I can remember the first time I thought there was something wrong with me. Something odd, something out of sorts, something strange or something peculiar.
I was fifteen and the whole school was having an assembly. I was seated behind Charlie Henderson. I remember staring at his arms, his shoulders then his neck and his curly blonde hair. It was all in arm’s length. I tried desperately trying not to reach out and run my hands over him. I was a lady and ladies didn’t do that. They didn’t fraternize with young men, at least I didn’t. As my thoughts grew about touching him, running my hands through his hair, kissing his lips or touching his chest I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my chest. I retched in pain as it got stronger and stronger. I felt like something was pushing my ribs out of my chest from the inside. I moaned and retched again and again until i couldn’t take it any longer. I let out a blood curd tiling scream. I fell off my chair and started wriggling on the hard wooden floor of the hall. Teachers ran towards me from all directions. I remember looking up and seeing the entire school gathered around me. I turned my head and locked eyes with Charlie. I could feel the tears run down my face as i squirmed on the ground. He just stood there with his friends, watching me twist and turn in pain.
Everything’s different now. And i know it’s never going to be the same.
Walking through the hallway was my least favorite time of day; everyone always giving me dirty looks, knocking me around and the imminent stealing of my books. I clutched my books close to my chest as i swiftly moved down the long hallway; dodging some of the boys by a second or two. I made it to my locker unscaved. As i went to open my locker someone shoved my sideways and i lost grip of my books and they scattered across the floor. "Nice one Rose!" said a familiar voice. I looked up and locked eyes with Charlie. He was walking away behind the young man who had pushed me. James Isherwood. I pushed my glasses back up onto the bridge of my nose and started picking up my books. Charlie had always fascinated me. Every time i look up there he is staring at me. Maybe for a second or two but he was defiantly looking at me. He was so quiet, even with his friends. But then again i can understand why he would be. Not having a brother come back from war must be quite saddening. I shook my head as i picked up my last book and headed to my next class.
I could hear the school clock strike 5 times as i ran down the empty hallway. My blazer hanging from my bag and my books clutched to my chest. I quickly reached the end of the hallway and tried to gather the last of my English books so i could go home and study.
"God I’ve always loved that skirt on you!" said a sarcastic voice. I turned slowly and saw James leaning against a nearby locker. "Although..." he paused and started to walk closer "With a few mild modifications I think we could make it better; Right boys?" I heard footsteps behind me and saw three other young men moving slowly towards James and I. "Defiantly James!" said one. "Right on the money James!" said another. As i turned back to James he grabbed one of my hands, making my drop my books. He then grabbed the other one, and pushed me up against the lockers. "Come on boys, let’s give this young lady some help with her uniform" he smirked. The other boys started to move in around me. Taking my hands and letting James walk in front of me. One of them took off my glasses and through them down the hallway. "What are you doing James?!" I said bewildered. He leaned in and said quietly "Just wait and see." The men who had my arms tighten their grip. "James please! Don't do whatever it is you’re going to do!" I said sympathetically. The other men laughed to themselves. "But you don’t even know what I’m going to do! You might like it!" He reached out his hand to my waist and started undoing my skirt. "James! Please!" I screamed. "Shut her up!" ordered James. One of the men put his hand over my mouth but i kept trying to speak. I could feel the tightness around my waist getting looser then i felt my skirt fall. I felt so exposed. Like such a whore. "Now those are legs!" said the man on my right. "You bet'cha!" said James as he ran his hand up my right leg. He stopped at the top of my thigh, just before my underwear; leaned in and said "You're gonna love this Rose! And I think i might enjoy it too." He was moving his hands all over my body. I felt sick!
I started feeling a pain in my chest, like that day in assembly. "Get them!" said a voice. I looked around and all i could see was James and the other boys laughing. "What are you waiting for? Get them! They deserve to die! Look what they are letting him do! Get them!!" screeched the voice in my head. The pain got worse and worse as it screamed in my head. I started to feel dizzy from the pain. Everything started going black. The last thing i remember was that James started kissing me.
The first thing i saw as i opened my eyes was the ceiling of the hallway. I blinked a few times and my vision became better. It wasn’t perfect because i didn’t have my glasses but it was good enough. I lifted myself up but before I had a chance to look properly my feet slid out from under me. I crashed to the cold tile floor, hard, but only hard enough to give me a bruise or two. I look at the floor near my feet to see what had made me fall. It was red. Red liquid. I leaned closer. Blood. I rapidly crawled back until i hit the lockers. I felt something between me and the lockers. It was my glasses. I quickly shoved them onto my face. I wrapped my hands over my mouth to stop my scream.
The blood i had slipped in was coming out of a body. Its torso, riddled with glass. Its legs bent and twisted. Its arms, lifeless and pale. I slowly crawled towards it. I gave it a little push. Nothing. A bigger push. Still nothing. I reached onto its shoulder and pulled it towards me, rolling the body over. It was one of the young men who were with James. The one who threw my glasses. I moved back from the body and stood up successfully. The other bodies in the hallway were just as bad. But James' was the worst. His body was twisted and disfigured. His neck snapped almost in half and his eyes, gouged out. Like someone had just grabbed them out. I went to put my hands on my face again but realized i there was blood on them. I ran to the ladies bathroom and scrubbed and scrubbed until every tiny spot of it was gone.
© Copyright 2017 Jane Tehan. All rights reserved.
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