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School 2015: Redux (School 2015: Who Are You? au)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by DaBlueSky, Aug 1, 2017.

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  1. Threadmarks: 1.0 The Beginning
    DaBlueSky

    DaBlueSky Making the rounds.

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    She felt the whispers around her, the hidden grins that mocked her with every turn. They looked her way when she walked down the corridors, her shoes squeaking on the polished linoleum. She kept her head low, eyes hidden by her brown hair, as if she were constantly bowing to everyone who passed. But she was used to the gazes, they've been around since the beginning of the school year. No, the worse thing was the ones who didn't care, the other female students who continued listening to the music on their phones when they saw what she went through, the ones who stared right through her when they looked at her. Their apathy left resentment and resignation teetering in her heart, and these days, she was starting to lean towards the former.

    Peering out from a window, she looked over the grounds of the school. Many boys and girls wandered in groups, laughing as they sipped drinks from the vending machines located all over the campus, delighting in one another's company. Still others sat on benches, eating home made lunches or breads from the school store. There was still about fifteen minutes before classes were set to resume. She was glad for that. She hated any sort of downtime during school hours. For good reason too.

    Tugging on the loose collar of her crimson blazer, she sniffled a bit as she tried to flatten out the wrinkled fabric of her uniform. Her hand slid across the silver threaded emblem that represented Nuri High School; a growth of roots with an appleseed entangled between them. Supposedly, it was supposed to represent the nurturing nature of the school and the attention given to the students before they were ready to bloom on their own. But it never felt that way to her, it looked as if the so-called appleseed was trapped in the brambles of a thorn bush, utterly incapable of escaping.

    Suddenly, a sweet voice rang out, stopping the girl dead in her tracks, "Eun bi! Hey, there you are!"

    The tone was amicable, like one friend calling out to another. But Eun Bi knew who the speaker was immediately. Her fingers tightened into a fist, her set shoulders trembling as the footsteps behind her neared. The other students knew what that meant, and looked on in interest, while others simply looked away. With a bit of pep in their steps, a gaggle of three girls popped up next to Eun Bi. One of them threw a lazy arm around her neck roughly, grinning at Eun Bi's grimace. The tallest of the three placed herself directly in front of her, a glint of amusement in her eyes. Eun Bi knew her well.

    "So Young," Eun Bi murmured, "What did you need?"

    The other girl placed a finger on her cheek, as if she were deep in thought, "What did I need? I thought I told you we were all supposed to meet up in the cafeteria during lunch hour. You...haven't been avoiding us, have you?"

    "Awww, and we're all supposed to really close friends too." Pouted the girl with an arm around Eun Bi's neck. The grip tightened enough that Eun Bi reflexively reached up and pushed the girl off of her. She snorted, but didn't bother fighting the motion, perfectly content with Eun Bi's obvious discomfort.

    "Wow, Eun Bi. I'm getting the feeling you might not like our company," Kang So Young said with a hint of satisfaction, reaching up and putting her hand on Eun Bi's cheek gently, "Y'know, maybe it's time you learn another lesson; you really shouldn't be ignoring your betters."

    Before Eun Bi could react, So Young's hand slid across her face and onto the nape of her neck before pulling cruelly on Eun Bi's hair. She let out a yelp of pain while the other girls giggled around her. So Young nodded at her lackeys and motioned to the empty classroom on their side. One of them slid open the door and So Young dragged Eun Bi inside by the hair, whimpering.

    Clattering past wayward chairs and unkempt desks, the three bullies shoved Eun Bi up against the row of windows lining the class, the back of her head making a dull thunk as it collided with the glass. Reaching out with her free hand, So Young slid the window open and shared a meaningful look with her two compatriots, snickering. Understanding, the other two placed their hands on Eun Bi's chest and shoulders and lightly pushed at her, until Eun Bi could feel a breeze shift through her pony tail.

    Instinctively, her hands reached out frantically, trying to grab anything as she felt the top half of her body lean out the window. With her heart pounding in her chest, Eun Bi could only watch helplessly at the delighted faces of her three tormentors. Over their shoulders, she could see a few students peering through the glass windows on the other side of the room. A few had concerned looks on their faces, but they made no effort to push into the room or go grab a teacher.

    "Hey, do you think anyone would really care if you fell?" So Young had a twisted smile on her face, "You might as well be invisible here, the biggest loss here would be that our toy broke."

