Thomas now lived with his drunk Uncle Philip. His old shack was in the middle of nowhere with no source of life for miles. Thomas now had to do farm work every morning at four o’clock in the morning. He would always wake up to the sound of either the sound of Uncle Philip falling down the stairs again or the sound of the cawing rooster outside. Every morning the first thing Uncle Philip would say to Thomas was, “Go on then and milk them dang cows or something!” It truly was miserable for Thomas in this shame of a home. Uncle Philip wasn’t one to watch over kids like Thomas, in fact he wasn’t one to watch over anybody. Rumors say that he go’s around kidnapping children and giving them to the orphanage and lying about them having any parents. Uncle Philip was just one of those people who really, really, doesn’t like kids.

“The cows are all milked sir.” said Thomas in a glum voice, “I gotta get going to school.”

“You ain’t goin’ to school today.” said Uncle Philip.

“Why not?”

“Cus’ I said so, now get in the house or I’ll get the belt out!”

“Yes sir.” said Thomas, but he didn’t really mean it. School was the only place where he could get away from Uncle Philip. It’s where he isn’t yelled at and beaten. Riley used to be the only one who could comfort him after his parents’ death, then Uncle Philip came with the news that he would be staying with him for the time being. Thomas went in the house and went out the back door. He got his rusty blue bike out and pedaled down the side of the house. He knew Uncle Philip was as slow as a tortoise when he was drunk. He biked to the front yard where Uncle Philip was feeding the pigs. “Hey!” shouted Uncle Philip. “Get back here, you’re supposed to help me tame a capricorn!” Uncle Philip was straight drunk. He hadn’t been sober for almost five months.

Thomas raced to school on his bike. Dust shot up in Thomas’s face, making him have to cover it with his t-shirt. Thomas couldn’t wait to be free of Uncle Philip after the entire spring break. School was almost eight miles away, another reason why Thomas gets up at four o’clock. Thomas could see the red bricked school just a quarter of a mile away from him. An American flag hung outside on a silver pole in the front yard. Thomas saw kids carpooling, walking, and some were biking like him. Math, reading, social studies, and science, all awaited him in that little building. School was Thomas’s favorite place to be, in fact anywhere except Uncle Philip’s shack was his favorite place to be.

“Hey guys, Torphan’s here!” called Conner, the school bully. Except that was the only reason that Thomas would prefer anywhere else than school. Conner was usually gone playing hooky or he might just be with his gang pushing people around and smoking. “I don’t have any money, alright.” said Thomas. Conner got so close to Thomas that he could smell that he had probably not brushed his teeth in weeks. “You sure?” said Conner. “Cus’ I think I see somethin’ right…HERE!” Conner snatched all of Thomas’ books and folders and journals. “Hey, give those back!” shouted Thomas. Conner’s dim-witted gang sneered as Thomas tried reaching for his stuff, but Conner was raising them high with his arms, plus he was a lot taller than Thomas. “Oooh, what should I do with Thomas’ stuff, oh, I know, I could throw it into a puddle and smear it in your stupid face!” said Conner in a mocking tone.

A puddle was right next to them and Conner simply threw all of his stuff into it. It made a big splash, getting the muddy water all over Thomas’ jeans. Like Conner said, he picked it up and rubbed his notes and books all over his face. Thomas tried pushing away, but Conner was also a lot stronger than him. “Have a lovely day at Torion Junior High!” said Conner in his mocking tone. He laughed as he walked into the building. Thomas slouched onto the sidewalk and picked up his soggy notebooks and folders and he quietly sniffled as he walked into the building as well, actually wishing he had stayed with Uncle Philip and helped him tame that capricorn.