What we deserve.
Amanda stopped for a moment, her eyes re-reading the spray paint. It wasn't in the normal graffiti fashion, taking up a small space below incomprehensible 'art' splattered across the half-wall for a good ten feet. Deciding it wasn't worth much thought, she lifted her bag strap and moved it over, attempting to relieve the never-ending feeling that it was about to slip right off of her shoulder.
Yawning, she walked over to the green-colored bench to wait for the bus. The day had been dreary, rain clouds blocking the sun from shining at its fullest down on humanity. The air was a gentle cool, a welcomed break from the constantly overly-warm weather. It was in these moments that she found herself looking around, almost mentally pleading for something to take her attention – something other than the essay waiting on her to complete it from the safety of her book bag.
Her eyes wandered around, tapping her feet for a moment. She didn't really care to be here all alone, but it wasn't really her decision. She hadn't deserved this treatment. Immediately, the words scrawled across the half-wall. She hadn't deserved this isolation.
"You're trying way too hard. Everyone can see it. Why would you dress like this?" Clawed fingers tugged at her brand new blouse. She swallowed, trying not to think of how her mother would react if she ruined it the very first day she wore it.
"It's picture day, everyone dresses up. At least I don't dress like you do." The words had left her mouth, full of spite. She realized her mistake in moments as the taller girl's expression changed. Another girl, slightly shorter with fake blond hair extensions appeared, her face reflecting the same anger as the first's.
"What was that?" The grip tightened. Amanda's jaw set.
"At least I don't dress like a slut all the time like you do." She hissed. That was always her weakness. Anger. It only took maybe a minute for the second girl to throw her left over soda in Amanda's face. In reaction, she spit, which, from whichever side you see it on, was either fortunate or the opposite, as it landed right on the first girl's shirt.
Inconveniently enough, the semi-secluded corner they were located in also housed the unsightly bright red trash cans. Amanda felt herself get pulled forward, then violently pushed back, falling directly towards the trash behind her. She hit the edge, bringing it down with her and succeeding in dumping two-hour old lunch leftovers on herself. By the time the teachers came, the other girls had come up with a wonderful two-witness story, and Amanda went home before her turn for her pictures.
After which her mother had her enrolled in a small alternative school that had no bus system of its own. So here she was.
She rubbed her eyes, sleepiness still claiming its hold. What they deserved... was something terrible. Amanda rested her head on the back of the bench and closed her eyes, trying to erase the thoughts. They weren't getting her anywhere.
A loud scream interrupted her hopes for peacefulness. It shook her to her very core and she jumped up onto her feet, feeling nothing but fear run its course through her veins. Her dark blue eyes looked around frantically, hoping to find the source of the terrifying sound. On her left, there was nothing but the empty street, going on for a length unknown to her. Her head whipped to the right.
She drew in a short breath, panicking in silence. She could see two people not too far down the road. One was hovered over the other. Her trembling hands began searching for her phone in her bag, and once she grasped it in her hand, she pulled it close to her, as if it would save her somehow. She paused. What if she was overreacting? She could get in real trouble with the police for a false alarm.
Amanda began her advance along the half-wall, hoping that she wouldn't be noticed. Quietly, she ordered her steps to get closer, advancing in on the two suspicious people. A person in a black hoodie raised their fist and made rough contact with the other person's face. Amanda gasped, then covered her mouth, her automatic reaction giving her away. Both people turned and stared at her.
The attacker's face was blank. There were, for her, no descriptive qualities. In her confusion, she looked to the one being attacked. Her eyes widened, something inside feeling like it was twisted. The newly-bruised face was none other than the girl who had ruined her outfit. The girl who harassed her daily for three months. Her eyes pierced through Amanda, making her advert her gaze. For whatever reason, she didn't want to move. She didn't want to see, or hear. She didn't want to run. She didn't want to do anything. A paper caught her eye. It was similar to a post-it note with something in black ink written on it. Another was in the attacker's hand.
A sudden burst of wind broke the moment, and the note carried over to her, gently hitting the toe of her shoe, then resting on the pavement before it. Slowly, she bent over and picked it up, her fingers shaking slightly.
Tormenting Amanda. After the words registered in her brain, her fingers jumped, releasing the note. She looked up in time to see the attacker raise their fist again, coming in contact with her tormenter. Words left the person's mouth, but she couldn't make them out. Another note fell to the ground.
