"And would anyone like to tell me exactly why the Damaged are deformed in such a way? ... Anyone at all? ... It's in the name people, I must need to assign more home- Ah! Yes, Ian?"
"Because the stupid Muts can't decide what to be." The class collectively giggles under their breath, all except me and a few others.
"No, Ian. Firstly that is disrespectful to call them Muts. They are Damaged and that isn't their fault." Dr. Friedman shakes his head and sighs, turning back towards the blackboard and scribbling on it with some chalk. "No. The Damaged get their mutations because of their unstable genome. Now, science hasn't exactly pinned down the source of these various mutations or why they occur so frequently, but you'll be expected to know this on your exam." He glances back at me, my stomach turns at his gaze.
I quickly look down at my notebook, its empty pages staring back up at me. I already knew this all by heart, it was spouted at me over and over throughout my childhood. Ian, a firm believer that Damaged were freaks of nature, also made sure I wouldn't forget how much of a freak I was. Always stepping on the tail poking out of my jeans or grabbing the single long horn that had sprouted from the right side of my head last week. I'd report him for it if I thought it would do anything.
"Kassidy?" I immediately pick up my head again to see Dr. Friedman looking at me, "I realize you have first hand experience, but please do try to take notes." He says, having seen me just staring at my notebook. I sigh softly and start to jot down what he'd put on the blackboard. The room was nearly silent for the rest of class, save for the sound of people writing, Dr. Friedman himself, and the occasional snicker whenever someone whispered something about my kind.
As the bell rings everyone collectively stands up to collect their things, ignoring Dr. Friedman as he shouted about the upcoming exam. I can see Ian and his friends, CJ, Vinny, and Ross, hassling another Mut as he tried to leave the room, his ears extra long and his hair missing in a few places. I sigh a bit to myself, hoping that the four would leave me alone since they already had someone to pick on.
I carry my books and binder to the door, trying to squeeze past Ian and his goons. Suddenly I feel a foot being slammed onto the tip of my tail, forcing a yelp from my throat and making me drop my things. Of course it was Ian, watching as my papers tumbled to the ground. "Hey! You're adults for goodness sake! Don't turn my classroom into a zoo!" Dr. Friedman shouts from across the classroom, giving Ian and his friends a dirty look.
The four don't say a word, and simply walk out of the classroom, laughing and joking with each other, no doubt congratulating themselves as they walked down the hall together. The other Damaged waits for a moment before also leaving, not even acknowledging me as he stepped on a few of my papers. I grumble a few curses to myself as I bend over to organize my books and put my papers back into my binder.
I glance behind me before I leave, "Goodbye Dr. Friedman." I call behind me, seeing Mr. Friedman at his desk reading something.
Mr. Friedman glances up at me for a moment before looking back down at his papers. I could've sworn I saw the words, "Fucking Muts." Pass through his lips before I left.
Walking down the halls of my college campus, I see that almost everyone has already gotten to their cars or to their dorms. I must've taken a long time to pick up my things. Unfortunately, standing on either side of the hall I had to go down, was Ian and his gang, waiting for an innocent Damaged to harass.
Ian himself wasn't much to be afraid of. Sure, he was a pervert, a bully, and a racist, but he was built like a blonde twig. CJ was one of the bigger ones of the group, more wide than tall, and with horribly pale skin and messy, jet black hair. Vinny was the shorty of the bunch, his small size and short temper usually making a scene when he got going. But he relied on the other three for backup, he wasn't actually much of a threat by himself. Ross on the other hand was a bigger problem, literally. He was a giant compared to most, and usually he was the one to hold someone still while Ian or Vinny screamed in their face.
I let out a long sigh and hug my binder and books to my chest, speeding up to hopefully just slip past the four. Unfortunately for me, the moment I get close, Ian steps in front of me. "Well, well, well. What've we got 'ere? Dirty little Mut thought she'd slip past us." He says with a soft chuckle, a smirk on his face as he stared at me. I simply narrow my eyes and say nothing in return.
"Seems so. And it looks like she's forgot her place." Says CJ, crossing his arms and standing just beside Ian, followed by Vinny and Ross. I subconsciously take a step back, my eyes darting from one bully to the next. "Heh, seems like the little Mut's scared! Why ya scared little lady? Don'tcha know it's rude to glare at people?" CJ adds, shaking his head and laughing a bit to himself.
I stand up straight, "I'm just trying to get to my car. Get out of my way dickheads." I say suddenly, almost immediately regretting it.
