The Bully

Wild’s Middle School, a school trying to be proactive in preventing bullying from occurring. Gideon, a guest speaker for assemblies to student bodies about bullying and how it can feel to be a victim, and to be the bully, is here at this school for just that purpose today. Wild’s is a fair bit different than most middle schools, as this one is equipped to deal with physically disabled youth, such as blind, deaf, or wheelchair bound.

Gideon has requested that he be able to explore the school in the hours before the assembly, letting him see how students in the school interact with each other. He’s given permission to do so. Gideon spends most of the time walking around the campus, when a lunch period comes up, he buys himself a lunch and asks a group of students if he can sit with them while he eats. He asks what group he’s enjoying his meal with. The school is large enough that there are three lunch periods. The first group, he finds the football players, and eats with them, he makes conversation, asking about how they get treated by others, and how they treat others. They’re treated decently by all, with the only problems being the outcasts not liking them. They mention Ridge, a boy who likes to bully others being the biggest problem that the school has.

During the second lunch, he picks a table at random, and has a similar conversation. This group also mentions Ridge, and how he has a small ring of friends that like to pick on any one that has the sad fortune of crossing them.

During the third lunch, he seeks out the outcast group, the group that gets picked on the most, by asking a few different tables which one it is that he seeks. He finds the table that he wanted, and asks to sit, and attempts to have the same conversation as the last two lunch periods, but this group is a lot more shut in, less willing to talk to him, in fact, it seems, that most of the people at this table don’t actually know each other, they talk to those nearest to them, and not much beyond that.

Third lunch is over, and every one is heading to class, Abigail is heading to class, dark blue backpack with a light blue swoosh mark on it. There’s a group of boys mocking her, asking things such as “Are you going to answer me, don’t pretend you can’t hear me.”

Gideon approaches the group, “What’s going on over here?”

One of the boys responds, “Nothing much, just messing around with a friend.” The boy attempts to wrap an arm around Abigail’s shoulder, as if friends, and she shrugs it away, a note of disgust in her body language that only Gideon seems to pick up on.

Gideon stands in front of the four of them, preventing them from going further, and signs to Abigail, simply asking if she’s deaf, and knows sign. She responds confirming that she is deaf, and that these boys are harassing her. He signs that he’d like to talk with her more about it, and asks her to lead them to the school’s office. She nods, and starts heading to the office, passing her classroom. The boys start up asking what she’s doing. Gideon fell behind the group, watching and listening to how the boys treated her as she leads the group to the office.

“Hey, stupid, you passed your classroom, where are you going?” one asks.

“Yea, you can’t hear, but you can see, you passed your class” one points to her classroom.

She decides that if Gideon is going to follow them, that she’ll take the long way, and weaves around the buildings going a very long way to the office, she ends up walking the length of the buildings two and a half times before arriving to the office, where the boys ran off, but not before the office staff noticed them.

The office put out a call for them to come back, and to meet with the dean of students. While the students are found and are brought to the office, Abigail and Gideon introduce each other, and have a conversation about her treatment, how long its been going on, and if that group is the worst that she gets. She confirms that this group of boys is the worst, that they make fun of a blind girl, and of a paraplegic male as well.

Gideon asks if he could meet the other two so that he can talk to them as well. He explains what he’s doing at the school, and wants to know if she’d be willing to be part of the assembly, to be on the stage with him. She agrees to be up on stage with him, though she isn’t told what is going to happen.

Gideon talks to the office staff about having Abigail lead him to two specific individuals that he’d wish to meet before the assembly. They give her a hall pass, and let him know that they normally wouldn’t do this, but because of what his work is, and the people he’d like to meet, they hope it can help with the assembly. He assures them, that it would be beneficial to talk to them before hand to see if they’re willing to be part of the presentation. He’s given a note that will let him pull each student out of their respective class for a short amount of time, so that he can talk with them.

Abigail leads Gideon to Luke’s class first, it’s the closest of the two classes. Gideon enters the classroom, and askes the teacher of the class if they have either of the students in the note.

“Luke, Mr. Gideon here would like to have a word with you outside.” The teacher says.

Luke, the only kid in the room with a wheelchair makes his way to the door, Abigail opens it for him, and the three of them walk out, Luke says hi to Abigail who greets him back. Gideon offers his hand for a shake.

“Hello, I’m Gideon, I’m here for the assembly today, I was hoping to talk to you for a few minutes, if you’re willing.” Gideon introduces himself.

“I’m Luke, and sure, I’ll listen.” Luke takes his turn introducing himself.

Gideon explains what happened with Abigail, and that he’d like to know if Luke is willing to be on stage with her, and him during the assembly. Luke agrees to be on stage with the two of them, and Gideon says that there might be a third person that joins them on stage. With the short meeting over with, Gideon opens the classroom door for Luke again, and lets him return to class.

Abigail motions for Gideon to follow her, and she walks off to the next classroom. They pass several buildings before she finally stops at a classroom door. She signs that this is Sarah’s classroom. He nods, and enters the classroom, finding the teacher proves a bit harder to do, as she’s as tall as the other students. Gideon thought the class didn’t have a teacher at first, and looking around lost, some one approached him and greeted herself in a low tone. Gideon introduced himself, and handed over the note that requested that he be able to speak to Sarah. The teacher says it’ll be a moment, that he can wait next to the door.

The teacher leads Sarah to the door, where she explains to him that she’s blind. Gideon replies that he’s already aware. Sarah and Gideon walk outside, where Abigail grabs Sarah’s hands, so that she can sign her greetings, and Sarah can acknowledge, and gives her greeting.

Gideon and Sarah talk about the assembly and how he’s here to be the speaker for it and also requests that she join him on stage along with Luke, and Abigail who have both agreed to be part of it already. Sarah agrees to be part of it, and Gideon walks her back to the classroom door, where the teacher is waiting on the other side, to make sure Sarah can return to her desk safely.

