This year, though, I fully intended to actually write this idea. Therefore, I made this year's Suggestion Box a continuous story from the get-go, so that I could put it on hold for the month of November (instead of ending it! So for those of you who have been following it, there is still more coming! And to those of you who have missed some of it... now is your chance to get caught up!) and every day during NaNoWriMo I will be posting the first 1,000 words I write each day, just as soon as those 1,000 words are written!
Sometimes I might add a small "Editorial Note" like this one at the beginning... sometimes not.
And thus, without further ado.... I bring you the first 1K of "Clay Heroes"! Enjoy!
They were waiting for him again. He knew they would be there as much as they knew he would come. It was always the same.
He would come around the corner of Birch Street, and Dune would be leaning against the bare sheetrock, tossing a hackey sack between her hands. Her dark, greasy hair hung over her face, obscuring all but one eye that leered up at him once his sneakers crunched on the loose gravel and the sound echoed through the empty parking structure.
And when Dune looked like that, Chad always knew a beating would follow.
Again, they would come around the corner. Again, somebody shouted in his face while someone else pulled on his backpack. Again with the shoving; again with the shoe connecting against his knees. Again, somebody shoved him in the back when he fell on all fours. Again, the laughter rang out; again they called him stupid and a wimp and a crybaby. "Dork! Airhead!" Stung his ears as he saw the day's homework fluttering across the wet pavement under his face.
Chad got beat up on the way home from school, just blocks away from his house for the three hundredth time—and for the three hundredth time, there was no other thought in his mind save one: "Why?"
Why did they always pick on him? Why did they always wait for him there?
Why couldn't someone just happen to be walking by and catch Dune and the others in the act?
Why, if he knew exactly what to expect, did he always manage to come this way and get caught? He'd tried everything: telling a teacher, who crossly shushed him (was it really his fault if he decided to divulge the atrocity in the middle of the math lesson?) and forgot to call on him later; he tried taking a different route home, but the house and parking structure, with all their specific parameters, were pretty much on the same block.
There was no way around it.
It was a terrible situation, but it was also hopeless.
There were six of them, all fourth- and fifth-graders: Justice, Dune, Corbin, Mando, Tyler, and Presley—and they were bigger and stronger than he was.
Every day, they would beat him up, and Justice—the ringleader—would fish out Chad's notebook, where he scribbled down the stories running through his head.
"Whatcha got here, Dope?" He would sneer. "Anything good? Oh, nope!" And the notebook would go sailing through the air and splat in a puddle while everyone laughed.
Chad stayed where he was and took the beating till Justice and the others felt like they'd had enough fun. Chad could only count it luck that the bullies never beat him unconscious, just shoved and kicked and punched till they got bored. The more Chad fought back, the more fun it was to really try and hurt him, so Chad learned not to.
Once everything was quiet, Chad pushed himself back onto his feet, brushed off his wet and muddy clothes as much as he could, and went about, gathering as many papers as he could find. He retrieved the notebook—but the water had washed the pencil away.
So much for dragons, then. He would just have to write something else.
The grey skies suited his mood perfectly as he turned onto his street. Maybe his mom would be doing what she called "resting", and Chad could sneak up to his room and change into dry clothes before she noticed.
When he opened the front door, he didn't hear anything. His first footstep squelched just a tiny bit on the hall rug, but he rubbed both shoes clean and slipped them off, padding over the linoleum on stocking feet. Just a little ways to the stairs...
His mom's voice stopped him.
"Anise, that is what we are paying you to do. What I don't get is how you can keep our kitchen so spotless, but my son barely has any clean clothes when we need them! Oh, speaking of, there's his backpack. Hang on; Chad?"
Chad bit his lip. Maybe if he didn't answer she would go back to harassing the housekeeper.
"Chad, honey, come on in here."
Slowly, Chad turned around and entered the doorway to the front room. His mom's eyes sagged when she saw him. She was tired all the time, what with the baby coming and the incompetent housekeeper. But she reached for his hand and smiled when he got close.
"Aw, baby, what happened?"
Chad stared at her hands.
"Slipped at recess today," he muttered.
She looked at the dark streaks over his jeans, and the scuffs on his face. "Really? It looks more like you've been hanging around that old abandoned parking garage down the street."
Hanging around; yeah, that is exactly what he'd been doing there. Chad said nothing. His eyes wandered to the baby bump his mother cradled. Soon there would be a little sister to absorb all the attention.
His mother had leaned back with a groan as she rubbed her temples. "You know, why someone hasn't demolished the thing already is beyond me. Come to think of it," she picked her head up and smiled at Chad, "why do you always take Birch Street home? You could just turn down Hillsmith and take a left on Court, and you wouldn't be coming home dirty all the time."
Chad shrugged; there was the question again. Why? Maybe he would try the new route tomorrow. It would certainly solve the issue of the beating.
"Maybe," he told his mom.
"Okay," she responded. "Well, what say you and I go out and get hamburgers for dinner? Go wash up and change your clothes and we can leave."
Current Total Word Count: 1,049