Today's suffering was finally coming to an end after the final bell rang for the day. Some students sprint out of the classroom and some power walk. Some had packed up early enough to be the first ones to leave while others were lagging behind. I was one of the ones who were lagging behind. After gathering up all my things, I left the classroom. The hallways were easy to navigate through now that most of the early birds had left already, leaving a small amount of stragglers behind. I walk over to my locker after turning down the right wing, and spin my combination into the lock. I pull the locker open and get startled almost immediately when something falls out and onto the floor, but I relaxed when I saw that it was just a note.
I reach down to pick it up, and take a moment to unfold it. I wasn't particularly afraid of what it might be. For I've gotten every trick in the book hurled at me throughout my life here in Derry. All the way from fake confessions to venomous death threats, all of them originating from the boys who seemed to bully and harass me daily. But I digress.
I stare down at the note after setting my books down on the floor in front of my now open locker, taking a moment to read the words written on it.
Hey, so this is gonna sound kind of really extremely weird, but I've seen you around school anddd was sorta wondering if you had an AOL account? You know, so I could add you and we could talk more. I promise that I'm a great conversation.
P.S. if you do have an account, then just write it down on this paper and put it back in your locker, I can get it later.
I stare down at the paper in my hand with furrowed brows. The handwriting was a mix between scratchy and neat, and the letter itself had the slightest bit of a faint scent that I could only describe as, well, minerals. I look away from the note, and scan the hallway. The faces around me failing to stick out in any way as I clutch the paper to my chest before I look back down at it.
Who the fuck was PB? I couldn't help but wonder.
But regardless, I pulled out a pen from my pocket, my paranoid brain screaming at me that this is somehow a trap. But, I ignored it as I flattened the paper against the lockers, writing down my AOL username. Mom said I needed to make some friends, so why not give this a shot? After deciding that it was in my best interest to not bother questioning how this PB kid was gonna get the paper out of my locker, I quietly fold the note back up. Gently, I put the paper back in my locker and continue on to get my stuff in order to go home for the day.
I take my time loading up my bag with my homework, books and pencils, hoping that I could out-wait my bullies. Although sometimes they caught me in the morning or random intervals throughout the day, since I hadn't seen hide nor hair of them at all, I knew for a fact that they would most likely be outside waiting on me.
I glance up at the analog clock on the walls, before slinging my bag over my shoulder and shutting my locker. I turn, and make my way down the corridor to the nearby exit that led out to the front. I push the doors open and walk outside, trudging down the steps and onto the sidewalk below. But that was when they caught me.
"Hey livestock!" A voice calls out to me "Forgetting something?"
My blood runs cold as I spin around, immediately realizing that I was surrounded by at least three of the four members of the Bowers Gang. Suspicious and slightly afraid, I glance around for the forth, trying to find that specific one so that I couldn't get sneak attacked in any way. But he didn't seem to be around.
"Aw, is somebody lookin' for Victor?" I hear the voice of Patrick Hockstetter coo at me
I turn back around to face in his direction, the absence of the skinnier and much shorter Victor Criss leaving my mind once I met those cold blue eyes. His gaze turned me to stone in a way that could make Medusa cower in fear. Patrick Hockstetter was by far the worst person to deal with when it came to the Bowers Gang. He was even scarier then the leader, Henry Bowers himself.
Patrick moves from where he stood to the right side of Henry Bowers and saunters up to me. The schoolyard began to empty out and some students stood still to watch the scene before them, leaving me to defend myself on my own will. Patrick's shiny old black combat boots thud against the concrete beneath them with every step he takes, and he was in front of me in mere seconds thanks to those freakishly long chicken legs of his. The ones that today, were clad in a pair of holy black skinny jeans. I step back just a bit as he stands before me, towering over me with a hunched back. He suddenly removes his hands from where they were stuffed deep into his jeans pockets and I flinch as a single hand is brought up to cup my cheek. His touch burned my skin, like a demon burned when they touched a bible.
