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Creative Corner

“Oak Creek” by Alexander Gerakis

The alarm next to Connor’s bed wailed. Connor rolled onto his right side to take a look at it through tired eyes. It read 7:05, panic now rang in his mind. How had he been so careless was the next thought to burst into his mind. Now wide awake he looked around his room which was cluttered with clothes and other objects due to laziness. Clothes scattered across the floor as well as sports equipment. A chair had even fallen from the layers of coats and sweatshirts that draped on it. The sun snooped in the window leaving its light to brighten the room. Dark clouds crawling in not quite obscuring the ball of light yet.

Conner shot up in bed and swiveled his legs over the side. Thankfully a clean pair of clothes rested on his desk next to his dresser which rested next to the bed. Conner raised himself onto his feet. Muscles aching from a long hard sleep. No time for stretching because he was already running late as it was. So Connor donned his clean clothes in a heartbeat and swiftly headed to the kitchen to grab shows which rested there and a lunch.

No One had been shopping as Connor only lived with his father and he has lately been busy working long hours. So a apple will do him well to tide over till he comes back home. Next his backpack was thrown over a shoulder after shoes and out the door to school Connor ran. Right outside the door rested a skateboard for just such an occasion. He sprinted with it and jumped on it as he dropped it onto the road.

As Connor rode to school he kicked with one foot to keep a consistent speed and kept the other in place to stay on the board. Metal music blasted to encourage speed but as soon as a song died down into silence he passed by a rather odd girl. It was ¾ the way through the school year yet it seemed as if he hadn’t ever noticed this dark haired petite girl walking toward the building. She wore mostly black with only a white shirt, her hair matching as it was jet black and bangs concealed half of her face. This girls backpack was noticeably torn from years of use and shoes highly scuffed. While Connor pondered at how she looked. his board rolled him straight into a pothole flinging him toward the ground.

Nothing short of a few minor scrapes were the only injuries. Connor checked himself for the worse then looked back at the girl whom seemed to keep looking down not noticing at all what happened. The boy looked away and rose back to his feet. Connors watch showed it was ten till 8 so there was no time to meet or even speak to this girl. So he continued on in his journey narrowly receiving yet another tardy.

The first period bell rang throughout the school silencing kids and informing the day had begun. Connor sat down in his desk for first period history and gazed around. A large kid in the back whispered and snickered to his band of buddies.

“David Smeck please silence yourself so we may begin class.” The older and no nonsense teacher spoke toward the kid. receiving only a grumble out of him. David had always been a hard headed brute, a bully as some would refer to him as. He was a rather muscular boy and attractive. Not only was he popular among the higher up kids in the school social structure but he had dated probably half of them. While many are attracted to the tanned boy. Connor always gets the creeps just at the sight of him. As class period after period crawled by. It finally reached lunch time. Kids rambled toward the cafeteria and Connor witnessed David do  something to give shivers down anyone’s spine.

“Hey! What the hell are you doing!” Connor yelled to the group of 5 boys and girls picking on that girl from earlier. The girl just stood there being pushed around on the verge of tears. books scattered on the floor. Something that had clearly turned into a routine.

“Oh no look there it is the scary hall monitor here to stop us.” David mocked as he chucked along with his goons, “Just showing our friend here some fun.” He stroked her face and a tear rolled down her cheek. His group laughed while walking away from the girl mocking the whole encounter. All Connor could do is stare and ball up his fists in anger.

The girl was swallowed up in the crowd. A couple of Connors buddies pulled him away from his spot although his fists stayed closed holding onto the anger. The lunch period went on with everyone not batting an eye to what had happened .Connor fumed, he couldn’t do anything as David was bigger and outnumbered him. While plotting what he could have done better, Connor observed the girl sitting alone at a distant table with nothing in front of her. Immediately he got up and approached her.

“Um…Hi” Connor spoke to her awkwardly and then spoke again, “I’m Connor, what’s your name?” Almost as soon as he finished the sentence thoughts of regret swept into his mind.

“Great icebreaker stupid” He muttered to himself almost being interrupted by a hushed inaudible voice.

