As I walked through the halls I saw people looking at me- some out ofadmiration, some out of jealousy and some out of fear. I saw some terrifiedpeople scurrying away, avoiding eye contact. Probably some nerds I fooledaround with. Wait, that reminds me of my favourite nerd to fool around with.He’s a little, meek guy- the kind anyone would want to take advantage of. Ilook around for him but see him nowhere. Oh well. I walk up to my group offriends and do our ‘bro-shake’. Just then Bran, one of my friends, smirked atme and pointed me towards the direction of my current ‘prey’.   

The nerd walked through the door with his stooped back and that huge bagof his. God knows what he carries in that bag. Let’s have some fun, shall we?

I walked up to him and blocked his way. “Sup nerd? New glasses, eh?” I askedsnatching them away. “What happened to the last pair? Oh wait, they brokeduring our last encounter isn’t it?” I snorted. “What do you want Lucas? Leaveme alone.” The nerd spoke back. “ Whoa whoa whoa. What did you say? Leave youalone? Certainly I can’t do that. Don’t be rude I’m just giving you some company.”I tried to corner him. “Please leave me alone. I’m tired of you.” Hesaid, his voice shaking with anger or despair I can't tell. Then he looked into my eyes and his expressionchanged, as if he finally figured out a puzzle. “What?” I asked. “Why do youdo this?” he asked with a steady voice. I gave him a confused look. What thehell is he talking about? Seeing my expression he explained himself, “why doyou bully people? There must be a reason. Everybody has a reason. What isyours?” What the hell is he talking about? Just then, the bell rang and the hall monitors shooed everybody totheir classes. I dismissed the nerd with the good ol’ “whatever nerd boy” andwent to class.

 I had English for the firstperiod. The whole period I couldn’t stop thinking about what the nerd said.Reason? What reason? He doesn't know what he is saying, right? It got me thinking and I realized that I was actually very different asa kid. I remember being very happy. I had a lot of friends, i think. I had someplay pals. I was so happy as a kid. I remember being very excited to have playdates with my mom. Every Sunday me, mom and dad had a picnic in the parknearby. We played, we laughed and we had a lot of fun. I loved it. Now that I thinkabout it, I’ve never felt like that in a long time. What happened? Whatchanged? Why don’t I feel the same anymore? I felt something heavy in my chest. Is it alump? Maybe. What the hell is happening? Why am I thinking so much? I'm confused.

The rest of the day went fast. I saw the nerd a couple of times butignored him. After school got over, I went back home. Of course, when I wentback nobody was home. Mom’s probably in her store and dad’s in his office.They’re never home, really. But I don’t mind. I kinda like it this way. Calm,quiet, no shouting, no screaming at each other. I like quiet. Quiet is nice. Itook off my shirt and looked into the mirror. My eyes involuntarily went to myarms. The events of last night flashed in front of me. My dad, he came home lateeveryday- drunk, of course. Yesterday was no different. Except that yesterdayhe was drunk AND angry. And whom to take your anger out on but your belittledwife. I was tired of this daily drama – the fighting, the curses, themanhandling- so I went up to him to give him a piece of my mind. To tell himhow horrible of a father he is and that he disgusts me. I was so angry that don’t recall whathappened but I do remember feeling a sharp pain in my arm, and my mother squealing tostop. After sometime, when I finally realized what had happened, I was on thefloor, my mother beside me crying and my dad was a feet away probably gettinghis senses back.

I snapped out of my trance andstarred at the bruise in the mirror. I touched it slightly and squinted at the pain. That’s abad one, I thought. I put my shirt on again to cover the bruise.



I heard a knock on the door. I opened it to find my dad, coming home fromwork. Something seems very sketchy though. What is it? My heart starts topalpitate. Suddenly I hear a shriek from the other side of the room. I turnedto see my mom on the floor bruised and bloody. What the hell is happening? Whodid this to her? Oh, I know who, I thought when I realized who must've done this. I turned to look for my father but he wasn’tthere. I searched for him around the room. Everything is dissipating into thinair. I’m so confused. What is happening to me? I try to scream for help, but nothing comes out. My voiceis stuck in my throat and I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m choking.

