Charlotte Cane

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“ɪ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ʟᴇᴀʀɴᴇᴅ ɴᴏᴡ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴡʜɪʟᴇ ᴛʜᴏꜱᴇ ᴡʜᴏ ꜱᴘᴇᴀᴋ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ ᴏɴᴇ’ꜱ ᴍɪꜱᴇʀɪᴇꜱ ᴜꜱᴜᴀʟʟʏ ʜᴜʀᴛ, ᴛʜᴏꜱᴇ ᴡʜᴏ ᴋᴇᴇᴘ ꜱɪʟᴇɴᴄᴇ ʜᴜʀᴛ ᴍᴏʀᴇ.”― ᴄ. ꜱ. ʟᴇᴡɪꜱ
“Alright. That’s the hour. Detention is over.” Mr. Volkove bounced up from his abnormally small sized desk considering he was a large hairy round belly towering russian man. He glared at us; it was obvious by his stare that he thought he was looking at a classroom full of the school’s most repeat troublemakers and high school dropouts.

Only the first half was true though. After my classes were over, the classroom I had found myself sitting in for a cold, boring, quiet hour and a half was full of our school’s familiar delinquents. That included Elli Samson, Catie Wynn, Zachary Thomposon, Rita Hayes Worth, and Zayne Pockerett. They were just a few faces I remember since back in 9th grade people said they were known for trouble. There were rumors most especially about Elli, and he happened to be in the desk right next to mine.

“I got places to be,” Mr. Volkove said, with an animalistic glower and roar to his booming shouts. “So, that means it’s time for you miserable fuck ups to get out of my classroom, and let your parents waste time babysitting you.” He flung a finger towards the doors as we all simultaneously hurriedly fiddled with our backpacks and turned our phones back on.

“Hey, Richard,” Elli Samson said to Mr. Volkove, immediately drawing my attention to him. “Teachers aren’t supposed to curse, ain’t you supposed to know that? You sure you got a license to be here?”

“Elli Samson!” Mr. Volkove immediately barked. “Don’t you dare call me by my first name. Or I’ll write you up so you’ll be here on the weekends!” He folded his arms over his wide chest, a vein bulging on his red forehead.

“Whatever.” Elli shrugged, comfortably kicking out his long legs from under his desk. “I’m here most days. Not like it will matter, Richard.”

“Hey!” Anger ballooned in Mr. Volkove’s puffy face. “What did I just say? I’m writing you up again!” His desk shook as he clamoured through his desk drawers searching for his write ups.

Elli scoffed at him, rolling his eyes as he snatched his backpack and stood from his desk.

My eyes followed him. This was the first time I had ever seen the second most infamous person at our school; Elli Samson was known to be the ultimate bad kid. He smoked in the bathrooms, cursed at teachers, and skipped school so frequently it was strange to see him in the flesh today. Seeing Elli Samson this close in person is something I’ve honestly wanted to do. The curiosity about him is something everyone has experienced. No one really knows who he is. Some say he’s a gang member and others say he runs a punk band with some local drug addicts. No one really knows his story, and I guess I don’t either. I’ve only heard things about him, and I’m sure they’re just shallow rumors…but seeing him in person with dyed jet black bedhead hair, exposed tattoos on his arms and neck, the chains on jeans, and the constant annoyed mug always on his face—maybe at least of the rumors are true.

“What?” Elli’s eyes meet mine, making my blood run cold. “What’s your deal, newbie? Who are you staring at? Got a bone to pick? Go pick it elsewhere,” he cruelly spat, instantly he turned an evil eye my way.

“I’m sorry,” I was quick to reply, lowering my head from his burning glare. “I was—.” I can’t find the words to continue. I want to explain to him that the boredom of detention was like watching paint dry. It really got to me, and I didn’t realize how bored I was until the minor things like watching Elli seemed to be the most interesting thing yet. But, even so, I know there was no excuse to bother him.

I should never bother others.

Mother told me that.

“I-I’m sorry that I—uh.” I hold my hands, shrinking into myself. I don’t have anything left to say to him. It won’t be anything of use. Nothing would change if I told him all that. Nothing.

He doesn’t wait for me to finish whatever feeble excuse of sounds I was garbling. “Whatever, man.” He scoffs again. “I don’t care what you were doing, just know I’m not an exhibit.” He shakes his head, tossing his backpack over his shoulder and striding to the classroom exit.

“Where are you going? Samson? I haven’t written you a slip!” Mr. Volkove shouts so loudly it makes me flinch.

