The Walk Home.

Written by one of my fantastic pupils! Story on both sides of bullying.

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1. The Walk Home

The golden sun melted into the built up horizon taking refuge behind the monumental buildings Olivia knew so well. A sultry breeze lifted the strands of bronze hair over her face. Wading through the knee-high paddock that leads to home. It was in reach of autumn, as the cardinal leaves began to fall to her feet.

Olivia looked back cautiously over her shoulder, making sure there was no one behind her, before she sprang into life off her left foot, and like a gazelle, she soared though the wild grass towards the rusted five bar gate and through the park, then home. She briefly mapped out her route home in her head; over the gate, through the park, then home. Olivia hoisted herself over the creaking gate, hopping down on both feet at the other side. The cobalt frame of park swings gradually came into view as Olivia steadily strode down the steep hill leading to the obscured park.

 Abruptly, Olivia froze. Her eyes shifting scarcely from each of their faces. The life and energy from before had vanished, leaving its vulnerable, frightened shell behind. They had spotted her now, making a beeline to pursue her, and all she could do was stay here and wait for it to happen. The other two girls could easily outrun her, and take her down if she fought back.

“Oooo, look who it is Kels!” The doe-eyed girl cackled. Olivia’s own brown eyes burned into the tender soil at her feet, glaring at nothing. Then, the platinum blonde girl cackled wickedly in agreement. Olivia, who was glaring into the tufts of grass beneath her, gingerly shuffled out of the two much taller, prettier girl’s way, but they squared their shoulders towards her hunched frame and waded closer through the shallow waves of grass.

“Zara! Grab her bag!” Kelsey, the blonde one bawled. Too sudden for Olivia to intercept, the flawlessly skinned, dark haired beauty had raced to her side and viciously ripped the bag from her shoulder. Olivia outstretched her hand desperately towards her bag as it soared from one girl to the other high above her head.

“Oooo, what do we have in here?” Zara sneered, her slender fingers raking through the bag and dragging its contents to the surface. A pencil case…A book…” Kelsey listed everything that hurtled to the floor as fast as Zara threw them away. Zara then threw the entire bag shuttling high into the sky. It flipped in all sorts of summer-saults and twists, showering Olivia in a rain of her own belongings. Trotting small, tight rings around shaking Olivia, Zara abruptly stopped with a confused expression on her otherwise perfect face. She sharply kicks the items on the floor around on all their sides, as if to be examining them.

“Where’s your hair brush?” She sang.

“Where’s your make-up?” Kelsey added. Olivia fumbled her shaking fingers around a strand of her russet hair. She could feel her eyes draw heavy under the layer of salty tears. Her cheeks heat up to a flourished scarlet shade, nothing can hide her emotions now. The girls around her howled with laughter as she took every last beating of verbal and personal abuse. Olivia struggled to hold back the long, rasp sob that was brewing at the back of her throat.

“Give it back.” She muttered, only wishing she hadn’t when an eerie silence cast over them. Her eyes widen and her body freezes as the sound of dried grass swishing and slapping against boots draws closer behind her. A gentle hand slithers up the back of her head, twisting within her hair, wrapping itself away within her oaky locks. Olivia frowns in confusion, why where they being so kind for a change? To kind? Her body relaxes once more, before a strong unmoveable hand wrenches her entire head backwards, her body was leaning against the knot in her hair, sending shooting pains through each strand. Unable from standing up, her body was hanging in suspense from the hold, her knees bent at the joint and her feet kicking loosely in front of her.

“She’s crying!” Kelsey hooted, from behind her, out of shot from her bloodshot gaze.

“Ha ha! She’s crying!” Zara echoed, pointing a slender finger in Olivia’s grubby face.

“How pathetic.” Kelsey whisperers in her ear, sending her head forward so sharply Olivia cannot balance herself in time, crashing forwards onto her knees.

