Peter had not slept well during the night. He wasn't in his own bed, in his own house, with his own parents. He had been sentenced to this dismal place for pulling a knife on another kid at school. That meddlesome Trinity had organized the school against him when he had started to harass one of the other boys for his lunch money. She had turned everyone else against him, it should have been her in here he thought.
Giving up on sleep, he got up and viewed the room in which he was sleeping. It was a large room, the entire floor was one large bedroom for all the other kids in the third grade. He was the new kid here, but he was not about to be anyone's sap here. He figured he would be running the place before sundown.
Peter got up and went to the showers to prepare for his day. He was up early and he had the showers to himself. The water was very hot and it took him a little while to find the right setting. Once he finally did, he just let the water flow over him. He wanted to be out of this place more than anything, and take his revenge on Trinity and all of her friends. He was angry and needed to vent it out.
Once he finished showering up, he went to grab his towel to dry off. When he got back to the boys wing, he saw that the entire area was already empty of the other boys. They'd gone to breakfast and there would be a role call, if Peter was late he would receive a demerit.
Peter ran back to his bunk and threw open the lid to his footlocker to get dressed. What he found looking up at him was an empty box. Where were his clothes? All of his stuff was gone and the only thing he had on was his towel. Someone must've stolen his stuff. He'd find out who later and make them pay, big.
Until then he needed to get dressed and get down to breakfast before the nuns found him absent and set the truancy workers after him. He couldn't let this embarrassment stop him from showing up. He dug into another kids footlocker and found a clean set of clothes.
When he emerged in the cafeteria for breakfast, he was a spectacle to behold. The clothes he managed to find didn't fit him. The trousers were too tight and the shirt he had put on was too small, the buttons were strained to the limit. As he walked through the room, he knew he was drawing stares and hushed laughter. When he finally got to the breakfast line, he was stopped by one of the priests.
"Good morning," said Father Michael. "Did you not get the right size uniform?"
"No sir Father," said Peter. "Someone stole my clothes."
"Really?" said the Father. "Show me."
Peter led the Father back to his bunk and showed him the empty footlocker. "See? Nothing here."
"That stands to reason," said the Father. "This isn't your bunk."
"What?!?" said Peter.
"This is the second grade floor. You're actually one floor up," said the Father. "And those clothes you 'borrowed?'"
"I took them from one of these footlockers," said Peter disbelieving his own foolishness.
"That's why they don't fit," said Father Michael. "Go up and find your bunk, get dressed and return for breakfast my son. Off you go."
Peter ran up to the third grade boys wing and found his bunk, with his footlocker full of his possessions. No one had stolen his stuff, he just went to an unoccupied bunk on the floor below. He had no one to blame other than himself. This was not going to be a good start to his time in this school.
Saint Clark Boarding School: Troubled #2
The first week at the boarding school had been unpleasant for Peter. On his first day at school he had made a fool of himself by appearing in at breakfast in a school uniform that was a few sizes too small. That morning he had mistakenly returned to the wrong floor after his shower of the morning. Once he had appeared in the right uniform, he thought things would be better. They weren't.
All of the students continued to mock him. Making jokes about a "sudden growth spurt," and don't get upset in his "second grade pants." Life used to be different for him. He used to be making fun of other kids for the funny things about them. He used to be top dog by keeping everyone else in line, or else.
He'd been trying to find others like himself. Strong and tough, but the problem was that the strong and the tough had no use for him. After that first day, he looked like a fool and they were only too glad to remind him. He remembered what they had told him.
"You don't want to run with us kid," they said. "But if we ever need a mascot or a cheerleader, we'll let you know."
And then they laughed. Peter hated being laughed at. He wanted people laughing with him as he was mocking someone else. Dan, his old romping buddy from Westrock, had always been good for that. Not for much else, except helping him out with getting the edge on other kids.
So Peter sat alone in the boys wing for third graders alone and stared out the window. It was the first weekend there since he had begun and all the other kids were off doing other things. He tried to be happy being alone, but he couldn't be happy.
"Peter?" called a voice.
He turned around to see the kind yet concerned face of Father Michael. "Hello Father Michael."
"Are you alright my son?" he said.
Peter wasn't terribly fond of anyone calling him son, unless it was his dad. And he hated referring to anyone else as 'Father,' unless it was his own.
