Skyfire Stories: Izzy
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
The rhythmic sound of the clock set against the dorm room wall was like a heartbeat. Across from it, there sat a young man slumped in a wooden chair. He stared forlornly as the seconds passed by, sighing intermittently.
He sat backwards on the chair with his chin perched on the back. The blanched, peach colored walls gave his pale skin a softer hue. It was a lightning format he preferred, for it helped hide some of the pock-marks and weeping blemishes tarnishing his face.
His red hair stuck out in all directions. The tight curls looked as though they hadn’t been brushed in weeks, and sat lopsided on his square-shaped head. Almost unconsciously, dirt fingers picked at the scabs on his cheeks from previously popped pimples.
Moments stretched on. Tick. Pick. Tock. Pop. In the young man’s other hand was a crumbled piece of paper. A large, red ‘F-‘ could be seen on the top right corner.
He violently swung his arm, throwing the scrunched paper at the clock. It bounced ineffectually against the glass face, then landed on the floor amidst grimy dishes and dirty clothing.
“Who the hell does she think she is, anyway? Her whole class is garbage. She is garbage. You know what she said to me when she handed the test back? ‘Maybe if you spent more time listening and less time complaining about everyone else, you’d get a better score.’ Like what the hell!”
He snorted derisively, swinging around to face the single desk that graced the dorm room. It was situated by a window, and as he seethed the youngster glared at his classmates, wandering through the campus, blissfully unaware of his impotent wrath.
The tepid response came from another, older boy. He was stretched out on a simple bed, over the covers, holding a book up in front of his face. The hardcover volume had ‘ISSTH’ scrawled on its surface in gold script.
He glowered at the students outside, on their way to classes or to meet friends. He himself didn’t have any, despite growing up on Skyfire. “It’s not my fault I’m surrounded by a bunch of assholes. Everyone else can’t get their shit together, and I’m being blamed for pointing it out.”
“Thanks for that.” The kid’s roommate never pulled his eyes from the book, but the irritated glower on his face spoke volumes.
He was an average looking guy, clearly a few years older than his colleague. Crisp green, clear eyes shot back and forth along the pages. His side of the room looked well maintained, and in fact the delineation the two halves was almost comical, to the point where the blue carpet was two different shades.
“Why doesn’t she just do her goddamn job, instead of giving this pointless commentary. I don’t give a flying rat’s ass what her opinion is. She’s here to teach, not force her thoughts on us. Literally the only thing that bimbo is good for is eye candy.”
Finally, the older student lay his book open against his chest. Almost begrudgingly, his head tuned on the pillow to regard the infuriated youth.
“Alright. Aside from that exceptionally crappy comment about Professor Tan, let’s examine the situation on the ground. Did she take the test for you?”
“What kind of dumb-ass question in that,” the other replied, shooting him an agitated and confused glance.
“I’ll take that as a no,” his roommate replied. “So that leaves you. It’s logical, then, to assume that the result of the test is directly correlated to your own performance. If you didn’t do well, perhaps you need to study harder.”
“It’s logical to assume she’s a goddamn toad. I’d do better on tests if she was a better teacher. You know she kicked me out three times last week?”
“Yeah. I heard you wouldn’t stop harassing her about the chapter on mecha fail-safes. All three times were about the same ten pages.”
“Exactly!” The younger man cried, though it was unclear what he was affirming, a fact that wasn’t lost on the older student. “That’s what I’m saying. She kept going on about this anecdotal nonsense, talking about times she was in the field. Like bitch, I’m not you. I’m trying to pass your lame class so I can get paired with a real instructor.”
“That’s not-“ The guy on the best pinched the bridge of his nose, and sighed heavily. After a moment, he pushed himself up to a seated position, and set his book aside. “Listen. Izzy. I’m not tryin’ to be a pain, but maybe she has a point. Listen to yourself right now. You spend half your time getting in to arguments with strangers in DreamNet, and the other half playing video games. Pick up a book dude, doesn’t even have to be a text book. But if you did study half as hard as you bitched about other people, you’d be top of your class.”
Izzy jabbed a middle finger towards his roommate. “What are you, my f*ckin’ mother? It must be nice being in the good-boy class. Are you a good boy? Someone’s little bitch? I dunno what you had to do to get in to that cushy ARC class, but I’m sure society wouldn’t approve. Mind your own damn business, Geliang.”
The bed groaned as the older boy shot to his feet. Izzy visibly flinched. Aside from the fact that his roommate was an upper classman, and quite a few years his senior, he was also a sixth-ranked Talent. Izzy himself was just barely first-ranked.
It took Geliang several long, calming breaths before he could speak. His voice was low, but firm. “Suyuan next door still hasn’t heard from his girlfriend after you publicly went off about his dinner with that other girl, who turned out to be his sister –“
“Well if their relationship was that fragile it deserved to end. And anyway I thought he was cheating, I had a moral responsibility,” he started. Geliang cut him off.
“- then there’s Tiantian, who had to change schools because you wouldn’t stop talking to literally everyone about her assault.”
“She shouldn’t have gone out in a skirt whe-“
“AND me, among a dozen others, who has to sit here day in, and day out and listen to this. Izzy, I’m telling you man, when you stop being a shit-noodle, things will go better for you. No one listens to a person they don’t respect.”
Geliang didn’t wait for an answer, he wasn’t interested. He snatched up his book and left the room, leaving Izzy stunned and alone.
The young man turned his eyes outside again, following the students who meandered through the dappled sunshine of the afternoon.
“What the hell is his problem,” he mused aloud.