06 Smoke gets in your eyes

Kate looked up as Adam slammed the bedroom door behind him. His face was red with anger as he half ran through the kitchen on his way towards the front door. Mrs. Stewart stood up and shouted after him.

– “Don’t you want some breakfast, Adam?”

Adam stopped in the doorway for a few seconds with the door ajar.

– “I’m not hungry!” he shouted.

Then he ran out, slamming the front door with aloud bang. As soon as the front door had shut, Adam’s bedroom door opened, and Mr. Stewart stuck his head out.

– “Well!” he mumbled to himself.

– “That could have gone better!”

He dragged his feet into his office, slammed his door shut, and some clinking noises was heard from the room. Everybody knew that Alan Stewart had taken his vodka bottle out of his cabinet and poured himself a drink. Shortly after, the voice of Louis Armstrong came seeping through the walls. Mrs. Stewart made a big sigh, then turned towards Kate again.

– “They have been arguing again,” she muttered, sad look on her face.

Kate peeked at Mrs. Stewart, chewing hurriedly with her mouth open.

– “What about?”

Mrs. Stewart gave a faint smile.

– “Adam has now turned eighteen. That means that he is free to move out if he wants to and find his own place to live and get a job elsewhere.”

Kate nodded approvingly.

– “That’s nice!” she said without thinking.

– “Is that what he wants to do?”

Mrs. Stewart bit her lip.

– “Alan wants him to keep working with us and get paid for it, but he doesn’t want to pay too much. It doesn’t pay…”

The door to Mr. Stewart’s office opened suddenly, and the man himself stood in the doorway, leaning towards the frame of the door.

– “Unreasonable? Me? Hah!”

Mrs. Stewart came over to her intoxicated husband and supported him so he wouldn’t fall.

– “Alan!” she whispered sweetly.

– “Why don’t you lie down for a while?” Her voice was calm and gentile.

– “You’ve got to work in a few hours, and you could do with some sleep before you go…”

Mr. Stewart turned his red face towards his wife.

– “Sleep?” he grumbled.

– “Why on earth would I sleep?”

Mrs.  Stewart smiled at her husband and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

– “Aren’t you even a little bit tired, my dear?”

Mr. Stewart got a puzzled look on his face.

– “Well,” he admitted.

– “I suppose I am a little bit tired. Maybe a little snoze wouldn’t go amiss…”

With his wife’s support, he started moving towards the bedroom. Kate stood up.

– “I’m off to school!” she shouted.

– “Bye!”

The Stewarts stopped, and Mrs. Stewart shouted back:

– “Have a nice day, dear!”

Kate grabbed her books from the side and half ran out the door

It had been  almost a year since Kate had pushed Priscilla through the window at school. When Kate had come back to school the next day, many of her fellow pupils had met her at the school gate. No one had ever stood up to Priscilla before, and Kate was now the new hero at school. There was always a bunch of girls following her around, and Priscilla had not dared to make a move against her. Truth be told, Priscilla was a little bit afraid of this newcomer. After a couple of months, Kate had acknowledged Priscilla with a nod, and Priscilla had nodded back. It seemed as if the two adversaries was okay with staying out of each other’s way, but none of them would ever turn their back to each other. It was a tense stail mate, and Priscilla kept away with her three girls. Kate had more girls following her, but they were not as big as Priscilla’s girls. Still, life went on, and there had been no fighting now for almost a year.

As Kate came to school this morning, three girls were waiting for her by the school gate. Terri was a small redhead with a big smile, Mary was a quiet blond girl with several layers of make up on, and Samantha was an athletic brown eyed girl with an attitude in her smile. Sam, as they called her, was not very big, but had big muscles. Kate thought she could probably look after herself in a fight, if it should ever come to that. The four girls ran behind the school building, giggeling all the way. They were not allowed to go behind the school, but they really did not care. There was a small shed at the back were the genetor stacked his garden equipment and paint etc., and the girls often hid behind this shed. Sam was obviously excited. She reached into her jacket pocket and took out a pack of sigarettes.

– “Who wants one?” she practically shouted, grinning from ear to ear.

– “Quiet!” Kate hushed, peeping round the corner of the shedto see if anybody was close by. There was no one in sight.

Samantha realized how loud she had been. Startled by her own actions she held her hand over her mouth, eyes growing big as saucers. As Kate smiled and exclaimed that the coast was clear, the girls helped themselves to a sigarette each. Sam had matches in her pocket, and soon they were puffing like steamtrains, coughing and giggeling. Once in a while, they cought a quick glance around the corner to see if anyone was coming.