"I'm fine sir," answered Peter.
Father Michael nodded, "I see."
"Can I do something for you Father?" asked Peter.
"Oh no," he said. "I was just checking if you needed anything."
Once again, Peter lied, "I'm fine sir, thank you though."
The gentle priest just nodded his head and strode out of the room to leave the boy to his musings. Peter needed to think, but he couldn't make himself focus. He stared out of the window, he saw the grounds, the fence, the trees, and the overcast sky. It was all empty and unreal to him, which was the same way he felt inside.
Going through the motions. #3
Peter did not particularly enjoy going to church. He never did when he was living in Westrock. However, now that he was living in a Catholic boarding school he was required to go. At least everyone else who attended the school was required to do it as well, so willingly or not at least he wasn't the only one suffering.
During the morning mass, the students sat according to their grade level and the boys and girls in separate sides of the congregation. Peter tried to tune out as much of the service as he could, merely letting his mind go numb and go through the motions when the kids surrounding him did something that required interaction. Stand, bow your head, turn to chapter blah, blah, blah.
When the service was over, he filed out to with the rest of the school for lunch in the cafeteria. What passed for food here was barely edible. Peter was convinced that he was losing weight, and that he might even begin to fit in the smaller clothes he had lifted from some other kids footlocker on his first day there.
Once he had finished eating, he made his way to return the tray to the dishwashers line and on his way there one of the other kids bumped into him, causing him to drop his tray. Nothing shattered, it all just scattered. He could hear snickering behind him in the direction that the kid who knocked into him went. Just another day in "heaven" thought Peter.
As he was picking up his dishes, he noticed someone nearby who was handing him one of his plates. Another student from his class, black hair in a bowl cut and a little thinner than Peter was.
"Thank you," said Peter.
"You're welcome," said the boy. "What's your name?"
"I'm Peter," he replied.
"Matthew," he said as he pointed to himself.
"Okay," said Peter. He didn't see the point of saying 'nice to meet you.' In his whole life, Peter could not think of a single person who he was happy to have met. People had either been his play things, or his audience. Not someone he ever considered a pleasure or something to be joyful about.
"Okay," said Matthew. "Well, I'll see you around."
"See you around," repeated Peter. He was still just going through the motions just like he had during the morning mass. Despite the fact that Matthew was the first friendly face that Peter had seen aside from Father Michael, Peter didn't feel the need to socialize with anyone at this place unless he had to. Maybe if Peter just went through the motions, his time here would pass faster and he could get out into the real world again.
Right Place, Right Time #4
The second week for Peter started out normal enough. Shower, breakfast in the right clothes, classes, lunch, and more classes. Peter was on his way back to his bunk to put his books and things away when he heard a noise that attracted his attention. He peered around the corner and there were three kids who were shoving around and bothering a kid that Peter recognized.
It was Matthew, the kid who helped him pick his dishes up at lunch the day before. Peter guessed that even in a place such as this, there were kids trying to be boss of the place. Peter had tried to be one of those bosses, but he ruined all chances of that on that first miserable day. Showing up for breakfast in a second graders uniform when he mistakenly thought someone had stolen his own clothes.
The first friendly face he had seen besides Father Michael had been Matthew helping him pick up his tray that he had dropped. Peter wanted to continue on to his bunk, but he started to feel an unfamiliar sensation in his gut. Something that stopped him from taking that second step up the stairs to his room. It was like a big old lump of coal had made its way into his stomach and it was starting to heat up.
"Oh Matthew," said one of the kids picking on him. "You know your hair is kinda girly, we ought to dress you up like a girl in a skirt and tie you to the statue in the courtyard."
"No guys," said Matthew. "Please."
Peter came around the corner and took his book bag off of his back and held it in front of him.
"Hold him down," said the big kid. "We'll get his clothes off and find him a skirt."
"Excuse me," said Peter.
The big kid turned around to see Peter standing there. "What?"
"Catch!" said Peter throwing his book bag into the chest of the big bully who instinctively caught it. This left the big bully open for a swift kick between the legs from Peter.
The big bully gasped for air that would not come. He collapsed into a big heap and doubled over trying not to throw up. The other two bullies saw this and froze, but not before Peter came around and faced them with a forceful look on his face.
"The bigger they are, the harder they fall," said Peter. "You two want to try your luck too?"
