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The Long Journey This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Clarkston, MI
“Nobody likes you,” the boy repeated day after day.
All you can do is turn your head and look away. You can’t say anything back because that will just cause problems. You turn you head and wait for the bell to ring.

******
Sara was only around 4’ 9’’ maybe slightly taller; it’s been awhile since her mom has taken her to the doctors. Her dad passed away when she was a young girl so she hasn’t had that feeling of comfort in a long time. She is wearing dark pair of tight jeans, a grey sweatshirt over a white undershirt.

******
The last hour of the day comes slowly, and it’s your least favorite hour. You sit in the far back corner and tilt your head down slowly. The walls are plain which doesn’t intrigue you at all. The teacher stands in front of the classroom talking about what seems like nothing. You tell yourself tomorrow will be a better day, just to make yourself feel better. You know it will not be any better then the day before.
The teacher passes out worksheets, you fill them out and turn them back in. 10 minutes before the bell rings everyone’s already packed up, well almost everyone, and ready to go. The ringing your ears as you try to wish that you didn’t have to get on the bus. You throw the worksheets into your binder, which is poorly ripped and unorganized. You shove that into your black backpack and zip it up. You throw on your jacket, and put your backpack over your shoulders and walk out of the classroom. The hallways are full of people pushing, shoving and just trying to get out of here. It’s like a prison. You’re forced to be locked in with people you don’t like and people you hate. The faster you get out of here the better.

******

The bus route is different this year; I stand outside in the cold as it shivers down my spine. The bus takes about 20 minutes to arrive and by that time I could have already walked home. The problem with walking home is my mother would yell at me, so I just try to stay on her good side.


It’s been about 10 minutes and I am already growing impatient. I hear the laughter around me and it just feels like they are all pointing at me. I stand in silence near the trees and try to act like I don’t hear anything. I start my way up to the sidewalk and this is where my longest Journey began.

******
I move slowly as if not to disturb anyone around me, that or just to try to avoid being seen. I try to fade off in the snow that rains down gently, but at a fast pace. I move up to the crowd of people to board the bus and I am shoved from behind.
BAM! My face smacks the snow covering the sidewalk. I stand up and brush it off. I act as if nothing has happened even though everyone is laughing at me. The bus pulls in and I go for the 2nd seat in the front. I thought it couldn’t get any worse…

******
I’ve been seating for about 5 minutes and the bus hasn’t left yet. I hear a few laughing noises from the back of the bus, but didn’t think anything of it. I hear someone walking up the isle and I turn around slowly. Turns out it wasn’t someone it was a group of people. It’s Hunter, Isaac and Holden.

I knew they where here to cause problems when Hunter sat with me and Isaac and Holden sat behind us. I just turned towards the window and watched my breath fog up the glass. The bus has turned quiet as if trying to hear what he is going to say. Even I can’t wait to here what he has come up with this time.

“Sara, how are you today?” He snickers at me.
“Hunter, just leave me alone I am not in the mood,” I replied.
“We both know you enjoy talking to me,” he replied defensively.
“Oh yeah? Where did you hear that one from?” I questioned.
“Well, we are friends aren’t we?” He started getting angry.
“Who said anything about being friends, I asked you to leave me alone and I am not going to ask again,” I flared.
“I just wanted to let you know Isaac, Holden and I are going to be walking home with you,” he uttered in a startling tone.

“I prefer to walk alone,” I knew I sounded shaky.

He got up with him and his friends and moved to the back of the bus, I heard laughing for a few minutes and then the bus came to a stop and I grabbed my backpack.

******

I hurried down the stairs and into the cold air once again, I tried walking quickly but trying to show as if I wasn’t scared, but just needing to get home. I glanced over my shoulder and seen Hunter waving at me and running up behind me.


“Sara, slow down!” He shouted at me.

“I told you I would like to walk home alone,” I said quietly.

“Well we thought you walk home alone a lot so we where going to give you some company, I mean it is cold out here,” he said viciously.

“Whatever,” I replied.

“Hey how about you come over Isaac’s house and we hangout in his room for a bit?” He asked.

“I need to get home and I don’t think that will ever happen,” I starred at him as if trying to tell him I know what he’s up to.

******

I’ve been bullied most of my life, and its nothing knew to me. I try to avoid all conflict the best I can but this time was different. I couldn’t just run away cause 3 always beats 1. I was a few blocks from my house and I had no other choice but to try to stall what is going to happen. I saw it coming. Three 16 year old boys and a 15 year old girl. There is no escaping this.

