These Wounds Won't Heal

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Laggy Lagiacrus, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. The start of a new year at Azura High School usually heralded the same thing, for most people. Tests, laughs, lessons, life, love, it was all there. September may have been in Autumn, the season where things started to wither, but in schools, it was when pupils began to grow back into the daily life of a schoolchild again. However, for the boy sitting in the corner of the classroom while his classmates chatted, getting ready to leave for the day or go to club activities, September had always been a torturous month for him. He’d remember why he hated being in school so much, and it wasn’t just that he was bored with the lessons.

    Tall and thin, the sixteen-year-old was hardly the most inconspicuous of people, especially so since his hair had been grown unusually long for a boy. Black ad straight, it somehow reached halfway down his face, with one half of it being masked entirely by his locks. The remaining eye, a deep shade of blue, seemed to look upon the world with a sort of bitter disdain – one might even say hate, though those that knew him best had said that he couldn’t hate people. Only dislike them very much. His uniform, quite conversely, was spot-on, perfect to the point of it almost being scary.

    He kept his gaze out of the window, his face perpetually partially masked.
  2. She had been one of the first students to arrive at that particular classroom, taking a strategic position towards the back and near the door. Securing most of the seats adjacent to her by setting her bookbag and various books on the chairs, she kept her things there until one of her comrades took position at a seat.

    Chatting amiably about their tour of duty and the battle plan for that year in the warzone, Paris made sure to make it look like she was doing what she was supposed to, according to the writing on the whiteboard at the front of the class: Quietly write about your summer activities (at least 1 page!). Ignoring Avery, who was making googly eyes at her boyfriend, who sat at the chair next to her, Paris started when the bell rang, a screeching ding-dong that would definitely haunt her dreams after this tour of duty. It would take at least a month before she would get used to it, and by then she would learn to not even notice when it went off.

    As the instructor walked into the classroom, Paris immediately put her phone away, sliding it into the front pouch of her backpack. The sound of zipping was heard as the students around her did the same, none of them fancying losing their communication device so early in the year. Looking down at the paper she had been writing on, on which a measly three sentences looked back at her, she sighed, knowing that by eighth hour she would be drained of all conviction to get through the year on a good foot.
  3. The instructor obviously didn’t recognise Alan, given that he cleared his throat at the boy, attempting to grab his attention. Lost in his own little world, the boy ignored the man, thinking about whatever it was that his mind did. He noted that the sky was blue. He liked the colour of the blue sky. So calm, so tranquil. He wished life could be like that. Then his disposition wouldn’t matter. Then, he could just be what he had always wanted to be. He wanted to be himself, with no prejudice or misdirected gazes, awkward glances, tense conversations – all those would be in the past.

    “…Turn our attention to the task at hand, please?”
    The instructor’s voice was sharp, and firm – the kind you would expect from a person like him. Instinctively, Alan jumped, and turned to face the person addressing him. In all of this, his hair gave way to the half of his face that had been hidden – the half he had expected would come out sooner or later, but not this soon. Upon realisation of what had just been revealed, he turned back, but there was little point. He had exposed his scars – innumerable stab and slash wounds, all across one side of his face. Had you taken his shirt off, you would have seen it continued all down his torso, even to his wrist.
  4. At the sharp sound of the instructor's voice, Paris turned her gaze towards the sound with the rest of the students, glad for a distraction from the work. Silently watching as the boy the teacher was talking to started, she tried to remember where she had seen him before. She knew that she knew him, but couldn't place where.

    The hair over half of the boy's face was pushed away for a moment, and an even more stunned silence followed before the first whispers started and then spread like wildfire. Paris didn't take place in any of it, though her friends certainly tried to talk to her about the scars that littered the face of the boy.

    The instructor, realizing he had a potential problem on his hands, tried to calm the class down, standing at the front of the class and attempting to reign control of the students. When it was silent again, they started a familiarity-building exercise, where each student had to introduce themselves. It was the same sort of thing most classes would do, but were utterly useless unless the entire class was filled with new students. As far as Paris knew, only one or two of the students were new to the school. As they started in alphabetical order from last names, Paris kept an eye on the clock, hoping that her last name, which was Wilkenson, would allow her to skip out on this activity.
  5. “Alan Browning, would you like to stand up?”
    The instructor obviously had no idea just who Alan was – though, when he called out the name, the tense murmurs spreading about the room more than made sure that he had trodden on a landmine. Perhaps someone should have informed him of the student in his class with the innumerable scars across him. Maybe someone should have told him to leave him be, to let him keep to himself the whole time – so nobody had him singled out. “Alan Browning?”
    Though few knew him, the recent display and the rumours were enough to show just how much gravity this situation carried.

