9 My Heart Beat

When Gary slid the door open to enter his classroom, he was surprised to see that not everyone was there yet. His eyes peaked in the direction of the school clock and could still see there was a good fifteen minutes before class started.

‘What, how? I was walking so slow, and got caught up in that..incident.’ Gary thought to himself.

His hands were still slightly shaking, he still didn’t understand what he had done or what had happened just moments ago, right after he dealt with the little ‘problem’ he had. His body had started to sprint towards the school, getting away from it all.

Which made him make up for any time that was lost on the way.

‘Still, I shouldn’t have arrived this early… just how fast was I running?’

Going to his seat, he placed his bag down, and his usual friend Tom was there to greet him.

“What’s wrong with you? You look like… I don’t even know how to describe you. You just don’t look like your usual self.” Tom commented.

“Thanks for the kind words,” Gary replied. In truth, Gary just wished things could go back to normal. School was the one place where he didn’t have to worry about his second life as a gang member.

However, now with his whole body going through these weird changes, it was hard to keep everything separate.

“Actually I have a question for you. You're into games, books and all that stuff, so what do you know about…werewolves?” Gary asked.

Tom had a little smirk on his face when this question was asked.

“Oh, I thought you weren’t interested in these types of things. Don’t tell me, you’re going to ask me the age old question: ‘Which one is stronger?’ or ‘Which would you rather be, a vampire or a werewolf’?”

“Vampires? No, I just wanted to talk about werewolves, I’m just curious about what they do, is there anything to look out for, you know I'm terrible at looking these things up on the internet.”

It was strange that Gary had a sudden interest in these things, but at the same time, Gary would always be obsessed with the next thing he was watching or reading. At one point he was reading a comic about tennis players and tried to become a professional tennis player.

The next time he saw him playing chess after watching a TV series, and before summer he had been fanboying stories about gangs. As such, Tom didn’t think much of it, besides it just being Gary’s latest obsession, so he decided to humor him.

“Well, it's hard to say. With these types of things there are so many different types of lore out there depending where you get your information from or what you're reading. Silver bullets, magical plants, bites and more, but they all have one thing in common.”

“On a full moon, that’s when a werewolf is at its strongest and in some stories that’s also when they go out of control and eat their closest friends as well,” Tom explained, making the actions of a wolf and attempting to scare Gary.

However, Gary didn’t flinch, nor was he laughing. Instead he had a very deeply concerned look and the palm of his hands were feeling incredibly sweaty.

“Are you sure you're okay?” Tom asked.

Gary contemplated whether or not he should tell Tom. He was still unsure if he was an Altered. It was easy to explain his symptoms by just telling him he was one, the problem was, then Gary would have to tell Tom everything.

How he had come across the strange suitcase, informing him that he had joined a gang… one that was hunting him currently. He couldn’t do that to Tom. Not after what he had been through.

There was also the high chance that telling him anything, would involve him in all of this as well. This was his problem and he was going to solve it.

The door slid open once again, and seeing that it was the teacher. The kids got into their seats and stopped their chatter. Their teacher was a skinny male who wore classes called Mr Gray. Despite having a reputation for being very strict, everyone still respected him greatly.

He just knew the right way to deal with kids. When he entered the room, a student that none of them had seen before followed behind him.

Her long gray ash hair flowed walking behind the teacher, the colour stood out nearly as much as Gary’s. When she stood straight her fringe went just down to her eyebrows. It made her big eyes and small symmetrical face stand out.

The moment Gary saw this girl...

Something strange started to happen, his heart started to beat, but not just a little. It was to the point where he could feel it pounding in his chest as if it wanted to escape. He could hear it clearly through his ears bagning and banging, overpowering the sound of everything else around him.

[BPM is rising]

[BPM 140]

[BPM 145]

While staring at the girl he had heard a slight creak coming from below. Looking down he could see that his tight grip around the desk had caused it to break a little, what was worse, his thumb nail had grown and had pierced the top layer of the wood.

‘Oh no, it’s happening again. That strange feeling from before, but this didn’t happen!’ Gary started to panic, and it was only raising his heart beat even higher.

[BPM 150]

‘These system messages are really starting to piss me off!’

And his anger only raised his heart beat even more.

[BPM 155]

Gary started to do the only thing he could to calm himself down. Close his eyes and take deep breaths. Trying to think about nothing.

‘Like a monk, think of nothing..nothing…’ He continued to repeat inside his head like a mantra.

“Hello everyone,” a sweet voice greeted the class. “My name is Xin Clove, it’s nice to meet you all. I recently moved into this town so I don’t know anyone and I’m a little nervous, but the school looks like a good place to be and I look forward to getting on with you all.”

“Clove?” A student mumbled. “Isn’t that the new Mayor’s name as well?”

“Oh yeah, you're right, he was the person that wanted to take the town and raise this place from Tier-3 to a Tier-2 city, right?”

“Yeah, everyone has high hopes for him.”

Hearing all these things, Xin took a little step back, and that’s when they noticed that her face had gone a little red.

“Wait, don't tell me, you're the Mayor’s daughter!”

The revelation had caused quite the commotion and everyone was excited to see someone of importance in their class.

“Can we have some respect in the room please!” Mr Gray said in a firm voice and soon the others quietened down. “No matter who she is, I accept that everyone will treat her just like every other student in the room.”

Xin was given a seat by the window, away from everyone else, and it was quite noticeable that she had gained a lot of attention not just because of her relation to the mayor, but because she was considered a beauty by the boys as well.

Throughout class, for some reason, Gary couldn’t help but stare in the direction of Xin, and every time he would do so, his heartbeat would raise and he would have to look away. The one thing it was helping him with, was controlling his heartbeat.

It helped him find the best method to get in a meditative state to calm it down.

‘Seriously, every time something gets me excited or gets my heart beating, am I going to have this problem?’

“You horny dog!” Tom commented, punching him on the shoulder. He had been watching his actions for a while now and noticed he kept staring at a certain someone in the room.

“Tom!” Mr Gray shouted. “Are you really interrupting my class again? I know, as a punishment, once school ends, why don’t you take Miss Clove and show her around before heading to your Club.”

‘Damn it, he’s in one of those moods today,’ Tom thought.

When the class had ended, it was the end of school lessons for the day, but there was still thirty minutes until they had to go to their compulsory club lessons after school.

“Hey, so do you want to come with me and take the new girl around the school for a bit, maybe you too can get to know each other?” Tom suggested, giving Gary a nudge while he packed his things.

“I’m sorry, but there’s something else I need to do and I’m in a bit of a rush.” Gary apologised, and before Tom could say anything else Gary had already left.

Gary couldn’t control his heart rate just looking at the girl, so he couldn’t imagine what talking to her would do, however this wasn’t the only reason why he had refused. Worried about the gang on his back and them finding out where he lived, he needed to tie up any loose ends.

And there was a really big loose end in the school. There was one person in school he needed to speak to, Kai. He was the person, who was a fellow student, and also the person who had introduced him to the Underdog gang in the first place.

Seeing his friend storm out of the room, Tom couldn’t help but think Gary was acting weird. When turning to look at his desk, that’s when he noticed something.

From both ends of the desk, the wood had been destroyed. It looked like it was done with someone's bare hand using their grip alone. But that wasn’t possible, for a human at least.


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