Otherwordly Reincarnation: The Hag Son
Otherworldly Reincarnation: The Hag Son
Part 1: Anacrusis
"Son of a..."
I muttered, as I swiped the screen and came upon that familiar page. 'Out of Chapters'. Yet another end to yet another story, left unfinished, and I... Unsatiated. Such was the end of every isekai story. I don't think I've ever actually seen one completed! I put my phone back into my pocket and leaned back in the chair, glancing up at the clock. Five minutes to go. I glanced from that, to the test in front of me. Mathematics was never my forte. Geography? Aced it. Literature? Pretty lit. Maths...? Prolonged suicide was preferable, and, ironically, similar.
The complicated equation in front of me was a daunting thing to look at. How was anyone supposed to solve this?! Five minutes up, the teacher raised her hand and called out:
"Everyone, time's up! Put your pens down!"
Right after announcing it, she yelped and ducked as a pen came hurtling her way.
"Mister Browning! What have I told you about disappointment-onset aggression?!"
"It's a condition! It can't be helped." Replied Danny Browning, the kid next to me, now penless and staring at his test in frustration, arms crossed. He noticed me staring and shrugged, before glancing at my test. I shook my head as though to say 'nah, didn't do well either'. He sighed, and we waited for the teacher to come by and pick our tests up. When she got mine, she paused, looking at me sideways, and frowned.
"...mister Engels?" She said my name. With a wide grin, I leaned forward on my desk, making the ol' shiny eyes and winked.
"I don't find this very funny." she said, turning the test over to show me what I knew was there already. Where there should have been answers, I'd instead written a poem of sorts, which I proceeded to say aloud: 'roses are red, violets are blue, I sneezed on Felix, now he has diphtheria'.
"YOU WHAT?!" Yelled Felix, the class' anti-vaxx kid. "Thats not cool, man! It's not my fault my family is anti-vaxx!"
"Your family isn't anti-vaxx, Felix, we met them on the Parent/Teacher meeting day." Said Susanne, rolling her eyes from behind her curtain of hair. "You're literally the only anti-vaxxer in your family."
"Believe me. Once I'm done with them, they'll all be anti-vaxx. Even if they don't know it."
"...creepy..." Muttered another voice, from somewhere behind me. "What are you gonna do, replace the fluid in their shots?"
"I've done it before."
"That's enough!" The teacher sighed, smacking my test into the pile of other tests she held, moving on and collecting the others. "I know it's a stressful period of time for all of us, but your final exams are coming up soon. Do all of you understand what'll happen if you don't pass maths?"
"...we get failed?" Asked Danny, apprehensively.
"I get paid less." She corrected, starting to collect the tests from the row behind me. "So you'd better study up, kids, or..." I stiffened up, as her face appeared right next to my ear, from behind me. "...I will fucking destroy you."
She straightened up.
"Is that clear?"
"Yes ma'am!" Everyone cried out, me the loudest of them all. I took a breath of relief when she she moved on, and before we knew it, chatter had started up in the class again. I leaned in towards Danny, who was fiddling with his keychain when I poked him on the shoulder.
"Yes, my cuntling?" He asked, turning his head my way.
"How'd... Um... How'd you do, on that test...?"
"Ah..." He sighed. "Answered all but the last two questions. Those were the ones that got ridiculous."
"Wait, you got past question four?!" I hissed, in astonishment. He hesitated, before nodding a bit.
"Yeeeahh... That was one of the easier ones. We went over that equation yesterday at your house!"
I gave him a long blank stare.
"Bram..." He started, giving me a sincerely disappointed look, hand slowly patting his shirt pocket to pull out another pen to toss. "Don't tell me you didn't get past question four..."
"Alright, I won't tell you." I shrugged.
"You-?!" He reeled the pen back in aggressive disappointment.
"Calm down! Jeez..." I chuckled, shaking my head. "Of course I got past question four."
And by that, I meant 'I read past it, briefly'. He sighed, in relief, put the pen down, and shook his head. "Good, good... God, I wanna forget about this one. If this was just a small test, how hard will the exam be-? No no, let's talk about something else. How's the manga?"
"Finished it..." I grumbled, sitting back in my seat and crossing my arms. "The ending was gay."
"Dude, it's 2020."
"It was gay in 2020."
"Dude... It's 2020."
"I mean literally," I said, pulling out my phone and showing him the last panel. "Look, lesbians."