Gideon walks Abigail back to her class, and thanks her for the help. When the reach her class, Gideon explains to her teacher what has been going on, and why she’s late. Abigail hands her note to the teacher, who motions for her to get to her desk, that her work is waiting for her.

During the last two class periods of the day, the student body assembles in the gym. Gideon is already on the stage, where there is a ramp and a staircase, although the ramp was made in a rush because there wasn’t a plan to have any one in a wheel chair on the stage. There’s a signer in the first row of the audience, so that Abigail knows what’s going on. As the student body starts to fill the gym, Abigail, Luke, and Sarah make their way onto the stage where there is a spot for each of them to sit.

Gideon waits for everyone to sit and get comfortable on the bleachers before starting the assembly.

“Hello everyone, I’m Gideon, your fully grownup bully, here to share with you, the misery of being a bully victim. A lot of you are like ‘I thought he said he was a bully?’ and I was. I was also a victim of bullying before being a bully myself.

“Let us go back to my seventh grade. I was bullied, I had kids that called me all sorts of names, I mean, a kid that sleeps in math class, and gets arguably the best grades? NERD, right? I mean, let’s be real, any one that can sleep in math class, get second best grades, not do the homework, I mean, not even look at it, must be a nerd! And you know what, I am, I am a giant nerd.”

Gideon paces across the stage, introducing himself, giving a bit of his own story.

“I got called all sorts of names, mostly from one person, my school had a known bully, a person that everyone wanted to avoid, especially those like me, the good high grades with no effort, the outcasts, the unaccepted.

“One day he challenged me to a fight, said if I won, he’d leave me alone. I was like ‘This is my chance’ we set a time and place. I went home that day, told my mother what was happening, and she wanted to know if she should call the school. I told her it’d be fine, he’s half my size, and he wants to challenge me.

“Now, let me clarify this for you. I was 5 ft 5 in, or close to it, just a smidge shorter than I am right now, I was massive, I weighed a mighty 180 pounds. He was a minimum of 5 inches shorter, and a good 60 plus pounds lighter than I was. Now, onto the fight, the fight I forgot about!

“Like, no joke, I forgot I was supposed to fight the school bully. He found me the day after we were supposed to fight, and cornered me, called me a wuss, a coward, and I told him ‘Today, we’ll do it today, same place.’ He accepted this rematch and left.

“It was after school, the physical education area, because we had an outdoor area for that kind of thing. He had actually brought several friends, like 6 or 7 of them. I brought no one, I was alone in this. Smart me, right? Anyways, I told him he could have first swing, I didn’t expect him to hit hard, and he did the whole bob and weave thing, chicken dance bob and weave to a stationary target, and he struck me in the arm” Gideon smacks his upper arm.

“I took a step forward to return a swing, and he took two steps back, and he did this every time I stepped forward. I aimed my punches to wherever he landed a punch. I didn’t want to be in too much trouble if a teacher came out and caught us. We circled half the area, a single punch for a single punch, before a teacher found us, and I was initially the one in trouble, because he was backing away from me.

“After that fight, no one picked on me, I became a bully myself, though I was a lot more selective in who I bullied than my bullies were. I decided fighting people was the way to go, violence solved my problems when adults couldn’t so why not solve more that way? I ended up only picking on my friends, who mostly returned the bullying, and I bullied those that picked on others. I took joy in making them suffer like they made others suffer. Because inside, I knew what it was like to be bullied.”

Gideon walks to the edge of the stage, where he grabs a second microphone, and puts one in his pocket and walks back to the center of the stage.

“I have up here with me, three brave ind…” Gideon stops mid word because of laughter from the audience, he snaps around to look at the group.

“We have jokes from the audience I see,” he says out to the crowd, which promptly dies down.

“So, does anyone from over there want to share with the rest of us, so we can all have a good laugh?” Gideon asks out towards the group that was laughing.

“Seems we have a tad of a coward sitting out there, someone not brave enough to own their own jokes.” Gideon attempts to provoke the jokester into responding.

Ridge takes the bait, upset he stands and yells back, “I’m not a coward!”

“Then, by chance, are you brave?” Gideon asks in return.

“Yea, I am! It was my joke that made everyone laugh.”

“If you’re brave, then I invite you to join me, and these three on stage,” Gideon motions towards the three students on stage already.

Ridge doesn’t think about it, and instantly starts to the staircase down, so that he can get to the stage. Sarah, Abigail, and Luke look uncomfortable with Ridge being invited up to the stage. Ridge makes his way to the center of the stage where Gideon is standing.

“You were one of the guys I talked to earlier, weren’t you? What’s your name?” Gideon asks Ridge, handing him a microphone.

“My name is Ridge, and yea, you followed me and my friends around earlier,” Ridge declares.

“If I gave you a challenge, would you do it? A daring brave challenge.” Gideon asks, expecting Ridge’s sense of pride to dictate that he accept this challenge.

“Yeah I will, I’ll do any challenge you give me!” Ridge proclaims proudly.

“Before I give you the challenge, you have a choice to make. You can have your friends come up here and you can do it as a group, or you can do it alone.” Gideon offers up. “But, once you make a choice, there’s no going back, understand?”

“I don’t need them, I’ll do it by myself!” Ridge gave no second thoughts to his answer.

“Okay ladies and gentlemen, this is Ridge!” Gideon shouts into his microphone. There’s a mild applause for Ridge’s introduction. “Well, that was underwhelming.”

“Who knows the hardest thing about making fun of others, of making jokes, and giving insults? Ridge, do you?” Gideon paces around the stage once more, and turns to face Ridge on the second question.

“Uh, I, uh, I don’t think so” Ridge stammers out.

