Adventures of Aiden
There was a storm last night. It kept me up late. I wake up this morning looking like I hadn’t slept in a week, and everyone knows one bad night of sleep screws the rest. I remember to grab the huge block of cheese for Milo before I leave for school. The smell of fresh rain hangs in the air; the humidity is pretty high, with it feeling pretty stuffy and muggy. It doesn’t help that it’s slightly over 80 degrees fahrenheit today. While waiting for the bus to arrive one thing is on my mind: Bud the husky. He had grinned at me before I went back in from recess yesterday. That can only mean one thing. He saw where we went. I don’t know if he knows what we were up to, or in what direction we treaded toward, but I felt a mischievous vibe from him. As I spot the bus driving toward the end of my driveway I hope that our club is still safe from harm, because if Bud claims it… that opens up a whole new can of worms that we have to deal with.
Focusing in school with a much more important matter on your mind almost seems pointless. Don’t even try. If I can’t do it, neither can other kids experiencing the same problem. Needless to say, the day drags on before the big reveal at recess. I avoid Milo and Alex for most of the day, mindlessly chattering a bit to shut them up. You could say I’m crabby; I’m tired; I’m anxious. Not a good combo.
At long last, the bell rings for recess, and a huge surge of energy courses through me, which is odd, because I’m exhausted today, but nevertheless I dart outside past all the other cubs. I don’t wait for Milo or Alex; I wait for no one. Rushing out to the pathway, I skip stripping down and dash inside with hopes of our club still being ours. Branches snatch against my uniform, tearing away the fabric in my shirt and shorts, some even breaking open my flesh through red fur. It should be all worth it in the end. I’m going so fast that my eyes can hardly stay focused; I can’t see, and everything is jostling around and blurred.
The end is in sight, and I hear some footpaws clambering behind me. I assume it’s Milo and Alex and disregard them for the moment. Finally breaking through the pathway, panting heavily, my legs burning, I take another step forward to reach behind the tree.
Out of the corner of my eye I notice a blotch of white then pain in my abdomen. I keel over, groaning in agony. A rough paw grips my neck and drags me to the left.
“Got one, but it ain’t Alex, dammit.” The voice bends down in front of me, revealing itself to be Bud. “One peep outta you and I knock all them teeth out so ya can’t ever talk again, you hear?”
I nod and listen for Alex and Milo coming near the clearing. They are close. My muzzle releases a shaky exhale, paws trembling, abdomen still aching but doing slightly better. I want to sock this guy so bad. If he hurts those two…
“Made it!” Milo announces as he enters the clearing, clearly naked, excitement on his features. He glances to his left, hearing my heavy breathing and probably noticing the husky in his peripheral vision. Excitement fades to fear. “W-what’s… going on?” His eyes widen, clasping his paws together.
“Is Alex behind you?” I ask Milo.
He nods in a sheepish manner, realizing what that means.
“Move outta the way, brat!” Bud yells, shoving the mouse away from the entrance. The husky shouts into the pathway, “I’m taking what ya like the most! Bite me! Hahaha!” After some maniacal laughter, Bud takes off into the pathway, and growling and snarling all the while. I can’t see Alex’s reaction, but I’m hoping he runs for his own safety. Moments later, I hear the cat hissing and some more obvious sounds of altercation. Scratching, biting, tussling, all in that narrow pathway chockful of branches creating a super enticing environment for a fight. More like hellish if you ask me. I start to attempt to get back on my footpaws, just so I can see what’s going on and if I can do anything. There’s an aching pain that almost had me fall back down, but I power through it and stand up. Walking over to the entrance, Milo glances at me for a split second before returning to watching the horror show. Quite the ferocious fight it is, in fact.
The two were wrestling inside the pathway, the husky opting to bite Alex, and the cat trying to scratch at Bud’s eyes and muzzle. I watch as Alex gets pinned by Bud several times over, and each time he has to fend for his life, scratching the husky’s face and kicking at his abdomen. Bud hardly flinches at the strikes, but it’s enough to give Alex enough wiggle room to scooch out of harm’s way. I want to do something, but if I do, I will likely get hurt as well. Milo and I can’t get help, either; those two are stuck inside the only entrance out of here. As I mull over some potential options, I recognize just how loud and obnoxious this fight is getting, surely some teacher will notice and come to our aid. I wait about a minute, and nobody arrives. Sighing and glancing at my already tattered uniform, I shake my head a bit. “The principal had better give me a new uniform after this, dammit.” I rush into the pathway with one goal in mind: rescue my friend.