Suddenly the school bell was heard, and they put out what little was left of their sigarettes and ran. Priscilla and Rhonda stood by the front door and spotted the four girls rounding the corner. They saw them come, then turned and went indoors. Kate was wondering whether they would tell on them, but nothing was said. Time went slowly that day. When they had a free period, the girls were wondering if it  was safe to have another sigarette behind the tool shed. When lunch break came, they decided to try it again. The four girls sneaked round the corner and ran for the shed. As they thought themselves safely hidden behind the shed, Sam dug another four sigarettes out of her pockets. They lit up and started smoking. Once again they peaked towards the corner of the school building, but they could not see anyone coming. Then, as lightening from a clear sky, a voice was heard from from the other side of the shed.

– “What are you doing?”

It was Priscilla’s voice. She must have climbed the rocky mountain on the far side of the school building to come up on the girls unexpected. She came round the corner with Rhonda on her heals. The four girls tried to hide their sigarettes behind their backs.

– “What are you hiding?” Priscilla actually smiled.

Rhonda came up to Priscilla’s side.

– “You know you stink of smoke, don’t ya?” she smiled.

The four girls realised the game was up.

– “What about it?” Kate barked.

– “If you share with us, we won’t tell on ya…”

Kate looked at Sam, and Sam looked back at Kate.

– “All right!” she sighed. She took out another two sigarettes and lit them up for them.

An awkward silence spread, and the six girls were just stood there, smoking and looking at each other. Not a word was said. When Kate and her friends had finished their sigarettes, they just sneaked off, leaving Priscilla and Rhonda behind the shed.

– “What does this mean?” asked Terri.

Kate looked sharply at her.

– “It doesn’t mean we’re friends or anything,” she uttered quite loudly.

– “As far as I’m concerned, this changes nothing!”

The girls went to play a bit before the lunchbreak was finished. Then they went back inside.

The next day, Priscilla came up to Kate and her friends as soon as they had all come to School. She smiled slyly and pulled up a pack of Camel sigarettes.

– “Today, I’m buying!” she exclaimed.

Kate looked surprised at the other girls. They also had a surrised look in their faces, but they finally nodded.

– “In the lunchbreak, then?” said Priscilla.

– “Okay!”

They all ran in to School together, sitting down at their desks even before the bell rang.

Kate didn’t pay much attention to Mrs. Staples, but sat thinking about Priscilla. Why was she being so nice? Could it be that she really wanted to be friends? Somehow she doubted it. Priscilla had lost a lit of popularity because of Kate, and Kate had a hard time believing that she was willing to forgive and forget what had happened last year. Then again, maybe she was sincere. Maybe she just wanted to get on with things. Without realizing it, Kate was sitting at her desk, hitting her head with a ruler.

– “How about it… Kate?”

Mrs. Staples was stood right beside Kate, looking at her with inquisitive eyes.

– “Huh?” Kate looked at Mrs. Staples with startled eyes.

– “What year did the battle take place?”

Kate felt really lost.

– “What battle?” she asked.

The whole class roared with laughter. Mrs. Staples put her hands on her hips.

– “Kate Stewart! You are not paying attention! I want you to stay in during lunchbreak and take a test in today’s homework.”

Kate squirmed in her seat.

– “Oh no! Please, Miss Staples! Can’t I do it another time?”

Mrs. Staples shook her head violently.

– “No, I’m afraid not! You will stay in every lunch break unless you can pay propper attention!”

– “It won’t happen again! Please, miss?”

Mrs. Staples gave a slight smile.

– “I’m sorry if you have other plans for recess, but if I change my mind now, you will think that you can get away with it another time as well. I’m afraid my decision is final!”

– “Please…” Kate started. A sharp look from Mrs. Staples made her close her mouth. There was no point in protesting. She would have to pay more attantion in class from now on.

The day proceeded slowly. Mrs. Staples was pleased to find that Kate did know her lesson after all, and Kate on her part promised to pay attention in class from now on. Before Kate went home, Sam came to her and told her that the other girls had gone behind the school with Priscilla. She had been nice to them and shared her sigarettes with them. She had said that if Kate could stay out of trouble, she would get a sigarette the very next day. Kate was still suspicious, but she hoped that their fude was over, and they could put everything behind them.

The next morning, Adam knocked on her door early in the morning.

– “Kate?” he wispered.

Kate wiped some sleep out of her eyes and sat up in bed.

– “Adam?” she whispered, half asleep.

– “What is it?”

Adam came up  her bed, arms behind his back.

– “I wanted to say goodbye to you! I’m leaving today!”

– “What?”

Kate was suddenly wide awake.

– “Where are you going?”

– “Away from here, that’s all I know. I don’t get along with Mr. Stewart any more.”

– “Does he know?” Kate asked, eyes open wide.

