Vengeance

Another Chuck Wendig challenge today. Chuck asked us to write a story about revenge. I decided to write about a victim of bullying, and how she decides to enact revenge on the bully.

Unfortunately, this story hits home to me. As a 4th grader, I was repeatedly bullied and physically assaulted by another child. I have alopecia, and because I was different, this little boy decided to pick on me. I didn’t tell my parents for a long time. I confided in my sister. She and I spent time sending him love and positive energy, as my sister thought this might make him change his ways. It didn’t.

The next year, my parents moved me out of that school into a private school. I have never forgotten what that little boy did to me, and to this day I wonder if he feels guilty about it. I also wonder what was going on in his life for him to treat me that way. Bullying is a serious issue and should always be addressed. I don’t want to enact revenge on my bully, but an I’m sorry would have been nice. The beginning part of this story is a autobiographical. Teach your kids to be kind and accepting, especially to those who are different.alo


Vengeance — 839 words

 

I had been obsessed with finding Burke Hardwich since about seventh grade. Lying in my bed at night, I pictured his 4th grade self. His two canines missing—never having grown back—and me looking up at him from the ground. The first time he hurt me, we had been lined up for music. He pushed me down, and I went skidding onto the black asphalt, my arm split wide open. I needed stitches. I told my parents it was just an accident.

The accidents continued. Burke would find me alone on the corner of a playground, and he would hit me in the stomach. He kicked out my foot while I carried a tray of spaghetti across the blue and white tile of the cafeteria, red sauce spraying the walls like blood.

I never told Mom and Dad how much Burke hurt me. I started having stomachaches. I sat in the office for most of my 4th grade year, waiting to make a phone call to Dad’s secretary at work who I could always depend on to pick me up.

Burke moved in 5th grade. I felt relief in his leaving of course. My tormentor was gone, and there wasn’t another one to take his place. But as the years went on I became more and more obsessed with Burke.

Fast forward to now. I’m sitting in a dingy apartment in Alabama, and I’ve just landed a job with Burke’s company. He’s a high-powered CEO. Making the big bucks. He’s married and has 2.5 kids, a white picket fence, and a dog. I have none of those things. I am alone. I have fixed up my appearance today. I’m wearing a red dress designed to accentuate my curves. I’ve had my teeth stained white, put on just enough makeup, and my hair has been recently curled. I look in the mirror, double-checking myself. I look hot. Who could say no to this?

My pseudonym is Camilla. The name means warrior, and that is what I am. For too long, I have let Burke destroy me, and now it’s my turn to destroy him.

In the office, I plant myself at my assigned desk. My heart beats fast in excitement, not nervousness. Burke comes in, chatting on his cell phone. He raises his eyebrows at me in acknowledgment. The skin in between his eyebrows crinkles up as he looks at me. I see recognition, like he knows me but can’t place me. Yes, Burke, you do know me—at least a previous version of myself.

He goes into his office. A few minutes later, he pings me. I walk in. I place my whole body up on his desk, and I cross my sleek legs. I tap my foot, and my heel slips on and off. I take in his look. His eyes run up and down my body, trying to make sense of what he sees. I know he wants to touch me. I can feel it. I like playing this game of cat and mouse with him. I like being the one in control, not the one flat on my back in the asphalt, or being punched silly on the playground.

The weeks go on. I make advances. At first, he doesn’t do anything. Then one day, there is a touch of my hand. A week goes by. My phone is set to record when he tells me what he wants to do with me. I smile and nod, playing along. That night, I send the audio file to HR. They waste no time in terminating him. I am exultant at his demise.

The next day, I show up at his door. His wife answers. She is grimacing at me.

“Are you her?”

“Is Burke home?”

“Burke,” she screams, and slams the door in my face.

He comes out his face tilted down in guilt and angst. I understand I have probably destroyed his marriage too, a fact that makes me giddy.

“You ruined my fucking life,” he says. “Why would you do that?”

“Burke, do you know who I am?” I ask.

I am playing with fire, being there anyway. He could call the police. He could say I have been stalking him. It would be true. I stand with my hands on my hips and stare at him. His face looks like a question mark. Of course, he would not know. I had meant nothing to him in 4th grade. I was a piece of garbage he had been intent on annihilating. He had put me away with all of the rest of his childish things.

I reach into my purse, and I pull out the 4th Grade class picture. I am in the front row, glasses, and bald spots from alopecia. Burke stands in the back, towering over everyone. I tap on my picture as realization spreads across his face.

“I’m sorry,” he says, shaking his head.

“Yeah me too. But now we’re even.”

I throw the picture at him, and I walk away.

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Introducing Lulu from The Devil Within

Okay–just so you know, I will be experimenting with the theme on this blog over the next couple of weeks. Mainly, I need a theme that will allow me to have plug-ins or put a form so you all can sign up for my newsletter. And speaking of newsletters, if you’re interested, you can sign up over at my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/laurengreenewrites) or send me a message through the Contact Form on the “About Page,” with your name and email address.

I went to the beach this weekend, and I didn’t do any prep for this blog. Yesterday, when we got home I was exhausted and didn’t write at all. I’ve been writing a lot lately, and I think it’s because I need to be editing. Writing is the lesser of two evils. (Ha–actually I love writing but editing is akin to cleaning up my room, which everyone knows I hate to do).

I decided to introduce you to Lulu today. Lulu is William’s cousin in The Devil Within. She and William are the same age. They attend the same school, and they’re best friends. Lulu also has alopecia universalis (hair loss over the entire body). When I wrote Lulu, I didn’t intentionally make her bald. I’m not one of these people who has to put myself into a book, but when Lulu was created she had alopecia. She’s a nine year old child who knows what it’s like to be different. She’s protective of William and loves him fiercely. She also knows William is being abused, but can’t fix that problem.

As a nine year old child, I was different from Lulu. I did not feel at home in my skin. I had patchy alopecia, meaning I had random bald spots on my head (now I have alopecia universalis). I was in the 4th grade at a public school in Alabama, and being bullied by a boy who was a lot stronger and bigger than me. He said mean things to me, verbally and physical abused me, and was generally a horrible person to me. I had a lot of hate for that kid, but his hate turned into a lack of confidence in myself. It meant I was afraid to talk about alopecia. It meant I thought little of myself. Basically, the bully got what he wanted: power. I didn’t want anyone to know I had it, and so a few years later when I went to camp for five weeks, I kept my hair in a ponytail for five weeks and didn’t wash it to keep people from finding out I had bald spots. It took me a long time to get over the unkind words of my bully, Rondre. It took me a long time to realize I’m beautiful for who I am, not for what I look like on the outside. It took me a long time to realize that just because someone chooses to hurt you with their words doesn’t mean those words are true. And it took me a long time to accept myself.

But Lulu is not like that. She accepts herself for who she is. She is a strong child who doesn’t let other people tear her down. She brings out the child in William. She lets us see who William could be if his world wasn’t falling apart. She is his advocate and his friend, and she is self-assured and strong, partially because she has to deal with having alopecia herself.

At this point in my life, I’ve forgiven my bully. I don’t know what was going on in his life when he decided to pick on me, but he must have been suffering too. I wish I had the confidence Lulu had in my book when I was growing up. But I didn’t then. Now I do. Accepting and loving yourself is important. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.