The realisation, p.1
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       The Realisation, p.1
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           Ray Daley
The Realisation
The Realisation

  Raymond Daley

  Copyright 4/10/12 by Raymond Daley

  I hate the school.

  We're here because of Dads job. He's an RAF officer working on an American air base. And that's where "here" is.


  Specifically Las Vegas, Nevada.

  Mum and I have been living here just over a month now. Dad had been here over six months by then, he'd bought a house, arranged a job for Mum and found a school for me.

  I really hate the school. I may have mentioned that already?

  Because we start our educational lives earlier in Britain it seems like I am a whole lot smarter than the kids in my class. And this doesn’t endear me to them in any way.

  At first I am a novelty, new boy, new accent, from a new country. I'm not what you'd call popular but I am interesting and different. Then I'm bullied, partly for being so smart but mostly for my accent.

  After that I am mostly ignored. Kids only talk to me if they absolutely have to. It's hard to believe I've gone from being the interesting new kid to being the guy no-one wants to talk to in the space of only three weeks.

  Perhaps now you understand exactly why I hate the school so much.

  Dad could have chosen to send me to the base school but for some reason decided not only did he not want to live on the base, he didn't want his family subjected to the environment of the base. Instead he chose a house on the very edge of the closest school district in the area.

  In my first week at school I was put in a seat at the front of the class. Somehow I gradually migrated towards the rear of the room until I was sitting in the very back row. With the other "weird kids".

  And Elsa.

  Elsa isn't weird. Just massively different.

  Elsa is pale, almost white enough to be albino. She even wears blue tinted circular glasses to protect her eyes as I eventually discover she has some issue with bright light. The glasses make her look a bit like John Lennon, only a female version who isn't from Liverpool.

  The few kids back here who have decided to talk to me say she originally came from somewhere in the South, details beyond that are sketchy. Kids generally don't talk to her either.

  She's too weird, even by their standards.

  For those first few weeks in September we don't talk at all, eventually one morning she says “Hi!” to me in an extremely Southern accent. A few days before the end of the month she approaches me in the lunch room where I am sitting by my self. I can not say I am alone, the room is full and I am with my lunch. Ergo, I am NOT alone.

  Too smart, see?

  "English?" she asks, in that charming Southern drawl. I put on that look I've seen my father do so many times when faced with the same question and do my best to fake it as far as the accent goes.

  "English? No, Welsh honey. Same landmass, different country." If she filters this down through her friends, perhaps now at school they'll stop calling me "That little British boy".

  I realise her circle of friends isn't exactly huge but by six degrees of separation surely the information will at least work its way around my classroom, if not the school.

  "Halloween's coming up next week." Elsa says to me.

  "Oh?" I reply. Halloween isn't a big deal anywhere other than America. No-one else really cares about it until E.T. shows trick or treating to the world.

  I'd been told earlier in the day that kids are allowed to come to school in costume on the day of Halloween itself, I'd made no plans and neither of my parents had offered to buy or help make me anything to wear.

  "What are you going as?" she asks me.

  "Nothing. I don't celebrate Halloween." I tell Elsa.

  She looks very surprised and slightly hurt as though I have said something vaguely insulting without realising it.

  "Oh, but you must! It's a great day!" she is clearly looking forward to donning whatever costume she's bought or made.

  "I'll just wear my regular clothes, it's really not a big deal to me." I say to her.

  Again she gives me that look of being surprised and taken aback "But I was going to ask you to come trick or treating with me. No-one else has asked you already, did they?"

  This conversation with Elsa ranks as one of the longest I've had since arriving at the school. Even the teachers hardly call on me in class, most of them think I'm too smart for my own good. I frequently correct them. I shouldn't but I can't help myself. Blame Dads influences there.

  Elsa looks at me intently. No-one else has asked me anything really. I happen to know that last week a boy in my class had a birthday. Everybody except me was invited. Even Elsa. I spent the whole day reading in my room at home.

  I look at her. I've been taught to be polite, be a gentlemen whenever possible. I shake my head. "No-one's asked me" I say to Elsa.

  She looks at me and smiles hopefully. "Would you like to come with me?" she asks.

  I think it over for all of a second. This is the closest I've come to making a friend since I got here. "Sure, why not. I'll check it's okay with my mum and let you know tomorrow." I say.

