Kevin watched buildings, infrastructures and people swoosh past his eyes with incredible speed. The sun was at its peak, giving out its heat and light rays on Fox City. The city was brimming and bustling with activities as pedestrians and vehicles moved about, doing their everyday business.
Although the view outside was interesting, the ride was dead boring. Normally, on a drive like this, Darrin and Kevin would be deep in a funny conversation or play multiplayer games.
But right now, his mother was turning the wheel with complete focus on the road before her. Darrin was just staring outside through the window, acting like he wasn't in the car.
If not for the sound of the car and the noise outside, Kevin would have gone mad because of the huge silence.
After traveling a long distance, the car came to a stop at the front of a gate. Inside was Darrin's home.
"I guess this is it. Bye Darrin." Kevin bade.
"Hmm, bye." Darrin hummed, not sparing a look at him as he alighted from the car.
Kevin felt gloomy. He had lost him. He was friendless now. Who would want to be a friend of a loser like him? He had nothing to offer but bad luck and disappointment.
Darrin came out of the car and got his belongings from the car boot. After he jammed the boot close, the car moved on.
Kevin looked back at the back glass, half expecting Darrin to wave at him but nothing like that happened. Instead, he just stormed into his house. He should just accept the fact that he has lost him.
He sighed and looked forward.
The car drove some more distance and came to a stop at a brown fenceless bungalow with a red roof, in a linear settlement with other buildings.
His mother drove the car into the driveway and parked. Then they alighted from the car. Kevin walked to the boot, took out his luggage and bags from it and proceeded to the door which was already unlocked.
Kevin inhaled the sweet scent of the air freshener sprayed in the sitting room by his mother and looked around at the items of furniture. His mother really took care of the house.
"Make yourself a sandwich and have lemonade to go with it. Then meet me at the back of the house." His mother, Lisa, ordered and headed to her room. Kevin sighed and headed to his room.
Kevin gazed around his room with delight. The room was still in the same way he left it before leaving for school. Neat and organized orderly, decorated with frames and drawings created by him. It felt good to be here again. Much better to have one room all to yourself than share one with twenty random people.
He dropped his bags and opened the window to allow natural light and air to come in, then went to the kitchen and prepared an egg sandwich. He took a jug of lemonade from the fridge and filled his glass cup, and settled down to eat.
After his meal, he prepared himself and joined his mother at the back of the house.
Lisa was seated on the bench in the backyard which had a wooden fence enclosing it. The backyard was covered beautifully with carpet grass and at the side of the fence were some matured sunflowers adding to its beauty.
"Sit." Lisa said when Kevin emerged from the house to the backyard. Kevin obeyed and sat next to her.
They remained quiet for some minutes, Lisa staring at the flowers while hearing the sound of vehicles and pedestrians. Kevin fidgeted his fingers feeling awkward and nervous. The silence was making him uncomfortable as he wondered what was running through his mother's head.
"So...how was school?" She finally asked, still looking at the flowers.
"Good. It was good." He replied.
She nodded. "That's nice. So, do you have anything to show me? Like um...I don't know...a paper or something?"
Kevin reluctantly dipped his hand into his pocket, knowing the hidden meaning in his mother's statement. He took out the envelope from his pocket and handed it to her, then looked at his hands still fidgeting his fingers as he waited for her reaction.
She gave it back to him. "I'm not with my reading glasses, so you have to read this for me."
His eyelids contracted. His mother doesn't use reading glasses. "What?"
"Read the letter." She said, stressing the sound of each word.
He pursed his lips and took out the letter from the envelope
"Dear Sir/ma." He began reading, skipping the school details. "This letter is to inform you that your son/ward, Kevin Jones, is hereby expelled from Anderson Boarding School for sneaking out of the hostel during curfew which is against the rules. Also, your son/ward has been recorded to have gotten into a fight and got detention recently. Offense against the school rules is not tolerated and drastic measures will be taken at that.
Thanks for your understanding
From Principal Matt."
Kevin released the breath he had been holding while reading, not happy that Principal Matt just had to add that he got detention in the letter.
