Chapter 1:

A typical morning for Arioch.


BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!  “Ughhh…” Arioch groans, eyes still closed as his hand smacks the top of his digital alarm clock. “Seven o’clock is way too early, but hey, at least it’s Friday.” Arioch thinks to himself. The patter of rain falling on surfaces enters Arioch’s ears, and the petrichor fills his nose as he lays in bed for an extra five minutes. Sitting up, Arioch yawns and stretches, hearing his body crack, releasing the stiffness of his body, and wakes himself up for a miserable day of school. Although he already knows what the weather is, he looks outside his window out of habit, seeing the rain slowly fall from the grey skies. “Damn, the sixth day in a row.” In the town of Briarglen, it rains a lot in the spring season, which is average weather for the area. “Well, that's alright,” Arioch says. “I like the rain anyways. It’s calm and soothing. I’d be completely fine if it rained every day.”Bookmark here

Getting out of bed, Arioch walks over to his closet, and selects the clothes he will be wearing for the day. “Hmmm, it’s raining again, so I should dress a little warm, however, it is not that warm, so I should dress light.” Arioch decides on wearing ripped black jeans and a white t-shirt. He tops off the outfit by selecting a pair of black and white sneakers.Bookmark here

Before getting dressed and going through the morning, Arioch heads to the bathroom to shower and clean up. After showering, Arioch dries off and starts to head back to his room, but before leaving the bathroom, Arioch exchanges looks with the person in his bathroom mirror.Bookmark here

Arioch is a 5’8 seventeen-year-old, with fairly pale white skin and messy black hair. Arioch’s skin is contrasted by his dark brown eyes, and at points, it looks as if his eyes are completely black. Although not looking like it, under clothes, Arioch has a toned body, however, no one expects him to have a body like the one he has, thinking he has the build of a stick.Bookmark here

After getting dressed, Arioch then packs his black bag and heads out to the kitchen. He cooks a quick breakfast, consisting of toast and a banana, accompanied by a glass of water. Looking out the windows in his kitchen, Arioch observes the outside more, watching the trees move along with the wind and the rain hitting the window. After eating, Arioch goes to brush his teeth and clean up before leaving his house. All ready for the day, Arioch reaches into his fridge and grabs an energy drink, puts on his white raincoat, and heads off to his least favorite place, school.Bookmark here

Although a decent distance away from school, Arioch walks to school rather than taking the bus, as he prefers the tranquility of walking, also knowing it will be one of the last times of calmness in his day. The thought of buying a bike has always entered his mind, however, it never becomes reality, as Arioch knows the other students would break his bike the day it shows up. Not having a bike is fine by him, as he enjoys his walks to school, being able to look at nature for a longer amount of time, plus it's easy exercise.Bookmark here

Along his path, he walks along the side of a large, dense forest. Unlike any normal forest, however, this forest has an odd past. The biggest urban legend in the town and surrounding areas is the entirety of the forest. The eight-mile forest is full of mystery and myth. Stories of the forest were passed down by inhabitants of the town and eventually became infamous to the town. Arioch knew of the forest's history through his friends, and hearing teachers and other students tell stories about the forest. Whenever Arioch walks by the forest, he always thinks of the stories he has heard, keeping himself entertained.Bookmark here

The Undying Forest. No one knows why it is called that, but some assume it is because, from all of the records of the surrounding towns, the forest has always been there. At some point, a monastery was built in the forest by a group of monks. What the monks did besides live in the monastery was unknown, as people did not bother much for the hyper-religious group. The only known fact involving the monks is that in 1921, an unknown fire ignited, and the monastery was burnt down, along with everyone in it. Not a single monk survived the fire, causing the monastery to have no reason to be rebuilt, resulting in it being abandoned. After the fire occurred, some people went to search the area, looking for any possible information on what the monks did. To their surprise, nothing remained beside the charred ruins of the monastery. After reaching a dead-end, the townsfolk gave up on learning more about the monks and forgot about the monastery. Bookmark here

