Flash Fiction: Chicken

First drafted over on Typetrigger.


I was a recluse by nature. My best natural strength is to hide — blend into the environment; Change was my enemy. Confrontation, my arch nemesis. In P.E. I would hang out near the back of the soccer field, and when the ball came into my jurisdiction I would do my best to clear space, and let the more brashy types take point. I wanted nothing to do with the ball. My team or the opposing team, they could have the ball if they wanted it that bad. In class I would sit by myself and refuse to put my hand up. I would eat lunch alone and read a good young adult novel where the kids were brave and went on adventures. It was a life I was never destined for.

Which is why the predicament I find myself in now, oddly amusing. I was about to get into a fight. The old weird kid versus the bully cliché  I’m surprised because I thought it would have happened a lot sooner in my educational life. I guess I blended in better than I thought, so much so even the bullies couldn’t see me on the sidelines.

But here he was, Bryan Morgan; five foot five with arms the size of goal posts, standing in front of me with one fist in the other, and a plaque ridden set of bared teeth.

This wasn’t an arranged fight. If so, I would have skipped out on school early today. No sir, today  apparently I was destined to knock over Bryan Morgan on the field on my way home from school. A crowd was already forming around our perimeter.

Knock over you ask? Well, I myself am a six-foot monster, but without the goal post arms to match. I’m a lanky fellow with a short, unnoticeable haircut. It wasn’t entirely my fault. Bryan was hanging out with his rugby mates, and was running to catch the ball. Some would say he got in my way. But then again I’m not in the First XV. I don’t get a say, let alone a jury.

Bryan stared me down as the rugby ball lay in the short grass a few feet away from us, and only another few feet from the goal post. I gripped my backpack tighter and mumbled an apology. He didn’t take that too kindly. His eyes widened and he spat at me — lucky for me the wind stopped it short and I was saved that one small disgrace. The crowd was bare apart from a few of Bryan’s mates and a few girls and boys who stopped by. Most kids had gone home by now. Boy, did I wish I had left early today. I imagined sitting at home, curled up with a good book. I was reading John Marsden’s The Dead of Night. That was when the first punch threw me and I landed in the grass. The shock didn’t have time to settle. I was still imagining what Ellie and company were up to, and whether they had gotten into more mischief since I had left them. I opened one eye to see Bryan standing over me. Now the pain had reached my eye socket. That would explain why one eye didn’t want to open.

Then I did what I knew best. What all my life experiences had taught me to. I crawled away. You read that right — undignified as I was pulling myself and my backpack along with me, I couldn’t’ see any other alternative. I just prayed he would see what a miserable insignificant being I was and just leave me alone.

Then something stomped my leg.

He obviously thought a wallflower like me was worth taking up his time. My leg twisted as pain swept through it. Bryan cursed violently and something thumped next to me on the ground. With my one good eye I spotted Bryan whose head was now all bloody. I looked up to see the goal post smeared with red. Bryan lay next to me with an almost serene look upon his face. As serene as an unconscious First XV bully could look.

When things settled back down and I was back at school, try as I might I couldn’t use my same old tricks. There was no escaping what had happened to me, what I caused to happen.

Innocently or not, I was the boy who killed Bryan Morgan.

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