Dough Boy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story about bullying and the profound effect it can have on the bullied. Maybe people should just wise up to the fact that it is not okay to simply look the other way.

Submitted: June 21, 2016

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Submitted: June 21, 2016

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Dough Boy.

 

There's a crowd in the corridor, pushing and shoving. The fact that there is messing around reassures me as I start sorting through my books. It is only as I go to slam my locker shut that the other students suddenly start to move away. They all seem to have something urgent that suddenly needs attending to.

 

I know exactly whose voice I am going to hear. I know exactly what he is going to say.

 

Hey! Dough Boy! What're you doing hanging around in my corridor again?”

 

Ed Bailey, the college bully, with his loyal band of thugs. Will he have six or ten of them accompanying him today? It depends how many have decided to skip classes altogether.

 

And Dough Boy? That's a nickname he has given me, not because I am in any way fat but because he enjoys pummelling me with his fists.

 

That one comment tells me that I'm about to get a beating. I could make a run for it but I'm not exactly fast on my feet. Ed's followers would soon catch me up and then it would be much worse for me. I'd have their beatings to go through before Ed even started his turn.

 

I'm already nursing bruises from last week, all in places carefully picked so they will not show. So long as I stick to wearing long sleeves, that is. I'll just have to stand and take it. I'll cover up the pain he causes and no one need ever know.

 

Hey, Dough Boy! Look what's coming!”

 

And here comes the fist.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

I manage to arrive early for the next couple of weeks. I've been able to get to my locker, navigate the corridor and be inside my first classroom all before Ed and company have even got through the doors.

 

Hey, Scott! You're early again.” Max takes the seat next to me.

 

Max is the nearest thing to a friend that I've got. He's always good for a laugh and a chat. We never see each other outside of school though. He's a pretty popular person and lives way over on the other side of town. While me.....I'm just Scott the loner, the picked-on loser. I can't say I really understand why Max talks to me at all.

 

Have you told anyone what's going on yet, Scott?” Max leans towards me and talks in a hushed voice. I don't know why as it's hardly a secret among the students.

 

No! And I'm not going to say a word.” I don't look at Max. “You and I both know that it would only make things worse.”

 

My early arrivals might have saved me from the morning beatings but they hadn't saved me from Ed completely. He'd just been waiting for me at break times. His presence hadn't cleared areas though so he had mostly been limited to shoving rather than punching.

 

I am just leaving the cafeteria and wouldn't you know it, here's Ed with two of his heavies. One steps to my left, the other to my right. They grab hold of my arms and I can feel bruises instantly starting to form.

 

Ed leans in towards me until his nose is about two inches from mine. “What were you doing in there, Dough Boy? Spending my money?”

 

The pressure on both my arms increases before my right is released to allow me to reach into my pocket. Ed is going to be severely disappointed with the small amount of money I have to give him. There's nothing more in my pocket than a couple of coins.

 

I hold my hand out to Ed, willing it not to tremble. The smallest sign of weakness he'll pick up on in a flash. Ed looks in my hand and sneers. Just as he is about to speak someone calls my name.

 

Scott! I've been looking for you, man. Come on or we'll be late.” Max has just rounded the corner, seen my predicament and come to my rescue.

 

Both my arms are free now and Ed has backed off to give me a bit of space. “See you around, D B,” he says as he sticks his foot out to trip me. I should have seen that coming.

 

You're going to have to report them, Scott. I'll back you up if you need someone to.” Max looks genuinely concerned.

 

Thanks, Max. I owe you. And I'll think about it, okay. But I'm not making you any promises.”

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

Two weeks holiday with nothing much to do. I don't care though. Boredom doesn't come in to it, the relief of not having to deal with Ed is way to great.

 

And my bruises have a chance to heal without more being constantly added. I spend most of my time studying because I actually find all this stuff we do at college interesting. I have to make an effort to keep my scores low to average as I wouldn't want to make myself another target by showing how smart I really can be.

