Donabate Community College,
In this world there are two types of people. Those who want to be misunderstood but aren’t and those who want to be understood but can’t. My good friend Chase was one of those people. No matter what he did, people just couldn’t and wouldn’t understand him and so he got shoved down the wrong path and lost many things because of it. His innocence, his reputation, his self-respect. But there were two things that he could never lose. Those two things were his personality and his unpredictability.
I remember when I moved to a new middle school when I was younger. I had to start halfway into the eighth grade. It was tough but I was a smart kid, so I caught up quite easily. In fact, I was probably the kid who answered the most in school. However, I was also known by the common stereotype, ‘the new kid’. Everyone already had their groups and I was the outsider but I actually didn’t mind it at all. I was used to and preferred being on my own. I had never experienced any true ‘friendship’ before and so, I couldn’t miss it. Well… this was before I met Chase. Chase Coleman. He was something else. Like nothing I had seen before.
Like me he was always the outsider too. Often, I would be sitting on the sports pitch during lunch reading and he would just stand behind the wall, peeking at all the jocks playing all sorts of sports and I would quickly glance at him, only to realise he was already gone. It always looked like he wanted to join, but I could see the fear in his eyes. But one lunch, he came over to me and asked if I was always such a depressed nerd. It was the first time anyone had ever asked me something during their own time. I knew from that moment on I was in for a ride.
Everyday onwards he would always come out with one of his one-liners and would steal some of my lunch, but I didn’t mind. He was always kind of burley, even though he never ate much. Others would call him mean and creepy, but I saw him for one thing no one had ever seen him as before. A human being. But things started to roll down hill in ninth grade for him. He didn’t come to school for a solid month before I saw him again with his greasy hair and his stained white t-shirt and his ripped jeans. He looked way worse compared to eighth grade. I could always tell he didn’t have the best conditions at home, but he looked worse than usual. He started to come in less and less until finally about half way through ninth, I never saw him again. Well, at least not until recently.
It was a cold quiet Thursday night. I was on my way home from a hard days work at the lab. I had to pass by the dodgy side of town because it was the quickest way to get to the apartment blocks where I lived. I just wanted to get out of the cold as fast as I could. I’d left my coat at the lab and it was too late to go back for it. All I had on was my black shirt and trousers with my light grey tie. It was my uniform for the lab and I really liked it. I never liked to brag but it was like a sign of my role and I was proud of it. I was never a fan of the generic white suit and trousers. It was too conventional.
I was just about to pass by the alleyway where all the action happened with the local gangs, so I veered off on to the pathway opposite with one of the few street lights which actually worked. I overheard the sound of drunk laughter and bottle smashing along with the smell of heavy smoke.
I could tell who it was immediately if not by their deep husky voice, then by their reflective greasy hair. It was Chase and he came stumbling out of the alley. He always greeted me cheerfully, but then emerged himself in his hard shell as soon as I’d noticed.
“Whatcha’ doin’ ‘round these parts? Thought you were too good for dropouts like me,” he asked.
“I’m just heading home from work,” I replied.
“Still workin’ for the nerd factory?” I knew he meant science lab.
“I am. What about you?” I didn’t want do expose too much about my job. It was a well-paying hard-to-get job. That’s why I like wearing the uniform, but I hate bragging about it. Especially to Chase of all people. But he still knew where I worked.
“Eeeer… you know… bit o’ this, bit o’ that. Robbed a few stores and whatever.”
I regretted asking immediately. I knew that he was still wandering the streets on this side of town and I felt bad about it. He was a good person deep down and he just needed someone to look after him. Like a mother or father figure. But the only thing close to family he had was me, and I only saw him around once every fortnight. He was lost and couldn’t find his way back.
“So you still got the stuff at work?”
“Yes but we only run tests on the inkerronium. Nothing else.”
“Sure, sure… but could ya’ get me some?”
“Chase… I thought you were off the stuff for good this time…”
“I am, I swear… I just need to sell it to some dude… I’m… in a bit of debt…”
I was the only person Chase could ever confide in and I was glad he has someone to talk to.
“Just… be careful Chase… you know how much trouble you can get yourself in.”
“Heh, like you even care.”
“Anyway I’m off, got places to run, nowhere to hide.”
Chase always said that when he was about to leave. I never completely understood what he meant by it.
“And I need to get some grub while I’m at it.”
“Well… take this,” I handed him a crisp fifty-dollar note which I always carried just in case. “And go easy on the drink buster.”
“Heh, thanks… LOSER!”
And just like that, he had disappear into the shadows, the only place he felt he belonged.
Later that night in the comfort of my own flat, I received an email on my laptop from my boss, asking me to open up early since he had an ‘emergency meeting’. He seemed to have a lot of those lately. I think he just wanted to sleep in but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and obliged.
Looks like someone has to get up an hour earlier… AGAIN!
