Good kids don't go home.

Abstract Jan 29, 2020

Remember the fellas who follow all the rules? Are you one of them? Are you a teacher’s pet? Question yourself. If you are then…

Boston High School,

Vincent Road,

Birmingham.

On the rusted streets of Vincent Road, amidst the shady trees lining up the pavement and rustling of the autumn leaves stood there the wimpy Boston High. Rhea, being homeschooled since childhood was brought here by her parents or rather step-parents who weren’t really bothered by her existence. She was deprived of love and affection, she thought Boston High would be her place, her home. Well, unlike her home, Boston High took Rhea very seriously.

On the very first day, Rhea paved her way through the miniature turnstile and gawked around. A gigantic building lay ahead of her glistening hazel eyes. As she was about to hunt for her classroom, she felt a palm tapping on her shoulder. She flipped and twisted her body quickly in the same direction to catch a glimpse of that person. That person was no other than Robert Hayden, the very own principal of Boston High, the nasty looking middle aged man with amber coloured hair.

He cleared his throat and asked,” Are you new around here?” She timidly replied,” Yes, I’ve been homeschooled for my entire kindergarten time and very new to a boarding school.” He questioned her again, “Are you a good kid? If you are not then we don’t want you in here.” Rhea, had never felt love, had never received the warmth that she had been longing for. She wanted attention, she wanted care; she wanted everything that feels home, She wanted Boston High to be her home. Without taking a moment, she replied; ”Please let me stay. I promise, I’ll be a good kid.” Hayden gave her a crooked smile and said, “Good kids don’t go home.” and started walking in the opposite direction till he disappeared amongst the cluster of cabins. An aura of mystical secretiveness surrounded Rhea as she started walking towards her classroom but she was glad that she was allowed to stay.

She entered the classroom and took a seat next to a timid looking boy and greeted him. His name was Liam. Liam was about to talk to Rhea but the class teacher, Mr. Teri popped in. “Good Morning class, here is a little activity for you little fellas; quickly fill up this sheet and hand it over to me like good kids”, she said. The sheet was no other than the set of rules to be followed by the students of Boston High.

Rule 1: Always walk in a queue. If you miss the queue, you will be beaten up with a wooden stick on your left palm.

Rule 2: Always report your grievances to the principal.

Rule 3: Never talk during the lectures. If caught red handed, you will have to be thirsty for the rest of the week.

Rule 4: Do not back answer the faculty. If one encounters such a situation, he/she will have to stay in an abandoned room for a week without food and water.

Rhea was horrified by reading the brutal punishments on disobeying the rules although very reluctantly, she signed the lease.

Next morning, when she came to school she was stopped by Liam. Liam, in his petrified tone asked Rhea to leave school and go home. But he failed miserably in his attempt because Rhea turned a deaf year to him. No sooner did she enter the gate, Liam shoved her out of the queue of students entering the school. Ms. Teri’s blithe face became aggressive. Rhea was terror-stricken by her look. She quickly apologised but it was all in vain. Mr. Teri severely punished Rhea and she burst into tears. In the mid break- she went to Liam to ask him on why he was being bad to her. She tried to place her hand on Liam’s shoulder to call him but to her surprise her hand couldn’t feel Liam’s muscular shoulder. She was filled with terror and fright and she let out a scream. Liam turned around and asked Rhea to calm down. The other students in the hallways got back to their work.

The first thing Liam told Rhea took her by shock. Liam was dead and so were the other teachers, students and Hayden. This school was developed by Hayden long Long ago. Hayden loved kids. So he started a school to show his compassion towards kids. But after a few glorious years, the school had to shut down because of his own son. He refused to abide by the rules and on being punished for it, he used his father’s name to get out of it. He can never do good. Most of the parents cancelled their kid's admission on account of the harm that Hayden's son caused. Hayden couldn't take that very well and he announced that the punishments should be so brutal that the spoilt brats have to follow the rules. "Good kids can't go home." His son became furious and added concentrated sulphuric acid to water in enormous amounts and set the school on fire. The entire 90s batch died in that fire. But none of the souls till date have become free and every year a new alive student is trapped into this hell. Rhea still trying to comprehend the entire situation, gathered some courage and asked,” How do you know all this? Are you one of the kids who fell prey to this?” He answered,” I know it’s hard for you to believe all of this and even harder to trust me but it’s true. Rhea, I want to save you, I really do. You have to be a bad kid if you want to get out of here, because Hayden doesn’t let the good kids to leave. He is the most psychic dead person out here. Punishments would be brutal but if you follow the rules you will be trapped forever.”

Rhea ran towards the door and tried opening it but it was all in vain. That’s when she realised she had no other option than doing everything what Liam said.

Rhea started disobeying all the rules, things became difficult for her, survival became a task but she chose not to give up. Starving, bruises; she went through all of it till the day she was suspended. After collecting the suspension letter from the school, she started walking towards the door.

But she was stopped by Liam in her way and he said,”Rhea, I’m so glad I could do good to you. But there’s this small thing you need to fill up before leaving.” The form said ‘List of grievances faced by the student’ with checkboxes.

Rhea quickly ticked random checkboxes and was all set to leave.

But unfortunately the door failed to open.

A low haunting whisper filled her ears,” Good kids don’t go home”. But this time the voice was different; it was Liam’s, Liam Hayden.

Bhoomika Valani

DJLIT Editorial Co-committee member. A keen reader, extrovert who loves writing poems a lot.

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