A new short story. Takes about 15 minutes to read.
Since the boy was young he had the ability to fly. It had started at 8 years of age and for a long time the boy thought there was something wrong with him, which was why he was scared to show his gift to others in case they treated him like a freak. His name was Tommy, and he was a shy child who found it hard to make friends. Since his older sister had died everything seemed lost to him. The boy hated going to school as he spent a lot of time on his own. If only things were different.
Caroline, his mother drove him to the front gate. "Have a good day, dear," she said as she blew him a kiss.
Tommy waved back reluctantly, then walked through the open gate into the grounds. Draped over his shoulder was his school bag, which was heavy. Inside were two thick books and his pack lunch. At the side of the building stood James, who he shared some classes with. There'd never spoken as James had only started in the last week. One day he would find the courage to make conversation with him.
Tommy entered the building, which led to a long corridor. Most days the boy would head straight to his desk for registration to begin. Nearby was a girl he fancied while she stood with two friends as they chatted. The moment she glanced at him, the boy felt embarrassed.
Once in the classroom, he sat down. The desk was at the back of the room, which he preferred. A few weeks ago he sat at the front of the class and on over one occasion rolled up paper and chewing gum was thrown at the back of his head. His mother had complained about it so much that the headmaster decided to move him.
In the drawer on the front of the desk was a comic, which he kept hidden under some A4 blank paper. Moving the paper to one side, Tommy got hold of the book and read. He was so engrossed in the story the boy didn't hear the bell ring in front of the school. Then a boy walked into the room who he feared.
He quickly put the comic back into the drawer.
The other boy stared at him, then said, "What are you looking at, freak?"
Tommy stayed quiet.
The taller lad named Gregory sat down as more children entered with the teacher.
Mrs Merkel stood at the front desk and called everyone's name out for registration. Apart from one girl who was ill, the rest of the class had attended.
After registration the whole school proceeded to the main hall for assembly, where the headmaster and all the teachers were present.
Once assembly had ended Tommy headed to the first lesson of the day.
Gregory pinned him against the wall while the other pupils laughed. Tommy was petrified.
"What's wrong, are you scared, you freak?" he shouted.
"Please don't hurt me," Tommy begged. His heart raced.
Gregory laughed, then threw him to the floor.
Tommy looked up and saw a crowd stood over him. How could this get any worse?
Someone shouted from further down the corridor. "What's going on here?"
Through the crowd, the Science teacher came into view with an angry look on his face. The moment he saw Tommy on the floor, he said, "Get up, boy. What do you think this is, a zoo, everyone acting like animals?"
Tommy stood up, embarrassed. "Sorry, sir," he answered.
The teacher stared at him. "Who pushed you, boy?"
Tommy observed Gregory behind the teacher while he warned him not to say anything. "I fell over. It was just a silly accident, sir."
The teacher looked disappointed. "Maybe you should be more careful? Are you sure it was just an accident?" he asked.
"Yes, sir," he replied.
"If you ever need to talk, boy, then you know where I am," the man said. "I must be off, got plenty to do."
Once the teacher had disappeared from view, the crowd dispersed. Tommy picked up his bag and made his way outside to eat his lunch.
Tommy sat on a bench away from everyone else while he ate his food. In the distance he saw all the other children playing. This made him feel sad. Suddenly he was aware of someone approaching him. He peered up fearful. It was the new kid, James.
James sat down beside him, then said, "Look, I don't know you right, but why do you let that boy bully you?"
Tommy looked at him. "Every time he starts on me, I'm scared. Maybe I deserve to be bullied?"
James seemed saddened by this. "No one deserves to be bullied. You need to stand up to him."
"But how?" was all he answered.
"You need to figure that out yourself. You need to find some inner strength, my friend."
With that James stood up, then headed to the toilet block to have a sneaky cigarette. Tommy watched him until he'd vanished behind it. Moments later, faint smoke was observed at the side of the small building.
He put his lunch box back in his bag. The bell was heard as the break was now over with. Reluctantly, the boy proceeded back to the school.
"How was school today, dear?" asked his mother once he was in the car.
Tommy placed the bag on his lap and through the passenger window he noticed Gregory with two of his mates making their way out of the gates. Dread ran through him. "Yes, it was fine," was all he said.
If only that were true.
