Red Threads

Stephan was a fairly common boy. He would spend most of his free time drawing and reading comics, and when he could he would go out with his friends, friends who unfortunately he had to abandon when he had to move from his city.
The relocation took place during the summer holidays, forcing Stephan to attend the final year of middle school at a new school.
The idea obviously didn’t excite him much. His old friendships had been lost, and he wasn’t sure he would make new friends at the new school, but during the summer he tried to think as little as possible about that issue so as to enjoy the holidays peacefully.
Once school started and Stephan was introduced to his new class, he found himself at ease on average. The guys there were nice and friendly, but he had difficulty fitting into already formed groups of friends, which led him to keep a bit of distance for the first few days.
The summer holidays had just ended and the heat hadn’t passed yet, so the kids of the school Stephan attended were allowed to stay in the garden a little longer than expected after the lunch break; while the others played tag, hide and seek or with a ball, he preferred to make himself comfortable on one of the benches in the school garden to read one of his comics.
One of those days, however, things went differently than usual.
Stephan was reading, but a group of kids from a different class decided to go and sit right on the bench next to him, starting to make a lot of noise.
Annoyed, Stephan got up and started looking for a better place to read, and since all the benches in the garden were close together, he had no choice but to move away from the center of the garden to look for a calmer place on the edge.
As he walked he didn’t expect to make that particular encounter however, also because in his entire life he had never actually witnessed an act of blatant violence.
Bullying was something Stephan didn’t really know about. He had heard a lot about it both in movies and in cartoons, but fortunately for him he had never experienced such events, nor had he ever seen them; up to that point his school life had been quiet and peaceful, just like the schools he had attended.
But that day, in an almost completely hidden corner of the garden, Stephan saw a kid being kicked by two others.
The victim was on the ground curled up on himself; one of the bullies was kicking him in an almost rhythmic and regular way, while the other limited himself to observing the scene with his hands in his pockets and one foot resting on the victim’s body to hold it down.
Stephan remained still and observed those kids for a few seconds; that scene caught him so suddenly that it took his brain several moments to understand that he was witnessing a beating instead of a strange game between kids, but as soon as he got there his first instinct was to snap in their direction to stop the aggression.
<<Hey!>> he yelled running <<Stop!>>
The two bullies listened and both turned to look at him; one of them had an expressionless face but with a very curious look, the other instead had the face of someone who was having a lot of fun kicking his victim.
Stephan stopped a few steps away from them; the initial momentum soon gave way to a lot of confusion and insecurity as the kid wasn’t quite sure how to proceed from then on.
He wasn’t in his top shape at the time, in fact he was definitely overweight, but at that moment his size was in his favor since he was taller and bigger than everyone present; another thing helping was the fact that the two attackers didn’t appear to be more than ten or eleven years old, so they were shorter and thinner than he was.
What Stephan didn’t know however, was the fact that even if younger and smaller they were far from harmless.
The kicking boy had short and curly blonde hair with some particular red shades; he was the scariest one as he had a slender but very robust build.
The kid with his foot resting on the victim had dark hair and curious brown eyes; he appeared leaner and skinnier than the other.
Stephan quickly recognized that there was something peculiar about them. Whenever he fixed his gaze on one, the other’s eyes appeared to change color, turning red. Thus, he remained motionless and silent, observing them without being certain of what precisely to do.
After a few moments the situation had become rather … weird. Stephan was alone in front of two people he didn’t know and who were staring at him with expressions that were difficult to decipher… people who until recently were kicking a kid who was still there on the ground, under the foot of one of them.
Nobody spoke or moved, not even the victim, while Stephan was starting to smell a strange but extremely pleasant smell in the air.
After several seconds of silence, one of them decided to open his mouth.
<<So?>> asked the boy who was kicking <<Do you want to tell us something, nigga? Or you are you here just to look at us?>>
That question rescued Stephan from his momentary mental block. “Nigga”? No one had ever called him that way until then. The people around him were generally respectful, and even those he argued with never made racial slurs.
Since it was the first time this had happened, he didn’t even feel offended … just confused.
Hesitant and nervous, Stephan started to speak.
<<I … I … ehm … what … w-what are you doing?>>
<<We’re playing.>> was the answer of the same boy who had spoken before; his tone was calm and contained.
<<P … playing?>>
<<Yes. Why do you ask? Wanna join?>>
Stephan lowered his gaze to the kid who was being beaten; he had his hands around his head so he couldn’t see his face.
