Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 14

Vampire Boys Of Summer (Re-vamped)

14: Dinner Disagreement

Have you ever had one of those secrets you were just dying to tell someone? It was so awesome or amazing you just wanted to grab somebody and scream excitably in their face, “Hey, guess what?!!” It’s for that reason when Angela called me on my cell I let it go straight to voicemail. I didn’t trust myself to keep it quiet. Angela could pry anything out of me, so instead I just listened to her message.

“Hey slut, what’s up? You got to give me the dirt. What happened? He is so freaking fine. OMG, you lucky bitch!” Click.

But I didn’t feel lucky. I felt under pressure. I was entrusted with a secret so great it was almost a burden. I was also scared. What did all this mean for me and Haru? We were no longer new neighbors just saying hello. Now every time I said Hi, it would be like saying, ‘I know your secret.’ I mean, I thought he was a vampire from the moment I saw him, but to have him actually admit it was frightening. In the movies that’s when the vampire usually destroys the victim. Is that what I was? His little victim? He hadn’t bitten me or anything, but in a sense I felt like I was his, at least in some small secretive fashion. It was like we were each other’s protector now. Me protecting his secret; He protecting me from whatever was inside Mrs. Winston’s house, I suppose. When I was telling myself I had to kill him, I felt pretty sure what I had to do, but now I was confused. I didn’t know what we were now. I mean, I knew we weren’t lovers, or going together, or anything like that, but I think I felt like my teenage cousin Shelly did when she fell for a guy in his thirties. She didn’t know what the hell it meant, or how to act, or even what to say to the guy. I was at that same kind of loss.

Mom came home about eight. Angela had called two more times by then and I was feeling anxious all over. I felt like I was going to have a breakdown at any minute. It made it worse that mom wanted us to eat dinner together, which almost never happened.

“Are you all right, dear?” she asked, as we sat at the table after the blessing.

This sounded strange coming from her, especially the ‘dear’ part. That was pretty well out of character and made me feel even more guarded. “Yes, Mom. I’m fine.”

“I just thought we could eat together tonight. We don’t get to do that much anymore since your father…” She let that hang in the air for a moment, and I could tell she was searching her addled mind for words. “I thought maybe we could talk.”

“About what?” I asked, cutting a small piece of meatloaf and putting it in my mouth.

“You know. Girl type stuff. We haven’t had that talk, I don’t think.”

“Mom, we don’t have to have that talk. I’m good.”

“Oh I know you’re a good girl, sweetie. But even good girls can make mistakes that affect them their whole lifetime.”

It didn’t take a psychoanalyst to figure out she was referring to herself. I guess it was only natural that she would want to protect me from doing the same things, but hell, to hear her tell it, when she was fifteen she’d been around the block several times over, and most of those times without clothes.

“Mom, I can’t make mistakes if I’m not doing anything. I barely go out of the house.”

“Right now, yes. But you’ll be seventeen in July and your body is going to be developing desires that are difficult to control. Already, you may be feeling something ….um, different. Or perhaps sensations…”

“Mom, please don’t. This is embarrassing. I had my first period just before my fourteenth birthday. Why didn’t you chat me up then? I had to go to Aunt Charlotte.”

She frowned. “I’m sure she told you everything and steered your curiosity away from your natural inclinations.”

“Natural inclinations? What the hell, mom?” I set my fork down. “Why don’t you tell me what’s really on your mind? Why do you have to play these dumb ass guessing games with me? I know you used to play ignorant with dad, but…”

“I saw the Facebook pictures,” she blurted quite matter as factly.

“I knew it. I knew this was what it was about. Let’s sit down to dinner dear so I can find out the name of your dyke girlfriend.”

“Don’t be so rude, Nora. Is it Angela?”

“Mom,“ I yelled. “It’s not anyone. It’s a vicious ugly rumor that got started by some jealous evil bitch at school. They set me up and then plastered pictures all over the net. That girl may have been gay, but I’m not.” I reinforced this statement by shoving my chair away from the table and getting up.

