The morning was made up of a haze of colours and the blurry silhouettes of people passing by, all that Andrew could focus on was the sharp and intense pain caused by the small glass slices on the bottom of his foot. He'd tried his best to add some padding to the area by wearing an extra sock and the comfiest shoes he owned- but it still didn't seem to ease the pain. As he sat daydreaming out of the classroom window and pulling on the fabric of his coat sleeve he didn't notice Jacob taking the seat in front of him.
"Hey? Are you doing okay?"
Andrew snapped out of his daydream to look over at the boy in front of him. He'd placed himself into the empty chair in front of his desk while the teacher had left the classroom, his arms folded across Andrew's desk and his eyes intensely staring at him with concern.
"Sorry?" Andrew croaked, straightening his back and leaning forward onto his desk to converse.
"Are you okay?" Jacob sighed deeply, "I've been watching you for most of the day. You look really uncomfortable and like you're in pain or something… I don't know, Mrs Devlin asked me to keep an eye on you so…" Jacob reached a hand up to rub the back of his neck and averted his gaze.
"Oh…" Andrew felt his shoulders drop slightly as a wave of disappointment came over him, although it had only been a couple of days he had hoped that some sort of friendship was beginning to develop between them, "Yeah, I'm okay. I think I sprained my ankle or something last night so my foot is just really sore, that's all!"
"You know there's a school nurse you can go to? Maybe she can give you some ice or something to put on it?"
"Oh, no, it's not that bad. I should be okay." Andrew mustered up a small smile to give him but didn't receive one in return.
"Are you sure?" Jacob frowned and raised his eyebrows at him.
"I mean, if it'll make you feel better I'll go but I don't really think I need to-"
"Lunch is next after this period so I'll bring you then."
And with that, Jacob had left the spot in front of Andrew's desk and disappeared into the mound of teens in the classroom. A strange and uneasy feeling suddenly filled Andrew's chest. Jacob had a completely different aura from the first couple of times he'd spoken to him. Of course, he'd never experienced how Jacob shows his concern before, but even strangers had expressed their concern with a much gentler aura. On top of his suspicions, the school nurse was more than likely going to notice the small cuts on his foot, which wouldn't have been a problem if he hadn't have lied to Jacob. Andrew sighed and rested his face in the palm of his hands just in time for the teacher to reenter the classroom and call for silence.
When lunch had began Andrew had tried to put as much distance between him and the classroom that he could before Jacob could spot him, but he'd only managed to get a handful of classrooms away before Jacob surfaced in front of him again with the same furrowed brows.
"Where are you going?"
Andrew jumped out of shock. He'd spent so much time focusing on the crowds of people behind him that he hadn't considered the possibility that Jacob would be in front of him.
"I-I thought that the nurse's office was down near the main entrance?" Andrew stuttered out as he awkwardly pointed down the hallway.
"Yeah, I just thought you were trying to dodge me..." Jacob slowly looked Andrew up and down before moving aside and motioning for him to continue walking.
"Are you bringing me because you're concerned or because Mrs Devlin is?" Andrew gripped onto his left backpack strap and kept his gaze on the floor, he'd tried to say it as a joke but somehow it still managed to sound like a nasty remark.
"Both." Jacob sighed, "I brought my concerns to her and she told me to keep an eye on you. She said she didn't trust anyone else to do it."
"Because I'm her son?" Jacob laughed slightly at the confused stare that Andrew gave him, "What? You didn't know?"
"No, I never actually thought about it. But she's so young!"
As the two boys made their way through the hunger crazed pupils they awkwardly joked and laughed at the situation. Jacob had no clear indications that he was related to Mrs Devlin. They shared no resemblance, their accents were completely different and Jacob looked a tad too old to be her son - unless she'd had him at a young age or that he was adopted. But the more that Andrew stared at Jacob with Mrs Devlin in mind the more he noticed the faint blonde tint at the roots of his dark brown hair, and the way the corners of his eyes twitched when he smiled - the more the stated to look similar.
The nurse's office wasn't exactly how Andrew had imagined, it was very different compared to the ones in his middle and elementary schools. The room was dark despite the bright ceiling and desk light trying their best to lighten up the room. The walls had dark and dated wallpaper which seemed to be peeling in the top corners from damp and age, the floor was covered in a cobalt blue carpet which felt bumpy and uneven to walk on, as well as that the decor was made up of oak antique desks and chairs - which had been fitted with horrible green cushions with mystery stains. The most modern thing in the room seemed to be the nurse herself, but she looked to be in her early 70s. Gray hairs were peeking out under her ginger tinted brown hair, faint wrinkles and laugher lines had started to settle into her face and hands and her back had started to hunch over on itself. Despite the pair of rectangle framed glasses balanced on the edge of her nose she continued to lean forward and squint at the monitor of the amiga 2000 on the desk in front of her.
Jacob cleared his throat a couple of times before he finally gained her attention and she looked over her nose at them with a smile. She placed her hands on the desk in front of her and slowly pushed herself up, letting out an exasperated sigh in the process. She waddled over to the pair in the doorway with a gentle smile on her face and her hands clasped together in front of her.
"Hello there, you must be the new wee one that started this week. I'm Hilda, the school's nurse."
The pair exchanged smiles at each other before Jacob took a step forward and spoke, "This is Andrew, he's been in a bit of pain today because he hurt his ankle, so I brought him down to see you."
"Oh, I see," She gestured to the chair closest to her desk, "Why don't you take a seat and I'll see what I can do for you."
