Suddenly, time slowed down. I ran to the side, hitting a body that was hanging up and falling to the ground. It was the most disgusting thing that had ever happened to me. I had blood all over my school uniform.
I looked over, and saw Claudia get scratched by Umbra. She had avoided the blow for the most part, but Umbra’s abnormally long fingernails scraped her arm, she fell over, and now she was bleeding…again. I got up and ran over to her, helped her up, and the two of us ran for the ladder. I pushed Claudia up first, then I followed.
“Where are we going?” Claudia asked. “We can’t leave.”
“We’ll go to my dorm and wake everybody up,” I replied. “Then, we’ll do the same at yours. She can’t attack us if other people will see her.”
The two of us ran as fast as we could. We made it to my dorm, but it had been locked.
“Shit,” I said.
We ran around the back.
“We can climb up the building,” Claudia said. “Then, maybe we could jump over the fence.”
“Maybe,” I said.
We began climbing the windows. She was nowhere in sight, so I assumed we had some time.
Finally, we reached the roof. I jumped up and down a few times, trying to wake up the other boys.
Then, when I turned around, Umbra was standing directly in front of me.
“Fuck!” I yelled, and almost fell off the roof. “Claudia, jump!”
She ran and jumped, making it just over the fence. However, since we were several stories up, both of her legs were broken. She screamed.
“Shit,” I said.
I only had one choice: I had to jump.
I ran over to the edge of the roof, and just before I jumped, I turned around to look at Umbra. She looked pissed. Finally, with a little bit of hesitation, I jumped.
I got lucky and was able to grab a branch before I hit the ground. Then, I jumped down and helped Claudia up.
“Are you okay?” I asked her.
“What do you think?” she said.
I helped her walk through the forest. I knew where the town was, since I had gone through it on my way to the school.
We walked for around an hour. By now, the sun was almost coming up. Finally, we reached the town. I turned around, and didn’t see Umbra anywhere.
As soon as we arrived in the town, the people saw Claudia, and several of them called for help. An ambulance took us to a hospital in a small city a few miles from where we had arrived. I was checked over, but aside from a few minor cuts and bruises, I was perfectly fine. However, Claudia would need to be hospitalized for a few weeks.
After I was done being checked over, I looked at myself in the mirror. I was bruised, but other than that, I hadn’t changed much physically.
I was a beanpole; always had been. No matter what, I always looked like I ate almost nothing, even though I ate everything I could. My brown hair was down to my ears, and it was in my eyes. I was tall, around six feet four inches. It was strange; while I looked the same, I was no longer the person who had arrived at Deton academy. I had changed.
After a few days, I went in to visit Claudia, as I had every day since she had been admitted. However, this time, she finally brought up what neither one of us had wanted to talk about; the thing that had caused her to be like this; the thing that neither of us had spoken of, but what we also couldn’t stop thinking about.
“Simon, is it over?” Claudia asked.
“I think so,” I said. “At least, for us.”
She looked at me.
“Good,” she said.
We were silent.
“I lied to you,” I said. “On the first day of school. I told you that the only reason I was there was my antisocial behavior.”
“Wait,” Claudia said. “So you’re not fucked in the head? I knew it!”
“No, I am,” I said. “That’s just not why I was at Deton.”
“Then why?” Claudia asked me. “Did you rob a bank or something?”
“No,” I said, “although that’s not far off. I was a drug dealer. The fact that I not only wouldn’t get close to people, but couldn’t, made it extremely easy for me not to get caught, since the only people that would know would be my customers. However, my parents found out, and shipped me off.”
“But wouldn’t you need to talk to people to sell drugs?” she asked me. “I mean, you can’t sell anything without talking to somebody.”
“Well,” I replied, “I left notes for the prospective customers in their lockers. They would leave orders at drop points, and I would deliver to those same drop points. And it wouldn’t look strange, because those points would be somewhere it’s not abnormal for people to go on a daily basis, such as the bathroom, or in a dictionary on a shelf next to both our desks. It worked, and nobody even knew it was me.”
“Hm,” Claudia said. “It’s good, but still not as good as my teacher-prostitute ring story.”
She was looking extremely smug, and while I could have cut her down, I decided not to. Instead, I laughed.
“You’re hilarious,” I said.
“That’s what they say,” she said, smiling.
The two hadn’t heard anything about Deton since we arrived. Our parents had decided it was best to not tell us anything that could cause us stress, since Claudia was in such bad condition, and it could slow her recovery. In other words, we were completely cut off. That was probably a good thing, but it was a bit annoying at times.
I didn’t leave the hospital the entire time Claudia was in. Seeing as how she was my best (and only) friend, it didn’t seem right. She didn’t mind. Actually, she told me that she was glad I was there, because I was the only one who knew what she had gone through.
She was released on December 1, 2010. It was a nice day given the time of year, and we were both happy to be leaving Deton behind us. We swapped phone numbers, and went our separate ways. We didn’t plan on telling anybody; that would just make us look insane. And anyway, we had survived, and nobody could do anything for the seniors.
It was over for us. We would never have to deal with Umbra again.
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