"Oh my God-!" He grabbed the phone off me and stared at it for a moment, before glancing around as though to make sure nobody was looking this way. Ah yes, dignity... I remember when I had that.
"And?! What happens after that?!"
"Nothing..." I shrugged. "Need to wait for more translations. Its always like that, especially with Isakais, there's not enough translated material yet."
"You know, that is pretty gay."
"Dude," I said. "It's 1:55..."
He stared at me for a long moment, before looking over his shoulder at the clock, then back at me. "I thought you were gonna toss my own words back at me, there."
"You're the tosser here. And did you comprehend what I said?" I asked, but before he could open his mouth, a scream rang out. We both glanced towards where Susanne sat, voodoo doll in hand, and a knife stabbed through it. The voodoo doll looked exactly like the girl in front of her: Lillith, whose eyes were closed and jaw was strained. She opened one eye after a moment, then glanced down at herself, dusting off her pink blouse, before sighing in relief.
"I don't know why I thought that would do anything. Would you stop threatening to kill me with inanimate objects?!"
"No." said Susanne, pulling the knife out and proceeding to stab the doll over and over again. "Not until you stop wearing that wretched colour."
"Pink is a perfectly normal colour to wear- would you stop stabbing mini-me?!"
"Talking about my clothes, when yours are so dark! Maybe the problem isn't with me, but with you and your Goth attitude?!"
"I'm not a Goth," she deadpanned, which was the only expression she ever really wore. "I've been dressing like this ever since my first ethereal conversation with Biggie Smalls. I'll wear colours again the day he decides to spill the beans."
"Did you find out who shot him?" asked Pirate Pete, from the corner. Oddly enough, the boy wasn't dressed as a pirate or anything, that just so happened to be his full name. He was honestly the brightest and most normal person in this class - the bottom class at Redgate Academy.
Susanne shook her head. "Those would be the 'beans' he has yet to spill." she said, before glancing back at Lillith... then repeatedly stabbing her doll again.
"WOULD YOU QUIT IT?!"
I turned away, pouting, as Dan gave me a disjointed look. "Anyway," he sighed. "You were saying?"
"You remember we have the class game at 2, against the top class, right?" I asked. Just as I did, I emitted a yelp and ducked down, narrowly avoiding the chair that had been tossed at me in aggressive disappointment.
"Fuck!" He yelled, now on his feet. He had the entire class' attention as he stood there, huffing and puffing. He looked around at everyone. "The game is in less than 5 minutes now!"
A resounding groan rang out, and everyone slinked back into their chairs.
"Son of a-! I'd forgotten about that!" groaned Lillith, smacking her head down against her desk.
"The deep filth forewarns me that it shan't go very well." muttered Susanne, impaling the doll against her own desk and scratching her chin.
"!rehtegot krow ew fi ti od nac eW !syug ,enif eb ll'tI" cheered Adrian, the usually quiet kid. As per usual, nobody had the brightest fuck as to what the hell he was saying.
"Shut the Hell up, Adrian! Oh God, what am I gonna do...?! If It rains, I could get sick with the flu..." said Felix, clutching at his hair.
"If you want, we can just do you a favour and beat you to death with baseball bats?" I offered. "Kinder fate than death by flu."
"I had my flu shot when I was a baby, unfortunately!" He growled. "Probably the reason I'm in this dumb class right now!"
"You're in this class because you're garbage!" yelled Little Larry. Everyone hesitated when he called out. The guy was held back a year... twice. And had a full beard going. It was weird, having a 20-year-old in a class of 18-year-olds, but hey, we were used to 'weird'. Little Larry was in no way little when judging height alone. Rumour had it, though, that he had the tiniest set of nipples known to man. "Just accept that we're gonna have to go out there and give it our best, you got that?"
"Larry's right," groaned another voice. The voice of pure reason. Maddie got up and went straight up to the front of the class. We fell silent - all of us, and stared at her in pure discontent. Ah yes. The final outcast degenerate of our class... But an outcast degenerate for all the wrong reasons.
Up until a week ago, she was in the top class - Class A, rather than this one. She was intelligent as they came, bright enough to run a country on her own, it seemed. Top of the year when it came to sports achievements, masterful in fencing, and to top it all off... she was gorgeous. A fact that made Lillith grind her teeth. She was an outcast because she didn't belong here, in the bottom class of outcasts. Few knew how she ended up here, but rumours mainly centred around... Some sort of violent incident. "We need to buck up. I seriously believe we can win this game if we just put the shitshow aside and act professional here. Treat this whole thing seriously!"
