I saw him again after school. It had been a bad day, and the sight of this guy made me feel physically ill. He was in my year, James Whitehall, I think that’s what the teacher’s called him anyway, moved here in year ten. He had a complete family, a large house that comfortably sat on the outskirts of the city centre, plenty of money, a pristine school record and was a straight A student. His father had been my father’s boss, before he had him fired. This guy had everything he wanted. He made me sick.
‘Max, give us some of that,’ Tom nodded down to the crumpled pack of tobacco I was holding. I shrugged off of the request and started to roll my own, he didn’t bother to argue. I took a long draw of my cigarette as I watched James walk cautiously over to the bus stop to examine the bus schedule he had yet to memorise. I’d do anything to be him for just one day. One day. Yeah that would be enough, enough to provide some sense of hope. Tom caught me staring and followed my gaze,
‘You alright mate?’
‘Yeah,’ I swallowed, and inhaled deeply, but the taste of smoke wasn’t helping. I paused to think, ‘That little cunt Whitehall’s over there,’ I said eventually.
‘He take’s so much shit, it’s funny.’ Tom laughed, I smiled slightly. However it quickly fell as I started to remember how much I hated him. Every decision I made was clouded, I was polluted with ugly suffocating smoke clouds of emotions that hung around inside of me like forgotten cobwebs. Jealousy and anger twisted around my heart like an iron coil, squeezing me until I can’t breath. I noticed my hand had instinctively slid into the inside pocket of my jacket, my sweaty palm clasping the cold smooth metal treasure inside.
‘Oi, James!’ I shouted, there was harsh edge to my voice, I could feel something was starting to burn up inside of me, the flames already rising to my throat. He glanced over and then quickly diverted his eye’s, pretending not to see us. This was going to be fun.
I quickly stubbed out my cigarette and hopped off the wall where we had been sitting, Tom followed atomically. James’ figure turned as we saw us get up, and started to walk away. I could tell how hard he was trying to look casual. We continued to walk in his direction, despite quickening his pace, we soon caught up with him.
‘Havn’t seen you in while, ey James?’ Tom shoved him in the back. James’ didn’t respond, but continued to pace away, that was predictable. As usual, we started to jeer, we tugged at his perfect uniform, pushed him, tripped him, blocked him path, even spat in his face, but not once did he retaliate. It was infuriating, I needed a reaction today. Tom picked up large stone from the curb and threw it in his direction, it missed by an inch and he carried on walking in front of us with calm, steady steps. I could feel the violent fire inside of me was getting worse.
‘Look at me!’ I shouted at him. He stopped under an ugly pool of orange street light, his breath visible in the cool evening air, and gradually he turned to face me. I could feel sparks of rage fly wildly through my veins like electricity, every muscle in my body tensed, my hands curled into fists as I saw his expression. It was not in the slightest afraid or sheepish, in fact, he held my gaze with confidence, radiating a concerned frown towards me, a sympathetic smile crossed over his face. Not out of cowardness, out of pity. He genuinely looked sorry for me. That’s when I felt it. Something, something in the darkest depths of my mind snapped. My hands started to shake, I had broken, I was no longer in control. Without thinking I grabbed the knife from my jacket and lunged forward as James’ cried out,
‘Max! Mate, stop!’ Tom shouted, he couldn’t hide the panic in his voice. I laughed, I felt invincible again with the silver in my grasp,
‘Your scared, aren’t you?!’ I screamed at him. My eyes bulged out of their sockets, I was about to explode into a thousand pieces if I didn’t do something right now. I raised the knife high in the air, it glinted slyly in the evening dim light. It felt good to see him squirm. How dare he pity me.
‘Please! Don’t!’ He cried again, as he backed up against a wall with a thud, his face crumpling into a expression of sheer terror. I laughed harder. I recognised that look in his eyes. It was the look that every prey has just before their hunter kills them, a state of anguish, desperation and a glimmer of impermeable hope. I knew what that felt like. As I stared at him, I suddenly heard my father’s voice, ‘Pathetic.’ it whispered. I hit him directly the face, crushing his nose. Even I could hear the crack, he howled in pain and I hit him again, this time to side of his head. And then again. And again. Not once did he fight back, the rush I was getting was addictive.
He slowly crouched to the floor, like a puppet who’s strings has been teasingly cut one by one, his body limp and weak. With his hands covering his head, he started to sob deeply. I felt so much hatred inside of me, for him, for my father, for me. I kicked him, again and again. The harder he cried, the less I could hear my father’s voice ringing in my ears. I didn’t stop until he lay motionless on the tarmac, the shadows were blinding but I could hear he was still breathing, just. I turned, not making eye contact with Tom and started to walk away in alone and in silence, with my father’s voice chanting ‘Pathetic. Pathetic. Pathetic.’ monotonously over and over again inside my head. I could feel my heartbeat getting louder and louder with every step I took towards home. I knew he’d be in, and by now he’d have realised I’d taken the money. By the time I’d reached my door I’d completely forgotten about James.