*Note: This story is based off of a CD by a band called Armor For Sleep. The CD is titled "What to do When You Are Dead". This part (which is barely based off of 1 of the songs) is only 1/5 or 1/6 of the total story. Part 2 will be coming out in the next couple of weeks. Hope to see you there.
A fist flew into Mike's gut, forcing his breath through his diaphram. Mike doubled over, and fell to his knees, clutching the spot where Jon's punch landed. He let his head fall forward, and balanced himself on his forehead. A foot kicked Mike over. It was a gentler kick than what Rob usually gave to Mike, and Mike felt a pang of happiness for the leniency that Rob showed him. But Mike knew that a bruise in the shape of a check mark was still going to form.
"Emo faggot!" Jon said as he walked away, back to whatever circle of hell berthed him. Rob and Joe followed Jon, laughing with him. Before Joe left, he felt he needed to participate in the weekly ritual, so he delivered a kick to Mike's stomach. Luckily, the kick missed any part that allowed Mike to breath, and soon he caught his breath. But the sixteen-year-old still laid on the baseball field's dirt.
After a millennium, Steve strolled up. Standing over Mike he indifferently asked "Rob?". Mike's agreed, and hoped that Steve would stick out a literal helping hand.
"Pick your head up." was Steve's only help. It didn't help.
"It's hard to hold your head up when you just want to stay on the ground for the rest of your life. No one bothers you there; they just step over you and keep going on their way. But that's how most people are to me." was Mike's response. He didn't move from the semi-ball he had tucked himself into incase of another surprise attack.
Steve held out a hand, and Mike found it in the sky. Pulling him to his feet, Steve said "And that's why Rob and his boyfriends call you 'emo'. Plus, I wouldn't leave you on the ground; I'd add a kick to your ribs before I kept walking."
Some how, Steve and Mike had stayed friends over the rough years of anyone's life. They met in the third grade when they shared Mrs. Applewood for a teacher. They had almost every teacher for the next four years together, and even when they began to switch teachers after every period in eighth grade, they were still put in at least 3 classes together.
But when the High School years started, Mike began feeling a little depressed. He began dressing in all black to match his mood, wrote about death and suicide, and grew his hair over his eyes. This led to most calling him an "emo". Steve on the other hand, never changed, besides his height. Steve wasn't popular or unpopular, athletic or fat, smart or dumb, short or tall, or attractive or unattractive; Steve was the epitome of the average guy. And even though Mike gets murdered every week for being emo, Steve still sticks around.
"And plus, Jenny still loves you."
During Mike's first venture into being an emo, he met a girl named Jennifer. They were one in the same; both wrote and thought about death, both dressed and black, and both wore uncomfortably tight pants. Eventually, the two dated, and for the past two and half years have been going steady, save for when Jen's overly strict parents forced the couple to break up a month into the relationship. Although now Jenny has gone more "preppy", as Mike calls her, they continue their courtship to the dismay of most of the student body.
"True. She's the one bright spot in my black hole existence." Mike always talked like he was a character in one of his stories, even when he answered a question in school.
"And I'm just the space ship that gets sucked into it?" Steve responded, sounding offended, but clearly joking. At least Mike hoped that his assessment was right.
"Yeah, you got sucked in and can never escape as my gravity slowly crushes you." Mike responded, trying to keep a smile and laugh down at his own bad joke.
"Oh well. At least I'm not sucked into your brown hole, which would be something you would enjoy." Steve had anticipated Mike's response and began to sprint towards his car through the ankle high weeds of the old baseball field. Mike had missed with the annoyed push, knocking him off balance, but he was faster than Steve, even with his incredibly tight black jeans constricting his legs.
When Mike caught up to Steve, they were nearly at the dirt road where Steve's car was parked. Mike took a flying leap and landed on Steve's back. Steve, unprepared for the sudden landing of 150 pounds to his back, fell to the ground. Mike made sure Steve's face was pushed into the hard earth after they landed.
Steve didn't realize that Mike had taken the keys from his carabineer that hung from his right belt loop until Mike opened up the 1996 Ford Thunderbird's copper door.
"That last sentence entitles me to drive."
"Fine, go ahead, I don't give a fuck." Steve said, getting up to his knees. As he stood up to his full height he said "You know, for a guy who just got the shit beat out of him, you run pretty damn fast."
"Yeah, well, I'm a giant scab now. I've been beat up for the last two years; there's not much more never damage they can do now." Mike said, starting up the car.
When Mike woke up the next morning, his prediction was right; a large Nike bruise had swelled up right between his seventh and eighth rib. He weaved his way through the mess of clothes and other miscellaneous items on his bedroom floor and sat down on his bed. He held his head in his arms with his eyes closed, and dug his elbows into his knees.
After a few minutes, Mike picked his head up, breathed in, and said softly, so he didn't wake his parents (nor let them know of his weekly beating) "I'm tired of this shit. I'm emo because they beat me up, and they beat me up because I'm emo." He sat in silence, feeling sorry for himself, for the way he turned out, for not being what his parents, and more importantly Jenny, wanted him to be.
"I'm gonna look out for myself for at least today, and hope that things turn out better. I'm just so tired of feeling so bad about myself." Mike promised to his hands. He declared his promise again, only this time to his room loudly before a "Are you okay, sweety?" rose through the floorboards and startled Mike into a slightly shaky affirmative. An explicative escaped under his breath afterwards.
Mike looked on his floor, like he normally did in the mornings for a pair of semi-clean tight jeans to wear. But he stopped; he went over to his closet and looked for something less tight-fitting, but also didn't make him look like he was headed for church. Miraculously, he was successful, and also found an inoffensive shirt to wear. He threw on the clothes, and headed over towards the mirror. He looked at the piercing he had along the tops of his ears, along with the little metal nub that stuck out from the middle of his lower lip. Carefully, he began to remove each one, and placed them on his dresser.
