Bully

This is a work of fiction. A short story, of 1450 words.

Donna didn’t set out to become a bully. Trouble is, when you are six inches taller than everyone else in school, and you are wearing size eight shoes by the age of eleven, you know that you are going to stick out, and find it hard to be accepted. That left her with two choices.

One. She could become the school freak.
Two. She could hang around with the pretty girls, and act as their protector.
Donna chose option two.

By the time she was fifteen going on sixteen, Donna looked as old as some of the teachers. And she was taller than most of them as well.
Even the men.
Everyone was a little bit afraid of her too.
Even the boys.

She had got in with Mandy, and the other good-looking girls, as soon as she had arrived at senior school. They were all good at sports, especially netball and basketball, and the little gang they had formed also made up most of the school teams. They more or less ran the place too. Between Mandy’s great looks, and Donna’s ability to beat up anyone who didn’t play along, they wandered around in fear of nobody. The teachers left them to their own devices, happy to get the sports trophies, and let the other pupils rack up the academic results. Turning a blind eye made life a lot easier than the possible confrontation if they stepped in.

Donna got the boys too. Although she had to settle for the cast-offs that Mandy and the others didn’t want. The brothers or friends of the better-looking ones. The awkward shy boys, the overweight boys, those that just tagged along with the popular guys. Much like she did herself. She went along with the other girls to meet them. Sometimes in the park, the back row of the local cinema, or the dark delivery entrances behind the shops in the square. She allowed them to fumble around under her clothes; tolerated their slobbering kisses, and their poor personal hygiene. When they got over-excited, or too insistent, she would finish them off with her hand. That seemed to make them happy, and at least it stopped them doing whatever else they had been thinking about.

But Donna didn’t really like them. She had to make it look good for Mandy and the others though, always keen to fit in, to be accepted in the group. She knew that those boys boasted that they had done more, gone all the way with her. She didn’t concern herself with that. She knew the truth. And besides, it stood her in good with the girls, especially Mandy.

Kelly was fed up moving around the country. Every time her dad got promoted, it meant moving. Three schools in as many years, and now another one to get used to. Always the new girl, finding her feet. To deal with the disruption, she did what she did best. She studied, and used her intelligence to do well. In the last school, she had been in the top five percent, This run-down place she was walking into that morning should be a breeze. Kelly reckoned she would be in the top one percent here, at the very least.

Donna spotted the attractive red-headed girl straight away. Her flaming hair was distinctive, and she knew at once that she had never seen her before. She sidled over in the direction the girl was walking, slowly getting closer to her. “You new?” The girl jumped, startled by the sudden appearance of the tall short-haired girl next to her. “First day. I’m Kelly. We just moved to town.” She replied with a smile. The tall girl had nice eyes, but looked too old to still be at school. “Find me later, and I’ll show you around.” The tall girl said.

Donna didn’t smile back, but she wanted to. The girl’s hair was even nicer close up, and she had a wonderful smell about her. She hurried off to tell Mandy and the others, who were hanging around near the games field, deliberately waiting to be just a little bit late. “Hey Mandy, just met a new girl, Kelly. She’s really nice, looks like she might fit in nicely with us.” Mandy flicked her perfect blonde hair, and chewed her gum. “We’ll see”.

If only Kelly hadn’t been so good in English. She had it all off pat, and even read out from the book, acting like she was really Cathy, when she was supposed to be talking to Heathcliff. Before Donna could put her right, she showed everyone up in Maths too, with a knowledge of algebra as good as the teacher’s, it seemed to the girls. By midday, the damage was done. “I hate the know-all ginger bitch”, hissed Mandy during break time. “We are going to show her, Donna, That’s for sure.” Donna grinned and nodded. She wasn’t about to be different.

It started with small things. Ignoring Kelly if she spoke to them, and moving away, when she sat close. One girl sitting next to her in class deliberately laddered her tights, by catching them with a bag buckle. They pushed her books off the desk, or scrawled on her work with a marker pen. When she asked them why they were doing it, they pretended not to hear, or to even notice she was there. When she tried out for the netball team, someone pushed her over, so she fell hard on the asphalt. The games teacher could see what was going on, but she chose not to select her, instead of confronting those in the group.

