Bullied–Blog Hop April 2021

I came across a fragment of something from a few years ago. I liked it well enough that I decided to see where it would take me. Here’s what I ended up with.

Bullied

Benji’s size 6 sneakers skidded on the gravel as he rounded the corner of the school building. Once he was out of sight, he pressed himself flat against the neat, red bricks. He rubbed at the brace on his fractured arm and tried to catch his breath. Chuck was after him again. Chuck the Chunk. Biggest kid in the first grade, and mortal enemy of smaller-than-average Benjamin Smith.

Normally, Benji’s saving grace was in being quick and smart. But when Miss Davis had asked him to fix the labels on Chuck’s map, she had inadvertently set chaos in motion. Chuck’s humiliation in front of the class had him bent on revenge. Benji didn’t think he’d give up this time and he had had enough of getting beat up.

Benji peeked around the end of the building and pulled his head back quickly. Chuck and a couple kids too scared not to be his friends were searching the bushes just around the corner.

“When I catch you, I’m gonna disappear you, Mr. showoff smarty pants!” Chuck sounded furious.

If I go that direction, I’m done. Nobody called Benji stupid—not even the bullies. He knew he had to find an option other than trying to pass them on the way back to the playground or he was going to get clobbered. Again. Think, Benji. Think!

He looked around and knew it was hopeless. There was no place to hide. I really wish I could disappear. He squinched his eyes really tight and wished it really hard, expecting at any moment to feel The Chunk’s sweaty hands around his neck.

Instead, he heard Kevin’s voice. “He’s not here. How did he get away so fast?”

Benji opened one eye just a tiny bit and almost yelped. The Chunk, Kevin, and Max were right in front of him, almost looking right at him. Except it was more like right through him.

The bigger boys stomped away, grumbling about what they would do next time they caught him. Benji looked around, wondering what was hiding him; there were no bushes on this side of the building. He shrugged and wiped his forehead with his uninjured arm.

An invisible arm.

He stared for a while at where his arm was supposed to be. He could feel it. He could move it. He just couldn’t see it.

“Freaky!” He said out loud before sucking in a breath in fear. Just because they couldn’t see him doesn’t mean the bullies wouldn’t hear him. He peeked back around the building and relaxed a little. No bullies in sight.

“Don’t worry. They can’t hear you.” Benji jumped and turned to see a girl with curly brown pigtails.

“They can’t?” He furrowed his brow. “Then how can you see me?”

“As far as I can tell, when you disappear nobody can see or hear you except for the others who have disappeared.”

“There’s others?” Benji scanned the schoolyard. “Can I meet them?”

The girl shook her head. “Only if you stay.”

Stay? Benji shivered at the thought of being invisible forever. “I… um…” He didn’t know what to say. Instead, he ran like always.

As quickly as he could, Benji headed to the bathroom. He stood there, staring into an empty mirror. Well, not quite empty. It showed the ugly blue stall doors. It showed the white tile walls. What it didn’t show was Benji.

When the bell rang less than a minute later, he had to squish himself into the corner to keep from being trampled by boys on their way in from recess. As the room cleared a couple of minutes later, Benji followed the crowd back to his classroom.

When the second bell rang, he watched as all the kids including the bullies sat at their desks. He watched as Miss Davis asked them if they knew where he was. He watched as she called the office, and he watched the vice principal run down the first grade hallway to the playground.

“You can go back,” the girl said from behind him. “I didn’t, but you can. Just make another wish.”

“I feel like I should. I don’t want to get in trouble. But…”

“But somebody will miss you? That’s what’s important. Nobody missed me. I was just paperwork for my foster family.”

Benji thought about his father. How mean and angry he was when he drank too much, which was all the time since his mom died. “I don’t know,” Benji said and rubbed at his broken arm again. “Even at home I sometimes wished to disappear.”

The girl smiled a little. “I wished it too. And then I wished it forever.”

Benji smiled back and made a wish.

Links

perpetualbloghop

I hope you’ll take the time to read the other stories in this Hop. These are some great writers and wonderful people. And if you like what you read, I hope you’ll consider joining their lists too. The world is a richer place when there are more stories to tell.

Please note, if you find links that don’t work, try again later. Sometimes it takes a little time to get the gremlins worked out.

    1. Bullied by Elizabeth McCleary (You are here!)
    2. A Day to Remember by Katharina Gerlach
    3. Were’s the Rabid Rabbit Jemma Weir
    4. VI – The Lovers by Raven O’Fiernan
    5. Grit Nearly Succeeds by Bill Bush
    6. Love’s Sweet Prick by Sabrina Rosen
    7. For a Breath of Air by Nic Steven
    8. Pitch by Sandra Llyn
    9. Bees by Barbara Lund
    10. Welcome To Storytime Quarterly Blog Hop — Juneta Key

Comments

  1. Poor kids. I *wish* they all had someone to love them like they deserve.

  2. Beautiful! I love how the ending is still ambiguous.

  3. It’s always good to have options.

  4. Oh my goodness! What did he wish! Good story, but so, so sad.

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