Even though the odds were effectively two on one, the other bullies not being as big as the one who was groaning on the floor simply let go of Matthew and ran away themselves. Matthew was in shock and awe at what Peter had done. Just then one of the nuns came around in the hallway, and saw Peter standing over the big sobbing bully and Matthew looking shaken up against the wall still.
"Boy!" she said. "What have you done?"
Peter looked back at her, and for the first time feeling the sense of his old rebel self he said to her, "Doing your job."
Week of Labor #5
Peter had worked his hands raw over the course of his second week at Saint Clark's. Because he had fought a kid who was with two other kids that were picking on a boy named Matthew, the nun who caught him brought punishment on Peter. He had to clean and shine every piece of metal in the chapel. He was sick of spending his evenings doing all this work, for some squirt he barely knew. What had come over him?
"Hello Peter," called a voice.
Peter looked up from where he was cleaning at the altar to see Father Michael calling him. "Yes sir?"
"Can I interrupt you for a moment?" he said. "I'd like to talk to you for a moment."
Peter put down his brush and rag and the horrible smelling polish to join Father Michael in one of the pews. He didn't say anything, he just waited for the priest to begin telling him whatever he wanted to tell him. Another speech about turning the other cheek or being the bigger man.
"You know," said Father Michael. "I've been here for nearly forty years. It wasn't long after this place was built that I was found abandoned on the front stairs. The priest was Father Jacob at the time, and for the longest time I thought he was really my father. But I never knew my real parents."
Peter listened carefully, but he still looked at the back of the pew in front of him.
"As I grew older and right about the time when I was your age," said the Father. "I was being picked on by a couple of older and bigger kids. They tore at me and kicked me for several minutes before the nuns found me. But during the beating, I saw a fellow student in the hallway."
Peter looked up at the Father as he continued his story.
"The other student, who was in the same grade as I was at the time, kept his head down and continued on his way like nothing was going on," continued the Father. "I'd ask him about it later, and he acted as though he was never there. But he was, and he saw. He just lacked the little voice in his head to tell him right from wrong."
"I lack that little voice too," said Peter. "That's how I ended up at this school."
"You ended up in this chapel on Monday because it seems like you found that little voice my son," said the Father.
"But," said Peter. "I'm in here, while the other kids are off somewhere else."
"Sister Mary Grace only knows what she saw," said Father Michael. "Matthew came to me and told me the truth about what happened."
"Great," said Peter getting up from the pew. "A day late and a dollar short from old Matthew."
"But Peter," started Father Michael.
"But nothing!" said Peter cutting him off. "I rescue Matthew from being humiliated in front of the whole school."
Peter began to knock over things on the altar as he continued his rant, "The first time, I try to do something good and I'm the guy that gets punished." Kicking a music stand over.
"I told Sister Mary Grace what had happened," continued Peter. "And good old Matthew when he was asked, couldn't manage a squeak or a whimper. But he could plead with the bullies to not stick him in a dress."
"He was in shock," tried Father Michael.
"Shock?" said Peter. "The kid I kicked in the groin was shocked." Knocking down collection plates.
"The person who put me here," continued Peter. "That girl. She stood up to me too, and she's the one still free!"
Peter had thrown the once tidy altar into a complete and total mess. Where he had been working only a few minutes ago was immaculately clean, now just a heap. Peter found it oddly satisfying, but the Father was oddly calm. His calm and relaxed demeanor just irritated Peter to no end.
"Well?" said Peter throwing his hands up.
"Well what?" asked Father Michael.
"Well, what's my punishment this time?!?" called out a furious Peter.
"Well, once you straighten up this mess," said Father Michael. "You may go. Or you can knock it all down again. But when you leave, make sure that everything is straightened up."
With that said, the Father got up and left. He knew Peter wasn't acting rational, and it would do no good to try and reason with him. He was an angry child with so much pent up inside him. How could he possibly reach him?
The Off Days #6
It was his second Sunday at St. Clark's and Peter was as mad now as he had ever been. Grudgingly he had polished the chapel and cleaned from top to bottom. All because he helped out some pipsqueak not get shoved into a girls dress. He should have been top dog, instead he had instantly appeared a fool on his first day at the school.
After the church services, Peter was on his way to the cafeteria and he was stopped by a familiar voice.
