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The Bully

by Daryl Benson 11 months ago in Satire
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Luan's Aggression

She looked at the ground, entirely dejected. “You know he will be back Brutus.”

“Maybe, Clarissa,” said Brutus.

She sniffled. Brutus could barely look her in the eye, the sorrow truly did eat away at him. “He always comes back, Brutus. You know this. He comes here and terrorizes us. And what can we possibly do about it!”

“He was gone for a long time this last time Clarissa. He might be gone again for just as long.” Brutus shook his head, exasperation and heartache slowly pulling him into Clarissa’s pain. “The times are getting better; we have to maintain hope. Look at what we have been able to accomplish these last months. We almost entirely forgot about him.”

“And clearly that was a mistake!”

Clarissa had in fact almost forgotten about the infamous bully, the brute, who terrorized their humble home. Luan would show up unexpectedly and ransack the entire community. Rumors had it that he had killed one of the children at some point in time. Although none living in the community could remember if it was true, but they all swore it was true. The rumors were rampant though. Just as life settled and things became normal, Luan would show up and rage, again.

The fear would last quite a long time between the attacks, but eventually when that fear subsided, Luan was there. This time had been particularly rough. Half the members of the community were disgruntled. There were more than a few casual injuries. Most of the community had quickly been able to get away from Luan, get out of his easy reach, but not everyone had been so lucky.

“Brutus, you must take this more serious. Look at Jasper! His leg is torn to pieces. Luan did that! He got him unaware and attacked him. Jasper may never walk again.”

She shivered, silently shaking. Then she whispered, “The others….”

“Stop!” screeched Brutus. “Don’t speak of what you know nothing about.”

They had been speaking in undertones, but at Brutus’ outburst, several of the others in the community looked over at them. Jasper, looking worse for wear, was not one of those who raised their heads. He sat crouched low; his head tucked down, silently rocking his weight on his one functioning leg.

Clarissa was a fiercely independent woman though and she spoke her mind, Brutus be plucked. “You know as well as I do, Brutus! The others…,” she shivered and shook herself again at the mention of their name. “The others, they come on occasion and take someone, and that someone never comes back! You’ve seen it as surely as I have. It wasn’t three months gone since Jennifer was taken.” Clarissa stared willful defiance at Brutus, daring him to call her a liar. “You haven’t seen Jennifer lately have you!”

Brutus couldn’t say anything. He didn’t like to argue with Clarissa, so he kept silent. Plus, he couldn’t deny her allegations. The others had come, they had taken Jennifer, and they’d never seen Jennifer again. And he knew, just as Clarissa knew, they would never see Jennifer again. Neither of them had the heart to say it, but they also knew whatever happened to Jennifer would also probably happen to Jasper.

Brutus and Clarissa’s eyes met; the sorrow apparent in both of their eyes. A silent look between them and they both turned and looked at Jasper. He was still folded in on himself, sitting as far away from everyone as he possibly could be, head hung low. The sad realization was in both of their minds that Jasper also probably knew what was coming.

Clarissa and Brutus were perched in their usual place, the top rafters in the old barn. Brutus, slow in sure in his ways was not the likely candidate to govern the community. Jasper, a previous leader, and old rival was now seeing his age. Jasper had run the community in earlier days, but his age had put him out to pasture now. Leaving Brutus, the clear and only leader, albeit not the brash leader that perhaps his predecessors had been. Brutus was slow and calculating. Perhaps that is why Clarissa was a likely counterpart. Where Brutus was a deep thinker and an appeaser, Clarissa was rash and assertive.

They led the community as best they could, but that brought a certain amount of self-isolation from the rest of their peers. They sheltered together, higher, and away from everyone else, slowly chatting the night away. They made plans on how to protect themselves against Luan. They both realized they were feeble plans, but their options were limited. They could only do so much for their small community, but they had to do what they were able.

They decided to always have two sentries posted, one at each end of the lower floors of the barn. Community members would rotate in and out of the sentry position but going forward day or night someone would consciously be on guard. It was the best they could do. The difficult task, one that neither of them relished, would be to continue the vigil even as the days or weeks ran on. Luan’s appearances were unexpected and always unusual. This is particularly what made them so brutal and effective. It was a blessing there were no children in the community at the time, surely Luan would have killed someone if there was.

Their home, what they considered their home, was truly their pride and joy. The community as a whole made a serious effort to keep it clean and keep it pest free. All the members of the community regularly took turns cleaning and inspecting the environment for any pests or undesirables that might enter their area. The barn was beautifully situation in the valley, a cool crisp creek running behind it. The water always clear and pure, fed from an underground aquifer. The barn, seeing its age, was rugged and made from old fir and pine trees that were harvested a century ago from the very land where it now stood. Brutus and Clarissa often felt that the logs within the barn were still in fact the trees of the wilderness. It felt, at least to them, that they still held the wisdom of bygone centuries in their rough textures.

Morning came soon enough, and the first thing Brutus did was inspect Jasper. Jasper, despite his age, was fairing quite well. The injuries, although serious and quite severe, perhaps were not as bad as everyone feared. Jasper explained he still was not willing to put weight on his leg, but perhaps in several days he might attempt it. Several members of the community let out some stifled cheers at his confidence. Clarissa, being ever the rash aggressor had went storming out of the barn in the morning looking to assault anything she could. Brutus had not succeeded in calming her down through the night, and she was as annoyed and distraught as she had been the previous day.

“If she finds Luan right now, I might almost pity him.” Brutus quipped. It was a weak effort, but the community chuckled along at the poor jest. Jasper blinked a couple times and then chortled the loudest of everyone.

“Too right, Brutus, too right. She looks like she is on the war path. I may in fact pity anything that gets in her way today.”

With everyone gathered, Brutus laid out the plan for constant sentries and a constant guard. And the importance as the days moved along that they never lose vigilance in protecting the community. “We must guard each other’s backs and always make sure someone is watching. This will be a tiresome task, and we will do our best to distribute the load as equally as possible. But we must try to do something to make sure another one of Luan’s attacks is prevented.”

Normally various members of the community might have grumbled. But with Jasper hunched down, and disheveled, nearly collapsed next to Brutus, it stood as a stark reminder of the seriousness of the situation.

One of the juveniles, chirped up, “Why does he do it!? Why is he so cruel!”

Brutus was slightly disheartened at having to explain the cold facts of life to a teenager couldn’t muster any unnecessary pleasantries. “We don’t know why Luan does what he does. But we can’t ignore the consequences of it.”

Jasper wasn’t having it though. Jasper explained, “He’s a giant orange turd, my boy. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Intolerable old crotchety miser is what he is.” Jasper ruffled himself and then with a wink to the whole barn, continued on, “In fact, much like myself.”

This quip had the desired effect, and the whole barn exploded in an array of laughter. The first true mirth shown since the attack. In the coming weeks it would be repeated over and over.

Brutus summed up several other talking points before letting everyone go about their day. Over the next few days, and the next few weeks, life once again returned to a level of normalcy. The community remained vigilant though, and the community was alerted twice to possible attacks from Luan. The success of the scouts bolstered the community and kept the sentries active in the following months.

A quiet peace slowly descended upon the barn, and all was well. It was all going exceptionally well, until…

(Brutus & Clarissa)


About the author

Daryl Benson

Just trying to write a little on the side to see if anything can come of it.

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