The clock never seemed to move fast enough. It was as if someone stuck their finger into its gears, stopping them from turning. Minutes moved by like hours, seconds like minutes. Scout stared at the clock, hung over the teacher’s desk. She was hoping that she could will it to move faster. Convince whatever being that had stopped it to make it move once more. It didn’t work.
She turned her attention to her open textbook, some page talking about some math thing. Something about linear somethings. Mrs. Perkins had assigned some math homework and gave everyone the last fifteen minutes of class to start on it. Scout hadn’t even opened her notebook.
Not that anyone was really even working. Most of the others were talking, caring more about small talk than homework. The dull sound of multiple conversations made it hard for her to hear much, not that she needed to. She just wanted the clock to move so she could leave, get home before something bad happened, again.
The bell pulled Scout out of her thoughts, stirring her into action. She was the first one out the door, already heading towards her locker. She barely got three yards from the door when her movement was interrupted, a shove sending her into the lockers on her left. Her hand hit first, pressing palm first at an awkward angle, followed by the heavy impact of the rest of her body. She didn’t make a noise, even with the sharp pain now radiating from her wrist. She just kept moving forward. She knew that the boy wouldn’t stop to see if she was okay.
She turned a corner, only a few feet away from her locker, stopping in her tracks. The populars were hanging by her locker. Kristen was leaning against it, waiting for the girl to show up. She gave a wicked smile as Scout came into her view.
“Oh hey! I got a surprise for you! I left it in your locker.”
The girl’s voice had a sweet charm to it, but most of the kids at the school knew that she was really a curse. Scout didn’t even stop to wonder what they’d done to her locker, or all the stuff in it. She just turned, moving away from the group.
“Hey! I’m talking to you, bitch!”
She could hear a snickering coming from behind her, but as she was turning to see what they were doing, she got smacked in the face. Whatever it was that hit her, it bursted, splashing her with something. The impact made her fall over, and whatever the liquid was, it stung her eyes. Her head smacked the ground, though she manage to absorb most of the fall with the rest of her body first. She heard more snickers, and felt feet move past her. No one offered her any help to get up.
“Don’t turn your back on me, slut.”
The smell of citrus moved through the air. Orange soda. Scout gave a grunt, trying to push herself up, but as soon as she put pressure on her wrist, pain shot from it and through her arm, making her collapse again. She tried again, only using the one hand this time.
When she finally got to her feet, she started moving again, away from her locker. She didn’t even look to see if they were still there. Even if they weren’t, she didn’t want to deal with whatever ‘surprise’ had been left in her locker. The only thing she had in there was a few school books. Nothing too important.
The rest of the way home was slow, but quiet. She walked the mile and a half there was in between her house and her school. Her face still stung from the impact of the soda balloon. A large welt would be there soon, if there wasn’t one already. She touched the spot gently, with her good hand. The spot was warm and sticky. Probably orange, but she couldn’t really see it. Her shirt had an orange stain running down the side, and her arm had splotches of orange on it.
As soon as Scout had gotten to her house, she went to her room. The door slammed shut, and she let out a scream. She used her one good hand to hurl her backpack, though it didn’t go far. It toppled into her desk, making it wobble slightly.
She grabbed a pillow from her bed, beating the wall with it. It didn’t help much, but it did let her release some of her anger, before she released it on a person. The pillow tore where she held it, the rest of it spinning off a few feet away. She threw the ruined edge to the ground and collapsed on her bed.
She kept telling herself that one day she’d get her revenge, by being better than them, being successful. But every time she told that to herself it seemed to lose more meaning. She wasn’t going to be successful even if those girls were tormenting her everyday. Even without them, she’d only gotten Cs or lower.
Scout couldn’t tell how much time had passed that she’d been sitting there, but she finally got up. She moved to her desk, ignoring her worn-down backpack, and turned on her computer. It booted quickly, bringing up her home screen in seconds.
As soon as she got on, she opened a chat.
It took a couple of minutes before she got a reply, but that was normal.
You wanna get on Zerailn?”
They had planned to play today, since it was the end of the school week. It was one of the only things she’d looked forward to.
“Yea, I’ll get on right now.”
She moved to pick up the VR Machine, making sure to use her hurt hand carefully. She checked the chat before she put on the helmet.
“I’ll be there in a sec.
I’m gonna get a snack real quick before I play.”
She gave a shrug, fitting the helmet over her head as she moved to the specialized chair that came with the device. She leaned back carefully, and switched the console on. A sigh escaped her lips as it whirred to life. She was headed to her escape, and in a few minutes, it would be perfect.
“Choose your character.”