Waters under the bridge
Ever wonder what it’s like to be an only child that has been neglected and abused by the ones who are suppose to care and love for you? Having no one to be there for you, leaving you to deal with the chaos that comes with being a victim of an abusive past all alone. The judgements, ridicules and continued abuses that come years after from peers. It all takes a heavy toll on the heart. The one thing strong enough to forgive and yet weak enough to hate.
Sandy was one of those girls. A sad, lonely girl born with a heavy heart burnt by those around her in the form of physical and emotional abuse. She was born a victim and was viewed that way all her life. Shy, petite, weak and lost. Always hiding her tear swollen face under hooded sweatshirts and hats. She was continuously bullied by victims themselves. The weak preying on the weaker with not one thought into making others feel less like nothing and more like something, as they all wished themselves.
Even wolves had more compassion for their kind. They made sure the weak were never left behind or fell victim to predators. Humans didn’t think of themselves as pack animals, yet they longed for companionship and support. Some cultures more pack like than others. The strength of a pack was needed for all, but not given without a price. Life important only when dead.
Sandy often retreated to a place where she belonged or where she felt she was most accepted, alone. With slow, sad strides she dragged herself to her favourite spot under a bridge. Her safe spot with a calm narrow river flowing beneath it. Pine and maple trees surrounded and kept her well hidden from curious eyes.
She cried often, maybe too often. So much that she could have filled the river with her tears of pain with no end in sight. She often imagined the stream to be made of her own tears. Swimming in them like Alice in wonderland. She felt she was always drowning and only wished to be accepted and not ridiculed. Acknowledged that her past was not the result of her own doing. She did not want it to be used against her as a continuous reminder of those who constantly fail her. It was hard for her to make light of being used at the expense of others selfishness. She didn’t know how to grow from it. Instead she let herself be torn by it, going deeper into resentment.
She didn’t want to believe that she was born to be a punching bag for others. She didn’t want to accept that destiny. No person should be used as a tool for others lack of control. But for some reason life didn’t seem interesting enough to those who needed to fill their egos. They had to make others feel miserable and helpless like they often felt themselves. It seemed to empower them to belittle others. But in reality they were less human in those moments than their victims. Monsters is what she thought of them.
Divide and conquer was the strategy many used. Putting another down and exposing their past abuse as something to be used against their character in the present. Something that made them not fit for the group.
She was an abused child taken to live in a group home. Away from everyone and everything she knew. Alone to experience more of what she was taken away from. To live with those of the same fate. Life was not fair. She took the abuse inward with no avenue to express her thoughts without the issue of it being used against her in the future. She let it out in a stream of tears hidden under the bridge where there was no one to witness her sorrows.
She wished with every once of her being to be given a chance to revenge on her bullies. Often dreaming of ways that were satisfying to her. Some would end in tragedies and others with a subtle slap or verbal degradation. She could never actually bring herself to do the things her mind imagined but she sure wished she had the courage to give them a piece of it. However, the mind can only take so much abuse before it snaps itself in half. Others often drive others insane and call them crazy for being pushed that far. Crazy making crazy.
Sandy dreamt to be in their shoes and them in hers. How perfect would her life be if that were possible. To have that kind of power to switch. She imagined at times that she did have that power and how she would act and the things she could do. Since her mind was darkened with hatred, she relished in the thought of ruining their lives as they did hers. Her heart pained with the anger and frustration that she felt with life itself. Her anger turning her like the others, victims lashing out at other victims turning the world into what her therapist would call ‘The Predator Victims’.
One rainy fall day Sandy finds herself under the bridge crying as usual from words said with intent to hurt her. She just wanted a break from it all, but she didn’t know how. She only knew how to cry and keep her thoughts to herself. Under the bridge she was shelter from the cries of the clouds but not from the tears of her eyes. The rain was soothing to her ears and drowned out her sobs.
Nearby a shiny gold pen washes on the shore. It gleams in the light catching her eye. She picks it up and briefly inspects it. She never had a gold pen before and wondered if it was real gold or just a fancy pen. Either way, she liked it and wanted to keep it. She didn’t notice anyone around and felt safe to do so. It was heavy, solid and had leaves and vines intricately carved on it. It was indeed a nice pen. Looked like it would have been a gift to someone. She was curious as to how it got in the stream and why anyone would want to get rid of it in the first place. It was possible in her mind that someone could have lost it, but she didn’t care and went with the ‘finders keepers’ rule.
Later that same night, laying in her bed, she takes out a note pad beside it and scribbles on it with the gold pen. She wanted to see if it worked. Ink flowed out in a smooth and steady stream on the paper. Not only did it work, but it felt really nice to use. She wanted to continue using it and grabs a larger paper close by. She contemplates what to write as she sucks on the end of the pen.
She didn’t have many good thoughts roaming around in her mind. Her revengeful dreams were the highlight of her nights and were the only constant thoughts that kept her somewhat distracted from breaking down into tears.
She put the pen to the paper and started writing. She wrote whatever came to mind.
‘Jessie James was walking back from school when he tripped on a pothole and broke his ankle’.