She looked up at me with a stern look and said, “Sit down.”

I fidgeted for a moment and then did as she said.

“Look Nora, I had to ask. I have people I barely know coming up to me in Walmart and whipping out their cells to show me you and that girl kissing.”

“Well, if you had looked close enough, you would have seen it was her doing the kissing, not me.”

“Even so. I need to be able to count on you to be a normal sixteen year old.”

“Normal? What is that supposed to mean? If I were gay, would that be not normal? If I go hang out at a drug dealer’s house, would that be not normal? Or how about smoking a blunt with my pimp? Or how about doing like you did and doing a strip tease on the school bus after football practice…”

Whap! The slap nearly echoed in the room and my head reeled to one side so hard I thought it would give me whiplash.

“Don’t talk to your mother like that,“ she screamed.

I rubbed my reddened cheek with the back of my hand. It stung badly, but I refused to let her see tears. “Fine, I’ll just be normal and not talk to you at all.”

Before she could say anything, I stormed out the room and upstairs to the safety of my bedroom. I made sure to slam the door so hard it shook the house. I knew she’d be up before too long so I locked the door and silently dared her to knock.

Continue to Ep. 15

 

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

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Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 13

 

Vampire Boys Of Summer (Re-vamped)

13: The Watcher

I could have slapped him. All this nervousness and sweaty palms for this? If he was right that someone was watching us, they just might see me lay him out cold.

“In the window. The house across the street behind me.”

Now I was really getting pissed. “Dumb ass, that’s a manikin. Old Mrs. Winston put that up to keep kids off her lawn.” I put some distance between us for real by stepping up two more steps on the porch.

“No, behind the manikin. There’s someone there, and it’s not an old lady.”

I looked past him, squinting my eyes in the afternoon sun to try and see what he was talking about. After a moment I saw it, a shadowy figure behind the manikin. At first I thought it was just another one, but then I could see it move. My anger at Haru started to subside, replaced by alarm. Who was in Mrs. Winston’s house?

When he was sure I saw it, Haru turned and looked also, fixing it with a cold stare. The figure disappeared back into the shadows of the room. “I’ll take care of this,” said my new neighbor.

I was confused. “What are you?…”

“Stay here,“ he commanded, but he must not have had very good hypnotic vampire powers because I followed after him across the yard.

“Haru, You can’t just…Look , I know her…She’s not going to be happy if you go in her house.”

He crossed the street. “She’s asleep,“ he replied.

“In the middle of the afternoon? How could you..”

“She’s dreaming of a man at the foot of her bed.”

I reached out and grabbed his arm. “What the hell are you talking about?”

He stopped and turned to me. His hand reached out and took mine gently off his arm. His touch was not cold at all. In fact, he was pretty warm. And his skin was soft. For the first time I noticed he was wearing nail polish the color of his hair. He quickly let go of my hand as if I had scorched him. “Nora, go home. I will take care of this.” Then he gave me a sharp look. “Do not follow me.”

He started across Mrs. Winston’s lawn. I couldn’t believe he was just going to walk up there and enter her house. And for what or whom? And how did he expect to even cross the threshold? Without even thinking, I yelled at him, “Vampires can’t go in uninvited, you idiot!”

He came to a complete stop so fast you’d thought he hit a brick wall. He turned towards me and started walking back to where I stood. The look on his face made me afraid. I took a couple steps back.

“What did you say?”

“I..I’m sorry…I didn’t mean it…I don’t know…”

“Vampires?”

I nodded and started to bolt.

“Stop,” he said. His voice was quiet and lilting, and I was helpless. I had to obey his command. It was like something within me shut down and he could have demanded anything of me. He stepped right up to me and I didn’t flinch. Leaning in, his eyes were nearly touching mine and I felt like he could consume me whole and I wouldn’t care. Then just as quick as the helplessness came, it went away. I must have been holding my breath because it came out of my mouth heavy. Now my head screamed run before he could do anything else.

“Don’t tell anyone,“ he said. “Please, don’t.”