Lisa became silent again. And this one lasted longer. Kevin shifted repeatedly as he felt his muscle stiffen due to the long sitting. He occasionally glanced at his mother. She was just staring at the flowers with folded arms.
This went on for about ten minutes before Kevin couldn't take it anymore.
"Mum, aren't you gonna say something?" He broke the silence. "Won't you yell at me or scold me? Please just say something."
Lisa slowly turned her gaze to her son's eyes. "Why did you do it?"
"Why did you sneak out?"
"It was a mistake. I promise."
"That doesn't answer my question."
Kevin gulped and looked at his hands as he cooked up lies in his head. "I...uh...I...it was..."
"Have you lost your voice?" Lisa asked, raising her voice.
Kevin sighed. "I... thought there was going to be a fire outbreak."
Lisa raised her brow. "Fire outbreak?"
Kevin nodded and lied. "I overheard some students talking about setting the school on fire so...I thought that were actually going to do it....so I got Darrin to sneak out with me and we got caught."
He didn't want to lie to his mother. He had already lied to his best friend. But he was scared of her reaction if she knew what actually happened. Besides, it wasn't entirely a lie.
Lisa stared at him, feeling a tinge of falseness in his voice. "Are you sure that is why? You just believed that some random students would set the hostel on fire and because of that you got yourself and Darrin expelled?"
Kevin gulped silently. "Yes."
Lisa became silent as she processed the information.
"Mum, I'm sorry." Kevin apologized. "I just got scared, I don't want to die young. Besides, I heard some footsteps from outside which made me believe there was a fire coming. Turned out I was wrong. I wish I could fix this. I...I am sorry."
"I have some questions to ask." Lisa said, ignoring his apology. "You thought a fire was going to break out and you went ahead to save just you and Darrin's life? What about the other students in the hostel? Your instincts never told you to alert them? What if a fire actually broke out? Are you that wicked and selfish? And couldn't you report to the school authority instead?"
"Um..." Kevin bit his lips, brainstorming for another lie.
Lisa sighed. "Enough Kevin. I know you are lying."
Kevin bowed his head and kept quiet.
"I want the truth, Kevin. Why did you do it? Have you become a delinquent?"
"No. It was a mistake."
"A mistake." She repeated, nodding her head, trying to remain calm. "Kevin, do you realize the consequences of your mistake? Anderson Boarding School is one of the best schools in Fox City and the hardest to enroll in. You know how hard you and I worked to get you enrolled."
Kevin nodded, recalling the troubles and hard work they went through just to get into the school.
She continued, talking with anger. "Kevin, you are not a kid anymore. I did all I can to make sure you have the best. Why did you get yourself expelled? Are you trying to show that the resources I used to get you enrolled in there is all a waste?"
"I'm sorry mum."
"No. I'll believe you are sorry right after you tell me the reason why you snuck out?"
Kevin said nothing.
"Oh, silent treatment huh? Ok then. Know this. Until you are ready to tell me why you snuck out, I won't enroll you in any school."
Kevin nodded miserably.
"And also, young man, you lied to me. You thought I would fall for it? I'm smarter than you think. For lying, I'll be taking your phone and you won't be getting it back until...any time that pleases me."
Kevin's eyes popped out. "What? Not my phone. Anything but my phone. My life will be extremely boring without it. Please."
"Really? Maybe you should have thought of that before getting yourself expelled and lying to me. Hand over your phone."
"But mum." He whined.
"Hand over your phone." She repeated sternly.
Kevin pressed his lips, reluctantly taking out his phone from his pocket.
"Good. I'll go and make dinner. Don't join me." She said and stood up after keeping the phone in her pocket, then went inside.
Kevin sat there for a while, feeling terrible. Now his mother and best friend was angry with him all because of a stupid dream. But he was glad his mother gave him time to tell her the truth and it will enable him prepare for her reaction. After sitting for some minutes, he stood up and went inside.
The day went on fine and smooth until the sun settled and the darkness of the night took over. After Kevin had his night bath and wore his pajamas, he laid on his bed and his mind drifted to Darrin.
