Well, it’s not only Fiction Friday, it is also Children’s Day. Literature Studio wishes all it’s readers, followers, contributors, and of course students a very Happy Children’s Day. And on this day, we present to you a short story titled “Ryan” written by our student Shreya Pothula. So here goes:
Ryan deboarded the bus and looked around. The same old school, the blinds falling off like always, the field free of bloodsucking leeches for once. He smiled. Ryan was happy to be back after two months.
He turned around and found himself looking straight into John’s face, and that was enough to wipe the smile off his face. John, on the other hand, was grinning in a rather horrifying manner. “Oh, so you’re back? I thought two years of torture were enough. Well, I don’t mind dealing with nerds for three years in a row.” “Please,” said Ryan timidly as John cornered him against the boundary wall. John clenched his fist, but before he could punch Ryan, Mr. Rajesh intervened. He was their Science teacher.
“Good morning children!” said Mr. Rajesh. “Good morning Sir!”exclaimed both the boys. Mr. Rajesh handed out some pamphlets to them. “I would love it if you students could take part in this year’s Inter-school Science contest and win the trophy! Ryan, think about it,” Mr. Rajesh gave Ryan a meaningful look and walked away.
A few minutes later, Ryan was sitting in the Art class.
The Art teacher was yet to arrive and as usual everyone was shouting on the top of their voices. But Ryan sat in his chair and stared at the paper that contained the details of the contest. He looked around, and was glad to find that John wasn’t in his division this year. He heaved a sigh of relief and, grabbing a pencil, started drawing a picture of a boy holding a big trophy, with the words “SCIENCE CHAMPION” carved on it in bold letters.
During the snacks break Ryan left his snack box unopened and ran off to find Mr. Rajesh. Ryan found him in the cafeteria with his colleagues. All of them were laughing. Perhaps a teacher had cracked a joke. Ryan went up to them and cleared his throat. Mr. Rajesh didn’t hear him.
“Excuse me, Sir,” Ryan said. This time he managed to catch Mr. Rajesh’s attention. The teacher seemed surprised to see Ryan there.
“Well, Ryan!” he asked, “What are you doing here, child? Shouldn’t you be having your snacks now?”
“That’s okay Sir, I’m not hungry,” Ryan said, looking the teacher in the eye. “Actually, sir, I came to get the form for the science competition.”
“Oh, that!” Mr. Rajesh still looked surprised. It wasn’t too often that a student missed the snacks and came running after him for something academic. “I was anyways planning to bring a few forms to your class during the Science period today. I will hand one over to you then. Don’t worry,” he smiled. “Now go back. Your snack break’s almost over.”
And sure enough Mr. Rajesh remembered to bring a form to the science class, and handed it over to Ryan first thing, even before scribbling the topic of the day on the blackboard. Ryan carefully folded the form and placed it in the first compartment of his school bag.
Ryan rang the bell a hundred times till his mom opened the door with an annoyed face. She started, “Ryan! What were you trying to do?! What’s wrong…” “Nothing is wrong Ma! Everything’s going just right!” He dropped his backpack on the floor and pulled out the form. He placed it in his mom’s hands. She read it and smiled at him, “Now now, this is just the beginning son. You have to work extremely hard towards this. Okay?”
“Yes ma. I will.”
Ryan submitted the form the next day. Mr. Rajesh was delighted. “Try your best. You’ll make the school proud if you win. It’s not as easy as you think, but I have high hopes from you, child!” .
Ryan decided to make a plastic model of the Solar System for the contest and started working towards it immediately. He assembled the glue, paper, scissors, paints, wire, plastic spheres, and so much more, and started putting the model together. He sacrificed his play hours, and even his television time. He went to bed early so that he could wake up early to continue with the project. And within two days, there was a beautiful solar system sitting on Ryan’s desk. His mom was amazed, and he, too, applauded himself.
Even though the contest was still a couple of days away, Ryan was desperate to show his model to Mr. Rajesh. And so, the next morning, he found himself sitting in the school bus with his Solar System on his lap. Upon reaching the school, Ryan walked very carefully holding the model protectively. It had rained during the night and Ryan didn’t want the model to fall into a puddle. He reached the class and placed his model by the window that looked into the corridor.
John’s classroom was right across the corridor. It hadn’t been a minute since the model was kept there that John’s eyes fell on it. He was astonished. The nerve cells in his brain started buzzing. He wasn’t participating, but he didn’t want Ryan to participate either. So the same day, when Ryan was at P.E., John made his way to Ryan’s desk and found the Solar system model.
Ryan came back from P.E. to find his model smashed into countless pieces -the biggest piece less than a centimeter long. He looked around and when he turned towards the window, he saw John looking at him. And as soon as their eyes met, John winked and gave him a thumbs-up. Ryan clenched his teeth and squinted at John with tears in his eyes. He ran to the staff room and told Mr. Rajesh everything.
“It’s okay Ryan, don’t give up. If you lose hope just because of John and his ruthless ways, you might never be able to participate in any competition in school. Cheer up and let’s begin all over again. And about John, leave it to me, I will deal with him.”
Three days later, Ryan and his parents reached the amphitheatre where the contest was to be held. He took got out of the car and straightened his school uniform. All the students were seated there.
Students from various schools were called upon by their names one by one to present their models.
“Ryan!” As soon as his name was called, Ryan turned to look at John. The shock on John’s face made him feel really happy.
As Ryan started presenting his model, John’s eyes grew wider and wider. Not only had Ryan rebuilt the model, he had even added lights on the surface of the sun and reflectors on the moons. His planets could be hand-revolved around their orbits and rotated on their axes.
When Ryan’s name was announced as the winner, no one was surprised. As he stood on the stage, receiving the prize, he winked at John and gave him a quick thumbs-up. John fumed and started walking towards the exit. And just before he exited, he turned around and mouthed something at Ryan.
“What do you think he said?” asked Mr. Rajesh, who was standing next to Ryan on the stage.
“I’m not sure, but it sounded like ‘You wait and watch’,” replied Ryan happily. This was the first time he felt no fear, at least as far as John was concerned.
Shreya Pothula, too shy to write about herself, left the job to us, and we hope we are able to do justice to this little dynamite. All of 13 years, Shreya is full of questions and, if you have dared to undertake teaching her, you better know your stuff, because “it is true because I say so” just won’t work with her. This intelligent young lady has the potential to make you pull your hair out, and at the same time surprise you with the sheer brilliance of her personality and her writings. And beneath the questions and the logical exterior, hides a sensitive soul who feels deeply for the society and wants to make a difference. There’s much more to her than this, but We will let her story do the talking.