As if in answer to another command, I looked in his eyes. Tears had formed in those dark orbs and were starting down his face. I had never seen a boy cry before. In my world they were tough and invincible. Nothing could hurt their emotionless shell. But not this boy. He was weak, vulnerable, crumbling to pieces before my eyes. I almost cried seeing it.

“Please, not even your friends,” he said.

“I won’t.”

He wiped his arm across his face and cast a look back at Mrs. Winston’s. Then he returned his eyes to mine. “If you dream tonight, and it’s not me, don’t invite them in. Okay?”

I nodded. “Okay.”

He then walked away from me, moving briskly across the yard to his own. He never said goodbye. He didn’t even look back. I stood there watching, wondering what just happened. I knew everything had changed between us in an instant. We were not strangers any longer. I was not a killer. He was not a vampire. We were two souls now connected by something beyond us. And looking past my yard at Mrs. Winston’s house, I saw the thing that could destroy us both as it shifted in the window.

 

Continue to Ep. 14

Vampire Boys Of Summer 2018 Paul D. Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Ghost Boy Blues 15

Before I can ponder the thought of Aiden any further, my eyes are drawn to Donald’s books, scattered in the hallway where he dropped them. Everyone seems to be avoiding them like the plague. They skirt around them, pretending not to notice, afraid that to notice would be to invite their own personal bullying session with Derek and his thugs.

The bullies stand over the abandoned textbooks, gloating like Smaug the dragon over his stolen treasure horde. And like Smaug, they don’t need the pilfered objects. They are just making the point they can take what they want anytime they want.

“Let’s piss on them,” Jeff says. I notice his greasy brown hair already looks like someone has done that to him. Maybe he just wants to get even.

“Nah,” replies the one I think they call Chuck. “Let’s tear out the pages and gum up the toilet.”

I have this fleeting wish I could reach out and pick up the books myself. Hold them high above their heads and make them jump for it. But I can’t pick up inanimate objects. I can sit in a chair, or stand up on one of the desks, but I can’t move anything. I can’t force objects to believe I am alive. I don’t think any human spirit can. Poltergeists maybe, but I don’t think they’ve ever been human. They are demonic spirits and thus have different abilities and rules.

There’s no point for me to even attempt to claim Donald’s books, and as such the bullies are the ones who pick them up. They snicker the whole time in mischievous delight. I want so much to teach them a lesson. I guess I can take over Jeff or Chuck and have them beat the crap out of each other. Or perhaps I can take over one of the remaining students still in the hall and have them take out my frustration. Or…or…I could just show Derek firsthand what he has done all these years.

I start towards him, but I see someone else doing the same. Mr. Jeffs is one of my favorite teachers. In fact, he’s just about everybody’s favorite. Cool, down to earth, he has this neo hippie vibe going. Wears rock n roll t-shirts to class, while the rest of the faculty dresses more formally. The guys like him. The girls adore him. It’s not his fault that Derek is his cousin’s son.

“Well now, that’s something you don’t see every day,” he says. He looks at the three bullies who at his appearance now look guilty as sin instead of mischievous as trolls. “Mr. Wells holding books has to be the most unexpected thing ever. Now if you could just open them on occasion that would be gnarly.”

Derek seems unfazed and snickers at the teacher. “Nobody uses gnarly anymore.”

Mr. Jeffs smiles. “And you haven’t used a book all year. So tell me, whose books do you have?”

“Um well…we just found them laying on the ground..so we picked them up.”

“Ah yes. Mr. Wells the great humanitarian. That was very thoughtful of you.”

The look on Derek’s face tells me he doesn’t like being called by his last name. Wish I’d known that sooner. Why do you find out all the pertinent information after you’re dead?

The teacher holds out his hands. “Why don’t you let me take those to the office so the student they belong to can reclaim them?”

Derek scowls and hands them to Mr Jeffs, though its easy to see he is reluctant to. After all, there goes his afternoon fun, trashing Donald’s books.

