Under the Willowtree Meg klein's Short story
“Nova? NOVA!” Mother screeching echoed up the attic stairs and into my room. My head was pounding and the noise was making it worse. “Get up! Y’all wanna be late for school alright?!” Her fake southern accent only made my head pound more. “Mom, we’re Irish not from Texas….” Using all the strength I could gather I rolled out of bed. My hand landed in some parsley wet paint making my whole body wake up and twitch but my eyes refused to open. “This room is a mess!” A huge foot stomped down on my back. All her weight seemed to be in it but I knew it was not. “How do you live in such a mess… There's paint everywhere!”"Mom, get off me! Do you want to crush me?!” She finally lifted her foot off my back. She climbed down the latter still complaining about how useless I am. “Shut up you pig…”I pushed my brown hair out of my face and blinked a few times. It felt like my eyes were doused in water, a few tears dripped down my face. My legs felt weak and tired, it was a challenge to walk over to my old dusty wardrobe. I opened the old doors and reached out to grab random outfit, when I looked at my hand I was holding a black tanktop and some torn jeans. Since it was mid November it was about 40 degrees outside so I wasn’t going to die of frostbite. turned to my mirror which had a few cracks in it but I could still see myself clearly. Tall, chubby, some piercings, a tattoo on my collarbone, long hair, dark green eyes, pale skin, and always wearing some type of choker. That's me but I wouldn’t say I was beautiful, but I look alright.
I leaned against the night stand by my bed but instead felt something fluffy. A small quiet purr. “Little, you need to stop rubbing your face on everything…” I brushed my hand against his back. Another purr. After petting the cat for a few minutes I slipped on the cloths and pulled my hair into a messy bun. Once that's done I only have to climb down the stairs to see your mother cracking open a beer. She claims the beer in America was much stronger than the ones in Ireland. I wouldn’t know the difference. I don’t drink, i'm just not old enough too.
“Nova! Get to school and don’t be late! I keep getting emails about it!” She threw a empty beer can at me, she missed….. Completely. “ Got it?!” I didn’t respond. There was no need to. The answer was my grabbing my bag and walking out the door. The clock on my phone said it was 7:23, 7 minutes to get to the bus. This is how the day starts. Kids kicking my seat making me wanna throw them out the window if they could fit. The bus stop was at the end of my driveway, already there. While waiting all I could think of is how I will skip my classes. Middle school it’s easy to do that but Highschool will not be easy though, I heard there’s teachers patrolling the school's halls 24-7. The muffled sound of screaming kids interrupted my thoughts. The sound came from the yellow nugget rolling down the street. Also known as the bus.
It stopped in front of me and opened it’s doors. The sound instantly got louder, The faint smell of barf flowed from the bus doors. “It’s worse today Nova.” Roger groaned.Roger is the bus driver. Me being the only sane person on this bus he turns to me for counselling. Just pure counseling, I mean talking about how his relationship with his boyfriend is going. So, far is going bad, his boyfriend is just a bad person in general so I told him to find a better guy to date. “Do you know how hard it is to find another gay guy who likes you?!” He always responds with the same statement. He went on complaining but I was intrigued by the bullies crowding around one seat. “Hey, is there a new kid here?” Roger looked up at his mirror and shrugged. “The poor kid maybe stuck out too much or maybe he pissed off Davidson.” It sickens me to see this type of stuff. A tall skinny guy with blond hair punched the seat. Henry Davidson is that guys name. If you mess with him he will beat the crap out of you or find some stupid reason to make you wanna kill yourself. The guys smart I'll give him that but he has one weakness. He is basic. Simply basic. The bus came to a screeching halt forcing me out of the seat. Before everyone could use me as a doormat I crawled out the bus doors. Adrenaline rushed through me making me run through the doors and down the hall. Turn right the left then forward until you reach the abandoned art room. The iron was rusting on the corners of the doors, the door handle was almost broken off. It also had some type of sticky substance on it. I used my pen to open the handle, there was no way I was going to touch that thing.
