will cut you’ glare.
“You’re in the way of my locker,” He sneers unpleasantly at me. I turn to look behind me, he’s wrong; I’m in front of Oli James’ locker.
“I thought your locker was the other side of the school,” I reply coolly.
“Oh, did you eat Oli? That explains why you’ve suddenly gained so much weight,” I comment in the brightest tone I can, knowing it will piss him off.
“At least I’m not wearing some faggot’s face on my shirt,” He glances at my Billie Joe Armstrong shirt and I tense up. I narrow my eyes and huff. He’s hit a nerve and he knows it.
“This ’faggot/’] is one hundred times better than you’ll ever be you fucktard,” I hate it when people insult band members.
“Oh I’m sorry, did I hurt your feelings? Oh poor little gay boy, don’t get your panties in a twist,” I clench my fists and flick my bangs out of my face as his small group of cronies guffaw behind him.
“Oh I’m sorry, did I ask for your opinion? Oh poor little arsewipe, don’t get your thong in a twist,” I saw his fist coming before he even threw the punch and I ducked, he screeched in pain as his knuckles collided with the lockers.
“Woops, time to go,” I say quickly before ducking around his friends and sprinting down the corridor. I’m pretty sure they’re following me and I’m just thinking how I want my funeral to be when I’m Not Okay (I Promise) By MCR comes blaring out of the one headphone that’s still in my ear. I panic less as I hear that and I fly around the corner through the school doors.
I’m up and over the school fence before the bullies even have time to crash through the doors. I salute them with a quick flick of my middle finger and jog away down the street.
My parents will know I ditched now because I didn’t do it quietly enough, not that I had the chance to be quiet, but still. They’ll probably find out anyway, our town’s not that big and everyone knows everybody so someone will be sure to see me and inform them before the school does. I’ll get grounded [/again, but they won’t be around to know if I listen to their rules or not because they’re never at home.
I slow my pace as the Church comes into view and drag my DM clad feet slowly across the uneven paving stones. I’m panting a little bit, but at least I’m not doubled over and choking for breath. I shuffle my Ipod and flick through it for a bit until Crawl by Anthrax comes on and I let it calm me down. I slink around the back of the towering church spires of St. Michaels and slip through the graveyard gates over to my favourite spot on the tiny bridge overlooking the pond.
I sit with my legs dangling through the broken sides of the rickety oak bridge and stare down at the water. I let my straightened black hair fall into my eyes and pick at my black nail polish. I’ve been here for about an hour now and I’m pretty sure school gets out soon, which means Harrens will come looking for me and he’ll probably bring his entire posse to witness my humiliation as he kicks my ass. Well he’ll have to find me first… which he most likely will…
I hear a rustle behind me and freeze; I mean what else can I do? I can’t exactly get up super quickly as my legs are currently stuck through old wooden banisters and I need time to slip them out. I clutch my scruffy grey messenger bag closer to my waist and weight for someone to grab me.
Nothing happens. After a few minutes I let a slow breath out and turn around. There is someone there, but they’re not making any move towards me, they’re actually kind of just stood there watching me. I can’t see them completely because whoever they are is being half hidden by the bushes. I slide myself out of the bridge railings and get up. Squinting towards the figure I can just make out a tall, curvy body, long blue hair and a bright purple top. I can tell it’s a girl and I’ve never seen anyone like her around Marcomb Town. Maybe she’s new, maybe she just moved here or maybe she’s just visiting town.
We both stand there staring at each other for a few minutes until she finally calls out to me.
“Are ya just goin’ to stand there and stare, or are ya goin’ to talk to me?” Then she’s in front of me. Huh, that’s strange, I completely missed her moving, I must’ve zoned out.
“Uh…” Great one Aaron, sound like a complete idiot then… well I am a Green Day fan.
Oh fantastic, now I have American Idiot in my head, hat is my life? Oh wait, I should be talking, there’s a girl in front of me that actually looks pretty cool, she’s wearing a Blink 182 shirt, oh that’s awesome. Wow her hair is really long, like down to her waist… oh my gosh, are those knee high converse?! Whoa, she’s awesome, how have I not seen her before?! She’s taller than me, god dammit, why is everyone taller than me? She must be like seventeen or something, but look how pale she is, finally! I am not the palest kid in Marcomb anymore! I love her spider-bites, wow and her nose ring. Her eyes are really shiny! Like ultra-blue, they match her hair, that’s so intense!
