"Starting new schools is a thing that most people hate. Many people grow to despise it, and I have done since the start..."
Starting new schools is a thing that most people hate. Many people grow to despise it, and I have done since the start. Of course, if you’ve never had to go through starting new schools, you don’t know how lucky you are. The simple transition from primary to secondary school isn’t what I mean. Everyone goes through that, and it’s easier than you might think compared to some others. What I mean is going from one high school to another, in the middle of the year.
You have to try and ‘fit in’ with the people there, even though they’ve already been there for so long and settled into their routines and their cliques. I fail at that most of the time. It doesn’t help how I’ve been to so many schools that I pretty much gave up on trying to fit in. So there I was, ready to start my fourth high school. Four in three years, it’s a bit of an achievement. I’ve been kicked out, chased away, switched from and ran away from pretty much every school since nursery.
It doesn’t help that I have a bit of a thing for fire, or that people seem to like picking on me. I don’t have the best temper, which is probably what got me kicked out last time. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with people. I’d walk into a room full of strange people, and was told I had to work things out with them. I couldn’t do it.
I’ve never stayed at a school for more than a year. I think my record was eleven months. My low point was just nine weeks. But that tale was pretty funny; I’d been bored in Chemistry and set fire to the teacher’s pet gecko (it was an accident. I’d been aiming for a jock’s head; he ducked and I got the gecko’s tank instead). His eyebrows caught alight, though. And he never got a chance to beat me up, which was a bonus.
Mum had always told me that ‘we’d find the right place’. I was beginning to doubt her on that, because we had yet to find that place. The school that I had just arrived at didn’t look all that promising, either. The gates that stretched into the sky and surrounded the tall, browned brick collaboration of buildings looked like something that would enclose a penal colony. I could almost see the ghosts of prisoners wondering about, the shadows of their footsteps eternally marking the floor. Maybe that’s just me being macabre.
But in all honesty, the iron letters that spelled out the school’s name twisted and rose into the sky above us, writing out was looked more like my death sentence than anything else. You know when you see a black metal band’s logo, so twisted and brutal that you can’t even read it? That’s what the name looked like. Of course, if it was a black metal school, I wouldn’t be complaining, but my mother wouldn’t even send me to a ‘black metal school’. Not on purpose. Do they even exist?
I had a miniature panic attack when I arrived. I felt like Mum had enrolled me at Death Row by mistake. There were no plants outside to make it feel welcoming, nearly no windows on the actual school building and the sky of that Monday was greyer than the gum-trodden concrete. My heart sank after I’d got over the panic, and realized that I was stuck in a place that - whilst it wasn’t actual Death Row - was probably the educational equivalent.
I didn’t feel like a school as we went inside, either. There was barely any artwork on the walls of the entrance hall, no litter on the floors, not even a scratch on the lockers I passed on my way to the office. My footsteps echoed loudly, like I was walking through a ghost corridor. I had been expecting to arrive at a school where the students filled the corridors, shouting, running, screaming, probably shoving me into something within ten minutes of my arrival. I wasn’t quite sure which I would the prefer, the normality of nosiness or the quiet, eerie ghostliness of this place.
The only normal looking thing I found was a secretary sitting in the office. Even then, she was the most stereotypical secretary you might find. She had no makeup, tidy brown hair in a bun, smart glasses and a clean suit.
She didn’t like me. I could tell that from the moment I walked into the office. She was the very definition of ‘strict’, and there I stood in my skinny black jeans, scruffy black and red hair, untidy black hoodie. It didn’t help that I was also wearing red eyeliner; the woman possibly didn’t expect to find a 16 year old guy wearing more makeup than she was.
I didn’t want to approach her. Even if I did look the stereotypical punk emo kid, she had an aura about her that radiated evil. That’s probably why the area around her office was so unnatural, that the rest of the people there were probably seriously fucking terrified. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was a vampire. Like, the vampires from Skullduggery Pleasant that transform from human creatures into terrifying beasts at nighttime. Maybe she transformed and ate anyone who dared mess up her perfect domain.
“Uh... Hi. I’m Frank Iero?” I said uncertainly. The secretary looked up at me, dislike tainting her already sour features. I decided right there and then that she should be named ‘Ms Lemon’.
“Hello. You enrolled last week, am I right?” she asked. I smirked; Ms Lemon’s voice was so posh and plummy, it wouldn’t have been out of place in a bad 1920’s movie, like something from Agatha Christie.
“Yes.” Saying anything more than that would probably have gotten my head bitten off.