    Just before he was to be marked down as absent, somehow, for a reason that few would ever fathom – let alone know – Alan stood, his eyes affixed firmly to the desk, fists clenched and teeth gritted. Like a poorly-positioned curtain, his hair covered part of his face, but the angle made it so that his scars could still be seen, albeit with a shadow cast upon them.
    “I… I…”
    “Alan, you don’t have to talk if you don’t want to.”
    “M-my name… My name is…”
    “Just sit down if you want to. Nobody’s forcing you to do this.”
    It was obvious that someone was – himself. Alan was forcing himself to speak in front of the class. But he couldn’t – he was freezing up, stuttering, not even making eye contact. Nobody seemed to have a clue as to what to do – it was like he was made of glass,and could shatter at any given moment.
  6. Alan! That was his name. As the awkwardness stretched on, only broken by the occasional whisper and sound of a cellphone vibrating inside someone's pocket, Paris bit the inside of her cheek, twirling a pencil around her fingers. She considered standing up and doing it for him, just to break the tension, but merely the thought of it make her feel fear rise in her.

    When it was obvious that he wouldn't be saying his name any time soon, Paris took in a deep breath, not even thinking about it as she stood up. "His name's Alan Browning. I've known him since seventh grade, and other than that, I don't know much about him." She sat down, her heart trying to escape her chest, as her friends gave her odd looks and whispered.

    Feeling the redness spreading across her face, she tried to remember when it was in seventh grade she had learned his name.In the springitme, she knew that much, when she first moved to the area. It must have been in passing, because she was certain he hadn't even talked to her before. She would have remembered it, otherwise. Letting out the breath she had been holding, she looked up again, twirling the pencil once more.
  7. “Er… Thank you, for that. Moving along…”
    Eager to abandon the matter, the instructor swiftly moved on to call out the names of the next students, each one standing up and giving their answer in a uniform fashion – bored, uninterested, the typical affair you would expect from a class where most of the pupils knew each other well. Well enough to render the exercise useless, anyhow. In the meantime, Alan returned to sitting, though with him hunched over to hide his face. There was something in his eyes – not fear, but something similar. The kind of thing someone would have if they had just survived a near-death experience, while reflecting on how they could have died.

    The air in the room, despite the bored tones, was still tense. Alan was no problem student – he did his work, didn’t bother anyone, and did as he was told. It was the scars that did it, though – he was practically crippled, when it came to interacting with people. He seemed more like a frightened animal than a human, despite the fact that he would usually remain rooted to the spot when spoken to, stammering and tripping over words. Not that many people usually spoke to him anyway – when his body was in such a state, people tended to look the other way, lest they be caught staring.
  8. Apparently, it seemed that luck wasn't with the girl that day. More than fifteen minutes before the bell, Paris' name was called out. Standing up, she said, "I go by Paris Skyle." Waiting to see if anyone got the reference, she stood there in silence for a moment. When no one did, she rolled her eyes before saying, "But just Paris is fine." Sighing, feeling the stress of too many people staring at her, she sat down, tapping her fingers on the desktop.

    Paris was the last name on the attendance sheet, and after a quick run-through of the classroom rules, the students were given the rest of the time to socialize. As the various students flocked to their groups of friends, Paris sat in her desk, letting her friends talk about their summer amongst themselves. Trying to finish the assignment they had been given at the beginning of class, she found that she ran out of things to write about halfway through. Muttering a curse to herself, she began coming up with vaguely believable activities to occupy her rather empty summer, wanting to make it seem like she hadn't spent her entire summer working on a new photography project. According to those knew her well, photography was amazingly boring, and wasn't enough to fill a summer. Of course, that was what she had done, and now she was staring at half a page of what she had done during her visit to her grandfather's house, not knowing what else to put on her paper in order to complete the assignment.
  9. There wasn’t much that could be put on the paper – Alan didn’t go out. He didn’t play with friends. He didn’t go out to see movies, nothing. He couldn’t – people stared. At first, it was just his odd appearance, and that was tolerable. They usually just passed him off as just another teenager following some fashion fad that would die out in a matter of minutes. It was when his scars showed that they stared for real. Even the slightest movement could dislodge his hair, and as he was unable to grow his hair much longer than it was now.

    Alan stared at the paper, his pen poised above the paper, shaking slightly. It was hard enough for him to be in the same room as this many people, and having to speak to them was something that had been torturous for him. Having them see his scars was even worse – his chances of fitting in – to a degree – had been blown clean out of the water, and now he was stuck being shunned once again. Not that he would have made friends anyway, it wasn’t in his nature to even speak. He just wished people would leave him be, instead of stealing glances at him like they were now. The teacher didn’t even seem sure of what to do – he couldn’t tell people to leave him be, that would draw even more attention to Alan. Yet, at the same time, he couldn’t just let the boy be in this kind of environment.
  10. Paris was left staring at a page only three-fourths of the way filled when the bell rang. Just as she was about to be the first one out of the class, the instructor called her name, asking if she could stay after a few moments. As he friends made sly comments about already being held after on the first day, she rolled her eyes, ignoring them for the most part.

