Chapter nine---Standing ground
6:07 AM | Author: Jeff
Jay’s life became pretty much normal and by his 16th birthday, he had a girl, a couple of good buddies and was even doing well on the twin oaks high wrestling team. He and Pops never spoke of his “parents” and when people asked about them, he just told them that his parents had died when he was young. Jay had come a long way.
When he had first attended Twin oaks elementary, it had been hard, he had never been to school and as such was academically four years behind his peers, Pop’s and the school headmaster had decided to put Jay in a class based on his age group, in fact, Pops had insisted in it, Jay would find it hard for a while, but not as hard as being in a room full of kids four years younger than he was. The headmaster had listened to the sad details that surrounded Jays past, and had held a meeting to inform all the faculty of his condition, Pop’s had begun extra study sessions for Jay at home to help bring him up to speed, and with the help and support of the teachers and headmaster, Jay had caught up in no time, academically Jay began to excel, his mind had spent so many years being bored and un nurtured that he readily soaked up all the little things most kids took for granted and grew quickly into a keen observer of the subtle details, he had an uncanny ability to read peoples emotions, an ability born of the abuse he had suffered, reading people had been a matter of survival, now it was a matter of choice. After the initial shock of being in the alien environment of a school yard had worn off, Jay began to settle in, of coarse he had been teased, he was so quiet, flinched easily and he knew nothing about sports, except fishing, his eyes grew wide when ever the subject came up. Though the bullies tried to intimidate him, he always stood his ground, Jay was no stranger to threats, it wasn’t that he was brave, it’s just that he had never had the option to run away before and frankly the thought never entered his mind, the bullies would push at him trying to back him down and Jay would just stand there staring blankly at them. This seeming act of courage sparked the interest of Paul O’Donnell, a skinny ginger hair boy who had seen his fair share of beatings from his father. Before Jay had come, Paul had been targeted and humiliated by the bullies. He had always cowered before them, just as he cowered before his fathers rage, never had he thought of standing his ground, never that is, until he met Jay Sutherland.

