Aaron wiped the drool from his hand and sat up. Trigonometry should be banned from everyday life… and the one who decided that kids should learn it should be tied to a chair and forced to watch at least 48 hours of educational television programmes. As the teacher droned on and on about some foolish problem, Aaron stared out the window. He watched as the clouds rolled by, and he watched as the birds flew up above. He got lost in a day dream, filled with colours and happiness. In his mind, the faces of his father, brother, and Ellen flitted across his imagination. He allowed a smile to dance on his lips, but it soon was erased from his face when he heard a scream. One of the girls in the front of the room was standing up, pointing and shrieking at the ground. Aaron looked down to where she was pointing, and there sat a large, rather ugly, hairy spider. The teacher had picked up a broom from the corner of the room, and was holding it above his head, ready to strike at the horrid creature.
"STOP!" Aaron cried, getting up. At once, all eyes turned to him, questioning his motives.
"Don't kill it, just let it outside," Aaron said quietly.
"What are you talking about, it's a spider! We have to kill it, what if it bites someone?" The girl from the front yelled. Aaron was pretty sure her name was Cindy.
"Well it didn't bite anyone did it? It's just in the wrong place at the wrong time." Aaron said.
The boy who sat next to Aaron, Joss McMillan, Henry's cousin, stood also. "I agree with Aaron, we should just let it outside."
Aaron nodded towards the teacher, who sighed, "Why do you care so much? She's right, it's just a spider."
Aaron glared, "I'm sure that spider values its life as much as you value yours. There's no need to murder a creature who has done nothing to wrong you."
Aaron looked at Joss for backup, but blinked in surprise when he saw his face. Joss had turned a bright red, and he looked incredibly ashamed of something. Or was that guilt that Aaron saw, etched into Joss's features?
"Joss?" Aaron said.
Joss looked up, the look of shame or guilt or whatever it was still in his eyes, and he muttered,
"Don't kill it, please."
At the teacher's nod, Aaron walked to the front of the class, and scooped the spider into his palm. He walked to the window, and gently let it go on the ledge, and it wobbled away slowly, taking its time going to the ground. He watched it as it descended upon the earth, and made its way into the bushes by the side of the wall. Aaron took his seat once again, next to Joss, and once order had been restored, class continued.
"He really didn't want to kill it?" Vlad asked in amazement.
"Nope," Aaron said, "He wanted it to live."
Vlad shook his head, "What a hypocrite."
"What are you talking about?" Aaron asked, "Why does this matter so much to you?"
But Vlad just shook his head again, "I don't really want to talk about it, Aaron. Too many bad memories. It's just weird that Joss would defend it, is all."
"But why do you two hate each other so much?" Aaron said, "What's up with that?"
"Long story," Vlad sighed. "Just… never mind." And he shook his head again, and walked away.
Aaron sat in mythology, next to Vlad, who sat in front of Joss. Mr. Otis was in the front, writing something about vampires on the board. Aaron sighed and looked at Vlad, who looked very uncomfortable with his surroundings. Aaron looked back at Mr. Otis, who began jotting down the homework assignment on the chalk board. In return, most of the class groaned as the homework list grew longer and longer. Again, Aaron looked at Vlad, and looked at Joss. He was flipping a pencil over in his hand, and he outstretched his arm, pointing the pencil right at Vlad's back. The tip of the pencil made contact with Vlad, who immediately tensed. He turned around, faster than Aaron anticipated, and flipped Joss's desk to the side, sending Joss tumbling to the ground. The pencil had somehow ended up in Vlad's hand, and when he saw it, all of the anger and fear had just seemed to melt away. He dropped the pencil onto the floor, a look of shock and embarrassment in his eyes.
Vlad looked at Otis, but only briefly, before muttering, "Sorry. I… sorry."
Mr. Otis pursed his lips, "Office, both of you."
Joss's eyes grew wide at the words, "What?"
Mr. Otis barked at them, "OFFICE!"
They both slumped out the door, into the hallway, Vlad looking hatefully at Joss, Joss looking hatefully at Vlad. The door slammed behind Vlad, and as soon as they were gone, Mr. Otis continued writing down the homework assignment.
Aaron wondered why the pencil had bothered Vlad so much, why it had made him so scared. And Aaron took it upon himself to find out the cause of Vlad's fear.