walk | 006
| ∞ |
Professor Winchester found him, later in the day, curled up on the couch in his consultation room. His eyes were squeezed shut and there were pillows squished against his ears. Nathan was still in his running attire – a grey hoodie and sweatpants. His sea-green bag lay abandoned on the floor, leaning against the couch’s leg. His previously sweat soaked towel was strewn on the armchair that faced the couch Nathan was lying on.
He desperately wanted to sigh but he wouldn’t because (one) it would be rude and (two) it wouldn’t help Nathan’s case. Professor Winchester pinched a tiny part of the towel and threw it across the room, watching it land on one of the potted plants. He lowered himself into the chair, watching Nathan carefully when he stopped whimpering. He had known what was wrong for a long time but he didn’t have any jurisdiction to give him the medication he needed to make everything stop.
“Make it stop,”
Nathan’s eyes, rich dark chocolate swirls, brimmed with unshed tears. It was unusual for the green-eyed professor to witness a seventeen year old crying and even more unusual for him to catch the esteemed Nathan Wu crying. He had always been the strong one, the sarcastic one, and the one that knew how to push himself just past his limit to achieve the things he wanted to get done. The fact that he was already preparing for medical school at the age of seventeen said something about his genius ability to outsmart the professor himself.
The professor crouched down beside Nathan. “Try to tune it out, Nathan. Close your eyes and tune it out. Let’s try that. Just tune it out.”
“I-I can’t.” he cried, pillows now discarded on the floor and replaced with his hands. “His voice just won’t leave me alone. Get him out of my head!”
“Okay, okay, Nathan. Deep breaths now, inhale and exhale. Think about something else; imagine the sound of waves crashing onto the shore. Relax…”
After five minutes of coaxing, the Asian boy had finally calmed down. With the professor getting him a can of coke from the vending machines outside, he finally had room to breathe again. He shuddered even in his hoodie, drawing in his breaths with a tremble and exhaling each with a sigh. The routine was getting tiresome and Nathan wanted everything to stop. He dropped his face into his hands, balancing his elbows on his thighs. Even after the voice left, he still couldn’t get that one sentence out of his head.
“I’ll follow you to your grave.”
“How long has it been since you’ve taken your meds?”
The voice broke him out of his reverie and Nathan’s head snapped up; there was confusion written across his face. “Sorry, what?”
“How long have you stopped taking your meds?” the professor repeated, eyes glued onto the boy’s face as he lowered himself into the armchair. He handed Nathan his coke and watched as a look of panic flashed across his face quickly.
“What are you talking about?” Nathan asked, exasperated.
Professor Winchester heaved a sigh. “Look, I have your file from your psychiatrist. You’ve stopped taking your medications for a month now. I’m guessing it’s because they were making you sick and bloated. Am I right?”
“Oh, those meds.” he breathed. “I kept puking but I gained weight at the same time. It just didn’t make sense. So I stopped taking the medication and started throwing them out. I’m actually pretty surprised that Jason didn’t notice the pills at the bottom of the trash. I’ve replaced everything with mints and he didn’t notice.”
“He’s a fifteen year old boy with his own problems. Finding pills at the bottom of the trash would’ve been the least of his worries.” Professor Winchester said.
Nathan scoffed. “Yeah, well I should’ve been complaining about him studying every night non-stop but I don’t and I have yet to. I’m a compassionate roommate, if not friend. He’s not the one seeing his childhood bully everywhere and hearing him whisper in your ear everyday like clockwork.”
“Your roommate is battling insomnia and drug addiction. Either way, I highly doubt you have the right to decide if you have your issues worse than him.” The silence that filled the room felt as though an elephant had just barged in. “What do you see or hear, Nathan?” came the softer question that broke the pregnant pause.
“Him. Always him.” Nathan retracted into his shell once more. “I hear him call me names again, telling me he’ll follow me to my grave. Sometimes I’d see him in the corner of a room, laughing at me. Sometimes he’d even come close enough to touch me. I can’t do this anymore. Taking those meds makes me sick but not taking them makes me crazy. I just–” he sighed. “– I just can’t think of how I can overcome this thing. If I’m not already labeled crazy, this thing will drive me nuts.”
He looked at Professor Winchester dead in the eyes, a crazed glint in them. “Everyday like clockwork – tick tock, tick tock.
| ∞ |
January 31st, 2012
He should’ve known that getting shoved into a locker would be daily routine now. What with the normal sneers and the normal laughter, he was used to being pushed around like some rag doll by the football team and basically the rest of the school. Well… sans his teachers and his extremely tiny gang of friends – Timothy Fox and Pauline Harper. That and the fact that he was the proclaimed science prodigy that the principal never thought would have trouble being in a class of sixteen to seventeen year olds who loved to torture everyone they deemed fit.
So, as he was thrown into a locker for the fourth time that day, Nathan decided that maybe getting out of this hellhole would be the best chance of survival but it would undecidedly need a miracle. The fact that he was also a giant sarcastic douchebag didn’t help his case of winning over the entire school too. Both plans were thrown out of the window and so were his books.
“What are you having for lunch later, Wu? More kimchi? Or maybe your dad decided that wantons would be a better fit for some noodles.” came the voice, snarky and full of obnoxious laughter. “God, what kind of Asian idiot are you?”
“Well,” Nathan brushed off invisible lint and dust off his shirt. “I happen to be the smartest and youngest kid in the class. You, on the other hand, happen to be the oldest and dumbest. Get off my case, Jimmy.”
Jimmy McCarthy let out a bark of laughter before shoving Nathan into another locker, his arm pressing against the kid’s throat. His feet weren’t touching the ground. Jesus Christ, this kid was nuts. Not only did he not know how to throw an insult, he didn’t know how to properly bully someone. And for that, Nathan was thankful. He didn’t need anyone learning how to bully him anytime soon. Two more years and he’d be out of this crap-hole and in college.
“Hey!” a loud voice rang through the halls. “Put the kid down.”
The crowd that Nathan hadn’t noticed was there parted, allowing him to catch a glimpse of his worst nightmare. The guy at the end of the hall’s features was stiff but his lips were curled into a smirk. His letterman jacket stood out the most with its brilliant vermillion color. Oh shit, he cursed internally. Oh shit, shit, shit. I am so dead.
He struggled against the chokehold Jimmy had him in, trying to escape his death that had started to stride over quickly when he saw Nathan twist and turn. Before he even knew it, a kick landed against his stomach and he collapsed to the ground. His gasps were hidden under the layer of collective laughter from the crowd. Before he could push himself up, a foot swept his hand off the floor, causing him to face plant into the ground once more.
Pain shot up his wrist. Nathan’s sheen of unshed tears glistened as he cradled his wrist to his chest, rolled onto his back. His fear increased as well as his panic when the familiar face of his bully came into view. This person wasn’t another Jimmy, no, he was much worse. He actually knew how to bully someone, how to make someone break under whatever torturous methods he used. For the first time that day, Nathan felt terror shoot up his veins.
He bent down over Nathan’s trembling figure, a foot pinning his other hand down. The injured wrist lay atop the boy’s chest and he smirked, kicking it away, causing it to land on the floor with a loud thud. All those comebacks he had prepared on the tip of his tongue had been swallowed. He was going to die right now and his parents wouldn’t be there to cry at his funeral.
“Missed me, Wu?” Xavier Reynolds smirked, his face inches away from the cowering boy. “’Cause I definitely missed this.”
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