Her cold, sincere expression scanned the classroom, drawing scepticism like moths to a light.
"Woo!" cheered Pirate Pete, from the distance of the back of the class.
"Shut up, Pirate." somebody called out.
"...woo..." he repeated, quieter and sadder. Maddie sighed, and rubbed her eyes.
"Look, I know we all have our differences here..." She paused, to look out across the class. "Like... a crazy amount of differences. But don't you guys ever get tired of being looked down on? Tired of all the rumours that spread around the school about this class?"
"What rumours?" I asked, raising a brow. A few murmurs of agreement echoed out. She hesitated, glancing around, before clearing her throat.
"Well, that, you know... this is the class where they stuff all the psychos..." she began, only for Lillith to toss her hands up in anger.
"For the last time, I'm just ginger!" she yelled. "Why is everybody so weird about this?!"
"Silence, denier of the mortal coil." Susanne hissed, poking her in the back with a sharp fingernail.
"...right..." Maddie frowned, before going on. "...there's also the rumours about how everybody in this class eats rat excrement..."
"Oh, no, that was Phillip. He left before the start of the year." Danny corrected, before hesitating. "Or was it Hank? I can't remember, both of them ate weird stuff."
"No no, Hank was the one who compulsively ate his own face. You were right the first time, It was Phillip." I corrected.
"Gotcha! Thanks Bram."
We both turned our heads back towards Maddie simultaneously. She gave us a look of disbelief, looking almost... frightened to go on. "And... also all the rumours linking this class with the recent fire that burned down the Rentworth family estate."
"They had it coming..." muttered Susanne, drawing all eyes in the room towards her. She straightened up, glancing around and shrugging at the stares. "Hey, I didn't do it. I was away with my family in Paris at the time."
"A likely alibi." I chuckled.
Maddie sighed, putting her hands down on the desk in the front, authoritatively, and looked out across the classroom. "None of you have to have these rumours about you, not at all! Imagine the rumours that would spread if we managed to beat the top class!"
"Please," Danny huffed. "You were a member of that class not so long ago, and now you're so quick to accept your position as 'one of us'? Spare us the comedy act, we all know you just want us to win so you can display your leadership skills and get back up into the top class again."
Yells of agreement rang out through the class, bringing Maddie to openly glare. "That's really not the case..." she stressed. "I used to be in the top class, yes. I used to be Class A, top of the yeargroup, top of the whole damn school. And, much like Lucifer, I have fallen from paradise..."
"Is she comparing herself to Lucifer...?"
"Dude, what the Hell. Where's this going?"
"A ghastly comparison. Lucifer would be ashamed at the mere idea."
"...but," Maddie continued. "Much like Lucifer, I've accepted that the God who forgives all, will not forgive me!"
"Who's the God an analogy for? The principal?"
"I don't know, but this is getting weird..."
"On second thought, she's fitting in pretty well here." I whispered to Danny, who frowned and shook his head.
"Either that, or we've forgotten what normality feels like..."
"So please!" she straightened up. "Believe me when I tell you that I want us to win not for personal profit, but for camaraderie! Togetherness! A union between one, and all!"
"She's gone from religious nut, to Soviet."
"Is this gonna go on-?"
"So!" she called out. "Who wants to go out there, face the enemy team head held high, kick some ass, like a real champion - and who wants to roll over and be treated like a degenerate for the rest of their life?!"
"But we are degenerates." I argued, leaning my head against my hand. "That's kinda the point, we've come to accept it."
"Bram..." She groaned. "Couldn't you be on my side, just this once? It's always you and your comments that bring everybody else down!"
"He doesn't bring us down," grumbled Larry. "He just understands how we feel the best. He's right, we are degenerates. How are we supposed to act like champions? That'd be pretending to be something we ain't."
"Well, why can't they be the same thing?" She suggested, with a shrug, before frowning at me. "You act like a degenerate can't ever win. I'm a degenerate too now, aren't I? Yet, I've won plenty in my life!"
"Doesn't count!" Yelled Pirate Pete. "That was before you joined this class! Have you achieved anything since?!"
"As a matter of fact... Miss Coen." She looked to the teacher, and we all followed her gaze. She was at the back of the class, tests in hand, and eyebrow raised, watching the class argument.
"I'm assuming you want me to contribute to your speech somehow." said Miss Coen, looking bored.
