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Caught Red Handed

By @CoriBlack

1. Tasting Rain // Alexander

I hold onto myself, shaking as the rain comes down on me. I had no coat, no one picking me up, and it was too far to walk home from here. I was stuck at the school in late April, and for some reason, Mother Nature hates me and decided to rain on me, all alone late at night.

My mother is going to kill me when I eventually get home, ever since my father died she’s been drinking, making her emotional and extremely angry all the time. Luckily she hasn’t been hitting me. . . Yet. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my mom with all my heart it’s just. . . I’m scared. I’m scared she’ll break, and when that happens she’ll either start abusing me or kill herself. And if that happens, I might break.

With a sigh of irritation, my body begins shaking from frustration, not just the cold. My clenched jaw made ringing in my ears, slowing growing louder and louder. My eyes water, slowly burning, warm compared to the cold rain. A few tears slip from my eyes and down my cheeks, making a salty mix with the fresh-water rain.

A tear makes its way into my mouth, making me gag at the salty water. I was always sensitive to salt. I’m bawling at this point, panicking inside my mind. Asphyxiation tries to pull a rope around my lungs, like suicide to the organs. But I manage to take control of my body, finally able to breathe and stop shaking.

Hearing a door open and close, along with slight laughter, I suddenly feel like shrinking into my jacket.

“Night, Mr. Clark! Be careful!” An unmistakable voice sounds, and wet footsteps rush past me.

“Night Tyler! I will. You sure you can get home?” Mr. Clark, the physics teachers asks, and Tyler laughs.

“I’ll be fine, get home.”

Then the drum of Mr. Clark’s old truck drives away. Someone, supposedly Tyler, comes up next to me, which surprises me and makes me flinch.

You see, Tyler is. . . the complete and utter opposite of me. Everyone loves him, he’s a grade A student– no, A+ student, incredibly popular. Whereas me? I’m the oddball, everyone either hates me or doesn’t even know I exist. I’m bullied, invisible, and a complete wreck. The only thing good about me is my ability to read.

“Hey, what are you doing out here? It’s pouring.” Tyler’s voice makes me jump, not expecting it.

I fumble for words, not wanting to lie, yet not wanting the truth to come out either. “I– I’m w-waiting for my– mom to pick me u-up.” I lie, on impulse.

“Come on, I know that’s not true. . . You’ve been out here for hours, why?” Tyler asks, with what sounded like empathy. I don’t answer, just keep my head down so I can’t see his features, and he can’t see mine. “Come on bud, it’s not like I’m gonna hurt you. . . What’s up?” Tyler puts a warm hand on my shoulder.

In that moment I knew my life wasn’t the same.

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