Jeffs opens the cover of one of the books. “Donald Pluth,” he reads. He looks at the three bullies. “If I’m not mistaken this young man is never without his books. He must have had a very good reason for dropping them in the hall. Any of you know anything about that?”

They all looked at each other, and for a moment I could almost see their thoughts crossing between them. Did he see them shoving Don around? How long had he been standing there in the hall?

“Um, no sir,” Derek replied. He looked at his buddies. “We just got here.” Both Chuck and Jeff nodded in agreement.

“Ah, well. Maybe you three should keep moving and find your way to class then. If you can remember where it is, of course.”

The bullies give him a dirty look, but he appears either unfazed or ignorant to their best intimidating stares. They shamble off, and I miss my opportunity to show Derek the kind of hurt he causes others. But there will be other times. Kids like Derek can’t stay out of trouble for long.

Continue to Episode 16

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Vampire Boys Of Summer (revamped) Ep. 12

 

Vampire Boys Of Summer (Re-vamped) Main Page

12: The Walk

I didn’t say anything else about the loveless tattoo and neither did he. He seemed to act like it was normal for me to know this tattoo as if it was just as common as the word “Mom” on a sailor’s arm. I didn’t feel comfortable pursuing it further because then I’d have to reveal a whole range of things about last night and I didn’t want to go there.

“So, what’s your tattoo then?”

“Mobile Suit Gundam beating up on Sailor Moon.”

“Are you serious?”

“No, I’m just kidding. I don’t have any tattoos.”

I frowned at him. “You need to work on all this kidding stuff. A girl likes to be told the truth.”

“Truth. Hmmm. Tell you what. You tell me the truth why you came over last night, and I’ll tell you any truth about me you want to know.”

I looked at him for a moment. This could be very tricky and could bring the hope of any type of friendship to a crashing halt. I mean come on, what was I supposed to say? I just came over to put a stake through your heart?

“I can’t do that,” I said. “Not yet.”

He stopped walking. He sighed, running his fingers through his long blond hair as if he was thinking or debating something within himself. “Fair enough,” he said. We walked on a couple more blocks before he spoke again. “So, you like tattoos?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Do you have any?”

I smiled. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“Um..yes I would.”

“Yeah, I have one. But don’t ask to see it. I won’t show it to you.”

He smirked. “Fair enough.”

The whole ‘fair enough’ thing was starting to irritate me. I was beginning to think he used the phrase whenever he didn’t like what you said.

“How long have you lived here, Nora?”

“All my life.”

“Exciting.”

“Not really. Where did you grow up?”

He stuffed his hands in his pockets. “Lots of places. Japan, San Francisco, Queens. Now we’ve moved here.”

“It must seem dull here next to those big places.”

“It’s not dull. Just slower paced, which I guess is what my uncles wanted.”

“Your Uncles?”

“Yeah, I live with my uncles. They are making a show of raising me these days.”

“Where are your mom and dad?”

“Traveling. Always present, but always gone, if that make sense.”

I nodded. “Yes, I think it does. My dad’s gone too, but he’s not traveling.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

I laughed. “It’s not like that. He’s in the state hospital.”

“What’s his illness?”

“Sick in the head, I suppose.”

He gave me a little reassuring smile. “Sounds like we both have dysfunctional families.”

“Yeah.”

We rounded a corner and started down our street. Home was only a block away now. The time had gone by so fast.

“Maybe we should hang out and get dysfunctional together,“ he said.

From the lips of someone else it may have come out sounding flirty, dirty, or just outright insulting, but from Haru it sounded like sound advice and the offer of friendship. I couldn’t believe it but I was thinking it possible that I just might be able to like this guy without staking him.

“Yeah, I think that would cool,“ I replied. “You know where I live. Consider yourself invited over.”