    Walking to the instructor's desk, she asked, "Yes, sir? Have I done something wrong?"

    "Not at fact, Miss Wilkenson, you seen to be a model student. You look like you have many friends and a good head on your shoulders..." He paused a moment before continuing. "I was wondering if you wouldn't mind including Mr. Browning in your group. You know, try to talk to him, help with classwork and such, and maybe hang out with him sometimes...?"

    Paris was about to decline, but then she figured how it would look to the instructor, that she was a selfish, uncaring child, and instead said, "I could try, sir. I will do my best, I suppose."
  11. Sighing over his utter lack of work, Alan stood shakily up, eyes trailing along the floor as he moved towards the teacher’s desk. He had failed – all that time, and he’d barely managed to even get to halfway down the page. And even what he had put down was mindless drivel, the sort of thing authors would use to flesh out their story in order to stretch a piece out longer than it should have been. Not that he was afraid of failure. He was just afraid of what he would be told, just like all the other times he had failed to meet the requirements for a piece of work.

    As he continued on, Alan did not catch a word of what was being said, coming to hearing distance just as soon as the conversation reached its conclusion. Despite the inadequacy of his piece, it was still work that had to be handed in – it was just being turned in upside-down, in order to temporarily hide the fact that he had done so little. Alan’s eyes barely left their focus on the floor, and he didn’t seem to regard Paris as anything other than another member of the class that he had to avoid, lest he be subject to yet another person’s stares.
  12. Seeing her chance as Alan turned in his paper, Paris decided to show the instructor how serious she took the job she had been given. As he turned to leave, she reached for the sleeve of his uniform, catching it with her fingers. "Hey," she said, smiling warmly, "...Alan, right?" From this angle, he almost looks normal, Paris thought to herself, save for the hair over the...the scars. Glancing back at their instructor, she saw him nodding appreciatively. "That...that was pretty cool, what you did back there...Got up and spoke in front of looked terrified. Um...I'm Paris," she concluded, looking to him to see if he would have any reaction. She had hardly heard him say seven words, not even a full sentence, and was unsure if he would say any more.

    "What class do you have next?" she asked him, struggling to make conversation.
  13. Twitching away from Paris like a frightened animal, Alan’s reaction promptly returned to one of a more scared state, as opposed to unfathomably terrified. The sole eye that could be seen by Paris, now that he had turned to face her, was widened in a sort of fear – not a huge amount, but enough to show that he was nervous, uneasy at the thought of having to reply to an actual person, of having to actually give a response to their words. Somehow, he seemed to be able to force out nods of acknowledgement towards her as she spoke, though he himself remained wordless.

    “What class do you have next?”
    Just as Paris was struggling to make conversation, Alan was barely able to keep it going. Now faced with the prospect of having to actually speak out loud, in order to reply, he began to speak. Granted, it was more a terrified mumble, but it was a response nonetheless.
    “H… Hi… History… I-I’ve got h-history…”
    A practically silent response. You could have heard a pin drop above the volume of his speech, he was so quiet. He was even speaking at the floor, despite speaking to Paris. His fists clenched at his sides, it appeared as if he was genuinely straining himself, in order to speak. It was bad enough in front of the class – this was just two people.
  14. "Yeah?" she asked. "What teacher? I have Lee for fourth hour, World History. I'd wanted to take Sociology instead, but I forgot to turn in my Schedule Request Form before the summer." As Paris looked at him, she found that she didn't like the fearful look in his eye, and suddenly hated herself for forcing him to interact with her when he clearly didn't want to. However, she wasn't just about to give up in front of her first hour instructor just like that.

    "If you're going towards the social studies wing, I can walk with you to your class," she added with a renewed grin. "I'm heading towards the language arts wing, so it's not a problem. You don't mind, do you?" she asked, already leading him towards the hallway, not letting go of his uniform sleeve in case he simply stood there.
  15. Before he had a chance to answer, Alan was already being tugged along by Paris, his mouth open slightly, both in shock and terror. He didn’t quite know what to make f the situation – that somebody was interacting with him. Maybe not completely willingly, but they were speaking to him, and he was going with them. They had even offered to walk him to his classroom – not that no would be an acceptable answer to them, so he reasoned, but all the same. He simply let moving with Paris, doing his best to keep his hair over his face. In all honesty, he would have stood rooted to the spot, if she had not grabbed his sleeve.

