Marionette

The story of Vivian, who fears three bullies more than anything in the world. They make his life purely Hell, without a thought. He is their puppet, a mere rag-doll.

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6. House

 

The end-of-lunch bell rung in their ears, signalling a gruelling afternoon of work, boredom- and in Viv’s case, being ignored. Since he’d returned to school, only a handful of people had spoken to him: Colby, obviously; a dinner lady (who robotically served him lunch with the same words to every student) and his form tutor.

            “Ah Vivian,” said his tutor when Viv entered the classroom, “have you settled in yet?”

            “Sort of.” Vivian had said. He’d only been back two minutes. What else could he say? Nobody had really spoken to him since, except for registration, but that was compulsory. People probably found it awkward to talk to him- Ted was a popular guy, and people didn’t know who to side with. The Big-guy or the Nobody? Even though Vivian wasn’t in the wrong, he still had people against him.

            His lessons passed in the usual manner, and after the day was done he met up with Colby outside the gates. He spotted Colby exiting the building- when something else caught his eye. His breath was snatched from his lungs as Ted approached. Choking on his fear, he stepped to the side. Ted barged past him. He decided to say something.

            “Ted? Ted?” Ignoring him in anger, Ted pushed past a few more people. He obviously didn’t want to make good.

            “Hey! Vivian!” Colby’s gleaming smile of bright, perfect teeth broke the panic. He bound over, gleefully. Sensing Vivian’s distress, he looked over at Ted, who was storming down the street.

            “Ah. I see.”

            “He completely ignored me. I tried to say something-“

            “What do you mean ‘ignored’ you?” Colby looked at Viv, puzzled.

            “Well, I said his name and he didn’t even look.”

            “Maybe he didn’t hear.” Colby shrugged it off and started down the road. It still played on Vivian’s mind- why didn’t he even acknowledge him? Unless he didn’t hear…

            “Hey, do you want to come round mine?” Colby elbowed Vivian. Back down to reality, Vivian nodded. As they walked down the little streets to Colby’s house, Viv took in his surroundings. The area was unkempt and run-down- a far poorer estate than his. It wasn’t like the slums he’d heard of, but it was dirty all the same. Chills ran up his spine as he walked through. He’d never been through an area like this before. Kids a couple of years younger than him rode over home-made ramps in the road; the adults scowled at the passers by between drags of cigarettes. It was the sort of place his mother had told him not to walk through.

            “It’s only a street away.” Vivian was too distracted to hear Colby: a boy of around seven had just stuck his middle-finger up at the two of them. Colby didn’t see, or didn’t care. They approached a door, with peeling white paint, and went in. There was nobody home, so they went up to Colby’s room.

            “What time do your parents come home?” Colby frowned at Vivian.

            “What? Oh. Around six, I guess. We’ll get a pizza or something before they come in.” Vivian nodded in approval. They started playing a game on Colby’s Xbox, when the door-bell half rang. A knock followed the tinny chime, when Colby went over to the window.

            “Ignore it.”

            “Who is it?”

            “Nobody important.” Viv decided to drop it. A van drove off into the distance. They resumed game play when Vivian spotted somebody walking down the street.

            “Hey- it’s Ted!” He turned to Colby, who wasn’t there. From the bathroom, he heard a voice.

            “Ted? Well yeah, he lives around here.” For some reason, Vivian didn’t picture Ted as the type to live in such a scummy area- though he didn’t say this to Colby.

            “Two minutes- I’m gonna talk to him.” He raced down the stair and out the door in a hurry. Overcoming the fear that had overwhelmed him for so long, he ran over to Ted, filled with courage.

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