Chapter 1: A Boy Named Lady
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Frantic footsteps could be heard down the hall as doctor Marcus leaned back in his office chair and rubbed his eyes. A knocking at the door interrupted the brief moment of rest he had found. 

“What is it?” He asked, not bothering to hide the annoyance in his voice as he opened the door. 

A young nurse looked up at him while fiddling with the clipboard in her hands, “The mother is gone, no one can find her.”

“Who’s mother?” Marcus asked, stepping out of his room and into the brightly lit hallway. 

“The baby that was just born, he was born prematurely so the nurses moved him to an incubator” The nurse continued, her face clearly displaying her worry, “One of the receptionist said she saw her step outside for a breath of fresh air but she’s gone” 

“And what about the father?” Markus asked, grabbing the clipboard from her hands and looking at it. “He never showed,” she responded sadly.

Attached to the clipboard in his hands was a birth certificate that read This certifies that Lady Whitman was born to Abigail Whitman in this hospital at 7:06 o’clock, am, on the 19th day of December, 1999. 

“We have the mothers name at least so we should be able to find her” The nurse said hopefully.

The doctor scowled while handing her back the clipboard, “Don’t bother with the mother, the name she left is a fake no doubt. You mentioned the boy was born prematurely, how bad is it?”

“We don’t have an exact date but we estimate anywhere from 14 to 18 weeks premature” She responded gravely.

“Just keep him in the incubator and make sure his temperature is regulated” Marcus instructed “I can pull someone to cover your shift”

Marcus continued down the hall reaching a small break room as the nurse left to attend to the baby.

He poured a cup of watered down coffee into a small styrofoam cup and stared at the murky brown liquid lost in thought. 

Wait, did she really name the kid Lady, he thought to himself as he took a sip of coffee from the cup.

__ 14 Years Later __

Lady looked at the boxes in the corner of the room. His arms ached from carrying them in despite the boxes not being that heavy. He had resolved to fully move in and unpack today but his resolve crumbled before he had even started. Laying on the unmade bed in the corner of the room he began recounting the weeks leading up to his eviction from the sunny hills orphanage. Lady had lived in orphanages or in foster homes for as long as he could remember. 

He had always been short and skinny for his age but his sickly disposition meant that his frail body was constantly racked by some summer cold or winter flu.  Despite a body befitting of someone a few years younger, his hollow eyes, thin lips, and wispy hair ensured that most people who saw him would find him creepy rather than cute. 

A stigma seemed to develop around him as rumors that he was cursed followed him from place to place. His last stint at sunny hills had only lasted for only a few months after he graduated middle school and now, Lady was preparing to attend high school while living on his own. The small room he was renting had the bare essentials and the items he owned and had brought with him fit into only three boxes. 

The first of the three boxes contained his school supplies. Notebooks and pencils as well as a cheap white backpack he had been given by one of the few foster parents that looked after him when he was in elementary school. 

The second box contained all of his personal effects including his clothes and toiletries. All of them were donations and hand me downs making it hard to assemble a cohesive outfit, not that he cared much for fashion. 

The last box was rather precious, in it was a hand built pc and monitor as well as several other electronic accessories. The computer had been built during his middle school days when he scavenged behind the city's electronic stores looking for parts. Growing up, he had never had anyone he could call a friend and the computer allowed him to play games with people online and make friends online. The monitor was a more recent addition from his new part time boss who had told him she had little use for it.

With no real friends, the computer had served as Lady’s only form of social interaction for the past four years. He had several friends online, some of whom he played games with while others he just chatted with. 

His thoughts were interrupted as he felt a sudden vibration in his pocket. A black cellphone emerged from his pocket as his slender fingers typed in the password to look at his messages. 

His eyes skimmed the text on the screen and he smiled as he began to type a reply. One of his few online friends who often played games with him had sent a message

MagicalGirlLover: Can you get on Citadel Heartscape tonight?

LadyKiller: No, I haven't set up my computer at the new place.

MagicalGirlLover :( 

LadyKiller: I’ll do it tomorrow, too tired rn

MagicalGirlLover: U better, school starts tomorrow and I need to vent

LadyKiller: K, ttyl

MagicalGirlLover was one of Lady’s closest friends online. While they didn’t share much personal information. The two were both in the same grade and had the same taste in games. Their online friendship had started off rocky, but they had slowly become close to the point where MagicalGirlLover played games with him every evening and had exchanged contacts to talk when they couldn’t play games.

Lady turned off his phone and set it on his bedside table. He rolled over in bed muttering to himself “that's right, school starts tomorrow”. Lady was about to begin his first year in high school and to say he wasn’t looking forward to it would be an understatement.