“Its okay, Ridge, its actually quite hard regardless, being a bully or not most people find it hard.” Gideon turns back to the crowd. “Saying something mean is easy, its easy to forget about someone’s feelings, its easy to just spew an insult when you’re upset. But you know what is hard, what is a real challenge, something that takes real courage to do?”

Gideon jumps off of the stage, and walks to the signer that has been signing to Abigail the entire time. Gideon asks that the signer explain to Abigail that he’s asking them not to tell her what is going to happen, that he’d like it to be a surprise for her. The signer agrees to do so, and lets Abigail know what is going on, and that they wont be signing for a while. Gideon then returns to the stage.

“Ridge, you came up here, you opted to stand alone for a challenge. Are you ready for that challenge?” Gideon asks, using the microphone, making sure everyone can hear.

Ridge isn’t so sure about his confidence level, or his level of pride after not knowing the answer the last time he got asked something. “Yeah, I think so.”

“Good, good. Your challenge then, is to do the hardest thing about insulting and making jokes about them.” Gideon gives a smile, and looks at Ridge, “Your challenge, is to tell Abigail something nice about her.”

The signer’s jaw drops, but doesn’t sign anything to Abigail. Ridge trips backwards, clearly not expecting this kind of challenge, completely flustered, he has no idea what to do. He doesn’t know Abigail, not enough so that he can give her a compliment on command.

“I, I, can’t do that-t!” Ridge begins to stumble on his words.

“She’s deaf, she couldn’t hear me even if I told her anything!” Ridge continues on with protests. “I don’t know those stupid hand sign things, how am I supposed to tell her anything!”

“That’s part of the challenge, Ridge, is finding a way to get a message to her,” Gideon doesn’t seem compassionate towards Ridge at all.

“It’s not like I have any paper that I could write on!” Ridge exclaims with exhaustion, as he doesn’t know what to do, much less, what to say.

“That! That’s a great idea! I happen to have some of that!” Gideon gets giddy, and pulls a small notebook from a pocket, and hands it to Ridge, along with a pen.

“I don’t know what to say to her though, I don’t know her to say anything nice,” Ridge tries to explain.

“Well, if you really, absolutely, positively can’t say anything nice, then maybe a letter of guilt that you can’t is nice? A letter that says you were told to say something nice, and you admitting that you can’t say anything nice could be touching to some people.” Gideon offers a bit of advice to the young boy.

Ridge scribbles in the notebook, and slams it shut, “I’m done, I just have to give it to her now?”

“First, I have to read it, don’t need insults being written and given to each other, fair enough?” Gideon takes the notebook from Ridge, and reads it.

Gideon said I had to tell you something nice. I don’t know anything about you. I don’t have anything nice I can say to you because all I do is make fun of you for being deaf.

“Well, honestly, I think it could be better written, but it makes your point. If you’re brave enough, hand it to her,” Gideon hands the notebook back after reading it.

Ridge takes the notebook and walks over to Abigail, and thrusts the notebook at her, “Here you go.” He has a touch of red coming up through is cheeks as he waits for Abigail to take the notebook.

“Oh, would you mind signing again?” Gideon asks directly to the signer.

Abigail takes the notebook, and reads the note in it. The note upsets her, and she rips it out of the notebook, and tears it up into pieces.

“Hey, I worked hard on that stupid letter!” A defensive Ridge claims.

“Even you said it in your letter. You only make fun of her being deaf. That you know nothing about her, isn’t that right?” Gideon interjects.

“Yea, well, she didn’t have to rip it up!” Ridge says, clearly upset that the note was ripped up.

“Let me ask you something, Ridge, do you know Luke and Sarah as well? Could you tell them anything nice, they can hear you, they heard you struggle with the letter to Abigail.”

“No, I know as much about them, as I know about Abigail, they’re disabled.”

“Did you know, not one of these three were born disabled? That all three could walk, hear, and see at one point in their lives, that because of accidents out of their control, they ended up being disabled?” Gideon exposes parts of the three’s past to Ridge. ”How would you feel if you were in an accident, that shattered your voice box, and you could no longer talk, but only make gargling sounds, and someone decided that it was a great idea to make fun of the fact you sound like a broken water fountain? You’d end up hating that person, wouldn’t you?”

“I guess I would,” Ridge is starting to think he wants his friends on stage with him at this point.

“How about challenge number 2, think you could do it? I mean, you don’t have to write notes this time, the signer is signing to Abigail again, and these two can hear you struggling on your words.” Gideon offers a second challenge to Ridge. “You just gotta ask each person two questions. To each person.”

“Okay, I think I can do that, it sounds easy enough” Ridge has no idea the trouble he’s about to get himself into.

Gideon goes to Abigail, and asks for the notebook back. He grabs the pen and writes out two questions into the notebook, and hands it to Ridge, “Ask Abigail these questions last, you can choose who you ask first.”

Ridge opens the notebook to read the questions that Gideon wrote down:

How did you end up disabled?
How does being teased about it make you feel?

Ridge goes to Sarah first, and asks her how she ended up being blind. Gideon taps his microphone, interrupting the newly formed conversation.

“Ridge, if you would, use the microphone that I gave you earlier, and here’s mine, so that you can hand it to the person that you’re talking to.” Gideon hands his microphone to Ridge, who immediately offers it to Sarah. “Also, please ask again, so everyone can hear the question.”

“Um, uh, Sarah, how did you become blind?” Ridge asks, tripping over words again, having to ask a second time.

“I was next to a cliff that had a rockslide accident, and I saw a rock coming down the cliff. I ran and knocked some one out of the way, because it was going to kill them, I got hit with other rocks that came down after it. I saved someone’s life and I got to be blind for life.” Sarah ends her answer with a bit of sour tone to it.

Ridge didn’t expect this kind of answer, he’s unsure of what to do now, but he does feel he wont be making fun of her blindness any more. This was way more than he expected.

“How does, um, me, uh, being made fun of, make you, uh, feel?” Ridge asks, his voice becoming lower and lower as he goes through the question.

