Monday, June 6, 2011

Twenty Three


Episode Twenty Three

 Engage


You're happy to believe in something that's invisible but if it's staring you in the face— nope, can't see it! There's a scientific explanation for that: You're thick!
- The Doctor

   "So..." Tobie glanced sidelong at Holon. "How were things?"

   "Eventful."

   Tobie could hear the tinny way Holon’s breath hissed in and out. His gaze strayed to the slight spotting of blood around the other boy’s neck and he rolled his eyes. They walked in silence for a while, passing the library. "And the new demon?"

   "No sign of it. No dissipation of energy. No morphic residue. No leads." 

   "So it really is attached to Layah." Tobie shook his head. "This is going to get..."

   "Complicated."

   As they reached Mayan's Hall and entered the throng, Holon stopped dead. A few students bunched up behind him, the stream momentarily dammed. He turned against them and headed back down the stairs, ignoring the irritated remarks. Tobie, holding the door open at the top, sighed. He squeezed through the students, reached the side of the building, and vaulted over the rail.

   Holon was nearly at the quad when he caught up. 

   "What?"

   "Presence." Holon picked up speed, hands leaving his pockets, coat flapping behind him as ran.

   Tobie kept pace, alert, scanning the school grounds. 

   Holon slowed at the entrance to Westin's; the tall ivy covered iron gates. A bike zoomed up the drive. Its rider glanced at the boys ahead and fingers squeezed the breaks. 

   "Hey guys." Jacob's trainers skidded over the gravel as he came to a stop in front of them. 

   "Morning," Holon said. "Where's your sister?"

     "Oh, I dropped her off." Jacob swung a leg over the bike. "Dad was livid about the last time so I made sure she got to her class before coming up." He rubbed his forehead. "What's up?"

   Tobie glanced at Holon, then back to Jacob. He quickly pulled up a grin. "Oh, nothing. Just saw ya coming up and thought we'd meet ya. Finish the math homework?" He started walking backwards, encouraging Jacob to walk the bike beside him. 

   "Barely. Just this morning. Man algebra sucks."

   "To the inth degree," Tobie laughed, eyes on Holon.

   "Have a headache?"

   Jacob glanced over his shoulder. Holon stared down the quad, back to them. 

     "Huh?"

   Holon turned, considered him a moment, then walked forward. "Do you have a headache?"

   Tobie shot him a glare, which was ignored. 

   "Oh. Yeah. Not bad. I've been getting them in the mornings. It's weird though," Jacob added as the three of them headed towards Mayan's Hall. "They always spike right when I get to school. Must be environmentally triggered." He laughed. 

   Tobie joined in unenthusiastically, eyes on Holon. 


   The buzz of a teacher-less classroom rose as Tobie slid the door to 12B aside. They nodded to Eddie; at his desk but with the attendance role held regally before him.

   "Hey Jake!" Daniel called, sitting on top of Eddie's seat. "Where you online last night?"

   "I'll catch y'all at lunch," Jacob said to Tobie and Holon, heading to his seat. 

   Tobie nodded, heading to his row. 

   Gus reclined in his seat, feet propped up on the back of Esther's chair, arms crossed with a smug grin. "Hey."

   "Morning."

   "Talked to coach earlier." 

   "Oh yeah?" Tobie set his bag in his chair.

   "Yep." Gus turned his smirk up to him as Lampman entered the classroom. "Said I could play forward for the shirts today."

   Tobie's eye brows rose. "Did he?"

   "Yep." Gus grinned. "You're going down Sinclair." 

   Tobie matched his smile and leaned into his desk. "Bring it."

   The squeak of marker on dry erase board broke their friendly competition. Tobie lowered his bag to the floor and sat. 

   Morning passed with Lampman attempting to engage the class in their history lesson. A listlessness encompassed everyone and when the bell rang for lunch he looked as relieved as the students.
Tobie followed Holon out into the hall and waited by his locker for Gus and Jacob to catch up.

   "So ready for lunch. You feelin pizza today?"

   "I have to go."

   "Go?" Tobie frowned blankly. "Go...Oh. Lets go then."

   "No." Holon shoved his books into the locker and closed it with a snap. 

   "Oh come on--"

   "You will stay here. Watch for influx."

   "Man." Tobie's shoulder fell against the lockers. "You gotta be kidding me. Baby sitting again?"

   Holon glanced up at him, meeting his eyes.

   "Yeah. Ok, fine." Tobie shoved his hands in his pockets. 

   Holon turned and headed towards Mayan's large double doors. 

   "Hey," Gus said, pushing through the throng of students. "Jacob's meeting us. Hey, where’s Holon Is he taking off?"

   "Looks like." Tobie turned back to the hall. 

   "Whoa. Skipping out now."

   "Whatever. " Tobie stopped. "I'll meet ya there." Gus shrugged and continued down the hall, catching Jacob near the classroom. 

   Tobie’s teeth ground as he veered towards the large windows by the door. "What are you doing, stalker?"

   Esther jumped guiltily, bag banging against the glass. 

   Tobie snatched the strap, ripping it from her shoulder while stepping close enough to make her jerk backwards and into the window. A few passing students laughed. 

   Esther’s hands curled at her chest, not daring to reach for her satchel. 

   "Listen good, freak, because I'm not going to keep repeating myself. Keep. Your. Distance." His fist tightened, twisting her hip towards him. "Hear me?"

   Esther cringed, staring at the tiny space between them.

   "I said--"

   "Sinclare."

   Tobie glanced up to see Dr. Walker, 10A's homeroom professor, gazing at them impassively a classroom away. 

   "Stop loitering."

   "Yes sir." Tobie grinned. "Just saying a little goodbye." He leaned over Esther, lips brushing her ear. "See you later, sweetheart," he growl as she flinched. With a glance at Walker, busily haranguing a student for running, he dropped the bag. 

   Esther let it hit the floor, turning to the window, one hand on the pane. Her breath fogged the cold window. 

   "Watch yourself." Tobie threw her a wave over his shoulder, missing her lift a shaky finger and write one cramped word into the breath of glass.





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