Important Note: The previous chapter was from Travis' perspective, this is from his cousin Cody's perspective.
â€œItâ€™s better to be caught than to be caught in a lieâ€
~ Cody Fox
Travis once told me that if I didnâ€™t do my homework, I just donâ€™t have to raise my hand and the teacher wonâ€™t even notice me. That used to workâ€¦ until high school. Two months as a freshmen and Iâ€™m learning that teachers like to hear from everyone. Thatâ€™s why I make sure to do my homework every night.
â€œSo Cody,â€ said Mr. Hoover as he made his rounds of the classroom, â€œWould you care to show us where Spain is on the map?â€
I make sure to do my homework every nightâ€¦ except last night. I probably should have. I canâ€™t read a map to save my life. I didnâ€™t know what to do, so looking down at my desk I said, â€œUmmâ€¦ yes I would careâ€¦â€
â€œAnd why is that?â€
I looked up at the map, rubbing the back of my neck. My uncle tells me that itâ€™s better to be caught than to be caught in a lie, so I decided to follow his advice. â€œI didnâ€™t do the homework and I donâ€™t know where Spain is.â€
â€œWell, you still need to learn the material. So how about you go up there, try to find Spain, and see what happens?â€
I just shrugged and went up to the board. We both knew I couldnâ€™t hope to find it, but thatâ€™s why I liked Mr. Hoover, he was helpful and always encouraged me to try. He wasnâ€™t like other teachers, like Ms. Snow. So with Mr. Hooverâ€™ support I took the pointer and pointed to my best guess where Spain was.
â€œUmm, Codyâ€¦ thatâ€™s Mexico.â€
â€œMexico isnâ€™t Spain?â€
The class began to snicker.
Mr. Hoover sighed before saying, â€œNo Cody, thatâ€™s what the homework was about. When Spain invaded Mexico and took over.â€
â€œOhâ€¦ So Iâ€™m looking for the people who invaded Mexico.â€ When Mr. Hoover gave me a nod, I turned to face the map. Despite the mocking of the other students, I was determined to find Spain. Mr. Hoover believed in me and thatâ€™s all I needed.
This would be easier if the map was labeled.
â€œI got it!â€ I exclaimed and pointed directly to Spain.
Turning around, with a triumphant look on my face the rest of the class laughed. My smile faded and I turned to Mr. Hoover. â€œCody, thatâ€™s NEW Mexicoâ€¦â€
My cheeks were on fire, I knew I was turning red. I opened and closed my mouth, I donâ€™t know how many times, looking for anything to say. Eventually the words came to me and I asked, â€œWell, why do we need a new one? Is it for all the illegal immigrants?â€
The class approved, but Mr. Hoover didnâ€™t. â€œNow Cody, I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s very appropriateâ€¦â€ he said.
â€œSorry, can I sit down now?â€
â€œCan you find anything on the map?â€
I sighed and turned back to the map. I turned back to Mr. Hoover with a smile on my face, â€œYeah! I can find continents.â€
â€œShow me.â€ Mr. Hoover said with a pleased smile, â€œFind North America.â€
This one I could do. So without even turning my head I pointed to North America. I had every reason to be confident when I said, â€œThere, North America.â€
Mr. Hoover frowned. The class was silent. Time seemed to stand still. I couldnâ€™t stand it anymore. â€œWhat?â€
There was a pause before Mr. Hoover finally told me my mistake. â€œCody, thatâ€™s South America.â€
The room roared with laughter. I turned back to the room and my jaw dropped. â€œHe wasnâ€™t lookingâ€¦â€ Mr. Hoover said, â€œCody, point to North America please.â€ I did. â€œNow take your seat.â€
With my head down in shame I made my past the gauntlet of my classmates to my seat in the back of the room. Even without looking, I knew that all eyes were on me. Everyone I past tried to hide a laugh, not hide a laugh, or throw an insult my way. Finally I was able to sit down and bury my head in my desk.
â€œPlease class; try to remember that weâ€™re all here to learn.â€ Mr. Hoover said, trying to defuse the situation, â€œNot knowing something isnâ€™t a reason to be made fun of. We all need to work together toâ€¦â€
The bell rang and no one bothered to listen to what he was saying. It didnâ€™t really matter, Mr. Hoover stopped talking anyway. He wasnâ€™t going to try and compete with the sound of winter break. I was the last to leave. I didnâ€™t want to face anyone. They all thought that not knowing was a great reason to make fun of someone.
Even after they cleared out, I lingered a few moments longer. When I assumed the halls were clear I got up and started out of the room. â€œCody, waitâ€¦â€ I heard Mr. Hoover say before I could leave.
With a half hearted sigh I walked over to his desk, â€œYeah?â€
â€œDonâ€™t let them get to you.â€ I just shrugged and Mr. Hoover went on talking, â€œIâ€™m serious, I know it can be hard to be motivated when you feel like your miles behind everyone else. Iâ€™ve seen it plenty of times, you start to fall behind, you slack off, you fall further behind, and then you give up. Cody youâ€™re a smart kid, but if you give youâ€™re never going to learn. Iâ€™d hate to see all your potential wasted.â€
â€œAlrightâ€¦ Iâ€™ll try harder.â€
â€œGood to hear.â€ He smiled, â€œNow get out of here. Go have fun on your break.â€
Giving him a nod I left.
