A Blank Page - Chapter 1


A Blank Page

By Flummox


“GRAAAAH!” Lloyd roared as he swung his main sword. He immediately followed up with a slash from his off-hand blade, but Abyssion was just too fast, he had already teleported to the other side of the room. Lloyd whipped around just in time to see a magic circle appear on the ground at Abyssion’s feet, he immediately dove into a sprint. At his left Colette was doing the same. On his right the half-elf Genus was chanting his own incantation, trying to out speed their foe in a battle of magic. Raine’s eyes were wide with fear. Being a master of the healing magics, she new that the weary team of four could not possibly survive the spell Abyssion was about to cast. She couldn’t heal them if they didn’t survive. Their only chance was to attack Abyssion and break his concentration. The battle had been going on for so long. They were so close. They couldn’t lose here!

“I call upon thee in the land of the dead!” Genus chanted, reaching the final lines of his incantation

“YES, we’re gonna make it!” The thought went through all of them at once, Lloyd and Colette were a step away, and Genus’ Ultimate spell was about to be unleashed!

“Meteor Storm.” The two words slipped through Abyssion’s lips and all hope was lost. Massive Meteors began to rain from above. It did not matter that they fought in an enclosed chamber hundreds of feet below the earth, for these were conjured directly from space, and they had a single purpose. To obliterate the puny heroes who had dared to oppose Abyssion’s will.

Raine watched as Lloyd, Colette, and her little brother Genus were nearly wiped off the face of the earth. It they faced any other foe it would not be much of an issue. As a master healer, you see, not even death itself could not be cured by her magic. But magic took time, especially an incantation as long as Resurrection’s, and Abyssion was already charging towards her. His demon blade in hand.

Seconds later everything faded to black.

 

~o~O~o~

 

“Defeated”

The screen slowly faded to black.

A new screen appeared, displaying a giant tree beneath the clouds.

At the bottom of the screen there was a small caption

“No one ever heard from them again.”

Above that, there were two options to choose from.

“Load Data”, or “Quit Game”.

“Uggggh” groaned the boy as he collapsed back into his bed.

“I was sooooooo close. I almost beat him that time.” He whined as the controller slipped from his fingers, falling to the floor with a small clatter. He stared at the screen for another moment, contemplating how he could improve his strategy. His musings were broken up a moment later by a knock on his door.

“Raymond?” Came the stern voice. “You had better not be playing that game again. You have to leave for the bus in less then an hour, and so help me God if I have to drive you again…”

His father left the threat hanging in the air. With a heavy sigh, 13-year-old Raymond Danahy pushed himself up off his bed, turned off his Nintendo Wii and TV and rushed to get ready. He really shouldn’t have been playing. He still needed to get a shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast. He slowly dragged himself to the washroom only to find the door shut and locked.

“What?” came his sisters voice through the door when he tried the handle.

“Nothing, I’ll go down stairs.” He replied, with another heavy sigh.

Unfortunately, when you leave things to the last moment in a house of five people, with only two washrooms, things don’t always go your way. The downstairs washroom was also occupied, this one by his older brother.

“Are you gonna be much longer Seb?” Ray called out, hoping his big brother might take pity on him.

“Sorry Squirt. Early bird gets the worm and all that. First one up gets the washroom.” His older brother called back, “Maybe if you spent less time gaming, you wouldn’t always be rushed.”

“Please, Sebastian? Dad’s gonna kill me if I miss the bus again.”

Ray stood there for a moment. Waiting for an answer.

Finally, after a short delay, the door opened. His big brother stood there, only wearing a pair of shorts, looking at Ray with one eyebrow raised and a small smile on his face.

Sebastian Danahy, at 17, was a few years older then Raymond, and in grade 11, a junior in high school. He was tall, around 6’3 with blue eyes, and had their father’s short curly golden brown hair. His lack of shirt showed off a well toned body.