******

“Sara, I said come with me to Isaac’s house,” he was getting serious.

“I said no Hunter just leave me alone,” I said weakly.

He grabbed my arm and flipped me around to face him and squeezed my shoulders. It felt like a sharp pain was stabbing into my back.

“Quit being such a stubborn b****!” He was getting rough.


I didn’t know what else to do, I wasn’t going to make him more angry so I sat their and cried. I was being pushed around and no one to help me. When you think it couldn’t get any worse Isaac jumped him.

“She’s just a fat no life anyway,” he declared.

“You’re right maybe we should teach her a lesson,” Hunter laughed.

“What do you have in mind?” He laughed back.

That’s when he clutched me by the back of my head and slammed me into the snow bank. Isaac and Hunter started laughing and it felt like they would never stop. He was holding me down and my face was turning blue.

“How’s the ground taste?” He laughed harder.

My arms were stuck and I couldn’t get them out from under me. I tried moving but he was to strong. I didn’t know what I was in for next but I knew it would be bad. The snow was seeping into my clothes and making them soaking wet.

******

My home life isn’t as severe; I usually go home and try to avoid my mother. She and I always bumping heads since my father died, which leaves me with no one. This whole time I was wondering what my mom would do if she seen this. Would she try to help?

******

He picked me up off the ground and slammed my back against the tree. I felt the sharp bark stab my back and as I slid down you could hear the bark crack off.

“I think you’ll make a better choice tomorrow,” he starred at me.

I said nothing as him and his friends walked off back the way we came. I sat their, tears in my eyes wondering what I would do.
I could try to play the “Mom I am sick” but she won’t fall for it. I could tell her what really happened, but that’s a lot of pressure because she might call the school, then I would make the situation even worse!

******
My mom is a type of person that doesn’t want me fighting or getting in trouble, so anytime a problem occurs and I tell her about it she immediately calls the school. The school doesn’t solve anything they just call them down and warn them. The funny part is they give out 90 warnings until they finally take action of suspension for a day.

******

I trudged my way through the snow and ice trying to avoid slipping. I walked slowly trying to pass the time before I walk in the door. I watch the cars pass me by and the trees sway in the light breeze from the wind.

******
I got home, strolled in the door, threw my stuff down in my room, and sat down in my chair in the corner. I thought about everything. Thought about the friends I once had which was many years ago, I even thought about the last person I dated.

******

The last guy I dated wasn’t very respectful, he was just using me. I don’t have many friends and he thought it would be humorous to date me for the laugh out of it. We dated for a month before I finally realized I was just his chess piece. He still bothers me till this day trying to get even more dirt on me.

******
I ate dinner slowly; we had pork chops, mash potatoes and corn. I ate it in my room where no one could bother me. After I finished eating I brushed my teeth and hopped in bed. I laid thinking about everything happening hoping it will soon come to an end. I closed my eyes and drifted away thinking about what the next day will bring.

******
School went by slow and nothing knew changed but everyone seems nicer to me today, at least by that I mean no one made fun of me. I knew the trouble would start in 20 minutes after the final bell rang. I walked to the bus, boarded it and the “excitement” began.

I didn’t even notice Hunter board the bus, but he did. He moved from the back and sat behind me this time. Next to him sat Holden.

“Don’t worry Sara today will be a better day, I promise,” he giggled at probably just the thought.

I rolled my eyes and didn’t even want to hear what he had to say. I looked out the window and seen Isaac running to catch the bus. He jumped on and sat down right next to me.

“Well lookie here, don’t we have a bute,” he snickered.

I closed my eyes and a few tears rolled down my face. I opened them again and starred out the window as things start to pass by. I just begin to think, maybe they won’t do anything today, maybe they are going to just give up, but no. Isaac lays his hand on my leg and starts moving it slowly towards my hips. I smack his hand away.

“What is wrong with you!?!?” I shout at him.
“Oh, you don’t like that?” He questions.

It seems that Hunter and Holden weren’t even paying attention because me slapping his hand made them perk up.

“What’s wrong Sara, don’t like attention?” He laughs.

The laugh is so familiar from yesterday I am ready to cry again. I close my eyes and don’t reply to anything they say for the rest of the bus ride.

******
We get off the bus and I start walking faster then yesterday to try to get a head start, but they run up behind me and grab me from behind. He spins be around.

“So do you want to come to Isaac’s house today?” He asks.
“I don’t want to come today, I don’t want to come tomorrow, I don’t want to come this week and to be honest, I don’t want to come at all!” I release his grip from my arm.