When she finished, she admired her penmanship and was impressed at how clear and elegant her writing looked. The pen was a great find in her mind and she vowed to use it more often. She decided she was going to write short revenge stories of her tormentors. That was going to be her therapy. She was hoping it would help her to feel better to use writing as an avenue to express herself and get her anger out on paper. It was definitely helping so far.
Later the next day before going home, she bought herself a writing book for her new hobby. It was the first thing she was excited about in a long time. Thinking back, she couldn’t remember any moments where she was happy at all.
When she got back to the group home she was greeted with an ambulance at the front door. Jessie was rushed past her on a stretcher to be taken to the hospital. Sandy was shocked to hear he had an accident and had tripped on a pothole coming up the driveway resulting in him breaking his foot.
A feeling of joy and shock took over Sandy. It wasn’t a common feeling to experience for her. She didn’t have many miracles happen in her life. It was hard to contain her satisfaction in the situation and had a hard time not smirking. She wondered if she was the one who made that happen or if it was just a coincidence. Either way, she was content that justice had been served for Jessie.
In a bit of a panic that someone had found her story, she ran up to her bedroom to find it. It was in the last place she put it, hidden in between her books where no one could have seen it. Relieved it wasn’t a trick, she places it between the pages of her new book.
That same night she sat in a trance staring at its blank pages, gold pen in hand. She was a bit scared that Jessie’s accident wasn’t completely an accident. She was scared of holding that much power between her fingers. The chaos she could write was an overwhelming feeling. That somehow she made the accident happen. Her imagination went wild with possibilities. It seemed too much of a coincidence, impossible not to be. Or was it?
She decided to test it by writing another story. She thought hard as to who she would enjoy hurting the most. The person who deserved to be taught a lesson above all others. One name came to mind which happened to be the biggest bully at the school. The popular girl. The pretty one. The one who thought her shit don’t stink and belittled Sandy daily.
Sandy put the pen to the paper and started writing.
“Tasha decided to wear high shoes to school. She gets distracted and loses her balance on the school stairs and tumbles down, breaking her arm and spraining her leg. She is bed ridden for months unable to go to school.”
Smiling, Sandy closes the book and goes to sleep with the hope that she found a magical pen, or better yet, that she was magical herself.
The next day at school Tasha was still there and had no accidents throughout the day. This disappointed Sandy and shattered her hope that she had some how stumbled on some magic, when in fact it was all just a coincidence. Tasha wasn’t going to get what Sandy had hoped, or so Sandy thought at that moment.
Sandy ran home with the same bad thoughts as the days before and rushed to write them down, with no intent other than to write out her own personal thoughts. It seemed to give her some sort of satisfaction. She didn’t write another story though. This time, she just wrote out her own feelings.
“Why does everyone hate me? Why do they hurt me? Why am I here? I am sad and hurting and no one wants to help me… “
Her tears stain the page and blur out some of the words as she writes. She cries herself to sleep waking up the next day feeling depressed and drained. She manages to muster up the energy to go through the day.
As all the days before she goes to school and hears whispers behind her back. But the whispers were not about her this time. News of Tasha’s accident spread like wildfire. Sandy only heard about it through eves dropping on others conversations. No one really paid much attention to her nevermind talk to her, other than throw rude comments her way.
“Her shoe got stuck and she fell down the stairs yesterday after school. I heard she was taken away by ambulance and is dead” said one girl.
“no no. She just broke an arm and twisted her leg. She won’t be at school for a bit but she is still alive“ replied another.
This news lifted Sandy’s spirit. This was definitely not a coincidence. It was too specific to what she wrote. It was a very exciting thought, that she was magic – or was it the pen?
With a bounce in her step she rushes home to write another story. But this time she wanted to know if it was the pen that was magic or her. So she grabbed a normal pen from the house and used it to write the story instead. She opened the book and wrote.
“Once upon a time at the group home a girl named Hannah chokes on her drink. She embarrasses herself at the table with coughing on everyone’s meal, except Sandy’s“
It was a simple story that would allow her to test the powers. She didn’t want to hurt anyone, not yet anyway. She just wanted to verify if she even needed the gold pen or not. If she was indeed the magical one with hidden powers. She still planned on using the pen as it was her favourite pen. It was really her only pen. But she just needed to make sure. It excited her to think that she was born with magic all along. A hidden power that she could only dream of possessing.
At dinner that day Sandy was sadly disappointed when Hannah did not choke on her drink and embarrass herself. In fact, it was the opposite. Sandy ended up coughing and embarrassing herself. Hannah took the opportunity to belittle and embarrass Sandy to the point of tears.
“You’re disgusting! Cover your mouth Sandy, no one here wants your ugly disease.”
Words hurt, a lot. It never seemed to cross the bullies minds at the time that verbal abuse is just as bad as physical, if not more so. They cut deep and play in ones mind for many years. The mind just as fragile as the body. Easily bruised.
Sandy leaves the table in tears, once again.
“There goes the cry baby” Hannah taunts.
Sandy now knew that she wasn’t magic, but she was pretty sure her pen was. She picked up the gold pen and rewrote the story of Hannah.