 

Monday morning and I am late. It is almost as though it has been rehearsed, the way that Ed shows up and the corridor clears. They approach me, taunting as usual. But someone else is here with us; someone has not received the script.

 

A girl is further down the corridor, still busy with something inside her locker. I tear my eyes away from her quickly so as not to draw Ed's attention to her. I don't recognise her. She must be new.

 

Hey, Dough Boy! Nice to see you.” Ed's smile is anything but pleasant. “Two weeks off. You must have quite a little cash stash for me today.”

 

I shake my head then look at the floor. “No, sorry. I haven't even got any money for lunch.” And it's true. I do not even have one cent on me.

 

Well, Dough Boy, that's too bad.” Ed lunges forward and reaches for my neck. His hand starts to tighten. Is he really going to strangle me? I refuse to struggle as I kind of wish he'd just get it over with. At least it would bring an end to the torment.

 

Hey! What the hell are you doing?” The girls voice sounds loud and clear. They won't like that one bit.

 

I shut my eyes willing her to see sense and to just walk away. Her being a girl won't get her any special treatment with this lot. She's obviously oblivious to my thoughts though as her footsteps are approaching.

 

What are you doing? Get your hands off him.”

 

I know exactly what is going to happen and it plays out in front of me exactly as I imagine. Two of his thugs grab the girls arms and Ed releases his hold on my neck long enough to swing a punch straight at her stomach. I see her crumple to the ground as her arms are released, just before my head is slammed back into the lockers and blackness provides a temporary relief.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

When I come round the girl is squatting in front of me holding a cold damp towel to my head. She doesn't notice my eyes are open instantly so I just take a moment to study her. Blue eyes, brown curly hair with a sprinkling of freckles across her nose. She strikes me as being really pretty. But she is tiny, way too small to take on the likes of Ed Bailey.

 

Thanks,” I say at last. “But next time just do what everyone else does and get out of their way. You don't deserve to become another target.”

 

For a moment she winces as she manoeuvres herself upright. She holds out her hand to help me to my feet.

 

So why do you deserve to be targeted? I'm sure you didn't choose to be picked on by those apes.”

 

What can I say to that? Nothing. I stare at the floor. The awkwardness I'm feeling right now is almost as painful as the beating I've just been given.

 

I'm Cara. Cara Reynolds.”

 

This girl is actually holding her hand out to me to shake so I take it with my own. “Scott Ames,” I say. “Nice to meet you but it could have been in better circumstances.”

 

Cara laughs and I laugh. As we make our way to our classes she wants to know why I don't report it. I try to give a quick explanation. The Baileys are a powerful family in these parts and going against them in any way could only make things worse.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

Over the next few weeks Cara and I spend a lot of time together. We seem to have quite a lot of shared interests. And of course, we both share the position of being outsiders.

 

I have told Cara not to hang around with me. She is such a nice person she is sure to soon find herself being accepted. She doesn't want to know. She tells me to shut up, that she chooses to be with me. And really I am glad that she does.

 

The strange thing is that Ed Bailey and his friends seem to have lost interest in us. A couple of times I've caught Ed looking our way but there have been no threats, no attacks. I am almost beginning to enjoy being at college again.

 

I should have known it couldn't last.

 

Cara and I were at our lockers, casually throwing out the odd comment to each other. When the corridor suddenly started to clear. I desperately didn't want to believe that it was all starting again.

 

And here he is. Ed Bailey, the one and only chief bully, with no less than ten of his mates accompanying him. The whistles precede them.

 

Oh, look! If it isn't the two new love birds! How goes it, Scott? And what's your name, you lucky girl, you?”

 

Go, Cara,” I say, trying to convey a sense of urgency. “Just walk away and don't look back. Please...”

 

But it's too late. She is being dragged towards me by two of the thugs and Ed is watching their every move. He nods his head and the three of them stop their approach.

