By Susan Sage
Finn tightened the straps on his backpack as he got closer to his school. He snapped the plastic buckle across his chest. He didn’t know if it would hold, but he had to try. He couldn’t afford a backpack and his dad said he wouldn’t buy him another one.
Dad just didn’t understand. To him, it was about standing up for yourself. But then, Finn wasn’t built like Dad or his other brothers. They’d always teased that he was the runt of the litter, but there’s always a little truth in teasing, and Finn knew it.
As he rounded the brick wall that led to the front of doors, he heard steps on the sidewalk.
“Well, here we go again. How far do you think we’ll get this time?”
“Hey Madeline. I don’t know. Let’s try for our lockers.”
They heard the laughter and their names called out before seeing their tormentors.
They glanced at each other and each shrugged. “We didn’t make it.”
“Look at the lovebirds.”
“No, it’s the dweebs.”
“He’s got a new backpack.”
“Good. I need a new one.”
Madeline and Finn made eye contact, nodded, and started running. If they could make it up the cement stairs and through the doors, maybe they could get to Mrs. Weston’s classroom just inside.
But their legs didn’t get them that far and just like every other day since starting middle school, suddenly they were surrounded.
He felt his shoulder pushed then the straps from the pack pulled.
“Hey, this is a good pack. Nice and sturdy. It’ll come in handy when I beat your head with it if you don’t give it to me now.”
Laughter surged around them like water going down a drain. Someone kicked at Finn’s leg and he fell onto his back. Madeline leaned down.
“Aw look, the girlfriend’s going to help the weakling.”
Next thing he knew, Finn felt himself being lifted and set on his feet. I’m gonna die now.
“Leave our dweeb alone. Get your own punching bag.”
Finn looked up, and up some more, finally resting his eyes on a face he didn’t recognize.
Oh great. A new bully.
“He’s not a dweeb or a punching bag. Now leave them both alone.”
Finn shook his head. No one had ever stood up to these guys or for him before.
One of the regular bullies took a step toward the new guy.
“And are you going to make us? Looks like there’s one of you and six of us,” the bully named Brace laughed.
“Count again.” The new person whistled. Students Finn hadn’t seen began moving to surround the group.
“You see, we’re all tired of the bullying. From now on, you mess with one, you’ll face all of us. Together.”
The other bullies and Brace looked around. His eyes grew large as he continued looking at the number of students who’d suddenly appeared.
Finn watched Brace. God, help us out here. This could get really bad.
Brace looked at the new guy again, then he and his pals moved away through the group of students.
A cheer went up from everyone around Finn and Madeline.
“Thanks,” was all Finn could manage to say as he made eye contact with his rescuer.
“I’m Finn. Why’d you help us?”
“We all need help sometimes. Besides, you’re not the only ones they’ve bullied and we’re all tired of it. Besides, sometimes you just have to do what’s right because it’s right.”
Another cheer went up. Just then the first buzzer rang. The group began moving toward the school building.
Carter held out his fist and both Madeline and then Finn bumped his fist with their own.
“See ya later.” Carter ran off.
Finn turned and looked at Madeline whose eyes looked twice their size.
“Did that just happen?”
“Maybe we’ll make it through this and to high school after all, Madeline.”
Wow God, thanks. Finn looked up at the blue sky and white fluffy clouds. And they walked into the building carrying less weight than a few minutes earlier.
About the Author
New to north Idaho, Susan Sage and her husband are enjoying getting to know the new area. She continues to work on her craft writing about God’s purpose and sovereignty in all aspects of life. She enjoys writing devotionals and flash fiction. She enjoys mentoring other writers who are new to the craft.
You can read Susan’s flash fiction column on the 2nd Thursday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.