Chapter 7: Extra-curricular activities
Eddie paused as he saw Maddie charge down the stairs and around the corner into the basement of the school, and cast his eyes to the ceiling in frustration. She was surely about to get into a world of hurt, but if his father had imparted one thing to him over these years, it was that you never let a friend go into danger alone.
Even when you couldn’t actually fight.
Yes, his father had on more than one occasion suggested –sometimes forcefully– that he join Maddie’s martial arts classes, but he couldn’t find it in himself to do it. Not that he was a pacifist, it just didn’t feel right. Similarly, his mother sometimes took his refusals as an opportunity to try to get him to come to the range with her, as she was not only a gold-winning Olympian in the marksmanship sports, but quite famous in the Single Action Sports Shooting competitions. (She had the reputation of being the modern-day Annie Oakley, but she insisted she was better than that, even.) But this too, didn’t quite fit his style.
Despite all of that, he found himself hurtling his way into the dimly lit basement, hot on Maddie’s tail.
As she dashed down the stairs, she felt her heart rate raising, and through her training, her vision became sharper, revealing a figure standing at the end of the hall. Through her heightened senses, she recognized Helga, a sixth-grader who was not only the head of the field hockey team, but the principal’s daughter, and she was prepared for company, holding her hockey stick over her shoulders.
“Well, well. Madison, right?” she sneered, “Hope you’re ready for a whoopin’.”
With a well-practiced move, she spun the stick off her shoulders, and into a ready position.
Maddie grinned. She ate bullies like Helga for breakfast. It seemed weird that she had never come up on her bully radar, though. Regardless, she streaked towards her and leaped with a flying front kick, but was dodged easily. It seemed that she may have underestimated her opponent. She spun her stance, and threw a tornado kick.
As her foot arced towards Helga’s head, she interposed her hockey stick in between them, and a sharp pain flowed up her leg and out of her as a shout of agony, her stick was reinforced! She managed to tumble away and back up, wincing as she put weight on her foot.
“This is no good,” she thought, “I think I fractured my leg.”
“Eddie! Get in there, I got this!” She shouted, and advanced on Helga again.
Eddie saw the two of them mix it up with a flash of motion, and Maddie come out worse for the wear. Despite that, she still had the swagger to keep fighting. He sometimes wished he was like that, but as it was, he seriously hoped he wasn’t about to be pulverized by a cranky sixth-grader with a blunt object. Taking advantage of the highly polished linoleum flooring, he dove to the floor as he neared the melee, slid past them and thankfully out of the range of that brutal looking hockey stick. Standing, he approached the door and saw the principal reaching back to take another swing at Maddie’s mother.
Taking a deep breath, he pulled open the door and charged inside.
Chapter 8: Detention
Eddie slammed into the room, startling the principal, who looked up from her bloody handiwork.
Principal Thrope scowled, “Dee! Take care of the kid. I think we’re about to finally have a breakthrough here.”
MissDemeanor nodded and donned a half-mask.
“Unless you start seeing things my way, it’s detention for you.” She snapped her fingers at Eddie, sending a series of waves of light at him.
Yeah. She was right. His parents would be furious if he got detention. Better to just obey authority, that was safe.
“Yes ma’am,” he said, listing somewhat.
“Good. Now sit down, and be silent. This is a grown-up conversation we’re having here.” She pointed to a chair against the wall.
That sounded like a great idea.
He sat and stared vacantly ahead, oblivious to his surroundings.
The tiniest of niggles wiggled in the back of Eddie’s brain. This wiggling became more insistent when the wall crashed in revealing a muscular man in a flashy costume.
No. Best to not pay it any mind. I might get in trouble.
But the man seemed awfully familiar though.
Ah. I see. He’s pretty angry. But the Principal is shouting something at him. Must not be very important, though, because he couldn’t seem to quite make it out. He’s thrown a filing cabinet at her.
That niggle was back. And this time, it was back with a vengeance.
The big guy is shouting at me for some reason, but I’d be better off just ignoring him.
Maddie was thrown into the room by Helga and slid to a stop beside Eddie, who looked down at his fallen friend. A brief ripple of emotion crossed his face, then he returned to staring into the mid-distance.
Miss Meanor points at the large man and shouts something very angry and very specific. He seems to have taken it seriously, and staggers a bit. As he did so, the principal leaped on his back, and revealed a mouth full of large –and lengthening– fangs, before burying them in his shoulder, he screamed out in pain, and that brought that persistent niggle to the very front of his mind.
Eddie leaped out of the chair in horror as his father fell under the weight of the principal.
MissDemeanor gestured at him with both hands this time, but the waves of light crashed against him without effect.
Suddenly, everything came into focus. It was as if his entire life had been lived in a haze. He could see everything in the room in such detail, that it almost made him dizzy. He stared at MissDemeanor and could see into her. He knew what to do.
Reaching out with his mind, he touched her head.
MissDemeanor’s eyes narrowed and shook wildly before falling to the floor, trailing a plume of vomit as she went.
He turned to Principal Thrope, who had just realized what happened. She stopped worrying his father with her bite and growled at him, her features becoming bestial.
“Down! Bad doggie!” Eddie shouted.
As he reached out for her head, he saw Helga behind him. She Raised her hockey stick in the air to fell him, he raised both hands to the air, feeling everyone’s position out with his mind.
Like a sack of grumpy potatoes, Helga fell without resistance, but her mother continued to approach, unfazed by the vertigo he had inflicted on the others.
“Get back!” He shouted, and the principal was flung against the far wall.
With a yelp, the principal bounced with a meaty thud, but recovered herself easily and leaped at him, fangs bared.
Reaching out again, he caught her midair and found her jugular, pumping wildly with rage. He squeezed with his mind, blocking the blood flow until she passed out. Releasing her, she fell, body transformed back, looking more-or-less normal once more, albeit covered in his father’s blood.
Eddie fell to his knees, as a sudden wave of exhaustion swept over him.
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