A gang of four boys, around the age of seventeen, were roaming the streets of Lodren at eight o'clock in the evening. The day was slipping into dusk, permitting the street lamps to give a warm glow. The group of four spotted a girl about their age in the distance and swiftly paced towards her, making a circle around her.
"So," one of the group said. "You enjoy spreadin' rumours?" This made her confused and nervous. Her knees start to tremble a little.
"What are you talking about?" she asked, with worry in her voice. She resisted the urge to swallow as to not show fear.
"You know exactly what we're talking about." said a second. He spoke with an intimidating, familiar tone.
"Leave me alone." she snapped, now showing irritation. She tried to leave, only to be pushed back into the circle.
"Sure we will." said another group member. "For 5 ginto." Two more boys snickered. One of them took a swig from his can of cola and threw it behind him, onto the pavement. In the distance, a younger teen with a satchel was walking under a streetlight with a satchel over his shoulder.
He wore a school uniform consisting of a white button-shirt, black trousers and a black blazer. He stood at a height of about five feet and seven inches, shorter than the people in front of him. His hair was brown and unkempt and his eyes were an emerald green, and they focused on the boy who threw the can.
He spotted the can on the floor and then the older boys standing in a group. He clenched one of his fists in rage before walking a bit closer to the group, growling to himself a little. His strides were heavy and showed his irritation.
"Hey!" he shouted, earning their attention.
"What does he want?" giggled one of them. They were all expecting the same thing: for him to say something cliché like "leave the lady alone!" But what he said was quite different.
He pointed to the other side of the road and yelled: "There's a bin right over there!" They were dumbstruck, and rightly so. This wasn't exactly the most heroic thing to say, was it?
After a few seconds of confusion, one of the boys smiled in sudden clarity.
"I know who this kid is." he exclaimed cockily. "Sam Winters. He's a year eleven at our old school. Spent his break times sleeping on the field because no one could stand him. This guy's a fuckin' loser!"
One of the others laughed with him.
"Oh yeah, now I remember!" he retorted. "He's got no friends!" Sam was somewhat unaffected by the comments.
"So, are you going to pick it up or are you just going to stand around in your little band of dumbasses?" he asked calmly, which made One of the older kids glared coldly at him. He then pushed the girl to one side and started pacing towards him.
"What did you say?" he shouted, landing a good, solid punch in Sam's face. But his body stayed perfectly still and his fist clenched tightly again.
"That was unpleasant," he said, still remaining calm with a fist in his face. He hadn't even raised his hands.
"The hell!?" cried Sam's so-called attacker as he took another punch, landing in the same place. Then another. And another. But Sam remained perfectly still.
A volley of punches were landed over course of a minute and the youth was starting to feel tired. Not only that, but his friends gave him a look of disappointment. He felt rather pathetic; unable to get a flinch out of someone who was mocked by him and his friends.
Sam had eventually decided that this was getting annoying and delivered a hit of his own. The other young man found himself soaring through the air when Sam delivered his fist into his chin. He flew, void of all signs of consciousness, and flopped down by the others upon landing.
"What was that?!" one of the elder ones cried.
"Let's just leave, mate." replied another. "This guy's bad news."
They started running in the other direction as soon as their knees stopped trembling. But, realising they had forgotten their friend, one of them went back to pick him up and dragged him off comically. Reverting into his calm self again, Sam picked up the can, strolled to the other side of the street and binned it, sighing in disappointment.
The girl was in a state of bewilderment, she picked herself up onto her feet and ran over to him as fast as she could. "Hey!" she yelled, approaching him. She slowed down and showed some signs of shyness when Sam turned around and noticed her. "Um... thank you for that." she mumbled.
"Huh?" Sam responded. "When did you get here?" The girl's shy, grateful expression quickly changed to a confused one, almost as if to say: "Are you kidding me?"
"I've been here the whole time!" she exclaimed. Looking down, she followed with: "You saved me back there. Don't act like you don't know."
Adjusting his school uniform, he replied; "I have no idea what you're talking about. I was just annoyed that that guy littered. It's a pet peeve of mine." He seemed completely unaware of the subtle offence in his attitude towards the older girl.
"You're Sam, aren't you?" she asked politely. "Sam Winters?"
"It's nice to meet you." She continued. "My name is Sally. I went to your school last year, and I thought that I'd recognised you some--" She stopped, realising that Sam had started walking off.
"Not that it wasn't nice meeting you or anything. But I've gotta be home soon and that little situation kinda delayed me." he said without turning to look at her. Still walking, he raised his hand in a right angle. "Have a good day, Sally." She wasn't sure whether to smile or scowl at him, so she decided to just watch him walk off into the distance for a few seconds before continuing on her way home. She noticed that Sam had a certain, strange quality; half annoying, half admirable. He had a habit of being awkward, his eyes welcomed conversation but, at the same time, made it seem like something to hesitate doing. He seemed like the type of person who would stop a bank robbery, but only for his own reasons.
Sam continued walking through the streets until he reached his destination: a small bungalow. He opened the front door and walked into the bungalow, closing the door behind him and locking it. He dumped his bag on the floor and went into the kitchen, where he took a can of cola out of the refrigerator. He brought his drink back into the living room with a tired walk and began to read a textbook.
"I can go to sleep when I've finished this part." he said to himself, proceeding to sit in absolute silence.
He studied for a few minutes before putting the book down. He wanted to do one thing before he went to bed: look at the flames.
He brought up his hands, and they became coated in a beautiful orange fire. It slithered around his arms, performing a dance that seemed magical. Of course, Sam never learned magic. There were no magic schools in Londren. This was different.
These flames, that swam around his body, were his secret. And nobody was allowed to know about them.