Guilt

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
He watched it all, offered no help, and now he's feeling guilty.

Submitted: November 01, 2016

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Submitted: November 01, 2016

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Guilt

 

He sat alone in his room. Had there ever been a day that he felt so helpless, so depressed? And it wasn’t his fault how everything had fallen apart – logically he knew that but sometimes reasoning just doesn’t work. He was guilty if only by association.

 

They’d hounded her. Kept on at her. She was new, had nobody on her side, no one to turn to or talk to. The popular kids ruled the college. Most students wouldn’t join in with them, although there were many who just wanted to be offered the chance. To run with them was to become one of them – the nearest thing to stardom most would ever have the chance to achieve. No, most students wouldn’t participate but they would be happy to look the other way.

 

Emma Hayes, that was her name. The girl they had managed to put into hospital. They were as responsible as if they had poured the drink and drugs down her throat themselves.

Greg and Megan, Rory and Kate – the college royalty – had targeted Emma on that first day and since then had never let up. The girls spread rumors, the boys spread far worse ones. No one would talk to her, but they all whispered about her without even trying to hide what they were doing. Her bag would go missing, her coat was torn, Megan ‘accidentally’ tripped in the canteen and soaked Emma with hot coffee. Her assingments, so carefully prepared, went missing.

 

It was clear that it was getting to her. Emma was getting paler by the day, thinner and tireder. It just seemed to spur them on, the effects they were managing to have. Didn’t they see how she had started to shake, sometimes so bad that she could not write? Didn’t they notice that she was withdrawing more and more? Or perhaps they saw it all and relished their power. He didn’t like to think that about fellow students but the more he thought about it, the more likely it seemed.

 

After all, if he had noticed so must they. And so must everybody else. What about the lecturers? Why had they just stood by and let the torment continue? They weren’t blind.

She was new, didn’t really belong, but that was no excuse to turn her into a sacrifice.

 

And he had to wonder what her crime was. What had she done the instant she had arrived to turn those four, and the whole school against her? He didn’t know. He never heard even a whisper about the cause of it all. Had she ever done anything to bring it upon herself? He did not think so.

 

None of this absolved him from guilt. He had noticed what they were doing. He had noticed how upset she was becoming. But still he had stood aside, watching it all play out from the sidelines. He belonged with Greg and Rory in the ‘guilty’ box, not that anyone had actually been blamed.

 

Emma had taken her overdose herself. Nobody gave it to her. She had written no note, pointed no fingers, named no names. She had told no one, not even her parents, how she was being picked on, ostracised, bullied so much she could not bear it.

 

How could he have allowed himself to become such a coward? He had never sought popularity, was not interested in it. He was wise to what they did and they would not really have been capable of harming him. He should have given her support. He could have been her friend. But he had turned his back and there lay his guilt. He had participated as an observer in her destruction.

 

Tomorrow he would start to make things right. He would request a meeting with his tutor, make a point of saying what had been going on. The rule of four just couldn’t be allowed to continue unchallenged – after all, she was not their first victim and if something was not done, she would not be their last.

 

But, more importantly, tomorrow he would go and visit her...... if she would see him. He would tell her that, should she decide to return to the college, he would walk with her. She would no longer be alone.


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