Peter turned around and saw that it was Matthew coming up. The very pipsqueak he had helped.
"Hey," said Peter.
"Do you want to sit with me and some of my friends at our table?" asked Matthew.
"No," said Peter.
"What?" asked Matthew.
"I said no!" exclaimed Peter as he rounded on Matthew. "I'm not here to make friends! I'm not even here by choice! And I'm certainly not here to take care of some group of losers who can't take care of themselves! That's how you survive kid! You have to be the top dog and break down anyone who stands in your way!"
Matthew was silent as Peter continued on.
"You're actually safer here kid!" said Peter. "You think the bullies are mean here? I used to rule the roost of an entire neighborhood. If I wanted lunch money, I took it. If I saw someone I didn't like, then I could do anything I wanted. Now I'm in lock down! You and Father Michael are going to live here forever because you can't make it in the real world! But not me. I'll be out of here, and I'm gonna get mine!"
Matthew just looked at him with sadness in his eyes. Not for anything hurtful Peter said at him, he was sad for Peter's sake. Matthew knew that the world was a bigger place and much bigger than Peter was. Someday, Peter would have a rude awakening and it might destroy him. Matthew genuinely cared, but Peter didn't seem to.
"Here's some advice kid!" said Peter. "Eat your greens and get big and strong to take care of yourself! Because I won't do it anymore. You caught me on an off day! I ended up here because of an off day! My first day here was an off day! I'm not having another off day ever again! From now on, I am going to take charge of my days!"
And with that, Peter stormed off to his bunk in the third grade boys wing. He lost his appetite and if he saw another kid, or Matthew again he'd probably do something to them that they would regret.
On the other foot. #7
Peter went about his week like he normally would. He kept to himself and deliberately shunned any contact with others. Father Michael tried to speak to him on a few occasions, but Peter always decided that since it was a conversation he could leave then he would.
He came down the stairs from his bunk in the third grade boys wing on his way to the cafeteria for dinner. Peter was running a little late, and when he emerged in the hallway he was face to face with the three kids that bullied Matthew. The large kid in front that Peter had kicked firmly in the groin.
"I think you're going to miss dinner today," he said.
Peter tried to fight back, but the three boys overcame him. They punched him several times, taking turns holding him for the others to punch him. He could not stand anymore, and he collapsed on the ground where they started to kick and spit on him. To his mind all was just a blur as more and more punishment came.
"Not so tough now, are ya?" said the big kid.
He could feel all the bruises starting to swell up. He had one eye open to look up at the three bullies. Too sore to move and breathing was a painful thing. The three kids just left him there in a heap. He didn't want to move, he just wanted this nightmare to end.
After ten minutes on the floor, Father Michael rounded a corner with one of the nuns and found Peter. They rushed to him and Father Michael rolled him to face up and held him in his arms.
"Go!" said Father Michael. "Get the nurse, and have someone call the doctor!"
The nun rushed away to do as the priest ordered. Father Michael continued to hold Peter and whisper to him, "It'll be okay son."
Peter was disoriented and barely aware of what was going on around him. In his mind, he was being held by his own father. Comforting him after he had been hurt somewhere, for something. He couldn't remember the last time his father had held him. In fact, he couldn't remember ever being held by his own father.
When Peter awoke, he was in the boarding schools medical wing. Four unoccupied beds and he was in the fifth. It was dim, but well lit. Enough for him to see the nurse reading a magazine. Apparently, she was there to observe him through the night. Peter decided to go back to sleep, he didn't feel like socializing with anyone. He just wanted to escape into nothingness until he could leave the school.
He was just sorry that he couldn't stay asleep for the next nine years.
Peter spent the week in the medical wing of the boarding school. He was the only student there and it was nice to finally have privacy again. However, he had healed well enough to be released back into the student body.
Peter didn't understand why he couldn't stay in the medical wing. He was caught up on his homework, he got all the food he usually would have, and most importantly he was alone. Leaving the medical wing filled him with dread because he didn't want to encounter the bullies again. The first time he encountered them, he had the upper hand because they were busy tormenting another kid. If Peter hadn't stepped in then he never would have been put up for a week with severe injuries.
"Peter!" called a voice.
Hearing his name called aloud startled Peter. He almost expected to be at the mercy of the gang of bullies coming after him again. Although he was relieved to turn around and see that it was only Father Michael.
