Hello, been awhile, my apologies. The tale is a continuation of Second Chance and its sequel, the story of Russell's brush with Death. Enjoy, and thanks for reading.
“Why are you following me?”
The blond girl spun; her aggressive tone called unwanted attention from several students in the school hall. Russell lowered his head. As if being the “new kid” wasn’t already a lightning rod for stray eyes. He had scanned as many kids as possible without slowing his gait, sizing each up for hints of a concealed firearm or an unstable demeanor.
“I don’t know what you mean Ellison. I’m going this way too. You just happen to be going the same way in front of me,” he lied. She wouldn’t believe the truth. If he confessed she was not long to this world, she’d interpret him as a threat and he’d spend the morning in the principal’s office. He didn’t have that kind of time to kill. He knew Principal Louis Kerry from church, and though he was very personable to adults, had a reputation as a hard-ass to students. Russell reminded himself, he’d be welcomed as the latter.
The blonde blinked at him, at a loss of words but frustrated regardless. He allowed her to continue down the hall before pursuing at a safe distance. Russell contemplated his next move, giving a judgmental glare to a prudish teacher whose face reminded him of the surface of a walnut, a stern-faced janitor shorter than the mop he toted, and a gender confused creature from the cafeteria staff.
Could it be an adult? What if it were? He hadn’t the strength to outmuscle an adult should the occasion arise. Most of the male students stood taller or broader than he, now that he looked around. Why did Death put me in this predicament? Why could I just have died like everyone else? He frowned, realizing his last thought was more of an assumption than anything else.
Ellison trotted rudely through a conversation, nudged a student with her shoulder, and vanished into a classroom. Today isn’t the best day to be on your high horse, princess. Russell wondered how fast he’d be called out in her homeroom. He had no identification. No teachers were advised of the arrival of a new student to his knowledge. He squeezed between a stocky boy in baggy shorts and a dumpy girl with a logo tee shirt reading ‘JUICY’ to take a seat at the rear corner of the class. Position myself to watch everyone.
Ellison carried on in hushed chatter with a Hannah Montana look-alike and a brunette with an anorexic figure; their pointing and giggling clearly in ridicule of anyone showing imperfection.
God, I used to hate girls like that…
“Forget them, way out of your league,” the boy in front of him observed Russell’s interest in Ellison and crew. It was the boy with glasses from the bus.
“Huh? Oh,” Russell chuckled, “not like that junior, way too young for me.”
The boy raised an eyebrow before continuing, “I’m Javier.”
Javier? Does anyone these days give their kids normal names?
“Russell Ward,” the handshake was both unanticipated and weak on Javier’s part.
“Why are you so concerned about them?”
Noticing a teacher had entered, Russell leaned forward and lowered his tone, “Javier, you don’t know anyone that’s been under a bit of stress lately? Not-right-in-the-head, like, gonna-go-postal any minute sort of person, do you?”
Javier’s blank stare was enhanced through the contortion of his glasses.
Russell frowned, “OK then. You aren’t by any chance hiding a loaded gun, are you?”
“What’s wrong with you,” Javier asked. He turned to face the teacher before Russell could reply.
“I’m Mr. Donahue for those that don’t know me,” the thin teacher announced over diminished mutterings. ”I’m your homeroom teacher. I need everyone to take a seat for attendance.”
Students reluctantly lowered themselves into chairs, Ellison and her clique last to disperse. Russell watched with disdain. Little miss perfects think they’re above the law.
“Ellison, Campbell, Peyton when I say ‘take I seat,’ that includes you,” the teacher stepped around his desk.
What is with these names? Isn’t Peyton a boy name and Campbell a soup?
“One sec,” Ellison replied.
Wow. Bold. Russell remained vigilant, scanning the room. All students were seated, all eyes on the three young ladies.
The teacher crossed the room.
Russell sat sideways in the desk, leaning forward. He pulled up his pant leg and collected the switchblade.
Campbell, the underweight brunette, revealed a pistol from within her cardigan, “Don’t tell us what to do, Mr. Donahue.”
Students scurried to the door. Ellison attempted to rationalize through the noise, “Campbell put it away, you don’t need to…”
“Shut up, Ell, or you’ll get some of this too,” the brunette scowled at her.
Mr. Donahue lunged to seize the weapon.
Russell sprung from the seat, knife in hand.