“Um, hello?!” She waves her hand frantically in front of my face and I snap out it, I suddenly realise I’ve been staring at her and I can feel heat flooding into my cheeks.
“Hi…” I sound completely stupid now.
“Hey,” She looks amused, what is this? It’s like that scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall when they keep saying hi to each other, except we’re not naked and we’re not having sex. Oh great, now I’ve filled my head with inappropriate images, just brilliant.
Quick say something intelligent!
“Did you know turtles can have sex for three hours?” Mental face-palm.
Technically that was intelligent.
I don’t think that’s what he meant by intelligent. It came out sounding a lot more messed up than smart.
Maybe she’ll be impressed.
Women don’t get impressed by silly facts about sea turtles you dingbat!
Well you never know… hey, who you calling a dingbat?!”
Oh my lord, I have arguing voices in my head and I’m stood in front of possibly the only person in my home town who actually has something in common with me and I just told her that turtles can have sex for three hours. On top of that any second now a huge group of football obsessed bullies shall come looking for me so they can beat me up and make me look like an idiot. This is not my day.
To my enormous surprise, the girl before me cracks up laughing.
“Oh my God,” She gasps, “You’re sure good at conversations!”
“Thanks, I guess?” I smile weakly at her.
“I like your piercin’s,” She straightens up and sticks her hand out, “I’m Zara, Zara Owens.”
“Aaron Jade,” I shake her hand, “Thanks, I like yours too. They suit your face.”
She smiles and I notice that her hands are freezing. Super cold, like almost ice, but at the same time not. She lets go and sits down cross legged in the centre of the bridge and motions for me to join her. I do as I’m told and sit. I can’t help but stare at her eyes; they’re so bright they almost glow. Her skin’s really radiant too… and her entire figure looks kind of faded and worn around the edges. Wow, I’m so tired that it’s come to see things and hearing voices in my head.
“Can I listen to your music?” She asks, her voice is really sweet. I’m betting that any other guy at my school would instantly class her as fit and try to flirt with her, I see her beauty, but I can’t picture myself having a crush on her.
“Sure,” I nod and hold up the other earphone; she takes it and flashes another smile at me.
“So what’re ya doin’ in a graveyard Aaron Jade? Surely this isn’t the kinda place you hang out in?” She sounds concerned. I don’t understand why.
“Yeah, I’ve been coming here since I was like twelve,” I silently add on ‘when my best friend died’ in my head, but I can’t bring myself to say it. Telling her that would be like trusting her with a piece of my heart and I don’t think I could ever trust anyone ever again.
“Cool, I hate bein’ here,” She says, “I don’t really understand why you’d choose to come, but ya must have ya reasons.”
“Yeah,” I say, “Why are you here if you don’t like it?”
“Don’t have a choice,” She shrugs, I raise an eyebrow. This girl is possible the strangest human being I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Seeing as I’m polite I don’t push her about why she has to be here.
“So you like Blink, huh?” I note with a glance at her T-shirt. She looks down and then back up at me and grins.
“Totally! They still goin’ on?” Now I’m a little confused, if you’re a Blink 182 fan how can you not know they’re still together?
“Awesome!” She sees my look of confusion and adds hastily, “I haven’t been involved in the real world for a while now.”
“Oh… how come?” She really is strange.
“Um… been away with my family, ya know, desolated areas and such. That kinda thing,” She runs a hand nervously through her blue locks and glances around as if hoping no one can hear her.
“Cool…” We fall into silence for a minute. I can’t help but notice it’s not very awkward, it should be; I’m used to awkward silences. This is just peaceful. She reaches over slowly and takes the Ipod from my jeans pocket and flicks through the songs until she finds one she likes, and then she returns the shiny green music player into my pocket. I stare at her and she smiles, the song she’s put on is The Middle by Jimmy Eat World, it’s one of my favourites.