He smiled so big I could see his perfect white teeth. It made me realize I had just invited a vampire to my home. What an idiot. But what puzzled me about that were two things: one, his walking in daylight without catching fire, and two, when he smiled I could see no fangs, not even an overbite. Perhaps I’d been wrong. Maybe I just have an obsessive compulsive “vampires are everywhere” disorder…

We stepped up on the sidewalk and crossed over into my yard. I hadn’t realized while we had been walking, but he was right up next to me only inches from my body. The only way we could be any closer is if we’d been holding hands. Why I thought of that analogy I don’t know. It would be pretty weird holding hands with a vampire. Aren’t they clammy and icy cold to the touch? Still, it seemed as if he had no concept of personal space. And I had no concept of not minding that fact.

It made me a little self-conscious, the lack of distance between us. A girl thinks of these things you know. All kinds of thoughts went through my head: Do I have anything stuck in my teeth? Can he see where I’ve tried to cover up my acne scars? Is my breath okay? Do I smell? If any of these things were noticed he never said, much to my happiness.

We stopped at my front porch. “Here we go,“ he said. “Safe and sound.” He edged closer and I backed up onto the step. I had kissed a boy before and I know what happens when you allow him to go all the way to the front door. He stepped up onto the step with me and began to lean close. I couldn’t believe this. I knew he was hot and all, but it’s worse if he knows it. I could only take this to mean he was making his move. I could feel my palms starting to sweat and my face felt flushed.

“Um…I don’t think you…Well , I…”

His face nearly grazed my cheek, his beautiful dark eyes making contact with my frightened doe look. His lips were at my ear and I could feel his warm breath against it. I closed my eyes and braced myself. It was either that or run, and to be honest, my legs were so weak I couldn’t have moved if I wanted to. I heard the sound of his tongue passing over his lips and then he whispered, “Someone’s watching us.”

 

Continue to Ep. 13

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Ghost Boy Blues 14

It seems far easier to take on a host body when it’s losing consciousness. There is no nausea involved, for one. For another, it’s almost as if the mind of the host is leaving and making room for anything else that wants to take over.

Donald’s mind blanks out as I come inside. It’s like moving into an empty house. His vision is clearing, his body responding to my presence. I’m like a camera adjusting for flash. The problem is the film is damaged. I can tell the moment I’m settling in his skin. Something is wrong. Something is off inside. I feel as if I’m squeezing into a hollow place. It’s not dark. It’s not light. It’s just empty. I can hear the bullies laughing, see them through Donald’s eyes, but they look distorted. In fact, they don’t even look real. A terror comes over me as if I have stepped into someone else’s nightmare. Then there’s the screaming.

I’m not sure if it’s my voice or his, but Donald’s mouth is open, emitting a sound born of anguish and horror. Then he is on his feet so fast the bullies back up a second. But they have nothing to fear, I do. I don’t want to be trapped inside this shell of a boy. It’s a frightening place and I want out. I jump out of his frame in the same manner one sits up in bed after waking from night terrors.

Returning to spirit form is a shock to my system, if I may use such an analogy. I double over retching. I have an image in my head of ectoplasm spewing forth from my spectral throat like this is some kind of cheesy ghost hunting video. Maybe that’s what ectoplasm is. Ghosts hurling their guts up.

I can barely see Donald now, but I can still hear his horrible cries. I had never felt such anguish as when I was inside him. Even when Derek and his pals had picked on me in life I’d never felt such devastating emotions. Something is wrong with Donald so much that even he is trying to escape it. With a howl like a wounded animal, he sets off down the hall like he is on fire, bumping students out of the way, oblivious to everything escape his desire to flee far away from this event.

There are a few stunned gasps, but most of the hallway is silence. Then Derek lets out his own anguished wail, and I turn towards him startled by the sound. Jeff and Chuck mimic him and I realize it’s just bullies being assholes again. Their wails are laughter as they point their fingers in the direction Donald took off. Others kids begin to relax, and some of them let out sighs and nervous chuckles. The bullies pat themselves on the back and the kids start to disperse, heading on to class or lockers as if nothing happened. Just another day at school. Another day that for most people was a good one, if they could avoid being treated like Donald. It made me think of Aiden Smalls, god rest his soul. Yeah right, what a joke.