Ian snatches the horn on the side of my head in one hand and grabs my shoulder with the other, wheeling me around and slamming me into the wall. "I think you need to learn some manners you little shit! Say something like that again and you better hope I don't end up putting you in your place." He hisses, putting his face right in front of mine.
I don't know what came over me, a stupid thought passed so fast through my head that by the time I really thought about it, I'd already dropped my heavy textbooks directly onto Ian's toes. "Agh! Son of a-!" He winces, letting go of me and stumbling back.
I take the opportunity to run, only to be met with running into Ross's chest, his hands quickly clamping around my arms and spinning me around, holding both my hands behind my back, "Let me go assholes!" I shout, anger being the primary thing on my mind. I knew that antagonizing them further would only make it worse for me, but it was impossible for me to keep quiet for some reason.
Ian had already mostly recovered from the shock, turning to face me with a fiery look in his eye. "Oh no. Now you're gonna get it bitch!" He snarls, driving his fist into my gut and watching as I recoiled from the pain. "Oh what? Does that hurt?" He says sarcastically, waiting a moment for me to catch my breath before giving me another punch to the stomach.
I don't bother to lift my head, not wanting to give Ian the satisfaction of seeing my tears. Of course, he probably already knew I was crying, not that he cared. "Are you gonna apologize? Or am I just gonna have to break your ribs or somethin'?" He spits, clearly furious that I'd dropped my books on him.
I try to breathe, trying to push through the pain in my stomach and lift my head. "F-Fuck you! Y-You assholes are gonna get what's coming to-" My stammering is interrupted by a fist connecting with my cheek. My mouth tasted like metal.
Ian takes a few deep breaths, "You just don't learn do you! You stupid Muts always think you can just do what you want! You ain't like us!" He screams, knowing that everyone else in the school had gone home by now. He paces back and forth in front of me, "C'mon. We're taking this bitch to the back." He snaps, walking towards the back entrance of the school.
Ross continues to hold my hands behind my back as he and the rest followed Ian into a back alley behind the school. Back here, there were no cameras, and no one would ever bother to help any student they heard being attacked there. There were pieces of broken bottles and the occasional used needle scattered about on the ground.
Ian continues to pace, the others simply standing by and watching me, waiting to see what Ian would do. "Damn Muts. Always talking back." He grumbles to himself, finally turning to me and moving to put his face in front of mine again, "You're just a slutty little mutant! You don't have the right to talk back to me!" He growls in my face, his heavy breaths not making me feel any better about the situation I was in.
But of course, my mouth thinks before my brain again, "Oh I'm a slut now? Bullshit! You're just a skinny little pervert!" I snap back, bracing for another punch as I realize what I'm saying. But it didn't come.
Ian simply shakes his head and takes a step back, "Oh yeah? That why you wear that tight little t-shirt all the time? You're just a little slut who wants a normal boy to notice you!" He yells, going back to pacing back and forth. Sure, the shirt I was wearing was a tad tight, but it was one of the few short sleeve shirts I had. Hand-me-downs didn't exactly have a great selection.
I hear Vinny chuckle just beside me, "Heh heh heh! Stupid little slut's probably got the hots for someone. I'd consider da man lucky if she wasn't a fuckin' Mut." He jokes, earning a laugh from CJ and Ross. "Who'd want a chick with a tail anyhow! Thing'd just get in da way!" He adds, the other two laughing a bit more obnoxiously for a moment.
Ian simply shakes his head and smirks a bit, "Heh heh, yeah. Bitch would probably grow an extra leg right in the middle of it too." He sighs, glancing up at me with a stupid grin on his face. "So, who is it huh? Who you trying to impress with the getup? Tell us and we'll think about kicking his teeth in instead of yours." He says slowly. I knew he didn't mean it. He and his goons would harass me even if I told him I liked someone, which I didn't.
But of course, I just had to be smart, "Why, I've been trying to impress you of course!" I say in the girliest voice I could muster, a smug smile on my face as I met Ian's gaze. I'm taken aback as Ian bursts out laughing, as if he's just heard the funniest joke on the planet.
"Me?! Oh my fucking God, that's too precious! Ah ha ha ha ha! An ugly, dumbass Mut like you!?" He cackles, putting his arm up against the brick wall of the school, "Oh my lord that's precious. Whoo. You really got me going with that one." He says, slowly calming down and moving back in front of me. "Heh, well. If that's the case then. What're you waiting for? Gimme a show." He says with a cruel grin on his face, crossing his arms.
