I Hit a Bull-man with a stick
So, pretty much, the beginning of the end of the world I previously lived in started like this.
I saw my mom, Elaine Simmons, in a big long, oversized t-shirt that had the name of some old collage on it. I couldn't really read it. Her chestnut hair was a lot longer than it usually was, and it was tied back into ponytail at the base of her neck. The lines I had come to realize came with age had smoothed a bit, like she was a decade younger. Then I realized why she wore the oversized shirt. Her stomach was bulging. Maybe she was twelve years younger.
Then I noticed the person she was talking to. The man she was talking to. He looked kind of familiar. He was really tall, taller than average, with a short black bear and a full head of hair, which is more than I can say about the last guy I saw mom with. He wore Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt and sandals. He had sea foam green eyes with little crinkles at the sides, so I knew he smiled a lot. But they weren't smiling then. They were determined, like my moms own deep brown ones. Uh oh. Not good.
"Just listen to me for a minute," the man insisted. My mom sighed.
"Okay, fine. I'll hear you out."
The man walked over to her. "Come and live with m. We'll be safe there, in my home. All of us," he pointed at my mom's rounded stomach as she rubbed a gentle hand over it. At me, supposedly. You know, if any of this junk was real. Which it wasn't...
"She's safe here," cried my mom.
"She?" he asked. "I thought you weren't going to know."
"I can feel it," said my mother firmly. "And don't change the subject. You contacted that camp of yours when you found out. She can go there when she is ready, but that's my final offer." Mom walked over to the couch and plopped down. Actually, It was more a waddle, that's how big she was. Man, I must have been a really chubby baby.
"She won't be safe anywhere. Her kind never is. Especially mine," he insisted once again. But my mom had a will of fire, and she was as hard to move as a mountain, and if you've never tried to move a mountain, it's pretty hard. "I guess this conversation isn't going anywhere is it?"
Mom's brown eyes sparkled. "Not an inch." She kissed his cheek fondly.
Then the scene melted into darkness.
I woke up. My head felt groggy, and as I rubbed them I groaned. I was hot, and my sheets were bunched up at the bottom of my bed. Not that the dream was scary. It just gave me this feeling, like something big was coming. Something so monumental it would every day up until then look like a marshmallow.
I glanced at the clock on the opposite side of the room. It read such an ungodly hour that I collapsed. A cup of water from my bed stand had fallen off onto the ground. Guess I had been flailing. I sighed and got awake to pick it from the floor, my stiff limbs protesting. Then I glimpsed the mirror.
I was kind of pretty, or so I had been told. I looked nothing like my mother though. I was pretty tall for my age, but not lanky, and thin. A bunch of people asked me if I was a dancer or something. Just to clear that up, no, I'm not. I had wavy black hair to my shoulders and blunt bangs, but most of it was tied up in a ponytail as I slept, with little bits jutting out all over, not that it ever laid down like I wanted it to. My sea foam green eyes were dull with sleepiness. Oh boy. I had wondered why he looked familiar. I saw him in the mirror every morning. That would explain it.
I had freaky dreams all the time. Way more than normal people, you know. People who aren't mental. Usually they were like other people's lives. I always felt bad. It was like I was intruding on their privacy. But it wasn't all bad. There was that one time I had saved Will Troop from Chris Matthews.
Will is this scrawny little kid with curly red hair and really green eyes. He walks with this kind of limp and he eats like a pig. Chris Matthews looks like one. He likes to pick on kids smaller than him, like Will. So I beat him up...just a little bit. I'm thin, but I am really strong. Seriously, I always win in arm wrestling.
Oh, and speaking of school, I go to this lame mental case one. It's called Saint Phillips, and it's about as saint-like as a turd. Or maybe even less than turd, but I can't think of anything worse that I could say without my mom washing my mouth out with soap.
Oh, and just so you know, I have dyslexia. And ADHD. Not just one disability, but two. Guess I had to be so messed I didn't even fit in at Saint Phillips "school for the hopeless and inept". They should put that on a greeting card. It sure made me feel better.
Anyway, it's not like I pondered whether I looked like some dude from a random dream and what the impact it would have on my life. I'm not that gullible. I had to put up with guys tomorrow. Real ones. Oh joy.