    Eun Bi tried to fight back the tears that were forming in her eyes. They wouldn't actually do it, would they? Even something like this was too much for them. But she couldn't stop the terror that was taking root in her heart. Finally a scream erupted from her mouth, wordless and desperate. As if on cue, she was suddenly pulled back into the room and flung onto the floor. Peals of laughter rang throughout the room.

    "Wow, did you see her face?!"

    "Oh, I totally forgot to record that..."

    With their appetite for "fun" sated, the trio exited the room, without a single glance backwards at their prey. Eun Bi got up slowly and placed herself in one of the desks, and let her head fall onto the wooden table. For them, she ceased to exist the moment they've had their fun, like a doll tossed aside once a child got bored with it. But just as whimsical as real children, these girls always came back, and every time they did, she felt something tearing inside her heart. She wasn't sure how much of this she could take.

    Suddenly, the door crashed open, and Eun Bi shot up, startled. In the doorway was a middle aged man, his glasses askew as he looked at the upturned chairs and pushed aside desks. His gaze cut into to her, just as he was about to open his mouth to say something, a bell rang through the halls. Lunch hour was over, and the crowd that had been watching Eun Bi get bullied earler swelled into students returning from their break. There were half a dozen things she wanted to say, even more she wanted to do to hide herself from the embarrassment, but instead, she turned towards the teacher and offered a deep bow.

    Then she ran from the room, with the man shouting out after her. Everyone in her grade knew who she was. He was going to find her in no time anyway. Just one thing after another was happening today and she was powerless to stop any of it. Just like yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that. And the day before that. And the day before that. And the day before that.




    Across the city, a bell was ringing at the exact same time as the one from Nuri High school. The students here were clad in gray blazers and the same colored skirts and pants. Another trio of girls dumped their food trays, picking their way through the crowd of students that inevitably congested the doors back to school. Luckily for them, there was no rush. Their homeroom teacher was strict, but not enough to care about being a few minutes late.

    "Hey, Eun Byul, you look pretty happy today. Something good happen?" A pretty girl with long hair wrapped an arm around her friend, grinning from ear to ear, "I don't see you smile this often in the day."

    Brought out of her reverie, Eun Byul scoffed, "That's because you're too busy applying your makeup to notice, Song Joo. But you're right, I am feeling pretty good right now."

    "Well, my birthday is coming up next month, so I suppose you must be getting pretty excited." Song Joo teased.

    "Your birthday is coming up next month? Funnily enough, I was thinking of getting someone a gift, but not for you. I'll just send you a bar of soap or something." Eun Byul said dismissively. Ignoring Song Joo's protests, she reached into her skirt pocket and pulled out a picture. It'd been folded and unfolded so many times that the creases were starting to whiten. A familiar face peeked out from the picture, alongside a dozen other unfamiliar ones. Despite her consternation, a soft smile edged out on Eun Byul's face.

    "Does what you're happy about have to do with that picture?" The soft inquiry came from a girl with a bobbed haircut, who kept her distance from the other two, despite their being friends. Shi Jin was a little more reserved, but equally as curious, as she tried to peek over Eun Byul's shoulder.

    "More or less." In a quick, practiced motion Eun Byul put the picture back into her pocket and locked arms with Song Joo. It was easy enough to distract her. Gossip about the latest idols and celebrities always brought a light to her friends' eyes and Shi Jin was always happy to be included in any conversation. The few minutes it took to get back to the classroom was filled with mindless chatter.

    The rest of their classmates were already in the classroom, having fun on their own. But as the three moved to their assigned desks, Eun Byul noticed a few empty chairs. Han Yi An was noticeably missing, but that was to be expected. She hadn't seen him during the lunch hour, so it wasn't hard to guess where he might've gone. He liked to joke he should've been born in the water instead of on land. There were days when she could smell the chlorine, even after he showered.

    "He has a meet next week, doesn't he?" Shi Jin noted as she settled down into her seat.

    Eun Byul nodded, "Yes. It happens during school hours, so we aren't going to be able to see it."

    "Oh? Did you want to go cheer him during his races?" Song Joo lifted an eyebrow and grinned knowingly.

    "Of course not. He'll do fine, like he always does." Eun Byul snapped at her with exasperation. Despite her tone, she couldn't hide the red flush that appeared on her neck. Her friend's grin widened, but she didn't say anything, instead opting to share a look with Shi Jin. Neither of them spoke, for which Eun Byul was grateful, because even with her friends she wouldn't be able to stop her temper from flaring up.

