He sat with a glassy-eyes expression, staring intently at the clock. The hands seemed to have slowed today. As his teacher rambled on about life in the trenches, his mind was set on one thing. Every time he looked away from the clock it seemed he was being watched. He knew who was watching him. The bullies. Every walk home they pursued him. He was too slow to escape. Kicks and punches hit him like machine gun fire.
Yesterday he had brought his bike to school in hope it would help him avoid his tormentors. He cycled home, outpacing the boys and returned home safely. He never considered that the next day, they too would bring their bikes. He had to avoid them, couldn’t bear going home with a broken nose or a burst lip. Five minutes to go. He discreetly began packing his workbooks and pencils away. Three minutes. He was poised, ready to burst away to the bike shed.
The bell rang: a metallic screech echoing through his skull. He leapt away from his chair, crashing into his classmates, slamming into doors and tables. He heard their footsteps thundering behind him. He burst out of the main gate, gasping. The bike shed was a stone’s throw away. He turned around and regretted it instantly. The bullies were on his tail.
He slammed into the bike shed door and bolted over to his bike. He punched in the combination, his hands trembling. He mounted his bike and pedalled as fast as he could. His chasers were close. He heard the wind rush through his hair and he let out a cry. He didn’t want to live like this. Tears streamed down the side of his face. The bike’s front wheel hit a pothole and twisted the bike around. The boy flew off the bike and slammed into the road, curled up in a ball.
The bullies stopped and stared at him. Just as he thought they might leave him alone, the brute of the gang grinned and let out a throaty laugh.
“You didn’t think we were gonna let you go, did you?”
“RUNT!” shouted the others.
“Please, just leave me alone!” the boy cried.
“Not today,” said the bully.
The kicks and punches struck him fast and hard, hitting every square inch of his body. A particularly sore kick smashed him in the face. After what seemed like forever, the pain subsided. They had run away. He curled into a ball and again cried, hoping to just disappear.
Luke Mitchell S2