Disclaimer: I do not own anything borrowed from Catcher in the Rye.
AN: I wrote this for an English class, but I liked it so I decided to post it and see if I get any feedback. Enjoy!
My name is James Castle and I would like to tell you a story. Perhaps you have heard mention of me in the newspaper several years ago. I'm the boy that jumped out of a window at Elkton Hills. A suicide, they called it. They were wrong. I did not commit suicide by jumping, they...I'm getting ahead of myself. I should start at the beginning.
My name is James Castle and I am dead. This is my story.
I had a good childhood, I suppose. It wasn't the greatest, but it could have been much worse. My parent's argued a lot, usually because Father was rarely around. His business kept him away from home for most of the day, sometimes he didn't come home at all. Mother always tried her best for me. I always had clothes and food and someone to talk to, but some days it felt like she wasn't really there. On those days she would stand at the window by the sink and just stare out at the city. She would hardly move, just stare.
I was a fairly quiet child. I was shy and didn't make friends very well so when Father announced one night over dinner, one of the few he attended, that he was sending me to Elkton Hills, I was terrified. I had finally made a few friends in my old school and things were finally going my way, so to go to a whole new school and start all over again was not something I was looking forward to, but Father wasn't someone to be told 'no'. So, off I went to the wonderful school, Elkton Hills.
Father had taken a day off of work to drive me to my new school. He spent the majority of the car ride lecturing me on how I was to behave, after all he couldn't have his son making a fool of him. The rest of the car ride was spent in silence. I stared out the window and wished that Mother had come with us. Father had told her to stay home, why I don't know, but I guess it doesn't matter anymore anyway.
My first glimpse of Elkton Hills was off a large too green lawn and a huge three story brick building. I could already tell that I would hate it there.
Those few months I spent at Elkton were some of the worst in my short life. I tried to keep my head down and shuffle my way through school, but certain students refused to let me. I don't understand why they chose me of all the students to bully, but I've never understood a person's need to cause pain in another.
Their ringleader was a boy named Phil Stabile. He was one of those people who had decided that they deserved to have whatever they wanted, no matter the cost. I think it amused him, picking on me. They would do all the normal bullying, tripping, pushing, knocking my book to the ground, and so on. This had happened to me so many times in the past that I didn't even think about reporting it, besides, when it's my word against at least five others, I wasn't going to win. So I let them push me around without complaint.
I think that my cousin was the only thing that kept me going during those last months. We rarely got to see each other, she lived several states away, but we would write to each other all the time. Her name was Alisha and she was one of the kindest people I knew. She was one of those people who would happily give her last dollar to a homeless man on the street. But she was also one of the strongest people I knew. She refused to take anybody's crap and could dish it back tenfold. I admired her, to tell you the truth, she was what I wished I could be.
So when she wrote me to say that she was planning on coming to visit, I wanted to look nice. More importantly I wanted to be able to hide the bruising on my collar bone where I had slammed it against the barrier on the stairs when one of Stabile's cronies pushed me. It took me a few days, but I finally gathered up enough courage to ask a boy, Holden Caulfield, if I could borrow his turtleneck. I had seen him wearing it a week ago, and he was one of the few people who never laughed when I was being bullied. I could tell that he was surprised that I had asked him and I thought for sure he would tell me 'no', but he didn't. I wish I could have told him how much it meant to me that he was letting me borrow something of his. Me, a boy he had never spoken to. I also wish I could apologize for ruining it.
It was the day before my cousin was coming. I was excited and happy, more so than I had been since arriving, so of course that's when everything had to go wrong. Stabile's cronies had picked up on my happy mood and had taken it upon themselves to do everything they could do to make me miserable without the teachers noticing. Nothing they did worked, but I was starting to get fed up. It felt like the whole world was conspiring against me, but for once I didn't want to bend over and just take it and that's why I'm buried six feet underground.
It was close to lights out, and I was finishing brushing my teeth in the washroom when Johnson, one of Stabile's right-hand guys, decided it would be fun to dunk my head in the toilet and see how long I could hold my breath. I finally snapped. When I managed to cough out all the water in my lungs and catch my breath I glared up at his retreating back. His laughter grated on my ears, making me grit my teeth before I did the stupidest thing in my life. I cursed him and his friends. I yelled every derogatory comment I could think of at his back until I was gasping for breath and my mind caught up. I thought that he was going to murder me right then, but he just stared at me in shock which allowed me to climb to my feet and race back to my room, shutting and locking the door.
In the relative safety of my I allowed myself to sink to the floor and cry. I cried in anger and sorrow, pain and fear. I cried in happiness that for once in my life, I didn't feel like a worthless coward. A loser. That night I hardly slept. I dreaded tomorrow as much as I wished it would come. I knew that Johnson would tell Stabile all the things I had said, and I knew that Stabile wouldn't allow me to get away with it. My only chance would be to get to my cousin before they got to me.
As you probably have guessed, I didn't make it. I was so close that I could almost taste freedom. I had woken extra early and rushed through the bathroom, hurrying to get ready. I had all my stuff packed and ready and I was heading for my bedroom door, when they came in. I knew immediately that the only way to get out of the mess was to let them pound me for awhile, then beg for forgiveness. I could read it in their faces that they wanted to see me bleeding and sniveling on the ground.
Apparently all my rational thinking had flown out the window. I had finally found my backbone at the worst possible moment. I tried to fight them off and get to the door, but they were much stronger than me. I don't know how long they beat me, but through all the pain I refused to take back my comments. Those last few minutes of my life are a blur. I don't remember all that they did to me, but it was horrible. I was practically unconscious when one of them lifted me from the floor. I barely felt the punch, but I did feel the window ledge hit the back of my knees and the sudden surge of adrenaline as gravity took hold.
It was almost beautiful in a way, my last moments. I almost forgot about the pain and the dread that came from the knowledge that I was about to die. I felt at peace. The world around me had gone silent and all I could see was a vast stretch of light blue, broken only by a few wisps of white cloud. Then it was all gone.
It was strange, getting used to being dead. I tried to deny it at first, but the sight of your own limp body being carried away kind of makes denial difficult. I was confused, at first. I had always believed that I would move on after I died, where I would go I didn't know, but I thought that I would go somewhere else instead of being stuck with my body. It was hard watching people's reactions to my death. Even harder to watch my own funeral. The grief and loss that haunted my parents' faces will forever be burned in my mind. I wished that I could tell them the truth. That I hadn't killed myself. At first I felt guilty for their pain, but then I grew angry with everyone. They all chose to believe that I had jumped. The police didn't even bother to investigate it, said it was obviously a case of suicide. To top all that off, my murders got away with almost no punishment. They were expelled. Expelled! For murder!
Once again it was my cousin who saved me. Only this time she wasn't saving me from emotional pain, but from the hatred that was slowly destroying my very essence. She told me, after the funeral, that she didn't believe I jumped. She told me that she tried everything that she could to get the police to investigate further and to get the murderers arrested, but no one had listened to her. She couldn't have known that I was listening, but somehow that made it hit harder. Someone had truly known me while I was alive. It was the greatest gift she could have given me.
It was for her, that I have chosen to tell you what happened to me. I want to prove that she was right. Even if only one person ever believes me, it will be enough. My name is James Castle, I was murdered, and only one person fought for me.