 

Continue to Episode 15

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Vampire Boys Of Summer (re-vamped) Ep: 11

Vampire Boys Of Summer (Re-vamped)

11: Haru

The sun outside was so bright it was killing my eyes. We were standing on the front steps of the building waiting for Angela’s bus. It was always the last one, which almost always put us in the line of fire when it came to The Trumps and others who loved to sneer at us. As one bus was pulling away, some stupid jock hung his head out the window yelling, “Come on, kiss her.” We both flipped him off. People are so stupid.

“So you coming to my house?” Angela asked.

“Yeah, I’ll ride with you.”

“You don’t have to stroll the rest of the way. Mom can give you a ride ho…Oh My Freaking God!”

“What!?” I nearly screamed at her. I was facing away from the buses and looking right at her. She clutched her chest and nearly all the color went out of her face.

“I think I have freaking died and gone straight to St. Michael’s bosom.”

“What’s the matter? What’s wrong?”

“That is the most beautiful boy I have ever seen. I want to throw myself at his feet and thank Jesus.”

I turned and nearly dropped my backpack. It was the Asian boy from next door. He was standing at the bottom of the steps looking right up at us.

“Konnichiwa,” he said.

I didn’t know if he was still making fun of me or not, but I heard Angela whisper softly to herself, “dreamy.”

“Konnichiwa,” I finally replied. “What are you doing here?”

He came up a couple of steps and stopped. “I..uh..wanted to apologize.” He waited for a response and when I didn’t give one, he continued. “And possibly…maybe..if you would allow me..to um…walk you home.”

I crossed my arms. He wasn’t getting off the hook this easy; I didn’t care that he was wearing tight leather pants and a white pullover shirt that seemed to hug his frame in all the right places. “I guess it depends,” I answered. “What are you apologizing for?”

He looked around, taking in his surroundings and the fact other students had stopped to watch the exchange. He bowed his head and whole upper body. “I apologize for …being insensitive and having a joke at your expense. My humor was not appropriate for the occasion. I meant no…dishonor.”

I uncrossed my arms and was getting ready to say something when he turned and went back down the steps, walking away at a brisk pace as if he wanted nothing more than to get away. I looked around and noticed a considerable crowd had formed, including two of the three Trumps. They were smirking to themselves.

“Hey wait a minute,” I called out, to which he stopped so fast you’d think I’d threatened him. “What about that walk home?”

He looked up at me with dark eyes filled with surprise. The sad look on his lips turned into a boyish smile. “I would like that honor, Nora.”

“I don’t walk home with people I don’t know,” I said.

Again, he bowed. “I’m Haru.”

I turned around and saw Angela, her eyes gone wide. It had been a roundabout way but I had gotten his name after all. She mouthed ‘call me later’ as her bus pulled up. I noticed the Trumps were gone, too.

“Okay Haru,“ I said, walking up to join him. “You know where I live, don’t you?”

It wasn’t a short walk from school. It seemed even longer because I was walking home with a strange boy I had only spoken to once before, and even then I felt like I had done all the talking. If he was in his element at night, you wouldn’t have known it by his ease at walking home under the burning sun, which in itself was surprising to me. If he was a vampire, how could he stand to be out in the direct sunlight without burning to ash? Hell, he didn’t even sparkle.

“I am sorry about last night. It was very rude of me.”

“It’s okay,” I replied. “You can make up for it.”

He raised an eyebrow as we hit Market Street, just three blocks from the school. “Oh yeah? And how is that, I wonder?”

“What did you say to me last night?”

He grinned. “Oh, you mean when you were looking at my chest to see how my shirt was buttoned?”

I looked away for a moment, embarrassed that he had noticed. “Uh yes, I guess so.”

“I said, Koko Omotemuki.”

“In English, please.”

He stopped and looked at me. He touched his chin and said with a smile, “Face up here.”

My face turned red . I don’t think a guy had ever said anything to embarrass me that bad before. “Oh, was it obvious?” I asked, trying to play it off.

“Um…yes.” He gave me an inquisitive look. “I just wonder if you do a chest inspection with every guy you meet, or if I’m something special.”