Wiping away her tears she rushes back down to the table to finish eating. She crossed all her toes that she wasn’t too late to witness Hannah’s story unfold.
Just as Sandy pulls out her chair to sit down Hannah begins coughing over everyone’s meal. The kids cover their plates watching Hannah in disgust, waiting to see if she chokes. Eventually she stops coughing and sits back down in silence.
“Gross! look who’s spreading their disease now.’’ Chirps a boy at the end of the table.
Hannah leaves the table embarrassed and everyone is served a new plate. Sandy quietly smirks to herself as she finishes her meal.
She was now confident that she had something with unimaginable power. Powers that she planned on using to get back at everyone who ever hurt her. She might not have been the magic one, but she held a very powerful tool.
From that day forward she engulfed herself into writing short stories daily. Spending more time writing than crying. This was good in her eyes as she became happier and more confident.
As time went by the stories become more deep and the lessons more violent. It seemed that everyone around her was getting hurt in some way. Other seemed not happy, but she was for the first time in her life. She was finally not the victim any longer. Until one day Sandy was taken away in the middle of writing a story to help clean the kitchen before bed.
‘Today Sarah gets a drink of water before bed. As she approaches the stairs she trips and falls, tumbling down. She ends up.. “
Sandy was cleaning when she heard a crashing sound. Instantly remembering her unfinished story she rushes to see what happened. Staff and kids surround the bottom of the stairs. Their faces painted in fear and shock as they look down at a body laying motionless on the floor.
Sandy pushes through and sees Sarah’s lifeless body and Gasps in horror. Guilt, remorse, fear swirl inside her like a tornado making her dizzy. She vomits in her mouth and rushes past Sarah’s body to her room. She picks up the book laying open on her bed and rereads her story. She could only hope that Sarah was alive.
Moments later, Hannah walks into the room to announce that Sarah was dead and notices Sandy reading a book. In a panic Sandy hides it behind her back as though she is guilty of something.
Being the bully that Hannah is, she walks in and takes the book away from Sandy and reads it. Sandy watches Hannah’s eyes go wide with shock.
“Did you kill Sarah? Set it up so she falls down the stairs!?”
In fear Sandy stumbles on her words. “n no. I wrote that a long time ago – I didn’t set anything up, I swear!”
Jessie and a few other kids appear behind Hannah at the door.
“Sarah is dead” Jessie announces in a ‘matter of fact’ tone.
“Yah, and I think Sandy set it up that way” Hannah hisses.
Hannah hands Jessie the book. The group read it together. A loose paper falls out of the book in front of Jessie. He picks it up and reads it.
“Hey! This one is about me! And its exactly what happened to me. What the hell!” says Jessie.
The group stare at Sandy paralyzed to her spot, mouth open but unable to say a word. Fear painted on her face. Just like a deer caught in the headlights.
“She is setting us all up for revenge. She is trying to kill us all.” Hannah accuses.
Sandy rushes at Jessie without a second thought. She rips the book out of his hands and runs out of the house leaving everyone staring after her in shock. She hides under the bridge where she knew no one could find her. Tears stream out of her eyes like waterfalls soaking her face and clothes.
She didn’t want this to happen. She didn’t want to kill anyone. She only wanted to feel the power that everyone took from her. To not be the victim and for everyone to get what they deserved.
No one deserved to die. No one deserved anything done to them that they didn’t do themselves. But Sandy, as a victim and like many victims, turned into a bully herself.
She self reflected under the bridge and figured if she was going to stop the vicious circle of hate it needed to start with her.
Wiping her tears away, she got up from her spot under the bridge and stood on the bridge looking out towards the never ending stream of water. Sun setting in the distance made the scene surreal.
She opened the book one last time and finished Sarah’s story. She hoped she could redeem herself and bring her back to life. It was Sarah’s only chance now. It was Sandy’s only chance.
“Sarah ended up in a coma for a couple days but completely recovered. “
She took a deep breath and with great regrette and sorrow threw the pen and book into the river. She watched it in silence as the current took them downstream washing all the words away.
It was a sad day for her. She didn’t want to be that person. A vengeful one. She wanted to be a good person. But that was really hard to do when everything around her was bad.
She thought no one would ever believe that the pen made it happen. And even if they did, she was still the writer of the stories. She was the one who imagined it and she was the one who desired it to be true. She had the intent to hurt and therefore was also just as in the wrong as her bullies. Her destiny written the same as before, but now with weary eyes watching, accusing and banishing her even more. She was now coined a witch.
After that fatal accident the house and school went quiet. Sarah survived and came out of coma days later.
Words were carefully chosen but actions displayed their distrust and fear. If one thing was learnt it was that the bullies did not want to victimize anyone else for fear that the victim could turn bully themselves. To avoid further revengeful actions everyone was on their best behaviour. They learned a thing or two about being a victim. They could now relate to Sandy’s pain. She may not be the most popular girl, but she was happy that she was not bullied anymore, whether that mean they thought she was a witch or not.
So the pen floats in the waters under the bridge for someone else to find.
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