She’s your friend, but everybody else’s enemy
The fear that was curling up in Danny’s chest, made him believe that the entire world was plotting against him.
The sky was getting dark and when he got to the path by the creepy house, the wild roses were stretching through the gaps between the fence’s iron bars more daring than ever before. The lake’s water was getting darker, its mirror not as reflective as it should have been, not to mention that the bad-weather-light made the bridge seem quite unstable.
To sum it up, it was turning out to be a really shitty day.
The schoolyard came into sight. It was deserted. Danny could only see the janitor up on the second floor of the school building, running his typical errands. The wind blew mercilessly and Danny’s heart was beating inside his chest like a wild animal stuck in a cage. He was hurrying to the entrance, gliding along walls and trying to make himself as unnoticeable as possible.
He wanted to believe that, once he was inside the school, he was home free. There is no way Marvin and his bullies would wait inside the school for him, risking to get caught by the janitor or security guard. The building was almost empty, so Danny’s screams would echo everywhere.
Danny opened the gate. The security officer was nowhere to be seen. Danny took a couple of steps and exhaled in a vague attempt at silencing his paranoia.
His paranoia, however, was there for a reason.
“Damn it, kid, I thought you knew better than to come back.”
Danny turned around just in time to see Mike placing his cellphone back in the pocket of his jeans. The broad-shouldered boy opened the gate and gestured Danny to follow him outside.
“He has your stuff. Follow me.”
Danny backed up a few steps. Mike stared at him, surprised by his defensiveness.
“Dude, I’m not asking you to follow me, I’m telling you to. Don’t be stupid. It’ll hurt less if you do what you’re told.”
The poor 13, going on 14-year-old boy felt unwanted tears swell up in his eyes as his knees got uncertain of the balance they were supposed to keep.
“I got no idea what you did to piss him off so badly.”
“I didn’t do anything…”
“Don’t know about that, but I do know it’ll get worse if you don’t follow me.”
Danny swallowed, even though his mouth and throat were as dry as Saudi Arabia.
“Where is he?”
“By the oak tree.”
This wasn’t bad. This was far worse than bad.
“You comin’, or do I have to drag you?”
Danny followed Mike outside and behind the building, where the oak tree was.
Every student who smoked; every student who wanted to make out; every student who had something secretive to do or something secretive to show with the smallest risk of being caught, would go to the oak tree behind the building.
The tree’s crown was massive and heavy. The umbrella its crown created throughout the years gave birth to one of the truest and most loved mottos amongst the students:
Everything that goes down at the oak tree – stays at the oak tree.
And no other truth was weighing heavier on Danny’s shoulders at that point. The security guard was too far away to hear his screams, should there be any, and the janitor wouldn’t be able to see anything due to the oak’s branches, even if he were to open the windows.
Danny wished he would have valued his life more than he valued his iPhone and Nintendo half an hour ago.
Marvin’s orange jacket with the blue zipper leaning against the tree trunk was the brightest thing in the picture of an upcoming storm. He looked the angriest Danny had ever seen him and judging by the huge grin psycho Wayne had plastered across his face, Danny knew this was going to be the worst day of his life. Jimmy was there too, but he, on the other hand, was looking at his boots – he couldn’t face the boy whose fate would be on his conscience forever.
Mike pushed Danny forward and it’s only when the boy entered the oak’s protective umbrella, that he noticed all his belongings scattered across the damp soil.
Danny delivered a shaky ice-breaker.
“Can I… can I have them back, please?”
Mike and Wayne laughed like antagonists would. Marvin watched Danny with so much hatred, his blood froze in his veins.
Marvin approached Danny’s stuff on the ground with slow steps.
“Right after I’m finished.”
He unzipped his pants, looking exactly like he was about to do the thing Danny dreaded most.
Danny wanted to tackle him, but Mike grabbed him by the arms and forced him to stay put and watch.
“Don’t! Please, no!! I’m begging you!”
Jimmy looked away, shaking almost as badly as Danny was and Wayne was laughing like a madman, but Marvin – Marvin’s face was serene. He had no expression whatsoever as he took out his manhood and relieved himself all over Danny’s things.
Danny started to cry and Wayne suddenly didn’t find the situation as funny anymore. Mike even loosened his grip on Danny’s arms, making the boy fall to his knees on the moist ground.
“Dude… maybe we should stop.”
Danny was so humiliated, he would have wanted nothing more than to die right then and there. Even so, more than sad, scared and humiliated… he felt rage.
Danny looked at his worst nightmare teary-eyed and knew that what he was about to say, would either be his salvation or bring his doom.
“Please… I won’t tell anybody, I swear!”
Jimmy turned his head violently in Danny’s direction, eyes wild and mouth agape. Danny just opened Pandora’s box. It was all over the pretty blonde boy’s face. Mike and Wayne looked puzzled.
“What won’t he tell, Marv?”
