Chapter One

Night of Hell

"Mom, where are you? MOM!" Consuelo Screamed as he ran through the house looking for his mother, who kept calling him over and over.

"Come Consuelo, come join me my darling and we will be happy together in heaven." whispered his mother, whom he had finally found.

"I'm coming Mother, I'm coming!" he shouted frantically as he ran towards his mother, but he was suddenly stopped by his father waking him.

"Consuelo, you were having a bad dream."

"Dad, why do I keep having those dreams? I swear I will go crazy with another one of those dreams!"

"I know son," said his father trying to comfort him, "I know son."

"No you don't know dad! You didn't lose your mom when you were 14 and your father did not get married right after the dirt was thrown on her coffin," he said crudely to his father.

"Don't take that tone with me. You know your mother and I had problems that we were working out, but in the end we ended up getting a divorce. You know I waited for me to marry Nickel."

"I don't call a year waiting enough dad!" Consuelo went on, his voice rising.

"Consuelo, you are being unfair and childish now. I was not going to wait 10 or 20 years after your mother's death to get married, so save it and go back to SLEEP!" Mr. Kendrick bellowed.

"What's going on here?" asked Nickel.

"Nothing. None of your business Cruela!"

At that moment, Mr. Kendrick slapped Consuelo.

"You can say all what you want to me but not to her, do you hear me!"

"Yes Father," Consuelo answered spitefully.

"Good. Now get some sleep so you can get up in the morning well rested. Let's go," he added turning to his wife.

When they were in the hallway, Mrs. Kendrick told her husband that she would like to speak to Consuelo alone.

"Sure, knock yourself out. I really don't understand him. I understand that he has gone through a lot this past year, but he has to understand me. I could not have waited a lifetime to marry you. I needed support to go through this ordeal, and to raise him properly. He knows that, but he's still giving me a hard time, and I'm really sorry about the way he spoke to you. He will be punished for it."

"Don't worry about it Ladany, he thinks that I'm trying to replace his mother in this house, and I will talk to him and try to comfort him. Ok. So don't worry about punishing him. Let me take care of it."

With that, she hugged her husband and kissed him. She then went into Consuelo's room, and waited for her husband to leave before she spoke to Consuelo.

"Listen kid. I struggled to hard to get him from your mother . . . . and to keep him after she died for you to be messing it up now! So you keep you big mouth shut, you be nice to him and you don't give any more trouble," she whispered viciously.

"Or what?!" he whispered back in the same tone.

"I can make your life worse than it already is, and you know if you tell you father about this conversation, he will not believe you, so don't even try to do it. You don't want to be sent to boarding school," she answered with a sly smile.

"I would love to see you do that Cruela," he spat in her face.

She wiped the spit off her face and retorted,

"Not as much as me."

"Get out of my room before I hurt you, and trust me, I am capable of doing it," he shouted, but not loud enough for his father to hear.

"I'm going, no need to get so worked up boy,' she responded amused.

As soon as she left, Consuelo shut the door and locked it with trembling hands. He always trembled when he was really, really angry, and at this moment, he was beyond mad. If he could he would have killed Nickel, but that was way too risky.

How can my father be so blind? he asked himself getting into bed.

Mom, please watch over us and help us wherever you are. We need you.

Five minutes later, he fell asleep, but this time, he did not dream.

Chapter Two

Horrible Day at School

Consuelo woke up in the morning crushed and angry. He could have killed the first person he saw. Life sucked big time! He got ready for school, grabbed his bag in the hall closet and was about to open the front door when his father called him.

"Yes dad," Consuelo answered.

"Where do you think you're going?"

"Uh-to school," Consuelo answered staring at his father.

"Not without eating breakfast. Sit down this instant."

"Dad I'm not hungry! See you this afternoon," he said as he walked out the, after which he slammed it.

"That boy really needs some 'good English discipline'," commented Nickel, while sipping her coffee, "have you ever considered boarding school sweetie, I hear there are great ones in England."

"I don't know, that's far away from Greenville (a small town in Toronto Canada), and I will miss him a lot."

"But-"

"Please let's not discuss this now, I'm not in the mood. Can you wash the dishes? Thank you. See you tonight."

"Sure," she answered defeated and frustrated.

§

"Hey Kareem," Consuelo greeted his three year best friend, sitting next to him. Kareem was black, but one would not be able to tell by the way he acted.

"Man you look like crap!"

"Thanks," Consuelo thanked him sarcastically.