“Like crap, Ridge, like crap. I saved a life, a life! If it wasn’t for me, that person would be dead! I got to save a life, and I don’t get to ever see again. And I also get to put up with guys like you, who make fun of me, Ridge, for being blind, for saving a life. There’s days I regret saving that person, do you know how that makes me feel, Ridge, regretting saving a life that I saved, because some one like you thinks its funny that I can’t see anymore.” Sarah gets emotional, there’s gasps from the bleachers as she speaks.

A lot of the students, including Ridge, were unaware of the trauma that Sarah had gone through when she became blind, and were even more unaware of how she felt when she was made fun of it. Ridge didn’t have anything to say, as he was in too much shock, so he went to Gideon.

“Do, do I, really, have to, um, ask these still?” Ridge is losing his confidence and pride to guilt and regret.

“If you can answer me a question, then I’ll let you not have to ask Luke and Abigail, sound fair?” Gideon gives a false sense of hope to Ridge.

Ridge looks slightly hopeful, and nods his head in response.

“Tell me one thing about Luke, and one thing about Abigail that you learned today,” Gideon states, warmly, with a smile, as if a father asking a child what they learned today.

Ridge’s hope vanishes, and he walks over to Luke. “So, uh, Luke, how did you…”

“How did I get stuck in a wheel chair, Ridge?” Luke cuts off Ridge, clearly able speak loudly and clearly, even without the microphone. “Okay, since you asked me, I can tell you. I was on my way to soccer practice one day, many years ago. Mom was driving me there, and a drunk driver didn’t stop for his stop sign, and slammed right into our car. My mother looked at me with a face full of blood, she suffered enough head trauma that her entire face was covered in blood. When I tried to get up to get to her, my legs wouldn’t respond, I couldn’t get them to move. Then it dawned on me, I couldn’t feel them, and I panicked which didn’t help me or my mom. That was the last day my mother had. She died in that accident, and I couldn’t do anything because I lost my legs that day.”

You can see regret sinking into Ridge’s face, as he imagines Luke’s accident as if it were his own, except without the realism of actually having it happen to him. Everyone else sucks in air, at the descriptive nature that Luke had decided to go to.

“How,” Ridge starts asking slowly, then very rapidly spits out the question, “How do I make you feel then?”

“I hate you, Ridge. I’m not going to lie, I hate you.” Luke says with anger, he continues, with the anger flair fading into just anger. “I wish you had a part of you taken away, a part of you, that you love, that you use, everyday, just so you know what its like to have something so precious, as hearing, or sight, even the gift of walking, taken away in an instant, and have no control over it, to have it one day, and the next, its gone. It sucks already, going through that misery, but you make it so much worse.”

Ridge isn’t feeling so high and mighty anymore, the realization that someone hates him, that he’s made a life saving hero regret their choices. That his life isn’t nearly as troublesome as these two have it in their life. His sense of pride has tanked, he no longer has any pride in his jokes that have gotten him here, in the insults that he’s given out relentlessly over the last several years. Everyone in the stands, has had their pride brought down some degree as well, to hear how these two became disabled, the overall mood of the audience is dampening.

Ridge swallows, and walks over to Abigail. He stands in front of her, a look of defeat on his face. This is a face of a bullied victim, one who has lost their self confidence, their pride in themselves. A face that Abigail has worn so many times before because of the kid wearing it in front of her now. She knows what questions are coming, the signer has done their job the entire time. She watched the body language of Sarah and Luke, know they were upset, as is she, as they all have an understandable right to be with Ridge.

Abigail grabs a bottle of water from the table near her chair, and takes a drink. She stands up and waits for Ridge to ask his first question, a question she already hates, a question that she doesn’t want to give him the answer to. Her standing up causes Ridge to hesitate in his question, making him more nervous than he was before.

Ridge swallows again and asks with his head low “Abigail, how did you end up being deaf?”

“You don’t deserve to know!” Abigail yells at Ridge. The school went into shock. The entire staff, and student body didn’t know Abigail could speak. It was a secret she kept to herself since the accident years ago. When she found out she was deaf, she voluntarily quit speaking, her thoughts on it were if she couldn’t hear other voices, then no one needed to hear hers. She had a stuffed animal that she would talk to late at night when she was sure her family was asleep, and couldn’t hear her. “You’ve done nothing but make fun of me for being deaf and not using my voice. Do you even care what happened to me that I lost my hearing,  or are you just asking because some one dared you? Do you want to know why or does someone else?”

Ridge had dropped his jaw, much like the rest of everyone present. The voice he just heard was pretty to him, one of the prettiest he had ever heard, and it belonged to the person he liked picking on the most; a person who had never spoken in public before. He’s decided he doesn’t want to ask Abigail how she feels, she’s made it very clear with her first answer.

Ridge went to Gideon to hand him the microphones. He was done, he didn’t want to deal with anything anymore today. Ridge wanted to go home and curl up in his bed.

“Ridge, before you leave the stage and walk away. I’d like to ask you a question now, perhaps two, if you’re willing.” Gideon turns to talk to Ridge.

Ridge stops, looking more defeated than ever. The school is in shock over Ridge’s look of defeat and the fact that Abigail can in fact speak. A few tears run down his cheek, he just really wants out of this nightmare.

“What did you learn about the three of them, Ridge?”

“I learned that Sarah is a hero, that Luke suffered a lot, and that Abigail is right, I don’t deserve to know what happened to any of them. They all hate me.”

“How about, Ridge, we learned a different lesson today, everyone here today learned a lesson, and you’re the one that taught it to everyone.”

“What? I didn’t teach anyone anything,” a confused Ridge spits out.

“Oh, but you did. How about everyone has a story that you don’t know? That each of us has a story we haven’t shared, a story that might hurt us to share?” Gideon asks, he looks out at the audience, “I want everyone here to remember one thing. That you don’t know the story to the person that you stand in front of, that their story may be something that you can’t fully understand.

