My face wasn’t completely numb, but it was getting there. Brent’s goons surrounded me as he socked me in the face again. I fell against the cool chain linked fence and red brick wall. Something else besides my face hurt . Was that my rib sticking out? No, it wasn’t, but it sure felt like that.
“Leave him alone, Brent! He didn’t do anything wrong!” Sophie exclaimed.
Sophie is Brent’s girlfriend, or at least had been for the last month or so. Everyone says they’d be the perfect Prom Queen and King since Sophie is the leader of the cheerleading squad and Brent is the quarterback for our football team called the Warriors. He sure lived up to the strength of his title.
“Stay out of this, Sophie! This little shit has had it coming for a while!” Brent shouted back at her.
Brent and I have never really got along. I mean, everywhere I turn, he’s right there, ready to pick on me. There was even that time in the school lunchroom, no explanation needed. Or wanted.
Brent kicked me a couple more times, hitting my head on the brick wall. He grabbed my hair, looking me in the eyes. I’ve never felt so defeated in my life, and I’ve been in some pretty nasty fights in the past.
“ What happens with my girl, stays between me and my girl, UNDERSTAND STICK?”.
I spat in his face, a little blood coming out.
“Fuck off” I said. And that’s when I felt this jolt of energy. I lunged forward, hitting him in the face with my fist.
I was now leaning against the fence, trying to stay up. His friends made moves towards me, but Brent halted them as he lightly laughed like a mad man. He looked up at me, wiping the blood from the mark I left on his cheek.
“Do you realize that Prom is next week?! I gonna have to wear a bandaid now!” Brent shouted at me, half laughing, half serious.
“ You were never that good looking to begin with, besides, what goes around comes around. You don’t deserve Sophie”. I struggled to say that sentence. I was weak.
Brent rushed forward, but all of a sudden, someone shouted down the parking lot. “HEY!!”
Brent slipped at the sudden voice. I’d never been so glad to see Mark, but also never so afraid. Mark was smaller than me, he could easily lose a couple teeth with one swing. Then his manager stepped out.
“Hey! Get the fighting off my property! Mark, take out the trash, I’m not going to ask again!… AND I mean it. ALL of you, before I call the cops!”
The manager, who had a scruffy beard and “Billy’s Burgers” hat on, pointed at the football players. They all looked at me, then took off into the darkness towards their cars. They couldn’t risk their scholarships for a simple bully session.
“Hey kid, you alright?” The manager asked as I tried walking towards the diner.
“Yea, I’ll be fine.” I said. “Is Mark almost done with his shift?”
“Yea, he’s done as soon as he’s finished with this trash. I got the food for you guys, but I want you to help him finish up closing again; and don’t mind those Jocks. They’re bad news.”
Billy always cheered me up with his tough yet caring demeanor. Doesn’t mean I want sympathy though.
“ Yea, well, I started it. Or rather Brent did. It’s complicated, but don’t worry, I can take it”.
Mark and I spent a couple of minutes taking out trash and scrubbing counters. It wasn’t all bad, the work, but we managed to get it done by around 2:30 P.M.
“ You sure you’re alright, Daniel? You just took a hell of beating and now you’re scrubbing counters with no effort… you’re a superhuman man.”
It actually still hurt really bad, but I didn’t want to admit it. I definitely felt better though, I mean I’ve always had this low pain tolerance. That’s great, but most of it is due to me not whining about a scraped knee.
“ Yes, I promise man, I’m good.” I replied.
“What was that even about?” Mark persisted
“ Sophie, Brent was making her uncomfortable again, but now I just let them go. You know… look it doesn’t matter, we’re almost done.”
I didn’t want to think of Sophie anymore, I just wanted to see Mr. Boyega at this point.
We quickly finished our job and earned our reward. A brown bag full of delicious food that was going to be thrown out at the end of the day anyway.
Mark and I started making our way down towards my Manhattan apartment. We weren’t too far away, just about one and a half city blocks down, but we always preferred to walk instead of taking the sub. The city is a beautiful thing when you actually stop and take a breath. Plus there are some pretty cool people to talk to along the way, like Mr. Boyega.
“ Hey Mr. Boyega, what’s up!?” Mark exclaimed when he saw the man of the hour.