So I guess that's when things really took a twist to the odd side. Or you could consider my birth the beginning. But we are definitely not going to go there. Sore territory. Been there done that. Let's move on people.
Anyway, so here's a little bit about me and my personal preferences. My full name is Koralie Embry Simmons. Just Kory for short thought, because let's face it; Koralie is a bit of a mouthful. And, at the moment, I am not very fond of the education system.
All of the teachers are old and crusty, or middle aged women with fake blonde hair that they think makes them "hip" which is just one of the words in their "slang dictionary" that need sorely to be updated. The school food is as healthy as pure grease and the hand me down textbooks smell like feet.
Oh, and just for future reference, I get into a lot of trouble. Way more than normal kids could handle. I mean, seriously, how was I supposed to make the water fountains explode, all over the school? Or make used toilet water splash into to Jasmine Murray's face when she tried to make a couple of sixth graders drink it, which, by the way, is the grossest thing I have ever seen? And don't even get me started on field trips. Stalker dudes with less than two eyes, gigantic lions outside on a train that only I can see, and a teacher that I was sure, and no I'm not exaggerating, breathed blue fire.
So, almost thirteen years and seven schools later, saint Phillips is where I ended up in. Oh well, I would get expelled by the end of the year, I always did.
"Kory!" shouted my mom up the steps a few hours later. "School's in half an hour."
I felt like I had slept on a board. Turns out I had completely buckled onto the floor and fell asleep in the layer of clutter that covered the carpet of my bedroom so utterly not one speck of it was visible. I couldn't even tell you what color it was; I hadn't seen it for years.
"Kory, get up!"
"I'm up, I'm up..."
"Bacon and eggs?"
I leaped out of the little nest I had made on the floor and got dressed quickly, jeans and flip-flops. I pulled on my New York Police Department t-shirt to finish the ensemble and let my hair out of its nightly ponytail. I shook it out as I ran down the stairs.
"Hey mom," I called when I reached the bottom.
My mom looked pretty much the same as she did from my dream the night before, only her face had more lines, but I never really thought of her as old. She looked wiser, I guess. She was stooped over the stove, jiggling a pan with scrambled eggs in it to make sure it was done. When she was certain she dipped out the contents and two strips of bacon onto a plate and slapped it on the table in front of me. "Good luck."
I gobbled up the food in front of me. I was famished, which was a vocabulary word, just so you know. Anyway, I pretty much inhaled it down and tried to swallow, only taking a pause to drink some orange juice when I couldn't to help it down. "Thanks," I panted, catching my breath. I picked up the bad that sat next to the doorway. I was kind of pathetic, because, since I never study, it had no books in it and slouched against the wall, like it couldn't believe I was dragging all the way to that horrible school again.
The sky was clear and bright and blue and perfect. I wish I could say the same thing for my mood. Saint Phillips loomed over the sidewalk, this huge brick building blocking all of the sunlight from the front lawn. Even the flowers in the beds b y the front door looked all sad and droopy.
"Hey, are you coming or what?" cried Will from the front door, waving his little hand wildly at me on the other side.
"Hold up!" I cried back, sprinting off to meet him. Chris Matthews blocked my way.
"Hey Kory," he said with a sly grin. "Want t o make out?"
"I think you should get over it," Stupid Chris. Last quarter I was forced to play spin the bottle at a party held in the gym. And guess whom it just happened to land on? Honestly, worst night of my life.
And then he started laughing, laughing. I'm normally not a very temperamental person, but a few people just get on my nerves just by breathing. It's not a long list, but Chris Matthews s definitely at the top. Anyway, I was the better person and kept on going, but I was so mad I couldn't see wear I was going and Chris's foot just happened to be in my line of fire. I ran over to Will and left his howling behind me.
So, the first half of the day went pretty well, in my case. I only got yelled at once and was merely involved in one shout out match with a snobby cheerleader and Jasmine Murray. All in all, I was doing way better then usual. If they gave out those little golden stars at Saint Phillips, I would have gotten one for sure.
But after lunch, in fourth period math, thing took another turn for the worse. And I don't mean a pop quiz, even though they are almost as bad.
