Today was a good day. It was the second day in a row Callum had not fought with anyone. Something his mom should be proud of.
Callum’s fist loves nothing more than to make contact with someones face. Two days. It must be some sort of record. He grips his bike. His fingers are tightly wound around the handlebars.
He zooms down the freeway with the fast wind whipping him in his unprotected face. He’s not wearing a helmet. Brutal winds blow through his short hair. He loves the feeling of freedom.
The feeling that he could go anywhere on his bike. He knows that he must stay grounded. He can’t leave.
He feels like he’s bound to a leash and anytime he feels liberated Reality tugs him back a few feet. He nears his house and drives in the middle of the street.
It’s too late to for drivers to be out especially on Caine Street. He lives on a small side street. It's a dead end so there's not much point to it.
Callum cuts through his lawn and throws his bike inside the shed in the front of his lawn. He lives in an old small house. Its painted a faded blue but the paint is chipping away.
Its roof is in rough shape but they don’t have the money to fix it. It has a small porch where Callum used to play with his toys.
There's a large window on the second floor, where Callum would watch the girl from across the street. And the small chimney on the roof. Callum sometimes goes up there to get away.
Their front lawn is horrific. Three garden gnomes stare back at him. A pink tricycle lays still in the brown overgrown grass. He kicks it a couple of feet and the wheels spin in the air.
There's a loud sound coming from indoors. Elia opens the front door. Elia is Callum’s younger brother.
Callum and Elia look nothing alike; Callum has brown hair while Elia has black hair,
Elia's eyes are a light brown but Callum was born with bright blue eyes and Callum has a tone skin color but Elia is pasty white.
“Hurry up,” Elia says gesturing for Callum to come inside. Callum jogs up to the door. Elia shuts the door behind him.
“Is…” Callum begins to say.
“No, she's still at the hospital,” Elia interrupts.
“Right. And…” Callum says
“Linda is asleep,” Elia sighs.
Callum decides that he’s done talking. He marches up the stairs. Loudly but not loud enough to wake the baby. He shuts the door to his room and jumps on the bed. Everything starts bubbling.
His head throbs. Every night it’s the same thing. He spirals and the spiral tightens and tightens until finally, he reaches the impossible end where he’s dropped into a vortex.
He’s whipped around and around and suddenly time seems to freeze and he’s caught in a world filled only with his own negativity and depression. Callum hops off his bed before things go too far.
He reaches into his desk drawer and pulls out a bottle of pills. He opens the orange container.
“Xanax?” Elia asks as he appears at the door.
“Something like that,” Callum responds. He shoves the pill into his mouth. Elia passes his room suddenly no longer interested in the situation. Callum strides over to the window.
He pulls a pack of Virginia Slims out of his pocket. He strikes a match against the originally white window that has turned brown from the number of matches he's lit.
He shoves the cigarette into his mouth and pulls the window up. His muscular arms bulge from the pressure. He takes a deep breath of the addictive nicotine-filled smoke.
He rests his arms on the window sill. His head rests into the cold, still night air. The smoke dangles in his lungs. He promised his mom he would stop smoking.
He lets the smoke out of the corner of his mouth. He waits for it to diffuse into the cold night air before tossing his cigarette into the ashtray locating on the window ledge. Time to sleep.
Callum pulls his motorcycle out of the shed. He kicks his feet up and grips the clutch. The motorcycle tears down the bland highway. It’s mostly deserted.
Callum dodges the few cars that fly across the road. He stares at the grey stretch of sky ahead. The sky used to be blue. That’s what his mom told him anyway.
“Cal! Cal!” A voice shouts from across the sea of many students. He tries to find out whos calling him. It’s a short kid. She has blonde hair with red highlights.
She has purple eyes which are clearly injections.
“Lina,” Callum says opening his arms to embrace her. Lina had been Callum's best friends since grade 8. Lina squeezes him tightly.
“Did you do your homework?” Lina shoves a piece of paper at Callum's chest before he can answer. He gives a chuckle and thanks her. Callum rubs the back of his neck.
“I’ll see you later Angelina.”
“Right, bye!” She says giving him a gentle pat on the back. The rest of Callum’s day is a spiral going down. Finally, he can’t sink any lower he excuses himself from his class.
He saunters to the boy's bathroom to take another pill. His throat is dry and the pill won’t go down. Callum coughs it back up into his hand and throws it on the ground.
Everything starts to hurt. Not physically but mentally. His thoughts are like daggers. The daggers dig deeper and deeper and the only thing that makes the daggers disappear is the pills.
The pills. The pills aren’t something that Callum broadcasts to the entire school.
“Hall?” Callum turns around to see Danny Duketa snickering about something.
“I heard you got the pillz” Danny slurs. Clearly, he’s already taken something.
“I don’t have anything,” Callum says. That doesn’t stop Danny. He moves closer to Callum. He can smell the alcohol on his tongue.
“Give it to me!” he yells. Suddenly Danny gets to close. Callum's hand balls into a fist. He raises it and thrusts it forward. His fist makes contact with Danny’s face.
Everything is gone all the pain. One punch at a time. Sweet relief. His knuckles hurt but it doesn’t matter. Callum just wants to punch harder. He hasn’t even realized what he’s done.
Panting Callum pulls his hands away from Danny’s bloody face. Callum has a gash on his finger from punching Danny in the
mouth. Three of Danny's teeth are missing. They’re scattered across the bathroom floor. Blood drips from Danny's mouth. His face is swelling and one of his eyes are closed. Danny sits up.
He cups his bulging eye and scooches away from Callum until he hits the wall. Callum isn’t done yet. He walks over.
“Don’t tell anyone,” Callum says as he towers over the terrified teen.
Callum storms out of the bathroom. He has to get the blood off his hands.
“Mr. Hall.” Callum turns around to see Principal Sanders. He's been caught literally, red handed. It’s gonna be another suspension.
Lina walks home next to Callum. Callum holds a white slip title SUSPENDED. Today is not a great day, it's the last straw.