“Here’s your bag you filthy idiot.” Zara snapped, sending the empty bag harshly into the pit of Olivia’s stomach. The pair then decides to leave the heap of despondency behind. She lays there until she is fully certain they are gone, only then does she cry out. Tears roll from her eyes down over her nose and disappearing into the grass cushioning her cheek. She can’t even explain to herself why she was so happy in the first place this evening; they always came for her on her walk home from school.

“Best get back.” She mutters with a sniff, before gathering her things up again and with her head hung low, began on her way home again.  When she got home, the moment she opened her front door, she was swarmed by her five younger brothers and sisters.

“Olivia! Olivia!” They exclaimed, squeezing her into a warming group hug. She allowed a faint smile for her siblings, before squirming free and dropping her bag on the cluttered kitchen table. Bright crayons rolled from the lopsided surface and clattered onto the floor, soon retrieved by the family dog, Barny. Olivia rolled her dirty sleeves up her arm and tucked her filthy brown hair behind her ears, standing still and blocking out the racket of screaming children to concentrate on what needed doing. Mum won’t be back from work till around eight, so that means that dinner needs serving, the washing up, cleaning the house and putting the youngest to bed. Before anything else could distract her, Olivia fished through the tiny cupboard and hooked out two tins of baked beans. She sighed, knowing this was the only thing she could dish up for her hungry brothers and sisters.

Whilst the hum of the microwave told Olivia she had one minute to relax while the beans cooked, she examined her filthy clothes, her greasy hair, and the muddy blotches that caked her skin.

“Not till Tuesday.” She reminded herself. Tuesday was her night to wash each week. But by then, the shower gel, the shampoo and conditioner and bubble bath have already been used up by the rest of the family, and most of the hot water too. Budgets. Budgets. Budgets. That’s all her mother knows. There’s a budget for almost everything, even meals are rationed nowadays.

“It’s not her fault.” She murmured almost subconsciously as she poured a limited pile of beans on six plates. Her mother had the night shift a lot at work, which meant as soon as she dropped the kids off to wait till Olivia got home, she had to rush straight back off again – leaving the household duties to her eldest daughter. But seen as her family was so large, she hardly had enough money to spare for herself. Even after donating all of her earnings to her children, they still walked around in torn and shrinking clothing, unwashed hair and bodies – which are why I get so much grief off Kelsey and Zara. Olivia shook the thought from her head, just as she’d finished setting the table around all of the clutter. No, they can’t eat around this! She quickly replaces her dish back on the side and calls the children in. As they rapidly shovel the beans down their throat, Olivia is busy sweeping up the stray dolls and miniature cars from around their bowls.

“Leave it for Mummy!” Lucy, her youngest sister spits out at least five beans over the surface Olivia had just cleaned.

“She can’t Lu, Mummy wants it all clean for when she gets in.” Rory states matter of factly. Olivia shakes her head and smiles at their naivety. By the time they have cleared out of the kitchen and running riot around the rest of the house, Olivia has just managed to tidy the kitchen spotless. She is relieved to find her beans untouched on the side, but soon cringes when the beans on her tongue are deathly cold.

-

“Kelsey!” Her father’s angry voice boomed through the marble walls and back in her ear. She peers around a silver pillar across the room from him, her eyes full of vulnerability and fear. When his grey, stormy eyes catch sight of her, he storms over and forces one of her many pairs of shoes into her chest, causing her great pain.

“I do NOT want THESE anywhere near MY study entrance again! DO YOU HEAR ME?” He boomed into her face. She quivered underneath his shadow. Even though Kelsey seemed so proud and confident on the outside, her home life and stability are largely overestimated. As he storms back into his study and slammed the door, Kelsey feels a lone tear ponder down her cheek and it was so quiet, she could even hear it splatter onto the floor. Disappearing back up the winding staircase, she hides away in her beautifully designed bedroom.

This is why she bullies Olivia, to make her feel superior, better than anyone. But, this shouldn’t be the reason to bully people; there should be no reason, because you shouldn’t do it. It’s not big, to make other people feel small, and just because you’re upset, doesn’t mean everyone else should be.  

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