"Mr. Monroe?" called the speaker just above my math teacher's desk. "Would you mind sending Koralie Simmons to the principal's office?"
"She's on her way."
I scooted my chair out from my desk, trying to make as much noise as possible.
"Test next Tuesday, Mrs. Simmons," called Mr. Monroe. "You should study. It's a doozy."
Will was sitting in his little corner by the door, so that if he needed to go to the bathroom on short notice he could just bolt. He was cowering more than usual. "What did you do?" he whimpered.
I shrugged. "No clue."
"Oh no," he groaned.
I made a face. "I get into trouble all the time. I thought you were used to it," I retorted.
He gulped. His Adam's apple bobbed up and down. Poor little boy.
"Mr. Monroe, can I go to the bathroom, please?" he asked suddenly as I was about to walk out the room.
"Hmm?" Mr. Monroe barely looked up from his mound of papers. "Oh, of course Mr. Troop."
He skirted the other desks on his was out the door and passed me like he was in a racecar. I stared after him. He was utterly terrified by Mr. Popp. Plenty of braver souls cowered in her presence. Even I almost flinched when she looked at me in the hallway. Almost. But hey, I'm tough.
"Are you coming?" he asked when I stopped moving to contemplate his motives. The way he said was a little shaky, like he was trying to sound brave instead of absolutely petrified.
"Maybe we should just skip," I joked when I finally aught up with him. He gave me a glare, like how-can-you-be-making-jokes-when-we-are-walking-to-our-deaths?
Looking back on all of the crap that happened after that, I really wished I had just ran out of the front doors when we passed them and skipped anyway. Because, as Mr. Monroe would say, the next week of my life would be a doozy.
Okay, so a word about my theory. Our principal needs some help. Mrs. Popp is this crazy woman sent from the deepest, darkest, slimiest trenches of the sea. I am absolutely sure that when she was born she had gills. Stupid evolution. Anyway, she ha way more hair than normal people, and not just on her head, and these crazy eyes s dark they are almost black. Haha, what do you know? Just like her tiny little prune of a heart. But enough about her.
The real reason that this experience was so freaky was what she had hidden in hr closet, and it was way worse than any skeletons.
"Mrs. Kidd?" Will asked when we reached the front desk. Mrs. Kidd was this smiley blonde (natural, mind you) who was really nice to everyone. "Can we just go in?"
"Oh, yes. Of course dear. Go ahead."
"Thank-you," he responded, equally smiley. Will has had this huge crush on her since I had known him.
I pushed on the ancient oak doors with nothing but a mall smile to the secretary. I had this horrible feeling, like I had had this morning only ten times stronger and mixed in was fear. The rusty hinges squeaked like one of those old cheesy horror movies. You know, the ones where the entire audience starts screaming "don't open the door!" Yeah, well, cue the screaming.
"Mrs. Popp?" I whispered I have no idea why; I jut felt so freaked out in that room. The eeriness the resonated from every little nook and cranny was palpable (another vocabulary word). Honestly, it felt like death was looming. There is no way other than that to describe it accurately. That made for a cheery atmosphere, as I'm sure you can imagine.
"Hello?" Will squeaked.
The door behind us shut by itself, and she gave a little girlish scream and dove under a chair. I, however, had a drop of common sense left. If I had had anymore I would have taken the hint and bolted, but, ala, a drop was all I had to work with.
The room was dull, and a thick layer of dust lay over everything, like no one had even walked in for a decade. Then I noticed these giant foot prints the size of a ham. Who had been in there, Shaquille O'Neal?
The doorknob of her closet jiggled and opened. Man, I wish I could say it was a famous basketball player.
"ROAR!" grunted this giant thing.
Will, yet again, yelped and tried to squeeze as much f him self as possible under the little metal chair. His pants dipped down to reveal some kind of shaggy underwear.
"Roar!" the thing cried again. It was a lot like a bull, furry all over, with two black and white horns jutting out of either side of his head right above his tiny little ears. Then, a little further down, a pair of yellowing Fruit of the Loom underpants covered his furry hindquarters, and it walked like a man, on two legs.