Then it all moved up a gear, after Kelly had come top in not only English and Maths, but in German too. And she had only been there a few weeks. Mandy waited until she was inside a toilet cubicle, then reached over from the next stall, taking a photo of Kelly as she sat on the toilet. It was soon sent to everyone in her contact list, and she had lots of contacts. They all passed it around too, and it wasn’t long before everyone was sniggering over the photo. Donna passed it to her contacts as well. It wouldn’t do to be seen to be not joining in. Then it got onto Facebook, and most of the town got to see it, before it was taken down.

Kelly asked her mum if it would be alright not to go into school. She said that she had stomach pains, and her period was due. But her mum wasn’t stupid, and knew that the dates were wrong. Still, her daughter was crying, and she didn’t have the heart to say no. She rang in to the school, and told them Kelly would be off that day. For the next three days, Kelly invented a reason why she couldn’t go. Her mum was kind, and sat her down to ask if there was a real reason, but she wouldn’t discuss it. So she made her go.

Mandy, Donna, and the other girls saw her walking along the road that led to the school. “Oh look, it’s the ginger lesbian”, shouted Mandy. The others laughed, so Donna laughed too. They could see that Kelly was carrying an extra bag. It was games that day, and the bag would contain her sports kit. “Donna, go over there and get her games bag.” Mandy said it like a request, but Donna knew it was an instruction. She crossed the street, and approached the girl, holding out her hand. “Give me the kit, and don’t cause any trouble, or it will be the worse for you.” Donna could feel the heat of the redness flushing her face. “Why are you doing this? I thought you were nice.” Kelly was fighting back the tears as she spoke. Donna took the bag, making no reply. She went back to the others and handed it to Mandy, who unzipped it and shook the contents into the road, right into the path of the busy morning traffic.

The girls laughed hysterically, and Donna joined in. Kelly turned around, and headed for home. They would not see her again.

The headmistress summoned everyone into the hall that morning. She had one announcement. Kelly had been found dead at her home. She had hung herself in her bedroom. The newspapers would be carrying the story that day, and anyone who wanted to could contact the office, to receive counselling. Mandy laughed. “Serve the ginger loser right”, she muttered. The other girls nodded in agreement, grins spreading across their faces. Mandy turned to Donna, her gaze triumphant.

But Donna was crying, uncontrollably. The tears were streaming down her face.

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28 thoughts on “Bully

  1. I like this better than the one you posted today. More depth I think. Donna’s character adds something to the dymnamic that is missing in the other. As another (one time) bright kid who ‘fell hard on the asphalt’ of a netball court, I’d add that your descriptions are spot-on. Of course, the mobile phones add another element that just wasn’t possible in our day… Scary stuff.

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  2. You brought out a big point here, not every bully intended to be one, the situations about them leave them with little choice. It’s sad that Donna took a path that was never meant for her…

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  3. Well written and poignant, bullying didn’t seem to be a thing when I was at school, but there are so many instances of it now. Of course Mark Zuchenberg wasn’t born while I was at school so that may have something to do with it.

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  4. Maybe being born in the Land of Charles Bronson has influenced my thinking. I was pretty sure there was something in the bag (an adder from Hoe Rough?) that would make these girls regret bullying Kelly! I even went so far as to think that once the girls had been humiliated (if not hospitalized), that Kelly would ironically refer to them as Kelly’s Heroes!

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    1. That of course, and true stories in the news, Cindy. I am always thinking about the back-story, the small details that might have led to the events that are reported. (Or sometimes in my case, encountered.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  5. Again, stunning. Your imaginative sympathy with people is extraordinary. Authentic and tautly told. I know how being bullied can make you feel suicidal because I was bullied at school during a time when it wasn’t officially acknowledged as a problem, especially in girls’ schools, and the teachers ignored it for as long as they could. Denial makes the world go round. They wanted to be fair, of course, and believe the best in adolescent girls. Presenting yourself as a victim was censured. The bullee was at least partly responsible for their plight. I’m not sure, but I think a dinner lady’s report of a playground incident finally embarrassed the headmistress into taking action – advising my mother to move me from the school. I’d been there 3 years.

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    1. As you discovered, bullying can have a devastating affect on the sufferers, Pippa. I often wondered how the bully became one as well, and tried to combine both experiences into this short tale.
      Thanks as always, for your very kind comment.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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