"We were wondering when you were gonna come out of the school, livestock." He tells me shortly
Patrick tilts his head as he steps closer to me.I couldn't tell if I was wincing more at the disgust of his touch or at the questionable nickname he'd given me last year.
"You were 3 minutes late," He drawls "I was worried you were gonna skip out on seeing me"
Henry Bowers comes into my peripheral vision as Patrick removes his hand from my cheek in a slow and drawn out manor.
"Fucks sake, Patrick" Henry remarks in annoyed and snappy tone "Just throw yourself at 'er already."
Patrick's hands go into the pockets of the flannel zip up jacket he wore over a plain black T-shirt this time, instead of going into his skinny jeans. The taller boy turns to his slightly shorter friend with a wicked grin and a spine-tingling lick of his lips that made me feel queasy.
"Can I, Henry?" He asks, clearly more excited than he should be
"No," Henry snaps "And stop doin' that shit with your tongue. It makes me wanna cut it the fuck outta your mouth."
I have half a mind to take off at this point, across the schoolyard and down the street, maybe lose them in the barrens this time while they're focused on each other. But after past attempts I knew that they were a lot faster than I ever would be, and that it was useless to run away. I look around the schoolyard, my eyes falling on a couple different groups of people, who stared at me and my harassers expectantly.
"You gonna look at me, or do I gotta make ya?" I hear Henry say
I turn to him just as he was reaching out to grab me, force me to turn around and look at him. And he still grabbed me, but just tugged me a couple steps away from Patrick, instead opting to throw me into the grass behind him. Belch Huggins, the heaviest of the group finally joins in on the action as he leans over, burping in my face as Patrick hovers over Henry's shoulder, his hands still stuffed into the pockets of his jacket.
"So what're we doin' with 'er today, Henry?" Patrick questions
Henry swats at his taller friend, shooing him away as he steps to the side. Patrick's smile ceases to falter though as Henry shoots him a scowl.
"When you get the fuck out of my space I'll tell you!" Henry barks
Henry stands in his spot for a moment, fists clenched tight enough to make the knuckles turn white. The boy wearing a grey Harley Davidson muscle shirt glares at Patrick, looking like he was about to completely snap as he reached into his pocket and took out his switchblade. He presses the button that flicks it open as he turns back to me, kneeling down to my height. Patrick joins in, holding my ankles into the dirt as I try to crawl away.
"W-Wait! Whoa! Henry! Henry, don't do that!" I plead loudly
Belch grabs onto my shoulders, holding me upright as Henry brings the switchblade closer to my face.
"Henry," A bored voice comes from behind him and Patrick
Henry turns around with a snarl, and I glance up, my eyes falling onto the missing member of the Bowers Gang, Victor Criss. He stood up tall with his arms crossed over his chest, his skinny arms showing from where the plain white T-shirt he wore ended.
"What?" Henry snaps "What the fuck do you want, Vic?"
Patrick finally turns his head away from me and to the skinnier boy standing behind him. Victor barely even reacts to Henry's tone or Patrick's unwavering stare as he uncrosses his arms from over his chest. He casually pushes his hands into the pockets of his baggy jeans, taking a second to shift over to the weight of one foot as he sighs in an even more bored tone. Honestly though, his jeans looked like they could going to fall off of him at any moment if it weren't for the black leather belt he wore.
"The losers are walking down the street, we could probably catch them if we go over there now."
Henry looks back to me with an agitated sneer and I just continue to watch him in fear. Patrick turns his attention to me as well, and with another disturbing lick of his lips, he goes to speak.
"I like the idea of staying—" Patrick begins, but is quickly interrupted by Henry
"Fine." Henry agrees
Henry shoots Patrick yet another bitter glare as he stands up. Henry closes his switchblade and pockets it. Belch releases his grip on my shoulders and stands up as well, but leans over to the side of my face as he burps once again. I cringe and wave at the air in front of me as Belch walks over to stand by Victor. Henry watches Patrick expectantly for a moment as Patrick tries to crawl closer to me, before he grabs him by the back of his flannel jacket and pulls him up. Patrick growls an animalistic growl as he gets into Henry's face for a moment, but Henry jabs him in the chest with an accusing finger.
