• James slumped down in his usual back row seat of his first period science class. Closing his eyes and laying his head back, losing himself in his repeating thoughts of this morning.
    Why do I feel like I forgot something? I have my wallet, necklace, phone, cigarettes, lighter, ring, house key…what could I have forgotten?
    “Mr. Davis, are you paying attention” a sharp, baritone cutting through James’ thoughts. “Or are you simply catching up on your beauty sleep?”
    “Huh? What happened?” James mumbled, dragging himself back to reality and glancing up towards the front of the classroom to see Mr. Morgan forcing a cold stare upon him, before clearing his throat to speak.
    “What happened is that I was just introducing the class to our new chapter that focuses on botany. Would you care to remind everyone what I said?” That same deep toned voice slipping its way through James’ mind.
    James maintained an ignorant silence, everyone being aware that he had not been paying the slightest bit of attention. A few girls in the front of the class giggling softly at his lack of knowledge. He knew those girls, the type who forced themselves up at 5am just to cake on layer after layer of make up so they could feel comfortable enough with themselves to walk out the door. He didn’t care that he was unable to answer the question, what bothered him were those little stuck-up bitches thinking they were better than him.
    “I don’t know sir, did it have anything to do with the Brugmansia genus of dangerously toxic plants that happen to be native to the subtropical regions of South America?” deciding to throw out a random bit of botanical information he had come across in some book he read a while ago “Because if it was, then I’m sorry I missed it, seeing as it would be the first practical thing you’ve taught us all year”
    The girls had shut up.
    “No, Mr. Davis, my former statement had nothing to do with those shrubs with trumpet-like flowers,” a slight sneer crossing Mr. Morgan’s face as he turned away to start writing on the board, “And don’t think your little display of slight intelligence has impressed anyone. From now on, pay attention.”
    James crinkled his nose and crossed his arms while shifting in his seat. He gave those two from the front a quick dirty glance to find that they were also looking at him, with surprise on their faces no less.
    Huh? Are they shocked that the “weird goth wannabe” actually knows something besides smoking and devil music?
    James gave them a quick flip of the finger, causing both of their faces to twist in offense and disgust before turning around in a huff, and starting to copy down the notes. He tried to wade his way back into his thoughts, but for some reason found difficulty to continue where he left off. James seemed to be plagued by the image of the plants he just used to mouth off with.
    What the hell is going on…why can’t I stop thinking about those flowers? Freaking teachers, always distracting me when I get to the good part of my thoughts.
    A gruff sigh escaping his lips, before turning his attention, finally, to the board at the front of the class. Scribbling down the notes given to the class, managing to keep his attention focused on the work ahead of him for the time being. An occasional glance at those prissy girls from before, just to make sure they weren’t taunting him again.
    After what seemed like an eternity, the bell rang. James jumped a little, stirred from his focus on the information on the page and looked around, surprised.
    “Ha ha! Way to tell off Morgan, man” a slap on the back and a voice that was obviously doing it’s best not to crack invaded James little thought created world. “When will those stupid teachers learn, just because you don’t listen to their B.S. doesn’t mean you’re just some retard.”
    The voice belonged to one, Blake Conner, a lanky kid sporting a shaved head, deep crimson contacts, and enough piercing in his face to make a porcupine wince. Blake was the type who would do just about anything for the shock value. He, and a few others, hung around with James simply because James didn’t really care enough to make them go away, and to them that seemed like acceptance. The group generally was comprised of Blake, Tyler, Johnny, Lulu, and of course, James. The outcasts, to some crowds they were the “goth kids” to others they were the punks, but when you really got down to it, they were just a ragtag group of misfits, all of them seeking some sort of acceptance, except for James, he seemed to always seemed to be the exception, or at least in his mind that’s how it was.
    “Come on man, Let’s get out of here,” Blake’s voice cracking just a bit, the frustration from trying to keep that from happening flickering on his face, “Lulu’s rents are out of town for the week, she’s got her dad’s truck, we were thinking we could just bail on today and have some fun.”
    James replying with a simple shrug, already they were walking through the classroom door. He made sure to keep about a half-step behind Blake, following him to wherever he decided they should go. Not surprising, they made their way out to the parking lot, where two scruffy looking guys, both in black T-shirts and tattered jeans, Johnny and Tyler, were already waiting in the bed of a beat up old ford, that had a somewhat curvy, shorthaired girl in the drivers seat, Lulu.