<<It… it doesn’t… it doesn’t seem like a game to me.>> continued Stephan, trying to gather courage; being bigger and taller than them was helping him a lot in this <<S … so …I-if you don’t stop I’ll call the teachers. Okay?>> he added, trying to assume a more threatening and authoritative tone.
<<Teachers?>> the black-haired boy intervened <<Why?>>
<<B-because you’re… you’re hitting him!>> Stephan answered <<And you shouldn’t!>>
<<And why not?>>
<<B-because you are hurting him!>>
<<So what? He likes being hurted.>>
<<What-? No! He doesn’t like it! Nobody likes getting hurt!>>
<<Yes. He likes it.>> The kid who was holding his foot above the victim took it off, bent over and grabbed him by the back of the neck and lifted him off the ground without any visible effort.
The victim, small and frail when compared to his attackers, limited himself to making a few pained noises but didn’t rebel too much against the grip and let himself be lifted until his face reached the height of that of Stephan.
<<Tell him we’re playing and that you like it.>> ordered the boy who was lifting him, then the victim met Stephan’s gaze and obeyed the order.
Stephan saw suffering and shame in his eyes though, so the boy immediately shook his head vigorously <<N-it’s not true!>> he exclaimed <<He-he only said so because he’s afraid! Let him go!>>
The kid who was holding the other up listened to Stephan’s words and let the little boy go, causing the victim to fall to his knees.
<<Happy now?>>
<<Yes. And … and now go away!>>
Following those words, the half blonde half red-haired boy advanced and stood right in front of Stephan, looking him straight in the eyes.
<<And what happens if we don’t leave?>> he asked; he had a half-curious, half-calm defiant gaze, and two vivid gray eyes.
<<If you don’t go away…>> Stephan hesitated for a moment, but he plucked up the courage to remember that no matter how athletic and muscular that kid might seem, he still remained smaller than him <<I’ll tell the professors that you are beating up a kid. And you will end up in detention. Got it?>>
<<Okay. But what if you just go away and let us play instead? That’s a good idea as well.>>
<<No.>> Stephan said decisively.
<<No …?>>
<<You heard me.>>
<<Yeah but I don’t want to leave, so you’re the one that have to go.>>
<<Okay. I’ll give you five seconds to change your mind, then I’ll hurt you.>>
Stephan was slightly shaken by that answer, but he didn’t back down and remained on the spot with the intention of accepting the boy’s challenge since his words didn’t seem seriously threatening…
But he was wrong.
After five seconds the little boy said: <<As you wish. I will punch you. Get ready.>>
<<Yeah, whatever. Do it.>> was Stephan’s answer, and a few moments after that the little boy hit him with a sudden and rapid movement of his arm; Stephan’s reflexes were not able to respond to the attack at all.
With unexpected violence, the boy thrust an elbow straight into his belly, at the height of the solar plexus; the impact was so precise and powerful that Stephan found himself without air just in a few short moments; he didn’t even get a chance to scream as the pain exploded with an intensity never felt before.
The boy literally bent over on himself, and in the infinite wait for the pain to subside, he crumpled to the ground, curling into a fetal position, with his arms wrapped around his belly and his eyes in tears.
He’s not sure how long he spent in that position, but after a while his sight returned and with it the ability to breathe; focusing on what was around him, he noticed that he was on the ground, and in front of him were the shoes of the kid who had hit him.
Stephan was still shaking in pain when the boy crouched in front of him and brought his clenched fist in front of his face, inches from his mouth; with a pleased look the little bully said: <<Kiss it.>>
Stephan cast a perplexed look at the boy; he wasn’t understanding the reason behind his request, but he still lacked the energy to respond with words.
<<Kiss. It.>> he repeated the boy, lightly tapping his knuckles on the boy’s mouth <<Kiss my fist, come on. Be a good nigga.>>
Stephan, however, refused to indulge him and stayed silent, locking eyes with the aggressor.
After a few seconds of vain waiting, the kid got impatient and placed himself on top of the boy’s head, with his butt leaning heavily on his mouth; from that position the kid first neutralized the boy’s arms using his limbs, after which he started hitting Stephan’s stomach, which was left exposed and without protection.
Stephan couldn’t scream because the boy was surprisingly heavy for his age, he seemed to weigh as much as a wardrobe and was practically adamant from that position, and this led to a painful result: Stephan’s abdomen absorbed a series of punches delivered in rapid succession, each growing in force and weight.
