He could hear their whispers. He could not hear the words they spoke but he heard the whispers. They came to him across the room like tangible white noise. A girl glanced over at him for a moment, then resumed her hushed gossip. He rose to his feet quickly, inadvertently hushing the room. As he made his way out the door he could feel his classmates eyes trail him. The door shut. The whispers resumed.
He hated this. He hated all of this.
He slowly made his way out of school and walked in the general direction of home. Home, he thought glumly. Where he resided in no way whatsoever resembled a home. He had seen glimpses of what home should look like from a small crack in basement stairwell door. His two elder brothers and Mother would sit around a table, laughing and eating. And eating.
His stomach had been deprived so frequently that it no longer could belt out the pained moans for food. It was a constant ache though, and was never satisfied.
He looked around to distract himself from these inconvenient thoughts, it would do no good to dwell on an unsolvable problem. He was near the Bridge now. It was an ugly thing, the nasty green paint peeling in places, graffiti marking off spots, and several windows shattered. The Bridge had a stairwell leading up to it, then a pathway over the Chickary Railway. Farther down the road was a passing lane for cars, and where his usual crossing point was. Today he ventured up the worn and stairs and over to one of the missing window gaps.
He was not going "home" today, nor ever again for that matter. He inhaled deeply through his stripped scarf, gathering the will to step onto the ledge. My scarf, he thought and absentmindedly reached up to touch it. It was an important thing to him, the only belonging that was truly his.
The boy carefully stepped onto the window ledge, one hand firmly grasping the mottled green wall for support. The view from up there could have been said to be beautiful. He could see for miles down the perfectly straight track to where the rails curved around Mount Tinazin, on which resided the pristine castle of the king. Very faintly, nigh invisible, was the smallest outline of the massive wall surrounding their neighbouring country. The wall stood miles high, and wasn't all too shocking to see from this distance.
None of this, of course, bore any weight on the boy. The talk of kings and queens and magic was something that truly seemed like myth. Spacious rooms, plush seats, massive banquets, all things of a children's story to him.
As he prepared himself to jump, a voice sounded behind him. He toppled backwards in shock, landing painfully on his back.
"You're jumping too soon, wait with me a while." He stared up at the source of the voice, then shakily rose to his feet. The source in question was another boy about his age of 16, though the red lining of his uniform jacket said he was an entire school year ahead. He was in fact, someone he knew of well. A popular boy at school for looks as well as academic and athletic prowess. His most noticeable feature was his eyes. They were bright red and shined fiercely, like a frozen drop of blood, and had in them an undefinable quality that one could not quite put their finger on.
"Who are you, by the by?" The red-eyed stranger asked as he turned and stepped up and onto the window ledge.
The boy looked around then pointed questioningly at himself, "Me?"
The red-eyed stranger smiled slightly. "Who else? Certainly not the floorboards." He chuckled at his own joke.
"My uhm, my name is Koi." The boy responded in not much more than a loud whisper.
"Koi? Like the fish? Dear gods, your parents must hate you, what a horrible name." The red-eyed boy said. There was no actual insult in his voice, but Koi lowered his head and looked away all the same.
The red-eyed boy's smile slipped at this. He'd meant no harm. "I didn't mean anything by that, you know." He added. Koi looked back at him, watching the other boy with a large expressionless black eye. It wasn't merely dark brown, but solid black, like a full dilated pupil which made it a bit unsettling. The socket housing it was dark like-wise and sunken in slightly. That was the only available mode of expression, his right eye covered by long strands of black hair, and his face from mid nose down covered in a black and white striped scarf. All that was visible, was that sole black eye and the socket that housed it.
A steady rumbling drew them both from their silent musings. The train set for 13:00 was moving precisely on time. The red-eyed boy pulled Koi up to the window ledge with him, careful not to let him fall over the edge. "This is what we were waiting for, Koi." The boy grinned and jumped off the ledge, pulling Koi with him.
Pain shot through Koi's ankles and he nearly fell to his knees, held up solely by the other boy's firm grasp of his jacket sleeve. Biting winds drove into Koi's face, forcing him to squint and shield his eye. The wind whipped around the two of them and drowned out red eye's nearly psychotic laughter. "This is great, huh?" He shouted over the wind. Koi didn't respond. He was fairly caught up in the feeling of it all.
His frail little heart was beating like a rabbits, pushing adrenaline rich blood throughout his body. It soaked into every fibre of his being and for those wind-swept moments he was on top of the world. He had ample strength and stood easily against the strong winds, his stomach did not growl in baleful emptiness, his scars did not ache him. It drove away his fears and his thoughts, leaving only the buzzing high inside his head. Everything was perfect, so much so that he almost began to tear up when the train reached its stop. It, inconveniently, was also the last stop on the line.