Growing Up – Part 2.

His body, perched safely on his Friend’s shoulders and scaling the wall with him, our hero’s mind was in turmoil. His pastor at the church he went to every Sunday saw to it that none of his flock left the pews with even the slightest inclination towards anything immoral. Would this qualify as being against the statutes laid down by the man upstairs? True, his pastor had never specifically warned against scaling school walls. But given his own premature ability to imply and judge, he was moderately sure that his pastor would not have approved of it either. With these vessels of doubt sailing in his mind, he had now scaled the high wall and was on top of it. Friend deftly switched sides and they started descending. As our hero saw brick after brick go up and away from him as he descended, he came to the frightening conclusion that he was indeed, breaking the law.

               

Once they had descended from being mere boundary observers to actual trespassers and were cowering in the shadows of the inside wall, our hero wished to have a word. Things were happening too quickly, even for him. Sure, his adrenaline was pumping mad and he was excited. But he knew he was doing something wrong. He took a few seconds to compose a query and opened his mouth. Alas, nothing verbal came out, only short breath filled with raging doubts, not to mention faint distress. For the first time, his throat had let him down. It seemed to have gone dry and the only response he could muster from it was something between a chortle and a gulp. Those sounds from within the confines of his throat sparked off a realization, a gigantic moment of reckoning. This inaudible spurt of words was officially, his first brush with the emotion, Fear.

               

They moved along silently towards the building, careful to not make a sound. He held on tightly to whom he thought of to be his Friend, cursing himself for having signed on for the expedition. Once they had reached the building, they made their way around it again and settled on a corner that had a huge pipe running all along the wall’s length. Even in the dark, he could make out the moss thick on the pipe. This, however, would not deter the climbing party. They started on their second bout of climbing. This time, the ascent was that much harder and slower. The moss did not help matters, but owing to the large diameter of the school’s pipe and Friend’s intent, they made sticky but sure progress. The group alighted at the second landing.

               

Friend looked around for a minute and then sat next to our hero. He put his face next to his ears and spoke for a few seconds. He listened attentively, the attention borne more out of intense curiosity rather than eagerness. Curiosity flirting madly with a sense of dread. Once Friend had come to the end of the monologue, our hero took it all in and tightly closed his eyes. Pressing his lips together, he fought an urge rising from within. Fear was something he had encountered for the first time that night, and now it’s watery cousin wanted to join the party as well. ****! He would have used the four-letter word, only he had not yet heard of it.

               

The instructions were simple. The task at hand was not complicated either. But it was the frenzy his mind had gone into that was proving hard to put up with. He wished he knew what was at stake. Or even simply, what his hands were getting dirty with. Sadly, there wasn’t time and more importantly, a second-story ledge they were trespassing on was hardly the place to demand an explanation. With this brush of common sense washing over his agitated self, he prepared to plunge into the school’s interior and possibly his nightmare.

                 

His lithe frame was pushed unceremoniously through the vent, head first. Inside was blackness. He allowed for a few seconds to gather his wits and his eyes to accustom to the dark. Once he was done with the latter, he jumped onto the floor, still grappling with the former.

                 

As promised it was a washroom and the vent was thankfully not very high. He landed with a mild thud. Strangely it sounded like an accusing drumbeat to him, but then it could have been his heart beat. Leaving the acoustics behind, he made a foray for the door and opened it. The door had been sufficiently oiled, so there were no more sounds of accompaniment. He came out and closed the door carefully behind him. It was only after he had done that, that he looked at the “office room” of the school.

               

He didn’t need to let his eyes get cozy with the bleakness inside to catch sight of a truly disturbing scene. A bout of trembling engulfed him. You see, he wasn’t alone in the room. And one look at his occupant, he could tell, only one of them belonged there! And needless to say, our hero was looking at the one that belonged.

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