Monday, July 19, 2010



Source: "Pictures to Use as Writing Prompts"

Response: Unmarred

Ezekiel leaned his head against the wall. The heavily scented spice and sugar air of the bakery drifted around him. Though it was usually a consoling smell, a comforting smell, it held no comfort for him.

He let his paperback copy of King Lear close in his lap. He had not taken in any of it anyway in the whole last hour he had been reading.

Zeke knew it was only a matter of time before his dad decided he had had enough time with his homework and called him in to put on his apron and work behind the counter so he thought he might as well enjoy the small amount of personal time left in his day.

He looked down at his hands where they sat limp in his lap. They were back to normal - all the swelling and bruising was gone - but he could almost still see it there.

Ezekiel turned his face away from the kitchens - a habit to make sure that his parents did not see his suffering. He had seen Jesse back in school that day. Jesse had not fully recovered yet - his face was still a mass of mottled bruising. Everyone could see the neurological damage too - Jesse walked with a limp and held his right arm in a cradled claw.

Even though he had been acquitted, Zeke had kept his head down all day. He had not wanted to see his fellow students judging him. Not when every night he heard Jesse's lawyer's closing statement - This is a boy who bashed another boy's head in with his bare hands; a boy who caused permanent physical and neurological damage to another high school student.

Zeke clenched his fists. It was bad enough to hear his thoughts calling him a cruel abuser daily, but the nightmares were back as well. They had come back the day he heard Jesse was coming back for the end of the school year - the nightmares that were more memory than anything else. He always began the dream by hearing Ellie's screams. He always was walking down the alley - trying to run but unable to move any faster. Then he saw her; Jesse's hands in her hair, yanking her hair. Then he was smashing Jesse's face into the ground, picking up rocks and grinding them into him. Zeke could feel the shattering of Jesse's skull and the splattering of his blood and the fear pounding in his own veins.

Zeke felt a tear slip down his cheek. He brushed it away in irritation.

He cleared his throat as he heard the bakery door open. He knew it would be Ellie. They had not talked about that day. Her bruises had taken longer to heal than his - she had worn a turtleneck for several weeks, but it did not hide the bite mark on her jawbone or the bruises on her cheek where it had been pressed into the pavement. They still did not really look at each other - not really. Ellie had been his best friend, but Jesse had made it uncomfortable for them to even look at each other.

Zeke suspected that Ellie remembered how she had egged him on and that she had watching him bash Jesse's head into the ground. He knew that he still remembered it - he could still hear the hurt and desperation in her voice, her harsh scream that had changed from fear and pain to rage in an instant.

Ellie walked through, pulling her hair up into a ponytail. "Hi, Zeke."

"Hey, Ellie."

Ezekiel cleared his throat again. He knew any second his dad would call for him and he did not want to be on the verge of tears. He found his page in King Lear and dogeared the page. When his dad called for him, he stood and put his book in his backpack. Zeke put on his long apron and went to work, flexing his unmarred hands.

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