Sitting in an empty room, trying to forget the past. It was an attempt of titans, one which was going to lead me to nowhere. All those mystic elements of using your psyche to change the situation of your environment, to change your circumstances. It was just a lightless tunnel’s thinking.
In the office of the psychologist, I was sat waiting, again in those awful wooden chairs, for the verdict of what would come of auxiliary judgment. My face was burning from all the slaps I had been assaulted with, while the bones of my fists crawled in underskin bruises. At least this gave me peace as I knew the same was around his own face and even worse. Yea, I liked the insight of that as now it made me feel a bit better to the extent of damage I had done. It didn’t matter if they’d remove me from this school, what was worse was if they’d put me in some kind of psych ward or try treat me for insanity… And, what about Vania? Would it mean I had failed my jo—
The door swung open and the coos of the psychologist carried words to the person I was least expecting. Immediately sitting up in protest, I pointed at Pietre and shouted.
“What’s he— Why here?! He did this, don’t you see?” As the psychologist scorned, I realized I had let my emotions take over, thus, further giving evidence to my potential lack of grasp upon reality.
So I just stared at the cleaned face and gauze in Pietre’s nose and wanted to ask if he needed a hand of fixing his face, but such was kept indoors for another time when no one was around. Damn crafty son of a spawn, he was pretty bright after all.
Pietre took a seat next to me and I could smell the freshness of his dark blood. It was eerie being so close to this kid, and in a way it was surreal, as if I were trapped in an inescapable nightmare.
The psychologist took a chair and put herself nearby in a tolerant intertwine of her legs. Her eyes examined us both with the sigh of severity, and she took upon her clasped hands.
“The gravity of today is immense. Awareness dictates: both of you are the instigators of this clash. I want the truth. Slavi, what made you do what you did today?” She wanted to know both our stories, so such meant there was no bias, hopefully.
“He strayed to us, told me I was a dog and Vania a…” I didn’t know if I should say this, but she wanted the truth, “gypsy. Then, he attacked Vania, and I shook him. But then he said…” my tongue fell into my throat in my inability to express the words used just hours ago on that school yard. The raw emotion which had possessed me as a demon gave glistens, and I considered the impassive deadness Pietre was giving the pristine floor.
“Shit abandoned by his mother, dog… waste of space.” My fists wanted more, they wanted to give his face more love and affection to his actual wasteful existence, but I knew it’d be the dumbest thing to do. He even had the audacity to just stare like that and not react? Did he even have a tiny speckle of emotion within himself or was it all just a way to play his chess.
“I see. Pietre, I need you to tell me what happened.” The impassiveness disappeared, and emotion filled his bruised face. He didn’t appear panicked or shocked, more like… ready.
“I heard him saying to Vania he didn’t want to be her friend, because she’s bourgeoisie. Her opinion’s high of him. He told her she was a hypocrite. I tried to intervene, and he did this.” Pietre adjusted his jaw, blood exposed around all his saliva and tongue. “I haven’t said those words, but I did try to disable him from abusing her—” I couldn’t stand for his shit any second longer.
“Yea? How about we reach for her side!” I shouted at him, fists trembling. The psychologist was ready to pounce and split us apart, but I crossed my arms and just stood in glares.
“You mu— can ask her, but she’s terrified and wouldn’t want to give any reasons for him to hurt her…” I wanted to object to the defamation, but keeping quiet was the best weapon in front of a judge, especially after putting forth your case. Yes, this wasn’t about us, this was about who was to be blamed for everything, this was about who’d take the stones over the head, the shackles around their hands and feet.
“Interesting,” the psychologist mentioned and took off from her seat. “Comrade Emilova, proceed.” The door creaked shyly and the body of the teacher I viewed in detest slid in, apparent confusion stalking.
“Is there something the matter? I don—”
“Take a seat.” The strictness wasn’t present in the math teacher, as the psychologist was somehow reeking this respect and iron control over the situation. The teacher did as instructed and picked away some rogue string from her skirt. Wasn’t she too old for this crap?
“In this recent conundrum, comrade Emilova, I have to inquire of you to tell me what happened in your class last week upon Monday.” Emilova’s guilt scratched itself upon the back of her head.
“Huh? We had a class of mathematics, solved a lot of practical tasks and… that’s the answer.” She wasn’t even being humble, saying a lot this a lot that, when most she did was pick her nose and do what she cared about. No wonder I couldn’t even bother to take her opinion even for a tiny second.
“Have any complications in class occurred between these two on the set date?”
“Them? No! I take great pride in discipline by following the statute of the school and our glorious leaders!”
“Is it possible that you, by any chance, had not been present while the possible disruption between these two has happened? Like not being in the classroom?” Why was there hesitation on this old hag’s face? Of course she wasn’t there!
