Some days, I feel like there’s no one left in this world to reject me.
First were my parents. Few are the good memories of my mother and father. They fought about everything—who spent that dime that was under the couch, who cheated on who with the mailman, whose fault is was that the sun rose. They were young and foolish; they couldn’t seem to handle much of anything that required adulthood. I was barely six, yet I knew it was only a matter of time for my small family.
I watched through the bedroom window as it finally shattered. It was July 27th, 2003, at 9:13 PM. My parents dragged their bags with them to the sidewalk by the street, holding each other’s free hands all the way. They turned to each other, shared a passionate farewell kiss, and parted ways. I never saw them again.
The next three months of my life were spent by myself in a huge and empty house. I walked the seven miles to and from school, and I bought groceries from the convenience store around the corner. When the dimes under the couch ran out, I mastered the arts of theft and pickpocketing. I figured out in a matter of weeks how I’d provide for myself, and I was only in the second grade. I never took bills into account until three men in suits came to lock up the house.
Yes, I knew that foreclosure was a thing. Yes, I saw it coming. But you better believe I still put up a fight. Hell, they were trying to throw me out of the only home I’d ever known. I didn’t need any more chaos in my life than that which my parents initiated.
At least I had the pity of other adults who wanted to help this poor genius orphan. A group of them put their wallets together and paid in full my tuition for a highly competitive boarding school: To-Oh Prep. The academy prided itself on a fast-paced, rigorous curriculum that produced attendance rates in Ivy League schools of over ninety percent. I, however, didn’t understand the hype; I excelled with relative ease and skipped several grades in the process.
But I was alone in that rite. I maintained my title as top student in the school for five years, by a landslide. Let’s just say at least a dozen of my peers would kill for my throne. And tried.
It started with cliques leaving death threats on my door. Then they got serious and started ganging up on me in the middle of the night. As the years progressed, my classmates got older and older than me, and they continually exploited their physical advantage. On September 26th, 2008, barely a month into the tenth grade, I returned to my dorm after dinner, and a demon jumped out from under my bed.
He was a twelfth-grader, with crazy eyes and fiery bloodlust. He pinned me to a wall and held a switchblade to my throat. That young man vowed to graduate with my title if it was the last thing he did. I was eleven years old… and I almost died at his hands.
I struggled against his strength as he went on and on about all he had to prove to the world. Or some individual who might as well have been the world. In any event, I couldn’t make sense of his impassioned screaming, and it terrified me. But I made use of it; while the young man was distracted, I bit his arm, kicked him in the crotch, and ran to the nearest adult’s office.
Administration was informed of the incident, and ten days later I was transferred out of the academy. To this day I have no idea what happened to my attacker. Not that I ever cared; I was just happy to be guarded at all hours until I left, so that nobody could touch me.
A few days after the knife scare, once a story was run in the news, the principal received a phone call from a man named Watari, whom he’d never heard of. He managed an orphanage that doubled as an academic institution for gifted children. Wammy’s House, he named it. This Watari man knew I was special the moment he finished reading about my achievements. He said, and I quote, that he would be honored to provide me with a safe home. The principal signed me up straight away, and I started packing.
I fell in love with this place instantly. Watari gave me a new identity, killing my old one and all the heartache that went with it. He promised me a bright future where I could use my skills to heal this planet. Ordinarily I would’ve been reluctant to believe such things, but Watari had that old, wise look in his eyes that left me no choice. I was reborn, feeling more powerful and in control than ever.
I became the most intelligent student to ever grace the halls of Wammy’s House.
But this place carried its own special brand of hostile environment. Not quite like my parents’ house or To-Oh, but still very unpleasant. Some of my peers couldn’t have cared less how well I was doing. They were holding a private contest to see who could come up with the most creative ways to torture me. Generally, they had two targets of preference, one I happened to already despise and one that I’d just recently discovered. The vile words that left their mouths sometimes…
They tore me to shreds.
September 13th, 2012. 8:35 AM. It was quiet out in the hall, a vacant space. I was on my way to the kitchen, planning to grab breakfast and take it up to my room so I didn’t have to deal with anyone. I didn’t sleep well the previous night, and as a result I was not in the mood for human interaction.
“Pajama day again? How come nobody ever tells me anything?”
Inadvertently, I’d stopped in my tracks. BB’s dark, brooding voice did that to me and I hated it.
He popped out from behind me and parked himself in my path, leaning one elbow against the wall and smiling crookedly down at me. He also sported a constant raven rat’s nest and wild black eyes, which made him look even scarier.