“Jessica Williams” The girl breathed out quietly, “but I go by Jess.” She said as Connor sat across from her, pulling out his red apple.

“Here” Connor spoke, putting the apple in front of her, “I’m sorry I didn’t do anything  earlier. I noticed you didn’t have a lunch so here is mine. May not be much but it is what I have.” He gives a short smile after he presents the gift. Jess jumps up and runs to the bathroom, sobbing the whole time. Connor sits there pondering if he said anything mean and what just happened.

Finally the last bell rings, time to go home. But when Connor steps out the front door, his plans change. It seems every student is talking amongst their groups, gasping and looking towards the roof. Puzzled, Connor walks over to his friends who are among the other drones, all gasping. As he looks where everyone is staring wide eyed, his stomach drops at the sight. Jess stands crying on top of the ledge of the building, four floors up, as if she wants to walk off.

Connor’s only instinct is to sprint toward the building. He rushes through the huge doors that serve as a main entrance. Next rounding the corner by the office to the staircase that goes all the way up. Many thoughts surge in his mind. “What am I supposed to say?” Connor breaths heavy as he keeps climbing contemplating what to say to her. Finally the door to the roof is in view and Connor pauses and takes a deep breath “here we go” he says out loud softly and opens the door.

The door opens to the flat shingle covered roof. Clouds had moved in and rain was starting to drizzle down leaving the atmosphere grim. Connor and Jess stand only 10ft away from each other. The steep drop having her and the crowd in horror. A slow drizzle of rain falls onto the rooftop.

“Hey Jess,is everything  alright?” Connor speaks to Jess in a soft, soothing tone trying to hide his panic, “No need to do this.”

“Nothing is ok!” Jess screams between tears then hysterically cries more. “Everyday I am picked on and pushed around. Then when I go home, my mother refuses to even acknowledge I even exist!” Tears rolling off her cheeks as she turns toward Connor.

Connor takes a very light and slow step. Jess takes a half step back. “Jess I am here to help you” he reaches a hand out toward her. His eyes bounce between her feet and her face. She just looks down sobbing in place. “I don’t want to see anything bad happens to you” he halts the advance. “How about we slow down. where are you from?”

She sniff and wipes her nose with her arm. “O..Oak Creek” slips out of her mouth.

“Oh wow so am I, when did you move here?” Connor asks although he is shocked that somehow she is from the same small town. He forces himself to not show his shock but only turns it into a smile. Sirens sound in the distance now.

“I…I…Moved here during the summer” She says meekly then looks up toward Connor at the doorway to the staircase. Her arms locked around herself showing in a way that looks as if she is holding herself.

Connor observes eyeliner streaking her cheeks. He raises his hand and looks into her eyes. Their eyes lock and he finally notices how blue they are and how they show so much pain and beauty.

“I am so tired of going through life alone. I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick of being someone’s pushover. I…I…” She glances down at the ground, “I can’t stand life anymore.”

“Please don’t say that. Can you please step toward me? I don’t want to see you hurt yourself.” Connor pleads with his hand outstretched for hers. “ I want to help you, like I did at lunch.” A tear rolls down his own cheek. The sirens start to drown out Jess’ cries.

“I…I…just don’t know anymore. You are the only person who has been nice to me all year.” She cries out then miraculously steps down and takes a step toward Connor, their hands meet for the first time. He then wraps his arms around the troubled girl and holds her close. They both collapse onto their knees, Connor holds Jess close as she sobs tears now obscured by the rain.

“It’s ok I am here for you now” Connor softly says to soothe her. All she does is continue to cry until teachers, police, and paramedics rush through the door.

The two are then escorted out the front doors. His arms are still around her, a blanket wraps overtop of the two kids. The rain has lightened up and the sun shines through the dark gray clouds. A police officer shoves David into the back of a cruiser. Of course he hates to be pushed around so reluctantly he enters. All the rest of the students and teachers watch them walk. As Connor observes all of the environment, Jess’s cries have died into sniffles. She looks up into his eyes, realising they too are a beautiful blue and smiles for the first time at the boy. Then, just as that happens, the crowd begins to clap.

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