Writing Prompt: Their laughter echoed off the bricks.

Morning all. We had our first snowfall yesterday and I have to say, the first fat flakes drifting down from the sky made me feel a bit festive. I actually got the christmas decorations out. It was nice. Because we usually travel at the holidays we don’t always bother with decorations, but this year, no travel and all the decorations are coming out. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather it was the other way, but since I can’t have that at least I can make the most of it. So now that the ornaments are hung, lets work on redecorating the gray matter with a new story. Are you up for it? Good. Timers please, and I’ll see you in fifteen minutes.

Well last night I did talk to someone about bullying. Maybe that’s where this came from? No clue. Sometimes my brain just kicks back things. Or at least twists them up.

Tuesday, December 1st: Their laughter echoed off the bricks.

Their laughter echoed off the bricks.  He turned his face from them as they walked away.  He was not one of them, he never had been.  How could he have been so stupid?  He stood there, waiting for the laughter to fade, for the sound of their footfalls to leave him.  He stared at the brick wall in front of him.  He knew not to take this pathway.

The bell sounded and still he waited.  He didn’t join in the mad scramble to get to class.  He couldn’t face sitting there, listening to a lecture while they looked at him, smirking. The bell ended, taking even the sound of their laughter with it.  Still he waited.  Sometimes they were late to class.  Deliberately late, sauntering in a few moments after the bell, just because they could.

Finally, when he was certain no one was around, he turned his steps towards the end of the open corridor between two buildings.  If he limped a little, there was no one there to see it.  As he walked, he assessed his appearance.  The pocket of his uniform coat was torn, but he tucked in the loose fabric so that it was less noticeable. Luckily noticeability was something that concerned them too.  While he was certain he would have bruises up and down his body, none of the hits had been to his face.  None of the damage would show.

He allowed himself to limp to the corner of the building, and then he pulled himself straight.  He could conceal the limp if he had to, at least for as long as it took to get him away from this place. To get somewhere quiet to think and assess.  Things were getting worse.  Something was going to have to change.  This was the third time this month he’d been waylaid and under the fresh pain the old bruises were still healing from the last time.  Truthfully John couldn’t remember what the excuse was for this beating.  He couldn’t even remember if they gave him one let alone if it was one that mattered.  He long since stopped looking for what he might have done.

He was different, that was all that mattered.  While those here tended towards generational wealth, his father and grandfather earned their money. While he was grateful for the ease it provided him and could remember some of the days where life wasn’t so easy for the family, those days were long past.  Tony and his group of moneyed thugs were the ones learning to deal with the pinch at the moment.  While John’s family fortunes grew and thrived, Tony’s family was withering. 

The generational wealth his family counted on was dwindling and those still depending on it were ill equipped to deal with the issue.  As the recent economic shift wreaked similar havoc of Tony’s friends and their families it gave them one more shared factor in their unity. Surprisingly John’s family was doing well even in terms of crisis. In fact they were thriving. 

Things hadn’t been so bad before when he was just the newly rich, but as more of Tony’s privilege was stripped away, the meaner and more ferocious he was getting.  John knew he was rapidly approaching a time when Tony would stop remembering considerations like not bloodying his face or stopping the beating before it went too far.  John saw it in Tony’s eyes today.  He didn’t want to stop, in fact he almost didn’t.

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