That evening he remembered what James had said about finding your inner strength. His parents were downstairs while they watched TV. He was in his bedroom. It was time. He stood in the centre of the room. He outstretched his arms, then concentrated his mind until his feet left the floor. Within seconds, he floated above the bed.
"Yes, yes, yes," he cried out. "I'm a superhero."
A thought came to him. Why should he be scared to show his gift to others? Everyone loved superheroes, that was a fact. He moved his arms down and gradually fell back to the floor. With excitement running through him, the boy changed into his pyjamas and got into bed.
"Thank you, James. I have now found my inner strength."
A moment later he was fast asleep and for the first time in ages his dreams were wonderful.
The next day Tommy wasn't scared anymore. But it changed nothing as Gregory approached him. This time Tommy wasn't standing for it.
Like yesterday, the bully shoved him against the nearest wall.
"Are you scared, you wimp," he said, while he enjoyed the boy's torment.
Tommy stood his ground. "I'm not scared of you because all you are is a pathetic bully."
For a second Gregory looked stunned. Then he punched Tommy in the face.
Tommy fell to the floor. Instantly he got up and yelled, "Is that the best you can do, you loser."
This must have worked as Gregory gave him an odd look, then walked away.
Tommy saw the girl he liked a short distance away looking at him with interest. He smiled back, a little embarrassed. The bell echoed loudly through the corridor, which meant it was time to go home.
He got into the car.
His mum turned to him with a worried look. "Why have you got a faint bruise below your right eye, did you get into a fight?"
Tommy looked at her and answered, "I walked into a wall by accident."
She seemed concerned. "You would tell me if there was a problem, wouldn't you, sweetheart?"
"Of course I would, mum," he said. In the distance he saw Gregory and his mates and ignored them. "I love you, mum."
"And I love you too, dear."
They then started the journey home.
That night in his room, the boy watched TV. At 10pm once he'd heard his parents going to bed, he practiced with his flying. Well, if he was going to be a superhero one day, he would need to hone his skills. In the middle of the room Tommy outstretched his arms and using the power of his mind, his feet left the soft carpet. His whole body tingled with a strange energy. A few seconds later and the top of his head touched the ceiling. After a while he lowered his arms and slowly returned to the side of the bed, where he felt the cold floor on the soles of his feet. It was late, and it was time to go to sleep. Tomorrow Tommy was going to share his secret with everyone. He was a little apprehensive, but deep down knew it was the right thing to do.
He walked through the front gates, oblivious to the fact that Gregory and his mates were following him. In the corridor Tommy headed to his classroom when out of nowhere he was grabbed and dragged to the inside toilets. He was pushed to the floor. The boy looked up fearfully.
Gregory smiled at him, then said, "So you thought you'd make me look stupid in front of everyone else. Kiss my shoes, you freak. If not, I'll give you a beating you'll never forget."
Tommy stood up and laughed. "I have powers you can never match and I'll prove it to you now."
"What are you talking about, you freak," yelled Gregory.
"I can fly," he answered.
Tommy outstretched his arms and concentrated. Everyone in the room laughed as nothing happened. "I don't understand?" he muttered. It worked in his bedroom, but why not now?
Gregory clapped his hands with a bored look on his face, then said, "When everyone hears about this you're going to be the biggest loser in the school. See you later, freak."
Tommy felt mortified.
At lunch break Tommy sat on the bench, still upset by what had occurred earlier. Why didn't it work? The girl he liked appeared and sat beside him.
She looked sad. "I heard what happened earlier with Gregory. My name's Natalie."
"Why are you talking to me, I'm the biggest loser in the school now?"
"I hate Gregory and he's a bully," she replied.
Tommy was shocked. "You hate him you say?"
The girl giggled, then said, "What you did yesterday by standing up to him, really impressed me. That's why I'd rather talk to you."
"Thank you, that means a lot," he answered.
Maybe this day wasn't turning out so badly after all?
"Come on, walk back with me, at least that'll give everyone something to talk about."
Tommy felt bad. "I don't expect you to do that for me."
She giggled. "I want to do it. Chop, chop."
He got up from the bench, his school bag over his shoulder. Both then headed back to the building. In the corridor they got odd looks from most of the pupils. Natalie walked with him to his next lesson.
At the entrance she pecked him on the cheek, then said, "You can fly for me any time. Catch you later, fly boy."
Tommy was on cloud nine. "Thank you, Natalie."