He came back to the mirror, to see if anything else would have to be removed. Yeah, the target on my back, he jokingly thought, the gun in my mouth, and my current social image. But Mike knew he couldn't do any of that; he was just a messed up teenager trying to repair something that was irreparable. But, as Atticus Finch put it "just because we were licked a hundred years before doesn't mean we still shouldn't try".
Mike cleared off the twice used razor blades on his dresser. He wiped them right into the trash can that sat next to his dresser. They fell heavily against the cold, blue metal of the wastebasket, as if they held the last bit of his former self. If only it was that easy to change yourself and wipe away the past.
He took one finally look in the mirror, to make sure he was alright. He then realized he still had a stalagmite of hair hanging in front of his face. He grabbed a pocket knife and tried to butcher it off, but it only pulled the hair at its roots and hurt. "I'll make an appointment after school to get it cut," Mike said, rubbing the sore spot on his scalp. He pushed the hair behind his ear, hoping that it wouldn't look terrible.
The final glance at the mirror showed Mike that there was nothing left to fix on his body. But he looked at the spot where Rob had kicked him the day before; even though the average-looking shirt cover the bruise, Mike still knew where it was. It was a poignant reminder of what he had done that morning; that even though he covered himself in these new clothes, that the old, emo Mike was still lurking underneath somewhere. But bruises go away after a while, right?
"Hey babe!" Mike said as Jenny opened the maroon Mercury's rusty 1980's door. "Wow!" Jennifer said, looking at Mike for a moment before continuing into the car.
"'Wow!', as in 'wow, you look different', or as in 'wow, you look totally awesome and it's great that you're changing and I love you'?" Mike said, giving Jen a kiss before driving off to school.
"The second one." Jennifer said, planting a kiss on Mike's cheek. Mike drove on in silence for a couple of minutes before Jenny posed the question "So...why?"
"Why what?" Mike responded, not taking his eyes off the road.
"Why this change? Why now? Why didn't you cut your hair?" Mike thought that she had more questions, but she didn't blurt them all out, something Mike was thankful for.
"I've decided to be normal for once in my high school career. I'm tired of getting beat up, especially the one yesterday, and I'm -" Mike didn't have a chance to answer the final question before Jenny cut across him.
"A fight? And you didn't tell me?" As good of a kid and girlfriend Jen is, she sometimes had that maternal instinct kick in when Mike was/did something illegal/morally wrong.
Jenny slapped Mike in the ribs, catching half of the shoe print under Mike's shirt. Mike yelped, gripped the steering wheel tighter, and closed his eyes for a second before remembering he was driving. He didn't feel like dieing today.
"Fuck, that was where Rob hit me!" Mike said angrily, as if she would know where he was hit, or still hurting.
But rather than anger coming from Jenny's lips, it was a kiss of sympathy, a sweet hug and the words "Awww, my poor boy". From anyone else's mouth, it would have sounded sarcastic, but the way Jennifer said it, it was real concern, something Mike needed right now.
"So," Mike said, as Jennifer released her embrace, "after I get my haircut, I'm going to go shopping for some regular clothes at the mall. Probably not Ambercrombie, but definitely not Hot Topic." Mike turned to her and smiled at his little joke "You want to come? I'm going to need your help picking out clothes" Mike looked back at the road, awaiting her response.
"Mike, you know I can't go, especially now with that huge Chem mid-term coming up next week. I suck at Chem, and I need to pass it if I want to go on to Physics next year." Mike knew Jenny's schedule very well: after getting out two periods early, Jen went to her job as an EDC attendant, got home at 5:30, took a well deserved nap until dinner, then only had until 9:30 to go out with Mike. Her father was afraid of letting her out past then, because he thought that they would have sex. But the curfew never stopped them.
"Come on, you can skip studying this one night. Look, this is really important to me, and I need your help. If you won't do it for me, at least take it as a chance to go the mall." Mike pleaded. Jenny laughed at the final sentence; she hated going to the mall with her friends or parents, as she saw it for a breeding ground for catcalls and gossip.
"Fine, I'll go with you. But only on one condition; that it's date" Jenny said, smiling as she faced Mike, who mirrored her smile. "God, I love you so much Jen."
Jennifer kept the smile on her face as she said "I love you, too."
Mike showed up at Jennifer's house at the agreed time; 7:30. Mike sat in the car, wallet in his back pocket, and dressed in nicer clothes that he unearthed from his closet. His parents commented on the change Mike had shown; they were especially in love with his new haircut. They said it showed off Mike's handsome face better, although Mike missed having to move it out of his way every once in a while.
After a few minutes, Mike checked the time; 7:36. He looked at the door for half a minute, as if by sheer concentration would the house spit out his beloved girlfriend. Soon he gave up his attempt at ESP, and got out of the car to knock on the door.
As he raised his hand to ring Jenny's doorbell, he heard her laughter. Which wasn't strange to hear; but it was mingled with another laugh that wasn't her dad's or mom's. It sounded younger, and male. Mike's heart stopped; could Jennifer be cheating? No, it could just be a cousin, or young uncle.
But something made Mike not want to touch the doorbell. He began to sweat as more laughter wafted through the door and into the night. Mike didn't want to ring the bell, but he didn't want to find out what was going on behind the house's walls. Finally, Mike gathered enough courage and timidly walked over to the huge picture window in the front of the house. Mike reached the window, and turned his body to get a look around the room he suspected the noise to be coming from. Suddenly, his jaw dropped.
There sat Jennifer, on the lap of an unknown man, holding her face nose to nose with him.
Like this? Want more? Have the need to finish stuff once started? Here's a link to chapter 2!