If one didn’t know better they would never guess that Sebastian and Raymond were brothers, as Ray was the complete opposite. Ray was just below average height for his age, though he hoped he’d get the height that ran in the family when he got older. Raymond’s brownish hair was naturally as straight as an arrow, and went to just the small of his back. He referred to his hair as “brownish” because it wasn’t quite brown, but had bits of a very faint red throughout it, resulting in a copper color. On most days, it looked brown, but if the sun caught it in just the right way, the red could really shine through. The biggest difference between the brothers however, was that whereas Sebastian was extremely fit, and one of the star athletes of their school, Raymond was chubby and out of shape, preferring to stay indoors and play games or read. Ray had deep forest green eyes, hidden behind a pair of dirty glasses that he was constantly pushing further up his nose. His face was chubby and round with soft features, just like the rest of his body.

“C’mon then, I’ll go eat and finish after.” Sebastian said as he ruffled his little brother’s hair. As different as the brothers were, they mostly got along.

After mumbling his thanks, Ray rushed into the washroom and hopped into the shower. He shampooed and conditioned his hair, frowning at the color as usual. He didn’t really know why he wore his hair so long. He had always disliked the color. It was just another insecurity for the other boys at school to pick on. If he really thought about it, he may have said it was to give him something to hide behind, not that he’d ever admit to it. He just hated the way he looked in general, he couldn’t really blame the bullies at for being disgusted by his body, he was disgusted by it too.

After washing, he quickly brushed his teeth and meticulously ran a brush through his hair, he might not like his hair color, but he absolutely hated having any knots or tangles. He wrapped one towel around his shoulders as he hated the feeling of wet hair on his skin, a second towel around his waste, and returned to his room to get dressed.

Noting the time, he quickly dried himself and pulled on a pair of briefs and some baggy sweatpants, followed by a plain t-shirt and socks, then dragged himself to the kitchen for breakfast.

As he walked into the kitchen his brother got up two return to the bathroom to finish his own preparations.

His older sister, Evalyn Danahy, was sitting at the table, already ready to go, texting away on her phone. She took after their mother with beautiful red hair, green eyes, and like Sebastian, had their father’s height. From what Ray could see from where she sat at the table, she wore a black blouse, with a nice white shawl overtop. Evalyn, in grade 10, was 16 and a sophomore. While she had little interest in sports, she always seemed to have all of the boys from the sports teams clamoring for her attention, trying to impress her with their athletic ability. She had never brought home a boyfriend, not because she wasn’t interested in one, but rather because none of them could handle her. She could be incredibly strong willed for a teenage girl, and there had yet to be a boy who got a second date with her. Whenever someone asked or teased her about it, she would just say, “I’m not one of those girls who always needs a man in her life. When I meet someone I like, and who’s ready for me, then I’ll date.”

Glancing at the time, Ray saw that he had just enough time to grab a bite to eat and run for the bus. His siblings had other means of getting to school, so while all three of them did attend the same school, Raymond was usually the first to leave and the last to get home. His sister had her own car and license and drove herself, and while she was capable of giving Ray a ride, she claimed that doing so would embarrass her in front of her friends and had refused too all year. Sebastian on the other hand, would have been happy to give his little brother a ride, but he rarely drove himself, instead electing to carpool with friends. The group of them took turns driving and split the cost of gas. Even when it was Sebastian’s turn to drive, he only had enough room in his vehicle for the other members of the carpool. So, unless one wasn’t going to school one day, Raymond was stuck with the bus.

Scarfing down a quick bowl of cereal, Ray pulled on his hoodie and shoes, grabbed his bag and ran out the door.

 

~o~O~o~

 

The bus was just pulling up as Ray arrived panting. He had seen it coming when he was still two blocks away and had to run or face his father’s wrath. Not wanting to draw attention to himself, he stood out of the way and let all the other kids waiting go first. Finally, he stepped on, only to immediately slip on some mud and crash to the floor.