"See you tomorrow," she said. "And take care."
With that, she was off up the corridor to her next class.
As the last lesson finished, the boy made his way to the front of the school where he would meet his mum. He saw the car parked in the same place at the side of the road. Suddenly he was grabbed from behind and pushed against a wall. When Tommy turned to face the person who'd done it, Gregory stood there. "What's your problem?" Tommy asked.
"Just stay away from that girl. Got it," he replied angrily.
"What do you mean? We chatted for about ten minutes," Tommy said.
Was the other boy jealous?
Gregory took a step towards him. "You've been warned. Remember that."
The aggressive lad then walked out of the front gate. Within seconds, he'd disappeared from view.
Tommy was a little shocked by this and carried on with his short journey to the car. As he got nearer to the vehicle Tommy saw his mum's face in the driver's side window. She stared at him worriedly.
He got in and she asked him who the boy was that had attacked him?
He lied "It was a friend messing around. That's all."
She placed a hand on his shoulder, then said, "Are you telling me the truth, sweetheart? Since your sister passed away, I feel you don't open up to me anymore."
"Yes, mum. I'm okay. I mean that," he answered.
She seemed happy by that response. "Let's go." I love you by the way."
The car then made the journey home.
That evening Tommy was fuming. Because of that boy at school, his mum was now suspicious that something was going on. Like the same every night he flew around the bedroom after his parents had gone to bed. Slowly he was improving with it, which pleased him immensely, on top of meeting Natalie.
Dead on eleven, he climbed into bed and all he thought of was the girl.
He got out of the car and said farewell to his mum. At the main entrance stood Natalie.
She looked up at him and said, " I've been waiting for you. I hope you don't mind?"
Tommy was shocked by this. "No not at all."
They spent break times together while both chatted and messed around. Occasionally Gregory was observed in the distance with his two mates. Tommy waited at the gate for his mother. Natalie had already caught the bus home. Mum was running a little late, which was concerning. Finally the car came into view as it made its way towards him. The vehicle braked, and the boy got in.
"How was school today, sweetheart?" she said.
The boy fastened his seatbelt, then placed the bag on his lap. "Yes, I've had a good day."
She looked at him with a smile. "That's so good to hear, my little Tommy."
He laughed. "Mum, that's so embarrassing."
"I've cooked you your favourite tea tonight, because you're my little soldier."
"Thanks, mum. That sounds great," he answered.
She pushed her foot down on the pedal and the car drifted up the road.
For the rest of the week, he saw Natalie most days. She added him as a friend on a social networking site. From his laptop at home, they would message each other regularly. Tommy was surprised how well they got on.
On the Saturday both met up in the local park. They proceeded down the main path towards the pavilion. Natalie turned to him with an excited look on her face.
Tommy found this strange, then said, "What's wrong?"
"Show me your gift. I really want to see it," she replied. "Do you trust me?"
He wasn't sure if it would work. "I might not be able to show you as I've never done it in front of anyone before," the boy answered unconfidently.
"Come on, don't be scared. We can head into them trees over there where no one else will see us. I don't want to force you to do it, but you shouldn't be ashamed of it either," she said.
"Okay," was all Tommy replied.
Once under the trees, Tommy stood a metre from her, then outstretched his arms. He used the power of his mind and felt his body slowly move upwards until his feet had left the ground by a few inches. Natalie stared at him in awe. He smiled at her.
"I can't believe it worked," he said.
When the boy was back on the ground they proceeded back to the main path while both giggled.
Two weeks later and they were inseparable. Gregory hated it, but thankfully stayed away. Natalie had told no one about his superpower, which he preferred. Being the centre of attention wasn't for him. She'd even said to him it was his personality she liked more than his powers, even though she thought it was very cool.
Tommy sat in the classroom and waited for registration to start. That morning his girlfriend was going to the dentist, and therefore he was on his own. The noise from the corridor meant the pupils were making their way to class. As usual, Gregory made his way into the room, then sat down. Gregory turned his head to face him.
"Where's your girlfriend this morning, loser?" he said.
"At least I have one," he replied with a smirk on his face.
Gregory got up from his chair with an angry look. "What did you say?"
At that moment, the other children and the teacher appeared through the entrance.
Gregory stared at him, then said aggressively, "I'll see you later, weirdo."
For the first time in ages, Tommy felt scared.
