The Breaking Point
By Catrina Wolfe
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Disclaimers: This story and the characters in it are mine and may not be reproduced in any format without my permission.
Copyright, December 2012. All rights reserved.©
Feedback: After the contest.
Jodie backed away slowly from her locker, her heart thudding in her chest and her eyes those of a frightened deer in the headlights. She knew what was coming and could feel her world narrowing to that single word spray painted for the world to see on her grey locker. The word “Dyke” swam in pink swirls through the tears she tried hard not to shed. Her things were in there but she couldn’t make herself go any closer to get them out. The laughter behind her made her turn slowly. A part of her knew she should fight them, force them to stop, but the rest of her was so tired. She could never beat them, no matter what she tried there were just too many of them. This past year she had learned how to blend into the shadows as much as possible just to avoid the teasing and taunting but it never seemed to work. She was only ever invisible to the people who walked the halls and saw them hurt her and looked straight through it like it wasn’t even happening. She was invisible for a savior but never for the bullies.
The group of teenagers behind her laughed mockingly at her reaction.
“How do you like your new décor J?”
“Yeah we worked real hard on it for you.”
“Aren’t you going to thank us?” Kylie, a popular junior asked as she circled her.
“Leave me alone.” Jodie pleaded softly.
“Careful there Kylie, you get too much closer and she might just start panting after you. I think she’s got a crush on you,” Rick laughed.
“You have a point. The amount of perversion in her mind just grosses me out.” Kylie shuddered, looking at Jodie as if she were a dead frog in the middle of the hall.
“Don’t worry Kylie no matter how perverted you think my mind is I’d rather eat garbage than touch an entire school’s sloppy seconds and that’s all you are,” Jodie shot back before she could stop herself.
As soon as the words left her mouth she regretted them. Kylie and her boyfriend were the ringleaders of the group and she had just offended them both. The punch to her mouth hurt and without thinking it through she hit back landing two punches to Kylie’s face.
“You’re dead bitch,” Rick growled as he made a grab for her.
Jodie shot out of his grasp and raced down the hall holding her calculus books like a football under her arm. She didn’t even pause by the teachers’ lounge knowing from experience they wouldn’t be much help. The thunder of their footfalls behind her filled her ears and her world narrowed to getting distance between herself and what sounded like an army coming to kill her.
She was sobbing as she pushed open the school doors and ran down the parking lot. She quickly glanced back to see them gaining on her. Even if she had a car there was no way she would have enough time to get into it and drive off. The futility of escape made her feet feel like lead. Her chest heaved from exertion and tears as she ran down the sidewalk heading home even though she knew there was no way she could run that far and no one would be there to protect her even if she could make it.
They were gaining on her, she could feel it even before rough hands threw her to the ground. Cars were passing by but like in school, she didn’t hold out much hope that anyone would stop and help her. She was invisible and her tormentors knew it. Too tired to fight them anymore she lay there covering her face as they kicked her and then, she was in too much pain to struggle, Rick and Travis picked her up and carried her to the dumpsters behind the school.
“You said you’d rather eat garbage well here’s your chance,” Rick grinned as they flung her inside with the trash.
Jodie stayed there, curled in a ball sobbing long after they were gone. No matter how much she tried to get her brain to make her body move she just couldn’t summon the energy and after an hour she realized she no longer cared if she stayed with the trash forever it was better than ever going back to school.
Her parents were still at work when she finally trudged home her clothes reeking of filth. Stripping she took a shower, too numb to feel the heat of the water as it pounded down her back. Pulling on her washed out Achmed sweatshirt with the catch phrase “Silence! I Keeel Yooou” tackily stuck on to it by her brother as a joke and her favorite jeans, she climbed into bed and curled into as small a ball as she could make. She was asleep when her mother came to check on her but nightmares of being chased and taunted woke her up at 3:00am. Rain pounded on the windows echoing the storm going on inside of her.
Pushing back the covers she turned on the light and quietly cleaned up her room like her mom had been demanding all week. She made the bed knowing she wouldn’t be sleeping there again that night. How could it ever get better when the same people who stood silently by and looked the other way would be the people who would be working alongside her later on? Those bullies would form part of the adult population and she would always be hunted. It wasn’t just school that didn’t care, it was everyone.
She couldn’t find boxes so she pulled out the suitcases from her closet quietly and carefully labeled them so her parents would know what went where. Once she had packed most of her things away she laid the dress her aunt had bought last year for Easter service that she had never worn, on the bed. She hated dresses but her mom and aunt had thought it was cute on her and she figured wearing it for eternity would make up for not wearing at all before.
Careful not to make any noise that would disturb her parents she crept down to the basement where her dad kept his tools and successfully found what she had been looking for, rope. As she slowly walked back to her room she looked around the house she knew she would never see again, saying goodbye to the memories within. She could just make out the stereo set with the rack of DVDs next to it her dad had gotten for Christmas a few years ago, that day they had cranked up the volume and danced around the house. The outline of the living room where they had mandatory “movie night” once a month seemed as empty as she felt shrouded in the darkness of the night. Finally, she walked past her parents closed door and taped a note for them there. When she had written it, she had tried to find a way to let them know it wasn’t their fault, there was nothing more they could have done, she was simply too tired to find the strength to face another day.
Making a noose and sticking her head through it she looked around her bedroom, a room that still held parts of what made her who she was and burned the images into her memory, holding it close to her heart as comfort for an end that wasn’t always quick and might turn painful.
Maybe she would be lucky next time around and get a different lot in life. She closed her eyes and wished with her entire being that if she got reincarnated she could come back strong so that no one would ever be able to make her feel the way she felt right at this moment and then with her eyes still closed she took a deep breath and jumped.