"In your hand," Maddie announced. "You hold my test paper, which no doubt will have a perfect, 100% score!"
"Nerd!" called Danny, earning a few chuckles.
"You wanted an achievement? You've got one right there. Our final exam is coming up, final. An exam that determines whether or not we spend the rest of our lives earning heaps of hard cash, or as receptionists at hair salons. Hell, even that's being too gracious about it. If I'm a nerd for being intelligent, then so be it. I'm prepared for what's to come, and so is everyone in Class A. I've been there, I've seen the competition. And since I've been transferred to this class, all I've seen are tired jokes of people who'll end up left behind in the dirt. To you guys, even one person passing this class ought to be considered an achievement!"
Everyone felt silent. Some in contempt and conceited anger... others, like myself, in pained realisation. She wasn't wrong... the best years of our life were coming to a close. And nobody here was exactly an achiever. I shared a sour look with Danny. He looked away just as quick, something frustrated developing on his face.
"I... have nothing left to throw..." He mumbled, quietly.
Maddie's eyes widened, as she looked around the room, now full of despairing kids. "Oh... crap, I was meant to pump you guys up, not- Ah... And that's whyyyy... If we win this game, we could turn things around!"
"With an irrelevant sports game...?" I questioned, arms crossed and frown running deep.
"I'm dumb..." Lillith whispered to herself, in existential horror. "I'm gonna work minimum wage at a hair salon..."
"...ti hcuot dna pu ti peews ebyam ,riah s'nemow dnuora eb ot teg d'I .boj taht ekil d'I"
"Shut the Hell up, Adrian."
"Maybe it's not a turning point for anyone's intellect, but It'd show everyone... show you most of all, that it isn't too late to start turning things around!" Maddie assured us, hands tightened into fists. "If you just keep despairing like this, it'll only turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy! Make the most out of the moment-!"
"Holy shit, this really is 100%..." Miss Coen interrupted, as she began walking back towards the front of the class, raising her head away from the test scores and looking out around at us. "Your classmate is right. Though don't let yourselves get fooled. I spent five years of my life getting a degree, only to end up here." she snatched Susanne's doll away, knife along with it, as she said that. Susanne made a sad puppy-like noise and tried to pry it back, but the teacher had already passed on. "If there's one thing I'm sure of though, it's that if you don't try your hardest, you'll definitely end up in my position or worse. If you push yourselves though, make the actual effort, you just... just might not end up in prison."
"That's... not how I would've put it..." Maddie winced, before shrugging and looking at us again. "But yeah. So-" The bell suddenly rang out, making her hesitate. Seems like the time had come at last. She raised an eyebrow at us. "...so?"
It was one of those moments where it felt like everyone gained mutual understanding, upon glancing at each other. However, in the end, all gazes ended up on me, the one who knew the mood of the class the best. I knew exactly how everyone felt. It pumped into my heart like a message from the Gods, a mortal clarity born purely of empathetic value. Proudly, I stood up, hands on my hips, met Maddie's eyes, and...
"Eh. Whatever." I said.
Instant nods and mutters of agreement.
"Class representative material right here." said Larry, as he passed me by along with the other students, and gave me a sharp pat on the shoulder.
On the crowd passed by, filing out through the exit, I was left staring into the irritated face of Maddie, shaking her head and groaning, until the classroom emptied.
"You're seriously bad for them, you know?" she said, an ounce of poison in her voice now. I merely shrugged.
"Hey, I just feel out the room. Not my fault for announcing reality. How do they say it... 'Don't shoot the messenger', and all that."
"They don't look to you because you 'get them', Bram. Don't you see it?" she used a tone of voice that suggested she was talking about something stupidly obvious. I raised a brow, but she only shook her head. "No, you don't see it... Don't know why I expected you to."
"...well then, enlighten me," I chuckled, tilting my head sweetly. "What am I 'not seeing' here?"
"Plenty. For one, you're uncharacteristically charismatic." She said, simply enough. The smile dropped from my lips. What did that have to do with anything? "You have a way with words, it's the way you speak, the way you hold yourself, it's all so..." she trailed off, before sighing. "They don't look to your as their rep because you 'get them', they look to you as their rep because you just... have a way about you. I didn't fully get it before I came to this class, frankly it's difficult to see past that scummy grin you always wear-"
"-but..." she glanced towards the door, then at me one last time. "Now I see it. You don't 'get people', Bram. I get people. I've practically been trained to 'get people', given my family reputation. You... what you do is convince people. And it's frightening, how good you are at it... So good, they don't realise they're being convinced."
