He tensed, bracing himself for the impact that would soon result in another large bruise to add to the dozens he already harbored. He knew by now that he should already be used to this sort of violence, but his weak body simply wouldn't allow it.
Fwack!! The sudden punch left him breathless and gasping in exhaustion. He keeled over, his stomach yearning for release from the sharp pain that enveloped his entire body. Tears frolicked dangerously behind his eyelids, but he stubbornly refused to let them go.
"Get up, Flappy Bird. Or do you enjoy groveling on the ground like the trash you are?"
The harsh insults wounded Flappy's heart and mind. Grunting in pain, he forced his head up to stare his assailant right in the eye. Vivid green eyes mockingly glared back at him, but they shone cruelly without a single bit of remorse. Green Pipe, they all called him, as no-one seemed to know his real name.
He winced sorely as he pulled himself up, brushing dust off from his iconic yellow sweater. It had been a gift from his parents for his last birthday but now, its matted appearance ensured its future disposal.
"Well done. Took you long enough." His bully scoffed in disapproval. Those were the last few words Flappy heard before he was bombarded with another flurry of punches and kicks, initiated by Pipe and his troublemaking underlings.
Every single piece of furniture and decoration in the infirmary were now just some of the many things he could memorise off the top of his head. As he lay there on the bed with ice-packs all over his sore body, he began reminiscing back to when it all started. But now that he thought about it, he couldn't quite remember just when exactly. He'd been bullied and tossed around like garbage for as long as he could remember.
"You've been here long enough. Please go back to class now." The nurse gently scolded him, writing him a note to take back. Flappy gingerly nodded as he slung his backpack over his shoulder, accepting the note from her.
The hallways were empty, and the sound of his footsteps echoed from wall to wall. He walked with a prominent limp, the bruises and cuts attacking him with every step he took. Truanting students either ridiculed or fed him empty looks of pity. It was simply another scene he'd grown used to. He was pretty well-known in this school, thanks to Green Pipe, though obviously not for a good reason.
"Welcome back, Mr. Bird. Please take a seat, class has already started." The teacher drawled, waving away the nurse's note extended towards him. Said student obeyed, more than eager to escape the watchful gazes of the distracted class. Looking down at the gum-ridden carpet, he hastily trudged his way over to the computer in the furthest corner and took his seat.
There was a black USB plugged into the port, and it wasn't his. Curious to see who it belonged to, Flappy opened up a random document and his eyes instantly widened in genuine surprise. His bully's name stared right back at him in bold, green letters in the header.
Heart racing, he closed the document and began going through the rest of the USB's contents. He felt immensely guilty doing this but even so, he refused to stop. This could be the only chance to get back at Green Pipe, and such an opportunity was rare. But the longer he searched, the more his hopes and excitement diminished. Sure, there were a few porn videos here and there, but nothing... Useful.
By now, he was ready to give up. There was only one file left, a video just thirteen seconds long. Tired and bored out of his mind, he clicked on it and the sound of loud snickering filled his ears.
The video quality was pretty bad, but the audio was top-notch. He could clearly distinguish between the three voices: Green Pipe and two of his main underlings. Their faces were grainy and blurred, but he could still manage to make out the scene unfolding before him. It was, without the slightest inch of doubt, theft. Of test answers to be exact, and in a prestigious school like this, such a crime could be equally compared to that of a murder.
He unplugged the USB and concealed it away in his pockets. One special teacher was going to have a hell of an interesting day today.
Once the bell chimed to signal the end of the lesson, Flappy immediately jolted out of his seat and began making his way towards one of the upper floor staffrooms. He cautiously peeked through the window, but there was no-one inside yet. Disappointment was something he couldn't help feeling but maybe it was for the best. Because after all, if he simply handed his bully over to the teachers, what fun would there be left for him?