After what seemed like an interminable period of time, the blonde boy stopped the beating and stood up; below him was a practically dying Stephan that if given the opportunity, would have vomited long before. Despite this, the blonde boy brought his fist close to Stephan’s mouth again.
<<Kiss it.>> he said again, but he received no answer, not even a look this time <<Hey … can you hear me? Nig? … Yo?>>
<<I don’t think he hears you.>> the other intervened <<Let’s go.>>
<<No wait, he hasn’t fainted yet. He should be able to hear me.>>
<<I know, but we have to go, the bell will ring soon.>>
<<Ugh … why does the break last so little?>>
Stephan didn’t follow their entire discussion, just as he didn’t even try to see the direction they had taken once they were gone. He was too busy trying to get used to the pain from the beating.
When the bell rang, he just lay there. He was found by a janitor who immediately accompanied him to the infirmary, where he told some professors what had happened.
He didn’t come back to class that day, his parents picked him up to take him home early.
The boy was unable to eat anything until the next evening, and suffered from severe stomach aches for more than a week.

After reporting the incident, there was no immediate follow-up. Stephan couldn’t provide the names of the children involved, but upon describing them the teachers eased their vigilance as the individuals were approximately eleven years old, contrary to their initial expectations of older individuals
It was easy to find them anyway (the blonde guy often got into trouble), and those two were called to the principal’s office, where they then exited without noticeable changes.
Despite that, Stephan believed he had made the best choice and hoped that the story would ended there, and for a while it was like that since after a few days the boy had also forgotten about the unpleasant event that had happened to him in the schoolyard; he had started to interact much more with his classmates, so he had largely made friends with them and during the afternoon break he had started to be with them instead of alone.
Everything was going well, but the opportunity to remember those two bullies appeared unexpectedly.
A rumor had circulated in the school that a kid had disappeared during class hours, perhaps even kidnapped by one of the janitors. This news caused quite a stir, and the school was even closed for a few days to allow the police to investigate.
In the end nothing useful was discovered, and the school days went on as usual. Rumors among pupils and even teachers have started to circulate however, rumors concerning the fact that the missing kid sometimes “reappears” as a ghost.
It was said that he ran through the corridors, and there were those who claimed to have seen him huddled in a corner of the school, just to see him darting away towards a closet and disappearing into thin air; some claimed to have even seen him in the garden as well.
Most of the kids told stories of this type to scare each other of course, but when some teachers started to talk about it as well, the effect was that during the afternoon break everyone started going around in larger groups; no one wanted to be alone, so smaller groups started joining the big ones.
This has led to an interesting development. The classes had become unique groups that, in order to have fun and pass the time, necessarily had to occupy a large space in the garden, but since there wasn’t much space to begin with, these classes started playing together so they could share it.
They engaged in ball games, card matches, and small athletic competitions (such as running); in short time this has become a sort of “tradition”, and every afternoon the classes met in the garden and challenged each other for pastime.
Because of this everyone in the school had started to know each other, and thanks to these competitions the name of two people, two brothers to be precise, had started circulating in everyone’s mouth.
“Samuel and Mathias”, two boys apparently unbeatable in any type of game or challenge.
They were the fastest, smartest and strongest kids in the school, and they had also become known for their muscle definition, which was extraordinarily marked for someone with their age.
Stephan had recognized them immediately, they were the two who many days before were kicking a kid, but still when he saw them running around the garden he couldn’t help but be captivated by the absolute beauty of their movements.
Mathias and Samuel moved with a mechanical precision, executing each step and motion with seamless accuracy, and watching them walk, run and move with that level of rhythm and coordination gave him a strange sense of satisfaction … it was like watching the gears of a clock fit perfectly together.
“ASMR”. Stephan would have described what he was seeing with this word, but this didn’t apply only to him… almost all the kids in the school, and even the teachers, found the brothers’ movements enchanting.
Those two looked like robots: they never missed a beat, never took a false step or performed a single superfluous movement… they were so coordinated that even their breathing was synchronized; none of the older pupils, not even the few sixteen-year-olds present, could match their prowess.
Rumors concerning the fact that those two used steroids or other forms of doping quickly made the rounds of the school, and were perfectly understandable given that one day Mathias remained bare-chested to show off a physique so sculpted as to appear fake .
