Ecstasy inc. | Teen Ink

Ecstasy inc.

July 30, 2011
By Spo0ky BRONZE, Duncanville, Texas
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Spo0ky BRONZE, Duncanville, Texas
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Favorite Quote:
"If the machine of government is such that is causes you to be an agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law."

Author's note: I hope people will enjoy my work and realize that that with the right inspiration and support, anything is possible.

Chapter one

The bell rang shrilly, interrupting Mrs. Green’s irritating voice which was explaining the importance of various events in history. Brad had hardly been paying attention, merely staring blankly at the grimy walls of the small classroom, which were covered in years of graffiti and obscene comments, outnumbered only by the numerous death threats that were scrawled on the bricks in sharpie marker as well as spray paint. To him history meant nothing, and this class was an utter waste of time. His logic was that if the world had no future, what good would it do to dwell on the past?

He stood and stretched his cramped muscles, then swept the pile of things on his desk into his school bag unceremoniously and headed for the door, followed by his twenty class-mates, who had probably been paying as much attention as he had.
As he strode quickly through the filthy halls of Greenville high school, he looked dejectedly at the broken lockers and a small red stain on the floor that looked awfully and horrifyingly like blood. What a terrible place this was. How had society fallen this far in twenty years? How was it possible?
Apparently it was possible, because just the other day he had seen a grimy ad lying in the gutter. Enhance your school experience! It had shouted at him, and had stared at him with a picture of a clean school and smiling teenagers. There was no graffiti, threats and gang signs plastered on the walls, no broken-into lockers or filthy halls stained with the blood from the last act of violence. It had been quite a few years old, but not that old. Things must have been fun in a world like that.
The mere thought of it made him nauseated as he pushed open the door to his next class, which was math, the subject he despised the worst of all of them. He had no use for history, but he despised math more than almost anything.

As he sat down he heard shouts from the hall and a large commotion, but most of the people in the classroom didn’t even bother to go see what was going on, Brad included. He had seen enough hall fights to know what would happen. One of the fighters if not all would belong to some gang and his friends would jump in and waste the opponent, unless it got big, in which case he would get the rest of the day off, and someone would most likely end up in the hospital with some kind of broken bones or stab wounds.

After a bit it sounded as though the commotion was coming to a close so he pulled out his math book and flipped to the correct page. A complicated graph accompanied by explanations sat there, dull and incomprehensible to him, who hated mathematics and had wished curses upon the creator of calculus on many occasions during the latest school year when he had been forced to try to tame the beast that some number freak had created for him.

Mr. Newton (Ironically enough) tapped on his ancient desk to get the class’s attention, and when only about half of the faces turned towards him, he apparently decided that it was the best he was going to get because turned to the blackboard and began drawing a complicated scenario with various objects moving at varying velocities in different directions and more jargon that Brad couldn’t begin to understand. Their teacher then launched into a lecture that Bradley Hope didn’t even pretend to listen to or understand. He had never been one to care much about academics, especially math, but even for his standards, this math lesson was hopeless.
He stared at the blackboard vacantly, the complicated scenarios staring back blandly, his mind wandering in no particular direction as he waited for the bell that seemed like it would never come.

The rest of the day passed with mind-numbing slowness as it always did, in a blend of dirty halls and classrooms, other teenagers and utter, complete boredom. School always seemed to take a very long time to end, but he didn’t really care, because he never had anything to do when he wasn’t there. At least his room had a nice collection of hard-rock albums and action movies which were one of the only things he liked about his life.
After what felt like an eternity he was walking out into the sunlight, backpack flung carelessly over his right shoulder, his long strides sweeping him across the dead yellow grass of the school’s lawn, eyes closed, trying to let the stress and fear of living in one of the worst school districts in history melt away in the sun. Even the sunlight was dark and filthy in this town, filtering down through the smog that was spewed day after day from the Ecstasy inc. factory, which stood like a shadow on the horizon.
The town was a rather pathetic sight, as was the high school, which was dark and ominous looking in the gloom, the blackened bricks permanently stained with years of smoke and filth. It made him sick to look at, so he made it a habit not to.
Just as he began to gather his calm and had almost reached the sidewalk something hit him squarely in the back, knocking him to the ground as well as the wind from his lungs. He stretched his hands forward to brace his fall and rolled about to face his assailant, his schoolbooks bouncing uncomfortably behind him. Four boys stood over him, smirking and laughing evilly and even though there were people everywhere none of them even glanced his way.
Brad felt a surge of fear and anger as he got to his feet and eyed the boys, wondering if this was going to be the day that he landed in the hospital. At least I could get away from this damned place for a while he thought blackly, then curled his fists and grimaced. Even if I’m going to the emergency room one of them is coming too.