It was a cold quiet Friday dawn. It was always cold and quiet around these parts. That’s why I moved here. Something peaceful about it. I dashed down the street in my half-conscious state due to my garbage alarm clock breaking again. It felt as if it was only five minutes and I had arrived at the lab. Even in my sleepy form I could still admire the lab in all its glory. All my studying had paid off and this was its physical form. Although others disliked the idea of early mornings and late nights of commuting and working, I found something something wondrous about it. Like I had a meaning or something.
I reached the front gate only to realise that my ID card was in my coat which I had left in the lab last night. Although I was quite tired, I had to hop the surprisingly climbable fence. I pulled my way up and leaped off, tearing my shirt in the process. I tried not to let it bother me too much. After all, my coat was inside, so that could cover me up.
As I approached the front doors I noticed that a big chunk of glass was missing from the cafeteria window on the ground floor. I wasn’t scared, but curious. I mean the windows were relatively new. They could of easily smashed in the wind last night. Maybe they were faulty or something. I let my curiosity get the best of me and sneaked through the gaping hole. After all, my coat, my wallet and my phone were in there and if there was trouble, I could easily phone the cops. I tiptoed silently up the stairs to my desk on the second floor and unusually, the door was open. I was never more relieved to find my coat and luckily my phone and wallet were still in my pockets. However this meant that someone had opened my office door but they hadn’t stolen anything. Very strange.
I shoved my coat on and made a dash to the stairwell only to be halted by the sound of gas hissing and glass being consecutively smashed. Although I should’ve been sensible and gone for the nearest exit, I stopped once I noticed where the sounds were coming from. It was coming from the chemical experiment room. That’s where me and my team worked. That’s where we’ve been researching and experimenting for the last year. That’s where all our hard work was. Out of this fury and frustration I sprinted into the room with no regard for my own safety. I slammed the door open whilst getting over what I had just done. A dark hooded figure was loading our inkerronium stock into a dirty old rucksack. I could tell that they weren’t going to use the inkerronium for science reasons. They were going to use it as a substitute for drugs. The bad kind. Ever since people discovered the new substance, people have been using it for all sorts of purposes. And one of those purposes was drugs.
The figure jerked so that they were was facing towards me.
I knew that deep husky voice.
“What are you doin’ with that phone in your hand?”
I had called the cops.
“Y-you.. I… thought we were friends…”
“I’m sorry Chase but it’s the right thi…”
“Don’t bother. You’re wasting your breath… I mean, why would ANYONE want ANYTHING to do with me anyway…”
“Chase you know that’s no…”
“ARE YOU DEAF! Now get out of my way.”
“Now Chase calm down and just wait till’ the cops arrive okay?”
Chase started to laugh. As if he had just seen the funniest thing ever.
“You REALLY have no idea what I’m like do you? … I didn’t wanna’ do this but…”
Chase drew his hand to his pocket, revealing a shiny new looking switchblade.
“Guess we’re doin’ this my way.”
He lunged towards me with full force, blade first. I quickly leaped left towards the counter. Chase immediately turned and swiped his blade in a downwards motion, slicing my sleeve clean off.
“DON’T THINK I’LL GO EASY ON YOU!”
I grabbed his arm with the knife and with all of my strength, pressed it against the counter, forcing him to release it. I felt a sudden loss of air as there was a hard blow to my stomach, but I managed to launch the knife to the other side of my room. I lunged at him, breathless, and had him against the wall, only to be beaten several times and shoved under a desk. I lay there, gasping for breath as he got up almost untouched. If there was anything Chase was good at, it was combat.
He ran to where he left his bag and made a dash for the exit. As he reached the doorway, I grabbed one of his ankles with all my remaining power. He turned around and raised his other leg above my head on the floor… but… he hesitated.
“Look… I’m not gonna kill you man… just get out of my way … please…”
I managed to muster up a few words.
I really was. He was a good person deep down, I know he was. His life just went upside down after his last parent took their own life during middle school and so, he dropped out. I was really sorry.
Although he would never admit it, Chase was crying. I could see it. He took his leg off my head and crouched down next to me.
“You’re… a good person Oscar. The only one who wanted to know me.”
I knew it. He was my friend too.
I managed to stand up, feeling woozy from both the brawl, and the gas.
We kind of stared at each other for a few seconds. But all of a sudden, an armed policeman ran through the door, his gun pointed to my head,
“Don’t move partner”
My heart dropped. A swarm of questions ran through my head like why, what, how? Did this cop seriously think it was me who did this?
I finally got it. He thought me AND Chase robbed this place. And the thing is, I was tempted to believe so. I mean, if Chase gets locked up, he could easily go back on the stuff and his life would head further downhill very quickly. And I don’t want him to fight alone anymore. He’s already gone through Hell and back.
My arms began to drop as a result of my weakness and suddenly, the cop knee’d me so hard that I collapsed. Chase just watched.
I couldn’t believe my eyes what happened next. Chase tackled the armed cop faster than I’d ever seen him run before.
“I SAID RUN!!!”
Fighting Words CLG. Company Registered in Ireland 437119 Registered Charity CHY 18262. Copyright © 2018.