Despite this, the two brothers immediately became the most popular kids in the entire school; everyone wanted to be friends with them, everyone wanted to play and talk to them, and to his great displeasure even Stephan’s friends ended up on their fan list.
He obviously hated them, and always avoided them when he could. In his eyes those two were nothing but bullies because as popular and well-liked as they were they behaved rather badly; Samuel was actually a quiet guy, he mostly kept to himself and little was said about him… but Mathias was terrible, the teachers really struggled to keep him at bay, and every week he would end up in punishment for some type of transgression.
And it must be said that those two were really too competitive. Over time, playing with them became not only stressful but also humiliating for the other kids: for many it was fun to see them win big and see them flex their sculpted muscles in front of the desolate faces of the defeated, but for Stephan their behavior was just unwarranted arrogance.
Despite his feelings towards them however, Stephan often found himself thinking about them, and the reason was simple: they were bullies arrogant and obnoxious, but they were also damn beautiful, and the fact that the he had mostly female friends didn’t helped because he was always with those girls in the garden, and they very often spoke of Samuel and Mathias, constantly emphasizing how “cool” and “handsome” and “strong” they were despite their age.
After a while things calmed down though. Competitions between classes had become boring and monotonous, competing against the two brothers was no longer fun for anyone, and the stories about the ghost stopped circulating, also stopping the fear that led all the pupils to always stick together; because of this, after the Christmas holidays the school had returned more or less to “normality”, and although by now everyone knew each other in the garden, they had returned to form smaller and more independent groups.
The “prodigy brothers” remained very popular, but most of the students had stopped talking about them, including Stephan’s friends.
From that point onwards the school year continued smoothly until the month of February, when the event that led Stephan to interact again with the two brothers took place: a five-day school trip.

The field trip Stephan attended was held in a peaceful mountain location. A total of five classes participated, two first-year classes and three third-year classes.
This trip wasn’t meant for leisure, so from day one the kids were kept occupied by the teachers with constant exploratory walks and sightseeing tours in the snow and cold.
The hotel that hosted the middle school kids had only three stars, despite this it was very large and it is within this structure that Stephan had the opportunity to talk again with the two brothers.
The room where he slept was small and narrow, shared with two other kids, but from the first day his female friends invited him to spend his free time in their room, which was much more spacious.
Nothing special was usually done in hotel rooms though; they played cards, hide and seek, or just chatted … on the third night of the trip a sort of “pajama party” was organized however, and some kids from the other classes were also invited, including Mathias and Samuel.
In the midst of all those people, Stephan felt a little uncomfortable. Generally he wasn’t shy, but when in the presence of too many kids he tended to get nervous because he didn’t quite know how to behave.
Also not helping him was the fact that most of the kids present had a boisterous, forceful, overly outgoing, stupidly competitive demeanor…the opposite of the quieter, more contained behavior of the girls he was used to being with.
The games that the “boys” played were from Stephan’s point of view stupid and dangerous: they jumped and ran between the beds, fought each other using pillows, and fought each other also in wrestling and arm wrestling competitions.
Due to his calm nature Stephan initially limited himself to sitting on a bed and passively watching the party, talking to those who occasionally sat next to him, and he continued like this until he started to notice something of concern…everyone was getting more frantic and uninhibited, even his calmer friends.
While a pleasant and tantalizing sparkling scent became more and more perceptible in the air, cushions and shoes started flying, as well as some telephones and clothes, but the thing that most struck Stephan was the fact that when a cushion arrived by mistake on his head his response was to throw it back to the sender without even thinking twice.
After that launch he too was enraptured by the frenzy. Seeing all those people running and hopping had awakened an instinct in him that he didn’t even know he had, and he found himself chasing kids and teenagers he didn’t know in a stupid and dangerous version of tag, only to find himself pillowing a friend of his until she gave up laughing out loud.
He was having fun like few times, but things rapidly changed when his gaze fell on Mathias; the little fellow was strangely barefoot, and even stranger was the fact that he was standing over the crouched body of one of the older boys, who was trying in vain to get him off to the ground.
Stephan stopped to watch the scene with vague interest: Mathias remained above the boy’s body with a crazy balance, and it didn’t matter how many times the boy tried to roll on the floor or tried to push and hit Mathias’s legs … the boy somehow stayed up there.
<<I-I give up!>> the boy finally whimpered.