It was Mike who asked the question.
“Yeah, Marv, what’s up?” Wayne pried.
Marvin’s face lost its composure and, Danny knew, the boy that just took a massive piss on his things, was not afraid of facing juvie, jail, or any other type of consequence to make him hurt for what he just outed.
Marvin was by him in mere seconds and hit him over the head so hard, it felt more like a horses’ hoof than a human foot. Danny fell to the ground and spat out a tooth.
Most people would have surrendered and begged for their lives at this point, but Danny… Danny already played his last card. Danny already had his most expensive possessions pissed on by this human garbage and him begging further, would only make the situation more pathetic and laughable. His rage outgrew the fear within him and, what was worse… it outgrew his survival instinct.
“Pick him up, Mike!”
“Marv, don’t you think it’s enough?” Mike asked, even though he did as he was told. He picked Danny up by the pits of his arms and forced him to his knees again.
“It’s enough when I say it is!”
Marvin fumbled with his zipper again.
“Open his mouth. I didn’t finish unloading yet.”
This is the part where Jimmy looked genuinely panicked. He and Wayne started making desperate arm gestures to Danny behind Marvin’s back, urging him to get up and run.
But Danny couldn’t see them. He saw nothing but Marvin’s crotch and his sick smile somewhere above the parted orange folds and the blue zipper of his oversized jacket.
With nothing more to lose… Danny went all in.
“You know, Marvin… I don’t have anything against gay guys. Actually, I’m sure most of them are very nice people… but you, my friend–
–you’re not a gay guy. You’re a faggot!”
Jimmy, Mike, and Wayne held their breaths.
Marvin stared Daniel down, his hand unconsciously closing the zipper of his pants. Nobody dared to move, nobody dared to speak and in that precise moment, the world stopped just long enough for Daniel’s survival instinct to kick in again.
The ‘get up and run!’ command from his brain didn’t even reach his spine, when Mike grabbed him, rose him upright and tossed him outside of the circle created by the oak tree’s crown.
“Run, kid!! Run as fast as you can!”
He didn’t have to yell it out twice. Danny ran for his life. He ran to his full capacity and beyond, Marvin’s thundering gallops right on his tail. This time, the bully didn’t bother with verbal threats like earlier – he was chasing Danny with the clear intention of hurting him, and by the sounds of his exasperated, inclosing exhales… he was about to hurt him very, very badly.
Danny passed his track record long before he saw the bridge before him. Even so, Marvin’s hard breaths were so close behind him, he could almost feel the warmth of him at the back of his neck.
It was when they got to the bridge, that Danny knew he was doomed.
The sky was deep grey and darkening and the lake water was as black as tar. If that wasn’t enough of a bad omen, his loud and frightened feet knocking against the bridge’s wooden boards, were slowly but surely overpowered by a pair of incoming, trampling boots.
No sooner did they reach the path semi-occupied by the dark, wild roses, that Danny felt cold, hungry fingers trying to grab him by the back of the neck.
How, nobody knows. He either slipped, or the feel of Marvin made him lose his balance, but he definitely tripped and had his bully surf on his chest for at least seven feet until they stopped.
Danny was about to try the apology card again, but he couldn’t let out one word. At first, he incredulously looked up at his bully while trying to tell him that his knees are almost making his thorax implode and that he can’t breathe, but… Marvin’s knees were not on his chest at all… Marvin’s knees were at his sides and the reason why Danny felt like chocking, is because…
the bully’s hands were wrapped around his neck. And they were tightening.
Danny let out an indiscernible gag. He tried clinging to Marvin’s arms, tried clawing at his face, but Marvin’s face was the frozen picture of one intention and one intention only: murder.
He didn’t give up clawing at everything he could get his fingers on, even though he felt his head getting dizzy and his vision getting cloudy. Marvin was pressing and squeezing and mere seconds before passing out, Danny gathered all of his strength, not to defend himself, but to… point at something?
Marvin was too out of it to even notice what was going on around him, but he did notice the change in his victim’s demeanor. It changed from fright to confusion. What the hell was he pointing at, anyway?
Daniel was pointing at Marvin’s heart.
Or so it seemed.
Marvin looked down. He didn’t notice it at first, but after he blinked once or twice, it dawned on him:
His beloved orange jacket had been completely cut off from the chest down.
Marvin immediately let go of Danny’s throat, the absence of over half of his jacket being the new focus of his attention. Danny coughed and inhaled greedily as Marvin looked bewildered around himself, to see why, how and who could have done such a gruesome thing to his most beloved piece of clothing.
He turned to look behind himself, and that’s when he saw the long, thin, orange thread that connected the remains of his jacket to a small, glowing figure at the furthest side of the pathway.
Marvin felt scared for the first time that evening. Danny had gotten enough oxygen in his brain to lift his torso up by the elbows and stare in the direction in which Marvin was staring.
