"You're so tiny. How much do you wanna eat?"
He took a plate with handcuffed hands and stood in front of the food distributor. The distributor picked up a loaf of bread, took off a small piece intentionally, and put the small piece on his plate. He didn't protest. He just walked away quietly, and swallowed the small piece of bread directly.
Another man put a much bigger piece of bread on his plate. He raised his head and looked at the man with grateful eyes. When he tried to take the piece, the man suddenly hit the plate and made the plate and bread fall down to the floor.
"Oh, I'm sooo sorry. My hand must have slipped. Do you want to eat more?"
His heart sank into a deep valley. He looked at the man and tried to hold his tears very hard. Suddenly the man grabbed him by the hair and pushed him to kneel down on the floor.
"Eat it, bitch."
Without any hesitation he reached his hands out to take the bread. Soon someone stepped on his hand. He stopped his action.
"Yeah, that's it, good boy."
He didn't raise his head. He just knelt there quietly, still trying to hold his tears.
Johnny woke up. He lay on the bed and looked at the roof in a trance. Tears were still in his eyes. The bitter, sour and painful feeling came back to flood his mind again... He had not had any nightmares for a few days. However, they started to come back again.
Johnny looked out the window. The sky was getting light. It was his first school day.
The Captive Boy II - Chapter 4
"Good morning, kids," said Edwin.
"Good morning, Mr. Grey," answered all the kids.
"Come here, Johnny," Edwin beckoned to Johnny, who was standing outside the door, with many new books in his hands.
Johnny hesitated. Edwin smiled to him. After one minute, Johnny screwed up his courage and walked to Edwin. He put on his poker face trying to cover his nervousness.
"Boys and girls, now listen to me. This is Johnny Kape." Edwin wrote Johnny's name on the blackboard. "From now on, he will be in our class."
"Hey, I know him. He lives with Joey who works in the gym," a voice said.
"Then you are much more well-informed than I, Kevin," said Edwin. All the kids laughed. "I didn't know anything about him before last week."
"Johnny is a famous freak in the gym," Kevin said with a giggle.
All the kids laughed again. Johnny thought of those unhappy experiences of being teased and bullied by other kids in the past year. He kept his poker face and looked at all the kids.
Edwin changed his attitude and said in a serious manner, "Please come here, Kevin."
All the kids became quiet when they saw Edwin's face. Kevin was a bit surprised, but he still stood up and walked to Edwin.
"Now, Kevin, please observe Johnny carefully. Then share what you see, and everything you know about Johnny with us."
Kevin started to look at Johnny carefully. Johnny didn't know what it was that Edwin was attempting. He just kept his poker face and looked at Kevin. Kevin was a normal boy, with blond hair and green eyes. He was not tall, not fat, but his face was a bit round.
"So do you have any conclusion, Kevin?" asked Edwin.
"Please share them with us."
"He's older than us," started Kevin. "His body's full of scars, including his hands, face, legs and body. He lost his little finger. I used to see him in the gym. He didn't laugh. He didn't even talk. Joey always wanted him to play with us, but he never came over to us. He always looked at us without any emotion, like this."
Kevin shook his head.
"Okay, please go back to your seat."
Kevin went back to his seat. Edwin started to speak.
"Okay, children. This is the first lesson I'll have today. Kevin's right. Johnny's older than all of you. There are scars all over his body. He doesn't laugh; he doesn't cry; and he doesn't like to play with you. He always looks at you like this. However, what I'd like to tell all of you is Johnny's like this because he had a very unfortunate and unhappy childhood."
All the kids listened to Edwin quietly.
"Unlike all of you, you all have parents to take care of you and love you. Johnny doesn't know who his parents are. From the time he had his youngest memory, he could only survive by himself. He's never gone to school. He's never studied. He's never played with any other kid. So many people have bullied him, beat him, assaulted him; his little finger was even cut off. However, nobody could protect him, and nobody wanted to. He could only survive by himself.
"Now, I want all of you to ask yourself: If it were you, if you didn't have parents to protect you; if you could only be bullied and beat by others but nobody wanted to protect you; if you could only survive by yourself, what would you be like now?"
Edwin stopped his speech dramatically. The whole classroom was so quiet that one could hear a pin drop clearly.
Johnny looked at all the kids. Most of the kids lowered their heads. Some girls seemed to be sobbing.
Edwin waited for a minute intentionally, then he continued.
"Children, I'd like to have you all think about this question. Today you see that Johnny's so different from you, how do you react? Will you tease him about his lost finger, or show your consideration for him? Similarly, when you see a kid your age, sitting in a wheelchair, maybe bald, or a hand missing, or even full of scars on his or her face, how do you react? Will you tease him or her about being a freak? Or can you show your love to help him or her ride out their storms?
"Now, I'll give you two more minutes. Please think about it. You don't need to report your conclusions to me, no matter what your conclusions are. Just keep it in your mind. I'll start our classes in two minutes."
