A week ago, Standall, a high school student, was returning home late at night, humming tunes of old folklore music.
All of a sudden, he put brakes on his bicycle because he saw a trail of Blood trickling down the empty dark street, illuminated only by a single street lamp.
Despite being frightened at the sight of blood, his suspicion couldn't stop him from finding out, where it came from. Throwing his bicycle on the street, he followed the trail of blood, which led from the illuminating path into the darkness of woods taking a turn onto its left.
A number of house buildings lined up the right side of the street and the woods welcomed anyone turning onto the left.
Standall followed the bloody path and stopped right in his tracks when he saw a cold stoned face staring at him. He saw a body resting beside an old oak tree. It was a Young Adult in his mid-twenties, in a proper suit and tie. His head felt limp on the shoulders, arms by the side of his body, legs straight ahead. His wrists had been slit open and he had bled to death. The blood was fresh which indicated he had only died minutes earlier.
Standall felt shaky in that moment of utter disbelief and couldn't move an inch further. He gathered the courage to take out a napkin from his pocket and covered the dead body's face. The defunct cold face resembled Stan in many ways, but he was so occupied to notice any features.
In the next moment, he was pushing buttons on his phone with trembling fingers and stood frozen, staring at the body, moving his eyes from the right wrist to the left one, just in a moment realizing a wristwatch, placed above the dead body's left thigh, which looked familiar to him.
He collected the strength to pick up the watch and placed it carefully into his pocket. After doing so, forgetting his fears, he got intrigued and checked the coat pockets of the dead body as he remembered seeing a boy do so in a movie.
Just as he pushed his hand, right through the inner chest pocket, he felt something, like the crisp of a paper, but a startling voice took him by surprise. For a moment it felt to him as if the dead body spoke but he turned back to see a police officer standing behind him.
"Hey, kid! Whatcha up to? It's a crime scene. You ought not to be here." He called out, raising his eyebrows, and smoked a cigarette with his left hand.
Standall stood up and nodded, moving away from the body.
He felt the crispiness of the paper in his hand and pushed it quietly down his pants pocket.
He let the Cops suspect the scene without moving an inch away from his spot. No knife or a sharp object was found around the body, which made Standall the number one suspect.
"Let's get in the car, boy. I've got some questions for you." A second cop signaled him toward the police cab.
He didn't resist and followed.
They both sat in the backseat of the cab.
Standall was allowed to leave after a detailed inquiry which left him exasperated. He reached out of the woods onto the street where he had left his bike and cycled fast back home.
He threw himself onto the bed and put the watch he had found on the side table but held the note in his hand, not ready to open it after a frightening encounter with its owner, yet he held onto it as if they had a mutual relationship. He didn't realize when he went into a deep slumber.
Standall woke up startled, by the sound of his alarm, realizing he held a firm grip over the note from the dead body earlier, crumpling it into his fist.
Though he had placed the watch on his bedside table, just beside a framed picture of him holding hands with his elder brother and father.
He straightened the paper to read it after all. It had neat handwriting imprinted on it.
It read something like this:
"Kindly send this note and my wristwatch to this address:
24/7-E, Baker Street no.2, Himmel road………."
His heart skipped a beat. It was Standall's home address. He sat up in his bed to read further.
".... Hi Mom! I hope the note and the wristwatch you gifted me reached you safely. I miss you and Dad so much. I don't miss Standall at all. I'm so much happy in heaven now, where I don't have to face Standall. Take care."
Standall's heart beat faster than ever and he was woken up by his mother from a dream within a dream.
"Stan, what happened? Are you having nightmares again, Honey? Calm down, it's okay. I'm here."
"Mom, it was all real. I found… I… I saw him. Liam was bleeding all over and I couldn't save him. If only I had arrived back a little earlier from Jen's home, I could've saved his life Mom." He spoke all in one breath, still feeling shaky, and suddenly burst into tears.
His mom soothed him down, letting him sob until he felt okay.
"Stan, it's okay to cry your heart out but not every time. You were a kid at that time. How do you even make yourself responsible? I wouldn't want to lose you too. He died fighting. I also miss Liam but we have to move on. Liam would never want you to cry like this. Remember how he admired your courageousness when you were a kid, in everything. What happened to that Brave Stan? Death is a fortune we cannot skip nor can we save anyone else from it. There are many ways death engulfs a human being. Liam is in heaven I'm sure, smiling from above. You want to return his smile, don't you? Now get fresh and come downstairs or you'll be late for School. As for last night, you didn't go to Jensen's place, you were helping Elaine with her project. Calm down, okay?" His mother wiped off the tears from his cheeks.
