That was a good descriptor for Terrence a lot of the time.
On his own, he was silent. Never spoke a word, only approached people if he had to and liked to observe a lot, you noticed. You never really knew why. It's a little unsettling, honestly. His tendency to watch people. It wasn't like, idle glancing either, but intense staring. You don't know if he knows he does this or what, but you also don't think he means it maliciously. Because his gaze is never poignant, just there.
Like you said. Blank. You don't know what he's thinking. You don't know if you want to know what he's thinking.
You have a lot of mixed feelings about him. On one hand, he's charming and laughs at shitty puns and is an excellent team captain. On the other, he's dangerous and you know he's dangerous.
It's taken you a while to figure this out, but he only shows those emotions when he has a goal, or is in a situation that he needs to act that way. Like two sides of a coin and the rim around it too. One side a manipulative, threatening liar, the other side engaging and charismatic peoples-man, the rim vacant and watchful.
His eyes were always dead though. Like he wasn't even a real person, just some robot in a human flesh suit. Made you wonder, and you're sure you're not the only one that's come to this conclusion. What you did however was post your situation online, nothing illegal though, nothing he made you do, but if this is a precursor to some sort of disease or mental thing then you want to know.
And people told you a lot of different things. He was a narcissist, he was antisocial but a good actor, some kind of psycho, None of these helped you. You asked again, worded things slightly differently, and you found a viable answer within a few hours later that evening.
It's a daunting word but you've heard it before, so you did more research on it that night.
The definition you got?
A person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.
This seems like a pretty big breakthrough, and it sounds entirely possible. But it's a Sunday night and your backpack full of English homework is glaring at you from across the room so it would be a good idea to get on that before you get too tired and miss the deadline for your free-write essay. At the same time though, you know you won't be able to focus on it because the fear of having your door being busted down by the police and arrested for what you enabled on Friday is killing you, and you need something to focus on, something where the answers are already in front of you, and you just have to look for them. Because you're a simple guy, and it might be internalized but you need something to pin the blame on, not just yourself and some other guy, but just. Something deeper.
You're a simple guy and you want answers.
Because you can't get the image of him throwing that poor kid John on the ground and grinning about the power he had over him. Before that day you'd never seen him yell. Well, sometimes he'd yell halfway across the football field because you were slowing things down, but angry yelling. At that point he'd forgotten about you so you got back in your car and waited, and listened, and sat and did nothing as your lifespan was cut short by at least ten years because of how fucking terrified you were.
If he's a sociopath though, for real, none of that was genuine. It was a scare tactic. A scare tactic to get John to talk. A scare tactic that went too far. A scare tactic that went above and beyond normal means and you're afraid. Not only for yourself and John, but everyone who joined in. Everyone who even knew. Even those who didn't, like the students at the school, and Terrence's parents and your family and Johns' parents who weren't home when you dressed him up (it was a big soggy blur, you barely even remember it).
A few minutes ago you shut down your computer to head to bed; you'll work on the essay during lunch break tomorrow. You know for a fact sleep won't come easy, so you can use this time to think more about it and try to come up with something, despite knowing you'll be tired tomorrow. That's fine, you totally deserve it. God knows what John has to go through every night. You don't even want to think about it.
You have the sinking feeling though, that him targeting John was at first just to see how far he could go, how far he could push this kid over the edge. Testing the waters, you guess. Then it just got out of hand and he just couldn't stop. You're not rationalizing it, no. But you think that could be a good starting point. If it has a starting point, it should also have an end, but when will that end be? When Terrence stops himself? When John goes to a new school under a different name? When you all get thrown in prison for raping a fifteen year old boy and being accessories to crime?
The scare tactics are running you dry though. You read that sociopaths have no attachment to anyone. If John told someone and ratted Terrence out, then someone would find out and action would be taken. If he did that to ensure it didn't happen again, then the attention seeking must be focused on another aspect. He's smart, he know's that what he's been doing can put him away, and you guess he doesn't want that.
There's probably a lot of other possibilities, but tomorrow's a Monday, and your trains of thought are being cut off by jolting awake after drifting off, so you think it's a safe time to call it a night.
You say that but you don't get to sleep for another three hours.