The two minutes passed in total silence.
"Johnny, your seat is there." Edwin pointed to an empty seat in the last row. "Now please be seated. I'm going to start today's classes."
Johnny walked to his seat quietly. When he walked near Kevin, Kevin stood up all of a sudden! Johnny stopped in his tracks and Kevin walked to stand in front of Johnny. Johnny looked at Kevin with his poker face.
To Johnny's surprise, Kevin lowered his head and said, "Sorry, Johnny, I shouldn't have teased you."
Johnny was surprised. He turned his head to see Edwin. Edwin smiled and nodded to him. He turned his head back to see Kevin. Watching Kevin's blushing face, Johnny found that it was too difficult not to accept Kevin's apology. He felt that all the unhappy experiences, being teased and bullied, were melted in Kevin's blushing face totally. A shy smile was shown on Johnny's face for the first time since he stepped into the school.
"It's all right," Johnny said quietly.
Kevin raised his head and smiled. He nodded and went back to his seat. Johnny kept going to his own seat and sat down too.
"Kevin, you are very brave and great," said Edwin. "Johnny has never gone to school before, so I believe that he will have a difficult time adapting to the school life. I wish all of you will try your best to help him, okay?"
"Okay!" all the kids answered.
Johnny felt that his face was all red hot.
Johnny had a good start for his first school day. After Edwin's skillful introduction, all the kids in the class became very nice and enthusiastic to him; so enthusiastic that Johnny almost didn't know how to deal with it.
However, at the end of the first day, it was still impossible to avoid some trouble. Johnny took his new books and opened his locker. When he put the books into it, he felt something wrong. His sixth sense, gained from all the time he spent in the war and the jail, told him that some malicious guys were getting close to him.
Johnny put all of his things into the locker and closed it. However he wasn't able to leave before four boys came up to surround him.
Johnny looked at the four boys. They were all much taller and stronger than him. He put on his poker face.
"A new guy, huh?" a blond boy said.
"Hey, George, I know this guy," another black boy said. "He's a freak. He came to our town a year ago, and rumor says that he can't speak."
George? Listening to this name, Johnny thought of the evening he was rescued by Joey. That evening he was raped again by George and Ann.
"Oh really? Can you speak?" George asked slapping Johnny's cheek.
Johnny looked at the other kids nearby, and knew that nobody would come forward to help him resist these boys. Just like every moment he was abused in the past, Johnny found that he could not take any action. He just put on his poker face and looked at the four boys quietly.
"He seems not to be able to speak, really." Suddenly George slapped Johnny's cheek very hard. "Maybe I should slap him more to make him speak."
The other three boys laughed out loud. One of them pinched Johnny's other cheek and slapped him too. Johnny just stood there, and let the boys beat him, without any reaction, like he always did.
"Well, let's see what he has in his locker."
Another boy opened Johnny's locker and took all the books out and threw them onto the floor. Then he looked into the locker.
"Nothing else," the boy said. He stepped on Johnny's new books. "Oh, I'm sooo sorry. I accidently dropped your books onto the floor. Do you mind picking them up?"
The boy's words stung into Johnny's mind. Johnny thought of the dream he'd had that morning. All of a sudden, George grabbed Johnny's hair and pushed him to kneel down on the floor.
"Pick it up, freak."
It felt like all the same conditions as before. Johnny felt that he went back to the past days, the days in hell. He didn't resist, and he couldn't resist. He just obeyed the boy's command and reached out his hands to pick up the books. Soon someone stepped on his hand. He stopped his action.
"Yeah, that's it, good boy."
The bitter, sour and painful feeling came back to his mind again. He just knelt there. The foot left his hand after a few seconds.
"It's no fun. He doesn't talk or resist at all. No fun."
Johnny felt someone kick him in his ass, then the boys left. He still knelt there. He didn't know how long he knelt there, then someone came to him to help him stand up. He then woke up from the trance and saw the boy who supported him. It was Kevin.
"Sorry, Johnny, we didn't dare to help you..." murmured Kevin.
Johnny looked at all the kids around him. He didn't speak. He just picked up the books and put them back into the locker again. Then he walked through all the kids toward the school gate.
"General, we captured them. Now they're imprisoned in a dedicated room."
"And I want to report some important news. Kape and O'tsin are on their way to the United States."
Lambriz snorted. After a while, he started to speak.
"How about our targets? Do you keep monitoring them?"
"Keep monitoring. But conceal your actions better. Kape and O'tsin's coming here means they have known our plans. By the way, do you have contact with that man?"
"Tell him to come here. I'll talk to him directly."
"General, he said that if you want to talk to him, you have to go there. Or just forget about it."
Lambriz's face twitched.
"I see. Go do your work."
The door closed. Lambriz hit the desk with his fist hard, full of anger.
-- To be continued.