 

Please don't hurt her, okay. Do what you want with me but leave her alone.”

 

Oh, Scott! What do you take me for? Hurt a girl! How could you even think that I would stoop so low?” And as before, Ed swings round to land a punch in Cara's stomach while she is being held in place to take the full impact.

 

I can't stop myself. I launch myself towards Ed, but find myself flying backwards into the lockers once again. But I don't hit the floor. I am being held upright, my hand is being forced into the locker and the door is being slammed over and over again on my fingers by a thoroughly gloating Ed.

 

The pain fills my head with a roaring sound. I can see Cara's mouth opening but I can't hear her voice. She must have been screaming though as suddenly the corridor is filled with people, too late to see the guilty culprits who have already made their escape.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

I come to, only to find myself being rushed to hospital to have both my hand and my head checked out. Cara has been escorted into the Principals office. She is going to have to give an explanation. She is going to have to name names. If only I'd had a chance of explaining the dangers of going up against the Baileys, for to go against one will be seen as making an attack on the entire family. And Ed is the baby, the nicest of the lot.

 

As I come out of the examination room I see Cara waiting to be seen. She is sitting hunched forward, probably from damage caused by that punch. I smile at her and she manages to smile back but before I reach the seat beside her a nurse ushers her away.

 

I should go home. I've been told to do nothing but rest for the next 48 hours. That seems to be their standard procedure if they are not admitting you.

 

Cara is being released too. “Severe bruising,” she says. “I'm to do nothing but rest for...”

 

48 hours.” I complete the sentence for her. “Snap. Speaking of which....two broken fingers.”

 

Oh, Scott! Why didn't you tell someone? Why did you let it go on for so long?”

 

That Cara cares is obvious. I want to warn her, tell her just what she has done. But not tonight. We have both suffered enough for one day.

 

Come on.” I say. “Let's go home.” We've both been given two days off so we might as well try to enjoy them.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

It's Monday again and I'm back in college. Everyone seems to be giving me nervous looks but maybe I'm imagining this. No sign of Cara yet.

 

I'm at my locker, sorting out my bag. There is still no sign of Cara and classes are about to start. Where is she?

 

Oh, look. It's one of the love birds,” Ed Bailey has obviously not been expelled. “All on your own today? What a surprise.”

 

And it's the way he says those last three words that tells me something has happened. “What have you....?” I start to ask, but they all parade past me, laughing at some kind of in-group joke.

 

Now what? Do I go to class and wait to see if Cara turns up? Do I go to the office and ask if they've heard from her? Has something happened and is that why everyone was giving me those looks?

 

The hell with this! I shove everything back into my locker and walk out of the building. At least Cara doesn't live too far away. I'll have time to check up on her and be back in time for mid-morning break. So I'll be skipping a couple of classes; it's not as though they are going to expel me.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

Scott found himself jogging towards Cara's house. With each step he took he found the feeling of dread increasing. He knew Cara would have phoned him if she was sick or late. Something must have happened.

 

As he walked towards the door to her house he found his hands were shaking. The house was in darkness. There were no cars in the drive. Scott pressed the bell and waited. He banged on the door. Nothing! No response. There was no one at home.

 

A man opened the door of the neighbouring house. “Can I help you?” he asked suspiciously.

 

I...I'm Scott Ames, a friend of Cara's. She wasn't in class today so I thought I'd check that She's okay.” Stop babbling, Scott told himself.

 

You haven't heard then. Do you want to come inside?” The man held the door open but Scott just shook his head. “They'll be at the hospital. Cara is in a pretty bad way but they're hoping she'll pull through.”

 

The wave of dizziness that hit him made Scott sit down on the path. He put his head between his knees until the thundering inside his head faded.

 

What happened?” But Scott already knew. He did not need to ask.

 

Cara went out to the shops yesterday and she didn't come back. A few of us went looking for her and we found her in the park. She was in a real bad way.” The man glanced at Scott. “I don't know how bad, mind. Often these things look worse than they actually are. Give me your number if you like and I'll let you know when I hear anything.”

