Flapper Press is proud to present original short stories from readers and writers across the globe. Here is our first submission from Austria by Gerda Strobl.
It had happened. No plan, no concerted effort, it had just happened.
And now there was blood, there were screams and angry faces. Their shared activity no longer rendered their group more tightly knit together. Instead, it pushed them apart, everybody was blaming someone else, and they were screaming at each other. Their "bit of fun" had kept each of them safe from the others, but now it had exploded into a menace in its own right, and all bets were off.
Nobody was sure who had dealt the crucial blow. Everybody was sure it was not themselves. A guilty conscience colored all their knuckles red. "But it could not have been me, surely?" they each thought.
The sports teacher carried the unconscious boy off to the doctor. He liked showing off his strength. None of the kids thought about that though. They barely noticed what was happening, they were arguing among themselves.
A moment later, teachers broke them up, and they realized that now all was lost. They could not talk themselves out of this. They'd be labelled bullies. By grown-ups! It was alright if the kids called you that. In fact, it was awesome, because it meant they feared you. But grown-ups? That might mean anything. And they hadn't planned this far ahead. That was the problem.
All of a sudden, bullying no longer made them feel strong. They were afraid. The very thing they had run from.
Fear had caught up with them.
— Gerda Strobl, Austria