At first I thought going in guns blazing was a good idea, but a few seconds into rushing in I decide to sneak in, noting how distracted Bud is from fighting. I can get this done in one blow. Hopefully. I’m no martial arts expert, but I think a strangle hold to pass him out would be the least harmful option here. Tip-toeing over to their position, I have to mentally prepare myself for what I’m about to do. I don’t normally like to fight, or at the very least, hurt other furs. I’m right behind him now, making sure I don’t let his body touch mine, so the element of surprise is on my side. Alex glances at me from time to time, almost as if he knows what I’m about to do, and he tries his best to get Bud into a position that allows me to grab his neck right, then, and there. No hassle required. The cat gives the husky a blow to the gut, causing Bud to recoil and arch into a semi-standing stance. Good enough for me. I pounce on it and wrap my arm around his neck, using my free arm to wrap around my other wrist to lock it in place even further. Alex grabs Bud’s arms to keep him from struggling. I’ll admit, the guy can really fight back. I had to count a few times where he had almost loosened my grip, but another blow from Alex would reset his drive back closer to zero again. In maybe fifteen seconds, or twenty, the husky falls limp to the ground below, and I let go immediately. I don’t want him not waking up in an hour, more like ten minutes tops.
Alex lets out a sharp exhale, paws on his knees. “Phew, ya saved me, fusky. Thanks, I owe you one,” he says, nearly out of breath, “actually wait,” he continues, holding a up a finger, “screw that. I don’t owe you shit. But I’ll give you a thank you. That’s it. Got it, dumb-dumb?”
“Good. Let’s get Milo and get the hell outta here. We gotta alert a teacher of what this prick did to us.”
“Right, I’ll grab Milo.” I run back and shake the mouse’s shoulder, startling him a bit. He was facing away from the fight, probably unable to bear it any longer. “Just to let you know, Bud’s down, Alex is sort of okay, despite quite a few scratches and bloodied areas, and I’m okay, too. We gotta go alert a teacher, ‘kay?”
He nods, worry painted on his green features. We all head out of the pathway; I’m covered in scratches from head to toe still in my uniform, Milo looks unscathed, and Alex looks like he just came out of the feral part of the woods, smothered in scratches and splotches of blood. I’m surprised he can still walk, oh wait, he’s limping… well there’s that. I alert a teacher of the situation and he goes to grab Bud while telling us to head to the Principal’s office. Oh boy, here we go again.
This time around, my confidence isn’t going to help me. We’re all going to get wrecked in punishments. I feel so bad for Milo, he didn’t do anything: I just hope he doesn’t get any severe consequences slapped upon him. We enter the office, all of us with our ears hanging low, tails in between our legs, not a single ounce of confidence in our beings. Despite us probably being in the right here, I’m sure the principal will be happy to give us delightful news regardless of our actions.
“Boys, aren’t I glad to see you… again. Oh? And a new friend, too? That’s new. And he’s battered up, too. Oh, dear.”
Alex pipes up first. “You see, sir, Aiden and Milo found a secret club I made in the forest area of the play yard. We became friends after that, but you see, a bully named Bud happened to find out of our club somehow, and went to sabotage it.”
“And this caused an altercation between the two of you? And, you created a club, in a forest, without any permission from school faculty or administration?”
“Yes. And I was impatient sir.”
He sighs. “From what I was told by the teacher who responded to Bud’s condition, he has woken up now and is in the Nurse’s office. Now, what was the purpose of this club?” He pulls down his glasses a bit and squints his eyes. “Alex, I presume?”
“Alex Kress, sir. And the Honors club had one member. Me. The school failed to recognize me with Honor status, and so I decided to recognize myself.”
Principal Morganheim sighs again, taking his glasses off and wiping his eyes. “The school failed to recognize you, Alex Kress, for having unsubstantiated grades.”
“Whaddya mean?” The cat curls his fists tight, a glare shimmering in his eyes.
“Your entrance exam hardly matches your level here at this school, and it was deemed suspicious, we were hoping you’d slip up at some point, and then we’d reprimand you, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
Alex hisses. “You dare accuse me of cheating?!”
“Hey, hey,” I say, grabbing his shoulders. “Calm down, no need to get worked up about it if you’re innocent, right?”
The principal nods. “Aiden’s correct, Mr. Kress. And your reaction says it all.”
The cat’s mouth falls agape, all anger and hope drains out of his eyes, as if the red orbs softened and dulled somewhat.
Milo’s eyes widen, and he turns to Alex. “You’ve been cheating?!”
