The Adventures of Peter Gray Chapter 21: School

Story by Domus Vocis on SoFurry

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Chapter 21 School           As I slept peacefully as a newborn cub, I thought I fell into the Hudson.           Instead, I had a bucket of water thrown on me. "Git up ya mutt!" a gruff voice shot. I spat and grumbled while staggering offa the hay bale. I lifted me muzzle and blinked through wet eyes to see a growling lion holding a dripping bucket. "Go on! Git goin' or I'll skin yer 'ide lika deer! Now! I ain't got time fer this!" I stumbled offa the bale and nearly slipped on the cobblestone from last night's morning new. While walking outta the alley, I grumbled, but waved to the lion. "Thanks for the free bath!" I shouted with me canines in happy view. Once I was on the street near Joseph's Bakery, I spotted Bromley selling papers again for sixty cents apiece. The German shepherd newsie nodded to me with joy and tossed a nother newspaper to a nearby gentletiger and his wife. "Morning Peter!" he shouted to me. "Happy September!" "Ya too Bromley!" I wagged me tail and turned a corner of the street. I hadn't seen Blink much since the strike ended. I wondered how he was, and if more reporters bothered him. It made me a tad wee jealous, which the hybrid found amusing. I remember Blink chuckling to me and saying it didn't matter if we were famous or not. "I's just glad dat Pulitzer git his muzzle outta de gutter," he said last time we hung out. After Pulitzer made the deal with the newsies (the gentlewolf paid for all the unsold newspapers and allowed the Newsies Union to still exist) and ended the strike, the rest of the summer was as boring as...well school. Blink was busier than ever with the Union and keeping his job, and nothing eventful happened throughout the rest of August. Never thought I'd say this, I thought bitterly yet gleeful, but I'm glad school is starting today. Wonder how it'll be... As the sun rose higher into the sky, and the smog of nearby chimneys flew over the brick tenement houses all 'round me, I made it to the street Lancie and James lived on. A couple wagons passed by and the occasional workers went on their way, and the lingering smell of summer air brushed against me fur. A couple flights of stairs and a 'hello' to one of their neighbors later, I found the wooden door leading to the Lawton residence. I knocked once, then twice. "Hello?" I called. I put an ear to the door and tried to listen. I didn't hear anything, so I leaned closer. I grinned soon as I heard footsteps on the other side. "Jamie, Henry, ya in there? It's Peter!" Before I knew it, I fell flat on me face when the door opened. I sighed and breathed in the dusty flood through me nose. "Ow," I muffled. A pair of human hands grabbed me shoulders and pulled me up. "Oh Lord are you alright Peter?" James asked. "I didn't know you'd be there..." I looked up to see the kitchen

"Who is it Laura?" Henry called from his bedroom. "Is it Lance?" I chuckled while James helped me up, and I stepped into the kitchen. "No it's me Mr. Lawton," I spoke loud enough for him to hear. "I thought I told you to stop calling me 'Mr. Lawton' sonny," he replied back. "I for one don't like being reminded how old I am." Laura laughed shortly and turned to me with her motherly smile. "But honey, you're not even forty-five yet to be called old," he said while grabbing something offa a nearby counter. "James, here's your lunch for today: I chuckled Soon as I wiped the dust offa me shorts, I felt a pair of small arms grab me legs and hug them like a steel bar. "Doggie!" Annabelle chirped while giggling. Me tail flicked at her nose instinctively and she giggled more while pulling at me right leg. "Doggie! Doggie!" "Nice to see ya too Annabelle," I knelt down and pulled the little girl away from me, then smiled at the adorable little thing in her blue dress. "How are ya this fine day?" "School! Jamie going to school!" Me and Annabelle's mother chuckled with her giggling. It was hard for me to believe how much Annabelle had grown over the months. Instead of a little tyke in a pretty dress, she's turned into an adorable little human girl. She suddenly kissed me nose, causing me to sneeze, and her to laugh. "Ah sorry there," I commented. Wiping me nose, she ran off to bother her father while I stood up to me footpaws. I looked to her mother again with curiosity. "So when is Annabelle supposed to start school Laura?" "Oh Annabelle?" Laura asked. "She'll turn four in early October, so I think it'll be by next year or so Peter." She paused a moment, and pulled her hair back. "Though me and Henry dear are considering whether an education is best for her, or if Annabelle would be better off working." I flicked me ears attentively. "Maybe," I shrugged with a wagging tail. "I for one think school is important ma'am. James needs it, and I'm pretty sure she'll need it too." Laura looked at me funny, and blink before asking, "You don't go to school Peter, so how would you know then?" I folded me ears and frowned. "So what's for breakfast ma'am?" I changed the topic quickly. As I rubbed me tummy from its growling, James stepped forward and presented himself. "How do I look mom?" he asked. Me and the Mrs. looked to James, who was wearing a brown pair of trousers held up by black suspenders. Me human friend also wore a pair of black shoes and a white shirt tucked underneath a brown vest. "You look amazing honey," she smiled while stepping forward to fix his hair. "And here's a quarter to pay for lunch this afternoon. It isn't much, but you'll have a decent lunch." She gave us both a quick hug, gave each of us a quarter, and told us she'd see us later.

