20XII Part 1/12
January 15th, 20XII; January 30th, 20XII
It's a Sunday. Two weeks into the second term and the kids are already contemplating why they were so happy to have come back. High school is a strange mistress. At this point in their lives it's hard to have a life outside. But inside, the rules and restrictions can sometimes be unbearable.
There are those that ponder, contemplating such rationale and then those that fall by the wayside of simple exposition into hatred. It used to be said that college was to be the best time of one's life. Then the recession hit and the younger generations would be just as screwed as the rest.
Not much to look forward to when secondary education is daunting because of the necessity of at least a second job just to make tuition payments and the occasional portion of a bar tab. It can be mind-crushing. Though such is far beyond where those easy-street thinkers dare venture. Except this is about him. One of the few who hold the weight of a world and then some on his shoulders.
His name is Michael Lamb. Broken down into word meanings, he could be considered a 'god-like sacrifice.' Puts a lot of pressure on someone especially when they're an emancipated minor who's still suffering from the recent death of his mother and constant reminder that once this term ends he'll have little means to make it in the real world.
It's pretty depressing really. Or so that's what flows through his mind. Seventeen years old and with but one true friend. Matheui Rouzer. A 14 year old kid who, like him, has no parents. Michael finds it funny that amongst all the other 'associates' he has made, he feels he can only trust Rouzer. Perhaps it's because of their similar situations or maybe it's just the fact that they share a common love of strategy games.
Most of his peers find games such as those childish by this point but there's just something about them that he can't shake. Perhaps Michael held on to such a hobby as a way to cope with having to 'grow up' so fast. You see the last time he ever felt like a kid was back when his father was still overseas and it was just his mom and sister. Things seemed peaceful back then. He felt safe. No matter what happened in the day, as soon as he made it home he could feel all his troubles slip away.
He loved his mother. She was the best mother in the world in his eyes. She worked all day but still had dinner ready every night and would even make sure they were up and about in the mornings for school. She worked so hard for the family. So much so that he even decided to get a job himself to help out. Although she was against it she really appreciated the help. He felt it was just the right thing to do. That and besides his sister was too young to really understand what was going on. Which may be ironic since he'd fold to that same rationale when their father came back and he would turn towards emancipation.
But all of this is mere excess that floats around his mind from day to day. The weight that only builds, never seeming to lessen. It's Sunday and already the thoughts have started. Things'll be okay though. It's Sunday. The day him and Rouzer tend to hold their matches. Ever since they've known each other, going on four years, they've made it almost tradition to challenge one another to some type of war/strategy game on Sundays. They usually play online but sometimes even shift to tangible boards and pieces because it hasn't been that long since digital beat out analog.
It was at those times when his mind could be clear. He was just Michael Lamb. Not Michael the student. Michael the older bother. Michael the senior. Michael the Dinning Services carver. Not even Michael, the one feigning interest in things that don't really matter when you're not as terribly fortunate as kids your age, so as to keep up perceptions with the people who've come to rely him you to fill the 'quota.' Perhaps the only time he could just be free of the restrictions and expectations of others.
Yeah. It's a Sunday. But for Michael Lamb, it'll be a good one.
It's a Monday. Four weeks now into the second tem yet, most students have only experienced the first two. Life was far from perfect in this dawn of a new year, but it wouldn't be until now that the world itself would seem to shift from reality to some sort of fantasy. Student turnout at 90% of schools, both public and private, had been dwindling ever since the events that came to unfold in the weeks prior. It's the year 2012 and all superstition aside, it appears as though it really has become the end to some people's worlds.
Call it hysteria or worse but, it seems as though some have taken it unto themselves to bring pain and suffering to the masses. The first true scare of it's nature since the early 80s to mid 90s. Some dastardly individual or copycats had crossed a line that no one could have foreseen. Motives unclear as no demands were made but the target, to be put simply, high schools and middle schools around New York City. The kind of world we live in where children become targets? News reports had already started pointing fingers. Some feel weary of terrorists; politicians have turned to their end-all scapegoat of video games while right-wing conservatives; oh, they blame America as they did during the war on terrorism. They see the carnage and destruction brought about as a symbol of justice being wrought on a society that in their views is too 'accepting' of certain 'cultures' and 'lifestyles.'
Though none of that's terribly significant to this day. It's the 30th of January and as Matheui Rouzer is just finding himself awakening in the late afternoon, he yawns and wonders what he'll be able to do to kill time. Poor choice of words given this time of heightened fright but being alone in a a four room, three bathroom, four story, house means not having to worry about stepping on anyone's nerves.
Matheui was an average kid. He did whatever was required of him by his family and by his teachers. School work wasn't terribly difficult for him so he never felt the need to complain and being that his parents were practically non-existent to begin with it wasn't as though there was much to damper his mood. Well perhaps aside from being bored since with his parents constantly traversing the world for business reasons, whenever he was out of school he'd simply be alone. No other siblings and very few friends--who weren't trying to extort him for having an empty house or his well-intentioned monthly allowance.
Though there was Michael. Michael Lamb. He was a senior at their high school and, a good friend. Matheui's best friend actually. He met Michael almost five years ago when he decided to take up a martial art. Michael had apparently been going for years already and was seemingly one of the school's best/worst students. While sparring he had a keen sense and was quite intuitive although, his forms left much to be desired which was why after all the time he'd spent there he was still just at the second rank even though he was allowed to go toe-to-toe with those of rank five or more. To watch him spar was something in and of itself. He always brought something new to the fray and never seemed to fight with anything shy of jovial intrigue. Never anger or rage. Always with a smile on his face but with a drive to be better, to never surrender. That's what got Matheui interested in talking to him in the first place. He was hesitant at first but once they started talking he found Michael to be one of the coolest people he knew.
They had fun back in those days. And then when Matheui made it out of middle school they would continue the friendship in high school. Michael had, shortly before Matheui graduated, to quit martial arts. It wasn't going to be until much later that Matheui would find out the true reasons why but that didn't damper their friendship as they still would hang out. And especially the special Sundays when they'd have their war/strategy games/matches.
In all the years they had their war games, Matheui had almost always been able to beat him. Their play styles were like night and day. Matheui would utilize his resources to their fullest but Michael seemingly could never commit to losing his soldiers. Most matches could be won if Matheui just destroyed enough of his adversary's troops or focused on destroying his heavy weaponry. It was easy enough to figure out but actually getting it done would serve as the reason the games could still be worthwhile after all those years for him. There was just something about his friend that he just couldn't put his finger on. He was a good person. Noble even. Just being around him, Matheui felt like he could be a better friend, a better student, and just a better human being.
It's a Monday and although most parents have forbade their children from going to school until the 'psycho' or 'psychos' are caught, he knew Michael would be in class. And being that his parents probably didn't even know about the situation--being on the other side of the world and all--he could go to class as well. It's a Monday but school's out for the day by now, he thinks to himself. He figure tomorrow he'll definitely try to make it since it'd be far more interesting that being in an empty house continuing to talk to himself all day again.
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