Hidden Behind the Clothes

June 4, 2017
By Anonymous

As the sun began to rise into the sky on the hot day that was to become May 23rd, 2002, Tony Lord in a heap of furry rode his haro backtrail pro bike up to the game station corner arcade. The small amount birds there was seemed to fly with more curiosity on that day, coming back to a newly shaped world after being away for the winter. They simply floated aimlessly through the air, creating the illusion of carelessness, yet behind the feathers no one can really tell what is going on in their hearts or minds. They appeared free to me. Birds filling the air with song was the first sign for children in school that summer was almost upon them. Children were outside in the warming sun, playing with friends, laughing and running around with hands stained of the many colors of sidewalk chalk. It occurred to much of the townspeople that every child was outside disrupting their normal peace and quiet, running across roads, building castles out of dirt and rushing up to the arcade. But the adults were seriously wrong, because one child was not.

I rounded the corner swiftly. The bright neon sign that displayed game station arcade showed with great promise what success was about to occur. Gerard Renaldo and I have some serious beef and unfinished business. He wears nothing like any of us cool kids. He is nowhere near my level, and it was about time that someone taught him a lesson. It seems that not a single person in all of middle school wants to be his friend. He is too different, to strange, to abnormal to join my popular place in society, but not a single soul seems knows why. Our interaction together began last Tuesday, on a cold day in Mr. Ferguson's first hour classroom.

Today was Tuesday, and as I strolled into west middle school, only a single bird circled in the sky. I began quickly running to my locker, and as I went, I honed in on victims to slowly attack as I passed. One child had a load of multicolored binders, and at the perfect moment I leaped with the grace of a butterfly and smashed the binders out of his hands. The colors scattered and dotted the floor making me feel almost like a boy with a magnifying glass in the hot sun, slowly one by one attacking ants and burning them with my vast amount of power. I continued my run, but only to notice another victim, simply begging me to beat him up by the dreariness of his outfit, and his lack of solidarity. I had never seen him before. “Hey kid, what's your name?” I said, trying to imitate all of the villains that had accumulated in my head during my lifetime. He spat out his words like a fish out of water, “Gerard Renaldo” he said, his head slumped lifelessly against his his shirt, which was thick and long sleeve, an unthinkable choice in the season that was now late spring. I walked up to him and grabbed his dark black hair between my fingers, and grease made my fingers shine in a dull glow. He shuttered in a way revealing deep pain and sorrow, yet before I could finish the act the bell rang. I spat on his shoes and ended by saying, “You just wait. I will see you again”. Gerard waddled away looking like an object that was alive physically, but whose body and soul was truly dead. How could I start the day with a loss, with not really hurting anyone? In my mind I had failed.

Much to my sheer enlightenment, three minutes into first hour with Mr. Ferguson, Gerard stumbled in. It was here that I could get a good look at him. He screamed the look of sheer dreariness. He wore long heavy jeans, long socks, and didn't show any of his skin other than the sorry lump of flesh that was to be his face. First hour went terribly still, being that all I could imagine was pouncing on him, beating him up, and seeing what was so precious under the loads of clothes that he had on. With great joy, the dismissal bell rang. As the class left and the teacher went out to the hall, I quickly ran and grabbed Gerard by the neck of his shirt. He whined helplessly, and I knew through the cry of his voice that this beatdown would be one for the books, the memories, the momentos that I would always look back at. And it most certainly was.

I had him pinned. He was up against the wall of the classroom. He shook violently, trying to escape the strong grasp I had on him. His layers of clothing made his easy to turn over, and ever so slowly I moved my hands to tame his rapidly moving wrists. “ You're done” I stated, making myself feel even more powerful than I ever had before. “Why must you do this to me” he shuttered between wailing cries of pain. There was a hidden pain that lied behind his blue eyes. If you looked deep enough, the darkness of the pupil looked like a dark tunnel echoing deep into the body of Gerard. At the end was only a small light, which shone with my glassy reflexion. I saw myself deep in the darkness, tainted by a reputation of villainous evil and terror. My heart fluttered for a brief moment, and I had to quickly blink off the pain and continue the job. “Why do you wear all those clothes?” I mocked. “Are you trying to look stupid?” I sprinted filled with an unknown sense of urgency. With all the power I had built myself up on, I ran and ripped the shirt off of Gerard. In a moment of stillness, the clothes fluttered to the ground, mimicking that of fluttering birds wings flying off into the air. I sat in awe and observed the mangled specimen that laid in front of me. Gerards entire body was covered in welts and lashes. Cuts and marks covered his entire upper body, arms, and hands exposing his skin which appeared like a piece of a raw meat. He dropped to the floor and starting crying tears unlike tears I had seen before. He had been beaten across his entire body. Puss began oozing from the newly open flesh wounds that covered his back and arms. His skin had clearly been hit by a belt, and along with the numerous wounds deep in his flesh lied the scars of past attacks. Hidden within the scars of his body, one could notice the emotional scars on his heart. He hieved with pain, and deep within those scars Gerards tragic story was written. Not only had he become my prey, but also the prey of an abusive parent. Using my complete and utter shock to his advantage, he ran out of room, and I never got to finish the job.

As I parked my bike outside the arcade. I kept reliving the fight, and also the conversation I had with my friends to bring Gerard into the arcade. Like I said, Gerard and I have beef, and I never got to finish him off, teach him a lesson. I ran into the arcade and slammed the doors open behind me. Beach Head 2002 had just been brought to the arcade, and many of my friends were lined up behind the cool new game with a sweet mask that you put on to help you see the gameworld differently. I spotted him next to the vending machine. “Gerard!” I yelled, and the sound of my voice made him shudder. “I’m not done with you!” It’s insane how quickly people can leave a space, and every child except Gerard fled the arcade out from the dark room into the sunlight. They all knew who I was, and what I do. No child couldn’t stand to be a witness to the acts I was about to commit.

The world seemed to be turning slowly, and I geared up for my attack. I walked up to Gerard and squeezed his shirt. “It’s about time we finish this after all.” I lifted up my punching hand and he shuddered beyond belief. It was in that moment that I Reached down and embraced Gerard. I swaddled him in the newfound love that I had for love. He simply cried in a limp ball in my arms, and I could get a good look at the Beach Head 2002 mask. It was a simple lens, but wow how the world can change through different viewpoints. Many people at west middle will always view me through the same crude lens of my old self. No one would ever see past my old days of being vile and cruel. The only thing that mattered though was my newfound lens towards other people.

Gerard and I walked out of the arcade to the warm day of May 23rd, and wow the birds. The birds swooped and chirped around in the air. One thing changed about the birds during my time in the arcade, and that was only how I viewed them. They had feathers on the outside and glide carelessly through the ever moving air, but no one knows what truly lies deep behind the exterior, hidden beneath the layers of full feathers. Gerard hopped onto my bike with me, and I turned around to look into his eyes. No longer where they completely dark, but shown with the promise of light. We road on my bike until the sun set, and by the end of the day both of our wounds were healed.

The author's comments:

This is a short story. I really felt connected to all of the people who are being abused and don't have a voice. I felt that it was important to show how you really shouldn't judge anyone for things uncontrollable to you.

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