<<Nah, you can’t give up.>> Mathias replied in a calm and amused tone <<We’ve just started.>>
<<Yes I can! I give up, I don’t want to play anymore!>>
<<Stop crying pussy.>> Mathias planted a foot on the back of his neck, crushing his face on the floor with unexpected force <<If you want to give up, you have to lick the ground first.>>
<<Wha-? No! Let me go!>>
<<I want to see your entire tongue on the floor first.>>
<<Come on Tia, please!>>
<<No. The loser lick the floor, that was the rule.>>
<<Come on … please!>> the boy implored, and those words spoken almost with tears in his eyes rescued Stephan from his daze, who, due to the frenetic situation in which the whole room was found, decided to follow his instinct and intervene. He thus abandoned his friend, passed some kids intent on fighting on the floor, and quickly reached the scene he was witnessing from afar.
<<Hey!>> Stephan said once in front of those two <<Come on, get off now. You’re hurting him.>> he added addressing the kid once he got his attention.
<<Uh?>> Mathias looked at him with a curious expression for a few seconds, after which the light of a memory illuminated his face <<Yo, you’re the fat nigga. Remember me?>>
<<F … fat?>>
<<Yup.>> Mathias jumped off the boy who was crushing, continuing to stare Stephan straight in the eyes <<You owe me a kiss, remember?>>
All the courage that Stephan had in his body quickly evaporated in that instant, so much that he started to back away.
<<Um … a k-kiss?>>
<<Yes. To my fist.>> replied Mathias, advancing in his direction without ever breaking eye contact <<But why do you always stutter when you talk? Do you have some kind of mouth diseases?>>
<<What? No!>>
<<Then why do you stutter when I talk to you? You did it last time too.>>
Stephann didn’t know what to answer, so he just shook his head.
<<Uh, it’s fine.>> Mathias cut it short <<Anyway, I want my kiss. Let’s play-fight, and if I win you will give me that kiss.>>
<<Play fight? … >>
<<Yup. Like wrestling or such. I want to jump on you.>>
<<W-what? Why?>>
<<You have a big belly.>>
<<So what?>>
<<So I want to bounce on that tummy.>> Mathias explained giggling <<Ready?>>
<<N-no wait!>> Stephan stopped him while his slow retreat got stuck on a bed <<I don’t… I don’t know how to play-fight! I don’t want to do it!>>
<<I’ll teach you.>>
<<I’m really good at fighting.>> he continued <<I can teach you everything. Judo, jiu jitsu, karate, muay thai, boxing, kickboxing … even sumo if you want.>>
<<Ehm, I … I do not like these things very much, I>>
<<Don’t worry, you’ll like it.>>
Stephan was slightly paralyzed by the intensity of Mathias’s gaze; that boy didn’t look too menacing at the time because his muscle definition was hidden under his heavy winter clothes, so he looked like a perfectly normal eleven-year-old (just a little heavier and more muscular than average).
But Stephan knew that his was a misleading appearance, so his instinct led him to retreat even further, ending up tripping over the edge of a bed and ending up sitting on it; as soon as this occurred, Mathias swiftly leaped onto the boy, his feet landing on his thighs.
The weight of the kid took Stephan completely by surprise, who felt as if a piece of furniture had landed on top of him, and pushed by his instinct he wrapped his fingers around the kid’s legs and tried to push him away, which made him even more surprised because of the unexpected hardness of the boy’s body.
Squeezing Mathias’s legs was giving Stephan the same feeling that squeezing two light poles would have given him.
<<So, big boy … what’s your name?>> asked the kid while looking Stephan from top to bottom.
<<I-if you go down I’ll tell you.>> was the answer given with some difficulty; Mathias’s weight was putting a strain on Stephan resistance.
<<Nah. Just tell me your name.>>
<<Go down first.>>
<<Make me.>>
<<I… I can’t do it ….>>
<<No?>> Mathias crossed his arms <<Then I’ll stay here.>>
<<P-please …>> Stephan pleaded looking him in the face, but the kid had a teasing and careless smile printed on his face; it was clear that he would not go down with good manners.
Stephan quickly considered his options; try to get up? The kid’s weight was such that the option was out of the question.
Push him away? He was already trying, but Mathias was as heavy as a statue, and Stephan was risking hurting himself if he pushed any harder.
He had only one option left: hit him.
Stephan then quickly made a fist with his hand and hit the kid right on his belly, hoping to throw him off balance making him fall.