Laughter.

Blushing, the boy quickly found his feet, and pulled out his bus pass. He just wanted to take his seat and get this day over with. His lip quivered as he saw that even the bus driver was looking at him like he was an idiot, but she nodded at his pass and he quickly rushed to sit down. The majority of the students always flocked to the back of the bus. That was where all of the “In” kids would always sit. Ray, being as far from “In” as one could get, didn’t even have the nerve to try and sit with them. Instead he took a seat by himself near the front, adjusted his glasses, and pulled out a book to entertain him on the drive. As there were still several stops for the bus to attend to, he had ample time to immerse himself in the fantasy world.

 

~o~O~o~

 

The advantage to sitting at the front of the bus was that upon arriving at school he was the fist off. Not wanting to spend a second longer on the bus then he had to, Ray leapt from his seat and, carefully so as to not slip again, rushed off the bus. He pocketed his book as he took up a brisk walk towards the schools front doors.

St. Matthews Junior/Senior High School was the only catholic high school in the small town of Lakewood. In fact, there were actually only two high schools in the town, with the other being Lakewood Public High. If a student was unhappy with those, their only other option would be to commute to one of the neighboring towns. With no school bus system connecting the towns that rarely happened.

Raymond walked directly to his locker to swap out the books he needed for his first class before immediately proceeding to homeroom. As usual, he was the first to arrive. Most of the other students would either take their time, or would stop in the hall to chat with friends. Not many people wanted to be friends with the quiet overweight nerdy kid, the few who did always seemed to just be using him to get in either Evalyn or Sebastian’s good books. Knowing he had a few minutes until rollcall, Ray pulled his book from his pocket, and after brushing his hair out of his face and adjusting his glasses once again, began to read. He hadn’t made it through a paragraph when the book was pulled from his hands.

“Crossroads of Twilight?” Sneered the voice of Derek Pilsing as the teenager read the title of the book, “That sounds fucking gay. Why are you reading this shit? It’s not like it was assigned to us or anything. Are you reading it because YOU’RE gay?”

Derek Pilsing was 14 years old, of average height, with a muscular build, and black hair. He was also one of the bullies in Raymond's grade 8 class.

“Hey! Give it back!” Raymond leapt to his feet. He had let his guard down. He hadn’t thought anyone would bother him in the classroom, of course he had also been so lost in thought that he hadn’t noticed the homeroom teacher step out. He tried to grab the book back, but Derek simply pulled it further away and started to back away from Ray.

“Why don’t you come get it chubs? Maybe if you answer my questions I’ll be kind and return it.” The boy taunted.

At this point other students had started slowly entering the room. Some snickered at Dereks antics, others gave Raymond pitying looks, many just went about their business as usual. Not paying the conflict any attention.

“Not everyone reads just because it’s been assigned as homework Derek! Some of us actually enjoy it!” Ray said, exasperated and humiliated by the situation, “There, I answered your question, now please give it back!”

“Oooooh the fat boy said please! How polite. Now I would love to give your book back, but you only answered ONE of my questions. So, I clearly couldn’t do that.”

Ray could do nothing but look at the bully in confusion, not sure what other question he was referring to.

Derek gave a sarcastic sigh, “Fat AND stupid? Pathetic. I ASKED if you were gay. Since you ARE reading a gay book. Well? Are you?”

At this point all Ray could do was desperately try to hold back tears. Crying would just make this worse. Crying would just bring more laughter. More humiliation. Speaking was impossible. The whole class was staring at him. His breathing was becoming more and more labored.

“What. Is. Going. On. Here.”

The stern voice of Mr. Michaelson interrupted the confrontation. Everyone’s attention immediately shifted. All of Derek’s bravado was instantly drained. Mr. Michaelson was the homeroom teacher of one of the classes down the hall. He was notoriously strict, his mere presence kept even the most rambunctious students in line. He was a tall middle age man with wide shoulders, short tidy brown hair, and a thick mustache.

