Into the Light part 1
"But now a hand's extending outward, quiet comfort they invite; do we dare take what they offer, do we step into the light?" Rise Against, "Rumors of my Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
I made sure to arrive at school early, so few would see me enter the school. In fact, there was practically no one there. The only girl outside the doors barely even gave me a moment's notice.
I stepped inside and headed to the front office. I wasn't quite sure what I was thinking.
There was one receptionist in the office. She was looking at some papers when I walked in.
"Good mor-" she stopped when she looked up. "Elaborate costume. Who is under there anyway?"
"Kyle. Remember me?" I asked quietly.
She turned dead white. "Kyle's dead. You can't be him."
"But I am."
She looked at her computer with wide eyes, and with her pale shaking hand clicked something on her computer. I was positive she was bringing up my file.
"Tell me your social security number and what classes you have right now. Then I will believe you," She said quietly, but steadily. She was obviously shaken, and clinging to the last hope that everything was still normal.
I gave her the relevant information. Her face went from deathly pale to the ashen color of the dead.
"Please, I know this seems impossible. I should be dead. I should be. But I'm not," I said quietly.
She regained some color and tried to act normal. "So, uh, I guess I'll make sure the rest of the office staff know. Um," she searched for a normal topic. "Well, uh, that's a great costume. It looks perfectly real. Where did you get it?"
"Not a costume," was all I could mumble as I stared at the floor.
"Uh, what?" She looked confused. Confused
"This is real," I spoke in a monotone, without emotion. "It's complicated, and I don't know exactly how it happened. But what you see is what I am. Please
please don't be afraid
" My voice cracked at the end. I was nearly in tears. I had felt rejection before. I didn't want to be rejected. I just wanted to get on with my life.
I felt her eyes fix on the single tear I shed. I watched it fall to the floor and sink into the industrial carpeting.
"I don't know what happened, but I do know one thing. It's still you under there."
I looked up, heaving a sigh of relief and wonder. One person hadn't rejected me. There was still hope.
"I think we should reintroduce you to your class as a large group. I'll talk to the principal. In the meantime, go to first period
and try not to give anyone a heart attack," she smiled weakly. She looked like she hadn't slept in days. I supposed I had just thrown her reality all to h*ll.
I went to first period. The hallways had seemed small when I was a short human. Now as a dragon it seemed like a thin pipe. It was a good thing I never was claustrophobic.
I entered the classroom and sat at my desk in the corner, setting my huge backpack beside me. It was the same one I had the day I had begun to think of as the day I died.
People strolled in. I recognized them, but couldn't remember their names. I never was good with names.
Fortunately no one took notice of the motionless dragon in the corner. Everyone seemed quite somber and tired, and the conversation was quiet and unenthusiastic.
Finally the teacher strolled in as the bell rang. She made an attempt to be cheerful.
"Good morning class!" She began taking role.
She called the names. Everyone was there. She paused, then said: "But
I guess they haven't taken Kyle off the roster yet."
I decided I needed to speak up.
"I'm sitting right here," I said. Everyone froze, then turned to look at me.
"I thought that was just a decoration!"
"I did too!"
"And it claimed to be Kyle
"Quit calling me it," I said. Everyone went white. Eyes went wide.
"Uh, great costume," One girl said. Everyone seemed to relax.
I took a breath. "It's not a costume."
Everyone turned white again. A few looked scared out of their minds.
One guy looked skeptical. "You're kidding, right?"
"No. Need me to prove it?"
The teacher spoke up. "Well, why don't we go outside for a moment, and you can show us how you fly
if you're not really wearing a costume."
The class filed out the door in disorganized fashion. I was last
just like last time.
Everyone turned to me dubious. They all gasped when I suddenly took off and did a low lap around the school.
I touched down and everyone stepped away from me.
I heard one word spoken: "How?"
"I don't want to talk about it. Let's just say it was more painful than anything else
even getting burned head to toe. But I'm still me. I'm still me."
I looked away. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked down to see a senior- I think her name was Rachel. She took her hand away and turned.
"What the h*ll are you guys afraid of? Kyle's alive, and you have to admit, this is the most interesting thing you have ever seen happen!" She sounded excited.
The rest of the class had dubious looks. But soon a few more stepped forward, and soon, they were all asking questions.
"What's it like to fly?"
"How hard are your scales?"
"Is it weird walking like that?"
I was dumbfounded. I began answering a few questions.
It wasn't long before the teacher called us back inside and we began class, even though everyone kept sneaking glances back at me when the teacher wasn't looking. It was kind of creepy, especially when you used to be able to stand in front of someone without being noticed.
After about an hour of class (of which I listened to nothing, I was too wrapped up in thinking of how everyone else would react), an announcement blared: "When the bell rings, sophomores report to the theater. All other classes report to homeroom."
The bell rang about a minute later. I slipped out the outside door and took off, heading for the back of the school- about a three second flight. I entered a back door that isn't used much and headed to the stage through a side hallway. The curtains were open, and I could see my classmates filing in. No one could see me though, since the area I was in was dark. The principal walked up to me. He was about 6 feet tall, so he wasn't short, but I still was much taller than him.
He sized me up. "So it's true, then?"
"Yup. I'm alive and a dragon."
He raised an eyebrow. "So are you ready to present yourself?"
"Then wait for my cue." He walked up to the podium. He spoke to the hundred or so students in front of him. I took a few deep breaths as he spoke momentarily about the disaster. No one spoke. Then I heard my cue.
"Kyle is alive and he is here. I will have him come up on stage. Be warned: he has changed. He is not wearing a costume." He looked at me and stepped back.
I kept my breathing even as I stepped up to the podium. There were many gasps, a couple screams, and
a few cheers.
I adjusted the microphone as high as it would go, then bent down and spoke into it. "Hi guys, it's me," I said evenly. The class got quiet. "I'll tell you guys what exactly happened once. Only once."
I continued in a detached monotone, telling them of the explosion, of the ambulance, the crash, transformation, the spirit, and finished with the classic "here I am now." There was silence.
The class was still quiet and expectant. So I asked, "Any questions or comments?" I kept an even voice. Public speaking always scared me, but if nothing else, I was good at it.
There were many questions, all of which I answered. When there were no more, the principal stepped up. "Now, let's welcome Kyle back to school!"
The audience cheered and applauded. There were a few, however, that merely glared with hate.
We went to second period, many people stopping to say welcome back or to slap my shoulder.
One person, however, whispered behind me, "You should never have come back, monster." I turned, but whoever had said it was gone.
The rest of the day went pretty well. All my classes accepted me back and I had hope.
Perhaps life could get back to normal. I went to sleep with a smile on my face
but a shadow in the edges of my mind.