Andrew and Tobias – A Short Story

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Andrew Miller never had friends. He was always too quiet for most of his peer’s liking. As a result, he found his friends in the magical stories he read. Andrew loved the stories of valiant knights and their noble quests. Sometimes he would even pretend that these whimsical worlds were real. Andrew would imagine that it was he who was clothed in shining armor and he who beautiful gifts were bestowed upon. Andrew was in the midst of his daydreaming when the jarring ring of the school bell went off. He gathered his things and swiftly made his way to the next period. 

Andrew always tried to be as discreet as he could when he journeyed from one class to the other. Without the supervision of a teacher, he was vulnerable to the monsters that filled the halls of his school. Suddenly, a sharp chill trickled down Andrew’s back. He could feel the microscopic hairs raise along his spine and before he saw him, he could smell him. His foul odors chased down Andrew like a Bloodhound. Without time to comprehend what had happened, Andrew felt his frail body being slammed against a row of dark green lockers. As he looked up, a  husky boy with a smooshed in face met his gaze with a sneer. Unfortunately, Andrew recognized his tormentor as Nathan Best. Nathan was the type of boy who enjoyed sprinkling salt on snails just to watch them suffer. He was also taking the seventh grade for the second time. 

“Good morning Andrew!” 

“Nathan please.”

A crowd of the boys’ peers began to form, waiting excitedly for what would happen next.

“How are you today?” 

“I just wan-”

“How’s you’re mom? I saw her, the other day at the store, man’ she looked real good.”

“P-p-please stop”

“Aw, is the little baby trying to say something?”, Nathan said mockingly. 

Before the situation could escalate further, the bell rang and the crowd dispersed, leaving Andrew alone with Nathan. Andrew was curled up against the locker awaiting another act of violence but before a blow was thrown, Nathan stood over him snarling. He hawked up some form of mucus and spit deep from his throat on a cowering Andrew. Then he left as quickly as he appeared.

Andrew remained still on the floor but he wasn’t crying, this happened too much for him to cry about it. His arm was throbbing from where Nathan had pushed him. Andrew prayed it wouldn’t bruise, he could not let his mom know about this. Further down the hall, he heard the crisp tapping of shoes and scrambled for a quiet place to hide. Andrew stumbled into the bathroom down the hall and collapsed towards the sink. He couldn’t help but think that the acts of public humiliation were getting worse and worse. Andrew couldn’t bring himself to go to class so instead, he hunkered down in a stall and read until it was time for the next period.

Five minutes before the bell rang Andrew decided to leave for the cafeteria, so he would avoid any encounters. The school had first opened in 1981 and little renovations had taken place since then. Round wood tables and popcorn textured plastic seats used in the cafeteria were among the many unrenovated parts of the school. Andrew sat in a secluded area, tucked between the storage space for voting dividers and a large white accent wall. He picked out each item from his lunch box and set it out in front of himself. Potato chips, peanut butter sandwich with grape jelly, apple slices, and a Sprite. He unwrapped his sandwich from its cellophane wrap and took a bite out of the upper left corner. Andrew liked to make his sandwich look like a star so he continued in a counter-clockwise motion, biting each edge of it until it resembled the shape. Out of the corner of his eye, Andrew noticed a tall figure approaching him. His breaths became short and tense as he braced for ridicule. The boy walking towards him looked strangely similar to Andrew. He had shaggy brown hair, green eyes, and was rather lanky. Yet there was something that made him different, and Andrew couldn’t put his finger on it. 

Once the boy was in speaking distance he asked, “Is this seat taken?”, to which Andrew hesitantly responded, “no”. The boy dropped his things in the seat across from Andrew and sat down. Now that the stranger was closer, Andrew was able to notice just how pale he was. His pasty skin made him look sickly. The boy noticed Andrew’s discreet glances and decided to introduce himself.

“Hey, I’m Tobias White.”

“I’m Andrew.” 

Andrew was unsure of what to say next. He didn’t recognize Tobias, but he didn’t want to be rude and ask who he was if he had met him before. Andrew started to feel overwhelmed that he would scare away his only prospect of a friend. Before he could think of something to say Tobias swooped in with a response.

“My family just moved here from Portland, Maine.”

“I think my Mom used to live there.”

“Oh yeah? My mom’s originally from Gorham so that’s how we ended up here.”

The two boys spent the rest of the lunch period jabbering away. As Andrew’s confidence began to grow he realized how many interests they shared. The two talked about school, new T.V. shows, and even their favorite books. Andrew had never met someone like Tobias before. The familiar ring of the bell once again signified the start of a new period, so reluctantly Andrew started packing up his things. He couldn’t believe how fast time had spun by. As Andrew started making his way to his next class, Tobias called out from behind him, “Wait up!”. He was in shock, no one had ever wanted to be his friend before. Andrew hadn’t realized how lonely he had been until he met Tobias. 