“We were, uh, just goofing around Mr. Michaelson, honest.” Derek was desperately trying to defuse the situation, “I was just curious as to what my buddy Ray was reading. Isn’t that right Ray?”

Suddenly Ray found his own feet to be incredibly fascinating.

“Oh is that so? And hear I thought I heard you inquiring about young Raymond’s sexual orientation. I was wondering why you would be doing that Derek. I thought perhaps you had finally come out of the closet and were looking for a butt-buddy to hook up with. Well let me assure you, neither Ray, nor is that book, gay. As a matter of fact, that book is considered a classic in SciFi/Fantasy fiction. I read the whole series myself. Now, perhaps in the future, you can look for a boyfriend at a more appropriate time. Now give. Raymond. His. Book.”

Derek turned a bright shade of red as the class laughed at the bully’s expense. Even Ray cracked a small smile. Derek tossed the book onto Ray’s desk and turned around to take his seat, but Mr. Michaelson wasn’t quite finished.

“Oh, and Derek? In order for you to learn when it’s appropriate to flirt with the other boys, you’ll be serving detention with me during every lunch hour for the next two weeks. We can sit down and have a nice long talk about it.”

Derek groaned and laid his head down on the desk, still blushing from the teacher’s comments. Ray sat back down and pocketed his book again, knowing what little time he had to read had passed. Their home teacher, Mrs. Abernathy, walked in as Mr. Michaelson turned to leave. She had caught the end of the confrontation, and it was now her turn to lecture Derek.

Mrs. Abernathy was an older, bookish woman, with wide spectacles and long gray hair tied back in a neat bun.

Shortly afterwards morning announcements were given, roll call was taken, the bell rang and the students were off to their first class of the day. As Raymond walked down the hall he was once again drawn out of his own inner world.

“Raymond, Come here for a moment.” Called Mr. Michaelson when the boy passed by his room.

Hesitantly, Ray walked over to the big man.

“Yes Mr. Michaelson?” he asked nervously.

“I just want you to know, if anyone’s ever giving you a hard time, or even if you just need someone to talk to, my door is always open.”
“O-oh, umm, thanks Mr. Michaelson, I’ll, uh, keep that in mind.” Ray stammered out before saying a quick goodbye and heading to his first class.

Mr. Michaelson gave a heavy sigh and muttered to himself, “Kids can be so cruel.”

 

~o~O~o~

 

Thankfully the rest of the morning went relatively peacefully for Ray. He managed to avoid notice for the most part, with the exception of his math teacher catching him napping. Once again, there was laughter at his expense, but he had to admit that he deserved it to a certain degree this time. He had been warned about sleeping in class many times already.

Lunch too was peaceful. He managed to slip away to one of the stairwells and had a quiet lunch alone. Got some reading in too.

The second half of the day started out okay, but he knew that would soon change in one way or the other. That was because his last two periods of the day were his most hated class, and then his favorite class. In that order. If he could just survive Gym class, then he could go to Art. Wonderful, peaceful Art.

But first came the humiliation of Gym.

Gym class was with Mr. McMan, and as his name would suggest, Mr. McMan was a true mans man. He was a lighter skinned African American man in his early 30s, he kept his head clean shaven, and had the smallest trace of a five ‘o’clock shadow on his strong features.
Raymond always rushed to Gym, not out of excitement, but so he could quickly change before the other boys arrived.

The first half of Gym class was always the worst. It always began with Mr. McMan ordering the class to do a number of laps around the gymnasium. The number of laps wold slowly increase as the school year progressed, and would also increase based on the year of the students. Following that, there was a general workout consisting of sit-ups, push-ups, and jumping jacks. As it was March, the number of laps was getting higher. Each of the 8th grade students had to do 25 laps around the gym.

It was humiliating.