“You going to fight huh?” laughed the strongest-looking one, stepping forward with a stupid smile on his face.

Brad put his fists in front of him, prepared to defend himself as the boys walked towards him, flexing their large muscles, and smiling horribly at him. He had never been a coward, but the idea of being mauled by these boys still made his insides twist with fear.

“Don’t touch him!” came a hate-filled voice so filled with rage that they all turned and saw a tall black-haired boy striding towards them, sliding a large knife out of his school bag. It wasn’t ornate, but had kind of a deadly beauty to it, the polished wooden handle holding in place a long and wickedly sharp blade. This didn’t really surprise Brad very much, since weapons were not an uncommon sight in an average day here. One day someone had even brought a pistol to school, and had come very close to killing another student.

The group had recognized the boy as soon as Brad had. It was James Sinclair, and they all knew what that meant. You didn’t screw around with James unless you loved pain, or were just really, really stupid. Brad supposed that the boys who were trying to beat him up were fairly stupid, but they apparently had some sense of self-preservation, because they were retreating, looking back at him in anger and fear.

James was not a bad person; in fact, he was one of the least corrupted in the whole school, you just didn’t mess with him, or he could turn violent. Last week a group of thugs had cornered him in the hall, and he had brutally cut and stabbed their leader until they left him alone.

“You all right?” said James, his voice much calmer and more kind now that the boys were leaving him alone.

Brad looked up from his thoughts and saw James standing over him, looking concerned the huge knife still in one hand. He didn’t even seem to notice it, as if it was a natural thing for him to be carrying around, which now that Brad came to think of it, it might be.

“Yeah,” said Brad, taking the hand James offered him and getting to his feet. “Thanks, I hate to think what they would have done to me.”

“I do too, and that’s why they didn’t,” he said with a faint smile, running a hand through his dark hair with a slender hand. “I can’t stand to see good people like you get beaten down by people like them.” He jerked a thumb at the backs of the retreating boys, who were muttering and throwing angry glances toward James as they disappeared from sight.

“Thanks,” Brad said again, feeling stupid. He didn’t know what else to say, but felt he should.

“It’s all right, I do it a lot,” James answered, shrugging. “Well,” he said, putting the knife back in his school bag and throwing it over his shoulder, “I’d better be going now, see you tomorrow.”

“See you,” Brad said weakly as James walked away across the yellowed lawn and across the street, disappearing into the darkness and the houses there.

Bradley Hope brushed yellowed grass out of his dark hair and picked his schoolbag off of the ground, brushing it off too before slinging it over one arm and walking the two blocks to his house. He was still a bit twitchy from the adrenaline, but he tried to calm himself as he walked across the lawn, and the cracked street. As he walked slowly to his house he took deep breaths, but their healing and calming effect were marred by the foul taste and feel of it as he breathed. He could almost feel the terrible smog seeping into his very soul as he breathed it in, and sighed deeply, looking glumly about at the houses that lined the streets.

The doorbell rang, the deep sound reverberating off the grimy red bricks of the old house, which might have been nice about thirty years ago, but was now just as drab and decrepit as it’s kin across the town.

“Coming!” called a melodic voice, slightly muffled through the heavy wooden door, seconds before it swung open jerkily on its rusting hinges. “Hi, how was your day?”

