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I sit down in my chair, and glance at the clock. There’s still five minutes left in the period. I sighed, reached down, and pulled my battered book out of the backpack sitting next to me. I don’t call my backpack mine anymore. I don’t call anything mine anymore, except my books. The less that you hold on to, the less that they have to take from you. The less that they have to make fun of you for. The less that they have to use to make your life miserable.
I crack open in my book and wince as I feel the spine cracking. I’m going to have to take care of this one soon. I couldn’t even read the title anymore, but I didn’t care. I had forgotten the title long ago, but it didn’t affect the fact that the book was still one of my favorites. Just as I start reading, I hear giggling and talking from across the room. I glance up, and see that its them. Its always them, always the students who make class miserable, life miserable. I don’t know what kind of high they get from ruining their lives, and others, but its not my business.
Or, it is, but... No. Not doing anything would be conforming. Not doing anything means giving in, allowing them to keep doing what they do. Even the teachers don’t do anything to stop it. A glance at the one in the room now confirms this. Sure, they try for the first half of the year, but then they give up. The teachers just start making empty threats.
Someone really should stand up to them. Not me though, never me. I’m not the hero of this story, I’m one of the townspeople who is grateful to their rescuer.
The scrapes of chairs and thumps of backpacks alerts me to the fact that the bell has rung. I quickly get up and walk out, keeping my head down and book clutched at my chest. I pay no attention to the push and shoves in the hallway, only focused on reaching my next class unharmed.
As I rush down the hallway, I bump into someone.
“I-I’m sorry...” I muttered, then I looked up. My eyes widened under my bangs that covered them. It was one of them. I struggled to remember his name... was it Richard? No, it was Rishard. I can’t recall him ever doing something cruel... he was the one that just sorta stood there, hanging a little ways off from the predators and their prey.
He smiled kindly. He had a nice smile.
He was cut off as a girl flung herself onto him from behind. She laughed, then she noticed me, and her eyes narrowed.
“What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at the library or something? Or the National Meeting of Nerds?”
I glanced at Rishard. He was looking at his feet, embarrassed.
“Come one Christine, lay off her.”
I was surprised. Never had someone stood up to one of them, especially one of their own. I started to back away a bit, but Christine noticed me. She grabbed my arm and pulled me towards her. I cried out, and dropped everything, including my poor battered book. It fell to the floor, and as I started to reach for it, a different foot in high heels kicked it hard, breaking the spine and scattering the pages everywhere.
“That’s enough!” Strong arms enveloped me and pulled me towards a warm body. I looked up to see the angry face of Rishard.
“I’m sick of all this $#*% you guys put people through!”
I looked over to see the shocked face of Christine and another girl.
Those strong arms turned me around so that I was looking straight at Rishard.
“Are you alright?” His voice was softer now, kinder.
I nodded demurely, and pulled my broken book towards me. Rishard took it from me, and looked at the cover.
“Wow, this is one worn down book.” He looked at me, and brushed my bangs out of my eyes. “You know, you have really pretty eyes.” He said thoughfully. “If you want, maybe we can go to a bookstore after school today, see if they can fix it. You should take good care of your possessions. Sometimes, they allow you to hold on to life and stay strong.”