– “No, so please don’t tell him till long after I’m gone. I just wanted to say goodbye to you and give you a parting gift.”

Kate smiled.

– “I love presents!” she exclaimed.

Adam put his arms forward and revealed a switchblade in silver with a red dragon on it.

– “This is for you!” he said.

– “A friend gave it me, and I already have two knives. I thought you might like one.”

Kate gave a little gasp.

– “It’s beautiful!”she sighed.

– “Is it sharp?” She touched the edge of the knife carefully.

– “Yes, you better be careful!” warned Adam.

– “Thank you!” Kate almost shouted as she threw her arms around Adam.

Adam gave Kate a kiss on her forehead before he pulled away from her.

– “Be happy, Kate!” he whispered. Then he left the room as quietly as he had come in. Kate got up, got dressed, and got ready for school. When she canme downstairs, Adam had already left.

Kate arrived at school early that morning. As she arrived at the school gate, but none of her friends were there to meet her. However, Priscilla was stood outside the outdoor toilets rubbing her leg. She saw Kate, smiled and ran over to her.

– “Hi Kate!” she shouted.

After crossing the school yard, Priscilla lowered her voice and pulled out some sigarettes.

– “I kept one for you seeing you didn’t make it at lunchtime yesterday. We’ve got time for a sig before class starts. Are you game?”

Kate bit her lip. She didn’t really like going with Priscilla without some of her friends following her, but she did fancy a smoke before class. Also, Priscilla had seemed nice lately. She didn’t really have to give her a sigarette at all, and Kate didn’t want to burn any bridges with Priscilla now that it seemed to et better between them. She nodded shortly and followed Priscilla. They snook around the corner and ran for the toolshed. Priscilla slowed down, turned to look behind them and let Kate run ahead.

– “Nobody saw us!” she smiled, following right behind Kate.

As Kate rounded the corner of the shed, she stopped with a start as she saw Rhona, Francis and Gloria hiding there.

– “Oh!” she exclaimed in surprise.

Priscilla pushed her in the back and made her fly towards Rhonda. Rhonda shot out her fist and hit Kate straight in the face. Kate got a bit weak in the knees, and a thump from Priscilla made her fall to the ground. Priscilla snarled.

– “I’ll teach you to make me look silly!” she hissed.

She kicked Kate in the ribbs as Francis and Gloria held her down. Rhonda continued hitting her in the face whilst Priscilla continued kicking. Pain spread all over Kate’s body as her nose started to bleed and her stomache got kicked again and again. At first, Kate squeeled. Then she shouted in pain. Then finally she went lump and quiet. Rhonda stopped hitting and Priscilla stopped kicking. They loked at each other with a worried look. Then they turned Kate on her back. Kate was bleeding from a cut above her right eye now as well as a nosebleed.

– “Kate? Are you awake?”

Kate didn’t move. Didn’t make a sound.

Priscilla got a worried look in her face.

– “Is she alive?”

Rhonda put her face down towards Kate’s face and nodded.

– “She’s breathing!” she decided.

– “Let’s go!”

Priscilla touched Kate’s side with her foot.

– “Are you awake?” she repeated.

A moan was heard from Kate as she rolled onto her side. Priscilla stood by as Kate groaning in pain tried to get to her feet.

– “Now we’re even!” smiled Priscilla.

– “This will teach you not to mess with me ever again!”

Unsteady on her feet, Kate leaned towards the shed. Her went inside her pocket. There was something hard and cold in her pocket. Oh yes, the switchblade Adam had given her that very morning. It was meant to be! Kate stood up, drew out her knife and let the blade spring out with a “zing”. Priscilla’s eyes went wide, and before she could move, Kate had shoved the knife as dep into Priscilla’s stomache as she possibly could. Hate glowed in Kate’s eyes as she stabbed Priscilla gain and again. Priscilla screamed in pain. The three other girls screamed in fear. Then they ran away, still screaming. Time passed. Kate kept stabbing. Priscilla went quiet.Priscilla was bathed in blood. Kate was sprinkled with blood. When some teachers came running, Kate didn’t notice they were there. She kept stabbing till the teachers pulled her away. They held her hands tightly as they pulled.

– “NO!” shouted Kate.

– “NO! NO! NO! LET ME GO!”

The teachers held Kate down with strong hands. Another teacher was checking on Priscilla. It was Mrs. Staples. She had tears in her eyes.

– “Priscilla is dead!” she whispered horsely.

Suddenly Kate relaxed. Priscilla was dead! She was finally free of that monster of a girl. Overwhelmed by many diffferent feelings, Kate suddenly started to laugh. She laughed so hard she had never laughed so much before. Sirens were heard in the distance, and they gradually came closer. The sirens stopped by the schoolbuilding, and two police officers approached.

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