That was my last class, thank God. As soon as I found Travis I could go home. Sure he was going to have his fun with this, but at least he was funny. I could deal with my cousinâ€™s loving mockery, but I wouldnâ€™t have to deal with the real jerks until tomorrow.
â€œHey Cody, whereâ€™s Spain?â€
I sighed, I guess I was wrong.
Leoâ€™s locker was next to mine. He wasnâ€™t really my friend by any means, but he was on the basketball team and we talked about sports every now and then. â€œDid you catch the game last night?â€ I asked while my locker fought me to stay closed. Leo didnâ€™t say anything. â€œRoy played an amazing game.â€ I said.
Leo through his backpack over his shoulder and closed his locker before turning and looking at me. With a laugh he said, â€œYeah he was. You know what else? Roy knows where Spain is.â€
I went red with embarrassment. Things got worse when one Leoâ€™s teammates joined the conversation. â€œOh hey there Cody, see any more monsters lately?â€
â€œNo!â€ I said, as if it was some kind of amazing comeback, â€œI havenâ€™t seen a vampire since I was six!â€
Leo and his buddy laughed as they walked past me. Leo shoved me shoulder first into the door of my locker. As I rubbed my arm I had two thoughts. The first was that it looked like I lost my sports buddy, Travis isnâ€™t big on sports. The second was that, like always, they had no idea what they were talking about. Not about Roy knowing where Spain is, he probably did, but about the vampires.
Itâ€™s true that I believe in them. You would too. This is going to sound clichÃ© and like the set-up for a bad horror movie, but itâ€™s how it really happened. It was midnight. I watched Dracula before going to bed. The moon was full. Its light played trick on me; wolves, vampires, and all the creatures of the night dances in the shadows. I felt like they were waiting for me to sleep so they could strike. Looking back on it, itâ€™s kind of funny the kinds of things I used to be scared of.
But I was scared; too scared to sleep. I did what any 6 year old boy would do when hiding under the covers didnâ€™t work; I went to mommy and daddy. At the time I thought they could protect me from anything.
The door never seemed so far away. I tried to be silent; I knew any sound could make these monsters attack. But as hard as I tried, the cold wood floor creaked with every step. My heart felt it was going to jump out of my chest.
Then I heard the scream, my motherâ€™s scream. I froze; another scream. I ran to the bed. I hid under the covers; Silence. I hid, I sobbed, I waited, but I had to find out what happened. Something compelled me to go see.
When I finally got down stairs, they were already dead and lying in pools of their own blood. I fell to my knees. I felt, nothing. I was in shock; in sheer utter disbelief. That night, I cried. I cried until dawn. I cried until the neighbors saw the bodies. I cried until the cops came. I just, cried.
After that everyone told me that I imagined the vampires. They said that someone was trying to break in and my parents must have resisted. But I know better, I know what really happened.
My uncle took me in and I grew up with him and Travis. Travis has always been like a brother to me. And with their help and support I managed to heal, but I never truly got over that. I mean, how can you get over that?
As I walked the hall, trying to get my mind off of that horrible night. Thatâ€™s when I saw something that made my heart stop. There he was, Travis, standing with blood covering his face. He had a look in his eyes, like he was a million miles away.
Slowly, I could feel my heart begin to beat once more before it sped up to the point it threatened to burst out of my chest. I couldnâ€™t control my breathing. That night, it was as if I was living it all over again.
With tears in my eyes I ran to Travis, as I tried desperately to catch my breath, â€œTravis!â€ I said, shaking him, â€œTravis, are you okay, what happened?â€
Travis smiled and said, â€œShe kissed me.â€
My expression went blank as my fear left. That was not what I expected. I was just confused. â€œNo, Travis, what happened to your face?â€
â€œHuh?â€ he asked, his mind seeming to return from wherever it had gone to, â€œOh, she kissed me on the face.â€
â€œYou knowâ€¦â€ Travis continued, â€œMy face, the cheek. Katie kissed me on the cheek.â€
â€œBut, but, butâ€¦â€ I stammered, â€œTravis youâ€™re bleeding!â€
â€œOh yeah, that. Donâ€™t worry about it, I got into a fight.â€
â€œAgain? What happened this time?â€
â€œOh, Ethan was messing with Katie and I stood up for her.â€
â€œAre you insane?â€ I snapped.
Travis, in his usual style, just shrugged and said, â€œA little bit, but Iâ€™m sane enough to know it.â€
â€œYou picked a fight with Ethan? Ethan Chase? You know heâ€™s a criminal right? Heâ€™s a violent criminal!â€
Once again, Travis shrugged, â€œA violent criminal who was being rude, so I stood up to him. Donâ€™t worry about it Doofy, he kicked my ass itâ€™s not like heâ€™s gonna be back for revenge. Anyway, letâ€™s go home.â€
â€œNo,â€ I said, â€œLetâ€™s go to the nurseâ€¦â€
â€œNah, itâ€™s not that bad.â€
â€œIt could be broken.â€
â€œThe nurse can help.â€
â€œOr, we can go home and assume that itâ€™s not broken.â€
It took awhile to convince him, but eventually he agreed to let the nurse take a look at it. I sighed as we walked. This was my life of stubborn cousins, vampires, and dead parentsâ€¦ Aw I made myself sad!