“How they talked to you hurt, didn’t it, Ridge? That’s years of being picked on, being bullied. That was malice, regret, and anger.” Gideon says to Ridge, then out to the audience, “A bullied victim suffers a number of psychological effects and the longer it goes on the worse that those effects get. A sense of hate, lower self-esteem, suicide rates are much higher for those that are bullied. The sense of hate and low self-esteem may never go away and if it does, it takes several years for it to come back. But that self-confidence will always ask itself, ‘Am I being judged, will I be made fun of for this?’ Something that I’ve had for over twenty years since my bullying stopped. I still question myself, my skills, my body, every part of me that was bullied, I question everyday.”

After the assembly, and after that day, the student body avoided bullying until the new classes started coming in. Ridge, Abigail, Sarah, and Luke taught three full grades of students the misery of being bullied. Ridge and his friends never made fun of any one again. Abigail didn’t speak again after that day, she had returned to being a mute as well as being deaf. The older grades attempted to stop any bullying from younger grades as they filtered into the school. They all learned a valuable lesson that day. You don’t know that person’s story, until you ask them to tell it.

Years later, Ridge and Abigail were juniors at the same high school. Ridge was on his way home after school when he saw Abigail being tailed by several boys making a lot of laughter and she had a face he knew from middle school. He ran and caught up, and listened to the boys.

“Did you hear, they gave her away because she couldn’t talk or hear!” one of the boys whips out, and the others laugh.

Ridge snapped, and punched the boy in the back of the head. “You don’t even fucking know her, do you?!”

“Who the hell are you, punk?” Mark, one of the standing boys, asks, trying to be threatening.

“Ridge, football quarterback. Not that you deserve to know.” Ridge growls. Ridge was now a quarterback to the football team, and his team followed him. He was a respectable person to everyone that didn’t know or remember him from middle school.

The boys ran off because they know messing with one football player meant messing with the entire team. Abigail went to walking off as well. Ridge reached into his backpack and grabbed a notebook that he’s been carrying around since freshman year. A notebook that he had only ever written on the first page. He never had the courage to hand it to Abigail, and with the adrenaline from punching someone and being angry, he grabbed it and ran to Abigail. He handed to notebook to her, and ran off in the opposite direction.

Abigail looked confused with a notebook being thrown at her from her middle school bully who just prevented her walk home from being a miserable one. She opened the notebook to see the page that Ridge had written on:

I was told once, to tell you something nice, and I couldn’t do it.
But I can now. You have the prettiest voice I’ve ever heard.
I would like to ask you, without someone else’s influence, what is your story?
But I know you’ll probably never want to talk to me and no one could blame you for that.


Lord Bels

A metropolitan city is busy with business, the afternoon has just set in, and people are running around getting their errands dealt with. In the middle of one of the extra wide streets in this city, a demon finds himself walking to city hall. People stop and stare, while whispering about the demon, leaving melted footsteps in the street, to their companions.

“Isn’t that…” People ask in murmurs.

“But it can’t be…” Most respond with.

“We’re in trouble…” The concerned are worried at this site of a demon.

“What’s he doing here?” Someone asks, knowing who the demon is.

“Excuse me sir, have you seen my mommy?” A child ran out in front of the demon. The child has a brown spotted skin tone, randomly tanned and untanned areas all over his visible skin. Black hair atop his head, and bright blue eyes. Thin, but muscular for his frame. He looks like he could run a fair distance before wearing out.

The demon looks down from his 8’5” (256.54cm) height, at the child that has stopped before a burning demon. The demon has menacing horns, long and bright red, as if heated like metal to a glowing point. His skin resembles that of lava flowing over a very large muscular system.

“I feel sorry for that kid, he isn’t going to live to see the sunset.” “That kid must be stupid.” “Stupid boy.” Things that the watchers were saying.

“You’ve lost your family, little one?” The demon growls to the child.

“No one will help me find her. I’m scared.” The child beings to get tears in his eyes.

The demon knows how all beings feel about his presence. All things fear his presence. They run, or they get very defensive, in some cases, they just freeze. Wild predators stand their ground, baring fangs and claws, while everything else runs. Humanoids turn their backs. Humans have dulled their instinctual sense of danger, this child doesn’t can’t tell that this demon can overwhelmingly kill anything he sees.

“Get me a guard,” the demon growls, looking up at everyone.

Several seconds later, a police officer comes running up addressing the demon, “Hello Lord Bels, you wanted the police?” The officer is nervous, she’s having a hard time keeping the tremors from showing.

“This person should be able to help you.” Bels looks back down at the child.

“Oh, Lord Bels, the child,” the officer pauses, “the child is a, well, he’s an orphan.”

Lord Bels looks at the officer, “No family, no one takes care of him? Does he know this?”

“No one wants the child of a werewolf.”

“So, you’re a werewolf, you can transform?” Bels looks at the kid again.

“Um, yes I can,” the child answers, and proceeds to turn into his beast form.

“You have no family, child. They’re dead or left you behind.” Bels growls. “I know of a wolf pack in the forests, they should be able to help you out for a while.”

Tears start pouring from the child’s eyes, this is the first time he’s been told his family is dead, every one ignored him, they refused to help him. He’s a beast. A werewolf.

Bels looks at the officer, his horns catching fire, “The reason I’m even in this city, is to tell the council to back away from my mountain with their project.”

“Yes sir, I’ll let them know.” The officer writes the note down and runs off.

“Kid, follow me, I’ll show you were the wolves are.” Bels growls.

The kid sobs out “Thank you!”

Bels’ mountain is roughly 20 miles (32km) away from the city. About halfway between the mountain, and the city lays a thick forest, home to several wolf packs, one of which, Bels knows is a werewolf pack, that has decided to live outside of the city. This is the pack that Bels would rather push the child into, if it can be done.