Okay, so that one little drop of common sense had apparently been all used up and disappeared, so I just kind have stood there looking at this giant bull-thing. The only sensible thought I can remember thinking is, "whoa boy. Some one needs some spray deodorant." Then, of course, while I was trying to decide exactly was stench was intruding in my nose (was it gym socks of rotten cheese, or a mixture...?) it lunged for my face. I managed to stop, drop, and roll like I was on fire just in time to avoid having his giant meaty hand enclose around my windpipe, completely falling over Will in the process.
But instead of grabbing my neck, thus suffocating me to death, he tripped over me on the floor and went catapulting into the brick wall behind me. The boom that followed was so loud I think it caused a tidal wave in California. So, sorry all of you California people. My bad.
So, this bull dude completely demolished the wall, the only boundary between the sidewalk and Mrs. Popp's gloomy office, and was suddenly hit by an onslaught of falling bricks. "Yarghhhh!" he cried until a particularly well-placed brick hit him in the face and muffled his voice. Of course no one paid attention to the monster embedded in the fallen wall. Their eyes went straight to two scrawny kids (or Will was scrawny at least) I'm sure could have had the strength to destroy it. Because all of the cool kids get bored in class and decide to blow up random walls. Oh well.
"Will?" I asked shakily.
Will stood up from his hiding spot, the leg of his chair in his hand like a club. When he noticed the wall and the pedestrians eyeing us, he lowered it. "I suggest we leave."
I nodded. "Good idea, genius. I would be absolutely lost with out you, I'm sure."
I grabbed his hand and jumped out of the giant whole our epic battle had made. When we ran past Mr. bull, I waved and smiled while he raise his giant hand/clubs in another effort to kill me. "Not today, bud."
I was all for running straight to my mom's house for milk and cookies, but Will apparently had other plans he didn't bother to share with me. "Taxi!" he called when we made it to one of the less crowded streets.
"Are you insane?" I hissed in his ear.
"You better hope not, or else we are in deep doo-doo," he said a big yellow car pulled up in front of us.
"Wow," I said sarcastically. "You're eloquence astounds me."
"Good word," he commented with a grin. Now I gave him the famous how-can-you-be-making-jokes-when-we-are-walking-to-our-deaths glare. Then he began belting out instruction to the taxi driver. "And step on it. We're uh...late."
"For what?" he asked, starting to go.
"Um...a very important date?" Will tried. My little Einstein. Quick on his feet, isn't he?
"Rawr!" Mr. Taxi man just kept on puffing along on the asphalt. Even the people on the sidewalk didn't even notice it. Some even waved and smiled like it was a completely ordinary thing to see a bull on two legs with tidy whities on the middle of the road.
"Can't they see it?" I asked.
The bull roared again.
"What do you think?"
Will, or course, didn't feel the need to clue me in. So basically, I had no idea where the heck we were going. Honestly, he could have been the last bit cooperative at my flurry of interrogation on the really long drive to where ever. But no, me and the taxi driver were in the same boat.
The entire way there I held onto the nasty taxi chairs like it was a freaking life preservers, and that's pretty hard. Seriously, I think the indention of my finger in engraved into the leather. My knuckles were white. I was sure very corner we turned there would be a giant walking bull with an accompanied roar just waiting to crush me.
I literally jumped up from my chair. I guess I had just been off in my own little world of terror. Oh well.
If I had any doubts that I needed to get Will a straight jacket for Christmas, I didn't then. He had taken us to this giant empty hill. The only thing of it was this huge tree, maybe a Pine or something, on the crest. Oh wait. There was something else. A dragon the size of a house comfortably wrapped around the base of it, snoring it's little heart out. Or maybe "little" isn't the right word. I don't think anything about that thing was little. But I guess normal people couldn't see that either, because the taxi driver just looked confused, not scared stiff. Oh boy. Will had a lot of explaining to do.
"Are you sure?" asked the driver as he pulled to a stop. I was certain this guy thought we were as crazy as I did, and that's saying something, because he hadn't seen two monsters in the past, like, hour and a half.
"Yeah. Thanks," will said, digging out a wad of cash from his pants pocket. I stared at it. How long had that been there? Obviously, this guy was a true New Yorker, because he just took the money a left.
"Come on." Will was already headed up the hill.
"Okay..." I said slowly, getting out of the car one leg at a time. Did I really want to be any closer to that dragon then necessary? No, not really. At least my mind was totally gone.