“No, it’s nothing like that…” I started.

“What, you don’t think I’m special?”

This stunned me. “I…I’m…I don’t know..I”

Once again he was having a laugh at my expense, but I wasn’t so mad about it this time. In fact, I kind of liked it. His eyes seemed to dance in the light as he spoke. I couldn’t look at them for long; they were too intense, and he seemed to know this because he kept trying to make eye contact.

“Seriously,“ he said, “what was the big deal? Was my shirt dirty or something?”

“No, I was trying to figure out something,” I admitted.

“Oh really. And that was?”

“I was trying to see if you had a tattoo.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You’re not very forward, you know that?” He laughed at the expression on my face. “Yes, I have a tattoo.”

I knew I was being bold, but I had to know. “A moon with vines that says ‘Loveless’ across it?”

He stopped me with his hand on my arm and a look of concern. “No, that would be my cousin Ryo.”

 

Continue to Ep. 12

 

“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D. Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Ghost Boy Blues 13

Thirteen

I don’t care who you are. Everyone knows the name of bullies. It’s one of those things you don’t forget, and I suppose they like it that way. For Derek and his two buddies – why there are always two, I’ll never know – this is just the kind of notoriety they enjoy. Invoking fear in those they feel are far beneath them. And today, the one beneath them is a timid little guy named Donald Pluth. They are pushing him around while demanding he not be such a baby about it. This scene has been played out many times over in every school across America. Tougher kids harassing weaker ones to the point of tears. Maybe they take their money, rob them of their homework answers, or just want to be mean. Either way, they are pushing Donald back and forth among them, daring him to do something other than cry.

Donald is a little kid, half the size of Derek. I recognize him from one of my classes. I’m not sure which one. But unlike the goth girl, and indeed myself, he is not invisible. No, guys like him are noticed, if only as targets. And try as they might to blend in, to fade into the scenery, to guys like Derek Wells the sight of them is like a blinking neon sign saying, “come on and pick on me.”

The bullies are enjoying knocking Donald around. They smack him in his head and then complain they got monkey grease on their hands. They finger pluck his ears. They attempt to smack his books out of his hands. All the while they are laughing so loud that a small crowd is gathering to watch the every day spectacle. Sometimes it is best to be a spectator at such events and feed the ego of bullies than to later have to face their wrath.

The attention of the gathering spurs them on. Derek’s cronies – I think their names are Jeff and Chuck – are jostling Don between them like it’s a game of Hot Potato. Neither one of them want to touch him for long and they let it be known by how hard they begin to shove the weaker boy’s frail body. He drops his books and tries to pick them up, but he loses his balance and the next shove from Chuck sends him sprawling to the floor.

“This is more fun than the time we shoved what’s his name’s face down in the toilet,” Derek says with a malicious kind of glee.

“Aiden Smalls,” Jeff reminds him. “Man, what a loser.”

Derek grins and reaches his hand down to Donald as if he’s going to help him up. Instead, he smacks him in the head. “Yeah, you’re just like dead boy. Go ahead, pee on yourself.”

Some in the crowd seem uncertain if it’s okay to laugh. There are a few giggles but it appears Derek may have crossed the line. He has no idea. Invoking the name of Aiden Smalls has caused a few to begin to walk away, shaking their heads. I don’t blame them. On a normal day I would have tried to walk away as well. But as spirit, I can’t tear myself from this scene. I have seen it way too many times.

I have to hand it to Donald, though. He is a trooper through all this, and even now is attempting to stand. To try and retain some kind of dignity. Bad move. This angers Derek even more. This is direct defiance and he will not stand for it. He balls up a fist and hits Don in the nose. There is a crunch and I know the smaller boy’s nose is broken.

He falls back down. It’s easy to see he is going to black out any second. His eyes seem to be swimming in his head and I imagine things are going out of focus.

“Bet you won’t try to fight back now, bitch,” Derek snarls.

I can’t help but smile. This is going to be fun.

Continue to Episode 14

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