    “Jaaaaaames!” the overly cute voice of Lulu screeched out as they drew closer “come on, sit up here with me, I made those to idiots get in the bed, ‘cause I know how you hate your hair to get messed up”
    James didn’t actually care to much if his shaggy hair got winded, it’s not like it would look much worse than it already did, laying out however it felt like. He was thankful, however, of being the one that got the only passenger seat in that crappy truck, James wasn’t too big a fan of the guys in this little group. To be completely honest he didn’t quite care for anyone in this little clique really, but he occasionally got a little fun from Lulu when she was feeling horny, and what teenage guy would complain about that?
    “Thanks, Lu,” said James, his voice still seeming apathetic, or at least, more so than he normally was. James climbed into the side of the truck, slamming the door shut while Blake jumped into the bed and forced his way into the argument that Johnny and Tyler were having, something about what Skinny Puppy album was the best one. Another sigh slipping from James as he gazed out the windshield, “Hey, you ever get the feeling that you forgot something really important, but you can’t quite figure out what?”
    Lulu laughed that forced, trying to be cute, laugh of hers “oh yeah, everybody gets that sometimes, just don’t worry about it and it’ll hit you eventually” A smile f lashing his way.
    Lulu was attracted to James, and made it fairly obvious with the special treatment he got from her on an almost daily basis. Not to mention the little romps they had every now and again when she was overly horny and he had nothing better to do.
    The truck pulled into a slightly run down house with a dead lawn. Lulu’s place, Blake jumped from the back of the truck before it had stopped, and rolled out on the lawn. Tyler and Johnny followed suit after a moment or two, and Lulu rolled her eyes.
    “You idiots are going to hurt yourselves, and I won’t be bandaging up anything today, I’m not in the mood” Her true voice called to them, much lower than the falsetto cute façade she put on, and much more attractive, if only she’d realize that, “Come on, James,” her high pitched voice back again, “Let’s go inside, I think my old man left some beer in the fridge”
    They both slip out of the truck, and James gives the other guys a blank stare, one eyebrow raised, as if to say ‘guys…what the hell?’ as the three boys pulled themselves up from the brown, crispy grass and laughed off the little scrapes and bruises that would spring up fairly soon, following him and Lulu into the house.
    “Here man, have one!” A can comes flying towards James’ head, he quickly snatches it out of midair while Lulu gives Tyler a dirty look “He he…huh? What’d I do Lulu?”
    “You know damn well what you did, idiot,” she replied in a scolding tone, “you could have broken something, be more careful”
    “Broken something my a**,” a naturally low, and somewhat harsh voice interrupted from the corner of the room, “I think you’re more worried about how he might have messed up James’ pretty mug” Johnny gave her a sneer.
    Lulu’s face flushed for a few seconds, her glare shifting from Tyler, the thrower of the can, to Johnny, the guy who generally went out of his way to provoke people, then again he did have the ability to back himself up, a quick mind and quicker fists, Johnny was the metal head and thug of the group.
    Johnny got up and slowly walked over to the fridge while everyone else stood still, looking between Lulu and him, waiting for something to go off. He pushed his way past James and waltzed into the kitchen to grab himself a beer, opened it, and downed half of it while standing there, then made his way back to his seat in the corner. Lulu kept her silence. The tension faded a moment later when everyone just burst out laughing, Lulu leaning over onto the couch, Tyler dropping to his knees for a moment, Johnny leaning back in the chair, his dark chuckle being what Blake was trying for, but Blake only managed to put out a cackle while his voice cracked again. Everyone laughed, except for James, who found all this rather uninteresting, so he slipped past everyone and through a door in the hallway.
    God, those idiots, what the hell is so funny anyway? I’ll never understand them. Not that I want to, they aren’t worthy of my time. Just burning away their minds, turning themselves into barren wastelands. It’s pathetic.
    James found himself in what appeared to be a study, of sorts. Gun racks on the walls, a buck head mounted where a bookcase had obviously once been, an old, rather ragged, oak desk in the center of the room with a computer on top of it. A few antique looking chairs on the front side of the desk, their stuffing poking out in a few different places. The only thing remaining of the original study that was here was a single bookcase on the wall to the right of the desk, half full of old leather bound volumes about god knows what. It was then that James noticed a gleam from the seat behind the desk, and moved towards it, interested for the first time today.
