Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eyes of a Stranger

Everything about Miki is familiar. I’ve known him for so long – heck, I couldn’t say how long. He’s like a part of me. I know every line on his face, every hair on his head. When I hear his voice, I know the rhythm and the sound.

But today he looked at me, and his eyes were the eyes of a stranger.

At first glance, nothing had changed. His eyes were just as dark as always. I’d always liked his eyes – looking into them was like peering into the ocean. They were deep blue and sea green with flashes of gold like the ocean catching the sunlight. It was these eyes that looked at me, but they were different somehow. They were filled with anger and harshness, and when I looked into them I almost got lost in the sorrow and confusion I found there.

Not knowing quite how to address this strange change, I decided to shoot for casual: “Hey, Miki, a bunch of us are headed over to The Game Station, wanna’ come?”

He turned away from me, making this big show of getting stuff out of his locker.

“I don’t think I can make it,” he said. There was something about the way he said it that made me think there was something going on.

“Hey, you okay?” I asked. I’d never seen Miki act like this – usually he was the life and soul of the party, but now he was hardly saying a word. In all the time I’d known him, I didn’t think I’d ever seen him act so strange and distant.

“I’m fine.” He slammed his locker shut. “See you around.”

He stormed off down the hall, leaving me standing alone, feeling like I’d just been slapped.

As I walked out to my car, I ran through my head all the things I had said to Miki over the past couple of days. Admittedly, there hadn’t been much. I’d been busy with my band – we were rehearsing for our first ever legit gig, and tension was a little high. We were performing a song that Miki had written for us. He usually showed more interest in the band than he had been lately, but I had understood when he said he didn’t want to go to every rehearsal (heck, I didn’t want to go to them all either). Miki had said he was busy, too – always with different things: homework, lessons, having to babysit his younger siblings. What with our clashing schedules we had only seen a bit of each other in the halls and in the classes we had together. I tried to think of something I might have said to him to offend him or make him mad at me, but I couldn't come up with anything.

By this point I had reached my car, and it occurred to me that my backpack was incredibly light. I groaned as I realized I had left my math book in my locker. For a moment I considered not going back for it, but it was the weekend and I had like three weeks of assignments to catch up on. My mother had even threatened to not let me perform if I didn’t get at least some of it done.

Cursing algebra and my evil teacher, I turned around and went back into the school. The hallways were practically deserted, and I made my way unhindered, which was a nice change from during the day, when you couldn’t move for the clots of people. As I made my way down the hall, I passed a classroom and could hear people talking. This wasn’t too strange, as some after-school-clubs were going on (I’ve never been able to understand after-school-clubs – dude, school is over, what are you doing hanging around? Go get a life!). However, something about the voices made me pause. For starters, they sounded a bit menacing. But, more importantly, one of them was Miki’s – and he sounded scared.

“I know, I know,” he was saying, “I’ll do better tonight.”

“We weren’t impressed by the little fit you threw yesterday,” said one of the menacing voices. I crept closer to the classroom door, hoping to be able to peer in without being seen.

“It’s just – I’m having trouble getting it,” said Miki.

“We’re doing you a favor letting you stay in,” the voice said this in a way that made me feel I would never want a favor from this guy.

“Doesn’t feel like it,” Miki muttered.

“Well, we can always let you out. No one’s making you stay.”

Now Miki’s voice sounded terrified, it shook as he said: “N-no, I’ll stay, I’ll stay. I’m getting it. Really, I am. He-here, let me sh-show you.”

No words followed this remark. Cautiously, I peered around the edge of the door.

There was no one in the classroom.

Where had they gone? And what had Miki gotten himself into?


Today's Novel Idea Prompted by:

"Eyes of a stranger," courtesy of Dragon Writing Prompts

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