His middle school years had been plagued by eager bullies and negligent teachers. His frail physique had made him easy pickings for the myriad of teens and preteens that needed a person to vent their anger on or someone to beat up to improve their own image and self esteem.

He hoped that things at this new high school would be different, but deep down, he knew better. Another three years of the same old thing. Lady worked to suppress the rampant thoughts as he pulled the blanket over his head and shut his eyes.

The sound of quiet breathing could be heard throughout the room as Lady slowly drifted off to sleep, lights still on, boxes still unpacked.

___

Anna Hirsh woke up late.

Her hair was a mess and her head hurt. Upon remembering it was the first day of school, she nearly leaped out of bed and ran to the bathroom ignoring her headache. “Dammit!” She muttered as she tried to comb her hair while brushing her teeth.

Throwing some clothes on, she grabbed her bag and ran out the door slamming it behind her. Power Walking to the bus stop, she broke out into a full sprint as she approached the bus stop only to see the bus pulling away. “Mother fucker!” she howled, throwing her school bag into the street and falling to her knees. 

Anna slowly picked herself up and walked over to her backpack picking it off the ground and throwing it over her shoulder. She pulled her pink phone out and began typing out a message to her best friend.

Gonna be late on the first day, I hate school

Anna dressed like a typical delinquent with ripped jeans and t-shirts featuring punk rock and metal bands on them. Anna had her hair done up in a ponytail, streaks of brilliant red obscuring the natural blonde color. Her face was quite beautiful and her deep brown eyes and plump red lips betrayed her angry demeanor and rebellious style.

When Anna finally arrived, It was already halfway through the second period. After ignoring the teacher's scolding, she made her way to the back of the class where two of her friends had saved her a seat. One of her friends turned to her with a grin “Why didn’t ya tell us you were skipping First Period”. 

“I wasn’t skipping, I just missed the stupid bus” she responded curtly with a scowl. Her friends giggled as the teacher got on with the lesson and Anna pulled out her notebook. She tried to take notes but the lesson was so boring that her pencil began to stall and her eyes drifted from the notebook to the pink phone on her desk.

She opened her phone and checked her messages but the one sent this morning was still marked as unread. The sound of the bell interrupted her thoughts as she picked up her things and headed towards her next class. The crowded hallways made her feel slightly claustrophobic but she endured the feeling. The highly visible scowl on her otherwise pretty face and the rumors surrounding her made most of the other students give her a wide berth as she walked.

Only one of her friends was in her third period class and the two found seats in the back while the teacher prepared her notes. “Hey the guy in front of us, Isn’t that Ladybird?” Her friend asked with a smirk. The boy in front of them was wearing a plain white hoodie and had a mop of messy gray hair atop his head. The temples of his glasses could be seen poking out from behind his ears and he seemed to be intently focused on the notebook in front of him.

“Yea, looks like it” She replied with a nod. Her friend's eyes lit up as though she had found a new toy. “I bet that gross fag followed you here Anna, He probably loved being your errand boy so much that he followed you here.” 

The two continued to tease Lady behind his back as the teacher began her lesson. Anna had always had trouble releasing her anger, especially in middle school, and Lady made the perfect target. He was a weird kid to say the least. The best way she could describe him is that he reminded her of her neighbor's pet dog when she was a child. The old Rottweiler was well past its prime and likely already had a foot in the grave. She had always wanted a dog as a kid but the Rottweiler creeped her out with its cold dead eyes that would stare at her from the neighbors porch.

While she reminisced, Her friend Sara had ripped a sizable chunk out of a notebook page and was currently balling it up. Anna looked at the paper ball in her friend's hand and said “10 points if you make it in the hood.” 

“Deal” She replied as she lined up her shot tossing the paper ball into the air. The ball sailed before hitting the back of his head and bouncing off his hair into the floor. “You’re so bad” Anna Laughed as she saw her friend readying another paper ball. Sarah was about to throw it when the bell for lunch rang indicating the class was halfway through. Ladybird quickly stood up holding the notebook to his chest and left the classroom. 

“Yo, he left his backpack!” Sara exclaimed pointing at the bag by Lady’s unoccupied desk. ‘You think he’s got something gross like porn mags in there or something.”

“Only one way to find out” Anna shrugged. The two made their way to his desk trying to appear casual as students left to head for the cafeteria while others opened lunch boxes and shifted desks together. Anna opened the bag but was disappointed to find it filled with normal school supplies. 

“Look at this thing, You think it even works?” her friend asked, reaching into the bag and pulling out an old cell phone. Anna grabbed the phone from her friend's hand and hit the power button. Curious to see if the piece of junk would start. “Maybe he has a lewd wallpaper,” Sara laughed. 

Anna watched as the screen lit up. Displayed on the phone was a single notification. 

 1 new message 

MagicalGirlLover: Gonna be late on the first day, I hate school

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