Underneath the Surface

Ever have a nightmare where you've been greeted by one or many dark entities that immediately speed your heart rate up and send chills down your spine? Well, so has Raiden, but on a much larger scale. These creatures started coming only in his dreams, yes, but now they've fought their way into his reality, and all Raiden can do is hope that there is a light at the end of the dark, torturous tunnel he's been in ever since he was little.

Warning: contains some explicit language

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6. Friend?

"Raiden!"

I stopped and turned around, looking curiously down the hallway.  I saw Amber walking up towards me, careful not to bump into anyone.

Holy shit.  She's actually making further contact with me.  Let's just hope she's not part of one of Harris' little games.

She came up to me, smiling.  After looking at me for a couple of seconds, she cocked her head. "What? Did you think I was kidding?"

"Pretty much," I said bluntly. "Or playing with me. It happens a lot."

"Well I'm not playing with you," she stated as she put her black hair up in a bun, leaving her short forehead bangs hanging. "You're one of the only people around here who seems nice to be honest."

I snickered. "Me? Nice? Ha." I then turned around, heading down to my first class.  I had picked up my schedule from the office this morning.

"Yes, you. Nice," she said as she followed behind me. "Hey, you have English first too?"

"Yup," I said, popping the 'p'.

"I'm sorry to break it to ya, but you're going down the wrong hall."

 I stopped in my tracks, grunting. I could've sworn that that classroom was down this hall when I visited...

"Come on." Amber wrapped her hand around my arm and I cringed as she drug me down the hall.  Once we were heading in the right direction, I jerked my arm from her.  She looked back at me, but I offered her no apology.

"What did I say yesterday?" Amber asked.

Not everyone bites, Raiden.

I shook the memory out of my head. "Doesn't mean you can grab me whenever you want to," I said sternly.

"Alright, alright, I get it," she said angrily. "No touching."

I smirked, satisfied.

"Anything else I should know?" she sighed as we entered the classroom that smelled of old books.

I see creatures in the shadows, one of which ate my toothbrush this morning. "I'm a little dangerous to be around."

She howled at that, slapping her knee.  I ducked down as some of the other kids eyed us. "I think we're gonna get along just fine, Raiden."

"Not if you keep laughing like that," I mumbled before taking a seat at the back corner of the classroom.  Cliché spot for me, I know.

Amber sat down next to me, her cheeks still rosy from the outburst.  I looked away from her and pulled my notebook and a copy of The Tempest out of my bag.  I'd at least look like I was paying attention.  In reality, I had read Shakespeare a lot in the past, and had already read the play three times already.  Shakespeare's self-made words and style was a good distraction from my little "friends".

I turned to a blank page in my notebook and started doodling.  I thought I'd take this time to try and come up with a name for my most prevalent "friend" since eating a man's toothbrush was a way of saying, "I'm going to be your roommate for awhile." Well, at least I guessed that's what it meant.

"Raiden Foster."

"Here," I said without looking from my notebook.

"Could you take your hood off while I have your attention?" the teacher asked smugly.  I both admired and hated teachers like this.

I was pissed, but I complied.  I don't need to get sent to the principal's office on the second day of school.  Instead, I just threw more hair into my face.

"Thank you. Dennis Garatt?"

I glanced back at my paper and saw a quick sketch one of the those tree jumping demons on the sheet of paper.  A shiver ran up my spine and I turned the page.

Sometimes my brain told my hand to draw things that I didn't want to draw.

"You know, you look better without the hood on. More...how should I say this...open?"

A hiss escaped my lips at Amber's remark.  She giggled softly.

"Hey, what did you draw on that last page, anyways?" she asked.

I made an immediate effort to cover my paper better. "Nothing."

"So no over the shoulder stuff, either. Gotcha."

"I'm an independent guy," I said under my breath.

"More like a secretive one." I glared at her for a second or two before going back to my drawing. "Don't worry. I'm like that too."

Suddenly the teacher cleared her throat loudly, causing the whole class to jump.  Apparently we weren't the only ones not paying attention.

"Hello, everyone. I'm Mrs. Andrews. Since this is the first class I've had this year, we're going to do an exercise that will help us all get to know each other better."

Oh goodie. 

"We're going to go around the room and each of you will introduce yourselves, say a hobby of yours, along with your dream pet."

Good lord I cannot handle the absurdity of these questions right now.

"Let's start in the back. Raiden? Care to get us started?" Of course.

I mumbled profanities as I stood, looking clear up to the white board instead of at the already snickering kids.

"I'm-"

"Harris' bitch."

"Beezlebub."