    "Oh, look who else is missing." Shi Jin motioned at the empty spot at the far corner of the room. Specifically chosen by its resident in his attempts to catch a catnap whenever the teacher's back was turned. Of course, Eun Byul knew who sat there. And of course, the other two should know that she didn't really care if he was here or not. Even the thought of his stupid smile was enough to cause a look of disgust appear on her face, "Who? Tae Kwang? I heard he got into another fight."

    "A fight?!"

    "Well, more like he let the other guy pound on him for awhile. If it were anyone else, I'd probably worry a little more, but you know how he is when it comes to that sort of thing..." Song Joo trailed off. Everyone in the classroom knew he was weird. He didn't have friends to speak of, and teachers were constantly complaining about both his grades and his attendance records, yet strangely, he was somehow still in school.

    "Whatever, I wanna keep my mood happy. Let's just forget about Tae Kwang, alright?" Eun Byul grabbed a notebook, the school issued study guide, and a pen. Quickly cycling through pages, she found the one she was looking for and started writing out the mathematical equations within, set on clearing another chapter before the week was out.

    "Hey, Eun Byul, I know you love to study, but you're far ahead of the class..."

    "Ah, just leave her, Shi Jin. You know it's useless to talk to her when she's studying. Tch, class hasn't even started yet, that brat."

    Despite what her friends thought, Eun Byul's mind wasn't completely absorbed by what was in front of her, she just wanted a moment of silence. Instead, she was thinking about the sweater she saw in the store she visited with her mom the night before and of the picture in her pocket. Rather than calculating the maths problem she was writing down in her notebook, she was thinking about the allowance she had, and whether or not she could purchase a second sweater as a gift.

    Should she wrap it? Maybe that was too weird. But getting a regular box out of the blue from someone the receiver didn't even know might seem suspicious. Eun Byul scratched her head, feeling stumped. Briefly, she thought of delivering it in person, but she quickly brushed the thought out of her mind. An uncountable number of mixed emotions swelled up in her chest when she thought about actually meeting the person in the picture. She wasn't sure she was ready for that just yet. Eun Byul wouldn't even know what to say.




    "I honestly don't know what to say. Why would you disrupt another class by messing with the desks? I could expect a prank like that from one of the freshman, but you're a senior. Was there any reason for this?" The sharp voice came from Eun Bi's homeroom teacher, Miss Bora.

    Eun Bi kept her head lowered, wishing she could sink into the floor. The two of them were in the faculty office, sitting in a chair the homeroom teacher pulled up at her work desk. Classes for the day were complete but Eun Bi had been asked to stay behind and talk with her teacher. Of course, there was hardly anyone else in the office. No one else to hear or talk. Ashamed, she kept her mouth shut.

    At that response, Miss Bora could only sigh, rubbing her temples, "This has been an ongoing problem with you since the start of the year. You're missing school work, classmates have been accusing you of bullying them, and you've been pulling stunts like this. What happened? Last year, you were class president!"

    The mocking smiles and laughter from So Young and her gang floated through Eun Bi's mind. How could she tell Miss Bora the reason her work hadn't been turned in was because So Young raided her bag, for the express purpose of keeping it from being handed in? How could she tell her that the reason she'd been accused of bullying was that her position in the class was so low, she was being used as a scapegoat whenever So Young decided to switch targets for a day?

    All these accusations were on the tip of her tongue, but she couldn't bring herself to say them. What would even be the point? One student had tried telling on them before. Only one of So Young's lackeys was suspended for a day, and afterwards, the bullying against the student worsened so significantly that she had transferred out. Eun Bi didn't want to lose credits and possibly delay her graduation from school. She only needed to survive a few more semesters.

    Miss Bora leaned forward and grabbed one of Eun Bi's hands, "Are you in trouble? You're such a sweet student that I can't help but feel this disconnect between what I'm being told and what I'm seeing."

    A lump swelled up in Eun Bi's throat at the sight of Miss Bora's genuine concern. This was the only person in the school who cared about her well being, the only bastion in a sea of apathy and hostility. And she knew she wasn't going to tell Miss Bora anything, only watch as the woman's trust in Eun Bi whittled down to nothingness. All because of So Young. A thread of resentment weaved its way into Eun Bi's heart.