Monday mornings are always really underwhelming, but you've got math second block, and then lunch, so you can use your math time to maybe take notes. Not on math, but Terrence. You've never taken his weird behaviour into real consideration before, you just thought it was you overreacting. He sits one desk up and two to the left from you. Perfect for spying. Miss Jericho has already checked homework. You were only half done, but Terrence, from what you could see, did all the work. He glances at you when you think he was occupied with writing something down. You turn your gaze down immediately. Once bit, twice shy. You don't want to stir anything up. Not right now, at least.
The whole class period is spent like this; you not paying attention to the lecture and trying to pick up Terrences' idle ministrations and him stealing glances from you. He's suspicious, and probably already knows exactly what you're trying to do. He's also probably labelled you too much of a coward to take action against him. The lunch bells goes off far too soon. He gathered his stuff up preemptively and is gone within seconds before you even think to clip your papers back into your binder. You have to head to the library to finish up that essay though, which is fine. It's only monday.
You hope John didn't come back though, not yet.
You hope he's at home in bed watching Pokémon or something and eating icecream, because fuck does he ever deserve it.
You head off to the library, saying 'hey' to anyone you passed that you knew like you usually did, and everythings pretty calm for the first twenty minutes of it. The library during lunch break is always busy. Students doing homework, groups hanging out, and there's always that gross group of freshman boys who take up all the computers to play Minecraft together, so everyone who needs to use them for real shit need to get there early to get a spot. The librarian is pretty chill too if not a little scary. He's got this really unsettling stare and it always makes people think he's mad at them, but he's not. He's cool. Sometimes he'll even let you print stuff on the colour printer for free.
Regardless, you're clicking on the tabs of your browser absently with your headphones plugged in and playing some good music, when you notice a lot of people are leaving. And by a lot you mean at least half the library is being cleared out, just by kids leaving. You check the time at the bottom of your screen, completely confused. The bell hasn't gone yet? So what's the hurry? You have the feeling you should really so check it out though, you don't like not being in the loop.
You leave your stuff at the lab computer and head out, faces of people you know blurred in the crowd outside the door, and you force your way in, force your way to the action.
There is definitely action.
You don't know how it started, but there's some blonde kid with these huge gold-rimmed aviators smashing in Terrences' face with his own two knuckles. The crowd is neither silent nor loud and it's disorientating. Who is this kid? Why's he beating the shit out of Meadows? There are so many questions buzzing through your head at light speed, and none of which are being answered by staring at this display of aggression, and the blond kid is saying something but you can't hear over the sound of the brunets' face being brutalized.
Your eyes try to focus on something else, you need something else to direct your attention to, and there he his. John Egbert, looking like he just tumbled ass-backwards off the turnip truck and is sorely trying to grasp the situation. His eyes are glazed over and hazy from what you can tell, and you want to go over there and ask him if he's over but then the sounds of violence stop, and who you assume to be John's friend stands up. And points at the boy in question.
And the delivers a speech that has you and you're pretty sure a lot of other people feeling like they've been sucker punched in the throat, and by the time he's done, no one has the courage to say a word.
This kid just comes into the school with John, kicks Terrence's ass, and proceeds to render everyone speechless.
That takes some real guts.
It takes a moment for it to really sink in, and before it even can in most people, he's pulling John up from his seat on the linoleum hallway floor and leading him out the nearest exit.
A handful of people applaud him on the way out.
And the Terrence you thought was knocked unconscious just sits up and lets his nose drip onto his jacket. The look on his face says I probably shouldn't have said or done anything, but it could've been worse and I probably deserved that from a normal standpoint. Then he just stand up with his hand over his mouth and leaves like he has no care in the world.
He's not interesting to you right now, you follow the two out of the building when it's clear enough to push past the iron doors.
Your heart is beating fast, faster than any sprint across the field with the football has ever left you.
They're nearly on the other side of the common field, the blond one leading John by the wrist but him lagging behind. They slow down and stop he they say a few words while John gets assistance to stand up straight and that's when you start running over because there might be a problem and you want to make sure you can help, nervous sweat making your t-shirt cling to your back underneath your jacket.
When you're in earshot, you call out.
That's where you think you royally fuck up. As you get closer, you can see he's shaking and turning blue in the face and wobbling around. And then he falls, and it's the slowest few seconds of your life.
Shit happens thereafter, and you get yelled at to call an ambulance (which you do without hesitation) after he lays his head down to listen to his heartbeat and what he does is start doing mouth to mouth. You don't interrupt, you barely say a word, you just ask for an ambulance.