“Nothin’ much here, whatcha got for me today boys?” Mr. Boyega asked with his signature raspy voice and smile.
Mr Boyega is awesome. He’s the kind of person you could talk to all day and he would just sit there listening, actually caring, and his stories are so interesting that he could own a whole library based on himself. That’s kind of hard to find in a city like this, at least the listening part. There are some pretty interesting people here, but most of it is the crazy type of interesting. He is genuine and pure. I wish I could be the kind of person Mr. Boyega is.
“We got a lot, I think there’s two hamburgers and some french fries among the bundle here” I said smiling back.
Mark handed him the food and Mr. Boyega opened it quickly, almost as if he hadn’t eaten in days. He unwrapped the burger, spilling melted cheese onto his long grey beard. It would be sort of nasty in any other circumstance, but this was the man, Mr. Boyega.
“This is great, you kids never let me down. I wantcha to have a great weekend, you deserve it.”
“Alright, thanks man, we’ll see you again soon. Hopefully you got another one of those war stories of yours I always love to hear” I replied.
We started walking away, but Mr. Boyega gently grabbed my wrist.
“Daniel, you’re great kids. You have a future. Whatever you do, make sure you make the right decision when it comes time” he said, looking straight into my soul.
I didn’t know exactly how to reply to that, so I barely muttered “Al…Alright, yea, thanks. I’ll make sure”.
“Don’t worry, I got him sir” Mark said to him jokingly.
We continued our walk to my apartment.
We arrived at my front door. My building wasn’t anything special. I didn’t live in a nice town house or luxury condo. We lived in a simple beige brick building. I twisted the door knob, expecting to walk right through with a simple push, but the door remained still.
“It’s locked” Mark the detective said.
“Yea no shit” I replied, sounding pretty sarcastic. “My mom’s usually back by now, she must be running late” I continued.
“Alright, well what do we do?” Mark asked.
“Let’s head up to the roof, just chill for a bit I guess”.
We climbed up the fire escape on the side of the building, making our way to the top of the building. It was a bit chilly up there but not too bad. The view from up there always makes it worth it. It honestly makes anything worth it, even the fight I got into today.
From up there we could see down the long, wide lane of backed up traffic. The city is always louder on the ground. While you can hear the honks of the cars and wails of police sirens down below, there is a mix of peacefulness coming from within the clouds above. It’s a perfect blend of chaos and zen. It’s a place I like to go to clear my head.
I sat on the ledge, letting my feet dangle over the side of the building, while Mark checked his phone.
“So, are you going to tell me what happened between you and Brent? Like the actual story?”
Mark has been my best friend ever since the seventh grade. We’re currently Juniors in highschool, but that’s soon to change after these next few weeks. Even after all this time, I still tell Mark everything. He’s been there through everything with me, he was even there for me as I struggled with the loss of my missing father. Mark is the kind of person who will always side with you no matter what.
“Yea. I showed up to take the food to Mr. Boyega with you like usual, but Brent was there with Sophie in the parking lot, and she was uncomfortable. And it didn’t matter what she said, he kept trying to kiss her. And… when he was rejected, he let his friends all over her. So I ran in and got the dog shit kicked out of me. And she’s still out there with them. I could have stopped it, Mark, but now she’s with them. I could have stopped it”.
“It was just a kiss man, you could have got hurt. Like more hurt than you are now, I guess” he awkwardly said.
“It wasn’t just a kiss though. He was all over her”. I had to change the topic. “Mom should be home by now, I’m gonna call her” I said.
I pulled my phone out, letting my phone ring as I awaited her response. What I instead got shocked me, sending my adrenaline into overdrive. It wasn’t her. It was a man I’ve never heard before. And he knew my name.
“Daniel, it’s time we met”.
Note- This is the first draft of the first chapter of my new book “The Destined Hero”. The name may change, but I am having so much fun writing it. Hopefully with each chapter I should be posting an update up until I’m finished, which by then I’ll delete all of it to try to get it published, so enjoy it while it’s here 🙂 The reason I’m writing this book is to have something to base a graphic novel off of, so by the end of this I’ll have one novel and one graphic novel. Let me know what you think and any improvements I can make, this is nowhere near the final version, just a first draft.