As the students finished running they would go and sit in a group in the middle of the gym and wait for everyone else. Ray was always the last to finish. Not only was he always last, but he always last by a significant margin. He would still be running for several minutes after everyone else had finished. In the beginning he tried to just go sit down when everyone else was seated, but Mr.McMan wouldn’t except that. He said, in front of the whole class, that Raymond had not finished his laps. That Raymond still had however many left and that he had been counting.

The second time Ray tried to sit down before his laps were finished McMan did the exact same thing, with insults added. He went into a rant about Ray being incompetent at even basic counting. This was especially hurtful because while Ray was a painfully average student, the one area he had always excelled WAS mathematics. Numbers had always come easy to him, and yet this muscle brain had the nerve to say he couldn’t count? It had been one of the very rare times where Ray lost his temper, he had blown up on the man, which had gotten him sent to the principles office, which had gotten him an in-school suspension, which had gotten him grounded at home.

And sure enough, today was no different. Ray was only on lap 17 when the rest of the class had finished. They waited for a while, Mr. McMan watching Ray with clear disgust.

19 done. Only 6 to go.

“Okay class,” Mr. McMan began, “I want each of you to do 5 reps of 10 in all of our usual exercises, while you do, I’m going to talk to you about the importance of this class.”

The other students began to move as McMan continued to talk, “It is of my opinion, that this class will be the most important you ever take. Gym class is where you learn to take care of your bodies, and by extension how to take care of yourself.”

20 done. 5 to go.

“With the skills I teach you, you will be able to ensure that you don’t waste away into a useless pile of garbage. In order to be successful in this world, one must have a strong body. For men, that means having the stamina and strength to work all day under the hot sun. We can’t have any extra blubber weighing us down.”

21. 4 to go.

“For women, that means having the bodies to attract a man’s gaze, bear and raise children, and take care of their family”
Some of the other students were clearly starting to become uncomfortable. Some had stopped working out all together.

22. 3 to go.

“If we’re overweight, then we’ll be nothing but a waste of space. Who would ever want to be friends with someone like that?”

23. 2 to go. Almost there.

“If you cannot complete this simple workout, then how can you expect to make it through college or university? You’ll never amount to anything.”

23. “Fuck this.” Ray turned and walked towards the change rooms.

“Aye, where do you think you’re going?!”

Ray ignored him. He went into the change room, quickly showered, and changed into his normal clothes. He exited into the halls, empty as the period wasn’t even half over, and headed towards the art room, praying that Ms. Mira would be there.

 

~o~O~o~

 

When he arrived, the door was locked, but the lights were on and he could clearly see Ms. Mira moving about inside. He gave a light knock to get her attention, and then gave a friendly wave. She smiled and strolled over.

She opened the door and looked at him sternly.

“Ray, class isn’t for another 45 minutes. What are you doing here?”

Ms. Mira Cornwald was the youngest teacher on staff, maybe in her mid twenties by Ray’s best guess, her hair was dirty blond and relatively long, and she wore glasses over her big pretty brown eyes. She was easily Ray’s favorite teacher, and her class was the only one he was really comfortable in. She had originally insisted that the student’s just call her Mira, as art wasn’t the place for such formalities, but that hadn’t gone over well with the principle and vice-principle. They insisted that the “Ms.” before her name was used as it was a sign of respect. They had finally come to an agreement that the students could simply refer to her as Ms. Mira, rather then Ms. Cornwald. She thought the whole thing was ridiculous.

“I uh, I kinda skipped out on Gym” Ray replied hesitantly, refusing to lie to the kind woman.

“Mr. McMan making an ass of himself again?” her stern face was replaced with the gentle smile she usually wore, “Come on in.”

“Thanks.” Ray replied, returning her smile after giggling at her rather inappropriate language for a teacher in a catholic school.

“Hey now, I didn’t say it was for free. To earn your entrance, you have to impress me!” she said dramatically, “Otherwise I’ll kick your butt back to the Gym!”