    When he was asked if he minded, he managed to utter out a stuttered ‘No,’ not being able to do much else at this point in time. He kept his head down, avoiding eye contact with any student he could. It made an odd sight, to be sure – the boy, timid to the point of it being chronically so, being dragged along by a boisterous young go-getter. This wasn’t often seen outside of the shopping centre, the place where men went to have their sanity killed in the near-endless monotony of the shops. This was a school, and stereotypes dictated that the boy be the dominant one. Yet, there he was dragged along like a little girl’s doll.
  16. Paris glanced back at him before saying, "Just tell me what class it is." Ignoring the odd stares some of the other students gave her while she led him towards the social studies wing, she would occasionally see someone she knew. Most of the time, they would make a move as if to wave and talk to her, but as soon as they saw who she was with, they would get an odd look on their face and gravitate away. Just going down a hallway alone, she felt her phone vibrating in her backpack no less than five times, no doubt text messages from her friends asking who she was with, if they were dating, and if she knew who he was.

    Never once did she let go of his shirt sleeve, figuring he would probably stop walking altogether if she did. As they came upon the social studies wing, she looked back at him, slowing in her strides, and waited for him to give any indication on what class was his. When he did, Paris stopped in front of the open door, smiling at him as she said, "I'll see you later, okay?"
  17. Just because he couldn’t see their stares, didn’t mean that Alan didn’t know he was being watched. If they knew who he was, then it would certainly be an odd sight to see him doing this. He was constantly stared at regardless, and he had hoped that in recent years, people would learn to just look away. He hated it when people looked away just because of the scars, but he hated it even more when they were the only thing anyone ever paid attention to. It was a pity few actually looked beyond the scars, and just talked to him like a normal person – had they done that, maybe he wouldn’t have had to be dragged.

    Upon reaching the corridor, and being told by Paris that she would ‘see him later,’ Alan nodded in an almost clockwork fashion – clockwork, in the sense that he was a broken clock, only managing to force out a jittery reaction, a standard one. He did not dislike Paris, by any means – he thought of her as a nice person that he would have wanted to be friends with. But, he didn’t like it when people drew attention to him, and by God had she done that today. She had peeled off down a corridor with him in tow, and in light of this, he hoped not to see her again.

    With no small degree of nervousness, the boy pushed a history room’s door gingerly open, stepping inside so cautiously, he could have been treading on eggshells.
  18. After leaving Alan to rush to her next class, knowing she would probably be late if she didn't run, she stopped at her locker, only to kick it open, suddenly glad it was a bottom one. Putting away her binder for her earlier class, she didn't bother locking her locker again, instead shutting the locker with a slam and leaving it set for anyone to open as she ran for her class.

    Just as the bell ran, she made it inside her classroom. After a brief scolding on the merits of not being almost late, she took a seat towards the back, upset that she didn't have any friends in the room with her. Sighing, she got out her notebook, deciding to pretend to be doing work while she instead let her mind wander off.
  19. History was one of the few lessons that Alan could let up just a little in, making him appear just plain timid – not flat-out petrified. If you caught him there on a good day, you might even be able to hear him form sentences, as opposed to fragments of them. Some say it was the teacher’s eccentric personality that got him – the man wasn’t like all the other teachers in the school. Granted, everyone had their own way of teaching, and Mr Thompson’s way was to be an oddball, yet approachable. Some likened him to an uncle that, while he would have made for a rubbish dad, was a great man to be in the company of.

    Maybe it was how he treated every student as an individual, as opposed to singling out distinctive children and lumping the rest with each other. He knew how each pupil acted, he knew how to get them to work, he knew just when to speak to them to make sure they kept going. Granted, the chances of him getting Alan to be like Paris were minimal, but he didn’t care about that. He saw a bright young history student in Alan, and the boy responded to it. He liked Mr Thompson, because he was never pushed – only lightly encouraged. Unlike the other teachers who just ignored him, or tried too hard to get Alan going, Thompson knew that the boy would work hard if left with the sheet and a little encouragement.

    And so, though you could barely see him working, let alone sense his presence, lan was working fervently on the task.
  20. Paris was pretty sure that Ms. Caldwell didn't like her in the slightest. Sure, English wasn't her best subject, but she felt she did okay in it. However, when she was silently working on the paper the students were given to fill out, she would occasionally look up to see Ms. Caldwell looking at her oddly. It was never blatant anger or dislike, but Paris still felt unsettled by the gaze. Deciding to try and be as good a student as possible, she turned back to her work, stifling back a yawn.

    Still feeling paranoid, she forced herself not to look up and towards her, wondering why on earth a teacher would already dislike her. As soon as she finished her paper, she set down her pencil, leaning back in her chair as she waited for another assignment. Stifling a sneeze, she took out a book to read, deciding that doing something productive wouldn't be too amiss.