They stop in the middle of the forest, and Bels turns to the kid, “Listen carefully kid, I need you to do a few things for me.”

No longer sobbing, and looking forward to seeing real wolves, the kid is very responsive now. “Of course, Lord Bels, what can I do for you?”

“I need you to turn into your beast form and call out to the other wolves. They won’t get near me unless they have good reason. Another wolf calling out might do the trick.” Bels explains to the kid.

The kid transforms and begins to howl out into the wind. He doesn’t this for a few minutes, before getting the scent of another wolf. He then realizes that there’s a pack of wolves circling the two of them. He lets a touch of panic settle in, having been growing up in the city, with the thought of circling wolves being a bad thing to be in the middle of.

“I have here, an outcast child of the city. A werewolf, I want you to take him to the werewolf pack that roams these forests.” Bels bellows.

The kid turns back into his human form, “They want to know why you’re doing this… They say you’re a very dangerous demon.”

Bels looks at the child, “I am. I kill those who step on my mountain. I spew lava at things that fly over it. I like my solitude in my lava pit. I never see the faces of those that I kill, I just send lava at all of them. I hate the intruders, and onlookers. I never would have been in the city, except they’re pushing far too close.”

“So, if you kill everything, why help me?” The child asks, bewildered by the actions of Bels.

“First, this isn’t my mountain. I do have compassion, just not when it comes to my home. Second, if you didn’t pick to be alone, like I have, and I can help change that, why shouldn’t I? Third, it’s a matter of time before someone in the city decides you’re a monster and chooses to kill you. Out here, you have a chance to survive like a wolf, or a feral werewolf.” Bels lets out why he’s helping.

The kid looks over at the wolves who have been making some noise between them. Clearly conversing in their own language. One of them steps forward, towards the child, letting out a series of snarls, growls, and sounds.

“He says they’ll help me, as long as I stay in wolf shape, and not fight back on what I’m told to do. That they’ll pass the werewolf pack in a few days, and that I can join that pack when they cross paths.” The kid says, as if a hired translator.

“Then you should go with them.” Bels says, as he turns to leave the kid behind.

As Bels walks away, the kid screams his name out to Bels.

Many decades later, a lone werewolf approaches the summit of Mt Bels, an active volcano. A volcano named after the demon that caused it to erupt nearly a century ago. [flashback!]

It’s no secret that the Angels are out to make the Demons a myth of a race, just like the Celestial race is a myth. The Angels assembled an army to march upon a demon strong hold that was midway up the mountain. Many demons were caught off guard as 300 angels flew into the stronghold and started their ‘righteous’ slaughter of the ‘unholy’ race. The battle lasted several hours before the demons were able to gather backup forces and march into the stronghold. The battle for the stronghold lasted 3 days, three days of angels and demons slaughtering each other, only to be revived by the respective healing companies on either side.

The angels brought in a cannon on the third day to start removing the surrounding mountain side, for easier access to the stronghold. Shortly after the first shot from the angel’s cannon, the mountain rumbled, the air itself, trembled along with the earth. The angels and demons that were in flight, found it hard to stabilize themselves, the ones on the ground couldn’t stand from the force of the rumbling. The rumbling last only mere seconds, but it paralyzed everyone, and everything within a 5-mile radius. The rumbling stopped when the top third of the mountain exploded with magma gushing forth, burning up and devouring everything it’s path. Demons, Angels, Humans, foliage, and wild life, anything caught in the eruption wasn’t spared.

Bels was taking a nap, locked away within the stronghold. Bels never wanted visitors, he found them irksome at best, especially when they sensed the danger that he posed to all living things, a lava demon that could control magma and lava. One of history’s strongest recorded demons to have ever existed. He exited his imprisonment chambers and made his way to the surface. He killed indiscriminately as he made his way to the battlefield.

This stronghold was only to be used as a place to imprison him, with minimal guards, there was to be nothing else here while he was here. That contract was forgotten some time ago, when the legend of his presence in the chambers was forgotten. It was turned into a demon stronghold due to its defensive construction.

As Bels entered the battlefield, lava flowed around his feet, and he let out a bellowing rawr. He let his demonic presence out, transforming from his human form, into his beast form. Large menacing horns started protruding from his temples, his skin started glowing red, large muscles formed everywhere, he grew larger going from a 6ft frame up to being 8’5” (256.54cm) in height. Shoulders widened, legs lengthened, arms became size of young tree trunks, legs matching the arms.

Anything that was still alive at this point, knew that they were going to die, it didn’t matter how, it was going to happen here, it was going to happen now, if they don’t run for their life. Bels turned, and looked at the stronghold, raised an arm, gave a small incantation, and lava came from his palm, burning through the mountain, completely destroying the stronghold, and everything that was in the small cone of lava. Next, he turned his attention to the skies, and shot what appeared to be a meteor shower into the sky, shooting down everyone, and everything within his vicinity. After he had destroyed all life, he made his way to the top of the newly made volcano, he forced the lava back down into the crater of the volcano. He made a rock island in the middle of the lava lake in the crater and fashioned it into his home. This is where Bels has resided, this is his mountain, his prison, his domain. It will remain quiet, and uninhabited by everything but him.

Lord Bels

The entry to the world

A grandmother and her granddaughter are walking through a mall.

Grandmother notices that the vendor attendant is a vampire.

She attempts to pull the kid away. “Stay away from that filthy vampire, [Child’s name].”

A passerby walks between the vampire and the grandmother, his eyes flick red-orange.

“You should treat vampires with more respect” As the passerby speaks, he lets his demon features expose themselves. Right arm ablaze [same side as grandmother]. Large menacing horn on the left temple appears.

“If you spoke about me that way, I’d be inclined to torture you, in front of the little one” he snarls at the grandmother.

He recoils his demonic presence, and leaves.

