Issue 1 Jan 2013
As the weeks pass I start to hope for the future. I’m still shunned, but the beatings cease. I can’t explain why and don’t really care. It’s a small victory, but one I’ll take.
So when my car doesn’t start after school one Thursday I barely consider why. The pickup’s old and needs work. I should call AAA but the thought of waiting in the empty lot seems unwise, so I start the twenty minute walk home.
I’m halfway when I see them. A group of guys from school wait ahead of me. They’re partially covered by bushes but I know who they are. My steps falter and it’s only then that I hear the footsteps behind me. A quick glance has me walking again. More follow. For how long I can’t say. Those ahead step from their post to stand in front. And I’m trapped. After a quick count I’m left with no option but to take whatever they want to give. I don’t stand much chance against five guys—my usual group—let alone the sixteen circling me now.
As they surround me I know it was prearranged. There’s no way so many people just happened to be in the same place at the same time and I just happened to stumble upon them. Yet it isn’t the inner circle—all male and all intent on kicking my ass—that holds my interest. A second circle forms. More students, at least fifty of them, stand beyond and all vie for position to watch me get the life beat out of me.
Lyssa stands among them.
Every eye watches me. That’s how it feels although realistically it’s not possible since I’m sitting at the back of the room, isolated from all those around me. I know they all blame me for Nate being here. Or rather, for not being here. No one wants me here. They don’t think I deserve the right, but he was my friend too. He would have wanted me to come. At least, I hope he would because it’s this thought—and this alone—that has brought me this far.