“Seriously, where’d you get those?” BB continued. “Are potato sacks in style right now?”
“Sure.” I had gotten so used to comments like this that all I could do was roll my eyes. “I just like to wear clothes that I can breathe in.”
A laugh was thrown in my face. “Stop lying!”
I stared blankly at him.
“Near, you could wear a shirt ten times as big and I’d still be able to count your muffin tops.”
I pretended not to feel that stab wound.
“Hell, I wouldn’t touch that with a hundred-foot pole…”
“Good. Then don’t.”
I tried walking past BB, but he grabbed me by my shoulder and slammed me into the wall. Now he wore the satisfied sneer of a madman.
“But you want me to.” The sneer morphed into disgust. “Poor little gay slut can’t keep his head out of the gutter, can he?”
Comments like this one I will never get used to.
“Who the hell told you I was—?”
“I guessed.” BB snickered. “You know you’re not the only genius in this house, Nate River.”
It took everything in my power not to respond as my tormentor shoved me to the ground and stalked away. Nobody was supposed to know my name. Nobody was able to know my name, so how the hell did he…?
I lost interest in the question almost immediately. I punched the wall and choked on my sobs.
Such was my life: daily BB would test a new set of insults on me, and when he’d succeed at getting to me he’d rush off to tell his followers scores of epic tales. He spawned plenty of copycats who worked harder than they did in class to please their leader. Though I can’t say that anyone truly loved BB. It was more like fear of his wrath, submissiveness to avoid it.
I don’t blame any of them. That said, don’t for a second mistake this for forgiveness.
September 21st, 2012. 1:25 AM. I hit my head on the nightstand and woke five feet from my bed. That distance continued to grow; someone was dragging me away by my left arm.
I’m sure I imagined this in a fit of hysteria, but it looked like BB’s eyes were glowing red in the darkness. I blinked and they returned to normal, if soulless ebony can be considered normal.
I seized one leg of my work desk with my right arm and pulled as hard as I could. BB held fast, and in that moment I hated every ounce of my physical weakness. He laughed the word “pathetic” and practically tossed me out of my bedroom.
I was caught somewhere between fear and rage. That’s the world’s greatest recipe for an irrational mind. I struggled to shove it all somewhere it wouldn’t bother me, so I could figure out where the hell BB was carrying me off to.
“It’s a surprise, dumbass.”
“Said number five to number one.”
“You won’t be once I’m done with you.” He twisted my ear almost all the way around. “No tears tonight, little bitch? Is Imaginary Boy Toy coming to save you?”
I knew trying to fight against BB now was waste of energy, so I hung limply over his shoulder until we arrived on the fourth floor balcony. There three other boys were waiting for him, his three most faithful lap dogs. Danny and Russ were the vicious giants. A was their shadow, passive and compliant. Whatever they asked of him, he did it. Humiliating, yes, but it’s better than being on my end.
BB dropped me on the concrete floor, and I groaned in pain. It was freezing outside for an early fall night. I wanted my bed back, but I knew I couldn’t outrun anyone. I was stuck, weighed down by exhaustion, and BB said, “Very well, gentlemen. Tie him up.”
Danny and Russ had chains. They locked my arms to the rungs of the guardrail, as far as they would stretch. I brought my knees to my chest and stared at one spot on the floor. I focused on shoving panic out of my heart and into a dark corner…
BB towered over me, flanked by his comrades. He sighed.
“Near. The great Next. Successor to L… look at you.”
Russ chuckled under his breath. Danny’s spitball landed in my hair. A did nothing.
“They’re gonna send you off to the army, and you can’t even fight!” Danny cackled.
I allowed myself a half-smile. “L doesn’t need to fight. He’s too intelligent for that.”
“So what, are we too violent for the position?”
Russ shook his head. “You may have won the IQ contest, Near. But what about tactical smarts? What about tenacity? What about balls?” He shoved his boot between my legs and rubbed my crotch in circles. “I don’t feel any…”
Russ kicked me, and Danny bust up laughing. A did nothing.
“Good point,” BB purred. “Let’s test that theory, Russ.”
The three boys turned to A, waiting. A did nothing.
“Go on. Do it well enough and I won’t judge if you like it.”
A squeezed his wrist and took a shaky step forward. Silly of me to think that he’d never be a target.
Russ knelt down beside me. “Here, let me make it easy on you,” he said as he forced my legs straight. He slid off my pants, and Danny ripped the shirt off my back. I cursed the chains about my wrists as Russ finally stole my boxers from me. They moved away, and BB pushed A into my lap.