"Have a nice first day at school sonny! You too Peter!" Henry said as we left. "And remember to learn so you won't have to work with your old man instead." Chuckling, James grabbed his school slate and tucked it under his arm quickly. "Thanks Dad!" he shouted. "Bye!" We walked down the stairways and walked outside the building, just as Lancie jumped outta his doorway. "Please Ma! No!" the raccoon sounded desperate, and we watched his muzzle turn white as his mother appeared from her doorway next door. "Lancelot Turner, apologize for that at the moment," she gasped while flicking her greying tail. In her right paw was a wooden spoon and the other a bowl of something smelly. "And you better finish your pottage later tonight young raccoon, or no dessert for you." Lance shook his muzzle. "I'll take the Hail Mary's tonight, but I gotta get to school. Bye!" he turned to me and James, who knew what to do and ran for it like the plague. "Have a good day at school sweety!" Mrs. Turner shouted blissfully. "Yeah! Have a nice day at school Lancelot," a pair of familiar voices called from Mrs. Turner's door. I glanced me head and saw it was Bobby and Billy, Lance's younger raccoon brothers by a year. "Have fun at school while we have fun." "Inside that is. Boys, get inside or you'll get sicker," me left ear caught their mother whisper. I hadn't seen those twins in a while, not that I was complaining. The last time Lancie's brothers hung out with me, they used some of Old Man Holler's leftover glue I had in me pocket and pasted me tail to a wooden fence. The three of us jogged the street for a full minute until their street was outta sight. As the city began to come to life in the morning, I snickered, "Lancelot?" Lance folded his ears. "Yeah yeah, what's wrong with my name Peter?" he asked with a curled tail. I shook me muzzle and tail amused. "Nothing Lancelot," I grinned. Just then, a thought crept in me noggin' and I leaned to whisper something into James' ear, causing the human boy to stop himself from chuckling. "What did ya say?" Lance asked insistently. A passing wagon full of wheat caught me scent, lightly sprinkled with freshly picked apples. It distracted me for a moment, and Lancie had to slap the back of me head with his paw to get me attention again. "Huh?" I asked hungrily. "W-What did ya say Lancie?" He asked his little question again, and I looked to James with a mirrored grin and smile. "Ah it's nothing, we were just wondering if you're gonna play with King Arthur after school?" Me and James laughed while clutching our stomachs, and didn't care about the puzzled looks from passing fursons on the street. Me raccoon friend folded his ears more and whimpered. "That's not funny Peter," Lancie muttered. "If the other boys make fun of my real name, I'll be the laughingstock of the school year." I was about to make a comment of how he and James only had to go to school until next year, but the comment of his mentioning his real name got to me. No one else besides Hansel and Edward knew this, but I had a secret similar to Lancelot's, and I wouldn't want me friend to know it either. With a meaningful nudge in his right shoulder, I smiled at the raccoon. "Me and James won't tell yer name Lancelot," I grinned playful. "Yer still not gonna let this go are ya?" he asked while turning to us with a flicking tail of annoyance. Me and James nodded in approval. "Remind me to haunt ya two for the rest of yer lives when I die, will ya?" I wagged me tail. "It'll be me honor Lancie." "Mine too," James spoke. "Fantastic," At last, the school came into view, and the three of us raced to the metal gates. Being a lighter than the rest of them (thank being on a low diet for that), I was first, James was second, and Lance was in last place. Soon as I happily waltzed in the school yard, I noticed the vixens and she-wolves were...different somehow. It was like they grew taller overnight, and wore their hair in braids. One vixen named Martha Mayfield looked like an older version of herself with a taller stance and a fluffier tail around her school dress. James and Lancie noticed it too, and it took the raccoon a slap in the back of the head to get his eyes offa the Anderson twins to our right of the school yard. "Ow!" he yelped, turning to me with a light frown. As he made a 'cunning' remark, a she-wolf's angelic voice nearby caught me ear's attention. "Is it that Peter Gray fellow? Is it me or has he gotten more handsome?" it was from either Constance or Abby, one of the Constance twins. "Yeah, didn't he help with the newsie rally a month back?" a hyena I only knew as Janice whispered to Constance/Abby. "I remember seeing him hang out with that Blink kid once, but I didn't know his name back then." Me ears flushed red, and me footpaws grew weaker than kelp. A vixen named Hannah whispered, "If he smelled better, I'd date him." I froze in place. What? Suddenly, the school bell rang like church above us, and everyone 'round me started running inside. I turned to see her, but every one of the boys and girls, humans and fursons, ran inside while a nearby wolfish teacher shouted for everyone to head inside. Luckily, the Presser Lesser wasn't in sight, and I casually walked around the right corner of the building to Room E. Yesterday, James and Lancie were told that they'd be having class in a room called Room E in the school, and it got me noggin' rolling like a