"Raid who can't get laid."

My hands turned into fists as my back started to ache like it always does when I get severely angry.  Looks like I was going to have to deal with another four years of being ganged up on by the whole school.

"Raiden. I draw, and I'd have a..." I thought of my bathroom dweller at home. "St. Bernard."

I sat down quickly with my still stinging back that was now accompanied by my aching ribs.  I moaned in pain.

I hated it here.

I put my head on the table, looking slightly so that I could see Amber go.  I caught her staring at me before she collected herself and stood.

"I'm Amber. I like to play the violin. And, I'd probably want a rubber boa."

Her eyes grazed over the room before she sat down.  I heard the guys in front of me whispering about how well her blue dress fit on her.  I felt like punching them once there words settled in and I realized that Amber wasn't going to hang out with me for long.  The people here seemed interested in her in a good way, unlike the supposed bullies she had in her last school.

I shook my head and started drawing a big red circle with one of my colored pens.  I was already done with school, and it had only just begun.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I sat at a vacant lunch table, placing my backpack next to me.  Usually, I would be happily eating the only mediocre food that I could ever get, but my mom forgot to give me any money for the cafeteria this morning, so my stomach would have to stay empty for now.

I was about to grab my IPod, but Amber's presence stopped me from doing it.  She put a plate of food down in front of her.

"Are you not going to get lunch?" she asked.

I shrugged. "No money."

"Here," she picked up a piece of fruit. "Have an apple."

"My stomach is now in debt to you," I said, taking a huge bite out of the apple.

"Does that mean I get a favor?"

"Sure. I'll do you a favor." I cleared my throat. "Here's my favor to you. I'll get away from you, so you can actually have a good high school experience."

I started to get up, but so did Amber. "No, Raiden. Sit."

"Why?"

"Just sit."

For reasons unknown to me, I sat back down, scowling.  She followed suit.

"Look," she started as she picked up her fork. "I don't want to be friends with those people. I'm interested in you. You're as real as real can get."

"There are plenty of nice, real people here who are more popular than I am. Being around me will just get you a punch in the face," I said earnestly.

"Really? Because they all seem like bitches to me."

I rolled my eyes, taking a bite of my apple. "You're overgeneralizing."

"Even if I am, I'm not leaving you." She paused to take a bite of her mac and cheese. "I heard what those kids said in English."

I looked down and took another bite of my apple. 

"You don't deserve to be treated that way."

"You barely know me," I stated. "You don't know what I've done."

"It doesn't matter. No one deserves to be ridiculed like that."

"You're too kind," I said, putting my finished apple core on the table. 

"No," she grunted, cutting her ham in a violent manner. "Apparently I'm just the first person ever that's been nice to you."

"You know what-" Suddenly, I became a garbage can for someone's lunch.  Milk dripped down my nose as I stared blankly forward.  I spit out the liquid that managed to get into my mouth.

"Might want to get cleaned up before you go back down to hell," Harris said before he walked away from our table.  A couple of different groups erupted in laughter. 

"Jesus. How did I not see him coming? I'm so sorry-"

I got up abruptly, grabbing my backpack and slinging it over my shoulder.  I walked hastily towards the main doors.

"Dammit, Raiden, wait!" Amber cried out as I headed through the doors.  I immediately turned into the boy's bathroom down the hall.  I put my backpack down, then looked at my ruined face.

"This is why you don't stay in the cafeteria after getting your food, mate," I mumbled to myself as I started cleaning up.  It didn't take long for me to spot one of my creatures lurking in the shadows of one of the stalls.

I cringed when I saw. I whipped around and slammed the door shut.  The black, no haired beast roared at me through the stall with the power of a lion.

"SHUT UP!" I cried angrily, feeling the ache in my back rear its ugly head again. 

It just got louder.

I covered my ears and shut my eyes, falling to my knees on the floor.  It felt like my ears were bleeding.

God, I'm so sick of this.

After a minute, I managed to fight off the sound and get cleaned up.  I kicked the green bathroom door one more time out of spite before slipping out of the bathroom.  I heard the creature from the bathroom follow me out and into the hall.  I felt like screaming, but I couldn't.

 

"There you are."

I yelped and swung around.  Those crystal blue eyes met mine again. "Dammit! Leave me alone!"

I bumped into Amber's side, then made my way down the hall.  I flipped my hood back on and stuffed my shaking hands in my pockets. 

As I walked away, I couldn't help but hurt inside.  I prayed that Amber wouldn't waste anymore time with the likes of me, but on the other hand, I wanted her to be able to deal with me.  Because who else would?

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