"Just telling you how it is man."

"Sure, one day I'll disown you, you know that."

"You know you love me. Anyways, having problems with Cruela again?" Kareem asked, changing the subject.

"Yeah, she wants to send me away to boarding school like the typical step mother. I overheard them talking this morning."

"Forget that. She's more like a step monster," laughed Kareem and then added more seriously, "man, you really have it bad."

"Come on, let's go to trigonometry," sighed Consuelo.

"Aww, not that stupid subject, I have nothing left to do during Trig."

§

They went to class, and sat at the back as usual, ready to play battle ship. Mr. Almand came into the class, and began to draw a couple of complicated figures on the squeegee board. He went on to explain some strange topic which, for the first time, Consuelo was listening to.

"Come on man, move you ship," whispered Kareem to Consuelo.

"Hold on, I'm listening," Consuelo said brushing Kareem aside.

"Since when do you listen during trigonometry-?"

"Kareem, hush."

Kareem gave Consuelo an indignant look, and put the game away. Mr. Almand then drew a figure on the board, which caught Consuelo's attention. He then raised his hand.

"Yes Mr. Lopéz. It seems strange that you have something to say. I'm even surprised that I know your name. What is your paralysis?"

"Well sir," he began, standing up, "the diagram on the board is wrongly labelled. You see π is not supposed to be there. Triangles do not have π. They have Ø in trigonometry. Also, you used the word paralysis wrongly. Paralysis means-"

"Mr. Lopéz, thank you for your concern, but I am pretty sure that π goes there and I used paralysis in context. Now sit down," ordered Mr. Almand fiercely.

Consuelo remained standing defiantly while Mr. Almand continued to teach, ignoring him. After a while, he began to draw the attention of his classmates and therefore Mr. Almand could no longer ignore him and said,

"Mr. Lopéz, you will sit down now."

"I will not until you accept that you are wrong."

"I will not because I am not. You know what, since you are so bent on being right, what is the meaning of the word paralysis and what goes on the board?," Mr. Almand asked with a smirk on his face..

"Gladly. Paralysis means the inability to move normally, and I reiterate that Ø is what that's supposed to be on the board," he said advancing towards the board and placing in the sign.

"This is what's supposed to be there sir," he said when he was done.

"Well thank you for your moment of enlightenment, but I assure you that you could not possibly be right. I was that teacher last time I checked so for the last time get to your sit. My patience is wearing thin!"

Consuelo walked to his seat and remained standing, glaring at Mr. Almand. He could feel his own temper rising. He could not believe that Mr. Almand was so bent on being right that he would not accept correction, and he would prove that he was wrong!

"Consuelo sit down, I think he means business," whispered Kareem next to him.

"I won't, not until that ASS says I'm right," Consuelo bellowed. The entire class went quiet with shock, and Mr. Almand's facial expression became sombre. Hate oozed out from every poor on his face.

"What did you just say Consuelo?"

"I think you heard me sir. I am sick and tired of people treating me like I'm shit!"

"Lopéz. Principal's office now! I will be there soon," was all Mr. Almand could say through his anger.

Chapter Three

To Boarding School or Not to Boarding School

Consuelo barged out of the class and walked slowly to the office. Not that he was scared, but he was thinking about how his life just sucked. Firstly he had a dragon of a step mother (classic), and secondly the school he was in was a sham.

I probably should take Nickel's advice and go to boarding school, he said to himself as he approached the office. He knocked on the door and the principal, Mr. Honychurch told him to come in.

§

"Mr. Lopéz! What brings you here?" he asked, surprised to see one of his best students in his office.

"Please sir, call me Consuelo because I've been called Mr. Lopéz enough for the day."

"By whom?"

"MR Almand. He sent me here."

"For what reason?" Mr. Honychurch asked, raising his left eyebrow.

"Well sir," he began, fidgeting in his seat, "for once, I was listening during Trigonometry (at this Mr. Honychurch chuckled) and he did something wrong on the board. So I told him he was wrong, plus he used a word wrongly."

"So what is the problem then Consuelo?"

"Well I kind of cursed out loud."

Mr. Honychurch started at Consuelo bewildered.

"Um well . . . why?"

"Because I was pissed O.K. I'm tired of people mistreating me, and not talking to me seriously, I hate my dragon of a step mother, and I can go on."

Before Mr. Honychurch was able to comment, there came a loud knock at the door. Mr. Honychurch told the person to enter, and it was Mr. Almand.