Finally, words came to Amanda's quivering lips. "Stop." She said softly, unsure of her own words. It was then that the attacker paused, then stood straight up, leaving her enemy on the ground. Amanda backed up as the person came closer.
A disturbing smile spread across its face. "But isn't this what you've wanted?" Her breath caught. She couldn't respond. "You shouldn't stop me. She's getting what she deserves for everything she's ever done. You wouldn't want that to come on you, right? Because everyone believes that they deserve some wonderful life where they're treated as perfect, where they're always respected, always loved, always popular, always well-fed, always wonderful. Everyone deserves a good life. That's what you all believe within yourselves, isn't it. The truth is, unfortunately for your cute ideals, that what you deserve is punishment for every mistake you made. You deserve to be beaten until you're unrecognizable, to understand the full weight of what you've done. And in the end, to die."
Amanda's heart was beating rapidly, tears from the attacker's words welling up in her eyes. She swallowed over and over, hoping that it would turn its eyes elsewhere. Her wish was granted as the attacker went back to the other girl, who was still trembling on the sidewalk. Amanda stared, wide-eyed. This person.. thing... intended to kill her? She...
"She doesn't deserve to die! Or... or even to be hurt like that." The words sounded weak as they left her lips. All it did was make the attacker laugh. A deep laughter. One that shook the ground a little.
"Didn't I just tell you? You don't know what all she's done!" With that, the attacker threw piles and piles of sticky notes into the air. It somehow seemed like they were raining down from the sky. Amanda's eyes quickly turned to the girl, who looked terrified. She began attempting to grab the papers, as if it would somehow save her from being exposed.
Sympathy and judgment passed through her heart in seconds. She had done all this? Yet... to be put under that kind of punishment was unbearable. Still laughing, the attacker came back to Amanda, fear rising to her throat.
"What? You think that's a lot? Compared to what? You?" Amanda's eyes widened as more sticky notes were produced from the inside of the hoodie pockets and thrown over her head. Something came over her and she shrieked, dropping down to her knees and covering her head with her hands. The thing's laugh echoed and she heard the words on each note. They described her spite. Her hatred. Her lies. Her betrayal. Her inexcusable actions.
A snap filled the air momentarily and the sounds stopped. Amanda, quivering, opened her eyes slowly, fearfully. Her long-forgotten cellphone laid on the pavement, broken in half before her. But beyond that, she realized all of the sticky notes were gone.
Shoes. Jeans. Shirt. Hair. Her eyes slowly traveled upwards, seeing the person who had stood in front of her. Immediately, her eyes closed again and she gripped her head tighter as the person in front of her was taking a beating.
Spite. Forgiven. Hatred. Forgiven. Lies. Forgiven. Betrayal. Forgiven.
The words met her ears and tears began to stream from her eyes.
The offense was sounded. Resenting her father for leaving the family. The hit was received. Another word, repeated constantly. Forgiven. Stealing from her friend's house. Hit. Forgiven.
The process continued, causing cries to leave her as this other person took on her punishments. She knew that thing was going to come after her. The things she had done... the things she deserved.
For taking pleasure in the other girl's pain. Hit. Forgiven.
Silence filled the air once more and she watched as a torn sticky note floated to the ground separately. Blood covered the tear on both pieces. The attacker had gone somewhere. The other girl had disappeared, but she noticed the note from before. Tormenting Amanda. It was torn as well, covered in blood, the words only recognizable because she had seen them before. To anyone else, they would be incomprehensible.
A hand reached down. Amanda stared, shaking from what had happened. Slowly, she lifted her hand and was helped up by the one who had taken her punishment.
"Why?" It was the only thing that could leave her mouth. He pulled her into a hug, a warm comforting wrapping all around her. She felt a relief, like something heavy was taken away from her. Again, tears flowed down her cheeks, but not from fear or pain, but from a comforted peace.
"Because I love you." He responded.
A loud honking noise snapped Amanda awake and she snapped up to her original position. She searched around. The bus was in front of her. The driver was waving at her to hurry up. Quickly, she wiped away the tear that had found its way on her cheek and rushed onto the bus and to her normal seat.
The girl was gone. The attacker was gone. It was a dream.
But He was still there.