The cat couldn’t meet his gaze. He gulps. “Y-yeah… not directly, really, just been trading assignments and tests with other students, but they’ve been after me ‘cause I can’t give ‘em the results they’ve wanted.” Alex’s breathing is fast and shallow, like he’s desperately trying to hold back a sob fest building up behind his eyes.
The principal taps his pen on the desk. “Whether a fight was necessary or not, cheating, vandalizing school grounds, operating a club without official permission, does not alleviate you from your punishments. Boy, you do realize how much trouble you are in, yes?”
The cat lets a couple hard sniffles out, not looking up, but he slowly nods.
My heart is sinking, this boy I had met not too long ago really is quite a bad cat. I just thought he was lying about his grades and was just snobby. I had no idea he was actually cheating and such. Disappointing, honestly.
The cat’s breath hitches, and his knees wobble till he falls to the carpeting, full out sobs raging out now.
“Sir, wait, maybe we can reach a middle ground here. What are my punishments? And Milo’s?”
“Milo has none. You, on the other hand, Aiden, have a few. I have paid for and supplied uniforms for the both of you for quite some time now. In the beginning they were lost and found items and as of recent, have been from the school’s own resources. You pay us for those uniforms we paid for and the next one as well. You helped Alex out of a sticky situation, and for that there weren’t many options. I’ll give you a pass with how you handled the situation. However, I believe the existence of this club is not a good example for our students and reputation for our school. And so, I will ask for you to stop adventuring out of school bounds or face expulsion along with Mr. Kress, here.”
That’s really rough… I think to myself. “Okay then. Understandable. What if I take a couple detentions or a Saturday to offset Alex’s expulsion? You know, take some of the weight off his shoulders.”
He sighs again. “Those will be on your record, are you sure you wish to do that for a delinquent such as him?”
I glance at Alex. I still don’t love the guy, but he is my friend now. It’d be weird without him here. “Alright. I’ll do it,” I say with a smile, straightening my posture.
“Oddly optimistic, aren’t we? Well, if Milo there wants to help as well, I can just give you all a Saturday detention, and have Alex here retake all the assignments and tests he cheated on. That should really offset the expulsion to a better degree. That alright with you, Mr. Greene?”
“Yes sir! Anything to help a friend.” Milo turns to Alex. “You may have screwed up bad, Alex, but honestly… I can’t imagine Aiden and I being the same without you in the mix. So, this is the least I can do for you.”
“Okay.” The principal claps his paws together. “I’ll change your records regarding the punishments we’ve decided upon, and your parents will be notified of the changes and incident. Dismissed.”
“Thank you, sir.” Alex has resorted to little sniffles instead of a full out sob now. Milo expresses his gratitude as well, and the two of them begin to walk out of the office.
I can’t move. “What? Our parents will be notified? No…”
“Aiden? What’s up?” Milo heads back over to my side.
“My mom. She’s not going to be happy at all.”
“Shit, that’s right. Your mom, Aiden. Noooot good.” Alex purses his lips.
“Language, Mr. Kress.”
“Shit, sorry. Oh, sorry! I’m sorry!”
The principal chuckles a little. “It’s alright. Please exit my office now.”
“No, no, no, no,” I protest, my friends leading me out of the room. “This is not happening. She’s gonna flip.” We step outside the office, and the door closes.
“You’ll be fine, Aiden. She won’t flip.”
“Yeah, don’t sweat it, man. Parents just reprimand their child by grounding ‘em and stuff. No biggy.”
I feel a sudden irritation bubbling up in my insides. “Have you two forgotten what my mom was like?!”
“Thought so.” I let out a loud, harsh sigh. “Look, I appreciate the support, but this is not going to end well. Let’s just go home.”
“But we have classes-” Milo rebuttals.
“Don’t give a shit. I’m going home. You guys go back to class if you want. I gotta beat the phone call.” I race walk down the hallway.
Alex calls out, “You do realize you need a school bus right?”
Without turning around, I say, “I’ll hijack one if I need to.”
“Idiot!” Alex mutters under his breath. “Milo, we need to get him back to class. Idiot’s gone full mental.”
The mouse nods in agreement.
I glance behind me and notice the two running after me, calling my name, telling me to wait. It doesn’t matter what I do at this point. She’s going to explode. I can feel it. I’m not ready. As I turn the corridor, still faintly hearing my friend’s coming after me, I think I know there has to be a way home without a bus. I gotta beat the phone call. My story over his. It’ll mean a world of a difference. If I fail…
I don’t even want to know…