When you walk in the first thing you smell is chemicals. Paintings of mine where hanging on the walls. No one comes in here except me. The first bell rang, first hour will start in 3 minutes. I glanced out the window to see what the people who were skipping class were doing. Everyone who skips goes outside because the teachers never open their curtains to see them. The kids across the street are smoaking like always, some girls sat on top of a car that never left the parking lot and a boy sitting on a black bench under the willow tree.
That boy never moved from his spot and no one ever took it. I don’t know his name but there is some nasty rumors going around. It’s mostly saying he is a criminal but one says he is a pyromaniac. Henry said that one though so I doubt it. I started a painting of him but I feel like i'm painting a picture that has been painted already. I stared at him again. The willow tree was like a light green dome shading the boy from the harsh sun. The boy sat on a black iron bench with his dark hair covering his eyes. He has what you could call a emo haircut. His black bangs swept to the side covering his whole forehead and one eye. He had the same dark red sweatshirt he always wore with some old blue jeans. As I stared I plopped some paint onto a wooden slab. I ran to the easel across the room was covered with a bed sheet from home. I pulled it off to reveal a painting of the boy outside. Same pose same cloths and same tree. It never changed, the only thing that did was his expression. He would sometimes be crying or frowning. Today he was smirking. I’ve wanted to talk to him for awhile now, just to ask some questions. The second bell rang, startling me a bit. Make I could go out in all the confusion? I peaked out a musky window that's viewed the hallway. Kids running to their classes from left and right so they wouldn’t be late. I bolted for the door. Some of the kids that were smoking outside walked through the door. The two girls reeked of smoke. The scent burned my nose when I ran by. I decided to approach the boy. I stopped a few yards behind him and took a deep breath.
“Umm… Hello?” He didn’t respond. I wasn’t prepared to see what happened next. A flame exploded in his hand with tinner flames spewing from it lighting the hanging leaves on fire. The flame climbed the leaves devouring the tree. I couldn’t speak. My words gripped onto my tongue begging not to be let out. Fire surrounded the boy in front of me. The willow covered in smut and ashes replacing the leaves the were burnt off. The embers danced with the wind making the sky fade. The perfect painting. He looked in pain when he turned to see me but that pained face soon turned into fear.
“Wait! Please I can explain!” He shouted panicked. The flames on the tree went out quickly, the tree still seemed alive because some of the green vines remained. I nodded still unable to speak. “Please don’t tell anyone! Please don’t! I-I don’t….” The boy trailed off and stared at the ground. Without thinking I held out my hand. “I-I’m Nova!” My voice came out shaky and high pitched. More than I would have liked. He stared at my hand… Well, more like examining it. “Zenix…” He shook my hand hesitantly. His hand was surprisingly cold even though it was on fire a few moments ago. “Explain..” He let go of my hand and looked at me confused. “What you said that you could explain, don’t leave me confused.” I made my way to the bench under the burnt willow tree and waited.
“Uhhh… Well, with the fire and all is what you could call a gift from hell.” I looked back at him with an expression that was clearly asking “What?” He sighed. “You might be wondering why I’m hiding that. Government want to catch people like me and well… Use them…” I jumped out of my seat, startling the boy, and screeched. “That’s just like a book I once saw!” He shrugged then nodded. “Basicly…” Zenix stared at me for a moment. “This is such a strange reaction I don’t even know what to say but if you do plan to hang around me then I suggest you don’t. I lose control like that sometimes… You don't want to be around when that happens.” The willow tree was an example of how bad it could be and this thing was huge! I scanned over the details of the book in my head. In the end one of the 5 main characters died. “Hey Zenix, do you know anyone who was caught by the government?” He nodded.” Are you planning to break them out?” He parsley nodded that time because he knew what I was going to say. “I’m going to help you then!”
“N-no! I just met you! You can't get tangled with my personal life!” I swung myself around and kicked him in the shin. “Yes I can and I will!” Zenix growled. “We’re partners now and that's that!”