The boys made their way to the last class of the day. Andrew was pushed and prodded like cattle as he made his way through the crowd of students. He confided to Tobias frustratingly, “I hate feeling so invisible.” to which Tobias laughed and replied, “I know exactly what you mean.”.

Unfortunately, after discussing schedules the two learned they didn’t share any classes. This didn’t dim Andrew’s joy though. He had finally found someone like himself. Andrew eventually reached his class and bid farewell to his new friend. He made his way to the back of the classroom where he had a small desk covered in derogatory images. The lower left leg of the chair always wobbled because it was loose, but today this went completely unnoticed by Andrew. He was too caught up in his head. He didn’t even notice that class had started until Ms. Balle called his name for attendance.

The moment Andrew heard the bell, he rushed home to tell his mom the big news. He pushed past students in the hallway, jumped down sets of stairs, and ran home. The cool wind seemed to push him forward as he ran. Andrew was truly a knight on a quest. Once he arrived at his quaint home, he flung open the dark wood door and tossed his backpack across the floor. His mom was in the kitchen making chili and lettuce sandwiches. 

“Andrew, is that you?”

In between his heavy breaths, he clamored into the living room and replied, “Mom-I-think-I-made-a-new-friend!”.

“That’s awesome dear! What’s his name?”

“Tobias.”

“See, I told you people at school like you.”

“Technically he’s a new student so he didn’t really go to my school until recently.”

“Well in the short time he’s been there he’s already figured out what I’ve known.”

“What?”

“That you’re someone worth knowing.”

Andrew ecstatically recounted his day with Tobias to his mother (leaving out his encounter with Nathan of course). He included every detail and even told her about Tobias being from Portland.

“I would love to meet this Tobias sometime.” his mom stated.

“I was actually going to ask him to hang out on Friday, would that be okay?”

“Yeah, definitely.”

The two sat down to eat dinner and enjoyed their meals immensely. Andrew couldn’t decide if it was because the food was that good or if it was because of how happy he felt. After the meal, Andrew did his homework, took a shower, and went to bed. He laid there lost in his thoughts for a while. It had always been just him and his mom on their own. Andrew’s mother had gotten pregnant with him right after she graduated high school. After his dad learned the news, he said he wasn’t ready to start a family and decided to leave. His parents were never together, so his dad didn’t feel a responsibility to stay with them. At least that’s what Andrew thought. Maybe that’s why he was so excited to have a friend. He knew at least one more person had his back. Andrew and Tobias, against the world.

The next morning Andrew awoke from his slumber. He didn’t remember falling asleep but when had he ever. His mom offered to drive him to school that day so he arrived earlier than usual. He sat in the commons area and waited for Tobias to arrive. Andrew felt like he had been waiting forever when suddenly someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around nervously only to be greeted by his friend. 

“Hey, what took you so long?”

“Nothing. I’m just still figuring out the timing from my house to the school.”

“Oh, you scared me, I didn’t even see you walk in the door.”

“Ha, I must have slipped in when you weren’t looking.”

“Yeah, I guess so.” 

The bell rang and the two boys made their way to first period. It was an easy day for Andrew because he didn’t get mixed up with any bullies and had another great lunch with Tobias. He didn’t even get that much homework! Wednesday and Thursday went pretty much the same as well. Andrew hadn’t had this great of a week in his entire life. He wasn’t dreading school anymore, in fact, he was looking forward to it. Until Friday rolled around. 

Andrew’s day started normal, he ate scrambled eggs, toast with butter, and two pieces of bacon. With a full and satisfied stomach, Andrew was prepared to conquer the day. His walk to school was pleasant. His neighbors and the local shops had begun to set out Halloween decor, which lit up the town with a festive spirit. The weather was nice as well, cold, but not freezing. Andrew was even planning on asking Tobias to hang out after school. He felt like a completely new person. He arrived at school and sat in his normal spot awaiting Tobias. Andrew decided to read his book while he waited. He began to worry though when only five minutes were left until school was supposed to start and Tobias was nowhere in sight. He reached for his phone to text him, but then realized he had never actually asked for his number.

Eventually, the bell rang and the horde of children made their way to first period. A familiar feeling crept up Andrew’s spine. Once again he would be alone and defenseless in the jungle. Without Tobias’s support, he felt all eyes on him. Andrew’s senses were heightened as he noticed every little detail of the students passing him. Laura Jeanne glared at him, Ryan Arens whispered something about him, Amy Brookes laughed and then made eye contact with him. Andrew felt like a human punching bag taking hit, after hit, after hit. In a panic, he rushed to the attendance office to find some answers. 