<<What was that?>> asked Mathias after the hit, assuming a slightly more serious expression.
Stephan looked at the hand with which he had hit Mathias with a shocked expression; he didn’t put all his strength into that punch, he didn’t want to hurt him after all, but the boy completely ignored the blow as the punch seemed to hit a wall.
<<Answer me.>> Mathias pressed, lowering his arms in a threatening way <<What was that?>>
Stephan gulped; at that moment he was seriously starting to feel afraid, and it was the first time ever that a kid caused him that feeling.
<<Don’t want to talk, huh?>>
<<I-I …>> Stephan went back to looking Mathias in the eyes <<sorry.>> he said at the end.
<<I don’t want your sorry, I want you to tell me what was that.>>
<<A … a punch.>>
<<Oh … yeah?>>
<<S-sorry! Really, I didn’t… I didn’t mean to!>>
<<But you did it.>>
<<I-I know, but>>
<<You punched me.>> continued the boy <<You hurt me.>>
<<I-I’m sorry.>> Stephan said leaning slightly forward due to the strong pain in his legs <<I’m really … really …>>
<<Prove it.>> Mathias brought his hand up to Stephan’s face <<Kiss it.>>
Stephan’s mind went rapidly back to the first time he saw the boy and the beating he suffered for his refusal to kiss his fisted hand.
At that moment, however, something strange happened in his brain, a reasoning that he never expected he would do … reasoning that led him once again to say “no” despite the pain in his legs that was quickly becoming unbearable.
<<Listen big guy>> said the boy, bending down so as to bring his face closer to that of Stephan<<if you don’t obey I will hurt you again.>> and with that threat he once again brought his fist closer to Stephan’s mouth < <Kiss.>>
The kid’s hand was impregnated with a pungent and intense perfume, the same one that was wafting throughout the room, and that perfume was so damn good that Stephan had to use all his willpower to resist the temptation to humor the kid .
<<No.>> he said in the end.
<<No.>> Stephan repeated, looking Mathias straight in the eyes.
The kid had returned to having an almost completely expressionless face, but he was biting his lower lip while his two eyes were vibrating with heated curiosity, and his pupils had visibly enlarged.
The situation remained stalemate for a few moments; the silence was occasionally broken by the restrained moans of Stephan, who was starting to tear up due to the pain.
<<In one minute and twenty-five seconds the bones of your thighs will break.>> said the boy after a while <<But if you do as I tell you, I will go down and nothing will happen to you.>>
<<W … what?>>
<<You heard that right. Now choose: breaking your legs or kissing my hand.>>
Stephan didn’t want to believe his words, but the pain he felt was undeniably too high to be normal… maybe the kid was right, maybe he should have given up and given him that stupid kiss.
But Stephan waited. He didn’t give up right away. There was something that drove him to resist, a very strong adrenaline sensation that even surpassed the pain and was actually enhanced by it.
<<Twenty seconds.>> Mathias said at one point, after which he remained silent until he started counting down from ten.
Stephan’s heart started beating faster than normal. Was he scared? Surely, but beside fear he was feeling something else.
Something very strong.
Which he had never felt before.
Mathias’s breath was entering his nose.
That too had a prickly, pungent smell.
A smell so good it was going straight to his head.
<<You’re crazy.>> the boy said at the end, rapidly jumping down from the boy’s legs.
The sudden disappearance of the pressure didn’t bring the relief Stephan had hoped to receive, in fact he soon found himself gingerly rubbing his thighs, which were so sore they barely moved… yet they didn’t look broken at first glance.
The boy watched him in silence for a while, then he decided to regain his attention.
<<You’re lucky. I like crazy niggas!>> he said with a huge smile <<By the way, I went down but you still haven’t told me your name.>>
<<S … Stephan.>>
<<Well Stephan … I still have to jump on your belly, remember? And I also have to teach you some martial arts moves.>>
The boy cast a horrified look at the boy <<Y-you’re kidding, right?>>
<<No.>> was the answer given with calm determination <<Get down on the ground.>>
<<On the ground big guy.>>
<<N … no, my legs hurt terribly.>>
The kid sighed <<Okay. So the first thing I’ll teach you will be a projection.>>
Stephan assumed a slightly perplexed expression <<A … what?>>
<<This.>> Mathias grabbed him by the collar, after which he first lifted him off the bed and then dropped him on the floor, rearranging himself on top of him at the same time.
