Published by MedleyMisty in the blog Walking Through the Valley. Views: 89

Language warning, again. :) Hey, teenagers. What are you gonna do? ;)


Steven Badgett and Dustin York.

Counting all the way one two three four and he got to eight before the foot came.

"So little Sethiekins has a protector now, huh?"

He stared down at Steven's shoes.

"You don't have a chance in hell with her, boy."

The cement was white and the shoes were black.

"I wouldn't break up with my right hand just yet if I were you."

Black. White. Black. White.

"Go **** yourself, Steven."

He heard Dustin's indrawn breath.

"Why are you so mean to me, Sethiekins? I'm just your friendly neighborhood bully. Probably got a bad home life. Bad self esteem. I just want attention. I just want a hug but my father, he never gives me one."

Steven stood up. The shoes moved.

"Come on, give us a hug."

The shoes came closer.

"Aww man, no hug?"

The shoes were almost touching his.

"So anyway, I got a question."

Black. White. Black. White.

"Tell me something, Sethiekins., if I was on fire, would you save me? Would you?"


He slammed his fist into Steven's solar plexus. Steven doubled over and Seth grabbed his shoulders and forced his head down. He brought his knee up hard and felt something crunch.

Steven stumbled backwards. Blood gushed from his nose. Seth pushed him down and jumped on him and his arms were hate and his fists were justice and the cement was red.

He brought his fists down again and again. The fire roared around him, white and orange and yellow and red, and his skin cracked and bubbled and turned black and fell away.

"All right, break it up! Break it up!"

Someone was yelling and there were arms around him and he was being dragged away from the flames.


He stopped struggling. She was there, standing next to Dustin as he helped Steven up.

Her eyes were blue and he was red and he wanted to tell her he was okay, he had stood up for himself, but no words came and then he was being dragged off to the principal's office.


He said the word to himself, tasting its flavor.

He was sitting on the floor in the hall, waiting for his mother. The hall was empty and he was alone and he glowed and hummed or was that the drink machine? He stared at it. It sat opposite him and there was the red label of the bottle and the blue and white of the ice and he remembered the feeling of Steven's face under his fists and he smiled.

He heard shoes clacking on the floor and then there she was. His mother. Here to pick him up.

He looked up at her and her forehead creased and he stood up and shrugged his bookbag on to his shoulders. He followed her to the doors, where she stopped and turned around.

"What happened?"

"He asked me if I would save him if he was on fire."

She sighed and her shoulders caved in on themselves. She opened the door and they went out and the cement sparkled white in the sun and it wasn't red, not here, and they got in the car.

The glow and the hum had disappeared. He gazed out the window, counting the telephone poles. One two three four.

They pulled in the driveway and she turned the car off and then she spoke.

"Look, Seth, I know it's hard. You know Jane, at work? Her sister died in the fire and she thinks that it should have been me and she's not shy about it. And believe me, sometimes I just want to haul off and hit her. But you can't do that, okay?"

He wanted to say "But I can do it and I did it and I would do it again and Caitlyn said I should" but he didn't. He didn't say anything.

She sighed again and they went in the house and he was almost to his room when she said "We're going to visit your father this weekend."

The cement was white and the shoes were black.

He went in his room and slammed the door.
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