"Watch it, Hockstetter." Henry warns
Patrick turns around and walks over to Victor and Belch, even going as far as to shove past them, bumping shoulders with Victor as he whispers something to the smallest of the group.
"I'll see you later, livestock!" Patrick calls to me over his shoulder "And don't think for a second that I'm finished with you!"
Henry makes his way over to his clique where Victor and Belch wait patiently for him.
"They better still be there," I hear Henry darkly tell Vic as he jabbed the boy in the chest
Victor just huffs in reply, a slight snarl on his face as he trails behind his group. I watch, confused, as worn and dirty converse trudge across the grass and he spares one final expressionless look at me, before he turns back to walk with his friends.
With a confused tilt of my head, I furrowed my brows, one lifting up by it's own volition, decorating my face in wonder as I watched their figures retreat across the school yard and down the street.
Did I seriously just escape getting stabbed by literal coincidence?
I squint in order to make out the fear-mongering foursome as they catch up with the much smaller and drastically less intimidating group of seven. And after lying still for what feels like forever, I finally make a hesitant move to flip myself over onto my knees and push myself up onto my feet. I was suspicious, to say the least; as dumb as that sounds. I couldn't possibly know if they were going to suddenly come back to me or not. Even though I could no longer see them from the schoolyard.
I quietly brush at the green stains on my pants in a useless manor, silently working on my excuse for the day. The one I would give to my parents if they decided to ask me why I was so dirty, again. Upon straightening up, I walk in a small circle, turning my head every which-way as my eyes scan the grass for my bag.
Ah, there it is.
I take a couple steps over to the tan sack, that was covered in multicolored patches. Quickly, I extend my hand outward and grab the strap of it and with a heave I lift it up, easily slipping it back onto my shoulder. Habitually, I raise my hand and run it through my [hair color] locks, pushing the strands out of my face. A sudden unique honk of a car makes me jump and immediately I look in the direction of my dad's beat-to-shit pickup truck. It was a big black thing that was sprayed with dirt from the road, and today it was parked just a few feet away from one of the buses that remained still lined up at the curb. I watch as my dad pokes his head out of the rolled down window and waves to me expectantly, his usual stoic expression painting his face. Not wanting him to get a ticket or get into a fight with the bus driver of the bus behind him, I quickly take of running over to him.
As I come up on the truck, I slow down to a walk. Which prompts my dad, who was hanging out of the window with a cigarette smoking between his fingers on one hand, whilst the other acted as a pillow for his chin.
"How was school?" He asks gruffly after he takes a drag from his half-gone cigarette
"Fine." I reply shortly
I round the truck and grab the handle of the passenger side door, popping it open. It takes a moment for me to get in, since I had to climb. This was curtosy of the lift kit that my dad had gotten about a month ago (as if the car needed it.) After finally plopping down in my seat, I toss my bag into the back and focus on shutting the door and buckling my seatbelt. When I was finished with that, I looked up just in time to see my dad flicking the finished cancer stick out the window before he reaches up toward the ignition to grabs the key. With a twist he sends the engine roaring to life. After a quick glance behind him, he quickly swerves the car onto the road, doing a full U-turn, as he usually did. The bus that was originally behind us gives a sharp honk, since it had begun pulling away from the curb at that exact moment.
"Anything happen at all?" He asks, eyeing my stained jeans and dirty white T-shirt
Tiredly, I place my elbow on the windowsill of the passenger door and rest my head on my palm. Opting to stare out the window, rather than face my dad.
"We played football." I answer, not looking at him
He hums in acknowledgement.
To say that I was exhausted was a serious understatement, especially considering how fast I fell asleep on the door like that.