The whole action lasted a few moments and Stephan didn’t even suffer too much from the impact with the floor, in fact he was just stunned. In the meantime the kid had placed himself on his chest and was using his knees to immobilize Stephan’s arms.
<<That was a “Tai Otoshi”, a judo throw.>> the boy explained <<While this is a “schoolboy pin”, it is used in wrestling.>>
<<P-please …>> Stephan implored <<my legs hurt so much and you are very heavy …>>
<<Am I heavy?>> Mathias raised an eyebrow <<Are you sure?>>
Hearing those words, Stephan realized one thing: that kid no longer weighed as much as before, he had become as light as a kid of his age should be, whereas before his weight was decidedly disproportionate to his size.
<<Uh … well…>> Stephan was confused and stunned, he didn’t understand what was happening, and while he was thinking about it Mathias gently took his face in his hands.
As the boy’s skin made contact with Stephan’s, a wave of intense pleasure surged through his entire body, causing shivers to run down his spine. Yet, this reaction was far from ordinary; it felt distinctly unnatural, leaving Stephan utterly perplexed and clueless about the unusual sensations coursing through him.
Mathias realized Stephan’s panic from his eyes, and smiled with amusement <<You like it, uh?>> he said, biting his lower lip.
<<W… what… what’s going on?>>
<<Don’t worry.>> continued Mathias gently pinching his cheeks <<You’re cute when you’re scared, you know? You look like a cute fat puppy. And scared puppies are even cuter. You will be my new pet from now on.>>
The kid’s gentle touch had gone from explosively pleasurable to incredibly soothing; Stephan’s initial daze transformed swiftly into confusion, and the pain subsided into weariness and feebleness. After a while Stephan started to feel as if he were floating on water, in a lake made of emotions that he couldn’t give logical explanations to.
The sweet, childlike and delicate beauty of Mathias’s face made him look like an angel come down from heaven … or maybe a demon, considering the fact that every time Stephan stopped looking him straight in the eyes, the latter seemed to change color and turn red.
It was all so strange… so surreal…
<<I… ehm… I’d like you to get up, please.>> Stephan said after a while, even if a part of him wanted to stay down there forever; it was hard for him to admit it, but the moment was so absurd that he was really enjoying it.
<<Okay.>> was Mathias’s answer <<Now I’ll get up, I’ll put one foot on your face and one on your chest, then I’ll walk all over your body, and then I’ll jump on your belly until you will go from fat to flat. And you won’t scream once.>>
Stephan didn’t react at all to those words, he remained to look the kid in the eyes as if was paralyzed … he felt an overwhelming sense of weakness, rendering him incapable of taking any action. Additionally, he couldn’t help but question his own lucidity, uncertain of whether he was truly in control of his thoughts and actions.
<<Good boy.>> Mathias chuckled after realizing that Stephan wouldn’t have resisted, so he got up and did exactly what he said, without receiving the slightest opposition.
Initially the kid was light, his weight was almost completely ignorable … but the more time passed the heavier he became.
Stephan grit his teeth and endured the situation in silence. He looked around from time to time, and in doing so he noticed that hardly anyone in the room was paying attention to him, everyone was absorbed in their games and their chatter; he himself found it hard to worry about what others thought… every time he tried the thought was suppressed by his brain and his attention returned entirely to Mathias, who seemed to really enjoy walking on top of him.
He went up and down, also passing through Stephan’s neck who limited himself to suffering in silence wondering what was pushing him to accept that situation so passively; normally he would have already started screaming or shaking … but that was not a normal situation, because although every step of the kid was heavier than the previous one Stephan was not only in pain.
Perhaps it was the dizziness caused by the earlier screening, perhaps it was Mathias’s body odor which by now was the only thing he felt, but when the kid started jumping on his tummy Stephan felt not pain but an unexpected explosion of pleasure.
He knew that this was not normal. He felt weak, drained and completely powerless, as if he was about to fall asleep, so he even wondered if in reality he had passed out and those last events were nothing more than a very strange dream.
But sadly they weren’t, and after a while Stephan’s body started to give way; his vision blurred, the sounds became muffled, and the only thing he felt was Mathias’s weight on top of him and his smell, which had become so heavy and intense as to be suffocating.
Without even realizing it, Stephan was bleeding from his mouth.
Yet, he felt no pain.
Only pleasure.

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