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last one for tonight!

Author: hi_falootin
Prompt: Mocha 6. make my day, Tangerine 8. first impression
Word Count: 562
Rating: G
Notes: Jason's POV. Introducing Howie!

The first time I see Howie, he's down on all fours, growling and snapping his teeth. He's backed up against the chain link fence in the schoolyard. And he's surrounded.
Jason does a rescue of his own.

The first time I see Howie, he's down on all fours, growling and snapping his teeth. He's backed up against the chain link fence in the schoolyard. And he's surrounded.

First, seriously––the first thing I think when I see that the ring of eighth graders, is that they have a dog cornered or something. One of them has a stick, and they're taunting something with it, laughing.

I have to get closer before I realize it's another kid.

"Hey!" It just comes out of me; I yell the way Dad taught me to, a deep yell that's supposed to be intimidating. Half the battle is intimidation, says Dad, and though I'm not a big guy, I had hit a growth spurt that put me up there with the eighth graders and I know how to sound tough.

"Cut it out!" I yell.

Two of the eighth graders turn to look at me. They're all wearing black hoodies, expensive looking dark-wash jeans. I feel weirdly exposed, standing there in my thin, thread bare t-shirt. It's one of my favorite shirts though. Christine wanted me to throw it away, but I couldn't do it. Maybe it's lucky.

I try to stand tall.

"Why?" the guy with the stick asks me. He sounds bored.

"Leave him alone." I try to keep my voice level, hoping I sound threatening enough. "Seriously. Beat it."

"Seriously," he mocks, wrapping his mouth around the word wetly. I level a glare at him. Go ahead, make my day.

We have a staring contest, him and me. I'm not sure how long it lasts, but I just hold on; I can tell he's waiting for me to crack. Then my eyes start to feel dry, and my nerve starts to fade, and then when I think it's over, he looks away.

"Yeah, come on," he says to his friends, over his shoulder, "This was getting old anyway."

I watch them walk away, not totally ready to believe that actually worked. I'd been running through defense techniques in my head, remembering how Dad taught me to use my fists and elbows. The best ways to avoid a punch. All these worst-case scenario things...and I didn't even need them.

The boy huddled against the fence makes a little animal noise.

"Oh, hey." I crouch down beside him. "Are you okay?"

His eyes go wild for a second, scanning the school yard for his aggressors, maybe. Then he nods. "Yessssss." His lips pull back too much when he says that, turning the last sound into a hiss. He shakes his head and tries again. "Yes." He slowly rises too his feet, brushing the dirt from the knees of his pants. He's shorter and smaller than me, but now that he's standing, he actually looks about my age.

"Um, what were you doing"–I gesture towards the ground–"earlier?"

The boy rubs at the back of his neck. "It's...it's just instinct," he says quietly. "I can't help it."

"What do you mean, instinct?" I shake my head. "Are you a student here? I think the bell is gonna ring any minute..."

"Yeah, yeah, I'm new," he says. He's looking down at the ground now. "And it's just..."

"Just what?"

"I have to go," he says. And he tears off toward the classrooms, just as the first bell is sounding.

Part 2 of this, coming soon!


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 10th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
wow, I take it Jason's lucky that worked ;)

and Howie has me intrigued. You are awesome at these seriously quirky characters.
Dec. 10th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
whoo, thank you! Howie is pretty quirky and I haven't done much with him yet :D
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 11th, 2008 04:08 am (UTC)
whoohoo! There will be more on him...
Dec. 11th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)
Thats intersting, and slightly diffent. Howie sounds a bit... odd. Yay for Jason for standing up to the bullies. Thats cool :)

Nice job. Can't wait for part 2.
Dec. 11th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
Howie's very odd! thanks for the comment! <3
Dec. 11th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
Seriously intrigued. Oh, yes.
Dec. 11th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
;) thanks for reading!
Dec. 16th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
Go Jason. And I'm curious to learn more about Howie.

Looking forward to reading more about the two of them!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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