I gave up, I thought. It was never mine, the need, the want, the desire. “It’s for your own good”, they said. Is it? Then why do I feel empty inside me? My fingers are aching, my neck is sore, my shoulders, tired. This wasn’t what I wanted. I don’t feel happy. When was it, when did this requirement became my passion and ended up as a chore?
Everyone was waiting, staring at me. Irritation was in their eyes. Dissatisfaction, evident in their faces. Their patience was limited. Time was ticking. Yet, I was rendered immobile. Paralyzed. Trauma was all I saw. I couldn’t hear the jeering crowd. It was silent. I couldn’t breathe. It hurts. My heart was beating rapidly. Yet, time stood still. Then, before me, a hand appeared. I felt safe…
If you turn and face the other way when someone is being bullied, you might as well be the bully too.”– Anonymous
It was a Saturday afternoon when the incident happened. ‘Lydia! Marceline! Hurry up with the food! I’m hungry!’, I cried across the kitchen, in the living room, lounging on the leather sofa, watching the television. ‘Yes, yes, we’re cooking it now,’ replied Lydia, as she skillfully chopped up the cabbage into tiny shreds, moving on to the carrots at the side. ‘Do you want scrambled eggs or boiled eggs?’ asked Marceline as she took out two raw eggs from the refrigerator. ‘Scrambled!’ I replied excitedly as I watched the scene on the T.V., It was ‘Tom and Jerry’, it was one of the scenes whereby Tom almost caught Jerry but was unable to due to his big size and Jerry being way smarter than him.
My brother went out with my dad early in the morning to go to his office. While my mom, went to the market to buy even more groceries, to prepare for dinner and tomorrow. Thus, I was the only one in the house aside from my two housemaids, who were currently cooking me a delicious meal. I was in a happy and relaxed mood, humming as I watched ‘Tom and Jerry’. And after ‘Tom and Jerry’, I planned to watch a new show called ‘Phineas and Ferb’ on Disney Channel. Today was its premiere and I was eager to watch it. Unfortunately, the cheery mood didn’t last long.
‘ding dong’, ‘ding dong’, ‘ding dong’ the doorbell rang again and again. I was getting annoyed. I got up from the sofa, irritated, looking as if I’m ready to pounce on someone. I took my time walking to the door and opening it. ‘It’s their fault for interrupting me.’ I thought as I opened the door. But I was in for a shock, Pamela, one of the bullies, was right outside my door. ‘Oh hi, so this is where you live, I came here to play with you, would you mind me coming in?’, she said in her diabetic high pitched voice. I was utterly dumbstruck. ‘I-I-I d-don’t k-know…’, I stuttered as I gawked at her. ‘What do you mean you don’t know?’, her voice coming off very sharp and piercing, probably more than the kitchen knife Lydia was using earlier.
I didn’t want her to intrude into my haven, I don’t want any of them to. I hated them. They always pick on me just because I’m the youngest out of the group. They treat me like a slave. To them, I am anything they want me to be. The only place where they can’t find me was in school or inside the house. I’m done with their bullying, but I can’t do anything about it, I tried telling my parents, but all they do is just telling me to be nicer and they are going to be nice to me too. They never believed me, they thought I was making up lies that they were bullying me. Or even if they believed me, which is very unlikely, they might not even do anything about it. The bullies’ parents and my parents are friends, they might possibly be business partners too. As such, I could only suck it up.
Even my own brother doesn’t stand up to me. He would just watch them verbally abuse me, sometimes he would even join in the fun, calling me ‘stupid’, ‘loser’, ‘useless’, and many more derogative names. It was painful, seeing your own brother attacking yourself too. And although this didn’t happen as much as the verbal abuse, they would also physically hit me. They acted like they had the right to do so. They don’t even apologize, but I mean why would they… In their eyes, I’m just a useless, pathetic, stupid loser, not even a human.
As I tried to gather up my courage and refute her, my mom came back with a bag full of vegetables and fruits. ‘Great, just great.’ I thought. Without waiting for me to speak, Pamela said ‘Oh you must be Holly’s mom, I heard so much about you, did you just come back from buying groceries, it must be heavy, here let me help you, I was just talking to Holly.’ Must say, her acting skills are really top-notch, they should really give her an Oscar award if not her talents would really be wasted. Actually, on second thought, I hope it gets wasted, she doesn’t deserve it. I thought as I glared at her.