“Ms. Hebert?”

“This is she.”

“My name is Andrew Miller and my friend Tobias White doesn’t seem to be at school today. Could you tell me if he called in absent or not?”

Ms. Hebert knew it would be inappropriate to do so but she felt pity for Andrew, whose face was bright red and eyes welted up with tears. She determined it couldn’t be that harmful to see if the boy’s mother or father had called in.

“Sure dear, just give me one moment”

Andrew went to sit in one of the padded green chairs in the office. The seat was so old that the fabric was disintegrating into small balls of fuzz. Andrew looked up and noticed Ms. Hebert’s puzzled face. 

“Ms. Hebert is everything alright?”

“Oh certainly, I’m just a little confused because the system says there’s no student registered here named Tobias White.”

Andrew muttered under his breath “What?”.

“It could just be a glitch, but I’ve never seen it mess up like this before. Sorry dear.”

“Um-thank you. Sorry for any confusion.”

Perplexed and worried, Andrew decided to make his way to first period. He continued down the hall until he saw him. Not Tobias, but Nathan. Andrew’s breathing became unsteady, how could this happen? He thought his life was finally moving in the right direction. As Andrew braced for humiliation he realized Nathan seemed nervous. Andrew slowly continued forward until he had passed Nathan without a bruise to show for. Once he was about five feet past him, he heard Nathan mutter, “Crazy, freak.”. Andrew was confused, one, why did Nathan avoid him, and two, what happened to Tobias? He mulled over these questions in his mind until he arrived to class. Fortunately, Mr. Miles was kind and didn’t send Andrew to receive a tardy. Andrew spent the rest of the first half of the school day trying to understand what had happened.

When the bell rang for lunch Andrew walked to his normal spot only to be met by a familiar face. 

“Tobias?”

“Hey dude.”

“Where were you this morning?”

“Um, here.”

“Why were you so late?”

“I was helping my mom set something up.”

Feeling frustrated, he shouted, “Why aren’t you even enrolled at this school?”

“Why do I feel like I’m being interrogated right now?”

“Just answer the question!”

“I don’t know! The paperwork from the other school isn’t done yet probably! Jeez.”

Andrew and Tobias sat in silence for a moment. Both boys were taking deep breaths to calm down their nerves. Then Andrew spoke:

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gotten so upset. I just really don’t want to be alone again.”

“I’m sorry too.”

“I don’t know if you would even want to still, but I was gonna ask you to hang out tonight. My mom bought like a ton of chips and candy and stuff.”

“Yeah, that would be really fun.”

“Cool, do you just want to walk to my house after school?”

“Sounds like a plan.”

The boys spent the rest of their lunch as they normally did, laughing and telling stories to each other. Yet Andrew still felt unsettled. He couldn’t figure out what was making him feel this way, but it didn’t seem to affect Tobias at all. In fact, Tobias seemed to be more at ease than Andrew had ever seen him before. 

The bell rung once again and the students moved to their next class. Andrew’s final class seemed long and boring but eventually, the bell rang and he made his way out the door. 

Andrew and Tobias met at the front of the school by the flag post. Andrew complained about his last period and Tobias laughed at Andrew’s annoyance. The two boys had made it to Town Center when Tobias first announced his plan. 

“Let’s go on an adventure.”

“What?”

“Like the knights in your books. No one will know”

“I kind of just want to go home, Tobias. My mom would probably freak if we went somewhere without asking her.”

“Come on, it’ll be really fast. It’s basically just a more exciting route.”

“Alright, but if we’re not back in time, I’m screwed.”

The boys took a right instead of going straight forward and walked through a different section of the neighborhood. The houses here were where the rich kids lived. They had circle drives and monstrous columns that seemed to stretch to the heavens. Andrew was dumbfounded by the grandeur of the neighborhood. His mom always avoided showing Andrew this area and now he knew why. Their measly little two bedroom one bath starter home was like a grease stain on a newly tailored dress, an eyesore compared to these. Suddenly, Andrew noticed something strange. Sandwiched in between two gorgeous mansions was an old house that had seen better days. Several of the window panes had been smashed in and the paneling was rotting off the sides of the house. Andrew looked at Tobias and had a chilling realization. Tobias wanted to explore the house.

“Please, Andrew it’ll be so cool.”

“No way. There’s probably squatters in there!”

“Don’t be a wuss.”

Before Andrew could refuse Tobias ran into the house and disappeared into the dark void. Andrew began to panic, he wanted to leave but was worried about his friend. Andrew mustered as much courage as he could and marched through the doors. 