Ray couldn’t help but laugh. Being as introverted as he was, he usually kept whatever piece he was working on to himself, one might even go so far as to say he was terrified of sharing his work. Ms. Mira was always having to find new ways to get him to share any art that wasn’t being submitted for grading. Even then he would only share with her, never any of his classmates. He had always found art way to personal to share with others, especially in school, where he had a hard-enough time already. His family wouldn’t even know he was in art if it wasn’t for his report card.

He went over to his art locker, usually reserved for senior students, Ms. Mira had made an exception for him when he showed her his dedication to his work. The art lockers were a series of thin deep cabinets that could be used to store paintings or other pieces between classes. They could be used for both academic pieces, and personal pieces, at the discretion of whoever the locker was assigned to. The only real rule was that the pieces had to be appropriate for a catholic school, but even that could be bent if you were in Ms. Mira’s good books. The lockers also didn’t have actual locks. The main force that kept them from being tampered with was the fury of Ms. Mira.

Opening the last locker in the row, Ray delicately shuffled through some different pieces until he found what he had been working on lately. He carefully drew it out of the locker and laid it on the table. Ms. Mira eagerly skipped over to take the peek she had been promised.

The piece had been done on a relatively large piece of poster paper. It depicted a very wrinkly old man lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by medical equipment, and monitors, and smiling happily despite it all. The bed itself took up the majority of the image and everything from the sheets to the wrinkles on the mans face had been made to look incredibly detailed. The piece was almost entirely done in pencil and black ink, with the exception of the old man’s eyes, which were an incredibly vibrant blue, and were positioned to stare right at the viewer. The blue contrasted brilliantly with all the dark shadings and lines of the pencil and ink, and caused any viewers gaze to be pulled towards the mans face. The eyes were a trap however, they served to draw the viewers attention away from certain other details. Off to the side there was a doorway. The door led to a dark room, lacking the detail that had been put into the rest of the image, in fact, the entrance to the room had been completely shaded in with a dark pencil. However, if one looked closely a figure could be made out in the darkness. The figure was hard to see as it was drawn in black, and then covered in dark lead. The figure was that of a cloaked man, face hidden in shadows, the only thing that hinted at his identity was skeletal arm emerging from the cloaks sleeve, lightly grasping a large scythe.

Ms. Mira, familiar with the subtleties Ray liked to put into his work caught on fairly fast.

“Welp. Ya did it again Ray. I am impressed. You earned your early entrance.”

Ray just smiled, “Ya know, you didn’t have to strong arm me. I would have showed you eventually. Probably.”

Ms. Mira playfully swatted his arm, “Oh probably huh? Probably not! You only show me the pieces you’re planning to submit for marks! With all you’ve done this year the odds of me seeing it would not have been that great I think!”

Ray just shrugged, causing both of them to break into laughter.

“What do you call this piece?” She asked

“Eh, I dunno.” He answered, “I usually don’t title my work.”

“Well you should.” She insisted, “Especially anything that you put as much work into as you clearly did this.”

After he promised to think about a title the conversation moved on.

“So tell me, how did you make the room in the back?” She inquired, “You clearly used a softer pencil to make the doorway as dark as it is, and yet the grim reaper is still visible!”

Ray smiled, it was something he had discovered by accident when he was doodling one day.

“Here I’ll show you.” He began to walk around the room, pulling out the supplies he would need.

He sat down again, and laid out a small piece of scrap paper. In black pen he drew a quick little scribble on the paper, then taking a 4B pencil, he scribbled over it, covering it in a thick layer of lead. The ink was still darker then the lead however, and it could just barely be seen.

“Ahh, creative use of ink.” Ms. Mira said after carefully watching the process. “Okay, now since you’re here, help me get everything ready for class, while we do, there’s something I’d like to talk to you about.”