Jacob gently took Andrew by the arm and helped him as he limped over to the worn down chair. Once he'd cautiously sat himself down he turned to look for the nurse who'd started to hum to herself as she made her way to the small mini fridge on the opposite end of the room. Jacob picked up one of the chairs and moved it to sit in front of Andrew before setting his bag on the floor and slouching down into the chair.
"How'd you hurt your ankle, pet?" The nurse spoke over the sound of crackling plastic, which was more than likely a reusable packet of ice.
"I, uhm, tripped down a couple of stairs when I was playing with my little cousin." Andrew replied nervously while picking at the loose shards of wood on the arm of the chair.
"That was silly of you." The older woman chuckled as she made her way around to the desk and sat herself down in her chair, "Let us see you then."
Andrew hesitantly started to remove his shoe as he kept his gaze on the floor. His hand slightly trembled with nerves as he pushed his foot out of the shoe and balanced his toes on the uneven carpet. Looking slowly up at the nurse in front of him he seen her warm smile and hands outstretched waiting for him to pass his foot up to her, he still felt nervous but her comforting gaze soothed him slightly.
"Just pop your wee foot up here." She said patting her lap.
Andrew complied and winced as the heel of his foot made contact with her knees.
"Did your mother catch up to you, Jacob?" The older woman kept her gaze down as she gently started to push up the bottom of Andrews jeans.
"Huh?" Jacob lent forward and rested his elbows on the arms of the chair.
"She called here before lunch to ask which classroom you where in," her gaze rose to meet Jacob's, "it seemed urgent."
Jacob tuted and pushed himself out of the chair, he thanked the nurse for letting him know and quickly excused himself to go and look for his mother. The nurse just continued to work silently, ignoring his absence while she carefully removed both of the socks wrapped around Andrew's injured foot. Andrew hissed at the fabric being pulled from the skin, some of the wounds had reopened and leaked onto the sock, which only caused more pain to remove it. The pair sat in silence as Helda opened one of the drawers in her desk and carefully began to clean and bandage up his foot.
"I promise you it feels worse than it is, it should only take a couple of weeks to heal so just try to keep it clean until then." Helda kept her eyes focused on bandaging his foot but a faint smile formed on her lips.
"Thank you…" Andrew spoke almost silently as he watched her, "Aren't you going to ask-"
"What happened?" Helda finished and stopped to look at him, "I have two sons myself, they got into all sorts of trouble when they were your age." She returned to finishing the last bit of bandaging, "I've tended many injuries and illnesses in my time. Boys will be boys, and they will tell you the truth when they are ready to do so."
"It was just an accident…" Andrew spoke softly again, he started to feel uncomfortable at the thought she may believe he got his injuries from something more severe or dangerous, "I dropped a glass and stood on it when I was trying to clean it."
Helda looked up with her hands resting on his now mummified foot, "You don't owe me any explanations, sweet boy. You didn't tell Jacob this because you didn't trust him, yes? I don't either. There is something odd about him, just be careful."
Helda softly patted Andrew's foot while he nodded in response. He was going to overlook his suspicion of Jacob, but now it was clear that he couldn't. Picking up one of his loose socks Andrew carefully pulled it on trying not to irritate his foot anymore, meanwhile Helda lifted the remaining blood stained sock and threw it into the small waste bin under her desk. Andrew lifted his backpack and wished her thanks before he hesitantly left her office, he could still feel her gaze on his back even as he made his way past it's glass windows. Something was definitely off at the school, not just with Jacob, he just had to figure out what it was.
Once Andrew had gotten home from school he dragged himself to his room and flopped onto his bed. He was exhausted and his head felt as if a marching band had taken up camp inside of it, before he knew it he had drifted off to sleep.
The same familiar cliff from a previous dream, the same crowd of periodically dressed people surrounding the edge, why was this familiar? The moon suddenly changed to red, illuminating the surrounding area in shades of red and light pink. The crowd began to cheer in excitement, faint murmings of conversations - they've waited for this for so long. Suddenly it's dark again, the red light has vanished, the moon is turning black and the ground feels as though it is falling away. A single figure stands in front of Andrew, it's Anna? He tries to call her, but no matter how loud he shouts he can't seem to make a single noise. She slowly raises her hand to reveal a glimmering red stone, even though there is no light it glistens and sparkles, it is completely intoxicating. Anna's voice softly calls out to him, "You need to help us. We're relying on you, please before it's too late!" Suddenly, a deafening mound of screams filled his ears and his vision plunged into darkness. He could feel himself falling rapidly downwards, but couldn't look down, he was too afraid. The screams just grew louder, so deafeningly loud-
Andrew jumped up in his bed, his breathing was rapid, his forehead was glistening with sweat and his hands trembled as he reached up to brush his hair out of his face. Thankful that it was a dream he slowly started to calm himself down, his shoulders relaxed and his breathing slowed as he settled himself onto the edge of his bed. His head still had the soft thumping as before, but at least he wasn't as exhausted. Andrew's gaze slowly lifted to look outside of his balcony doors, it was pitch dark outside with not even a house or street light to indicate a sign of life in the black abyss. With a sigh, he picked himself up off his bed and made his way to his doorway, he hobbled as quietly as he could towards the kitchen to get himself a much needed and deserved painkiller.
Author's note; so I disappeared for 5 years without ever updating this or using but recently I got a notification saying that someone had added this to their favourites. So out of nostalgia's sake I decided to read my own story and I developed my passion for it again, despite the odd bit of cringe and bad phrasing this was definitely one of my best fanfics. So yeah, I'm back!