The entry to the world

Story of a girl 2

Its been a long day, every one is boarding the bus to return to the school, the field trip for zero demerits is coming to an end. A geeky outcast boy finds a seat for himself, and gets settled in, his bag next to him on the dull grey bus bench. Across the isle, a cheerleader and her friend settle in, their bags under their feet, cd players in their laps.

The trip back to the school will take about an hour and a half. The boy doesn’t have a cd player, left it somewhere, he simply doesn’t have one for this trip. Just about everyone has decided to nap on the ride home. The boy looks around, and meets eyes with the cheerleader, her friend is asleep and she doesn’t seem to have a cd player either.

They strike up a conversation, how it starts no one remembers. It lasted most of the duration of the trip. As this conversation grew longer, the more at ease around the cheerleader the boy felt. This was the first time that a “cool” kid had treated the boy with some respect, and actually had a conversation with him.

That boy later would be willing to talk to her more freely, and openly. It was a friendship he wanted, but was scared of due to the other cheerleaders always being around her. As the cheerleaders in that school traveled as a pack.

Years later, after the boy moved away, to a new land, did he realize that, without meaning to, that cheerleader had taught the boy a very good lesson. He had stopped judging a person by what they did, or what hobbies they had. He had began to overlook what people did, and started to let people talk to him before judging them.


Story of a girl 2

The bank hostages

The Jason’s phone rings, waking him from his afternoon nap.

“Mr. Marrow, seems we have a hostage situation at a bank, I’ll send you the address, you show up. Get it settled with. Peacefully” Raizel snaps through the phone.

Jason in a groggy state replies, “Yes sir.” He rushes to get dressed, grabbing a random shirt, a pair of black pants, and his steel toed boots. He runs into the bathroom, gels his buzz cut hair into short spikes, and applies his deodorant haphazardly.

Twenty minutes later, Jason shows up to the bank where the police have barricaded the road. He identifies himself, and they let him into the vicinity. Walking around, he looks for the person that would be in charge, after failing to find them, he resorts to asking an officer and is pointed to a table.

“Short hair, combat looking boots. Rather young looking, you must be Jason Marrow, the negotiator that we’re expecting.” An officer analyzes Jason’s appearance.

“Yes, that would be me sir. You must be Officer Whitman. What’s the situation inside?” confirms Jason.

“As far as we’re able to tell, just three armed suspects. Two with AR’s, the third a pistol. Roughly 15 hostages.” Officer Whitman explains.

“Just three of them? That shouldn’t be too hard, how long as the standoff been going?” Jason asks, trying to calculate his chances of this being easy. The longer the standoff, the more stress on the criminals, the easier it will be to lull them into a trap.

“Two hours, why?” Officer Whitman demands.

“It helps me calculate the chances of success. That’s all, sir, thank you. I need inside the building, unarmed as well. Count two minutes once I’m inside, and then storm the building.” Jason says, as he turns to leave.

An officer grabs a mega phone, and proceeds to attempt to yell into it, “Our negotiator is approaching the doors! Let him in!”

That was a rather stupid thing to do. No need to yell into a machine made to make your voice louder. Jason thinks, as he approaches the bank doors. He grabs the door handles and gives them a rattle, he looks up from the handles, and sees a man, with a green mask, on the other side.

“I’m Jason, the negotiator. I’m unarmed, may I come in?” Jason identifies himself, in case the guy couldn’t make out the megaphone yelling.

The guy looks behind him, and then reaches for the lock, letting Jason into the bank.

Jason looks around, sees three armed men, and a line of hostages against the wall. “Is it just the three of you making demands, or are there more? I’d like to know who all is involved up front. Just fair for my job and such.”

“Yes, just the three of us.” A guy with a red mask says in a stern voice.

“That’s good, so let’s hear your demands then.” Jason replies as he does 360’s getting a good feel for the building, the items in it, and their placements.

“What the hell is wrong with you boy? I’m over here, why not look me in the face when I’m talking to you? Never seen a bank before?” The leader seems to be upset that he’s not being looked at while they talk.

“No, I just like the décor, thought I’d admire it a bit before offering a counter proposal. That’s all.” Jason says, as he ends his rotating shifting, now staring at the seeming leader.

“You’re irritating me boy. We want a helicopter placed on top of the building, we don’t need a pilot for it, we already have one, we don’t want it bugged, and we want it to have as much fuel as possible. We also want a hostage to go with us…” The leader pauses for a moment. “That’s weird, I feel like something isn’t quite right with this room.”

Jason looks around again, “It looks just like the real world does, how could it feel wrong?”

“What the fuck happened?” The leader looks down at his gun, and looks back at Jason, “What the fuck did you do kid? What kind of fucking trick do you think you’re trying to pull over on me?”

“I, wha-” Jason stammers.

“My name is engraved on this gun, as it was a gift from a friend, and my name is missing! What did you do?!” Enraged, the leader marches up to Jason, who instinctually backs up.

“That’s a nifty way to tell your reality was switched with a fake one, I should probably be more careful about such things in the future, shouldn’t I?” Jason asks the man pinning him to a wall.

“What the hell are you on about, a fake reality?”

“Oh, about that…” Jason starts, then waves a hand around him, through the wall, causing a rippling effect, like you’d find if you swung an arm through a pool.

The room, the hostages, and the guns being to vanish with the rippling wall. The three men start to panic, their freedoms, their plans have started falling apart. Then suddenly, each of the men realize they’re lying on the ground, being cuffed, and that resisting at this point is not worth the trouble and pain it’s going to cause.

The men are picked up off the ground, their masks left on their faces. Blue mask, the guy that let Jason into the bank, is the first to be escorted out, next is Red, the apparent leader of the gang. The guy with the green mask, who never said anything, was the last to be escorted out.

Officer Whitman comes, and stands next to Jason, who is leaning against the wall, sweating from the dream realm encounter of Red. “You look like you had a near death experience. You did great.”