And, right on time, a giant, thundering roars echoed from behind me.
"Oh perfect." And of course, there he was, in all of his odorous glory. Oh goodie. Now it was a party.
I stumbled a little farther up the hill, trying to put as much distance between us as possible. When I was a sufficient enough expanse away from the thing, I looked around me on the ground. I picked up the biggest stick I could, which, o course, is the ideal weapon to use against a charging bull man. Darn, that day sucked. Talk about a crappy Monday.
He charged at me again.
Thwack! I hit him right in between the eyes on his furry head. Thwack! I jumped out of the line of fire.
He snarled and clawed at me. I jumped away again, stick twirling around my head at ready, but I was just a tad bit too slow. I screamed. The force of his hit threw me at least ten feet away, or maybe more. But at the moment I was a little disoriented. I didn't really have time to take out my handy dandy measuring tape. All that registered was the pain. My abs were completely shredded under the sad remains of my t-shirt, which were turning a gaudy red even as I lay there. Ouchie.
I stood a quickly as I could, just in time to miss another hit from my dear friend Mr. Bull-dude.
"Run for the tree!" cried Will, a ways away. To the dragon? Was that really necessary? Was a sleeping dragon better than a charging monster of some other species? I sure hopped so.
But the bull thing had caught on. Besides, it's not like I was at my fastest with abdomen area shredded to bits. He roared as he ran after me and I pushed a little harder, which was almost more then I could handle. I just wasn't strong enough. I tripped and stumbled, managing to keep my balance. As I did so, I caught a glimpse of the monster behind, and he was a little too close for my individual preferences. Seriously, dude. Personal bubble officially popped.
He slammed into me a split second later and I gasped in pain. But he didn't just stop there. Of course not. He kept on going until my front side made contact the tree. Hard. I head my own ribs crack, which is the most sickening I have ever heard. I head someone screaming an earsplitting shriek, and it took me a minute to realize that it was me, my own vocal chords unable to top themselves from producing such a horrible sound.
"Kory!" Will screamed again.
Mr. Bull continued to advance upon me where I lay crumpled up on the ground, caught in a net of my own tangle legs and arms. My shoulder was searing with pain. A gruesome grin played on his already hideous face. He raised his gigantic furry head to the sky like he was about to let out a triumphant war cry, but the sound that came out was more like, "Raw—uhnn!" He yellow eyes became all glassy and rolled up in his head like the boys at school pretending to be zombies. He started to disintegrate into a pile of yellow dust, like, Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch disintegrate. Then it flew off in the wind in giant clumps like someone had turned on the giant power fan f the universe.
A boy stood behind the place where m nightmare for that last two hours, and probably a few weeks after that, had previously stood, the wind tugging at his messy hair. He wore an orange shirt that looked like it read "Mcap Lahf-lobod" but my dyslexia and the fact that I was barely conscious didn't really help my reading skills.
"That's the third time, buddy," he told the remains absently. In his hands he held a glowing bronze sword, which was caked with a fine residue of dust that still slung to the surface. He took out a pen can and touched it to the tip of the sword, which promptly shrunk into a cheap ballpoint pen like you can buy at the Dollar Tree.
I closed my eyes. This was not happening. I looked down at myself. My t-shirt had been shredded so much by claws that you couldn't have used it a scrap fabrics and soaked with blood, and my pants were ripped and torn and grungy, like I had been dragged through a dump. My wavy was mess, and it tangled around my head list a bids nest, a strand or two clung to my cut up face, sweat acting like glue. I had lost my flip-flops a long time ago.
The dragon turned one of its plate sized yellow cat eyes to peer at me. "It's okay, Peleus. At least, I think it is." The boy soothed. "Will?"
Will trotted over from where ever he had gone to, and yes. I said trotted. His shoes had fallen off, and where bare feet should had been, two hooves sat comfortably. What I had previously though was just shaggy underwear were actually furry goat legs. And I know this because Will had taken off his pants.
"Yes, Percy?" he asked politely.
"Is she safe?"
"Of course," insisted my goat boy. "She's one of us."
Then I gave up on consciousness. It was doing me any favors. I blacked out.