While I withered under Dr. Boone's creepy grimace, a knock at the door broke the tension.
"Enter," Boone said.
A girl walked in wearing a purple jump suit with white leather sneakers. The suit was mono-colored except for a badge of two golden diamonds pinned above her breast pocket. She closed the door and stood at attention, hands behind her back. She had a butch haircut which made it impossible for me to tell how old she was. White girl with an athletic build. Hard looking. Not the kind of girl who would interest me.
Mama always drilled into Jacko and me that we shouldn't judge people by their looks. I respected that, but at sixteen, I couldn't help sizing up girls. They were either hot or not. This girl was not.
"Darla," Boone said, "this is our new pupil. His name is Sing."
She glanced at me for a heartbeat then fixed her gaze at the wall behind Boone.
Boone turned my way. "Darla's job is to take you on a tour of the academy and get you squared away. I'll check in with you later. For now, that will be all."
"Yes, sir," Darla said crisply to Boone. To me, she said, "This way, pupil."
I followed her out the door. "Keep up, pupil, but not too close. Scuff the heel of my shoe, and I'll make you lick it clean."
Definitely not hot.
"Pay attention," she snapped. "First thing to know. Always obey orders."
"Big guy at the door already told me that."
"That's Mr. Porter and the other man, Mr. Chase, is the desk sentry. Take my advice, pupil, whenever you see those two, turn around and walk the other way."
"Why does this place need so much security?"
"This school ain't a country club. Never forget that everyone here is a delinquent. Many of us can be extremely violent."
"How about you?" I joked. "You ever become extremely violent?"
She glared at me. "Pray that you never find out."
Got it. She couldn't take a joke.
"So, the security is here to protect us from what? Each other?"
"Don't concern yourself with security. Just do as they say."
"Where are we going?"
She ignored me. The hall led us from Boone's office past a room marked Records then past a double set of wooden doors painted bright red.
"What's that room?" I asked.
She halted and faced me. "All of the rooms in this wing are strictly off limits to students, especially the Red Chamber."
YOU ARE READING
The Story of SingTeen Fiction
[2018 Wattys Short List] - Sixteen-year-old Sing strives to do well in school so that he can find a decent job and provide a better life for his crippled mother and younger brother, Jacko. That goal becomes derailed when Sing is falsely accused of a...