    Mistaking the hardening look on Eun Bi's face as one of disapproval, Miss Bora quickly dropped her hand, "I apologize for that, you must think I'm prying. For today, I'll let you off with a verbal warning, but even I won't be able to save you if you get reported to the school Disciplinary committee. You can go home for the day."

    But Eun Bi was frozen, staring at the point in the air where Miss Bora had gripped her hand, which now hung limply at her side. Coming to her senses, Eun Bi rose and offered a deep bow to her teacher. Gathering up her bag, she exited the faculty room, only to find herself face to face with someone she really hoped she wouldn't run into.

    "So Young..."

    "We all heard you got called in by the teacher. We just wanted to make sure you didn't say anything...incriminating." So Young smiled maliciously, "Not that it would matter anyhow. My dad's a prosecutor, and this school's principal is a well known brown noser. Things wouldn't get worse for me, but they would for you."

    "I-I didn't say a thing. I just got in trouble for messing with that classroom's desks." Eun Bi kept her gaze planted on the floor.

    "Ha, really?! That's actually hilarious. Well, whatever, we'll see you tomorrow."

    "Yes...I'll see you tomorrow." Eun Bi quickly moved past the three, who parted smartly to let her pass. There was no point in bullying her every moment of the day.

    They had an entire year to toy with her.




    Despite the dwindling sun, the city's night life was just flaring up. A dozen pedestrians walked this way and that, entirely focused on their own business. Even Eun Byul had reason to be out tonight. She stood in front of a store, looking at the mannequin behind the display glass, dressed in whatever seasonal look they decided to put out this week. This was the store that she'd been thinking about earlier. Normally, she'd invite Shi Jin or Song Joo, the latter especially considering how much into fashion she was. But this was a special event.

    As Song Joo noticed earlier, she was quite happy, enough to sustain her all through the school day and into the night. This was a private affair and as much as she liked her friends, there were some things best done alone. Entering the shop, she found the sweater she'd been looking at the before. It was quite expensive, especially for a student using only their allowance, but it was going to be worth it. She hoped so, at least.

    The design was simple, which was the reason why it caught her eye. Nobody ever accused her of being overtly stylish. Grabbing two of the same size, she tossed them onto the counter where a clerk quickly slid them under a scanner. When the total price came up, Eun Byul couldn't help but grimace a bit. Her wallet was taking a bit of a hit. Still, she pulled out her money and handed the woman the appropriate bills.

    "Thank you for your purchase, customer! Was there anything else you needed help with?" The clerk's smile was irritatingly bright.

    Grabbing her purchased goods, Eun Byul shook her head in response and was just about to turn and leave when she was hit with an idea, "Actually, does this store gift wrap goods? One of these is a gift, you see."

    The clerk clapped her hands together and smiled, "Of course! But it will cost just a little bit more for the wrapping."

    "Price doesn't matter. If I could have one of these gift wrapped, please."

    "It won't take more than a minute." True to her word, the clerk had the sweater wrapped up neatly in green packaging with a red bow wrapped around it. The loud crinkling was working on Eun Byul's nerves, so she was glad when it was handed to her.

    "Thank you for shopping with us, customer. I'm sure your friend will be extremely delighted to be receiving a gift from you!"

    Eun Byul snorted, "I hope so. Maybe I should include the receipt too, just in case that person doesn't like it."

    The clerk laughed nervously and saw Eun Byul out. Sauntering out to the bus stop, she couldn't help but glance at the wrapped present every other minute, as if assuring herself it was still there. With a wandering mind, she thought back to what the clerk had said. The person receiving this present was so much more than a "friend". A dozen scenarios had gone through her mind about actually meeting this person.

    Of course, doubts had seeped in as well. This wasn't the first time that Eun Byul had sent something like this before. There had been other occasions. Ever increasingly, she found this person on her mind more and more. Pulling out the picture in her pocket, she looked at the recipient of the incoming present. The person with the brown hair and crimson school uniform. The girl who shared the same exact face as Eun Byul.
     
  2. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Well, someone needs a kicking.
     
  3. DaBlueSky

    DaBlueSky Making the rounds.

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    Thanks, I really do. Maybe if you do so I'll write even faster. Don't be afraid to go hard.
     
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  4. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Was talking about the bullies.
     
  5. DaBlueSky

    DaBlueSky Making the rounds.

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    It's my kink, don't judge.
     
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  6. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Not judging.
     
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