“No such thing. I wouldn’t leave my workplace even if I had a reason to. It’s my duty to serve the people and the future generations.” Old lying hag! Serving the future generations by filling her teeth with filth, eh? I could see the skepticism in the air, but it would’ve been insane for me to say the teacher had been lying, since my word was dirt compared to the word of an experienced staff member of the school. I couldn’t hold off my fists’ trembles, and the psychologist visibly took note of it. This was going to Siberia too quickly.
“Yes. Comrade Emilova, can you accompany me?” The old hag sprung as if branded, and the excitement for having dodged the droplets was streaking down her wrinkled, fake face and pink glasses. My finger craved to point at her and spill the words fraud, false, wicked, despicable… yet all it did was scratch the itch on my leg. Pietre was still in his own world, but I knew he was watching me peripherally through calmness and ice.
The two adults blabbered silently outside, leaving me and this filthy kid alone, the only presence of security being the muffled words of those aged. Maybe I could try and defuse the situation while he was bound by the lack of action, as it was a smart way to find more about how he functioned.
“This’s both shaking us lots of trouble, Pietre. You’d rather be anywhere else, I agree.” I managed to get his attention, his greys apathetically waiting for further words to crawl out. “Let’s just throw this and deal on with our lives. What do you say?” I put my hand closer to him, gesturing the end of terror and hate, but then he grabbed the gauze from his nose and threw it at me, his filthy blood leaving a stain on my cheek.
“You think you’re tough? Leper. Anorexic fool trying to stray like something he ain’t. I’ve known others like you, perverted fucks enjoying getting pummeled until they’re crying blood.” I was vibrating with the bitterness of organic intimidation. Who the hell did this bony idiot think he was? He was nothing more than an urban wretch, nothing more than phlegm.
Yet, he was smiling almost inhumanely, the edge of his lips as if cutting further into his face, while his hands grabbed the bottom of his baggy shirt, lifting it up and exposing a sight which made me flinch and gag.
His stomach, as if gutted and sewn back together, the many traces of healed scars forming borders of fleshy history, while crevices of missing skin spoke of deep stab wounds.
What was this… what had he went through?! How was he alive, and why, why was his body riddled with this agony? His body spoke more than his tongue, and my intimidation felt like a feather against rock. There was no comparison or competition to be made, this kid had gone through more than I could view as possible.
And that struck my survival instinct. I wanted out, now. I jumped off the chair, seeking the exit for my body, but the moment I had done that, Pietre was in front of me, holding in his hands nothing but a stance of power and vengeance, the blood from his nose crawling into his mouth.
Shout, run, live.
But in the span of my thoughts, his grin spoke how he needed to show me my misplaced views. Then, my leg was pierced by this force, which got my lungs to explode and body to fall back as it was pushed mercilessly by his filth.
The adults were back in the room in no time, as it was a squeal which would’ve woken Lenin from his grave. Did he just break my bone?! How!
“By the amygdala … why’s he on the floor!” shouted the psychologist in distress to her lack of control. I wanted to answer, but was bested by my pain.
“Stubbed his leg on the chair. Bad bruise from football,” Pietre said with emotion and I could see his fakely troubled eyes as he tried to pick me up, but all I did was hit his arms in the flee of reflexivity.
“He hit me, I don’t have a bruise!” I hissed, still squirming on the floor, tho the agony was subsiding from the core of my marrow.
“Get up,” the psychologist ordered and pulled my body to sit on the chair, her glare trying to find the deceit in my intentions, yet still she couldn’t make on what was actually going on. She sat again, motioning to my math teacher, slash hag, to leave and close the door. This was deepening of becoming something too big.
“The hostilities between the two have proven to be a dissonant tract for violence and disobedience. Blame cannot be solely pinned, so what you’re both advised to do is to join the Komsomol youth this summer. Otherwise, you’re going to be expunged from this institution.”
But, how was this going to fix anything?! This… devil didn’t care if he’d get removed or not. He was even searching for where I exactly lived… And now I had to go and work in the fields, harvesting until my hands bled? For free?
“I’ll talk with your headteacher as to review what more should be undertaken to make you both learn that this is unacceptable behavior. Am I understood, Pietre, Slavich?”
“Yes, comrade Nikiforova,” we both droned in unison of robotic rigor, and then I was asked to leave, while Pietre remained with her. I was supposed to go to class, but my feet only carried me to safety, which was anywhere else where Pietre wouldn’t be able to find me.
It was an old block basement, away from the school and orphanage, in which I could crawl my way in, using a big enough hole that dogs tended to be lured into during the frost days of winter. I had my suspicions for the freedom of entry and its concept, as usually you’d not see the same dog ever again. Nothing could prove my doubt, but the lack of fangs in my legs was comforting enough as I rested on the dusty-abandoned mattress in someone’s basement-disrepaired, carton layering spread above it.
Here the roaches were half my fist and sometimes I’d wake up thinking I’m being chewed on by these heat-loving creatures. But now, they were my guardians, the darkness was my cloak, the coldness was my alarm and the destruction was my home.
I wasn’t going to suffer the consequences of my mistakes.
With a calm breath, I fell asleep with my hefty knife in my hand.