Paul, had never seen anything like it, Brad Burrows the biggest and meanest kid in the whole of twin oaks, a bully that had made Paul cower and cry on numerous occasions had decided to teach Jay Sutherland, who was boss, school had finished about fifteen minutes before, and everyone who had heard about today, which was everyone in the school, had gathered in the field behind the old abandoned Miles farmhouse, to see what Jay would do. No one had ever stood up to Brad, he rarely pushed like the other bullies, Brad was mean, he punched and kicked even when you were on your back, he only stopped when you begged and cried enough.
‘What would Jay do?’ thought just about everyone, but no one more than Paul, some people said Jay probably wouldn’t even show, but surely enough there he was standing, waiting as the crowd formed around him, his face devoid of emotion, not even the slightest sign of fear.
Five minutes later Brad and his goons, two of the dumbest kids in the school Chris Parker and Mark Randal, pushed their way through the crowd, Brad faced off with Jay, who was much smaller and wiry than him, with a sadistic grin on his face he stared into Jays blank eyes, Brad lived for these moment, he loved to humiliate his fellow man.
“Don’t talk much do you, freak?” teased Brad, his eyes searching for any kind of spark in Jays eyes, the usual sign of fear, anything. Jay just stared blankly back at him.
“What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?” teased Chris from behind Brad punctuating the remark with a self gratifying chuckle.
“I think he’s retarded or something, got brain damage” added Mark.
“Is that right, queer boy, got brain damage do you?” jabbed Brad.
“No” answered Jay to everyone’s surprise, his expression unchanged, for many of the kids present this was the first time they had heard Jay Sutherland speak.
“Well, you're gonna get damaged today, freak!” retorted Brad, unable to mask his surprise, ‘the freak talked’.
Brads remark brought a collective murmur from the crowd of students that formed a circle around them, even though everyone knew there would be a fight, watching the pre fight banter got them more riled up. Girls cringed, boys hollered, their eyes widening with excitement. Paul watched in horror, his stomach turning, he was usually in the middle of situations like this, helpless afraid and alone, desperate for anyone to help him, his fear impounded by the cheers from the crowd, but today was different, he was outside of it, watching, this strange boy, who never spoke, and had no friends, a boy who, had in fact saved Paul, by taking his place. Paul wanted to help him, wanted to rush the center of the circle and tell Brad and his goons to back off, problem was, Paul was scared.
The fight began; Brad threw a wild roundhouse to Jay’s right eye, landing perfectly, the impact making a dull thud noise, the force of it sending Jay to the floor.
Brad was proud of himself, the punch was perhaps the best punch he had ever landed, he wished his father had been here to see it, and ‘Dad would have been proud of that one’ he thought.
For a second as Jay lay on the ground there was silence, Jay’s head was spinning a little, but he had taken harder hits from Hank, by comparison Brads punch felt like a slap. The crowd broke in cheer, girls gasped in horror, unable to look away, though they looked on with unblinking eyes, the boys cheered Brad, Paul had trouble breathing, Brad walked around Jay, who was still lying on the ground, a smug look on his face, almost daring anyone to challenge him.
Suddenly the cheering of the crowd stopped, Paul’s heart skipped a beat, Jay was getting to his feet.
Slowly Brad turned and watched with the rest of the school as Jay rose to his feet, still wearing the same blank expression he always wore, his right eye starting to glow red, there were no tears in his eyes, no hint of pain, everyone was silent, Brads mouth was slightly agape in shock, no one ever got up after taking a punch from Brad Burrows, and this hadn’t been a normal punch, this had been Brad’s best punch ever. Paul watched in awe, his eyes wide, the crowd was poised waiting to see what would happen next.
Brad knew he had to do something quick, if he didn’t his reputation stood to take a serious blow, he rushed at Jay, who stood there staring at him, his arms hung limply at his side making no attempt to protect himself, Brad struck with all his force, delivering a powerful blow to Jays stomach, he heard the wind rush from Jays lungs as his body doubled over. Brad stepped back, still poised to deliver another blow if necessary, though he was sure it wasn’t, two blows like that were more than enough to break a runt like this one he assured himself, this time the crowd was silent.
Jay stood there, bent over, his hands on his knees to steady himself, slowly he straighten his back taking a deep breathe as he did. Paul watched with a mixture of awe and horror, the voice in his head, screamed “Stay down!”, but the voice in his heart rejoiced, for here was someone who would not be bullied, and that was something to aspire to and be inspired by.
Brad swung another viscous right hook to Jay’s already swollen right eye, this time it was just short, merely clipping Jay as it swung by, but delivering enough power to throw Jays head back in a violent jerk. Jay staggered two or three steps back, shaking off the blow, as another body shot sent a shot of pain down his left rib.
Paul couldn’t take it anymore, he knew what it was like to be on the receiving end of those punches, although he usually fell after the first, but enough was enough. He had hardly had time to process his actions before he had gone too far to turn back. He heard his voice, though it sounded strange, powerful and yet distant as if it were actually some body else’s voice.
“That’s enough Burrows!” Paul yelled, as he pushed his way through the crowd to face his nemesis, “Leave him alone!”
“And who’s gonna stop me?” Brad mused
“I will” Paul replied, his voice like stone.
“You and what army” laughed Brad, looking around at the crowd like a stand up comic delivering the punch line to his audience.
But Paul held his ground, his eyes locked on Burrows, win or loose he wasn’t going to budge.
Slowly other kids stepped forward, standing besides Paul and Jay, kids who all had at one time or another been intimidated by burrows and his goons, their numbers grew until soon there were over ten boys and girls standing together as a group, defiant in the face of a bully.
Brad Burrows was at a loss, as with most bullies he used intimidation to control people, he had, had up until now, no problem in taking control of anyone he pleased, and he was sure he would have beaten Jay Sutherland down eventually, but he had never been faced with a mob before, and found himself unsure how to proceed, an unusual feeling began to well inside of him, Brad Burrows was afraid.
“Yeah, well I’ll let you live for now Sutherland” he said as he backed away from the circle, “I’ll get the lot of you!” he said turning and walking quite quickly away from the mob, his goons close on his heels, his voice lacked conviction, but then he was only a boy of ten.
Paul turned to Jay a smile on his face, though his eyes were wide and his voice shaky: the after effects of adrenalin, he held out his hand and Jay shook it.
“You Ok?” asked Paul.
“Yes Thanks” replied Jay a slightly puzzled look on his face, “Why did you help me?”
“Burrows is a jerk” said Paul simply.
“I’ve known worse” said Jay while rubbing his jaw.
“My name is Paul, you’re Jay Sutherland right?”
“You’re new in town, live with Mr. Sutherland? Is he your grandfather?”
“He’s the biggest man I’ve ever seen, maybe the biggest in the whole of twin oaks! Don’t you think?”
“You don’t talk much do you?”
Paul laughed in such a way that seemed to make it impossible for Jay not to laugh.
The crowd began to disperse amid a mass of chatter and laughs, in the middle stood two young boys who would from that day forth become inseparable.
Jay and Paul seemed to live as one entity rather than two separate beings, they would laugh at each others jokes which to anyone else made no sense, met everyday before school to walk together, shared their biggest hopes and dreams, and supported each other through their darker times, of which Paul had many.
Paul’s father continued to dish out beatings, sometimes so severe that Jay would almost march into Paul’s house to attack Paul’s father, Paul always managed to disway him. As time went by Paul spend more and more time at Jays place, together with Pops the three of them would go camping and fishing, pops began teaching them about jungle survival, and self defense, and it wasn’t long until both boys had decided they were going to be marines like Pops.
Within Pops both Jay and Paul found a father, and within each other they found themselves, together both boys grew tall and strong, together they could do anything.
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On December 1, 2007 at 6:16 AM , Adam said...