The house was dark and reeking of mold. Andrew pulled his shirt over his nose to try and block out the smell but he doubted it would work. He couldn’t see his own feet so he pulled out his phone to use the flashlight. He almost texted his mom for help but was too worried she would be angry with him. He yelled out “Tobias!” over and over in the hope of finding his friend. Suddenly Andrew heard a faint, “Over here!”. He rushed down the front hallway and into the living room to finally find Tobias.

“Look”

Tobias pointed to a slumped figure in the corner covered by a brown tarp.

“What’s under there?” asked Andrew.

“Let’s find out,” said Tobias excitedly.

Tobias crept over to the corner and grabbed the edge of the tarp. He looked to Andrew, did a salute, and yanked the tarp off. Dust clouded the room and impaired Andrew’s vision. He was grateful to have been breathing through his shirt and prayed a small thanks to God. The dust eventually settled and to Andrew’s horror, the secret under the tarp was revealed. The remains of a boy not much older than Andrew was sitting in the corner. He had long blonde hair and freckles. The boy’s body was frail but not decayed. It almost looked like it was acting as a host for something. But why? Andrew initially thought the boy was deceased but now he was unsure. He looked at Tobias out of uncertainty in what he should do.

“I dare you to touch it.”, Tobias said with a smirk.

“That is not okay Tobias.”

“Do it.”

“No”

“Do it you little baby.”

Andrew thought back to the beginning of the week and how wonderful it had been. He didn’t want to lose his friend. Tobias made him feel better about himself. He remembered how he felt the morning Tobias wasn’t there. Andrew never wanted to feel like that again, so he reached out a single finger and touched the body. Then everything went black.

Andrew woke with a strange feeling in his head. It wasn’t a headache but more like someone placing a light pressure on his brain. Andrew stood up from the floor and felt incredibly light. His first thought was to get home. He didn’t think about Tobias or the mysterious body, all he wanted to do was be home with his mom. Andrew ran home faster than he had ever run before, but when he arrived something was wrong. The front door was wide open for no apparent reason. Andrew entered and finally saw his mother. She was talking passionately on the phone. 

“Mom! I’m so sorry I’m late something happened and I need to tell yo-”

Andrew’s mom stated in a shaky voice, “Yes, Hello. My Name is Alice Miller. My son Andrew Miller has been missing for twenty-four hours now”

“Mom, stop, I’m here, I’m okay!”

Andrew ran up to his mom to touch her but when he tried his hand brushed straight through her arm. Andrew’s breathing began to intensify as he struggled to find a solution. What had happened to him? He attempted to grab a pen and write his mom a message but his hand passed straight through. It was like he was a ghost. Was he a ghost? He thought back to Tobias. Why was he so pale? On no occasion had he ever met someone who’s skin seemed almost see-through. Andrew had never seen Tobias talk to anyone except himself, he wasn’t enrolled at school, and what was it that Nathan had said again, “Crazy, freak.”. Andrew had a sickening realization. He was the only one who saw Tobias. He screamed as loud as he could but no one could hear him. Andrew instinctively ran to his room for comfort but as he entered his room (passing straight through the closed door) he noticed something that stopped him dead in his tracks. A large mirror above his bureau drawer faced him. Andrew stared at it blankly, praying to God that his eyes were deceiving him. The mirror had included every aspect of Andrew’s room except him. His reflection was invisible. Andrew could not stand to stare at that mirror for a moment longer so he moved back to the living room. He was lost. He had not a single idea of what he should do. In the midst of Andrew’s panic, his mother had continued her conversation with the police.

“Yes, yes, he was with another boy I believe. Tobias White.”

Suddenly, Andrew had an idea. It was a Hail Mary at best, but his only hope.

 Andrew knew he had to return to the house. After a long desperate journey, he arrived. Andrew slowly crept through the doors and down the long hallway. He stared down at his feet. His shoes were so worn that his little toe was peeking through the top. Andrew wiggled his pinky and chuckled at the irony. He remembered when this was his deepest concern. Andrew thought back to his stories and the adventures of the knights. How he had yearned for so long to have a quest of his own. Unfortunately, this was not the adventure Andrew had always dreamt of. He walked slowly down the hall as he suspected something sinister at play. Finally, Andrew had arrived at the gates of his own personal Hell. He took a deep breath and walked in. The room looked the same, dark, dusty, and dreary. Then he saw it, in the corner. A body, but this time it was different. It had dark brown hair and large green eyes. It was long and skinny. Tears streamed down Andrew’s cheeks and off his chin. He knew what it was before he even entered the house. It was him. The horrid thing in the corner was him. Andrew drifted up to his body and noticed a note stuffed in his pocket. It read 

I’m sorry.

    -T.W.