"Sir, did Mr. Lopéz explain the incident?"

"Yes he did, quite well actually," answered the principal.

"So what is the punishment Sir?" asked Mr. Almand eagerly, while Consuelo turned to face the principal who was now standing.

"Well, I don't believe that he should be punished. He just needs to visit a counsellor for as long as it takes for him to let out some of that bottled anger."

"That's it? That boy cursed twice in my presence and he sees the counsellor!" exclaimed Mr. Almand.

"Well, I don't believe that he did it especially. It was wrong but everybody explodes once in a while. It happens to the best of us sometimes," Mr. Honychurch said winking at Consuelo, "but I will need to see your parents. I will have a letter written."

"Sir, correction, my parent the other one's dead."

"Yes Consuelo," breathed Mr. Honychurch with exasperation, "now I would like you to go back to class."

"Sir please don't send me back to class, I don't feel mentally up to it," begged Consuelo pushing his luck.

"Oh alright, let me get you a hall pass," agreed Mr. Honychurch bending over a stack of boxes in a corner.

Consuelo looked at Mr. Almand whose face was a total mask of horror and smiled, while Mr. Almand sneered at him. After all his efforts to nail Consuelo, he had once again slipped through his fingers.

Mr. Honychurch found the hall pass and gave it to Consuelo, who then left the two men alone in the office. He closed the door behind him and walked down the hall. He then went outside to sit on the stadium benches. He then fumbled around his pocket and found what he was looking for, his treasure. It was a gold platted lighter with the initials;

M.L.

engraved in the front. He dug a bit dipper and found the cigarette he had stolen from Nickel's bag last week. He looked at it and thought to himself that he should not smoke, but he could not have been bothered.

He went behind the stands, sat on the grass, and lit it. He put it to his lips and drew in his breath. He choked and coughed for a while, then got accustomed to the bitter- sweet smoke. When it was finished, he through the bud away, crushed it with his shoe, and dug his pocket for another one.

He repeated what he had done with the first, and then took a mint from his other pocket. He had thought about this and had planned carefully how he would have done this. He then got up and went for a walk to allow the air to blow the smell away.

Now I see why people smoke, it helps to numb the pain, he thought, getting out the lighter again and examining it. A thing he had done many times since his mother's death. His mother had given it to him on his 14th birthday. He laughed a bit, remembering how he had almost caught the curtains on fire. He fell to the grass, and lay sprawled, thinking of his dead mother. Thanks mom for dieing! You could have at least taken me with you!

He started to hum a song from his Green Day CD.

"Nobody loves you, everyone loved you, and they're all out without you having fun!" he sang out loud.

Then he screamed and started to cry.

"Thanks for dieing and leaving me here alone . . . hope you're happy UP THERE!"

He lay down again, and fell asleep. A few hours later, someone found him there, and woke him up. He went to his locker and checked the time. It was four, and school had ended an hour and a half ago.

"Crap and nobody saw it fit to wake me up," he shouted to anyone that could hear him, but nobody did because the school was deserted. He went to the office, and found the secretary still at her desk. When she saw him, she gave him the letter that Mr. Honychurch had written. He did not even bother to read it. Instead, he stuffed it in his pocket, ran into the parking lot and rode his bicycle home.

He arrived home at five, and was greeted by an angry father and a satisfied step mother.

"You are in so much trouble mister, I don't know where to begin!" said his father, his face contorted with rage.

§

Chapter Four

Saved By Cruela!

"What's that supposed to mean?" Consuelo asked sitting on the chair facing him.

"Where have you been? Your principal called and said that you were no longer at school, and we have been waiting for you from since two," his father explained.

"That's why you're at home. I know I remembered you saying that you would be late."

"Don't change the subject, where have you been?" asked Nickel.

"I don't owe you anything Cruela so mind your business. I went for a walk dad, around the stadium and I fell asleep one the grass. I got permission to be absent from class," he added, seeing the look on his father's face.

"So you expect me to believe this?" his father asked annoyed.

"Um-yeah, because it is the truth. Oh yeah I have a letter for you."

He removed the letter from his pocket and gave it to his father, who then read. When he was done, he gave it to Nickel.

"I see. Your principal thinks that you should see a psychiatrist because you seem to have some 'problems at home that you can't cope with' and that was the cause of your 'outburst'," he said slowly after contemplating over what he had read, " let me make this clear to you Consuelo. I have given you many chances, but I am fed up now and I need some rest from you. Therefore, I have decided to send you to boarding school."

