I suppose than an introduction is in order. My name is Karen Ross and I’m your below average high school student. That’s not saying that my grades were awful; to the contrary they were great. I am what cliques would call a nerd, but I prefer to think of myself as a ghost. What I mean is that nobody notices me unless they need something, and most days it seems to be a scape goat or target for teen angst. I don’t get beat up, but I get picked on a lot. Fashion and gossip couldn’t interest me less than if they were put into full mathematical equations. I mind my own business and I wear jeans and t-shirts, usually with some cartoon or comic book character on them. Trying to get with the “in” crowd was far too much effort with too few rewards as far as I was concerned.
“Well if it isn’t the three legged wonder,”
I turned to my left only to see Jeff Ammon. Jeff was my best friend and was the first by my side when my knee had gone out. I trusted Jeff more than I trusted any other person, but I could never fully shake the feeling that he had a lot of skeletons in his closet. Jeff adjusted his wire framed glasses to stop them from sliding down his nose. He then shifted the weight of his own backpack as he looked me over.
“You seem even thinner than usual, and considering that you’re like a stick to begin with that’s kinda impressive,” Jeff said.
“It’s pretty much the pants. I gotta have something to cover the brace that my knee is in which means baggy wide legged jeans,” I said.
“I see, but now it looks like you’re trying to smuggle in a bazooka,” he laughed.
“Did I ever tell you that considering how light your hair is I sometime have difficulty telling if it’s bleach blonde or white?” I smirked.
“Yeah, yeah, yuck it up. You’re just jealous because my hair is so short that all I have to do is run a towel over it in the morning and it’s done,” he said running a hand over his head.
The bell rang and I picked up my blue burden. I look across the school yard and I saw a man staring at me. He was very tall, easily seven to eight feet tall with a massive build. He was wearing some kind of black war armor that looked very old, but at the same time sparkled in the sun as though it were new. I could barely make out what appeared to be gold an silver designs. His face was rugged with a tough close cut black beard that matched his short messy hair. Under his right arm he held a helmet while his left rested on the handle of a sword attached to a wide belt. The wind picked up tossing his hair about and blowing the black cape that was holding on to the breast plate by golden latches. I felt his eye burning into me as he stared.
“Jeff, c’mere for a minute,” I called to Jeff not taking my eyes off from this man.
“Do you see that man?” I pointed.
“What man?” Jeff asked looking where I pointed.
“Step to the side so that the tree isn’t in your way,” I looked at Jeff.
“I still don’t see anyone,” Jeff shrugged.
I looked back and stopped short. He wasn’t there anymore. I muttered a nevermind to Jeff and followed him inside. I knew that I had seen someone, but there was no use making a fuss about it. I didn’t need anyone thinking that I was crazy, well, even more so than they already thought I was. I hobbled into homeroom for attendence and the morning announcements. People were talking all around me, but it sounded like indiscriminate buzzing. My mind was still on the mysterious armored man. The bell for first period snapping me out of my thoughts. At least I could try to forget him in ancient midieval history.
Going into Mr. Sarissa’s room was always a treat for me. All of the other students thought that he was weird, but I thought he was fascinating. His room was lined with timelines of various ancient civilizations and various set pieces that he had painted for the drama club. As I crutched my way in I saw that Mr. Sarissa was writing on the board. As much time as he spent writing on that blackboard I would think that he’d wind up with some chalk dust on his three piece suit, but he never seemed to have any trace of it. I sat in my seat and got out my books after propping my crutches against the cabinets that lined the wall closest to the door. The bell rang for class to start and Mr. Sarissa stopped writing and faced the class. He carefully brushed the chalk off from his hands as he scanned his notes for the day. Everyone was still chatting ignoring the fact that class had offically begun.
“ALRIGHT!” Mr. Sarissa boomed.
They all stopped talking. Mr. Sarissa’s voice wasn’t normally that loud, but he could make it so when the occasion called for it. Everyone stared at Mr. Sarissa who was pleased for grabbing their attention. He nodded as he twirled the end of his handlebar moustache bewteen his thumb and fore finger. The man looked like he would have been more at home during the Victorian peroid in England than he would in a small town in Maine during the 21st century. Mr. Sarissa told everyone to write down the vocabulary words as we would be discussing them today. As people scribbled down the words on the board he poured himself a cup of tea from a blue willow tea pot into a matching tea cup sitting on a saucer. After a sip of tea he pushed up his squarish red tinted glasses. That was the signal that it was time to get down to business. Todays class was about some of the wars of ancient Greece. What I liked about Mr. Sarissa was that he always tied in some mythology and artistic references as well. When class was over I grabbed my things and prepared for the trek to the opposite end of the hall. As I got near the door Mr. Sarissa stopped me.
“Karen are you all right?” he asked concerned in his normal quiet tone.
“Yeah, I’m sorry, just had a lot on my mind I guess,” I shook my head.
“Anything I can help with?”
“I appreciate it, but no. Like with the Spartans, I have to fight my own battles,” I pointed to the board.
“The Spartans did have help if you recall,” he grinned under his moustache.
“Yes, but their help fled leaving them to their fate. I’m not saying that you would desert me, but I just don’t think you can help. Thanks anyway, but I gotta get going to math class,” I said gesturing down the hall.
“Have a good trip then,” he waved.