With that, she turned and walked towards the door, stopping at the entryway to give me a glance. "...are you coming, or what?"
I frowned at her, eyes narrower than I ever recalled them being. She made me sound like some kind of wannabe Machiavelli. Then again, maybe that was just a part of the insult. Though it didn't really feel all that insulting... I mean, it had to be an insult. Right? Someone like her would naturally feel contempt towards someone like me. To feel any other way would make her crazy.
Then again, who knows. She was in Class D now, after all. Class D was full of crazies. I followed, with a grumble. "We're going to get annihilated."
"We're not going to get annihilated," she stated, as we walked down the hall together. Danny was there at the end of the hall, patiently waiting, seeing what was taking us so long. "I have a plan. Follow it, and we'll succeed."
"A plan?" I snorted. "We're playing baseball, what plan can you implement into baseball?"
With a smirk shot my way, she tilted her head ever so slightly, mimicking my 'I know something you don't' face. "You'll see."
The Field, Several Minutes Later.
I smacked the padding on my elbow a couple times, before rolling my eyes. Was this stuff really necessary? Didn't ever look as though the guys on TV wore them... Then again, some concerned mother nearly sued the school last year because her child got caught sniffing glue in the janitor's closet. Frankly, she was angrier about the janitor's closet being unlocked than she was about the glue-sniffing. Worried he'd down the bleach. Judging by that kid's activities, I wouldn't be surprised if he were so inclined. Ever since then, the school had doubled down on its safety precautions.
We were no longer even allowed to use compasses in maths. All for the best, Pirate Pete liked giving anyone close to him a cheeky stab with them, every so often.
".gnihtemos tuoba tespu mees uoY ?marB ,yako uoy erA"
"Adrian, don't even talk to me. You know it freaks me out," I told him, as I looked down across my team, all in a line. Danny sat next to me, tying his shoes, muttering curses quietly to himself. "And besides... not like words can help this. We've crossed over into the world of the physical..."
With that, I looked out, across, to the other side of the field at the enemy team. Class A, all dressed in blue, where we were dressed in red. A few student from different classes were sat at the bleachers, in silent conversations that went beyond my comprehension. I felt a twist to my lips come on when I inspected the enemy team captain...
Sheridan Dämon. The bane of my existence.
Blonde, like me, only his hair was a shinier, more golden blonde... where mine was paler. Hell, even my skin was paler. The guy had a nice tan going, whereas I could barely let my body see the light of day without it going red and welted. How did he bother doing that with his hair, gelled and slicked back as though he'd spent 20 minutes on it this morning alone? Mine just... grew. It wasn't even combed all that well.
I pinched the edge of my hair, hanging loosely down to my elbows, and lifted it up brazenly, slowly... releasing it and letting it flop down.
"...motherfucker..." I hissed. Just then, a girl - also wearing blue, came up to him and began talking to him excitedly. He looked my way briefly and caught my eye... a smirk came over his face as he waved my way, insultingly.
I blinked and glanced sideways at Lillith, standing next to me and offering me the last shred of a cigarette, her gaze intent on the enemy team. I looked around quickly... no teachers in sight. I accepted it and took a puff, before passing it on to Danny the moment he got up.
"What're our chances here? Ten to one? Hundred to one?"
"Somewhere closer 'round the 'hundred to one' equation, I'd say..." Danny said, after taking the final drag and tossing the butt aside. "Not surprising, they're actually gonna take this seriously."
"I hate this school," I muttered, crossing my arms. It was cold today, yet here we all were, in our shorts and shirts on the greyest day of the year. "No way will they take this seriously, it's us after all."
"But they'd wanna embarrass us for sure," Lillith hissed, insistently. "Remember the incident with the school play, two years ago?!"
"That was two years, you can't-"
"They snuck laxatives into the sandwiches in the backstage food table, you can't tell me that wasn't an act of war!"
"Bastards..." Danny hissed, suddenly tightening his fists and seething with rage. "I'm known as 'Browning of the Brown Pants' to this day... all because of them!"
I stared at him for a moment, admiring his anger... before smacking a hand onto his shoulder. He looked at me, fury still present. "Then let us decimate them today," I said. "As Maddie said... this could be a turning point."
"You're echoing her words now?"
"Well, I don't wanna agree with her, but... she wasn't wrong about us wanting to see them put in their place, was she?"