Not until the late 2000’s, did teenagers venture back into the forest, and rediscover the many ruins of what was the monastery. With the discovery of the monastery, came a perfect location for throwing large raves and parties. With the forest so vast, police did not dare walk through the dense forest, to the middle where the monastery lies, to shut down parties. This benefited partygoers heavily, as they could party for hours and do whatever they could imagine doing without worrying about the police. The weekly parties went on for a few months, but unexplained events quickly stopped the hype for the parties. It was said that many party-goers often felt extremely uneasy, both physically and mentally, when in the forest. Bookmark here

Arioch once overheard from a teacher that went to the raves as a teenager, that “the partiers always felt like they were being watched from every angle. Not just from other kids, but something more sinister.” During one of the final parties in the forest, a boy stabbed three others, because “the forest told him to”. It was also said that many people sacrificed their pets in the monastery around that time. The teacher also told the class that sometimes people in the town have odd dreams about the forest, and even that he had those dreams. Most people do not think much of it and move on, not wanting to associate with the eerie forest. Some students have tried to find the ancient ruins, although many trail markers were placed during investigations of the stabbings to throw adventurers off track, so they can not rediscover the ruins.Bookmark here

To Arioch, the Undying Forest is a quiet, calm, and interesting place. The history of the forest always intrigued Arioch, as he wanted to understand the truth behind the story and learn what the monks were doing for all those years. Arioch has always wanted to go to the monastery, but never fully felt like taking the time to walk that far to the center. Even if Arioch went to search for the ruins, the forest is so large that he would end up walking in circles before finding the monastery. Walking by the forest, Arioch looks into the trees, seeing the rain drip from the branches, and animals rush for cover to not get wet from the rain. He thinks of how peaceful the forest must be to the animals.Bookmark here

Continuing along the main road, there is always the chance that students driving to school will harass Arioch. Today, that possibility becomes reality, once again. Walking on the main road, a car can be heard revving in the distance. As the sound of the roaring engine gets closer, Arioch turns to look, and as he does, he gets nailed in the face with a plastic container holding coffee, as a white muscle car flies past Arioch. The words, “oops, sorry!”, followed by laughter, come from the car as it drives up ahead. Lucky for Arioch, his jacket is spill-resistant, preventing the coffee from staining. His face is not so spill-resistant however, leaving small burn marks on his face. “Ugh, great start to the day.” Arioch groans, wiping away the remaining drops of coffee from his face. “They can’t even wait for the first bell to cause me problems.”Bookmark here

Some kids resent school because they do not want to learn, others don’t want to be confined, being taught useless information for around seven hours when they can be doing anything else. Arioch’s sole reason for not liking school… the other kids.Bookmark here

Like every other school in the world, the students all are ranked in an unwritten social hierarchy. Kids who are popular, attractive, extroverted, rich, are all at the top, being known as the Alphas of high school. The only kids that stand chances taking on Alphas are other Alphas. Although the same social status, different Alphas groups will clash with each other, as they often feel threatened just by the opposing groups' presence, leading them to assert dominance however they see fit. The next level down is the lower popular kids, often referred to as Betas. Although they do not have the same high amount of popularity or recognition as Alphas, they often are in social groups with them. Essentially, Alphas and Betas are the same, with Alphas holding more popularity. The tiers go on and on, and could essentially be infinite, depending on one’s classification of the different tiers. Different people can belong in multiple groups, so the hierarchy becomes extremely skewed. The only group that is guaranteed the bottom of the high school social level are the omegas. Omegas are the “losers” of high school. They are poor, quiet, weird, unattractive, etc. In Arioch’s case, he is “mute”, “weird”, a “loser”, and has only four friends. Like him, his friends are also seen as “weirdos”, “creeps” “nobody’s”.Bookmark here

Arioch has never understood why social classes exist. “Are teenagers that self-centered to hold themselves higher than another just because of a word that supposedly differentiates one’s status? Why can’t other students just live their own peaceful lives without causing problems for others? What is the reason that my friends and I are targeted?” Arioch asks those questions to himself every day, but he has never been able to find a definitive answer.Bookmark here

Walking to school the rest of the way, Arioch prayed that he did not run into anyone else before school, keeping his hood on so no one would see who he was from behind. Continuing his walk, Arioch arrives at the school at 8:30, where the large sign saying “Briarglen High School, Home of the Angels” invites him to start his day of hell.Bookmark here

Golden Boy


You can resume reading from this paragraph.