"Hello sir," said Peter.
"Hello son," said the priest. "I'm sorry if I startled you. I'm glad to see you up and around. How do you feel?"
"I'm fine," lied Peter.
"Good," said Father Michael unconvinced.
"Well, goodbye," said Peter going on to his room in the third grade boys wing.
"Uh, not that way son."
"Huh?" said Peter confused.
"Follow me this way," said the priest.
Peter followed him down the hallway of the first floor of the boarding school towards the direction of the chapel. He had no idea why the Father was leading him that way, he had cleaned every shiny piece of metal in the entire place. Had he missed a spot?
Before they made it to the chapel, Father Michael stopped two doors away from the chapel and motioned Peter inside. It was a bedroom with a bed on opposite walls with two desks and two dressers. There was a window on the wall opposite of the door with a nice view of the forest behind the school.
"So," began Peter. "What's this?"
"This is your new room," said Father Michael.
"My room?" said Peter.
He was stunned, he couldn't believe that this was all for him. And judging by the second set of furniture, it wasn't going to be his room alone.
"You and one other boy," said Father Michael. "I'm making you an altar boy of the chapel. You'll assist during the mass on Sunday, but you're entitled to a room of your own for this kind of duty."
"Who's the other altar boy?" asked Peter.
Just then, a familiar face turned the corner carrying his belongings into the room.
"Peter," said Father Michael. "I believe you know Matthew."
"Hi Peter," said Matthew.
"Hi," was all Peter said.
"You don't have to worry about moving your possessions," said Father Michael. "I saw to it personally. You and Matthew will have access to a private washroom and you can also eat your meals in here if you want."
Peter wasn't sure if Father Michael was doing him a favor. He was used to being alone and he managed to be alone even in the crowded boys wing upstairs. However, it might be harder for him to go about his life undisturbed by the bullies.
Having to duck bullies, thought Peter. God must be having a good laugh at Peter right now.
"What do you think?" asked Father Michael.
"I think," said Peter. "This will be fine."
Oncoming Trouble #9
Altar service agreed with Peter. He had been on the job for two weeks and it was a source of great pleasure for him. He felt different having a job to do. He no longer resented his room mate Matthew or having to share a room with him. It was more privacy than he had known in all the weeks he had been at St. Clarke's.
Father Michael could tell a difference in him as well. He no longer seemed as "on edge" or resentful of where he had been sentenced. Peter was experiencing peace for the first time at the boarding school and whether he knew it or not, peace for the first time in his life.
Over the last few weeks of school, he had learned to walk in groups with Matthew or his friends. Going places alone was just an invitation for the bullies to come after him again. Peter didn't know whether they were punished or not, but he had not seen them since he was attacked almost a month ago.
"Peter," said Matthew.
"Yes?" asked Peter as they were walking down the hallway towards their room.
"You have something on your mind?" asked Matthew. "You're awfully quiet."
"Oh, just thinking," said Peter. "Glad it's the weekend. Are you okay?"
"Yes," replied Matthew. "Thanks for asking."
"You're welcome," said Peter.
It suddenly dawned on Peter that he could not remember the last time he had told someone "you're welcome" and he actually meant what he said.
As the pair came up to their room, Father Michael was standing outside of it.
"Good afternoon boys," he said.
"Good afternoon father," said both boys.
"May I come in for a moment?" he asked. "We need to talk."
Peter opened the door and held it open for the Father and for Matthew to go inside, and Peter entered with them.
"I have some news that pertains to you both," said Father Michael.
Each of the boys sat on their beds. Peter offered the Father a chair, but he refused it because he was not staying very long.
"What's wrong Father?" asked Peter.
"The boys who have been harassing you both are coming back to St. Clarke," he said finally.
Peter felt a sensation of fear coming back to him. His ribs still ached from the beating he received from them the last time he ran across them.
"I see," said Peter.
"Where were they Father?" asked Matthew.
"After the severity of the attack on Peter from the last time," began Father Michael. "They were taken to the county juvenile detention facility to decide what to do next with them. They were visited by behavioral specialists and evaluated. I don't know how or why, but they determined that this was a one time incident that was not likely to be repeated."
"How soon will they be back?" asked Peter.
"They'll be here in three days," said Father Michael. "On Tuesday."