We all turned our gazes back at the enemy team. Sheridan wasn't looking our way anymore, but rather he was speaking to his entire team. I took a breath, and looked over them. The enemy of today - of nearly every day.
Carmelita, professional heartbreaker, drama queen, and believer of swift karma. Word had it that she seduced her way to the top class, but her grades said otherwise. They were phenomenal. She was as crafty as they came, and manipulative to boot. Hell, some say she crafted her own reputation. Not an 'out of the question' idea either. She would be decent, not the biggest threat.
Buck and Billy Kiddo. The Kiddo Twins. Dumb and dumber didn't quite cut it, but average and mildly mentally broken just got into the top class. If not for their insane sports skills, they'd have ended up in Class B. As it so happens, they were strategic geniuses when it came to Football, and found every other sport inferior. You could tell it by their physiques, too, they were made for the game. They'd likely be the among biggest problems for us out there. Not sure how they'd fair in Baseball, but knowing them, it'd be a struggle. For us.
Gilligan O'Hara... I'd seen the guy bat the ball before, and goddamn it- it went flying for thirty seconds straight, before landing back where he was standing! I expected him to be the endgame. The moment they had someone on all three bases, they'd put him on swinging duty and get a homerun.
He was it. The main issue. The deadly dessert to this fiasco of a dinner party. I narrowed my eyes on him, his own eyes shrouded under the darkness of a cap. There was a plainness to his face. He looked constantly unimpressed at absolutely everything around him.
Smug son of a-
With a growl, I snapped my fingers and marched down the line, getting everyone's attention. All eyes on me once again, I took a breath and rubbed my eyes. "Well, guys. Maddie's got a plan."
"Maddie's also looking like she's got a parasite," said Felix, the only one covered from head to toe in the longest, most impractical looking rain jacket I think I'd ever seen. "Y'all keep her away from me."
I raised an eyebrow and looked at Maddie... she was looking a little pale, that was true, eyes set on the enemy team. Was that a conflict in her eyes, or plain fear? I'd not have been surprised with either, I was questioning the sanity of the situation as well.
"Maddie!" I called. She snapped to attention, as I indicated towards everyone. "The stage is yours."
"Ah... Ah! Right!" she straightened up, regaining a bit of colour, and ran up to take my place. I slinked back into line, as she stood before us and took a moment to ponder her words, looking over every face in the class... "Now, everybody, I'm gonna need you to listen very carefully, okay? Hey, Pirate Pete, that means you too!"
Silence answered her. Concern seemed to grow on her face. I looked over and understood. Pirate Pete was staring off into space, a bit of drool dribbling from the corner of his mouth.
"Is... is he alright?"
"He's just paralysed by unspeakable childhood trauma. Happens every so often." Danny told her. "Carry on with this plan of yours. I'm curious as to what it involves."
"Well... actually..." she said, looking over in our direction. "It involves all of us. And I do mean... all of us..."
A few minutes later...
With a plan set, and looks of uncertainty spread, the PE teacher Mister Hendrickson finally entered the field. Both teams broke up and came to the middle, facing one another. I was face-to-face with Sheridan, and his shit-eating grin. Death glares spread all around, from our team... cocky looks of the purest kind of arrogance from theirs.
"I want a nice, clean game. No rule breaking! Rule breaking will lead to both disqualification, and point reduction! Do I make myself clear?!"
"Yes sir!" everyone on the Class A team called, simultaneously. The teacher looked at my team, sternly, and with a few groans, we echoed in mumbles: "yes sir".
"Good! First team batting will be Class D. Get out there, and show us a good game!"
The teams separated, meaningful looks of dissent spreading like wildfire. This would be a game to remember.
I was batting first. I stepped up to home base, as someone from their team came up behind me pulling the glove on. When I looked over at who'd be pitching the ball, I felt my eyes roll involuntarily. Sheridan - of course it'd be Sheridan. Did he ever stop smirking...? Hah, I'd just have to make him stop.
The whistle blew, and before I knew it, the ball was heading my way already. I yelped and swung, but ended up missing. The ball shot right into the gloved hand of the person behind me.
"That's 1!" called the teacher.
Sheridan's grin widened, as he called to me: "Sorry 'bout that, Engels! Mistook you for a girl and went easy! I'll throw faster, shall I?"