    What do we have here? This could make things a little more fun…Maybe I could use it to help them, keep them from turning their brains into worthless rocks…
    “James? What are you doing in there?” that annoyingly cute voice cutting into his thoughts as the door creaked open again “this is my dad’s study, we probably shouldn’t mess around in here, he’ll notice if we mess with anything”
    James quickly shifted the object into his back pocket, out of Lulu’s sight. She gave him a naughty grin, and advanced a little, edging the sleeves of her shirt down her shoulders, showing off her black bra.
    “were you just looking for a place to have a little fun? ‘Cause we can just slip away to my room for that, hon.” Her voice now even higher.
    What in God’s name made her think that grating noise was attractive? For Christ’s sake…
    “That’s alright, c’mon, let’s get back to the others,” James muttered as he moved towards her, shifting her around and pushing her gently out the door “wouldn’t want to leave them alone and drunk around your parents stuff, right?”
    Pushing Lulu out the door, and then closing it behind him, he reached back and felt the cold metal in his hand, A little smile flashing across his face.
    Oh yeah, we’re going to have fun alright…But definitely not what you were intending, you little slut.
    As James and Lulu reappear in the living room, the other three boys give little jeers and hoots of mock disgust, overly sexual comments flying from all three.
    “Wow, that was a quick one, James,” Johnny sneered as he barked at him, “I figured you could last longer than that.”
    “Yeah,” cried Blake in an attempt to ride in on Johnny’s coattail, “I mean, if not because you want to, because we all know that with Lulu it’s like tossing a hotdog down a hallway.”
    Lulu stared daggers at Blake, and quickly shot back “You’re one to talk, it’s not like your hotdog has been anywhere, hallway or otherwise.”
    Blake immediately stopped laughing and went bright red, stammering an unintelligible response. Something including the words ‘Lulu,’ ‘whore,’ and ‘t**t’.
    James stood with his back to the wall, keeping his recently acquired treasure well hidden, not giving any acknowledgement to any of their comments. A blank stare affixed to his face while he watched Lulu shove Tyler off the recliner, a large denim colored chair that was big enough for several people, and take her place next to one arm rest, leaving the other open for James. He ignored the silent offer and shifted his way along the wall, making note to keep his back hidden from view, but not so much so that it looked suspicious in any way.
    The conversation shifted from whether or not James and Lulu had been messing around, to mocking Blake for his virginity, everyone quickly joining in. James keeping himself out of the discussion, as usual, managed to make it to the front door without being noticed, and quietly locked it, before stepping forward into the living room, and clearing his throat. Everyone looked over at James, it was rather strange for him to speak up.
    “You know something guys? This isn’t funny,” He began, pulling word after word from midair, allowing his mind to translate all his honest feelings for these people into verbal form, the sounds seeming to flow seamlessly from his lips, “In fact, I don’t think many, if any, of the jokes you all make are very funny. All you do is insult people and force topics that are, at best, mildly shocking and at worst, blatantly vulgar. It doesn’t do anyone any good, why on earth would you go on surrounding and mentally worshipping this nonsense purely for shock value? It’s not like anyone really cares what you do or say, or that anyone ever did.”
    He went on, now shifting his tactic to calling out each one for their flaws, “Lulu, while in trying to be funny, these guys were right. You really are just a hole to ********, no one really cares about you. Did you ever wonder why your parents would leave you home alone, with beer just sitting in the fridge, knowing what kind of person you are? They don’t care. The people who brought you into this world really don’t care what you do, they have obviously come to terms with the fact that you’re a slut who is ruined her life and that you will never be anything else.”
    Lulu stared in awe for a few moments, her eyes welling up with tears, being left speechless by James’ sudden emotional assault on a subject she was already sensitive about.
    “And you, Blake,” James turned his attention to the bald, pierced boy sitting on the sofa, “Do you really believe that forcing yourself into the image that this pathetic group has set as the norm will do you any good in life? All the money and time you spent on those contacts, those piercing, giving up your hair, it’s all worthless. All it would get you is some vague sense of approval from a bunch of social outcasts. On top of that, you always try to act tougher and bigger than you are, why is that? Does it really bother you that your voice is slightly higher than most guys? What is it Blake? I know what it is, you’re secretly in the closet, aren’t you? You try to be all tough and masculine and all that nonsense because you don’t want to accept the fact that you like guys, hell, from the way I’ve seen you look at Tyler, I’d say you like him.”
