Who had thrown away a G8 name badge here at the academy? Who was Brigitta? I heard footsteps approach from the hallway and hid the badge away into my wallet.
The two security officers, Mr. Porter and Mr. Chase entered followed by Director Boone.
"What happened to Darla?" I asked.
Boone ignored my question and asked Porter and Chase to escort Trent to his next class. To me, he said, "Follow me."
We walked the hall in silence, and Boone led me into his office. He pointed to the leather chair. "Sit."
I did so and the chair listed to the side. He really needed to get the thing fixed.
Boone walked around his desk and took a seat, leaned back in his chair, and locked his fingers behind his head. He stared at me. "What happened?"
Since Trent was allowed to return to class, I figured I was going to be the one to take the fall. Mama had always drilled into Jacko and me to be truthful, and she could always tell when I lied. Boone intimidated me more than Mama ever could, so I knew it was useless to try to con him.
"It was all Darla's doing. She has it out for both Trent and me." I spilled it. The entire story. Beginning to end. When done, I had nothing else to say in my defense, but what would they do with Trent? "Mr. Boone, whatever it is that I have coming, Trent doesn't deserve a share."
"I believe you," Boone said, which surprised me. The lips on one side of his mouth lifted, as if he were trying to suppress a smile. He twisted the monitor on his desk to face me and pressed a key on his keyboard. I watched as the entire incident unfolded. Darla talking to Trent, tricking him into waiting in the security room, her luring me to find Trent, and Darla assaulting us.
Watching it all upset and angered me. Why did he make me sweat through telling him? "You already knew?"
"Of course I did. Nothing goes on in this academy that I'm not aware of."
"Darla said there were no cameras—"
"—Darla only thought there were no cameras in the security room or the stairwells. That's a misdirection we feed to the student body to trip up those who think they're smarter than we are. We have several such traps in-place to weed out liars."
Boone blinked and leaned forward in his chair. "Sing, I believe you are a remarkable young man. In just one week you've made quite an impression on me," he paused, "and on others."
Others? Who were the others?
"We've also taken a particular interest in Trent and have been closely monitoring him. He trusts you now, more than ever. I want you to continue to be his friend. Will you do that?"
What choice did I have? "Sure."
"You've earned a favor," Boone said. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
"Yeah," I blurted. "I don't want Darla to be my mentor anymore."
"Darla isn't going to be anybody's mentor anymore." His voice sounded ominous.
After our conversation, he dismissed me. I returned to my room to pick up my tablet before going to class. When I got there, I noticed my dresser door pulled half open. I pulled the drawer the whole way to see what had been taken. Glancing at my spare uniform, I saw a single gold diamond badge pinned above the chest pocket.
Wow! I had earned my first diamond.
* * *
During the bus trip home on Friday, traffic slowed to a trickle. As we got nearer to my bus stop, I could see thick, black smoke in the distance. Made me wonder what was burning. I got off at my stop and my heart started pounding. The smoke came from the general direction of our apartment building. Running down the street, I prayed that it wasn't so.
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...