Sensing my glare, she rolled her eyes at me. Fortunately for her, my mom didn’t see it. By now, she’s probably thinking how much of a respectful, kind, polite girl she is, compared to me, who is loud, brash and has zero manners. ‘How sweet of you, no, it’s fine, I can handle this.’ she said as she smiles at her. Then she turned to me with a frown on her face and said ‘what are you waiting for, help me open the door, look how nice your friend is, why can’t you be more like her?’ I was pissed, not because my own biological mother said that, well, partly… yes, but anyways, the moment she started scolding me, I saw Pamela smirking at me, she did that on purpose. It was infuriating. She turned my own mother against me.
By now, I really couldn’t stop the she-devil from coming in. Even if I want to chase her out of the house, I can’t. The chances are I’m the one who will have the shorter end of the stick. ‘Wow, your house is so beautiful.’ she commented as she sat on my usual spot on the sofa. It was my favorite spot. But before I could kick her out of my seat, my mom said, ‘Then, you’re welcomed to come as often as you like.’ I was petrified. ‘No, no, no, this is not happening, this is so not happening…’ I thought as I tried thinking of ways to make my mom dislike her or anything that could make the she-devil leave the house and never come back ever again.
As I schemed to drag the she-devil out of the house, Marceline called out from the kitchen, ‘Dinner’s ready!’ While Lydia took the dishes out from the kitchen and placed it on the dining table. The plans were momentarily paused as I hurriedly ran to the dining table, savoring the delicious, mouth-watering scent of the dishes. There was pasta, scrambled eggs, fried chicken, beef and many more.
However, just when I thought life wasn’t so bad after all, Marcelina brought out the Chinese medicinal soup. I mean, come on. If there’s one thing I hate more than those bullies, it was this Chinese medicinal soup. Perhaps the disgust I felt for the soup was too obvious, my mom decided to give more than what she usually gives me. ‘This is poison. Yes, by drinking this medicinal soup, I definitely won’t die from any diseases as I would probably die much earlier than that, and the cause of my death would be this bowl of soup right in front of me.
The smell of the soup is just putrid. It’s color even more grotesque, a dark shade of brown, similar to the fertilizer people used for their gardens. Hadn’t this came out of the kitchen held by Lydia, I would have thought they were trying to poison us with excrement.
With the bowl of feces-like soup in front of me, I’ve completely forgotten the she-devil’s existence. If not for the fact that she tried goading me to drink the soup. ‘Holly, just drink the soup. It’s healthy for you, you know. I mean, not gonna lie, it does look a bit disgusting, but look at the bright side, you will be healthier than most people by drinking this.’ she said as she smiled at me. My mom immediately sided with her, saying ‘Yeah, listen to your friend, just drink the soup.’
They were really getting on my nerves. Hence, I defiantly and stubbornly stood my ground. Placing the soup to the other side of the table. Yet, right after I placed the soup on the other end of the table, I saw another bowl of soup in front of my seat. ‘Wait, what?’ I was confused. ‘Your mom placed it there. You should really listen to your mom. This is not showing filial piety.’ Pamela said as she patted me on the shoulder, not releasing my shoulder, instead, she placed her hand around my shoulder, trying to make us look closer.
Naturally, my mom fell for her trick as she said ‘You should really learn more from her’ then continued on, ‘I should have given birth to someone like her’ as she turned her head to the smirking Pamela right beside me.
They were truly a match made in heaven, ganging up on me, I thought.
They cry, not because they are weak, but because they have been strong, for far too long…
Trying to keep the last bit of dignity, I stood up wobbling. It lasted for a split second before I was hit once again. I laid flat on the floor as I hugged my head, ‘It hurts’, I thought as I grit my teeth through the pain. ‘Come up, loser!’
‘We finally finished!’ I thought as the school bell rang throughout the school. It had been a hectic and tiring day, learning about useless information that may one day serve us. It was torture. A prison and we were the captives, whose wings had been cut and sent to this old worn down cage. Like my classmates, I quickly packed up my stuff, shoving all my books and papers into the bag. ‘Cora, come on, let’s go’ said Sally as she stood by the door waiting for me. ‘Wait, Coming!’ I responded as I used all my strength to zip up the zipper. The black leather bag was packed to the brim with no air to spare. After responding, I hurriedly turned to the door with my over-packed bag over my shoulder, straining my shoulders and causing me to unconsciously slouch. We went through a series of corridors and hallways before arriving at the grand staircase. Beyond the staircase was another hallway leading to the school gate.
