I couldn’t believe that I’d finally, at long last, reached the last day of school. No more having to tolerate Logan Ashstead, or ‘ass-head’, as nobody would call him to his face. He was the vilest bully… even some of the teachers winced when he’d walk into the room, late, and always pushing someone out of his way as he made his way noisily to his desk. Luckily for me, he was on the opposite side of the room, so I didn’t need to deal with him there. I had that joy in the corridors.

Logan didn’t like anybody. He didn’t like anybody being happy, and he was only happy himself making others unhappy. He was in detention everyday for one reason or another, not that he ever learned a lesson from it. He’d be given lines to write, only to pass the punishment onto one of his victims. The teachers didn’t take long to notice how his handwriting was always changing, and when one of the girls he forced to write out his lines added an extra line in the middle telling the teachers Logan was bullying her, this type of punishment stopped for him. Unfortunately for the girl, Anna Rose, Logan knew it was her who’d dobbed him in, so naturally he got revenge.

I can never forget the look of fear on her face as he’d tied her to the top of the climbing apparatus in the school gym. She’d only been there for a couple of hours by the time the gymnastics class found her, and when they eventually got her down she was in floods of tears.

It was Connor Rawlinson who rescued her. He was the year’s alpha male who had everything going for him. Dark hair, blue eyes, natural muscles which just fit his body perfectly… and then he wore just the right clothes on top that showed everything off.

Whereas Logan was known to everyone, Connor tended to stay with his own group – the athletic set, as we’d nicknamed them. He knew he was good-looking, but never made a big deal out of it. Logan wasn’t as good-looking as Connor, but he would have been a hundred times better if it wasn’t for his ugly personality.

We were all in set groups, in our year at school: the athletes, the nerds, the teacher’s pets, the drifters, the in-betweeners, the rough lot, the clever-clogs, and the normaltons. We did cross over into another group’s ‘patch’ occasionally, but usually we knew which group a person belonged to. A bit judgmental, but it really was obvious.

Anna was a clever-clog. Connor, an athlete. Logan was part of the rough lot. And me? I was a bit of a nerd… with links to the clever-clogs and the normaltons. I don’t like defining myself as belonging to any one particular group. Well, I didn’t.

My name is Alexander Long. Al to my friends, Alex to those who were about to get to know me – I had a great idea to reinvent myself after leaving school – and Alexander to all in my family.

My immediate family were my Mum, Hazel, and Dad, Jim, and my younger brother Lawrence and Granny, Mum’s Mum who lived in the granny flat in the back garden. She called it her shed, but it was a proper self-contained flat. We lived in a largish house in the Wells area of Blackchester, and this was one of the reasons Logan didn’t like me.

Logan lived over on the ‘dark side’ of Blackchester, in Dress. It had the nickname of duress, as it was deemed so rough that even the police patrol cars patrolled in pairs. It was always in the local news for one reason or another and not very many people still lived there, at the time. It was earmarked for re-development, but not until all residents had moved away. And Logan’s Dad, Oswald, had no intention of leaving.

Anna lived in the next street to me, and after the gym incident she would always walk to and from school with me. She was a timid little thing, but had a real fun sense of humour when you got to know her, not that many people did.

Connor lived in between Dress and Wells, in Ellson’s Fields, which at one time had the same reputation as Dress, but had gone through its re-development and was now one of the more desirable areas to live in. Logan resented Connor for this, but as Connor was an athlete, Logan didn’t mess with him.

And talking of desirable, Connor has a brother, Adam. My secret crush at the time, that nobody knew about. Nobody. Except Adam himself, that is.

So. The last day of school had arrived. I’d finished my final exam, and we were allowed to leave the hall at 2:15pm. There were quite a few of us leaving school that day, Connor and Anna included, and we were all in that final exam together. There must have been twenty of us – maybe even more, but as we walked out, the teachers had lined the pathway to the school gates to see us off into the outside world. My favourite teacher, Mrs Giles, dashed out and hugged me as I walked by, tears streaming down her face.

The headmaster stood at the gates and gave a little speech about how what we had learned during school was only a small step in the lessons we would learn moving forward through our lives. He told us not to be afraid of change, and to embrace it. He told us to keep strong and work hard at whatever we did, and on whatever pathway we eventually went down.

It was a nice speech, the words themselves haven’t stuck with me, but the general meaning has, especially the embracing change part.

As I walked through those gates, Anna in tears beside me after she had hugged her favourite teacher, Mrs Plimstone, I had no idea just how important that embrace change part was. Although I was very soon to find out.


Following on from my tale of DC’s Dawnstar, which ended last week, I wanted to continue with a superhero story, this time featuring one of my own characters. I wrote this back in 2017, with the intention of expanding it into a full story at the time, although it remains now as a three-part introduction to an introduction.

The character, Lycralad, is one of the members of the Elite Force of Britain, a superhero team that appeared in my Superhero Diaries series (and those stories can be found in my Storylines menu). The characters are quirky, and caricature-like, but quite one-dimensional.

My idea for this run of stories (Beginnings) was to give a little further insight into the characters and their extended family and friends, before they became part of a super team. As it stands now, Lycralad is the only character I chose for this series, before moving on to other things, for some reason. (Me, that is, not Lycralad!)

As DC’s Dawnstar was intended to be a one-off post, which grew wings (so to speak!), who knows… these stories may do the same.

At least we can still go Beyond the Sphere and into the world of Superheroes!

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