He rushed out of the house and saw a motorcycle parked outside. Assuming, it was his, he rode on it and drove to school. When he arrived, he met a bunch of familiar and unfamiliar faces. Faces, he never saw and faces he knew for a lifetime. 🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸 He felt like he knew them but still, he didn't. He could identify his childhood friends now all grown up just like him. He parked his bike and walked towards the school. He entered the hallway and all the hustle bustle got buried down into the depths of Bermuda's triangle. The corridor fell as silent as a graveyard and he felt all eyes on him as if he's a living dead. He met a few eyes and wondered whether anything was wrong with himself. He ran his hand through his midnight black hairs and his pale blue eyes searched for a familiar face. The eyes lingered on him as he walked towards his locker. The hallway was silent with bits of whispering here and there as people continued their business. He stumbled across his schedule and paved his way to the class like a goody-two-shoes. No doubt Sebastian was a handsome hunk and he didn't have any deficiency in the nutrient called confidence. He sat down on a chair in the first row as he prepared himself for the first class of the day. The teacher entered the class and started it with the usual good morning salutation and open your worksheets thing. The class was going to be on its engine when the teacher met his eyes. “Ahh! Mr. Gray,” Mr. Edison, their English teacher raised his eyebrows, “It's good to see you here but what brought you here?” Sebastian furrowed his eyebrows as he continued looking into his teacher's eyes with confusion in his. “I mean I have seen you only a couple of times last year in my class,” he chuckled. Sebastian gritted his teeth as his jaw clenched. Offended, he stood up, “Maybe I want to turn things around, this year,” he said, loud and clear. “We shall see,” Mr. Edison said as he continued writing the day's topic. Sebastian couldn't understand most of the things, to be honest. Why was everyone looking at him like that? Like, the lion walked into the jungle. Where were his friends? Was he a loner? He couldn't get any of it. After the classes ended one by one, he rushed out of the classroom and collided against another shoulder. “Liam,” he said, his voice filled with happiness as he met his old friend. He gave him a bro hug and saw Liam's confused face. “What's wrong brother?” he asked, gently. “Brother, huh?” A female voice interrupted from across the hall. Sebastian's eyes averted to her. She was not short but not too tall either. Her hair dyed pink and she was chewing gum. Two other guys and another girl followed after her. If anyone was out of the place here, it was Sebastian himself. “Since when are you friends with the stupid fellas, Seb?” she asked, chuckling. “What do you mean? We have been friends since childhood. Ain't it, Liam?” Sebastian asked, turning to Liam. “Actually, they are right,” Liam pointed at the gang, “and we were friends a long long time ago,” amusement flickered in his voice as he spoke. Sebastian had the urge of asking the girl and his gang who they were but thought it'd be awkward and suspicious if he failed to recognise them, assuming the fact that he probably belonged to the gang too. Not uttering any other word, he walked over to them and joined them. Another question added to the back of his mind: how on earth he became friends with these people? He cursed internally, thinking he might not even know their names. “Welcome back, king,” the girl with pink hair said with a smirk, brushing her hand on his shoulder. King? He thought to himself. What the actual fuck was happening here? He had the feeling brewing deep inside his stomach that he screwed up. Maybe he chose the wrong crowd. Is he not a good person, anymore?
All of them walked towards the cafeteria as it was lunch but the crowded place didn't back off in showering them with royalty. Their table was left untouched and as they walked in, Sebastian didn't fail to notice all the admiring and dreamy look from all the girls. He smirked as he started realising how things would be at his high school. “Shit, look at the line! Damn,” Sebastian muttered. “Who cares about the line?” one of the guys whose name Sebastian came to know as Adam, said. Sebastian looked confused again but preferred to keep his mouth shut. He looked around the cafeteria. The whole senior year was there and his eyes scanned each one of them. He wondered how his last year of high school was going to be? Did he change from heaven to hell? While he was thinking and figuring out who he grew up to be, a guy walked to their table carrying all their trays, his head hung down. Sebastian raised his right eyebrow in question. Was he a bully? He thought to himself and then reassured his mind that he couldn't grow up to be a bully. His brother was never a bully, he was always the perfect student, and every other definition of perfect. He was starting to feel the disappointment seep into his veins. Sometimes we grow up to be people which we don't want to be. Sometimes we choose but most times we just fall back automatically and the power to choose who we want to be gets snatched from us as we make some silly stupid decisions. Sebastian was looking down on his future self, the person he grew up to be. The day passed pretty fast. Sebastian figured out that he was basically the king of the school. Girls drool over him and everyone worships the land he walks on and Amy, the pink-haired girl, was kind of queen bee of the school. No, he wasn't the jock and he was quite upset over the fact that he didn't play football anymore. He was curious over what accident he came across that he couldn't play football anymore. There were a thousand more questions constantly spiraling in his mind's labyrinth. “Seb, where you goin'?” Amy shouted over the parking as the day was over. Although, he liked the tight-knit group he had and all his friends having his back and everything. Although he liked the deep-rooted friendship or loyalty the gang had, he still wondered whether or not they were the right crowd for him. “Home?” he replied in a questioning tone, picking up his helmet. “No, you aren't. We are going to go to Dave's,” she said as she walked over and grabbed the helmet out of his hand. “But why?” “Just hanging out as always... what's wrong with you today? Are you okay?” she placed her hand on his forehead. “Oh, okay,” he finally complied. They sat around on the couches in Dave's living room while he was still observing and trying to scrutinize everything out of it. He noticed the guys preparing the pot. He questioned himself and his choices of friends again. Was this who he is? The real him? “Gray, here you go,” They were smoking pot and Sebastian was really confused. He looked at it with confusion. “Seriously guys? Are we getting high right now? No, thanks. I'll pass,” he shrugged. “Are you alright, Seb?” the other girl, Samantha asked with a light chuckle. Sebastian rolled his eyes and sat there thinking about himself. “So there's this race in the Backstreet alley tonight. You going?” Adam asked. “Race as in? Illegal track races?” Sebastian furrowed his eyebrows. “Yeah,” Adam shrugged now more confused than ever, probably wondering what was up with Sebastian. “It's been a long time since you raced... after that accident and injury, it was kinda difficult for you---,” “You know what?” he cut Adam off, “I think I'll just go home now.” With that, he left. He rode his bike while a thousand doubts and confusions rode his mind. He shut himself up within the four walls of his room. He searched for peace and solace in the comfort of his own room but failed to achieve it. A little piece of his daily life made him think down to the roots, what does his whole future look like then? Perhaps, a nightmare, he thought. After thinking everything through, he noted in his mind that one thing leads to another. One decision leads to another and one company leads to another and that's how it all began. He smiled to himself when he thought he could change all of it in future if he figured out his wrongs and made the right decision, the right choice. Mentally, he prepared himself to survive another day of high school. Five days: one down, four to go. He shook his head trying to shoo away all these feelings and thoughts but couldn't. He knew that one person whom he can reside right now, is his brother, Nathaniel. He ran out of the room and knocked on his brother's door only to be replied by silence. He unlocked the door and went in, to find an empty dark tidy room, properly neat and in order as if no one has touched it in years.
(to be continued)
Written by: Sanyukta Paul
Illustrated by: Aninda K. Nanda