My face turns pink, "Wh-What do you mean? What are you talking about asshole!?" I hiss, praying that he wasn't saying what I thought he was saying.
Ian shrugs, "Well, if you dress like that just to impress me. Why not impress me some more? Don't mind the boys, I'm sure they wouldn't mind none either." He says slowly, chuckling softly to himself.
He moves ever so slightly closer to me, seeing that I was very uncomfortable. I try to contain myself, "Y-You fucking pervert! You dare touch me and I-I'll call the police!" I scream, my chest starting to rise and fall more quickly as I grew nervous.
Ian just laughs at me, "Oh you know the police won't do shit. You think they'd care about a stupid Mut like you?" He says, and I knew he was right. I see a sudden flash of steel appear from his pocket and feel the cold metal as her presses a switchblade against my throat, my eyes widening as my brain processed what was happening.
CJ and Ross audibly wince, "H-Hey, Ian, chill. We don't gotta hurt the little lady. W-We've scared her enough. We don't have to go that far!" CJ stammers, never being the one to incite violence.
Vinny, however, seemed to only get more excited by the appearance of Ian's knife, "Aw come on CJ! Wouldn't be da first slutty Mut we cut up! You afraid of a little blood?" He cackles, egging Ian on to slit my throat. I stay silent, not wanting to push Ian over the edge.
Ian smirks, "Aw. Now you're silent? Why couldn't you shut the hell up before? I like you quiet. Maybe I should just help you stay that way!" He says, fury in his eyes as he spoke. He digs the blade into my flesh, and I start to feel a small trickle of blood running down my neck.
Ross takes a step back, pulling me with him, "No..." He says sternly, clearly not a man of many words. I sigh softly in relief, wishing that I could feel my neck to see how deep the cut was.
Ian narrows his eyes, but flips his switchblade away and puts it back into his pocket. "Fine, ya pussies. You guys just can't stand the sight of blood huh?" He says with a sneer, shaking his head. "If we ain't cutting the stupid fucking Mut, get it the fuck outta here. I'm tired of looking at her face. Ross. Drop her." He says after a moment of awkward silence.
Ross doesn't hesitate and lets go of my wrists, which I pull in front of me to rub away the discomfort. I feel my neck where Ian had pressed the blade to my flesh, sighing as I felt that it was barely even a cut to begin with, my tough skin helping me withstand the sharp blade. "Aw man! We ain't even gonna beat her up or nothin'? Not even have a little f-?" Vinny starts, but CJ quickly butts in.
"Shut it Vin. She might be a freak, but we're done here." He says, earning a nod from Ross and a shrug from Ian. CJ shoots a glare at Vinny, "And why would you wanna do that with a Mut either way? Dumbass thing's disgusting." He adds, crossing his arms. I was just stood there in shock, surprised that the four were having an argument about what to do with me.
Vinny groans, "Ugh, fine! You guys are no fun." He snaps, giving CJ a dirty look. He glances back at me, making a chill run down my spine, "Whatcha still doin' here suga' tits? Get da hell outta here you stupid bitch!" He growls, the tiny boy seeming quite intimidating for a moment.
Well, I didn't need to be told twice. I quickly run towards the parking lot, away from the four arguing idiots. I dart straight to my car, which had been waiting patiently for me as the four harassed me. It get in and turn the key, driving out of the lot at a speed that was probably illegal. I let out a sigh as I finally take a moment to collect my thoughts at a stop light. I touch my neck again, the cut seemed like it wasn't even there. "Ugh, damnit." I growl to myself, my skin having already repaired itself.
I pull up to a large multi-story building with thick brick walls and a chain link fence going around the outside. I see other Damaged walking in and out, along with a couple of normal people watching over them all. They all had different mutations, from having scaly skin, to growing leaves instead of hair, and some having little fins growing from their necks. I smile slightly as I pull over and park, getting out of my car so the person at the gate could search it and pat me down for weapons. "You're late Kass, try to be quicker next time." He says after he finishes, "Go on in."
He quickly lets me pull my car into the small parking lot, along with a few other cars belonging to other Damaged. I decide not to mention the now faded scar on my neck, not wanting the guard to tell his supervisor about the mutation. "Of course... Just had to go stage two today." I mumble to myself as I walk into the building, pushing past kids that were barely half my age. I was home. Or at least I was where I was supposed to be. I trudge my way to my room, practically diving into bed. I was too tired to bother going down for dinner, closing my eyes and falling asleep.