A chuckle rang out from the person behind me, as he tossed the ball back to Sheridan. I felt Maddie's eyes on me, expectant and confident. I sighed, pulling my hair back behind my ears, pulling the bat back and waiting... he tossed it harder this time, just as promised. This time I was ready, and swung hard. The ball went flying right at him, towards his face. He emitted a semi-scream and ducked, narrowly avoiding the ball.
"Sorry! Mistook you for a boy! Thought you could take it!" I called at him, dropping the bat and running over to the first base. Laughter from my class broke out, as the boy growled and picked himself up.
"You wanna play it that way, Engels... Alright, we'll play it that way!"
The rest of the game didn't go over all that well. Felix was batting next, and every time the ball was tossed, the catcher behind him would fake-sneeze, freaking Felix the fuck out and making him miss every throw.
Next round, Danny was batting... when the ball was tossed to him, he missed all three times... which led to some aggressive disappointment and a swift disqualification after someone from Class A nearly got their skull caved in with a flying baseball bat.
Susanne came next, muttering something hollow under her breath, and crossing her heart with her middle and index fingers over and over. The ball came right at her, and by some absolute miracle she managed to hit it.
"Yes!" she cried out, dropping the bat. "The Spirits of Faraharanatoriapolis have guided my hand and helped me attain the purest form of successive reasoning to see all that moves with the grace and speed of a hawk! Your strength means nothing when it can be ascertained with the eye of Harbaar! I have glanced at your sins, peered into what drives you out of the night, and taken all your pride under my heel to be trampled into-!"
Cried the guy behind me at first base, who'd caught the ball before she even left home base. She looked over, mesmerised, and quietly, sadly, finished her sentence. "...dust..."
I felt my eye twitch, and glanced over at Maddies again. Her head was in her hands, frustrated. For the plan to work out, we needed 1 point, at the very least. So far, with me still at first, and few to no actual successes, we were looking beat.
Larry came next, brandishing the bat with fervour, giving it a little twirl and chuckled to himself. "This'll be easy! Bring it on, bell boy!"
"Nice ass, tough stuff~!"
"W-what?!" he choked, turning around just as the ball came rushing at him. The one who said that... it was the catcher. I knew that chuckle sounded familiar! Behind the caged helmet was the face of Carmelita. Larry looked a tad uncomfortable, but understandably flustered.
"Oh no..." I muttered, seeing already how this was going to turn out...
And I was right.
"I love your beard, can I touch it~?"
"GAH!" he swung lopsidedly and missed the second throw. He turned back to her cage-masked face, as she winked and suppressed a small laugh. "Look, girl, as flattered as I am- I'm not comfortable with a younger girl making remarks like that to me!"
"But I'm 18! Perfectly legal~!"
"Well- So is my little sister, and I ain't a siscon, you got that-?!"
The ball shot right past him, into Carmelita's open, waiting hand.
"And that's three! You're OUT!"
She got up, tossing the ball up once and catching it, giving a little shrug. "Got it~! Now run along, why don't you?" she said, voice suddenly harsh and cold, to match her eyes. Larry stiffened, before backing off.
"Devil woman...!" He hissed on his way off the field. Pirate Pete was up next...
Oh boy. I sighed, and crossed my arms. Looks like it was officially over for us.
"!uoy ni eveileb I !eteP etariP ,ti od nac uoY" called Adrian, waving Pirate on.
"Dude..." the Class A guy behind me, at my base muttered, staring intently at Adrian. "What's his deal? Is he speaking French?"
"I damn well hope so. Otherwise, he's just another accessory to this backwards classroom..." I said, passively. "Well, the game's up. We tried our hardest, but what can I tell you? In the end, we-"
He hit the ball. Hard.
I watched, amazed, as it went all the way across the field, and the Class A grunts were busy charging after it.
"Oh shit..." I said to myself, before looking back at Pirate Pete, now running in my direction to first base. "...oh SHIT!"
I jumped to it, running for second, and even managed to catch third, before the ball was returned! Just one more run down miracle lane... just the one straight dash, and we'd be in.
Adrian came up last, looking understandably concerned. It was all resting on him now.
"You got this, buddy!" I called to him. He looked over at me in surprise, as I smiled. "I know you do! I know what everybody feels, don't I?"
He stared for a moment longer, before a confident smile spread across his face. Truth be told, the mood of my class said something like 'this is the end'. I guess Maddie had something of a point after all...
The ball came flying at him. A swing and a miss.
"That's 1..." I muttered. Adrian took a deep breath, concentrating hard.