“Sara quit acting like a baby,” Isaac shouted towards me

That’s when I realized Hunted wasn’t joking anymore. I must have scratched him with my nails when I pulled my arm away. He looked angry. I was trying to think if I should just try walking away, or hold my ground. That’s when Hunted whispered something to Isaac. They both glanced at each other, then at me. I glanced behind me as if they were staring at something besides me, but I knew they weren’t. They stepped forward moving slowly as if trying to scare me. They both threw my body down into the snow.

“I’m done playing games,” Hunter said sharply, “Your either coming with us or you’re not going home.”

I was shaking, I couldn’t even think straight. The next thing I remember is breaking into tears, being pulled to my feet and dragged to where I believe, is more in likely Isaac’s house.

******

I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing. –Neil Gaiman


******

I woke up in Isaac’s house lying on the couch. I was staring at the ceiling. I guess they didn’t realize I was even awake because of what they said next.


“What should we do now?” Isaac asked, as if trying to prove that he has never done this before.


“Tie her up,” he pointed at Holden.


“Well you done know I ain’t want nothing to do with what you boys be doin to her,” he said blankly.


“Holden if you aren’t going to participate I’ll tell your mom you smoked with us,” He was pushing Holden’s buttons.


“Well you best not tell anybody I done did this or I will really be in trouble,” He started to grab rope.


I felt my body being shifted around as the rough edges of the rope rubbed against my ankles and my wrists. I opened my eyes and seen Hunter looking dead at my face.


“Well look what we got here, about time you woke up,” Hunter said calmly.

******

It’s been a few minutes of them whispering, I couldn’t here anything they said. I tried turning my head but it hurt my back so I laid straight. I heard footsteps moving closer.


“So, what would you like to do first,” he laughed with Isaac


“Hey I got an idea! How about we take some pictures,” Isaac and Hunter broke into a loud laugh.


“Yeah then we can show the school what the quiet, worthless girl really looks like,” he started getting serious again.


“I’ll get the camera,” Isaac said as he started up the stairs.


“Well you take her clothes off Holden,” Hunter said.


“There ain’t no way I am doing that to her, she ain’t do anything wrong. I ain’t going to take place in your black mail anymore,” he started to untie me.


“Holden you better stop that or I am going to kick your ass” He curled his hands into fists.


“You can done do as you wish, but you ain’t gonna get far,” He dropped the rope and curled his hands into fists.


That’s when Isaac started down the stairs.


“What on God’s earth is going on down here, both of you knock it off I got the camera and why is she being untied!” He shouted.

******

What if the kid you bullied at school, grew up, and turned out to be the only surgeon who could save your life? – Lynette Mather


******
“I am done here sir, we ain’t done this no more, this is wrong and it ain’t right. She ain’t done nuthin to you two. You best just let us get out of here, yall can say what you want but I ain’t do this to no innocent girl, and I ain’t doin it to nobody,” He finished untying me.


“You walk out that door and you’re done Holden,” said Hunter.


“Well I best be done then, Good day sir,” replied Holden.


******

That’s when Holden and I left, Hunter and Isaac mouth dropped. Their plan failed. Their own friend turned against them. Holden and I walked down the driveway; he put his arm around me. I looked up at him and he looked down at me.


“I’m sorry Ma’am,” Holden said patiently.


“You have nothing to be sorry for, I should be thanking you,” I looked up at him.


“Well I just don’t like people picking on other people, especially when you ain’t done nuthin wrong,” He smiled at me.

******

This was the first time in my life I have ever felt something for somebody. The first time in my life I have ever felt I could trust someone, and they could be here for me.


******

We stopped in front of my house, I still wonder to this day how he knew where my house was, but Hunter probably told him.


“Thank you,” I whispered.


“You didn’t do nuthin, you didn’t deserve that. I should of done said something sooner. I was just trying to fit in I suppose.” He said, I could tell he regretted it.

I kiss him on the cheek and told him I would see him tomorrow, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I went into the house, ignored my mother as she says she has been worried sick about me. I go straight to my room, close the door. I turn on the TV, shut off the light, climb in bed and even skipped dinner.

******
People say it gets better but it doesn’t. It just gets different, that’s all. -Maggie Smith


******

Now, things are better. Isaac and Hunter lost their “popularity,” they also got busted for smoking. They got charged for sexual harassment and I even got to be with someone that truly cares. Going on 9 months.




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