* * *
Steven drew carefree circles in his notebook. He didn’t really care what he drew, and he found that his hand pushed the pencil across the paper seemingly of its own accord. The instructor was babbling on, and Steven pointedly ignored what was being said.
He wishes you were dead.
Steven sucked in a breath and looked to where Robert sat. Robert’s face flushed, and he looked away.
He was watching me, Steven thought with a flicker of bitter contempt. What am I now, some sort of freak show?
Steven looked around the classroom and met more than one deadpan glance. It would be a flash of disgust, and then they would look away as soon as Steven made eye contact. Steven felt the bile rise in the back of his throat. Why did they look at him like that? If they had something to say, they should just say it. Steven realized his hand shook with the vice-like grip on the pencil. The wooden implement snapped audibly, and Steven felt several sets of eyes bore into him.
Steven’s shaking hands spread to his legs and feet. He seemed unable to control the shaking. David and Leonard didn’t try to hide their amusement. It was as if they were experiencing a dystopian Christmas. They elbowed each other and smirked at Steven. Everyone watched as Steven seemed to have some sort of fit, but no one moved to see if he were all right. Even the instructor seemed at a loss deciding between anger at the disruption, or the need to help a student.
Leonard punched David in the shoulder, and David rose to his feet. He sauntered to Steven’s desk and punched Steven on the shoulder. “What’s going on, murderer?” he asked loud enough for the entire class to hear.
They all hate you.
The voice, David’s punch, and the smirks of his classmates were finally all that Steven could take. The sadness and depression that Steven had felt for so long boiled away. A rage boiled inside his gut. It expanded, and the tremors in his hands, feet and legs seemed to grow with it. Everything that had happened since the day Lindsay killed herself came to a head.
He knew that no human being should have to go through what he had endured. He knew that he didn’t need their hate, and he thought that he needed their compassion. But now, he wondered if he even needed their compassion. The rage coursed through him. It seemed to fill every part of his being.
Do what you must.