Jimmy Brennan didn't like English Class.
It wasn't the work, and it wasn't the Teacher. No, it was the company. The entire class had bitched and moaned when they'd first gotten Catcher in the Rye. Truth be told, he had no idea what the book was about at the time. Yet he'd gone along with the rest of them, rolling his eyes as the battered paperback was thrown on his desk. The last novel before summer, before their Graduation and Prom and God knew what else. He supposed a lot of people felt some finality about it, a tinge of sadness at the completion of high school, or maybe excitement over bigger and better things to come.
Not him, of course. He wasn't some pussy, and he certainly wasn't going to be the one crying at Graduation. He was detached from all of it. Girls had never bothered to look his way But the again, they'd all been stuck up little cunts anyways. He'd flown solo through High School, and despite everything he'd dealt with, he was glad. The girls in his year weren't even that pretty for the most part. The ones who were? The Fiametta's and the Langford's?
Yeah. Right. He wouldn't be getting any of that, so why waste the time trying? The cliques were unbearable, filled with pretentious douchebags who'd laugh at the very sight of him. They weren't worth the time, and he wasnt about to spend the last few months of high school walking around in a perpetual rage.
Jimmy flipped the last battered page.
He flipped back a page, re-reading.
What kind of ending is this? What happens to Phoebe?
He wanted to hate the book, but he couldn't really. It wasn't bad. If it was bad, he wouldn't have cared about what happened next. The ending was a cop-out though. He grinded his teeth together.
Bullshit. A waste of fucking time, that's what I'll write on the essay.
He tossed the book to his side, resting his head back up against his locker. It was lunch, and most of the school was out, not in the hallway. There was a row of fast-food chains near to the school, so most cliques congregated outside, enjoying the weather. The hallway was relaxed, silent. There was a group of Niners down a ways eating in a circle, but other then that, he was alone.
Maybe I missed a page.
Jimmy sighed, not bothering to look. He had heard kids in his class talking about the book, especially the "stupid ending". Hed known when he'd reached it. Instead he reached into his knapsack, pulling out a homemade roast beef sandwich. His stomach growled in anticipation.
Fucking useless bullshit. They were right all along. I got strung along all that ways, and it just stopped.
Jimmy hated to be in agreement with his classmates about anything. He'd never brought it up in class how much he'd actually liked Holden, and agreed with what he was saying. Every afternoon it was a never-ending battle between his Teacher and his Classmates, a pointless debate with the sole attacking points being "how gay" Holden was acting. Jimmy'd bit his tongue, but he was pretty positive he knew why Holden was whining constantly.
He's whining because everyone else is a superficial cunt, just like you.
He'd never get to say it. The girls in his class had boyfriends, boyfriends with big fists. An unwelcome combination, but it wasn't like he could do anything about it. If he had his way, people would be accountable for their own stupid opinions. No one would run and hide behind someone bigger or stronger, and he might just stand a chance in the world. Jimmy bit down into his sandwich, trying not to feel any bitterer.
Prom had passed and he'd stayed home, playing video games. In a week he'd finish his final High School exams. His parents were proud of him passing, but that didnt count for much in the real world.
He hadn't gotten a single acceptance letter.
And now the book was over and done with, and he'd have to withstand class after class of bitching, the teacher desperately trying to get people to think about the symbolism.
There was no symbolism. Salinger wrote a book about a guy who recognizes how fucking fake everything around him is. And then it ends, fucking over the one kid in the class who actually liked it.
He finished eating without another thought. Class was about to begin and with little else to do he had no reason not to be on time. He walked down the hallway, listening to the silence.
I don't like this.
It was a little thought, but it grew. All throughout high school, he'd wished he was different. He wished he'd been born strong, or with more guts. He wished he could think of an insult right away, or pass tests in a snap or be the big man on campus. He wished hed made a sports team. But for whatever reason, he'd never done any of it. Now it was all over, with no repeats. He'd missed his shot, and it was actually getting to him. He couldn't even get apathy right.
The bell rang and suddenly the hall was bustling with people. Hands in his pockets Jimmy leaned against a nearby locker, watching them pass in sullen silence.
And then, without warning, he had turned and was walking the other way. In a few minutes he was out in the parking lot, then the field, and then after a hopped fence he was down the street, on his way home. It was a long walk, but he'd done it before. His absence didn't matter- there was just a few days left. What were they going to do, suspend him? A bitter feeling of anger was forcing its way up through him as he walked along, his head low to the ground.
I didn't get one acceptance letter. Not fucking one.
The class would go on without him, all the bright young minds with their amazing theories and opinions. They'd talk and pretend to think, and then head on out to their friends house and get wasted.
One day, they'd wake up and die with a stupid smile on their face.
I won't care. Not about that. I could get that right.
Jimmy Fucking Brennan sat propped up against the shrapnel covered wall, eating the last scraps of food from Teos bag. After waking up hed awkwardly tied a roll of gauze around his bleeding ear before dragging the corpse outside, and chucking it beside the door.
He sat alone in the gloom and the blood, munching hungrily on the bread. He was absolutely starving- removing Teo from the room had taken up a lot more energy then hed thought. He didnt complain. He knew how close hed come- his ear and his hand were living proof of that. His breathing was fast and painful now, and he felt near tears.
I beat him. Somehow, I caught a break. And I beat him.
Jimmy stared down at the pool of blood where Teo had once been. He supposed he should clean the mess up.
Later. Save your breath, save your energy. Nearly there. Youre going to win this.
There wasnt a doubt left in his muddled mind. God wanted him to win, for whatever reason. He was meant to do this, had been bred specifically for this week. All his hatred and pain was finally coming to a head, and he felt good. There wasnt any pity left in him for any of them, Teo or Samya, or Phillip or JJ or whoever else had died.
Truth be told, he hadnt the foggiest idea who was left alive. Hed lost track back when hed when hed found Rosa.
Killem. Thats why Ive got to kill them.
Did it matter? If they were going to die, what was the use in knowing their names?
He finished his food in silence, before awkwardly making his way to his feet, careful not to flair up any of his many wounds. His ear would take some getting used to- it was strange not hearing right, and it was throwing him off. But despite that, his hand was worse. His shotgun was gone-, which left just Teos crossbow. It might have been a fair trade if his hand hadnt been fucked to shit. He could reuse crossbow bolts and save ammunition, something that he couldnt use with his shotgun.
But with just one hand, it was a bitch to operate the crossbow- near impossible. His first shot had to count; otherwise hed be in real trouble. He felt slower too, thanks to the gash on his chest. It had stopped bleeding and starting to scab over, or something. But it still hurt and he didnt want to risk cutting it open again.
Stealthy. Gotta be Stealthy. Okay. Okay, bring it. I can do stealth. Theres nothing to it. I can do anything.
Soon, hed be on the move again. Soon, hed be back to bringing the pain.
Cant be long now. One more day. Two. Then the world is next. Then I get everything I need.