Sam knew there was trouble as soon as Mr Thomas closed the door. Sam had never intended to let the incident turn out the way it did. He wished every waking moment that he had walked straight down the road instead of taking that dreadful shortcut that drastically changed his life. That day, Sam started the day hoping it would just be an ordinary, boring school day: his wishes were obviously ignored. The school day passed by with uneventful minutes as he tried to ignore the threats and harsh sentences spitefully directed at him.

He felt like the clock was taunting him as he could swear the hands were purposely moving leisurely to prolong the torturous day. Sam Newly was always a prize target of bullies as he never had any friends and usually wore dirty, second-hand clothes that the bullies used as ammunition for endless insults. The bell finally rang, with it came its horrendous echo that pierced Sam’s mind. Even though he heard the bell ring, it did not register what it actually signified. It was not until after the whole class had stampeded out of the classroom that Mr.

Thomas, the head teacher, realized that Sam was still sitting at his desk. Mr. Thomas got up off his heavily imprinted chair, gently put his hand on Sam’s shoulder, and politely told him that it was okay to leave the classroom. Sam, though still dazed, got up and edged silently out wearing his same old default, vacant expression. He reached the path that passed through the park and saw a man walking towards him. At first, Sam did not acknowledge the man, but something made his spine shiver with an enigmatic force. He looked at the stranger. Sam stopped abruptly. He realised it was Mr. Narrats.

There were many rumours and accusations about his supposed criminal record in which he was named as a sex offender. He was like the ‘Boo Radley’ of the town. Everybody hated him. Everybody gossiped about him. Everybody avoided him. Yet, not one person knew him. No one was sure who his victims were or how he came about this town, but everyone stayed clear of him. Old widows who had nothing else better to do other than victimise innocent locals usually started the rumours. They had once told the town that Sam was a drug dealer who would spend his weekends threatening younger children into buying drugs.

Because of this, Sam was able to empathise with Mr. Narrats, as they had both been the prey of rumours, if that is what they were. Without a thought, Sam darted off to the left that led to the back alleys. It almost seemed like an automatic reaction to the presence of Mr. Narrats, as his whole body jolted out of sight. Sam was walking expeditiously, as if to avoid any puddles or dog excrement so he could get out of the labyrinth of back lanes behind the houses. Walking less conspicuously now, he came to a cross roads where he came to a halt at the intense screaming and clattering in the alley to left.

With no expression on his face except wide eyes and a pale face, he reluctantly turned to face the direction of the uproar as if some supernatural force was pulling him towards it, connected like the Moon to the tide. Each step he took felt like a journey, every small sound echoed like a hurricane and every intake of breathe felt like a transgression. He finally reached the point of no return within his faux escapade as he laid his eyes upon the architect of the shrill noise. He peered over the boxes that he hid behind and saw Billy Mason. Billy Mason was the town criminal, or as he was dubbed by the gossips “The Mischief Manager”.

He liked to think he owned the town and he could get away with anything, unfortunately this was true most times. He saw himself as a puppeteer among the locals as he liked to manipulate and deceive everyone he met. Billy looked menacingly down towards the cowering girl, the emotion on his face showed that he was grotesquely enjoying this act of punishment. Sam’s eyes shifted towards the girl lying exposed on the ground, too afraid to look Billy in the eye, in case he would bewitch her by looking into his soul that can only be described as being an abyss bursting with anger and rage.

Sam let out an inaudible gasp as he realized that the beaten girl was Ashley Ann. She was the only person he knew that actually felt sorry for him and helped him a few times when he got into fights at school. He had strong feelings towards her but was convinced, that it was not love as he thought love was incomprehensible at such a young age. All she was able to do was keep herself from being completely controlled by his superiority as all it would take is one look into Billy’s soulless eyes and it would feel like all your humanity has been drained.

Still looking on, Sam saw that the forever-frivolous Billy had pulled her up by her hair and she stood nearly dangling in the air. He let go of the brick he had obviously used to craft the bruises on her arms and legs and had grabbed her face to make her stare into his eyes. Her tears were now streaming down Billy’s hand as they were caught in the inescapable rivalry of their eyes. Ashley Ann’s words awoke the monstrous sin of jealousy within Sam’s heart as she uttered “I am sorry” to Billy. A devilish smile spread across Billy’s face like an outbreak of disease.

Billy knew that he had overpowered the frail girl and had won an unfair fight. Sam became instantly furious and clenched his knuckles to try to drain his hatred and feelings of vengeance away. He continued to stand while his mind was imploding at the replay of the recent actions in his mind. Billy pulled Ashley’s face towards his and embraced in a kiss. It looked like Billy was not really enjoying the kiss itself, but saw it more as a souvenir of his triumph. Sam started to question everything in his mind at the sight of this repulsive deed. How could someone so pure and unadulterated love someone so malevolent?

Was she forced into loving him? Why did he continue to stand there? Why was he doing nothing? Why? Determined to snap out of these thoughts of perplexities, Sam threw his gaze off the deluded couple and started scurrying around for a weapon. He did not know what he was going to do after he confronted the corrupted Neanderthal, or even if what he was about to would be the right thing to do. There was a sudden clatter of dustbins that came from the alley in which Sam had previously walked down but he had assumed it was just a few wild cats searching for food.

Seeing a broken plank of wood that had three nails protruding from it, Sam had the idea that he would be able to use it as a weapon against Billy. With two nails coming out one side and one from the other, he thought that if he were to attack Billy and missed, he could retreat the plank backwards and hopefully catch him with the lone nail. Overcome with self-realization as what he was about to seemed to be some sort of heroic act instead of always having to be the ‘damsel in distress’. Even though he had no idea what the outcome would be of his imminent actions, he had never felt so alive before in his life.

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