"Thank you for letting us know Father," said Peter.
With that said, Father Michael left the room and the boys to discuss what they had been told.
"What're we going to do?" asked Matthew.
Peter considered his answer for a moment. Then he fixed a smile on his face.
"We're going to enjoy the rest of our Saturday," he said. "Now that we know they aren't here, then we can stop looking over our shoulders."
Matthew smiled as he heard Peter continue. "We will do our jobs at the service tomorrow morning, and then we will think about what to do when those guys make it back."
Matthew liked the sound of what he heard. Peter was going to face this problem with him, instead of on his own. And maybe they would be able to finish the problem if they did it right. Those boys were already in trouble, and a repeat of their attacks would likely be the last strike. However, they were sure to be vicious this next time.
"Matthew," began Peter. "What's their names? I've never been told."
"Well," began Matthew. "The shorter one with blonde hair is Jacob. And the chunky one is Timothy."
"And the leader?" asked Peter.
"Peter," said Matthew.
"What?" asked Peter.
"No," said Matthew. "The leader, his name is also Peter."
It struck a cord with Peter. A bully at St. Clarke who shared his own name. Someone as relentless as he used to enjoy being. Taking pleasure in hurting others and making them cower in his presence. Peter was well familiar with these feelings himself. It was as sweet as candy, but it was as he had learned a poisonous thing. He began to think back to his home of Westrock and all the kids there. They had once feared him in the same way Peter was afraid of the bigger Peter.
"Are you okay?" asked Matthew.
"Oh yeah," said Peter fixing a smile to his face. "Do you know how to play Basketball?"
"Yeah, I do," said Matthew eagerly.
"Would you mind teaching me how to play?" asked Peter.
"I'd be happy to," smiled Matthew.
"Thank you," said Peter sincerely.
A huge challenge was coming his way, and Peter Turner was determined to face it. It was coming, and it would be unavoidable. However, until then, Peter was going to learn about basketball from the first friend he had ever earned, Matthew. Today, he would learn about the game. Tomorrow he would be coming up with a game plan.
The Showdown #10 Finale
The dreaded day had come. Peter and Matthew both knew what was coming and they had prepared for it. The boys reached out to other students who had been too afraid to speak up about what bigger Peter had done to them, and they agreed with the plan for that evening.
Tuesday, today, the three bullies had returned from their stint at the county Juvenile Hall. They would surely be back for blood this time, Peter Turners blood. Peter did not know if his plan would work or not, if big Peter wanted his blood then he was determined to make him work for it.
Peter drew inspiration for his plan from something that had happened to him on one of the last days he had called Westrock his home. However, it needed some tweaks to apply to this situation because it was going to be a lot more difficult to handle this gang of bullies.
Tuesday evening after dinner, Peter and all the kids had met in the gymnasium and were playing basketball. They all looked as though they were playing, but the truth is that everyone of them was waiting.
"Peter," said Matthew. "Do you really think he will come here while all of us are around?"
"I don't know for sure," said Peter. "When I was in Westrock I used to pick on one kid at a time. It was easier back then and that way because I did not have to worry about another kid running off to tell their mother."
Peter thought back to the way he was. He was different and hateful back then with a lot to learn. Some of those lessons had been painful, and others would not have been if he had just listened sooner. Peter was certain that he wasn't done learning everything he needed to know to be a better person. Hopefully, there would be a life left to learn those lessons after his task was finished tonight.
Just then, the three bullies Jacob, Timothy, and big Peter burst in from the locker room.
"Anyone who doesn't want to be whooped later had better leave now," said big Peter.
None of the kids moved, although they were all scared. Some of them felt butterflies in their stomach, but each of them stood ready to do their part.
"Well," said big Peter. "It looks like I'm going to have a few busy weeks coming up."
His eyes locked with the one he was searching for. Peter was surrounded by the other kids and ready for the coming fight. Just needed to wait for big Peter to lose his temper for the show to begin.
"Oh junior," said big Peter. "Or would you prefer little Peter?"
No one moved and no one spoke, it was time to let big Peter make the first and expected move.
"Okay, junior it is." said big Peter. "If I have to come in there and drag you out, it's going to be a lot worse for you."
Everyone remained still and silent, nonetheless ready to act on the plan.
"Very well," said big Peter. "I could use a workout anyway."