“O-oh?” Ray asked nervously, thoughts beginning to race, trying to figure out what he had done wrong.

He managed to remain calm, and after carefully replacing the drawing in his art locker, began pulling out the materials they would need for class.

“Relax. You’re not in trouble.” She said gently, “I actually wanted to talk to you about an opportunity. In September, the art gallery in Mountsview is holding a special event, they want to feature the works of talented high school students. Each student has to be recommended by their instructor, and then submit a portfolio of 5 pieces if they want to considered. The chosen student’s will have their work displayed for some of the most influential people in the province! Their even considering an auction if the student’s are willing to sell their work, and the work is good enough! They have yet to decide how many students will be chosen, the event itself could even be cancelled if they don’t like what they see. Anyways, I think this could be a great opportunity for you, and I would be happy to recommend you!”

She paused from her puttering to look at him expectantly

“O-oh, well, um, I appreciate the offer, but you said it was for high school students, right? I’m not a high school student yet. I’m only in grade 8.” He said, trying to find an excuse not to enter.

“Your right! But the selections aren’t until September, and you WILL be a high school student by then. Right?” She asked, refusing to allow him to get out of it that easily.

Ray sighed heavily. “C’mon Ms. Mira. You know how I feel about sharing my work.” He complained, “Besides, I don’t know if my parents would approve.”

“Okay fine,” she said sadly, “I won’t bring it up again, but just promise me you’ll think about it, okay?”

“Okay.” He said.

They continued to talk about a wide variety of topics until their conversation was finally interrupted by the arrival of the other students.
As they entered Ms. Mira looked at him and said one last time, “Think about it.”

Ray nodded, and soon class began.

“A 5 piece portfolio, huh?” He whispered to himself, an idea taking root.

 

~o~O~o~

 

Art class ended up going way to fast, and soon the school day was over. Raymond gathered up his things, and after a quick stop at this locker was ready to head home. He preferred to avoid the bus and walk home when the weather permitted it, so he pulled on his backpack and prepared for the 45-minute walk.

He was so done with this day. He just wanted to go home and relax.

Unfortunately, the day was not quite done with him.

“Hey! Gaymond!”

Will turned to see Derek and a few of his cronies walking up to him.

“Because of you, I lost my lunch hours for the next two weeks! How are you gonna make that up to me?”

“You did that to yourself Derek, if you’d just leave me alone you wouldn’t get in trouble.” Will explained, trying to keep the confrontation from escalating.

Placing the blame on the bully’s shoulders had clearly been a mistake, however, as Derek’s arm was pulled back, his hand made into a fist, and launched at Ray’s face.

It wasn’t a hard punch, but Ray was sent reeling none the less, more from the surprise then anything. He wasn’t expecting the bully to try and start a fight in broad daylight when they were surrounded by other students.

Rubbing the cheek that had been struck, Ray turned to look at the bully. He and his cronies were laughing, “What’s wrong bitch? I barely touched you.” Taunted Derek between laughs.

“Yeah, he barely touched you!” Echoed Nick, Derek’s best friend and partner in harassment.

The smile on Nick’s face died instantly, however, as a large force slammed into Derek, sending him flying to the ground.

“Ugh, WHAT THE FUCK?!” Derek raged, as he pushed himself up.

Everyone who had been witnessing the confrontation turned to the source of Derek’s pain. Standing over him was Sebastian. The practice field was right next to the entrance to the school, and from it, Sebastian had watched the whole scene unfold. Even though football season was over, Sebastian and his friends from the team still liked to practice regularly.

“What’s wrong bitch? I barely touched you.” Spat Sebastian to the prone bully. “Now get up.”

Sebastian waited for Derek to regain his footing, before grabbing him by the collar.

“Let’s get something straight” Sebastian began menacingly, “You fuck with my brother, you fuck with me, and you don’t want to fuck with me. Got it?”

Derek’s jaw trembled with what Ray couldn’t be sure was fury or fear, regardless of which, the bully nodded.

