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Just Us

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"In his debut novel Shiftlight, David

Jubermann has written a powerful boy-racer story."

           - R. Wild, Librarian



    “Didn’t you hear us calling?!” Sitting alone on the wooden bench, Tyler was yanked from his thoughts. He looked up to find himself surrounded by five big guys. All of them wore the same rugby uniform. All of them were from his class. Slowly he shook his head. “So you’re deaf, dumb and stupid now are you?” Luke, the lead boy, sneered. “We called you like three times. You have to help us train again. Come on.” He stood arrogantly, with his hands on his hips and his face flushed.
     Tyler didn’t move for many moments, then turned his attention back to the ground at his feet and took another bite from his sandwich. “Stop wasting our time man.” Luke’s voice held an edge. He was used to being in charge and getting what he wanted.
     Tyler remembered the last time they had forced him to train with them. They had made him hold the hit-shield and taken turns barging into him as hard as they could. When he didn’t want to continue, they had pushed him over and rucked him with their sprigged boots while he lay on the ground. His blood had dripped on the grass of the playing field. “You’ve got three seconds,” Luke uttered.
     “I’m not coming,” Tyler said quietly without looking up.
     “What did you say?”
     “I said no,” Tyler repeated. “Leave me alone.”
     “Or else what?” Luke demanded. “Are you trying to threaten us?”
     “No,” Tyler shook his head.
     “Sounds like he was,” one of the other boys growled and they closed in on Tyler.
     “I think we’re going to have to teach him a lesson,” Luke smirked and, without warning, he kicked out. Tyler managed to block the foot on his hand, before it could connect with his chest, but the force of it sent him tumbling backwards off the bench. He landed on his back.
     “Oof!” Pain flared through him. He tried to scramble up, but the boys were faster. The next kick flew at him and got him in the side. He grunted again.
     “That’ll teach ya.” With his legs and feet still dangling up over the bench, Tyler was helpless. He put his hands up to protect his head. Kick after kick slogged into his body. Someone stomped on his face and his nose exploded in a spray of red. His eyes began to water and his head spun. He felt a pair of hands grab him and pull him backwards – away from the bench. With a loud tearing sound, his shirt gave and ripped apart – exposing his chest and back.
     “What the..?” Luke uttered and hurriedly they let him go.
     “Far out!” someone hissed. “Look at him.” A hush had fallen over them and they stared in fascination at the many scars that covered Tyler’s body.
     “You get away from him!” a girl suddenly screamed and ran towards them. “Five against one – you bloody cowards!” Her long, blonde hair flew around her and her green eyes blazed... 


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