Standall nodded and smiled back, picking up the photo frame from above the table and kissed his brother's face. After getting fresh, he picked up Liam's watch and buckled it over his wrist.
It all happened about two years back when Liam and Standall were returning home, from a School event. On the way home, they encountered a gang of drunk bullies. They had blocked the road to their home and wouldn't allow their car to cross. Liam pulled up an argument with them which turned into a fight and one of the drunks fired a bullet that went straight through Liam's head and he bled to death. Stan was hiding in the car who was a Middle school student at that time and stood frozen at the sight of blood. He wanted to, but couldn't save his brother. Even if he had tried to, he would've been spotted by the drunks and would've been dead too. Liam had died in the ambulance.
He was graduating High School the next year, and he had a great bond with Stan, who couldn't come over his grief since the accident. Even psychotherapy sessions couldn't help him.
Standall reached school to meet Dempsey, his classmate just in the hallway.
"Hey, Stan! I heard you messed up with the baseball Captain, and his gang cornered you up, around a graveyard." Dempsey asked him.
"I didn't mess up, Okay!"
"You should stay away from them. Plus, I know about your fears. It's terrible you know that, Standall. Don't you?"
"You're not the one who's gonna decide! I don't fear anything now." He almost half shouted on the mention of his fears.
"I guess I can't help you. Call a Psychiatrist to help you, freak!" Dempsey cried out in his face and left.
As the School bell rang, Jensen hurriedly shut his locker, took out his Novel, and went running down the hallway to his class.
After a whole tiring day, he stood waiting with his nose in the book, for his dad to arrive.
"Why are you such a nerd, Jensen?" A male voice sounded just behind him.
"Why are you such a nosy guy? Ever heard etiquette number 1? Never disturb a reader, Man!" He replied to Standall, putting a bookmark in his book.
"I have terrible news. I cannot tell anyone but you. I'm coming over to your place this evening."
"Sure. I hope you didn't do something horrible!"
Just as the evening settled in, Jensen welcomed Standall into his house.
The sight Standall had witnessed left Jensen in shock and the things to come next were even more terrible yet manageable.
"Jensen, I visited Liam's grave yesterday after school and I saw our School's baseball Captain, Jeff, with his gang of bullies in the graveyard. I was just leaving when they spotted me. One of them had his hands covered in blood and he saw me staring at them. I was about to bike away when he shouted out and pushed me off my bike, inquiring what I had seen."
Jensen listened quietly to what Stan had to tell.
"I said I didn't see anything, but of course why would they believe me? What I witnessed next was terrible."
"What was it, Stan? What did you see?" Jensen couldn't contain his curiosity.
"There was a boy, all covered in blood and he was struggling with his breath. I couldn't recognize him, for his face was swollen and covered in blood but he looked familiar to me. The Team Captain, Jeff, asked me if I recognized the boy. I shook my head. They warned me not to cross their paths ever again or they would beat me up too, like him. I told them I wasn't following them, and that I was visiting my brother's grave. They taunted me about my brother and I couldn't stand it."
"Did you react to it? Can you remember who the boy was?" Jensen asked, tension rising in him.
"I just cursed them and asked them to shut the hell up. What else could I do? Then Jeff punched me straight into the ribs which made me fall heads down, just an inch away from the boy. They left us both there. The boy was in really bad condition. His eyes were swollen and his whole face bruised, with blood pouring out from his jaws and his head had an injury too. I called 9-1-1……
He told me he was Tom, from our High School.
He asked me to take a picture of his condition and keep it in case it was needed. I couldn't understand what he meant at that time but I guess I know what he wanted me to do. He asked me to record his voice as proof that those guys bullied and tortured him to death. I have his recording on my phone.
I still couldn't get up but the ambulance arrived just in time to get Tom to the hospital. The cops asked me some questions and I told them all I knew."
"That's why Tom was absent today. I heard the coach asking about him in P.E. class. This is really terrible Stan. Do you think Jeff knows that you were there too when the cops arrived?"
"I don't know Jen. I'm kinda scared. I even had a nightmare today. It was horrible. I saw that Liam had committed suicide and I found him on the roadside, with a note for my parents and his wristwatch, which I brought home. I don't know what's happening. I stopped having nightmares and all of a sudden I start having them again. It's really freaking me out. I wonder how Dempsey got to know about this."
"Stan. Calm down. It's totally okay. It's those busters' fault. They never leave anyone alone. Nothing is gonna happen. Tom will recover in some time. It'll all be over soon. Plus we'll get the therapy started again for you and you won't have nightmares. As far as Dempsey is concerned, he's Jeff's really good friend. He must've told him to warn you. Nothing to be scared of." Jensen hugged Stan and calmed him down.
