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.

The story isn’t over yet and the new chapters will be out soon! If you want, you can also stay updated by following this profile.

Images gallery

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This set contains a series of images based on the description of the 2 bullies of the story. The two are represented while running / walking / punching or kicking the air.

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