At first break, Natalie still hadn't come back from the dentist. Tommy sat on the bench away from everyone else. He ate a sandwich his mum had prepared that morning. Gregory appeared and headed towards him.
Tommy stay seated. He looked up at the bully. "What do you want?" he asked. His heart raced.
Gregory grabbed hold of his collar, then yelled, "You need to be taught a lesson, you freak. Without your girlfriend about your nothing. Fight like a real man."
Tommy wasn't interested and tried to walk away. Gregory pushed him to the ground and kicked him in the side of his body. Tommy screamed in pain.
Gregory stood over him. "Get up, loser?"
With difficulty Tommy stood up. His ribs throbbed. Suddenly the bell rang all over the school.
"I'll get you later, you wimp," said the bully. He then proceeded back to the building.
Tommy picked his bag up. Waited until the taller lad had disappeared through one of the many entrances, then headed to his next lesson.
A loud bang which shook the foundations of the building took everyone by surprise. Tommy and the other pupils looked about them, unsure to what had happened. A moment later a teacher who taught mathematics in the next room burst in with a grave look on his sixty something face.
The older man had a word with the younger male who had been teaching them, then said in a serious tone, "Listen to me children. We all need to leave now, in single file, so no one hurts themselves. Grab your things and let's go."
All the pupils including Tommy stood up. With his bag over his shoulder, he followed everyone else out of the room and into the corridor. It was chaos as many children and adults headed swiftly to the main entrance to the school. Tommy noticed a burning smell in the air.
Finally when everyone was outside in the car park, it became apparent what had occurred. Dark smoke billowed from one of the higher windows of the old Science block, which was being renovated. A person suddenly appeared in the window and shouted for help. With shock Tommy realised it was James. He needed to help him.
Tommy ran to the side of the building. The headmaster shouted at him to return to the group. He ignored him. The boy looked up to the window where James's head poked out.
"There's two of us in here. I'm petrified. Please get help, Tommy," James cried out. The smoke covered him.
If they waited for the firemen to arrive, it would be too late. He needed to concentrate. It was time to show the world who he really was. "I'm going to help you, James," Tommy yelled.
It was now or never.
The boy outstretched his arms. Slowly, his body left the ground as he floated to the window.
Through the smoke he observed James, then said, "Climb out of the window and grab me and I'll take you down."
James done what he was told, even though he couldn't believe what he was seeing with his own eyes.
The extra body weight didn't help, but doing his best he made it to the ground where it was safe.
James stared at him in awe. "Thank you for saving my life, but you need to go back as there's another person trapped in the room."
Tommy realised time wasn't on his side. "Hopefully I'll see you again," he said.
James placed a hand on his shoulder. "Of course you will, mate. Now go."
The boy had trouble seeing through the smoke and with courage climbed through the open window into the room. On the left of him a fire blazed. The intense heat was felt on his skin. His eyes watered badly but without hesitation he shouted, "Where are you, I'm here to help?"
From the back of the room a faint voice said, "I'm here, please hurry."
Tommy observed a person on the floor, and as he got closer, he saw who it was.
Gregory looked at him, scared as can be. Tears ran from his eyes. His left leg bled badly. "Am I going to die?"
"No you won't, but why should I help you with all the grief you've given me over the years?" he replied.
Gregory looked down at the floor. "You're right. You didn't deserve any of it. It's me who has the problem, not you."
A cupboard close by fell as the flames engulfed it.
"We need to hurry," Tommy shouted.
He picked Gregory up, and both proceeded through the heavy smoke to the window.
Both coughed as it was too much to deal with.
Gregory's leg gave way, and he fell to the floor. Tommy tried to help him up.
"I caused the fire, Tommy. It's all my fault. I bunked off the next lesson and let off two fireworks in here, thinking it would be a laugh. Go leave me. Save yourself," Gregory screamed.
Suddenly there was an explosion nearby.
The boy was flung to the floor with force.
In a daze, Tommy saw Natalie as she touched his face. She whispered in his ear, "You're the bravest person I know, fly boy. And I'll miss you very much."
Then everything went black.
Tommy opened his eyes. He found himself on the pathway at the bottom of the building. Firemen were everywhere. Beside him lay another boy. A sheet had been placed over the body.
A short distance away appeared a girl he found familiar. And all around her was the most magnificent light, and all she said was, "It's time, little brother."