“Good. Now...” Ms Lemon trailed off and began to search through the drawers in her desk for something, all the while muttering to herself Yep. She's mental. She fell silent as my phone began to ring. The first few bars of my ringtone of choice - currently ‘Helena’ by Misfits - cut through the cold air. I smiled at Ms Lemon, who looked like I’d just shot her first born child, and answered.
“Uh, hey Mum.”
“Did you find your way safely?"
"Yeah, I'm here."
"I just wanted to warn you, Frank, I don’t want a call from your headmaster on the first day,” she said. I rolled my eyes.
“I know, Mum. But I’m... kind of in the office right now.”
“Oh, I see. Are you talking the secretary? With the voice like she’s stepped out of Miss Marple?”
“Yes,” I said, unable to keep myself from smirking in the direction of Ms Lemon.
“Oh, I see. In that case... well, let’s say that if everyone is as /polite as that lady, I don’t blame you if you feel like escaping,”/ she said, a smile audible in her voice.
“Thanks, Mum. I’ll try not to burn something down,” I said, smiling.
“Okay. I’ll see you after school.”
“Love you, mum.”
“Are you quite finished?” spat Ms Lemon as I pressed the 'end call' button. I smiled sweetly and nodded.
“I can’t ignore my own mother,” I said. I think that angered her; I could see a vein popping in her forehead. She struggled to compose herself, before standing up from her desk.
“If you would like to follow me, Mr Iero,” said Ms Lemon, striding out of the office and into the corridors of the school.
Each corridor we turned down confused me more and more. I couldn’t figure out whether this place was a school a prison or a maze. I was almost decided on the prison option. Until about three corridors away from the office, the whole place changed, confirming my theory that Ms Lemon was in fact a vampire or ghoul of some form and she would eat anyone who dared spoil her own little domain.
I’m not even joking. Down these corridors, the walls were covered in framed paintings and the lockers were covered in scratch marks and sharpie like you find in most schools on the planet, but Ms Lemon sped up like it would poison her if we stayed there longer than absolutely necessary. Eventually, we stopped outside one of the millions of doors and Ms Lemon handed me my timetable.
“Be polite,” she said, opening the door for me. I raised my eyebrows at her audacity to warn me about being polite, when she appeared to not understand the meaning of the term. The previous illusion of cleanliness and prison-ness (Is that a word?) was shattered as soon as I stepped into the room. The walls were plastered with posters, scrunched up paper was flying at people’s heads and the inhabitants of the classroom were shouting across the room at each other.
The noise died down as soon as I walked in. I could tell right away from the silence and the scrutiny that people sent my way that I wasn’t just the new kid, I was the weird, creepy, freakish new emo kid. People took one look at me and made up their mind, the atmosphere instantly cooling. I suppose I can almost understand why people judged me upon my appearance; my jeans were tighter than half the girls’ in there.
“Ah, Mr Iero, so nice of you to join us,” said the teacher. I raised my eyebrows at him. His face was something rather reminiscent of a dog’s rear end.
“Looks like the freak has a new companion,” said one of the guys in front of me. Everyone else there broke out into giggles. I swept my gaze across the classroom and settled where a dark figure at the back shifted and sent a sad stare towards the boy who had just insulted him. That was probably my companion.
“Mr Iero, you can sit next to Mr Way. Would you care to introduce yourself?” asked the teacher. It didn’t sound like a question, more like a demand.
“Nope,” I said, popping the ‘p’ and moving over to the empty seat next to ‘Mr Way’, All the eyes in the classroom followed me to my seat, but I ignored them. The guy who I had been told to sit next to watched me as well, but he sat back slightly as I approached. I took one look at him and knew right away why he was my recommended companion; his hair was long, black and fell into his eyes. He wore skinny jeans like mine, a black, long-sleeved shirt and his bag sat on the table; a bag which had the distinct Misfits skull on it.
“Hey, I’m Frank,” I said quietly, as the watchful eyes began to turn back to the front of the classroom. The guy looked up at me, straightening up from his slightly hidden position.
“Gerard,” he said, his hair falling out of his face. I got to see his own eyes, dark brown eyes that, like mine, were lined delicately in smudgy eyeliner but his was black instead of red. I smiled, and he nodded uncertainly before turning his attention back to the front of the classroom.
As the teacher caught the classes attention, the noise that had gradually been building up levelled off. He began talking, but as he did so, the guy sitting in front of me turned and sneered at me. I just shook my head slightly, leant back in my chair and turned off my own attention. It rather felt like it was going to be on of those days.
