Double, or…. Something
For the most part of his life, Jack Anderson has been plagued by a
mysterious disease that makes him a weakling and unable to live the
normal life of a teenager. Over the summer, he is shipped off by his
parents to a special hospital located in a remote desert-like area
where he is to undergo a groundbreaking treatment. After enduring
months of questionable medical experiments performed by a group of
doctors who are supposed to help him get better but in reality are
keeping him sick on purpose all in the name of medical research, Jack
escapes from the clandestine medical facility and heads for home.
While Jack was being experimented on against his will, a clone of himself
named Hyde was sent to his hometown as an imposter. Enter Jack’s
good friend Kayle — “The Freakazoid” — and Claire — Jack’s
longtime girlfriend — who begin to see the chinks in facade. To
complicate matters, Hyde can’t stand the sight of Claire and begins
to develop romantic feelings for Kayle.
When Jack returns home, he comes face to face with his clone and while at
first the two boys can’t stand the sight of one another, they soon
stumble upon the plan to destroy them both and become allies to fight
for their right to co-exist.
School— the bane of just about every teenager’s existence. You all know how I feel about it. I don’t think I can find anyone who actually likes being there. Even the vast majority of the popular kids hold a special loathing for the place, and that’s saying a lot because they’re, you know, the popular kids. Their only advantage is they somehow figured out how to make the institution known as high school, bearable.
I’d almost be jealous if it didn’t mean sinking to the level of conformity required to fit in. Is there something wrong with partaking in school spirit and going to the weekly big game? No, but those things also didn’t meet my interests, so why should I feel the pressure to go to them? Why should I be outcast for doing my own thing? Being one with the crowd just for the sake of belonging feels an awful lot like selling out to me. Even at sixteen-years-young, I know that selling out is not worth it—ever.
If I didn’t need a high school diploma to get a decent job I actually liked, I probably would have dropped out as soon as I was legally allowed to. However, I’ve put in so much time at Becker High, I need to finish if only so I don’t feel like I’ve wasted so much of my life there.
To my advantage, I do get the privilege of roaming through the hallways unnoticed. People stay out of my way, and I stay out of theirs. Do they whisper about me behind my back? Of course they do. If there is a catty girl in the school who doesn’t hate my guts, I would have to wonder if I had landed in another dimension. When aren’t high school girls being catty? Am I right? Even I find myself partaking in the sport every so often—only out of self-defense. Though, I swear, taking the high road is a lot easier said than done when the same five people like to push every single one of my buttons. Yup, that’s right. I’m about to go on a Jack rant. Okay, maybe not a rant, but another story about him. Why do all of my interesting stories have to revolve around him?
Yes, that’s right, Jack Andersen—the sick kid who happens to be my locker neighbor. For those of you who are new to my blog, I’ll give a brief history lesson. Like most of the students in my class, I’ve known him since preschool. During assemblies we almost always have to sit by one another whenever the grade is organized by alphabet.
Jack used to be sweet. I used to feel bad for him. Used to.
The guy is always in and out of the hospital. Jack suffers from some bizarre illness that affects all of five people on the entire planet—or so the rumors say. Having known him for so long, I’ve witnessed enough of his poor health to know for fact he is in rough shape. The sickly pale color of his skin is sometimes even tinted with green on especially bad days. Oh, and how thin he is, like he only has enough muscle to keep himself alive and moving and nothing more. The frailness is another thing. One wrong move and he could be on his way to the ER with a broken bone. I’ve watched it happen many times.
Somewhere between middle school and high school, Jack ended up becoming Mr. Popular. It probably had something to do with him catching the eye of the most popular girl in school, Claire Winters…who is Satan incarnate. Ever since then, he changed and sick, sweet, Jack wasn’t so sweet anymore.
It makes being his locker neighbor a nightmare.
Back to the story. So I’m watching the main entrance of the school from my locker, keeping my eyes peeled for Jack or his girlfriend to grace the building with their presence. If I don’t sit down in front of my locker every morning, the most adorable couple of Becker High will make sure to invade on my space with their fluffy, obnoxious, PG-rated PDA. It would be easier if the two would just make out on top of my locker, but no, they have to go for the kill with their terms of endearment and Claire’s high pitched squeal of a giggle.
Claire walks into the school first. Because I’m the observant artist that I am (and for some reason some of you actually care about this stuff): her long, blonde hair was pulled back into a high ponytail, and her large, perfect curls bounced with every step she took. She, of course, wore a tight black sweater. It went far enough down her torso to barely cover her abdomen, because her low-rise, boot cut, jeans certainly weren’t going to. Black, high heeled boots clicked down the hallway past me at record breaking speeds. The girl didn’t even glance toward Jack’s locker as she went by. Even when Claire and Jack fought, there was always at least one look at his territory. Immediately I knew something was up.
I’m thinking: maybe the rumor I heard last Friday was true after all. During orientation last week, there had been whispers that Jack had died, or gone into a coma, or something equally as tragic, over the summer. I’d heard the rumor a number of times before, so I didn’t think much of it while I was setting up my locker for the year and taking my ID photo. After all, if I believed everything I heard, I’d be a member of a cult, slept with an entire rock band, and did heroin on a regular basis. Rumors are nothing more than modern day fairy tales. Fantasy filled lessons of life, or unrealistic happily ever afters, or in Jack’s case: the tragic end to a great hero.
For a moment, my gaze followed Claire down the hall to her own locker and I tried to get a read on what was going on based on body language alone. There were no tears, but Claire’s body was more stiff than usual, which was saying a lot for the coldest of ice princesses. Despite being petite in size, Claire usually holds the confidence of a giant, strutting around as if she owns the school and everyone in it. All of that attitude and arrogance was missing from the girl I saw this morning. When students started to surround Claire in droves, offering up tearful hugs, the rumor of Jack’s demise became a reality.
I contemplated briefly going over and offering my own condolences. It seemed like the right thing to do. We’re far from being close friends, let alone acquaintances, but I still knew Jack well enough. Even if he was sometimes a complete dick to me, he didn’t deserve to die or suffer the way he did. At the same time, joining in on the crowd to express my sympathies didn’t seem right either. It needed to happen in a private moment or it would probably come across as insincere.
I looked over at Jack’s locker, or what was supposed to be his locker. Every year we were on a different floor of the school, but always right next to one another. The empty space would be strange, or even worse…having someone new to annoy me for the rest of the year.
Would the school fill his vacancy so quickly? The guy was popular and loved by teachers as well as students. He didn’t cause trouble, just made stupid comments about business that wasn’t his. Almost everyone thought of him as some kind of martyr, sent to this world to suffer. If he did truly die, his sainthood would be validated. The idea makes me want to gag.
Then, all of a sudden, the halls grew eerily quiet. One-by-one the students’ chatter faded into silence. No one dared to cough, let alone sneeze. Outside of one classmate who decided to shut a locker, it was unbearably void of sound. I am not making this up.
Next, I heard the heavy, arrogant, swagger of footsteps coming toward me. Like the red sea parting, students moved to either side of the hall, giving me a perfect view of Jack walking to his locker from the front door of the school. I’d been so busy watching Claire and everyone else, I hadn’t thought to keep watching for the newcomers. Continue reading