He nodded in response and they both played a game of chess to distract themselves from the situation at hand.
The next day when they both reached School, the news of Tom's death reached them and there was a funeral scheduled for him. They both stared wide-eyed at each other.
"This has to go to court, Man. I heard he died in the ambulance." Standall whispered to Jensen.
"Not until his parents want it to go to court," Jensen whispered.
"We need to tell this to his family. We have all the evidence. We should at least take a stand, so no other student goes through it. It was five against one. Plus he wanted it that way." Standall exclaimed, trying to keep his voice low.
"Okay. I'll get his address from the School's directory since I've been helping Mr. Adam with the new admissions.
So after School then?" Jensen asked.
"Probably after School. I'll see you on the basketball court during off time. I have a Maths lesson right now. You?"
"It's Physics for me. See ya. And stay calm. Everything's gonna be fine." Jensen replied.
"Sure. See ya." Stan replied back
They both parted ways to their classes.
After School, Standall and Jensen raced on their bikes toward Tom's house and reached the right address.
The doorbell rang and a skinny woman about 40 years old, answered the door, with swollen reddened eyes.
"Umm Hi. Mrs. Poland? Is this Tom Polland's home? We are actually his friends from School." Jensen asked politely.
"Yes. Come in." Miss Poland replied in a sobbing tone.
They all took a seat on the sofa in the living room. Standall started the conversation.
"We're really sorry for your loss. I believe you are his mother. We won't take much of your time. It's just that we want to help you get justice for him." Standall showed empathy.
She sobbed, tears forming in her eyes.
"I'm really sorry. I believe this is not the time to discuss this but it's highly important. Are you going to take this to the court? Because we might have some evidence that could help with the case. They cannot roam freely like that." Jensen asked with a solemn expression on his face.
"Who did it? Were you with him? I will do anything that can be done to get my son justice. I don't want to see another son dying at their hands." She replied, trying to compose herself while sobbing along.
"I was with him, but not from the start. I was visiting my brother's grave when I saw Tom. You might want to hear this Mam." Standall told her and played the recording on his phone.
".... I'm Tom. I…. I might not live that long to….. take revenge on….. the ones who….. did this to me…. But…(there was a long breath accompanied by a cough) I would want… Justice for…. myself. In case… I die. It's Jeff Weiner….. Scott Dales…..Andrew Scand….. from High School …..they wanted me to…. Do. Something. A Horrible thing…. I can't …, my organs… have failed … me…. Please I… ask… f…or. Just...ice…" The voice fainted at that, the sirens of the ambulance sounded and the recording stopped.
Mrs. Poland had tears in her eyes and started crying, with both hands covering her face. Jensen poured water from the jug and gave the glass to Mrs. Poland. She took a sip from it and wiped her tears with her hands.
Standall and Jensen didn't know how to react and looked dismal at the situation
"Thank you, kids. I'll do everything that has to be done to get Justice for my Child." Mrs. Poland nodded and took another sip.
Standall transferred the voice recording to her phone and they both left, again feeling sorry for Tom's mother.
She slightly felt relieved and thanked them for coming, smiling for the first time in a while, waving them Goodbye.
The next day when they reached School, everyone was talking about the Summon, the Court charged Jeff and his team for Tom's lawsuit. It was chaos all over the School building.
Standall and Jensen tried to act normal, showing they didn't know anything.
After several weeks of mental health sessions with his Psychiatrist, Standall overcame his nightmares and continued living his healthy life. His parents felt very proud of his act of courageousness in seeking out Justice for Tom.
"I feel like I did something to calm Liam's soul. I see him in my dreams sometimes now, but not in the form of nightmares. He says he misses me. I miss him too."
Jensen assured Standall that he was there for him whenever he needed a brother and a friend to come to, a shoulder to lean on and an ear to tell his rantings to. Standall always encouraged people to seek out help when they needed it and Mental health should be considered an illness that has always had a treatment.
Life seemed a lot better for them but Jensen had an intriguing question that still remains to be answered.
Is punishment the ultimate solution for preventing Bullying? Doesn't punishment build up rage in bullies and they take revenge afterward? Does a lack of love turn people into bullies? Do bullies deserve love after they've committed a crime?
Is there not a permanent solution to tackle the bullies in and around us? We are bullies to our souls too. This needs to change. Some things always require constant pondering. Let's ponder upon this and look for the ultimate solutions.
About the Creator
Ayesha, a Medical Student & Wattpad Ambassador from Pakistan, a Content writer, interested in writing fiction stories ranging from Horror & Mystery to epic adventures & non-fiction on Trendy topics. Go enjoy the stories and articles!