"What!" exclaimed Nickel and Consuelo when he said this.

Consuelo could not believe his ears, and Nickel was ecstatic.

"But, you can't," protested Consuelo.

"I can and I will. You were right Nickel, I should have listened to you from the start."

"This is bull!"

"Watch your language young man. You don't need a psych, you need some discipline, and there will be plenty of that where you will be going."

"I don't believe this! Mom would never allow some nasty looking witch to convince her to send her only son away. She's turned you into some monster and you are joking if you think that I'll allow you to send me away when the going gets tough."

With that, Consuelo stormed out of the living room before anybody could say anything and ran upstairs to his room. He got his bag, stuffed it with clothes, and went into his father's room to steal some more of Nickel's cigarettes. He then took the bag and climbed out of his bedroom window to place it in his tree house. Tonight, when they were all asleep, he would run away. He placed 2 cigarettes in his pockets and returned to his room.

He took a bath, changed and went down to the kitchen to make himself some dinner. He was the only person in the house apart from Nickel because his father had already gone back to work. Nickel was somewhere in the house, he could have cared less if she had fallen from a window and died. When he was half way through his meal, she waltzed into the kitchen and sat down in front of him. He put his fork down in disgust and began to get up, but she grabbed his arm so he could sit. He wrenched his arm free and asked her nastily,

"You must be happy now huh? I mean you got what you wanted. No?"

"Well in fact, I am happy, but I don't want you to go. (Consuelo gave a shocked look) Yes, I don't want you to go. You are too important to your father to allow him to send you away. You see, already when you're here all I hear about is Cony this and Cony that, fare less for when you won't be here. I can't have that so no, you will stay."

"Well, it's too late for that now isn't it?"

"Maybe not. I have quite a bit of power over your father-"

"No, I haven't noticed," he comment sarcastically.

"And I should be able to get him to change his mind," she continued, ignoring his interruption.

"Alright, but what do you want in return for your so called got services?"

"I would love nothing more than if you stayed out of my way. Do keep on the low down, and Consuelo, stop stealing my cigarettes," she said, giving him a stern look, "that stuff's not good for you. It just might kill you."

"I'm sure you would love nothing more than that, besides it's not good for you either . . . but I can always hope you'll die from cancer," he said hopefully.

"Do whatever you want, it's your life. Here," she said, pushing a box towards him, "it's contaminated, I don't want it anymore."

"Thanks, I think that's the first nice thing you've done for me so far."

"You can joke about it, but when your father finds out that his fifteen year old is smoking, don't come looking for my hel-"

"I won't. As far as I'm concerned, I bought them," he said blowing smoke into her face.

She stood up and then before she turned to go, she said,

"You remind me of myself when I was your age."

"That's a terrifying thought. I could never be compared to you."

She smiled and left Consuelo to his cigarette.

§

The following day, Consuelo woke up feeling light headed. He had gone off to the tree house and smoked two other cigarettes, then drank three beers and somehow managed to get back to his bedroom and crashed. He took his bath towel from the door and headed towards his bathroom. He removed his clothes and examined himself in the mirror. He had grown quite tall now, 5 feet 11, and he noticed his moustache was coming along quite nicely, as well as one or two stray hairs on his chin.

As far as his chest was concerned, it was bare, but he had become a bit abbey since he had joined swimming at his school but lately he barely went. He looked a bit pale, but his long black hair made it seem barely noticeable. He was therefore quite content with himself physically, and went on to take his warm shower.

He dressed into baggy black jeans with a chain on the side, his Green Day jersey and his black Reebok sneakers. He then ran downstairs, ate his breakfast, and then ran back up to take his pack and lighter. However, when he was about leave, his father stopped him at the door.

"Son, I'm sorry about yesterday afternoon. I don't know what came over me. Maybe it's the stress of the firm, but I said some things to you that I'm not proud of, and I'm sorry."

"Well dad, I'm sorry too, but that still does not change the fact that Nickel has come between us, and I'm going to be leaving."

"I know, but that's also something I'd like to rectify. You won't be going after all.

"Really," Consuelo said in disbelief.

"Yea. Last night, Nickel and I had a talk, and she made (Consuelo snorted) me realise (Mr. Kendrick continued ignoring him) that I need you here. No matter how much trouble you give, I could never forgive myself if I'd sent you away," Mr. Kendrick said hugging him.

37