Peter walked quickly towards the group of children, but Jacob and Timothy had stayed behind. As usual, and as expected. When big Peter had crossed half way of the gymnasium, that was the sign that it was time for the children to act.
Suddenly, every one of the children who had been surrounding Peter began to run around big Peter and surrounded Jacob and Timothy. They were pressed against the wall by at least fifty other children and their arms were held back so they couldn't get free.
"What?" said big Peter confused.
"Well," said little Peter. "I had a feeling you would be out for me again when you got back to school, so I assembled a welcome back party for you. And since you're calling me out, I thought it would only be fair if you got me all to yourself. Your stooges would only get in the way."
Big Peter was not impressed, he was ready to handle his victim on his own anyway. He had at least thirty pounds and eighteen inches on the smaller Peter. This was still going to be a brief fight.
"More for me anyway," said big Peter. Then he looked back at his friends in the crowd of children, "Guys, just relax and watch the show."
He turned to face little Peter and they were ready to face one another. Big Peter wasted no time and charged at the waiting and smaller Peter. As soon as it looked like the bully was going to reach him, little Peter sidestepped him and the bigger Peter went face first into the cinder block wall.
The gymnasium got quiet fast. Peter kept his attention on the larger bully and made no attempt to press his advantage. Bigger Peter got to his feet again and charged at little Peter like an angry bull. This time, little Peter didn't just side step. He charged at bigger Peter and slipped into a baseball-like slide and tripped the bully, making him once again land on the floor in a clumsy heap.
"Had enough yet?" asked little Peter.
The rest of the kids burst into laughter. Big Peter was being made a fool in front of those he thought of as smaller and less important. It was more than he was willing to take. When he got to his feet, he caught sight of something that gave him an idea. Big Peter opened up a cabinet that contained a fire hose, but also an ax.
It gave all the children a fright, including little Peter. This was now new territory and something little Peter and his friends had not taken into consideration. Big Peter took a swing with the ax in the direction of little Peter and barely missed him. The ax made sparks on the wall as it made contact. Little Peter hopped back with each swing until big Peter came across a lone basketball on the court, kicking it at little Peter and knocking the wind out of him.
Little Peter fell to the floor gasping for air as big Peter walked up to him. Ready to take a large chop right down on little Peter. Little Peter scrambled back until he was in a corner of the gymnasium on the ground, he was out of luck.
"I gotta admit junior," said big Peter. "You gave me a run for my money. Now it all ends here boy, this is my school! And there's not enough room for two Peters here."
His final words to Peter were spoken, he raised the ax up into a high arc to bring it down in one hard chomp. Peter couldn't watch as the final move was coming to signal the failure of his plan.
As the ax began its descent, at the last second it was stopped short. Peter looked up to see the back of Matthew and the ax head over his right shoulder. The handle had come down on Matthews right clavicle, and it had done some damage.
Big Peter cast aside Matthew with one hand and the boy skidded to a stop on the gymnasium floor. Once he regained his composure, big Peter once again raised the ax in position to finish off little Peter. However, before he could begin the swing, the strong hand of Father Michael had grabbed at the ax handle and jerked it from big Peter so hard that the bully tumbled over backwards.
Father Michael wasn't alone either. He had two nuns and a truant officer from the school with him.
"Students!" said Father Michael. "Back to your dorms, now!"
The nuns went along with the body of students and ushered them along their way. Meanwhile, little Peter scooted over to Matthew on the ground to check his friend over. Matthew was grasping his collar bone and squirming in pain.
"Matthew!" wheezed Peter. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," said Matthew through the pain. "Better than you would be if that ax had come down."
Peter managed to smile. Matthew risked his own life to save Peter, and that was something he would remember forever.
Rushing to Matthews side was Father Michael, while the truant officer took big Peter off to the main office.
"It's going to be okay my son," said the Father. "The nurses are on the way. "
"Thank you Father," said Matthew.
Father Michael smiled at Matthew, and then to Peter. He wanted to get the full story from the boys, but that could wait until they had both been attended to for their injuries. Whatever had happened, it had been a story that would surely be told for decades after the boys left the halls of St. Clarke.
For the explanation of the story following the events of this final chapter of the blog of Peter, look for the Collected Works of Trinity the Troublemaker. Coming late 2016