“You don’t have to, Richard. You know I’ll be back.” Elli waves him off as he escapes out from the classroom leaving a scowling Mr. Volkove left to crumble his detention slip.

“That ridiculous kid.” Mr. Volkove growls as he pulls out his chair and hammers down into his desk. “Ms. Cane?” As soon as he sits, his eyes land on me.

“Y-yes?” I ease my arms into my backpack arms, standing up from my desk.

“Didn’t I tell the rest of everyone to get their asses out of my classes?” His eyes are narrowed.

My anxiety stabs into my rising heart beat. “Yes.” My feet are sinking into my shoes, and my voice is dying.

“Then why the fuck are you moving so slow? Stop observing my classroom and get the hell out! I said detention is over! Shoo!”

Panic propels me to motion. “I’m sorry!” I hurry out from his classroom and into freedom.

I feel a little relieved to get away. Everyone says Mr. Volkove has a poor short fuse and he’s easily angered by the slightest of things. And, honestly? I hate to say any bad rumor like that is true. But, it certainly was. I still feel like a wad of nervousness when I think about how when I first came into his classroom he shouted at me in russian. I’m not exactly sure what he said, but it didn’t feel like a warm word of welcome, especially not with the fact that he said it so vehemently that spit landed on my cheek.

Sighing, I adjust my backpack straps. Today was a long day, and I want to just close my eyes and rest.

But I can’t. Not yet. Megan is going to kill me.

There are butterflies in my stomach, and I can feel the intensity of my heart beating. It hurts a little bit to be walking through the school’s corridors knowing that I’m heading directly to trouble.

Trouble I created, that is. It’s all my fault that I got the detention. I have to own responsibility for that. It’s also all my fault that I’ve kept her waiting. It’s not like I could have even used my phone. Mr. Volkove made it clear once detention began that if he even heard a phone notification, he was going to collect it for a month.

I exit from the school hallways, into the burn of afternoon daylight and the sweltering of heat. For a moment, my chilled skin tingles as it recognizes its no longer in a fully air conditioned building.

Immediately, I scanned my surroundings. The sky was a perfect blue azure touched by puffy white clouds floating around. The clouds look like cotton candy blobs to me. For such a soft and sweet candy atmosphere around me, it didn’t feel like a good day. The day felt ruined. Somehow, like with most good things, I’ve ruined things. I always ruin the good things. Mother always said I loved to snatch other’s happiness.

I always do that.

“Ahaha, fuck you too, you loser!” A loud perky voice struck my ears.

The school parking lot was sparsely spotted with a few cars. But most of everyone had left and the place around me was deserted. There was one red sports car however, that interrupted the ghost town, its blasting music and the laughter of a group of familiar faces.

Kevin was the first person I noticed. He stood by the driver’s seat of the car, laughing heartily as he threw a football into Freddie’s face. Freddie cringed as the ball jammed into his jawline.

“The fuck, bro?” In response, Freddie’s deep guttural laughter followed. The football rolled down his chest. “I was joking man!”

“Whatever, fucktard.” Kevin laughed like a hyena cries.

Freddie tossed the football back to him, and they continued with whatever tossling and aggressive throws they were up to.

“Hey, Kevin!” Megan commanded my attention. She popped her head out from the passenger side of the car. “I’m ready to go! Get your asses moving! We can’t be late for the party!”

Kevin peaked at her. “Calm down. We’re gonna get there in time.” He turned his attention back to whatever football practice he seemed to be doing with Freddie.

I swallowed. They don’t see me yet. And honestly, I’m glad they don’t. I’m afraid of what they’re gonna say. Especially Megan. I know I need to get her the money she needs, but a part of me wants to silently slip by. Maybe its better if I just go home. I grip my fists. There’s this nagging feeling inside of me that I want to disappear so I won’t have to deal with the consequences of my actions.

After only a few seconds, Megan beeped the horn pulling me out from my thoughts and back into observation. “Kevin! I’m serious!” she screeched, leaning out from the car window. “I’m ready to go!”

Kevin groaned, tossing the football one more time to Freddie. But this time around, he missed and the football went soaring directly my way.

I ducked, the ball narrowly missing from smashing into my head.

“Hey!” I could hear Kevin chortle as I slowly got back up. “Is that Charty? Charty!” He waved his hands. “Pass me that football back!”

“I don’t think she can throw that far man.” Freddie says, snickering with a swipe at his nose.

“Char? Is that Char?” I could see Megan peer at me from the passenger side of the car. “Char-Char! Where have you been, bitch? We’ve been looking for you!”

I don’t know why I thought I could just leave.

Like mother always said, you have to face the consequences of your actions.

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