 

Scott shook his head. A bad move as the dizziness returned with a vengeance. “No, it's okay. I'll head over there now. I'm sure she'll see me.”

 

Give me a minute and I'll drive you over there. Were you and Cara close?”

 

Scott thought for a second then replied. “Yes! Yes, we were.”

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

The woman that sat beside the hospital bed looked exactly like an older version of Cara. Scott didn't know what to say as he approached the bed in silence.

 

There was not much visible of Cara herself; just the top of her head, the tip of her nose, her mouth and one hand. There were tubes attached everywhere and a bank of screens monitored everything that was going on inside Cara's body.

 

Scott? Scott Ames? I was going to call you when I knew just what to say.” The woman's face was white, drawn. Her red rimmed eyes told of hours spent in tears.

 

What happened? Will she be all right?” Scott felt his own eyes begin to water as he waited for an answer.

 

They don't know yet, Scott. They don't know if Cara will recover or not.” The woman, Cara's mother, gave herself a minute to compose herself before continuing. “Do you know who did this?”

 

I know who is responsible all right.” Scott stood and momentarily embraced the woman. “I'm glad we met. I hope I'll see you again.”

 

Saying no more Scott turned and left the room. This had to stop! The Baileys had gone too far. If he had spoken up Cara would not be laying there fighting to survive. Scott would have preferred it to be him that was suffering, not the girl who had been brave enough to befriend him.

 

Scott checked the time. He should just have enough time to go home and get back to school before lunchtime.

 

One way or another Scott was going to ensure that Ed's tyrannical rule ended today whatever the consequences to himself.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

As the corridor started filling with students Scott took up position. His timing was absolutely crucial if his plan was to have any chance of working.

 

And then he can hear them coming, laughing and pushing others out of their way. It's worth sacrificing his future just to see that leery smile get wiped from a Baileys face.

 

Scott pulls the gun from his pocket, steps out and holds it against the side of Ed's head. For a moment no one but Ed and Scott realise what is going on. But then the gasps and the screams begin, along with the scuffles to get away.

 

Two of Ed's thugs move forward but Scott shakes his head.

 

Don't take another step unless you want a dead Ed!” And for some reason this sounds so funny to Scott that he can't hold off the laughter.

 

Ed's face is bleached of all colour when Scott turns his attention back to him. “Did you do it? Did you take part in the attack on Cara? Or did you just watch and cheer the rest of your putrid family on?”

 

Scott can feel his anger building. The temptation to pull the trigger is almost too much to bear, but he has to wait. He has to let the truth spill out so that the same thing won't keep happening again and again.

 

Ed doesn't say a word but there is quite a crowd of witnesses gathering; the Principal, most of the teachers and, from the sound of the sirens outside, they are about to be joined by the police.

 

Come on, Ed. Don't be shy. You must be really proud of your accomplishments.” Scott gave the gun a little push to remind Ed of its presence.

 

And you,” Scott let his eyes sweep around the spectators, letting them linger slightly longer on the Principal than on everyone else. “You all knew what was going on. Did any of you do anything to help?”

 

Scott could feel his emotions building to such an extent that they were about to overwhelm him. He forced himself to take a deep breath before continuing.

 

Yes, you did do something. You chose to look the other way and let this......this bully and his thugs take control over the whole school.”

 

Max stepped forward next to Scott. “Come on, mate. Put the gun down now. You've made your point now. He's not worth letting this go any further, Scott.”

 

And Scott lowered the gun. There was a collective sigh of relief as police officers moved forward to surround both Scott and Ed.

 

Scott didn't resist. He willingly accompanied the officers into the waiting car. The truth was out now and something would have to be done to reel in the Baileys power. If Cara pulled through, if no one else was ever put in the same position as himself, then Scott figured that the sacrifice of his future was worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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