I wake up drenched in my ownsweat, breathing heavily- my heart racing at the speed of a car on a highway.Whoa! That was some nightmare.



The next morning i didn’t find the nerd anywhere. Is he hiding from me?Can’t blame him though.

After lunch, I heard a commotion in the hallway. When I reached there, I saw Bran and the other guys cornering a guy. Probably there next target orsomething. When I got closer, I realized it’s the nerd. He looks very frustratedand tired. The guys noticed me and threw a loopy grin my way. “Hey Lucas, lookwho we found. It’s ‘Mr. Leave me alone’ guy”, Bran said. The nerd looked myway and seemed more distressed than he already was. I looked into his eyes. Even with so much hurtand distress, they had a different life to it. It wasn’t the usual dull, deadeyes I see in my preys after my predation. These eyes had hope and life andkindness. For some reason I felt weird- even weak, maybe. “C’mon Lucas, how wouldyou like your prey?” Bran snickered. Never had I hesitated to fool around withthese nerds. But this time, whenever I looked at him, I couldn't help but thinkabout what the nerd said yesterday. Whyam I doing this? Do I feel at peace after sucking the life out of them?Certainly not. I feel the same void I did before. Then why do I do this? I feet nauseous and needed some air, so I fled from the scene ignoring Bran’s callfrom behind. 


I reached home late after football practice. When I reached the door, I hear voices inside the house. For the first time, Ma and dad are home beforeme. Well that’s nice, for a change. Right? Wrong. When I’m about to enter the house i realized that the voices are getting louder and unpleasant. It was then, that I realizedthat they were fighting. AGAIN. After the long day I had, I didn’t have thepatience to deal with this. So I took my cycle and went off to wander.



I ended up in the place I always do when I’m frustrated. It’s a small trail that leads to a view point.This place is my aesthetic. I love the wildflowers that are literallyeverywhere. I love the smell of soil, of the breeze and most importantly I lovethe view that comes along with it. I sit there for long time thinking about –well, a lot of things. Most importantly I couldn’t shake this strange feelingof- guilt, is it? Prior to yesterday, I didn’t think ‘fooling’ around as a bigdeal. But for some reason, it does feel like a big deal now. Am I a bully?Certainly not, right? I don’t want to be a bully. Suddenly I hear somefootsteps coming this way. Shit! What if these are a bunch of robbers? I’mgoing to be so dead. I don't even have network on my phone. “Okay Lucas, calmdown”, I think to myself. “You’re not going to die”. As I prepared myselfmentally, to fight those robbers, I landed my eyes on the most harmless set ofeyes ever. The nerd. What a relief! Wait. What is he doing here? “Shit”, Ihear him mutter under his breath. He turns around to leave, probably scared.“Wait up..” I was about to say ‘nerd’, but corrected myself. “Wait upFreddie”. He seemed to be shocked. Eh well, I would be too if I were him. “So,you do know my name?” he asked amused. “Nope. It was just a lucky guess” I retorted. “I’m sorry I was such a bully to you; and well a lot of other people,I guess”. I looked at his dumbfounded face and deadpanned “Oh stop with thatshocked look will you?” “I know. Oh my god. Lucas can apologize, ha ha ha” Imocked him. He chuckled. “ It’s okay, I guess”, he replied sincerely. “But this betternot change back at school” he challenged. “Oh no, it won’t” I assured him. “How do Iknow you’re serious and this is not just one of your stupid tricks?” “ I guesswe’ll just find out” I said. He looked at me skeptically for a minute and thensmirked. “We’ll see”, he said.



I really did mean it when I said I was sorry. Irealized that no matter what is going on with my life, I didn’t get to makeother’s life miserable. That’s just not right. I still hate being at home. ButI did make a couple of new friends. Turns out Freddie is a great singer. Heeven has his own songs. We jam together all the time. People were super confused when I ‘became nice’, asthey say. Bran and his clan (see what I did there? ;)) called me a ‘loser’,even though I didn’t really lose anything. Apart from that, not a lot haschanged. I still get nightmares sometimes, though it’s less. The only thing is,I guess I’m more at peace, now.I'm no more 'the bad person'. And I like myself better this way. And that feels great.