“I kind of did, even knowing it’s a fake reality that you can control, things still startle and upset you, like having a gun pressed against your body, while pinned against the wall.” Jason lets the officer know a bit of what happened.

“Well, other than injury from man handling, nothing fatal or worth hospitalizing any one for, it looks like, but we’ll still have everyone checked just to make sure.” Officer Whitman informs Jason.


The bank hostages

What if

Two girls, one a teleporter, the other unknown, and a demon are sitting at a table enjoying their lunch break. When one has a radical idea of imagination.

“Hey guys, imagine for a moment, what a world would be like if there were no powers, demons, or angels. No creepy things at night, no monsters to hunt. How boring of a world that would be to live in.” [Girl_1]

“It’d be rather boring… wait, like I couldn’t teleport my makeup to my hand in the morning? I’d have to keep it near my mirror?” [Girl_2] with horror.

“I’d still have my wings right? Like, its not a super power, it’s part of me” [demon]

“No wings, I mean, like the really unfortunate beings we have, just a basic commonality of body parts is all you’d have. And no teleporting things around either… You’d actually have to be organized.” [girl 1]

“Nahuh, that’s just cruel, I’d look like crap” [girl 2]

“You’d never see me again, I use my wings for everything… I’d be lost in no time without them” [demon]

“Just imagine how leaders would be picked, best fighters? Most honest dick? Biggest meanest fugliest liar?” [girl 2]

“Muscles. Best fighter, no doubt!” [demon]

“Nah, the weak sucking up to the strong get good positions, we all know this…” [person]


What if

Mirror Mage

“Mr. Marrow, if you’d follow me, I’ll show you to the interview room now.” An agent in a black suit calls out to someone in the lobby, clearly waiting for their turn.

A kid in a white shirt bearing a skull flag, black pants stands and follows the agent to room. This room is a interrogation room with two mirrors in it, one of which is a one-way mirror, the other, a standard mirror that one would find in a restroom.

“Thank you, sir” Jason says, as the agent leaves him in the room to wait for the interviewer.

“Good luck, and you’re welcome,” is the response given as the door shuts.

Jason has several minutes in the interview room, and decides to examine the mirrors on the walls. One of the mirrors is in good condition, built into the wall, nice framework to hold it in place, the other is held up with peg and nail style mounts. Its concluded that the one way mirror must be the mirror built into the wall, it’d be higher quality glass, and built to withstand being bashed, something the peg mounted mirror doesn’t look capable of doing. Jason decides to sit in a chair facing away from the built in mirror.

The door opens and an older gentleman walks in, a grey suit and white shirt, with a royal blue tie. He walks to the chair across from Jason.

“Hello Mr. Marrow, I’m Gordan Raizel.” The man introduces himself, offering a handshake.

Jason stands, and shakes Raizel’s hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Raizel.”

“You wanted an interview for a negotiator position. Do you have anything specific that you think qualifies you for the job?” Raizel asks, getting to the point, right away.

“I feel I do, yes. You’ll see throughout this interview that I’ll manage to convince you that I’d be a good person for such a position. There’s been a rise of ability possessing humans, the occurrences are too great to ignore. I’m sure you’re aware though, given your profession.” Jason says.

Raizel nods his head, “Yes, I am aware of the abilities that people are starting to exhibit, and that they’re split into two categories as well, force of will, and force of strength. One side being mental fortitudes, the other being physical stature related. Is this relatable to anything?”

–          Unaware to Raizel, but aware to those watching from the monitoring room, and to Jason, Raizel falls asleep mid way through explaining the ability classes. The rest of the conversation takes place within the mind of Raizel, who believes himself to still be awake.

“I actually possess a force of will ability, that you’re going to be interested in, if you desire a peaceful resolution to just about any negation situation.” Jason responds.

–          Jason talks in the “real” world, and within the “dream” world that Raizel is experiencing. The conversation seems very one sided to the monitoring room.

Raizel raises an eyebrow, “Well, that sounds rather promising, what can you do with your ability, that makes it so useful that you think you could make any situation peaceful?”

Jason smiles, “Well, you see I can create a personal world with in the mental world of a person, within their own mind, and I can show them things that I want them to see, or things they wish to see.”

“Do you think this ability would work on me? Do you think you could provide a working example of this?” Raizel is curious to know how much of this claim is true, and if it has any merit to it.

“Well to fully explain it to you, it’d probably be best, if you weren’t sleeping right now.” Jason explains.

The world around Raizel begins to go hazy, and he’s left in a dazed kind of state. He lifts his head from the table, and rubs his face. “When exactly did I fall asleep, and why didn’t anyone wake me?” Raizel is upset that he wasn’t woken by anyone, still confused.

Jason begins to explain, “It was when you decided to explain the class types of abilities. The conversation you had with me, in your dream, was very real, the only real problem, is the guys back there,” Jason points to the mirror behind him, “couldn’t hear what you said, but could hear my side of everything that happened.”

A speaker crackles to life and transmits a voice “We can confirm that he talked like the conversation never ended, while you slept.”

Jason straightens up and begins to explain a few things about his powers to Raizel. “I do have limitations though, such as I can’t do more than 4 or 5 people at once. The time that I can make them have their own personal realities varies depending on a load of things, such as how tired their mind and body are, how mentally prepared they are against a force of will ability.

“A bank heist that has like the normal 2-3 member gang trying to rob it and keep hostages, I could get all three to sleep for a max of 4 minutes each, at the same time. But if it’s just one guy doing the entire thing, I could get them to sleep for something of an upwards of 9 minutes.“

“So pretty much, you walk in, S.W.A.T. waits 90 seconds, of which you should be able to have knocked everyone out, and they make the arrest on all offending parties?” Raizel asks, still trying to get his bearings from being asleep involuntarily.

Mirror Mage