Highly Commended Story - Peer Pressure
“Peer Pressure” by Rida Sheikh, Bisak, Saudi Arabia, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Rida is in year 9 at Bisak in Saudi Arabia. She loves reading and writing ever since she was young. Some of her favorite books are the 'Divergent' series and 'We were liars'. Currently she is reading the 'Twilight' series. She also enjoys baking and art, and does a lot of painting and drawing as well as graphic art. When she is older she would like to be either a publisher or writer. Rida would also love to travel around the world and explore and write stories based in different countries as she learns more about the different cultures.
The moment is here. It has been in the back of my mind for a while now. This very dreaded moment that tests my eternal morality.
“So, are you up for it or not?” William Shaw spits at my face. I gulp and stammered my words
“I-I’m not sure, I don’t want to die Will”
“Aw is someone scared” he raises the pitch of his voice to mock me.
“no I’m not, I’ll do it,” I stand up straight and stick my chest out as if I’m brave and bold “give me the helmet.” I stick my hand out and josh who held the helmet and safety pads, he gives me each piece and I one by one strap them on.
“you know what to do, right?”
“don’t worry, this is gonna be epic”
“alright golden boy, take it away.”
I tighten the Velcro straps of the safety pads and helmet. loosen up my body. Close my eyes. Clear my head. Take a deep breath. I open my eyes and analyze my track and memorize my turns. Lastly josh hands me two small coloured balls in each of my hands. I inhale a deep breath.
1 ,2, 3, go! they all chant. At the call of go I push my foot off the ground, making the skateboard move forward. The wheels roll over the coarse, grey concrete. The wind is thrown in my face, tousling my hair everywhere. The frosty air freezes my face, crusting the skin of my lips. The hairs on my arms jump up as I get closer to the ramp that will and josh made out of cardboard and supported by chairs. As I roll past I can hear the children surrounding me cheering my name “Stephan! Stephan!” I feel my heart starting to beat faster and faster, a lump forms in my throat as I approach the ramp.
It happens so fast. The skateboard slides over the ramp and flies upwards. I feel a rush of everything from the wind against my face to the blood that is rushing around my body from my racing heart. When my body is in mid-air I throw out the small balls- smoke bombs. Huge clouds of blue and yellow smoke emerge from the small balls. I feel every camera stuck to me, the phones follow me as I whizz pass. I quickly escape the puffs of pigment and land on a long smooth table. I roll of the table and crashed my knees to the ground. I crawl towards an immense pillar and rest my back against it.
I look at the explosion I just caused. I stare in awe of what just happened. I can’t believe I did it. I quickly rip of the elbow and knee pads and helmet, I bounce up and feel a rush of instant regret. Suddenly, I can hear the crazy teenagers scream and make unnecessary noise that deafens me. The kids jump up and down and run through the coloured cloud and crowd around me, Will comes to me and gives me a fist bump. I still feels an extreme amount of remorse but I feel better seeing how much everyone likes it.
Everyone takes pictures and videos and continue to obsess over the very pretty mess we made.
“silence!” a deep voice shouts. Everyone instantly freezes and turn their heads to face a tall, plump man. His balding head rounds his big silhouette through the fog of Colour. The grouchy man huffs his way through the blue and yellow cloud. He wears rectangle glasses on the tip of his nose, he looks down at me making sure I know I’m in trouble.
“good afternoon principal wardwall” I very shyly say
“oh you wipe that innocent look off your face right this instant because you, you…” his eyebrows furrow and I feel like he gets taller, his nostrils flair and he points his finger at me with a growing stern look on his face “are in so much trouble young man and you know it! I’ve already contacted your parents your mom is waiting in my office.”
I start walking and feel like I’m walking through the path of shame
but then I see Will’s face, he says “that was sick dude, yeah!” the rest of the boys laugh and smile at me as I walk into the school. Everyone was cheering me on for being a ‘rebel’. I feel better because all the kids thought I was cool.
When I saw my mums face, I felt a shower of guilt fall upon me. She was so disappointed and shocked by my actions, she looked like I had really let her down. We all sit down
“your son just released 2 smoke bombs in a very dangerous way throughout the playground. The mess they created is atrocious” he says to my mum
She turns to me “why did you do it?”
“I’m sorry, everyone wanted me to do it so we could celebrate the last day, so I did,”
“that’s no reason” wardwall says
“sweetie, you know this is wrong and you shouldn’t do something that is wrong despite who tells you to, do you understand?” I nod, feeling so terrible for doing something so stupid, which I’m now realizing.
I don’t like what I did. it was wrong. Just because it was the last day of school and the cool kids wanted to have some fun. I don’t know what I was thinking, but the pressured feeling that I can only be accepted is if I listen to everyone else, otherwise I won’t be considered ‘cool’ I won’t get the luxurious fame and popularity everyone desires in school. But that stuff doesn’t matter and I should’ve known that. I don’t need bad friends who make me do things I’m uncomfortable with, I should have friends who enjoy doing what I enjoy, with me. I know that now and I have learnt my lesson.