Wake Me Up When September Ends

The month of September had come and as such, 13-year-old Richard Harding wasn’t looking forward to it.

He had spent most of his summer being locked out of the Internet after the July 7, 2010 Internet crash shut down scores of social websites. His ChitChat account and blog were gone. Richard had to sign up for a Facebook and a WordPress account, like most of his peers. Also, he had to spend most of his days outside his house, as opposed to staying home. For that and several other things, he blamed Tanya Shinnok and her so-called “friends“, the Teen Rebels.

Tanya Shinnok had disappeared on June 30, 2010 after failing to show up at Harrison Creek Middle School for her eighth grade promotion ceremony. Her friends, Mara Llewellyn, Stuart Greer, and Irene Haughton, had tried to raise the alarm, as Richard had seen them behaving suspiciously. They appeared to be more focused on Tanya than on their future.

Plus, Richard thought that Tanya and the Teen Rebels were nothing more than a bunch of troublemakers who sought to cause trouble for the normal citizens of Harrison Creek, Oregon.

The truth of that story was the opposite. But that’s for another story.

Richard saw Brad Lovejoy, Jonah Welton, and Kayla Santos wandering around the school. They too didn’t have a great summer, no thanks to the Internet crash and Tanya Shinnok. “This school is so lame!” Brad cried out. Everyone nodded as they stared at him. “How can they impose such harsh and unnecessary rules on us?”

“Who knows?” said Richard. “But all I do know is that I have to get a Facebook and WordPress accounts after losing my ChitChat account.”

“For shame,” said Jonah. “I kind of hate Facebook. Plus, my mother has made me go to the gym during my time outside the house. She also threw out all the Fudgy Cremes.”

“Fudgy Cremes are some of the nastiest snacks that mankind has invented,” said Brad, “and those snacks are responsible for most of us being fat and ugly. Your mom was right to make you stop eating those snacks.”

“But what about me?” said Kayla. The boys stared at her. “My sister is like fully Andrea Muty here. She thinks that she’s the Queen of Sheba instead of the handicapped person that she really is. I can’t believe that I had to go on a road trip with her. Can’t my folks just put her away in a hospital somewhere like everyone else?”

“I can’t say whether that’s a good idea, but what I do know is that this is all Tanya’s fault,” said Brad. “Her, and those damned Teen Rebels. They just had to ruin what summer we should have had.”

“Yeah,” Jonah agreed. “Can you believe that 50 people have gotten arrested for Tanya’s disappearance? I say it’s a conspiracy. No kid disappears and 50 people are blamed for it without some sort of conspiracy.” The others stared at him. “That’s how it works in the movies.”

“You better be careful,” Richard hissed as he saw some other students walking by them. “You know that it’s against school policy to talk about Tanya. I heard that Jane Garrison and Daniela Compton had gotten detention yesterday for passing a note that contained gossip about Tanya. What makes her so special that we can’t talk about her?”

“Who knows?” said Kayla. “I just wish that the Teen Rebels weren’t allowed to come here. They’re nothing but trouble. Can’t we get them expelled so that we can get our lives back?”

Unfortunately, Kayla would never see the Teen Rebels getting kicked out of Harrison Creek High School. Far from it. The school had banned any and all talk about the Teen Rebels and Tanya Shinnok as a ploy to see who the real troublemakers were. For all their complaining, Richard, Brad, Jonah, and Kayla would never see anything change. But that didn’t mean that they couldn’t try to force the school to change back to its pre-Tanya policies.

But would the new school policies be able to break them as well?