Chapter 4 - Pablo's past
“You look like you saw a ghost.” Fujioka Tomoya noted with a smirk on his face. He used to be my best friend until he changed. He was never the best friend, to begin with. Years ago, he got involved with a wrong group, forcing me to join it and also threatening with blackmail. If I tried to defend myself, I ended with a swollen arm or worse. Once they even pushed me, and I fell down the stairs in school. Luckily I didn’t have a significant injury and said I slipped. The teachers believed me, knowing the stairs were recently cleaned and slippery.
Redhead grabbed me by the shirt collar and lifted me. “What a coincidence, seeing you here,” he said with a smug smile. Either I’m going to be pushed to drink water from the toilet, shoved in a fountain, or beaten up.
I hoped it would be the second option. I gulped, not knowing what to do next, unable to snap out of the shock.
First, the girl, this muscular guy, and now Tomoya. Could my life possibly be worse? Hell yeah. Is there a connection? Are they all against me? No, I must be paranoid, no way. They don’t have a motive, don’t they?
“You know,” He continued, “We would like to join a gang, and you’re perfect.”
“Well,” He began explaining, of course very slowly, enjoying my anxiety.
“My pal here,” he pointed at the boy beside him. It was the same muscular guy, as the one who told me I would regret this.
“has got a brother in a gang,” Tomoya continued, “and we’d like to join. However, they told us we need to train more. My pal has got an advance because it’s his bro. I have an advantage too, ’cause I’m his friend. And what gangster do? Beat people up and takes money.”
He always wanted to join some squad and try smoking, vaping, or drugs. Nevertheless, I always thought he doesn’t mean it, now Redhead showing me that he’s dangerous. He threw me on the floor with disgust. Why don’t I defend myself?! Am I this weak?! Get out of the shock already, man!
“The gang we’re going to join is the biggest in this city and what’s better – everyone is scared of it, and scared of us too. It’s divided into smaller groups, and we’re goin’ to be in one, which is an amazing opportunity. And you’re perfect for our training.”
“W-what?” I stammered.
“It’s much easier to get information. Much easier than you think. In the same school, I started chatting with one guy named Hamasaki. That’s the boy next to me. He appeared to be an exciting person and very interested as I told him about you. So I left to be in the same building as him.
You were an idiot, telling me so many things about yourself, even personal stuff. I knew where I could seek you, besides this phrontistery seemed like a cool place.” he said as his smile got bigger.
I gulped, regretting moving outside, I could have stayed inside, then I wouldn’t meet the bullies. The male beside him – Hamasaki pushed me. Not seeing this coming, I bumped into the fence with my back. Before I was able to defend myself, Tomoya punched me into the stomach, causing me to bend over. I have no chance toward this guy; he has much faster reflexes than me... I groaned in pain, paralyzed.
“This is a great punching bag,” said Hamasaki maliciously. Both of them enjoyed hurting and mocking younger people.
I snapped out of the shock, standing up quickly and punching Hamasaki, knowing I have no chance against them. They had a superiority against me; however, I refused to give up. Punching, kicking, scratching, this would turn into a blood bath if the bell wouldn’t ring.
“Seems like it’s over.” Tomoya grinned, taking a few steps away from me. “See you later, loser.”
“We’ll see each other again,” Hamasaki said darkly. “Don’t even try to tell anyone what happened today, you piece of trash. You know what happened the last time.” With these words, he kicked me. I was just trying to get up, and this caused me to fall on the ground again.
I pulled myself up, wiping blood out of my face: blood and bruises. I hope I’ll make it into the bathroom on time. I don’t want people to ask questions or get suspended. Or don’t I? Suspended would mean no bullying. Perhaps I could change schools; I think my parents would disagree. Besides, we don’t have money. No chance.
I ran to the boys’ restroom, where I washed my face, drank some water from the sink, and walked into the class, just in time. The teacher asked me if I’m okay, and I just smiled, nodding.
I walked home the long way, hoping this will prevent me from getting hurt. At home, I locked myself in my room, fell in the bed, and buried my head in the pillow. My parents moved to a new city recently, buying a new house.
I hope this is the last time of me being beaten up; I shouldn’t, though. This isn’t the last time, I know. I doubt they only wanted to scare me.
Almost not eating and talking with my parents, it seems that the only light coming from clouds in my head disappeared. I couldn’t tell anyone what happened; they wouldn’t help me anyway.
The following day I entered the phrontistery as if nothing happened. People have noticed, though, and avoided eye contact again, meaning no good. I did my best to avoid Fujioka and Hamasaki, locking myself in the bathroom stall and reading a book. I entered the class once the bell rang exhaling. I’ve escaped now, except it won’t always work out. I must find more hiding spots, what chance do I have? If I tell the teachers, they’ll send their gang on me! Considering it’s Fujioka, he means it!
People who saw me yesterday now avoided me, and the amount increased. My bullies can bother anyone to tell them where I’m, and my hiding spot will be found out. I continued sitting in my class, not moving anywhere, except for the bathroom.
I did not feel safe at home or the phrontistery anymore.
At school was the fear of pain; at home, no one noticed. I began feeling more and more low, lonely, and sad. Nothing helped, I could run but not hide forever. It’s just a stupid phrase; it will pass, why am I bothered by some shit anyway?
I lied on my bed, burying my head in the pillow again. I don’t see a reason for getting out of my bed. School is pain; they will always find me. Every time myself scared, terrified, I will not go today.
As I said, I did. Instead of making my way to this hell, I traveled to another town and took a long walk, exploring unknown places. I knew I’m in trouble; nevertheless, I couldn’t take the fear anymore—the fear of things repeating.
I returned home later, writing an excuse for myself. I hope my teachers won’t recognize my handwriting, God, please.
God must’ve listened to my prayers because the teacher did not notice anything. I returned to my desk, realizing something is written there.
“Kill yourself,” reading the I froze, having to reread it. “Kill yourself, you worthless loser, nobody will miss you anyway.”
I clenched my hands into fists, hoping no one will see that I’m shaking. This must’ve been my bullies’ doing.
I opened my history book. However, I couldn’t concentrate. Not a single thing stood in my mind. I continued staring blankly into the page until the lesson ended. I tried to clean my desk with a sponge; nevertheless, the unpleasant sentences stayed.
Why do I let this happen to me? Why am I hiding away from them? What am I, a coward? No, I will return the fight. I must stand up for myself because no one will. I must at least try, because what other option do I have? And, I don’t find myself having any motivation or energy, how am I supposed to fight back? No, this fight, I must win.
I found myself shivering and took a deep breath. It will be fine, don’t worry.
I exited the classroom, and someone grabbed me from behind.
“Here you are.” Fujioka smiled. “You better meet us outside, or I’ll make sure something bad will happen.”
“Why don’t you beat me now, then?” I asked, and the bully pinned me to the wall. “Because there are teachers, you idiot. If you don’t meet us there today, I’ll make sure something happens to your sister.”
“What? You don’t even know where I live!”
“I know which way she goes to phrontistery, though. Or would you like us to sacrifice your dog instead? That ugly ball would look interesting without fur. Imagine you waking up to your dog shot, the blood dripping on the ground...”
I stayed in silence. I will not get provoked by you.
Fujioka took a few steps back. “Don’t forget about our deal. Or your dog is next, followed by your sister.”
I don’t think you truly mean it with my sister, although I’m pretty sure about my dog. Nobody is hurting nobody.
I could neither focus in the following hour, knowing I need to do. When the lesson was over, I took a deep breath and got up, leaving the class. Maybe they’ll beat me up right away. Either way, I’m going toward my fate. Maybe, believe it or not, death.