Brad eyed his mother, with her curly brown hair that fell to her slender waist, matching eyes and warm smile, before answering warily.
“It could have been worse.”

He wished that she would stop asking that question every day when he got home from school, that bright tone to her voice as if things would get better someday. He knew better but he envied her optimism, sure that it was better than his ever-dark gloom and annoyance.

She sighed, like she was disappointed, even though he had not had a good day in god knew how long, and for a moment he felt a twinge of guilt. Maybe he should be more like her, and then she would be happier, but when he saw how fast her smile jumped back into place he decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.

“Well come on in and get something to eat if you want it,” she said cheerfully, closing the door behind him as he stepped into the front hall and kicked off his battered sneakers.

“I’ll take that for you,” his mother said, reaching out as he shed his black jacket. “I’ll hang it in the closet in your room. You get something to eat okay?”

“Thanks Mom,” Brad said, and he meant it from the heart. He couldn’t imagine how difficult it must be to go on cheerfully about your life when so many others were suffering, and the very sky grew dark about you.

He stopped musing and strode into the large kitchen, looking for something to eat to keep his mind off things. He spied a bunch of bananas sitting on the counter and tore off one, peeling it slowly, with precision, watching intently as the yellow skin pulled away from the pale pulp, focusing on each imperfection with scrutiny.
He often found himself doing that, especially in the last few months, and he suddenly wondered if it was an omen of his pending insanity. A black smile played at his lips, but his mother’s voice broke into his train of thought as he laughed silently at the world’s stupidity.
“Did I miss a joke?” she asked, striding in, her smile just as bright as always.

“Just thinking about something,” he answered, and was thankful that she didn’t press him further.

Sometimes he wondered if this whole world was a joke that was either one he didn’t get or one that was made by someone with a really twisted sense of humor. It would make sense after all, because the way things were now could never get better.

Just then the deep sound of the ancient doorbell boomed through the house once more, and Brad’s mother ran to answer it, shouting, “Coming!” just like she had when he had gotten home. The only difference was that the person on the other side of that door didn’t deserve even a fraction of her mood.
Brad knew who it was, because the face on the other side of the door was always the same. It was the face on the name tag that his father wore as he stepped through the door, and into the kitchen.

Daniel Hope, the nametag read, and beside the name was a logo. Ecstasy Inc., the tag told him, and suddenly he felt very sick, losing his appetite completely on the spot.

His father’s face fell a bit when he saw the mortified expression on his son’s face, but tried not to look like he had noticed, failing completely as he faltered in the doorway for a moment.

Brad supposed that he thought he would get used to it after seeing it every day as his father walked through the door, but he never did. His own father worked for the company that was ruining the world, and it was almost more than he could stand.

“Hey Brad,” he said weakly, stepping into the kitchen uncertainly.

“Hey,” Brad said, rising from the spindly chair he had been sitting in and striding quickly out of the room and to his bedroom, flinging the banana into the hall trash as he passed, where it landed with a thump.

He threw himself onto his bed and the door shut in one motion, fuming with anger. How could his father be one of them? He hated all of them more than anything in the entire world. He said he had too, but Brad didn’t care about his excuses. He could live on the streets and eat from dumpsters if that was what it took to keep his father from being one of them, he didn’t care.

Why couldn’t he get used to it either? Every time he saw that name tag and the little logo, he had to seize his pillow and crush it in his hands to contain his fury. The logo, a dawning sun, supposedly a thing intended for inspiration, or just as a sick marketing strategy to spread blackness from their smoke-spewing factories, cranking out bottle after bottle of chemicals, each one destined to further the destruction of society.

He couldn’t hold back his anger, seizing his pocket knife and hurling it, blade open, at the wall, where it glanced off and fell to the floor with a soft thump on the carpet.

He suddenly fell apart, throwing himself forward, face against the mattress, which was rapidly becoming wet with his tears. He couldn’t go on like this anymore, he just couldn’t stand it.

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