If he was with his phone now, he would have called or texted him.
He sighed, hoping he would be able to set things right with his best friend and get back together. Darrin was the only closest friend to him. He had some other friends but they weren't near, he only chatted with them online.
After switching off the electric lamp, he pulled up his blanket. He would do all he can to get his best friend back.
The next day.
Kevin was having his breakfast after he had done the chores when Lisa came out from her room, dressed in a business suit on a pink shirt and a black skirt. Her long black hair was neatly brushed and sprayed and she had some makeup on her face together with some jewelry. A black handbag hung on her right arm.
"There is a can of baked beans in the refrigerator. That would serve as your lunch. Make whatever you wanna make with it. Remember to water the flowers. Ok? Be a good boy." She said, twirling her car keys on her index finger.
"Ok mum. See you in the evening." Kevin replied, perceiving the fragrance of her new perfume.
She walked out to the driveway, her high heels clicking on the floor. Kevin heard her car rev and drive out.
He finished his breakfast and watered the flowers like his mum said. After this, he went to his room and picked up his drawing equipment to draw and paint.
Without his phone, he knew it would be a boring day so he decided to spend the day doing what he loved. So, after setting up his drawing tools and equipment, he started drawing.
But he soon got bored of drawing. He checked the time as he finished his last picture. It was noon. Feeling tired, he stretched his arm. What else could he do in the meantime? If Darrin wasn't angry with him, Kevin would have gone to his house.
But wait, he could do a surprise visit. Darrin's parents wouldn't mind even if he came uninvited. They can settle their dispute this way.
"Great idea, Kevin." He cheered himself.
Kevin decided to make Darrin's favorite fast food, hamburger, as a peace offering. Darrin wouldn't be able to resist it. He smiled mischievously at the thought of his plan and stood up to head to the kitchen.
But as soon as he stepped into the kitchen, he felt a big bang in his head, as if a nail was being driven into it. He rubbed his forehead as it ached.
When he thought it was reducing another one came again, more intense than the other one. What was happening to him?
Then something he wasn't looking forward to happened.
He started seeing flashes of images in his head, as if he was imagining it in his head except that he wasn't imagining it and it was more clear and vivid than an imagination. More like he was watching a very fast slide show in his head.
The images came and went like flashes of lightning, so Kevin couldn't make out what it was exactly. All he could make out was a girl in a room with a boy and the boy seemed to be trying to run away from the girl. But they were just flashing so fast, so he couldn't see their faces clearly.
The ache increased as this happened. Kevin's body muscles suddenly felt weak and couldn't support him. He landed on the floor.
As he tried to stand, he felt drained of energy and fell back. The images kept flashing in his head, thereby increasing the ache.
What's wrong with him? He felt weaker every passing second and just laid on the floor, waiting for what is going to happen.
His senses became weak and his breathing became heavy as his eyelids started shutting.
"Help." He muttered before his mind went blank and his eyes closed.
His eyes shot open with a gasp. He touched the floor, feeling it wasn't hard anymore. Wherever he was didn't have the light scent of pepper the kitchen usually have.
Kevin sat up and shuddered. The temperature here was too low for his liking. He looked around and sighted some familiar things. He was in his room. He looked at the clock. It was 11:30 pm. His mother must have found him on the kitchen floor and took him to his room.
He shuddered again. He never knew that the air conditioner in his room could cool the temperature to this extent. Turning his head, he took a look at it and became surprised. The air conditioner wasn't switched on.
His mouth became agape and he looked around for any source of cold. Where is it coming from? It's not as if winter could just come when it was still summer. It hasn't even reached autumn.
As he was still pondering about this, white fog entered the room from the doorway. His mouth opened wider and his eyes widened. Before he could start thinking of what is going on, footsteps were heard coming for the door. Kevin saw a shadow at the doorway.
That has to be his mum. She probably came to check on him. The cold must have affected her too.
"Mum." Kevin called.
She walked in. But she wasn't his mum. The person that walked in was someone Kevin wasn't expecting to see at all, at least, not in his house.
He shivered, either because of the cold or shock, or probably both.