"That's 2!" the teacher yelled, before the second ball was even thrown. I blinked and looked at him, and... surely enough, the second was also a miss.
"And there's about to be 3!" he announced, as Class A unanimously chuckled. "Class D walks away with zero points, and-"
Whack! Adrian hit the ball! It was a light hit, and didn't even go ten feet... but it was enough. The shocked silence didn't get to me, unlike how it did to others. I made a mad dash back to home base, sliding when I saw the ball sail past my ear, only just managing to touch the final base with the tip of my foot before I could be outed.
Silence prevailed as the dust settled. I looked back... Both Pirate and Adrian were outed before they could reach the next base... I was the only one who made it.
1 point... we had it.
Cheers erupted from my class in a burst that caught Class A off guard.
When all that settled down, I heard a few of the Class A students chuckling to themselves. "Celebrating over one measly point? How pathetic can Class D get?"
If only they had any idea.
I got up, facing my class, and taking a bow. "Thank you, I'm here until 3:30!" I announced, walking back to them, grinning like a madman. A hand caught my shoulder, however, and spun me around. In an instant, I was faced with Sheridan, wearing a haughty expression.
"So! You snuck a point in. Congratulations, buddy! But you know..." he wrapped his arm around me, and turned me away from my class, to face his- who were already rearranging themselves and tossing the glove aside. "We're bound to get ten, where you only got the one. You get the rule of tenfold, don't you?"
"Rule of tenfold-? You made that up!" I growled, only for him to chuckle and shake his head.
"What you put out into the universe comes back to hit you ten times as strong, my man. See, by that logic, what you've done throughout your entire life is equivalent to one measly point here in this moment, on this battlefield. That's as far as you'll ever get in your academics. And hell, I watched you work for that one point! A single point will be a breeze for us." He leaned in and whispered. "Do you know why?"
I remained silent, and stone-faced. I didn't answer him, so he answered for me: "...because we're students. And I mean actual students, not just the school's charity-cases."
"Your breath stinks..." I muttered. "Point it in the other direction."
"Oh! A grave insult. To think you actually burned me pretty well earlier, now you're resulting to this playground diss? This is exactly what I'm talking about Bram. You're inconsistent. And inconsistency only leads to one thing..." he whispered the last word, breaking it down into its bare syllables. "Un-der-a-chieve-ment. You'll never be us, Bram. So stop trying, hm?"
In that moment, Sheridan was knocked off of me and pushed back. He stumbled away, as everyone on his team paused to stare at us dangerously. Danny stood at my side, glaring daggers at the guy. "Back off, Dämon."
"Hey hey, I was just giving Engels here some words of encouragement! Reminding him his place, you know?"
"Then let me do you the courtesy of reminding you of your own place on your hands and knees in the teacher's lounge! Go on, scram!" Danny yelled, bringing Sheridan to curl his fists in anger.
"You're about to eat those words, Browning. You're about to taste the goddamn dirt. Or, rather, would you prefer rat shit?"
"I'd prefer it if you got off our dicks and back on Mister Hendrickson's, cause we don't want you here. Now beat it before I beat you!"
With a roll of the eyes, Sheridan finally turned away, hands raised. "Whatever! Wasting precious words on you spit stains anyway. Just quieten the celebration down, would you? It's depressing. Hearing you guys happy over anything reminds me of the inevitability of death."
With that, he marched off towards his team. Danny frowned after him, as the enemy team finally tore their gazes away, though not without contempt.
"...why don't you sit this one out?" Danny suggested. "You've done your part, now let me do mine."
"...maybe I should..." I mumbled. I met his eye briefly, with a confident nod. "Prove him wrong for me, would you?"
"Oh, you know I will," He nodded. "Dead wrong."
I turned and marched back to my class, receiving pats on the back and words of praise. Although, now they all seemed... empty. Empty praise. Sheridan wasn't wrong... we only got one point in the end. Sure, it was the plan to get at least one, but more would've been grand. I sighed, as I sat next to Maddie.
"...what did he say to you?" She asked, blankly. I shook my head.
"He's a scumbag, always was, Bram. Even to his own classmates, if they lag behind too much. He thrives on getting people down. Don't let him see his scummy tactics working."
"Hm..." I nodded, raising my head to watch the finale. Everything from here on in could either go astoundingly well, or marvellously terrible. Either way, I took a breath. "Alright, lets see how this goes."
To Be Continued...