One playtime at school, the ground was whitened with a sprinkling of snow and the wind swept into the shivering children. Jack was chatting to friends amongst the snow flurries. The sneering figure of Gideon, closely followed by Kyffers, Droggers and their odd walks, forced Jack’s friends out of the way.

“Oi, toss bag. You’re getting on my nerves,” Gideon shouted as he smeared snot across his cheek.

“Why’re you doing this?” Jack asked.

“Who said you could speak to the likes of me… yu… you little scrote?” Gideon snapped and angrily shoved Jack in the chest. Caught unawares, Jack slipped on some ice, then hit the ground. Gideon kicked Jack repeatedly with his steel-capped boots. When he finished, Gideon marched off, leaving Jack curled up on the tarmac as the freezing wind whipped around him.

Other teenagers wrapped in thick coats, scarves and woolly hats watched the fight. But no one dared get involved because Gideon had such a fearsome reputation. Jack sat up and held his head in gloved hands. A line of blood ran from his nose as someone approached.

“Are you alright?” a boy called Archie asked with frosty breath.

Jack looked up as blood seeped through his hair. He could feel a headache coming on and his vision was blurred.

“I’ll help you up,” Archie offered, holding out a hand.

Jack grabbed it and was hauled unsteadily to his feet. 

“Thanks,” Jack said as he dusted snow from his sleeve.

“Gideon used to have it in for me until he turned on you,” Archie admitted.

“Glad to be of assistance,” Jack said with a faint smile.

“Oh, I… I didn’t mean it like that,” Archie replied as the siren went at the end of lunchtime. “Anyway, apart from his toady friends, everyone hates Gideon.”

“I guess that’s something to smile about.” Jack said as the two boys walked back to class.

Miss Whippet saw it all with crossed arms from a classroom. She stormed down the corridor in the opposite direction to the flow of schoolchildren. She saw Gideon, Kyffers and Droggers from the corner of her eye, but focussed on Jack and Archie further back. She stopped before them.

“Archie, move along, this is of no interest to you,” she instructed.

There was a pause as Archie walked away. Miss Whippet wagged a finger.

“Jack Nobody, I hope you know bleeding after losing a fight is against school rules. You will have to stop being such a wimp. Now, clean yourself up,” she scolded with a dismissive flick of her hand.

Copyright © 2023 Callum Stanford.  All rights reserved.

Author: C.Stanford

Writer, blogger, outsider, survivor.

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