“Why do ya come here?” She asks out of nowhere when the song ends. We’ve been sat staring at the bulrushes and the ducks swimming below us. I don’t know why I feel so comfortable in presence because around other people I find it hard to relax, but she just seems to be okay.
“Peace,” I say, “Not the hippy kind.”
“The inner kind?” She asks. I snort and shake my head.
“Sounds like you’re talking about belly buttons.”
“Maybe I am,” She wiggles her eyebrows and I can’t help but bark out another short laugh.
“Nah, I need… quiet, the rest of this town’s too loud,” I sigh and fix my gaze of a squirrel that seems intent on hiding a peanut in the bark of a tree, it’s not doing too well. T seems a little hopeless, and yet it’s still trying, kind of like me.
“A lotta places are too loud; ya look like the kinda guy who belongs in a mosh pit and ya don’t like noise?” She cocks her head in confusion. Usually when people talk without proper pronunciation it annoys the hell out of me, but with her it’s kind of endearing.
“I do like mosh pits,” I say, “But I don’t like people who don’t understand. The people in this town hate me. They shove me around because I like being different, they just don’t like uniqueness.”
“I know,” She sounds sad now, I turn to look at her and she’s gazing wistfully at the water, “but you have to make the most a life before it’s taken from ya. Just remember that before it’s too late.”
“Did you lose someone?” I ask, I feel like I’m prying now, curiosity is getting the better of me.
“Ya could say that… ya lost someone too, didn’t ya?” She’s staring intently at me now, like she knows.
“Yes… how do you know that?” Alarm bells are going off in my head now.
Get out before it’s too late!
Run! SHE MIGHT KILL YOU WITH HER HAIR.
“No one would hang around somewhere so depressin’ without a reason.”
We fall into silence again and I’m just wondering how she picked up on that when I hear a sound I really don’t want to hear right now. Laughter.
It’s the kind of raucous laughter you hear when there’re either a few drunks around celebrating or there’s a large crowd of students messing around. Oh no, the voices are coming this way too.
“He’ll be here, he always is!”
“What an emo, who hangs out in a graveyard?!”
“Haha, what an idiot, I bet he thought we wouldn’t find him!”
Then somebody said something I didn’t hear and they all broke out laughing again, they were at the other side of the church now, any minute now they would come into view. Both Zara and I jump up and look at each other in panic, I don’t understand why she’s panicking until she says.
“They’re here for ya, aren’t they?!” She looks around wildly, leans down, grabs my bag and shoves it into my arms. My heart’s beating frantically in my chest, I don’t know what to do, and Harrens brought more people than I thought he would.
“Run into the forest and follow the ivy! I know someone who can help ya hide, just head for the lake!” I do as she says in a moment of pure terror, mainly caused by the fact I can see Jake and his posse now.
I’m running so fast that I almost trip over several tree roots. I know where the lake is, I used to go there a lot as a kid. I haven’t been there since… since Spencer died.
I reach the edge of the lake and drop to my knees panting. I’m hoping Zara wasn’t playing me when she said someone was here because right now I need a witness. Why couldn’t she have just come with me?
“Kid?” I jump and make an embarrassingly high pitched shrieking sound when I see a person behind me. When I’ve calmed down some I realise I’m facing one of the most beautiful boys I’ve ever seen.
One hour later I’m sat on a small island in the middle of the lake after making an extremely dangerous journey over a makeshift bridge. I’m sat with the guy from earlier, his name’s Rise and he’s amazing.
Name: Rise Corner
Age: 15 (like me!)
Height: About three inches taller than me
Weight: Skinny and yet muscled.
Hair: Short chestnut spikes
Eyes: Freakishly glowing (like Zara’s) honey coloured
I’ve learned that his favourite bands are just like mine expect he likes A Day to Remember and Metallica more than anything else. He also likes the Misfits, which is an added bonus. His favourite colour is pink and he loves dancing and playing bass guitar. He used to be in a band called Avenge the Red and they actually managed to build up a little fan base outside of town.
He’s perfect and at first he scared me a lot. The trouble is that I feinted after something he said and I couldn’t run away due to the fact I was lying unconscious on the forest floor, so he sat on me and waited for me to wake up. The he explained. I didn’t believe him until he showed me proof.
Rise is dead.