stone on a hill. The best part of Room E was that it had a window facing the brick wall that circled the school, and hung next door to the chalkboard inside. That gave me the ability to entertain the bored students while sitting on a tree branch below the outside window. The tree was fulla leaves greener than the grass below it, and its limbs were steady for me paws and footpaws to grasp onto. I climbed up a tree limb, and marveled at the feeling of bark on my palms again. Feels good again... The tree limb closest to the window was still strong to support me nimble body, and it only took me a couple of shifts to get meself into place. Stood up a bit, and loomed up to peer inside. Room E looked like an average classroom, almost the size of a tenement apartment, except it was fulla desks and posters on the walls. By the door on the other side of the room, I could see cubs and kits running through the halls and a few coming into the classroom with their stuff. At last, me ears heard the claws against the floor, and me nose smelled the scent of the fennec fox herself of the class. I ducked me head a bit, and knew Ms. Lesser was in the classroom, probably eyeing out for a cub to torture with math and reading. "Class settle down, settle down at this moment if you please," she called out loudly. I heard the other students settle in the crowded wooden desks and still whispered to each other before a whacking sound silenced the room. Either a tile fell again, or the Presser Lesser had her ruler in her paw. "I'll be taking attendance at the moment. Leonard Alderson?" "Here, here, here," the class chanted for a long while. I knew and didn't know their classmate's names, but I did catch a few ones I knew and loved, especially when it got to me frenemy Gavin Flint. By the time it got to James and Lancie's turn, I nearly fell offa the tree limb five times, and me footpaws felt a little sore standing on the bark. "Now class, we will begin today's lesson by going on a few ground rules some of you may be familiar with," Presser Lessor said sharply. "First off, no talking unless spoken to..." That's me cue! I peered me eyes over the window, and saw the Presser Lesser to be waltzing between the desks toward the door. "Second rule: never eat in class until lunchtime, or I'll give you a lashing nightmares are made of. Third rule..." I poked me head up in view of the window and swung me head back and forth, trying to talk like Ms. Lesser with her annoying voice. A couple student widened their eyes at me, and stuffed their giggles with silence. I even got James' and Lancie's attention at the front desks.           "Quiet please..." I made funnier faces with me muzzle and giggled with the students smiling at me amusement. I made moose horns while imitating Ms. Lesser, she gave evil eyes to chuckling classmates, all while talking about some sister of her's from Britain recommending her a book of sorts. Then, a ruler in her paws smacked someone in the head bursting with laughter, and I had to hide under the windowsill. "Silence!" the Presser Lesser finally snapped like a monkey. The sound of a canine yelping softly suggested she smacked her ruler at a student, turning me ears in slight fear. Slight fear. "Class, I will be back, but one movement from where you are will  I slowly peered me eyes over the window and into the classroom, oblivious to what happened along with the startled students. "Peter, she's gone," James said in between snickers. Gavin chuckled. "Yeah come on in, wolf," the 'yote announced. I perked me ears and happily crawled through the open window, me tail happily wagging. No sooner than me footpaws touched the floor did the door open, and I jumped out the window to hide. "Oh class, that reminds me of something," Ms. Lesser suddenly entered with a happy tone. "There is one final rule of this school year..." I ducked me ears and head when she turned, and the sound of the fennec teacher's footpaws clattering at the floor came me way. It stopped, and I felt meself lifted in the air by me back collar. "No street rats in my classroom." "Ow! Lemme go witch!" I writhed and shook me limbs wildly. "Lemme go Presser Lesser! Lemme go-" She pinched her fingernails into me right ear, and probably gave it a piercing while dragging me to the door. I stumbled on me footpaws while the aged fennec screamed that she should skin me fur like a deer hide. I passed other classes and happily waved to the other surprised students and teachers mid-lesson. "Yer doing well everyone!" I shouted in fits of pain and giggles, me tail curling and wagging at the same time. "Learn all ya want! Happy first day of school-ow! Easy!" I cleared me throat and lowly growled when she pressed her nails into me ear tighter. "If ya want me to go with ya so much ya coulda asked me outta dinner first!" We came to the entrance of the damp school, and the fennec tossed me outside like a cub caught with his paw in the cookie jar. "If I see you one more time this year, I will call-" "-the police ya scrawny brat," I rubbed me right ear tenderly, hoping she didn't poke a hole in it or something. "Yeah, I've heard it before, and we know you'll never turn me in." Ms. Lesser lifted a paw of hers and pointed at me, her eyes fixed on me nastily. "Police! I need police!" she called with her tail raised and eyes surveying the school yard. "Bye!" I ran.

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