I almost lost my composure. Every wisp of the wind chilled my bare skin. Clearly it wasn’t enough that I was already shivering with humiliation and fear. And the slightest twinge of sick anticipation. Whoever told BB about my small crush on Number Two had to die.
Grabbing my cock seemed to be the hardest part for A. After that, it shocked me how skillfully he worked its length. His slender fingers massaged it up and down, his thumb occasionally brushing the head. And A wasn’t even watching what he was doing. He just shut his eyes and drank in the feeling, struggling to stifle moans of pleasure.
As was I. For whatever reason, A touching me felt ten times better than it did when I touched myself. He sent endorphins racing; I could barely keep still. Danny nudged him, and he took a deep breath before leaning over to nip at my neck and chest. A left a slow, sensual trail of kisses along my entire upper body. He was too good at it. I almost started wondering where he got his practice.
Almost. But as A brought me closer and closer to completion, it became impossible to think about anything. BB and Russ and Danny all faded into nothingness, but not the sex angel in my lap. Holding in my elation was becoming a labor, so I quit. I, of all people, forgot that others might be able to hear my shouts through the nearby windows. A hushed me by smashing his lips into mine. He smothered them with his tongue until I granted him entrance.
The next minute was a thick orgasmic haze. I writhed uncontrollably, clutching the rails behind me for balance. My hips developed a mind of their own and bucked rapidly into A’s thighs. I didn’t slow down until after my climax. That six-second orgasm felt like fireworks going off beneath my flesh. The boy removed his hand, leaving my penis to stand on its own. A thick stream of semen coated my legs and groin. And all of it escaped my perception.
That is, until the rest of the world rematerialized.
A looked like someone had shaken him from a daydream. My other tormentors were frozen with shock. I was shaking and panting and limp, and I was happy for that. No way could I fight any of them like this…
Like this… oh, gosh, I’m a mess…
BB pinched his chin with his fingers, his sneer slowly resurfacing. “Damn… I thought you were kidding, Danny, but… wow.”
“Told you he’s a pillow biter,” he proudly proclaimed. “What I can’t believe is that A’s attracted to his fat ass!”
“I guess he likes little chaste boys. Near jerked off so fast you know A was his first time.”
BB and Danny snickered, backing up to make way for Russ. I could feel the hatred burning beneath his eyes. He looked as if it was all he could do not to vomit right there.
“You poor little virgin. I’d feel sorry for you, except I never feel sorry for faggots. You shameless sods all make me sick.”
He kicked me as hard as he could in the side, knocking the wind out of me. Before I could catch my breath, he kicked me again. For a solid minute, Russ assaulted me until that whole strip of skin was black and blue. Only then did he unchain me, and the boys marched off to their quarters. A glanced over his shoulder at me, but BB’s grip on his arm was stronger than his own will.
That evening I snapped. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was done with BB, and all of his lackeys, and all of their bullshit. This was no way to live; either they’d have to leave or I’d have to get rid of them myself. But there was no way in hell I’d kill them. It was never my style to get my hands dirty, and it never will be. Running away wouldn’t work either; I’d have a panic attack if I stayed in the city alone. To be honest, back then I feared everything that required active confrontation with forces greater than myself.
Compared to that, resigning myself to an endless dark abyss didn’t sound so bad.
September 21st, 2012. 10:13 PM. I hiked approximately five miles from Wammy’s House into the surrounding countryside. There was a river that ran through a forest not far from the city. Buried deep in the thicket, I was ninety-six percent certain that nobody would interrupt me. Out of the small satchel that I brought with me, I pulled out the knife that I stole from the kitchen.
I looked up at the sky, at the last night, at the last full moon I’d ever see. I’d miss that much about this planet, I admitted to myself. At least nature was kind to me during my stay.
Of course. So to repay it, I’d return myself to it.
I shut my eyes and swayed to the song of the stream. I took at least twelve deep breaths, but after that I stopped counting. Slowly, I brought the silver blade to my neck. “It’ll be over in a minute,” I whispered to my trembling hands. “Nobody will miss you.”
The wind howled, long and low.
Bare branches danced in the gale.
Just as I pressed the knife to my flesh, it was ripped violently from my fist. I opened my eyes and found the thief standing above me. He cut his palm with the blade but showed no signs of feeling pain. Dressed all in black, his pale skin and golden hair glowed in the moonlight. Like some mysterious spirit of the night, a spellbinding angel of darkness.
He told me his name was Mello.