  Back at home after school Mum is more than okay with it. At such short notice she helps me make a costume that's little more than an off-cut of bed-sheet dyed red to act as a cape.

  Next week on the big day, a lot of the kids in the class have made an effort wearing what are clearly store-bought costumes that must have cost their parents a pretty penny. Several Luke Skywalkers, a couple of Han Solos and even one Darth Vader mingle with various Wonder Womans, Super Girls and Snow Whites. My home-made "cape" gets a few raised eyebrows.

  "I'm Super Brit." I explain and it's left at that.

  For all intents and purposes I may as well just be wearing a sign around my neck that reads 'You want to just punch me, don't you?'.

  Then I see Elsa. Wearing exactly the same clothes she wears to school every day. Always the same long black dress to her ankles and the same black shoes. The only addition is a sheet dyed black, she's gone for a cape too I guess. After all that emotional blackmail in the lunch room has she decided to bail on me?

  "Hey Elsa," I say "what have you come as?"

  "I'm a vampire! Cool, eh?" she says, with no trace of irony or sarcasm what so ever.

  I try not to smirk as I nod in the affirmative. I daren't speak. Plenty of other kids rip on her, and me. We ignore it. We're better than that. The day is mostly busy work at school, it seems that even the teachers don't want to be here on Halloween. By the end of day bell I have to grab Elsa by the wrist so we're not dragged through the door by the torrent of sugar-crazed kids eager to get out onto the streets in the pursuit of candy.

  Elsa tells me she lives fairly close to the school so we walk through the neighbourhood together, trick or treating along the way. Most places give us a little candy, everyone asks Elsa what she's supposed to be and she sticks with her story about being a vampire. No-one asks me, either they don't care or they assume I'm Superman. After all, we both have a red cape and black hair.

  Along the way the sun starts to fall gradually. Elsa removes her glasses, it's the first time I've ever seen her without them on. She has the deepest blue eyes, for a moment I am completely lost in them. I forget what I am doing. I forget where I am. I forget who I am.

  I no longer care.

  Then I'm snapped back to reality as a group of screaming children run past us going in the opposite direction shouting "Murder house, murder house!" as they point behind them. At the end of the street in front of us is a house that looks like it belongs on the set of a Hammer horror movie.

  Creepy? Check.

  Kooky? Check.

  Altogether ooky? Damn right!

  I get the feeling that this is our last port of call for trick or treating this evening. If Her
man Munster doesn't answer the door then I'll be very surprised.

  Sure enough Elsa leads me down the path and rings the door bell. There's a pumpkin lantern on the porch by the door and a few rubber bats hanging from the windows. The door is opened by a very ordinary looking man, he's very pale and oddly familiar in a way I can't initially place.

  Several minutes pass while I wait for Elsa to speak as the man stands inside just looking at us both. Eventually I realise I'm going to have to say something. This guy knows why we're here but apparently on Halloween it's an unwritten contract that you don't get any candy unless you actually say the magic words. I feel stupid saying it but I do anyway.

  "Trick or treat!" I say, grinning through gritted teeth.

  At every other house this had been Elsa's job, she had revelled in the chance to say it each time but had clearly lost her nerve here, or something like that. The man smiles at us. He offers us candy that he digs out from the bottom of an overly large black plastic cauldron.

  "Candy for you young man, what are you tonight?" he asks.

  "I'm Super Brit sir!" I say, trying not to sound too eager but also trying not to sound like I really don't want to be here either.

  He offers an equal amount of candy to Elsa. "And some candy for your charming vampire girlfriend." At every other house Elsa has had to explain her costume.

  But not here.

  I finally see the similarity between the man inside the house and Elsa. Clearly some kind of relative. I also notice the similar tinted glasses hanging on a chain around his neck too.

  Elsa smiles at the man and says "Happy Halloween!"

  At this point in the evening I come to a realisation.

  Her outfit ISN'T a costume!


  Authors Note:- This came from a Facebook update which was just a couple of lines, I thought it could easily make a longer stand-alone story. I was quite pleased to have made this from almost nothing.

  My amazing vampire pumpkin cover was created by Adrienne Trafford who I'd like to thank for her permission to use this image, her work can be seen here:-

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