It arrives within minutes while the blond kid keeps up the resuscitation, and just takes John away on a stretcher.
They're gone before you can even understand what just happened.
Despite classes and homework and your essay being due, you go back to the library, gather up your things, get into your car and just drive just to regain your bearings. Then you get the brilliant idea to write John a letter and leave it at the reception desk at the hospital. It takes you nearly an hour to write, and another half an hour to drive there and track his whereabouts down, but you do, and. You just. Feel like your threads have all been pulled loose. You don't know what to do. You know that if John comes back, you want to be his friend, despite how much he probably hates your guts. You want to work through that.
Your mom is texting you, phone buzzing in your pocket. You gave her her own ringtone, she literally begged for one for like a week. Sugar Sugar by the Archies just as requested. Your mom is great.
You check it real quick, it's not like you've left the parking lot yet. She took out chicken breasts or something for dinner and is gonna be home late. What, she wants you to cook 'em? Tough luck, it's not like you ruin everything you touch or anything.
Not at all...
You woke up Tuesday morning with a head full of nothing and a faceful of pillow. You're really good at accidentally suffocating yourself in the middle middle of the night. Your dad does it too, though, so apparently it's hereditary. Y'know. Suffocating yourself on a pillow when you're sleeping or whatever.
School is normal. You don't see John, you don't see Terrence, no one says anything.
And everyone knows he got the shit kicked out of him, but are spreading a sarcastic rumor. A rumor that he just happened to fall down the concrete flight of stairs outside the school, and landed face-first.
None of the teachers have clued in on anything , and you don't think any of them will.
You still have a really bad feeling though.
Wednesday rolls around, and you are already really tired of the week. Feels like it's taking forever. Maybe it's all the thinking you can't seem to stop doing. You even lost sleep and got really annoyed when your phone alarm went off and you have no place in your heart for alarms. Not to fucking mention marimba is the worst. So upbeat and cheerful, but you know there's an underlying bloodthirst. A passive-aggressive bloodthirst that gets off on waking unsuspecting teens up in the morning. That's your theory.
You eat toast and orange juice and head off to school after your mom berates you about missing your last two classes yesterday, telling her it wouldn't happen again. You dad just laughs and says to cut you some slack.
Your morning class is weird though. During morning announcements, the principal reminds the teachers to pick up a stack of newsletters to give out during second block, and yadda yadda yadda. There's a lot of talking going on, and it's stupidly hard to listen to. The girl who sits beside you asks if she can borrow a pen just as they end.
Second block, your math class? Terrence showed up today. His face, from what you can tell at this angle, is completely busted up. You heard he got some teeth knocked out but it doesn't look that way.
The white bandage over his nose contrasts harshly with his tanned skin and dark, sharply outlined bruises.
The second bell rings and no one is saying anything.
Miss Jericho is reading over the newsletter as she hands them out. Her eyes are rimmed red. You don't think she tried very hard getting ready today either. She's wearing tennis shoes and jeans today. You've never seen her wear jeans or sneakers before.
You're too fixed on why your teacher is dressed differently to notice the reaction your classmates are giving the newsletter, and Terrence sinks back in his chair. Everyone who's gotten it has their eyes glued on him.
When it finally comes to you, your stomach sinks to your toes and you really.
Don't want to read it for some reason.
How bad could it even be? Maybe it has something to do with getting new lab computers and grieving the loss of the old ones to a middle school.
One girl at the back sniffs and then you finally read it.
You skim over it mostly, only stopping to reread a couple lines.
"To our great sorrow, there has been a death in the school. John Egbert, class of 2014, is no longer with us. Our heart goes out to his father and best friend, and the school will take appropriate measures to provide the utmost care and understanding to our grieving students."
Your heart nearly stops.
You must be either reading this wrong or you're still dreaming.
A brief beep signals another announcement in the middle of a destructive train of thought, "Please excuse this interruption. Terrence Meadows, to the office. Terrence Meadows to the office immediately."
And he just. Stands up and leaves. He doesn't even bother taking his things. Hell, he didn't even bother unpacking.
The door closing on his way out is deafening, your ears already ringing.
This is all just an elaborate hoax. You know it.
But your teacher is crying behind her desk.
a/n: its three in the morning on a sunday night im sorry
if you have any questions or concerns, my tumblr url is 'madeonstuck' so feel free to shoot me an ask.