Sticks and Stones

The school bell rang and Milo began his walk back home. He was so glad the day was over. At first, after Susan's intervention in the playground, he thought the day might perhaps have been one of the better ones but sadly, he had been very much mistaken. Every lesson he had shared with Jake or one of his cronies had been a living nightmare, with them constantly spit-balling him, stealing his stuff or otherwise laughing at him behind his back but that wasn't even the worst of it. No, the worst was when he sat down for lunch and discovered his lunch was missing. At first he thought that perhaps Jake had stolen it but from the lack of sniggers, he soon came to an even more harrowing conclusion. Robert had forgotten to pack it. He had crossed his fingers and prayed to whatever would listen that it wouldn't happen but when he felt a hand on his shoulder and turned around to see Robert, a packed lunch in his hand and a smile on his face, he knew the real torment of the day had yet to even begin.

Reluctantly, he had let Robert peck him on the cheek and then he was left alone, but not for long. The rest of the day was a blur of misery. Jake and his gang redoubled their efforts and it was only that his favourite teacher, Mr. Sutton from English class, had noticed Jake's antics and put them in detention that his day hadn't been entirely wasted. Not even Susan had been around to save him. During lunch her parents had called about something or other and so she had had to go home immediately. At least now, it was the end of the day and those idiots wouldn't be able to get him thanks to Mr. Sutton.

He was about five minutes into his walk when a shout caused him to cringe.

"Oi! Gay boy!"

It was the familiar, smug, grating sound of Jake's voice, yelling from behind him. He didn't give him a chance to start anything. If he'd skipped detention to come and torture him, Milo wasn't going to stick around. He ran.


Milo kept on running down the street until he came to the first crossing. Traffic was busy and he hammered the button, praying for the green man to bid him pass. Looking behind him he saw Jake catching up and risking it, he stepped out into the road. A car swerved to avoid him, the driver beeping his horn angrily, but Milo took the opportunity to rush through the gap in the traffic and cross to the other side. As he reached it, the lights changed and Jake, a grim look of victory on his face, came hurtling after him without dropping the pace.

He ran.

The last few minutes of Milo's route home took him through the park and as he dodged through the entrance he suddenly felt a sharp crack as something hit him hard on the shoulder. He spun around, fear in his eyes to see Jake by the rock garden, a small pile of stones in his hands and a sadistic grin on his face. Milo yelled for help but the park was empty and and just couldn't run any more, he was panting, running out of breath. He was so tired he felt sick and as he ducked behind a tree another stone flew past, narrowly missing him and hitting a nearby car parked along the road that ran through the length of the park. The alarm began to sound and Milo dared a peek around the tree, hoping that the alarm would have scared Jake off. As he looked around his face was met with a small, hard fist.

Milo staggered back, his nose gushing as Jake advanced. His foot missed the curb and he tripped, cracking his head hard on the road.

"Hey gay boy, no-one puts me in detention, no-one! I bet you're gay with Sutton, that's right isn't it you and Sutton and your yucky gay dads!"

Jake kicked him in the ribs and Milo cried out, trying to scrabble away. His hands closed around some loose leaves and dirt and he flung them at his attacker. Jake wheeled away, brushing the grit from his eyes.

"You dick! You'll pay for that!"

Milo didn't wait around to find out just how he'd pay. He picked himself up and began hobbling away but Jake caught up with him easily as he approached the edge of the lake in the park, only a few hundred meters away from the road on which he lived. The lake was filthy. It had once been crystal clear but over the course of the last year poison algae had spread and the people in charge of the park hadn't been able to get rid of it. You couldn't even see under the surface now.

As Milo hobbled, Jake tripped him up, sending him sprawling, Milo's head dangling over the edge of the promenade and staring into the filthy water below. He felt himself tugged back and his bag ripped off of him.

"Let's have a look at your precious book then, huh Milo?"

Milo went to reach for it, but Jake pushed him back and Milo almost lost his balance, just managing to avoid falling in. Jake rifled through the bag until he found Milo's notebook. Grinning evilly he began flicking through it, tearing out pages as he laughed.

"Sir Robert, protector of the realm, dumb!"

Tear! Milo winced.

"Milo, the last runesmith. You suck at this, Manning! I use better books to wipe my arse!"

Riiip! Milo clenched his fists.

"Susanna the dark princess, lame!"

"Give it back!" Milo yelled.

An even wider grin spread across Jake's face.

"Oh, you like that one do you? At least it's a girl's name. You want it? Catch!" Jake yelled as he threw the book over Milo's head.

Milo spun, trying to catch it and as he did he felt Jake kick him in the back. He fell, splashing into the water and felt something hard smack him on the forehead as the dark water closed in around him and everything faded to black.

The End

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