My first two lessons of the day passed without too much incident. The mysterious Gerard wasn’t in my next class, and neither was anyone else who looked semi-decent. By the time second period had arrived, many of the students already at the school seemed to have been alerted to my presence. By break time, nearly every shoe and boot I came across seemed to want to trip me up.
I’m honestly not too sure how I managed to navigate my way around the maze with all these objects that were determined to land me in a splatter on the floor, but I managed to find my way to the third period classroom without finding my face down a toilet. Some of the kids had been eyeing me nastily, probably deciding whether I would look best squashed in a locker or in a bin.
I didn’t want to wonder around at break, risking getting myself lost, so I just leant against the wall and tried to look inconspicuous whilst examining everyone else. The amount of ‘follow the crowd’ I could see was almost overwhelming. It looked as if there were only two templates for each gender; Barbie and Hipster. It was like the ghosts that I had imagined wondering the mazes of corridors had been filled in with the same template.
I checked my watch and my heart sunk; there was still five minutes left before third period. I made sure there wasn’t anyone staring directly at me and pushed the door of the music room open.
I could almost feel my jaw on the floor as I walked in. The rowdiness of the clones in the corridors was shut out instantly by the doors, doors that had evidently been soundproofed.... after all, it was a music room. But this time the quiet wasn’t creepy like the emptiness of Ms Lemon’s office, it was a thick silence, one that filled the room and helped it feel full and warm, comforting unlike the thin emptiness of normal silence.
It was, so far, the best place in the school. It was simply a large, plain room, filled with stacked chairs and a projector board. Around the next two edges of the classroom rested about fifteen keyboards, and at the front of the room was a beautiful ebony grand piano. To the left of that sat an impressive double-bass drum kit.
Behind the piano and drums were three doors, evidently leading into separate practice rooms. Along the last wall, where the keyboards cut off, was a collection of amps of all different sizes, combined with different sized shelves stacked with folders and loose sheets of music. But what truly made me resemble a stunned goldfish was the collection of guitars along the wall.
Sitting by the piano on stands were a small collection of generic guitars, including a couple of battered un-branded acoustics. And yet what really stood out was what sat in the glass cased on the walls, and rightly so. They deserved to be encased. Amongst the collection was a cherry red Ibanez Artcore AF75 Hollow-Body and a beautiful black Gibson Firebird VII.
“Good thing this school has a serious Arts and Performances program, this room’s the only decent thing here,” came a voice from behind me. I spun around in shock and promptly fell straight into the double-bass drum kit.
“Oh, dude, I’m sorry,” said the Mystery Man, laughing as I fell on my ass like an idiot. Great, could things get any better? Note the sarcasm?
“Can you not do that?!” I spat, untangling myself from the mess, my cheeks instantly burning. I hated it when people snuck up on me... often when people announced themselves when I was unaware, it ended in an ugly tangle of objects and anger, much like the position I was currently in.
“Oh, I’m sorry, man,” said the guy.
"You better be," I grumbled, trying to get up.
"Do you need a hand?" asked the guy, reaching out his hand. I ignored it and stood up, brushing myself off before bothering to look at the person who had made me wreck the beautiful kit. The first bass drum had a very distinct Frank-shaped dent in it.
“Yeah. Thanks for that, my butt hurts,” I said. The guy smiled sheepishly, scratching his head through a massive mop of thick, curly brown hair.
“Look, I’m really sorry about that. You’re the new kid, right?”
“Well spotted,” I said. The guy raised his hands defensively.
“Seeing as we’ve never seen each other before in our lives I thought it would be pretty apparent.”
“I said I was sorry!” said the guy. I rolled my eyes and kneeled down, beginning to tidy up the mess I had created. The guy sighed and began to tidy up the sheet music I’d knocked off the shelf. The silence was no longer warm and comfortable... the addition of this new boy just made it awkward.
“Thanks,” I said stiffly. The boy nodded.
“Look, that was a bad start, I’m sorry. My name’s Ray,” he said, holding out his hand. I scrutinized him for a moment, before taking his hand.
On a completely unrelated note to the story, I'm currently watching Russell Howard's Dingledodies and I am looking up at the WEIRDEST moments. This is what he just said; "I reckon we wander around like T-Rexes trying to shit out pianos." Hmmm... pondering... Nope, it's gone. I hope you guys like it, I'm pleased with it in any case. :) Please Rate and Review, I love you all!
P.S, "Good luck with that, I'm off to lick that tree." Hmm. This is what my evening consists of.