‘Omg, wait for me, I can’t breathe’ I cried as we descended from the last steps of the staircase. After that, we went to the crowded gate, having a tug of war with the parents and students as we try to find our respective guardians. No sooner than 10 minutes, Sally already found hers, but unfortunately, my guardian was nowhere in sight. After saying farewell to Sally, I went to the hallway to wait for my guardian, for fear of getting pushed out of the school if I were to wait in the gate.
As I waited for my guardian, I went through my homework and assignments, using the opportunity to finish up my workload, so I could procrastinate when I got back. As seconds turned into minutes and minutes turned to hours, I started getting worried. So I took my bag and went to the now-empty gate, even the guard who is usually seen sitting there was gone. I stood there waiting patiently for a while, before dragging my burdensome bag next to the big bulletin board beside.
Without anything to do and the fact that my phone has less than 20%, I thought I might as well go exploring the school. Anyways my guardian could call me when she arrives. Hence, I decided to go on an adventure inside the school, with my phone as my sidekick and backup, if I were to get lost. I started my adventure from the hallway next to the school gate, and while strolling down the hallway to the stairs, I thought about the legacy of the school. The school had been a little over a century and had probably gone through an unimaginable number of casualties and reparations as the school had even gone through World War 2. Thinking through the history of the school, made me start regretting my decision to go exploring alone, especially when almost everyone had gone back home already.
Yet, at the same time, I felt a surge of adrenaline rushing to me as my curiosity got the best of me after thinking through the school’s history. It made me wonder the scenarios every corner and nook had, whether the school became a haven for the wounded, or was it ambushed during the war. It was all so intriguing to me as a History lover. So I decided to continue on my journey. Perhaps I might even find some secret room or something no one had ever seen. And even if I didn’t find anything interesting, I could still share this adventure with my friends.
It’s now 5:45 pm and my guardian hasn’t called me yet, I thought while walking through a corridor. Some of the lights had been turned off, so I had to curb in my fear and briskly tread along some of the places. At this point in time, I must admit, it took me a great deal of courage not to turn around and run to the hallway next to the school gate. I never noticed the school was so unnerving until now, there was something off and eerie about the school, yet, despite that, I still persisted on going further into the exploration. But soon after that, I would come to regret this decision.
It was another dimly-lit, long and narrow corridor with big glass doors at its sides. The glass doors led to the teachers’ offices. Just as I walked past the center of the corridor, I felt a sense of foreboding, like something bad was going to happen. My intuition was telling me to run for my life, but just when I tried to hasten my pace, a gush of air seemingly went through me. It felt chilling like someone was there behind me. Straightaway, I was filled with dread and apprehension as I stilled on my spot. Instantly, I heard a voice calling from behind, ‘Cora’, ‘Cora’ again and again. I was stupefied for it was Sally’s voice, but I was certain that I saw her going home already, I even bade her my farewell. But despite that, without fully processing what I was doing, I turned around. Only to see no one. Nevertheless, I steeled my feet and called back questioningly, ‘Sally? Sally is that you? Are you there?’ When no one answered, I started panicking mentally as the alarms in my head started ringing. I felt sick. ‘I give up’, I thought as I ran for my life, without ever looking back. I went on full speed, running as fast as I can to get out of that daunting place. I desperately wanted to cry, but I held them back, trying to focus all my energy on escaping the place, escaping the school.
Luckily, by the time I got to the gate, my guardian was already there, waiting for me, with my bag over her shoulders. I felt a sense of relief washing over me from seeing her. ‘Where were you? What took you so long?’, I asked as we got on to the car. ‘There was another traffic, and when I got to the school gate, I only saw your bag beside the bulletin board. I tried calling your phone several times, but you never answered.’ she answered. ‘Wait, what? You called me?’, shakily I took out my phone from my pocket, only to see numerous miss calls flashing on the screen. I tried reasoning with myself that perhaps my phone was on silent mode. But just as I was planning on checking the phone, the phone rang… and the caller was Sally… THE END
Aloha people! Lauren is back! Hope you like this...
The darkness was everywhere, the room was quiet. And the snores were prevalent. I couldn’t sleep, uneased for no reason. The bed beside moved as sounds of rustling came. I had a bad premonition. Yet… ‘Psst, you awake?’ said the person on the other side. And there it all began.