(2) Tiana

There was a time when I did alright in school. You know, back when I was sure trying the braided pigtail look would make me more popular, and when I thought all boys were gross except for my super cool older brother.

Urgh, I have to stop reminiscing out this kind of thing now. Where was I meant to be going with this? Oh right… 

A few weeks ago, I failed the final exam in my History class.

Again.

It was worth 40% of my final grade and let’s just say that the other 60% isn’t exactly perfection.

I’ve been failing for a while now and there’s no reason why I should be feeling anything other than indifference whenever I see that F on the page. I can basically see it coming now which I why I don’t bother. No one else cares either, not my teachers or even my own mother. (Art takes the piss out of me but I couldn’t give two shits what that idiot thinks about ‘intellectual capabilities’. Even if I did, I’d just push him off his chair at dinner. Not like he’d ever see it coming.)

Nothing really happens if you fail. You just get told you have to retake the exam. But, I don’t want to do that. Not for the 4th time, anyway. Though, I’d have to do it for the 3rd time, since I failed the retake.

I only wanted to pass this time so I don’t have to look at that stupid exam anymore – Who cares about what happened as a result of some election that happened about a billion years ago which caused another World War? Sure it was tragic but it’s not like I was the one voting and somehow managed to vote for the wrong guy. Let’s just focus on the issues of today before we start judging the mistakes humanity made before us, shall we? After all, it’s not like we stopped making terrible mistakes ourselves after billions of years of experience. Oh wait, I’m rambling again… 

I just needed to make sure I passed and the only way I was going to manage that is if I somehow found the motivation to stop using my textbook as a doorstop and actually read it and absorb a fact, or fifty.

Lucky for me, a plan started to come together in my head when I overheard Art’s conversation with that annoying Morgan guy in the corridor at school. I knew Art – after all, he is my older brother – he would want to go and see what the place was like and what it was they were selling – He’s always been too curious for his own good.

He would want to go that night, so I waited until Mum had gone to bed and I heard Art leave his room…

*****

‘Whatcha up to there, Art?’ I called out to him just as he was about to open the front door.

‘Hey T,’ he said as he took his hand off of the door handle and turned to face me, ‘why are you up so late?’

‘I asked you first?’

‘I’m just going out, okay?’

‘Oh, I know that. I’m coming with you.’

Art took a moment to laugh before realising I was serious. ‘Absolutely not. No way. Do you understand me, T?’

‘Why not?’ I could feel my cheeks starting burn as I started to get annoyed, ‘You don’t even know what this place is-’

‘Exactly! Neither of us knows what is and what’s there so there’s no way you’re coming with me.’ After a moment, his anger turned to confusion, ‘Why do you want to come, anyway?’

‘Uh… Well… What I want is to… see Puck!’

What else could I have said? I couldn’t tell him the truth. If I did, I’d risk him telling me I couldn’t go and it’s not like I could threaten him with anything. So, I had no choice but to lie.

‘Yeah, I haven’t seen him all day so I wanted to tag along and also see what all the fuss is about in that weird place.’

Art stared at me silently for a minute before shrugging his shoulders and turning back towards the door. ‘Fine. Just don’t do any gross couple stuff in front of me. I’d rather not throw up while I’m there.’

*****

The Market was just like every other nightclub I’ve been into – I guess that’s why I didn’t get distracted by the ‘pretty lights’ like Art did. Puck also got distracted, later on in the evening, and wandered off somewhere but, at the time, I didn’t care. I wish I had.

In that moment, all I cared about what finding something that would help me pass that exam. I found the stalls easily enough – since that was where almost everyone was – and I tugged on Art and Puck’s sleeves. I motioned over to the stalls with my arm.

‘We need to get over there if we want to get something,’ I shouted into Art’s ear.

I dragged him over to where the stalls were so I could get a closer look before he could respond.

There it was. The solution to my exam failure. Among the variety of different tiny, plastic wallets were what looked like different kinds of drugs – like cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana except you couldn’t buy any of these in the same place you could buy your milk and eggs, and at a similar price.

‘Do you have anything to help pass exams?’ I shouted to one of the guys stood behind the stall.

He nodded, picked up two different bags and held them out for me to see. Both were filled with a small handful of spherical pills: one bag contained black pills with a white S on them and had the word Somniphobia scribbled onto the bag, the other had red pills with a black A and were called Atychiphobia.

As I went to grab them, he withdrew his hand and place out his other one with an open palm. I shoved the money I brought with me into his hand and I took the bags.

‘Anything else I should know about these things?’

‘Sorry man, I just sell ‘em. All I know is, those are real popular with those looking to pass their exams.’

I had started to have reservations but it was too late. Art had already pulled me away before I could decide I didn’t want them.

If only he had pulled me away moments earlier or even moments later. If only he had noticed I had bought something.

If only what happened next, hadn’t…

Word Count: 1,108

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