    Blake crumbled before the gaze of James, which was complete devoid of emotion of sympathy. His deepest fear, his terrifying secret, his true embarrassment revealed so easily by the very attempt to hide it.
    James, turning his eyes once more, “And speaking of Tyler, how much more pathetic could you get? I mean honestly, I see you all the time trying to perform acts of kindness, only to completely shatter when those acts are refused or rebuked. Are you so desperate to please others that when you mess up, it hurts you so badly? You know that no one cares about you, and yet you still try and try to do things to make people give you even a slight smile, and even then you can’t do that stuff right. Why do you even bother?”
    Tyler’s eyes seemed to pop, tears pouring down his cheeks, while his head hangs down to stare at the floor.
    Finally James’ eyes flicked to Johnny, staring him down for a few moments before continuing, “Johnny, you’re probably the worst of them all. You walk around with this air of superiority, acting like an arrogant p***k just because you’re a little stronger than others. You constantly talk about how you hate the jocks in our school because they threaten and intimidate people weaker than them, but you do the same exact thing. You’re nothing but a muscle-bound hypocrite who refuses to give anyone else the time of day. You’re no better than the rest of this scum.”
    Johnny, naturally, didn’t take this kind of talk sitting down or crying. He jumped from his seat, a harsh shout erupting from his throat, “******** YOU!” as he rushed across the room, fists tightly balled, one hand forward instinctually as a guard, the other pulled back in a swing.
    James, having known this was how Johnny would react, had intentionally left him for last. He grabbed that gleaming handle in his back pocket, his index finger popping the safety off as he whirled his arm around, the barrel of the revolver pointing directly between Johnny’s blazing eyes.
    Johnny twisted in midair, his head flying backwards as blood splattered behind him, his lower body still following his movement. He ended up sprawled on the floor at James’ feet, blood pouring from the ragged hole in his face. Lulu screamed, and the two other boys just stared in awe of what happened.
    James turned towards Lulu, suddenly bursting out laughing. His laugh was completely normal, not heartless and cold, but not exactly happy either. His laugh had a feel of justice to it, as though James thought he was giving Johnny what he deserved for being the thug he was, as though he was going to give them all what they deserved.
    A moment after the scream had ceased from Lulus lips, she gasped and cried out again after another shot rang through the room. She crumpled backwards into the chair, the denim coloring darkening and turning to a reddish purpled as the blood seeped from her upper chest.
    James shifted again, turning towards the two boys on the couch, Tyler in shock, simply staring at the bodies before another shot explodes into the house. Tyler’s look of amazement and disbelief was now directed at the ceiling, and Blake was screeching out, strangely enough he was no longer trying to hide his voice’s natural pitch. Wrapping his arms around Tyler, Blake cried, holding the body close as it quickly grew cold. The only sounds he made were quiet sobs as he waited for the next one.
    He was right, another deafening shot bursting forth as Blake slumped over Tyler’s body, the two boys together on the couch. A fitting end for them, it seemed to James. The one who felt no one loved him lying in the arms of the other who had hidden his love from everyone to the best of his ability. A smile plastered across James’ face as he turns and walks down the hall back towards the study.
    James sat down in the chair, looking over from the other side of the desk, gazing at the closed door, thinking out loud now, “Hm…well, this was the only way to help them, I suppose. Now, in whatever form they exist, they will realize their mistakes and lead much happier lives…assuming they actually get another life, of course.”
    A smile on his lips as he lifts the gun up and placing the barrel against his temple, letting out a soft sigh before…

    ~ ~ ~

    Bang! The thick oaken door to his chambers slamming shut behind him as he walks forward, not giving the sound a second thought. Slipping his chain mail gloves from his hands and setting them, rather ceremoniously, on the table next to his large four poster bed. Pulling his pillow to the side and picking up the dagger he kept underneath it, as long as his forearm and as sharp as a razor, perfect for defense at night. Gazing out the window that was carved into the stone wall, the full moon peering down throughout the grounds of his fortress.
    The horses were put away, his soldiers were fed and given their women, and his servants were asleep in their quarters, aside from the ones who were tending to the minor cleaning up after the soldiers before locking up the kitchens.
    A sigh escaping his smiling lips, his deep baritone voice melting into the silence gracefully, “life, is surely good.”