Releasing him, Sebastian turned to Ray, “You good bro?”

“Y-yeah” Ray stammered, just wanting the whole thing to be over.

With a nod, Sebastian turned and jogged back to the field, rejoining his friends.

The bullies gave Ray one last glance before heading to their respective busses.

Ray, with a heavy sigh, adjusted his glasses and turned to begin walking home.

 

~o~O~o~

 

With a heavy heart, Ray walked into the house, taking off his shoes and hoodie, he looked around to see who else was home. Based on vehicles in the driveway and shoes at the door it seemed like it was just him, his sister, and their father for the time being. Their mother was a lawyer and often worked late, dinner was usually prepared around her schedule so the family could east together as soon as she got home.
He headed to his room, wanting nothing more then to take another stab at that boss. Maybe if he was lucky Sebastian would play with him later.

“Hey squirt!” his father called as he walked by the kitchen, “How was school?”

“Horrible. As usual.” Was Rays disgruntled response as he turned to look at his father.

Jameson Danahy was a tall middle aged man. He had wide shoulders, short light brown hair, and blue eyes. He kept himself clean shaven and his body was in good shape. It was kind of a requirement for his job actually. Jameson was an architect by profession, but had had been a volunteer fire fighter at the small fire station in Lakewood since before Ray had been born, and while not the chief of the department, his name definitely carried some weight. Because of both his work and his volunteer work he was well known and well liked in the small town, and in several of the neighboring towns as well.

Jameson frowned, looking up from the newspaper. “I’m sorry to hear that son. Do you want to talk about it?”

“No, it’s fine.” Sighed Ray.

He continued towards his room.

“Don’t forget!” Called his father, “Report cards came in today. We’ll be discussing them at dinner tonight.”

Back in his room Ray collapsed on his bed. How could he have forgotten? He had been dreading it all week. It was just another chance for him to be compared to his perfect brother and his perfect sister. The two of them were constantly making the honor roll, a list of students who had achieved either a B+ average or better. Something that never happened for Raymond. Inevitably he would be lectured by the whole family tonight.

“You need to get off those stupid games!”

“Spend more time studying”

“Stop sleeping in class”

“Instead of reading silly fantasy novels read a real book”

He knew exactly how the conversation would go. Depending on how poorly he did he may even be grounded for a few weeks.
All of his inhibitions and self-loathing came bubbling to the surface. The tears he seemed to have been holding back all day finally overwhelmed him. He laid in bed crying quietly, feeling more trapped then usual.

“Why was I ever even born?”

 



 

Okay. Deep breath.

Hi.

My name is Flummox.

I stumbled upon this website some time ago, and read some of the stories. Thought some were okay, absolutely loved others. Reading these stories got me thinking, I want to try this. So after a few weeks of thinking that, I finally did. I made this account and started writing a story, and soon the story took over.

I’m kinda shy, so I didn’t even have the courage to post this for another week, by which point I had written around 40,000 words. So uh, if you liked it, please please please let me know in the comment’s below, or with one of those Kudos thingys. I have 8 more chapters ready, I’m planning on releasing them according to a schedule I have not yet figured out. This way I’ll have a bit of a buffer if I fall behind in my writing.
This is the story of a teenager’s journey of self-discovery. It’s going to be rather slowly paced compared to some of the stories I’ve read here, and it’s going to go over a lot of the main character’s issues, fears, and insecurities.

I was also really unsure what to do with all the different tags. Should I be putting the tags that apply to this chapter? Or tags that apply to the story as a whole? Anyone who could clear that up would be my hero.

This is my first time writing, so I’m fully prepared for it to be horrible, but I’m hopeful that it won’t be. Any critiques are more them welcome, just please be gentle. So please, keep what I’ve said in mind, be patient with me, and I hope with all my heart that you enjoy the ride. Welcome to A Blank Page.



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