Chapter 2

I look over the hill at my middle school, and a heavy sigh comes over me. The place I've called home for three years, well, not home exactly, but something akin to it. I walk down the hill and join a crowd of students walking into the large prison yard through the large opening in the iron-rusted gate surrounding the complex. What are Zora and Daisy gonna say when they hear the news? How am I even going to break it to them? I spot them at the usual place, sitting at a red bricked platform. I decide not to bring it up right away, only if they ask,

"Morning Daisy." I greet, slinging off my twenty-pound backpack, hitting the concrete ground forcefully.

Daisy rubs her eyes, "God...I'm so tired, why does school have to start so early?" she reaches into her backpack, "Oh yeah, just got this."

She shows me three sheets of paper, "Mr. Tse's latest test answers. He still hasn't given the test to the non-Honors classes, so we've got about one week to circulate these."

"Good, I've also got these prepared." I pull out a stack of stapled essays, "All original. No two are alike."

"Mr. Watkin's monthly essay, I almost forgot about that." Daisy realizes, "Hey, can I have one of those?"

"Of course." I hand one off to her.

"You guys!" it's Zora, frantically running over to us, "Daniel stole my backpack!"

I get up, "When did this happen?"

"Just now, on my way through the gate! I went in with a crowd, but he's a lot bigger than me and so he snatched-"

I burst off, charging toward the gate, dodging through the myriads of other students in my way. I reach the gate and look around, they couldn't have gotten far. I look further down the hill and see Daniel and his friend Malcolm heading for the hallway entrance. Using the downward hill, I speed down before they can spot me, and turn into the hallway entrance. Daniel, having Zora's black crossbody bag over his shoulder, looks back just in time to see me grab him. With my long nails, I pierce into his neck with my left hand, causing him to shireck. I grab Zora's pack with my other hand, slinging it off of him. As soon as I have the bag, I kick him in the stomach, knocking him against the door's reinforced glass,

"You think you can steal from us punk?" I ask him, holding up the bag.

"I, I'm sorry, okay?" he stutters, holding up his hands.

I look over at his friend, and the moment our eyes connect, he shrinks back, before running away into the halls.

"I've noticed you're behind on payments." I point out, shoving him into the door with my free hand.

Beads of sweat start appearing on his temples, "Yeah, yeah, they cut me off, but I told them I could get the money on Tuesday, but the essay is due today and I...I need to pass that class, you know?"

"If you really need to pass that class." I begin slowly, winding up before sending Zora's bag straight for his face, its contents hitting him square in the jaw and knocking him to the ground, "Then maybe you could spare getting that extra cookie from the beanery!"

"My my, Kim, is violence your answer to everything?" a sneaky voice asks.

I face forward, and grimace, "Ulysses."

The tall boy walks up with his two associates, Alexander and Ming Hui, "I see you're having problems with your clientele? I'm seeing a pattern here."

"My clientele is none of your business." I tell him, hoisting up Zora's bag, and beginning to walk back to the yard.

"You know, I'd be always willing to take a few of them off of your hands." Ulysses offers, as he and his posse follow behind me.

I roll my eyes, "I wasn't born yesterday."

"No, you just have the IQ of someone who was."

I finally make it back to the red bricked platform where Zora and Daisy are waiting.

"Phew, thank goodness." Zora exclaims, taking back her bag.

"Ew, what's Ulysses doing here?" Daisy asks, crossing her arms.

He takes an exaggerated bow, "Greetings ladies. I assumed you all got your high school assignments yesterday?"

Zora and Daisy both nod, "Yeah, we both got LOL, just like everyone else."

"What about Kim?" Alexander asks, his speech impediment causing him to sound stuttering and dumbfounded.

Ulysses gets a twisted smile, "Yes Kim, you are going to LOL, correct?"

Why would I ever tell this guy the truth? Then again, if I lied, he'd find out eventually, he always does.

"...no."

The three boys start laughing uncontrollably, Ming Hui nearly falling to the ground. Daisy puts a hand on my shoulder, "What do you mean, no?"

"As in, no, I didn't get in."

"Then where are they sending you?" Zora asks.

I pause, take a deep breath, "MLK."

Daisy and Zora both get looks of horror on their faces, "WHAT?!"

"Well, well, isn't that just rich? The violent, brutish Kim, marked for dead." Ulysses declares, having recovered from his laughter.

"Yeah, kids get sent there to die!" Alexander adds.

"I'm aware." I mumble, picking up my backpack as the warning bell rings, "And that means I have nothing to lose!"

I go for Ulysses first, punching him in the stomach, before kicking his knee, bringing him to the floor. I get in one more good kick in the chest before turning around and walking away, somewhat satisfied.

I walk with Daisy and Zora to class, the three of us keeping silent for the most part. We shuffle and push through the thousands of other kids attending our school. Finally, Daisy speaks up,

"So, what are you gonna do?"

"What can I do?" I ask back.

They both look at each other, neither having an answer.

"Look, you guys, this has been a long-time coming." I tell them, "You two can continue the business at LOL easily."

"It won't be the same without you, Kimbo." Daisy tells me, "And I'm sure MLK isn't as bad as people say it is-"

"Don't get your hopes up." I grumble, crossing my hands behind my back, "You say what I just did to Ulysses, and how many others." I take a deep breath, "If I'm lucky, I'll go quickly. But somehow I feel that isn't going to be the case."