Hi all been really sick the last few days which has given me some extra time to write, hope you like chapter 9


On December 2, 2007 at 1:44 AM , Imogen said...

Firstly, I admit I didn't read the whole entry, but thats mostly because I'm highly distracted.
however, I'm quite interested and like your style of writing and applaude you commitment and perserverance to online writing.

On December 2, 2007 at 3:22 AM , Stella said...

Hey! I haven't read anything yet - I figure I should start from chapter 1 rather than 9...

I think you're very brave to let people comment when your work is in-progress. I'm too much of a scaredy cat to do that :)

On December 2, 2007 at 1:12 PM , Kathleen said...

Hi Adam,

Haven't been here for a bit, so I thought I'd stop in.

What amazes me about your work is that you have an incredible capacity to get into the minds of your characters, regardless of age or gender. That is truly a great talent.

I look forward to reading more.

If you haven't been to the Poetikat's for a while, stop in...there's lots of new stuff. Fun for all!


On December 3, 2007 at 3:41 AM , Elise said...

I'm so glad your ill! I didn't mean that in a bad way. I hope you get better soon, but I'm so glad you've had the time to write.

Kat's right you do have a talent for getting into the minds of your characters. The relationship between them is quite complex and very realistic. Are they based on real people?


On December 3, 2007 at 6:02 AM , Adam said...

Thank you all again for the great feedback!
I wouldn't say any of the characters are based on anyone I know, though I think it is impossible to write without adding a certain amount of character from those who have had an impact on you. Sometimes I see certain elements of how I view my father come through in the character of Henry, his strength, his get it done attitude, but not to a level where I would call it a character based on someone.

On December 3, 2007 at 3:20 PM , Stella said...

Hey - I was trying to use the email function but it doesn't work. (Or maybe it just doesn't work for me and my silly PC...)

Anyway, I was about to start reading chapter 1, but after reading your blog intro, I wanted to ask you a few technical questions first:

Are you taking this chapter-by-chapter or do you already have a relatively solid plot in mind?

Did you consciously pick a genre or did you go with your impulse?

Do you consider yourself as a writer for a specific genre?

I don't mean to be annoying and sound like I'm doing a survey or something, but I was interested in finding out more about your general writing approach.

On December 3, 2007 at 5:57 PM , Adam said...

Hi Stella Thank you for the interest.

I already have the entire story worked out in my head, prior to writing the first word I had visualized the entire story like a film in my minds eye.

I never really thought about genre to tell the truth, I had an idea for a story, and just ran with it, I am already visualizing my next book, which is ambitious at this early stage of this book, but thats me, my mind just wont give me peace. As for my personal genre, no I don't see myself falling into only one writing style, I enjoy too many genres to choose only one, but who knows maybe I will just naturally slip into a genre.

Often when I write my hands are playing catch up with my imagination, many times while writing a chapter, I find that I am actually focusing on the next chapter, does that make any sense?

On December 3, 2007 at 8:57 PM , Stella said...

Yes, it makes a lot of sense.

I was curious about the genre because I think many writers commit themselves to a certain genre because they feel like they can't tackle more than one, or that they're not supposed to.

As for visualizing the next project - I'm all for it. I have several things "running" at once. And I always say - if you have a good idea, write it down. No need to let it go to waste.

On December 4, 2007 at 2:42 PM , Stella said...

Hi, I read the first few chapters and I wanted to send you my comments - properly, in an email, but the Mail Me link doesn't work.

Could you sned me an email to:

Don't worry, btw :) I just had a lot to say. Too much for the comments page...

On December 4, 2007 at 3:39 PM , Keriam said...

I am really enjoying your writing. I can't wait to see your name on a book on a shelf in a giant store. Did you get a chance to look at the chapter I sent you? I curious to see if there is any potential there.


On December 4, 2007 at 11:28 PM , Adam said...




On May 7, 2008 at 9:44 AM , KAK said...

I'm back. Kind of got lost back when you did Chapter 7 - got caught up in other things.

I'm up to Chapter 9 and still loving the story. Your storytelling just flows so nicely. I'm envious of your style.

I'll catch up soon!


Reader Reviews!

"Wow. That's awesome. I like how you write, it's unique and descriptive and paints an image for you. when i was reading this first chapter, i could just picture this becoming a blockbuster movie or something." ...Toni Brolin

"I'm utterly and completely hooked! The characters are so defined and the relations between them are extremely deep. Keep writing. I can't wait to read more. x"...Elise

"What amazes me about your work is that you have an incredible capacity to get into the minds of your characters, regardless of age or gender. That is truly a great talent."...Kathleen

I'm supposed to be doing all sorts of things--writing cards, laundry, decorating and what happens? You put up another Chapter! So much for my schedule. Ooh, it's a good one, though that's for sure. What a cliffhanger. Can't wait to see what Sabian has to say. Really good tense stuff, but with just the right poignancy."...