A large hand squeezed the back of Jack’s neck. Turning around, he found himself face to face with a brick wall. At least, that’s what he thought it was until he looked up and saw a face. It was an upperclassman – a football player by the looks of it – and he did not look like he was going to give Jack a friendly greeting.
“Look what we got ourselves here, boys.” The footballer grinned maliciously, and his three friends did the same. “We got us some fresh meat.”
The first jerk – their leader, Jack guessed – gestured at Jack and the two larger goons grabbed Jack by the arms. Squirming, Jack tried unsuccesfully to break free of the hold that Goon number one and Goon number two had on him. Dragging him by his arms, they lead him down the sidewalk, where a large, brown dumpster waited ominously. They were going to throw him into it, Jack realized.
“Aw, come on guys, can’t you just throw me in a locker, or something?” he protested, struggling to get out of their vice-like grip.
“Shut up, freshman!” One of his tormentors slapped the back of his head. “You’re trash, so we’re putting you where you belong.” The others laughed at his not-so-witty comment and grabbed his legs. Lifting him above their heads, they threw him head first into the dumpster, which was full of flies and disgustingly smelly trash bags. While trying to get out from underneath the trash bags, he heard one of them call out, “Consider yourself welcomed to high school!”
What a wonderful first day of school.
Jack waited until he was sure that they had left, and then made his way out of the dumpster. Brushing himself off, he started towards the school entrance. As he trudged up the steps, he felt a push from behind and stumbled. After he regained his balance, Jack turned around expecting to see one of his tormenters from earlier, but instead found himself looking at a short, mousy kid with glasses.
“Sorry!” The kid squeaked out. “I’m Kaleb. I’m new here.”
“I’m Jack,” He held out his hand in greeting.
“What happened to you?” Kaleb asked as he shook his hand.
“I got trash canned,” Jack grimaced. “Some kids like welcoming freshmen that way.”
“Oh,” Kaleb said. “I need to watch out for them, then. Hey, what do have first period? I’ve got algebra with…” Kaleb fumbled with his schedule. “I’ve got algebra with Mrs. Kralankey.”
“Hey, I think that I have her, too!” Jack exclaimed, as he looked to his schedule to confirm it. “Yep, I’ve got her.”
They took off through the halls, looking for their classroom. When they finally made their way to the room, Jack found himself in a nearly empty classroom. The two other kids that were there didn’t even lift their heads at Jack and Kaleb’s entrance. Making their way to one of the back corners, they took seats next to each other. They compared schedules as they waited for class to begin, and found that they only had algebra together. The bell rang, and students began filing in. They all found seats and waited for the teacher, talking loudly about their summers with the people next to them. Then, a lady walked into the classroom and started writing on the boards.
“My name is Mrs. Kralankey,” She said pleasantly, when she finished writing on the board. “But you can just call me Mrs. K.” Mrs. K stepped away from the board, and read off: “What did I do over the summer?” Everyone started talking at once until she held up her hand for silence.
“Raise your hand and say your name when you get called on, and then you can tell us about your summer.” Almost everyone’s hand went up. Mrs. K looked around the room, and pointed to a redheaded girl in the front row.
“I’m Felicia Banks, and I went to this beach in Florida and…” Jack stopped paying attention soon after she started. His mind drifting, he soon found himself thinking about building incredibly awesome gadgets, like a laser gun, or a jetpack. This wasn’t unusual for Jack; he liked to make things in his free time, mostly just simple robots.
“Jack?” Mrs. K asked from the front of the room, looking at him expectantly.
“Sorry, what did you say?” Jack looked up at the teacher from where he had been resting his head.
“I asked if you would like to share what you did over you summer.” Mrs. K smiled kindly.
“I didn’t do much exciting stuff,” Jack admitted. “Mostly I just stayed home.”
After that, Mrs. K started talking about x’s and y’s and all sorts of boring math terms. Jack almost slipped into dreamland, but managed to pay attention to most of the rest of class. He had science next, which was boring, as expected. The rest of his classes were easy enough and he soon found himself walking out of school. He started on his walk home, and made his way over to Kaleb.
“How was your day so far?” Jack asked, as he caught up to Kaleb.
“It was fun, I guess.” He replied. “Math was okay, but I’m probably going to have trouble with it later on, and wood shop is going to be a lot of fun.”
They turned onto Jack’s road, and Jack soon saw his house. “See you tomorrow!” He called over his shoulder, only to find that Kaleb was living a couple of houses down from his.
“See ya later, Jack!” Kaleb called back. Jack unlocked his door and walked in. Dropping his backpack on the ground and taking his shoes off, he started into the kitchen.
“Mom? Are you home yet?” He waited for a reply. After hearing none, he grabbed a snack, and went out to his backyard. He grabbed a chewed up frisbee from the ground, and called for his dog, Dakota.
“Dakota? You wanna play fetch?” He waggled the frisbee enticingly, and Dakota got up and trotted over. Throwing the frisbee, it flew around the corner of his house, high up in the air. Dakota ran after it, and Jack waited patiently for her to come back. When she didn’t come back, Jack jogged over and found Dakota staring up a tree. She looked at him and whined before turning back to the tree. Shielding his eyes from the sun, he looked up. The frisbee was stuck on a thin branch near the top of the tree. Jack sighed, and looked over at Dakota. She glanced at him and whined again. Making up his mind, Jack started climbing up the tree. Only stopping to find his next hand hold, he soon found himself on the branch that the frisbee was on. He reached out carefully, and grabbed it.
“Gotcha!” Making sure not to hit any other branches he pulled it towards himself. That little movement was enough to put him off-balance and Jack soon found himself falling towards the ground, twenty feet below. He screamed in terror and closed his eyes as he braced himself for the pain. When it didn’t come, he opened one of his eyes. He found himself floating about six feet off of the ground. Blinking in surprise, the ground rushed towards him again. Rolling on to his side, he managed to glimpse Dakota running away with the frisbee before he passed out.