His blood ran cold.
The bridge was dark and so was the sky. The only things illuminating the scene were a small figure wearing a white garment at the other end of the bridge, the neon-glowing orange thread that connected Marvin’s jacket to the figure’s fist, and those sparkling white eyes Danny knew not to mess with.
Chloe had one hand tangled up in the thread of Marvin’s jacket and the other behind her back. Danny’s heart began to race again, and for the first time in the last weeks, it was not for his own sake.
“No, Chloe! Dooon’t!”
But Clotho would hear none of it – her decision was made. She divulged her grandmother’s scissors from behind her back, their massive silver glowing as strong as her eyes were. Marvin was star struck. He rubbed his eyes, convinced he was dreaming.
Poor boy didn’t even get the chance to see Clotho snap the scissors shut on his bright orange yarn.
Time stopped right then and there. Danny wanted to move, but he couldn’t. All he could do, was helplessly watch as the wild roses came to life.
The buds sniffed the air as if they were hungry felines smelling blood. Some roses slithered on the path like snakes, others opened their buds up like famished sharks, ready to chow down on their prey.
Every single rose from the creepy houses’ garden clung to and around Marvin. The boy was screaming bloody murder as one rose ate his right eye and three others sucked at his fingers. A rather bloomed rose entwined its stem around Marvin’s neck, digging its thorns into his flesh. The same rose started chewing at the bully’s ear, sucking on it like it found something yummy inside his head. Numerous other roses bit at his stomach, legs, back, chest and every other piece of flesh they could find. The plants were hungry and they were loud, too. Danny couldn’t tell who was louder – the roses who sounded like lions tearing up a gazelle, or Marvin, who sounded like one hundred piglets up for slaughter.
The roses dragged Marvin up to the fence. Since the chunk of flesh that still remained of the boy was still too big to fit through the gaps between the fence’s iron bars, the roses resumed their feast outside of the fence, for Danny to see clearly.
Danny could not believe his eyes. The roses were munching and chewing, as if they were predators from the very top of the food chain. He remembered his former friend was supposed to be at the other end of the pathway, so he looked in her direction just in time to see her deranged grandmother come running out of the house.
The last thing Danny saw before getting to his feet and running away, was Chloe’s dancing white robe in the wind of the upcoming storm and her crying diamond eyes.
By the time the mother and grandmother got out of the house to confiscate the scissors out of Chloe’s hands, Danny was already halfway home.
“Clotho, spring of one’s life! What have you done?!”
He could still hear that last part when he closed the door to his house behind him.
Danny cried under the covers until his parents came home. He expected his dad home by 6 p.m. and his mother by 7, but he never thought they’d show up together at 8. He was still crying when his mom entered his room followed by his father.
“Sweetie, is everything alright?”
She didn’t sound angry anymore. Quite the contrary, she sounded apologetic. She probably realized that she exaggerated at the phone earlier and acknowledged that teenage bullies can be very, very cruel at times.
“Your father and I are home, honey… you wanted to talk to us about this bully.”
Danny sat upright and wiped his eyes with the sleeves of his hoodie, to see his parents better. Dad turned on the lamp and both parents chose each a side of the bed to comfort Danny from. They watched Danny expectantly, their understanding parent faces showing nothing but love.
“He…” Danny sobbed. “I went back to school and he had my things…”
His dad gave his mom an accusatory glance.
“I wanted to take them back, but he chased me and…” Danny cried some more “something terrible happened!”
The boy looked scared out of his mind.
“I think… I think she hurt him… and I think she did it for me.”
“What?! Who did?”
“Chloe… the girl from the creepy house on Booner street.”
“Didn’t I tell you to stop hanging around that house?!” His mother exploded.
“Whom did she hurt, Daniel?” asked his father in a calm voice.
Danny inhaled deeply, trying to stop an incoming sob.
“Marvin… Cage. He lives on Maple’s street and he and his friends have been bullying me for months.”
The sob broke through. Everybody knew Marvin Cage. The Cages had three sons and all of them were assholes – Marvin was the worst. Everybody in the neighborhood knew him from that one time when he tried drowning Mrs. White’s cat. He was ten at the time.
Danny expected a compassionate hand on his head and a welcoming pull to cry on someone’s shoulder. But these things didn’t come and when Danny wiped his eyes dry enough to make out his parents’ facial expressions, he somehow knew why…
His mom and dad stared confused at each other. His mother spoke.
“I’m sorry, Danny, but… who’s that, again?”
NEXT EPISODE: Friends with Scissors – Ep.10 -https://cvasiacru.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/friends-with-scissors-ep-10-final-episode/
PREVIOUS EPISODE: Friends with Scissors – Ep.8 – https://cvasiacru.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/friends-with-scissors-ep-8/
THE BEGINNING: Friends with Scissors – Ep.1 – https://cvasiacru.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/friends-with-scissors-ep-1/