It was now lunchtime. The worst time of any school day, and there were a few reasonable excuses for this mindset. It was a stereotypical event for bullies to extract money from their victims, but this particular stereotype lay true to Flappy. He'd long lost count of all the coins and notes gone from his wallet.
But today was different. Today, he had the chance to turn things around.
In their usual meeting spot, Green Pipe and his underlings were scattered around in small groups, gambling with bits of loose change and cigarettes. On normal occasions, Flappy would be the one getting found instead, but he could hardly contain the anticipation and excitement coursing through his veins. He'd only gotten close to within a four metre radius, before his bully abruptly turned around to face him. Intimidating green eyes flashed in a mixture of surprise and glee.
"Well, well, well. Who do we have here?" Pipe sneered mockingly as he made his way over to the smaller of the two. The victim stood his ground, refusing to budge nor answer, though his hands trembled and twitched in fear.
"What are you, a coward? Speak when you’re supposed to speak!” He continued to jeer, though in a more demanding manner. Flappy’s mouth remained firmly shut, even as the other male began taking threatening steps closer and closer towards him. Their faces were now just separated by no more than an arm’s length. “Why aren’t you saying anything?!” Pipe snapped impatiently, grabbing ahold of his shirt collar in one swift, aggressive motion. He pulled an arm back, hand curled into a tight fist.
Without warning, Flappy abruptly whipped out the USB and dangled it in front of the bully’s face, watching as all the colour drained from his face.
“W-where did you –“ He spluttered in surprise, his fist just inches away from the device.
“It doesn’t matter where I got it. What matters, is what’s inside. Right?” Flappy finally responded, smiling innocently up at him.
“…What are you going to do with it?”
Flappy stroked his chin thoughtfully, eyes closed. He was intentionally taunting his tormentor. “Well, I was going to give it to the teachers at first to get you expelled straight away. But then I came up with a better idea.”
“Kneel before me and apologise.” He suddenly demanded, haughtily pointing a finger at Pipe’s chest. Said person scowled and spat at the floor before him.
“Do you want me to break your neck? I’m not your bloody pet!” He hissed lowly, clenching both fists in anger. In response to his refusal, Flappy once again dangled the blackmail material directly in his face, twirling the attached string in a mocking manner.
“Then I’ll just play the video live on school speakers. I’ve made several copies of it you know? It’s even set to automatically play in…” He pretended to check his watch and shrugged. “…Five minutes. Your choice.”
The bully, whose position was now inexplicably reversed to that of the blackmailed victim, gritted his teeth and slowly sunk to his knees in defeat. It was one thing to get expelled from this prison-like school, but to have that video spread to thousands of people…
He lowered his head onto the asphalt ground, his nose just a few inches away from where he last spit in disgust at the sudden command.
“I’m sorry.” He mumbled under his breath, his cheeks and ears red with humiliation. He lifted himself off the ground and was about to stand up again, when a strong, swift kick to the stomach sent him keeling over.
“That’s not enough. Repeat after me: I am nothing but trash that doesn’t deserve to exist.” Flappy continued, his foot firmly placed on the other’s back, rendering him face-down and unable to move. If there was one thing he gained from all the bullying, it was that it helped him in the strengthening of his legs.
Pipe prepared to spit again, but reconsidered the situation he was in.
“I… I am nothing but trash that doesn’t deserve to exist.” He grumbled, feeling his pride slip away with each word that left his mouth.
Flappy smirked, lifting his foot off. “Excellent. I’ll allow you to go now. But remember, I’m not done with you yet.” His tormentor forced himself back up, grunting in pain, before stalking off with the rest of his underlings.
He watched silently as their figures grew smaller and smaller into the distance.
Once he was certain he was alone in this room, he let loose a loud chuckle of amusement.
The last five minutes had been the best five minutes of his life. Never before had he felt such excitement and pleasure. He felt like a changed person. At this rate, having such power and control was going to become like a drug to him. The experience of it still lingered within his veins, and it was a blissful feeling.
He loved it, and he wanted more.