The foot hit his thigh, and his body fell to his knees, making him desperately reached and grab around his legs.
A hard kick followed suit, hitting the abdomen making him fall over fully, his forehead scraping at the pavement
The word filled his mind, and the sound surrounded him as he clenched his teeth, trying to hold back his tears.
"You are so gross."
The word was repeated, and someone stepped on his back, keeping him on the ground.
The small stones on the pavement were etched into his face.
The people towering above him were dark, silhouettes in his mind, a memory, with their numbers increasing.
Soon many were circling around him, preventing him from escaping.
The words echoed in his head, as he saw another foot incoming.
The room was enveloped in the dim light from the window, and Kian slowly sat up in his bed, his hand searching for his pillow but was unable to locate it.
'It was just a dream, no, a memory...' He thought, thinking back on the treatment he had gone through the last couple of months.
He touched his chest lightly, then his leg, confirming the bruises were not hurting as much anymore.
Then he turned over in the bed letting his legs step down on the wooden floor.
It was Sunday evening, his week at home was almost ending, and he had to go back to school in the morning.
'What would they say and do this time?'
Kian stood up, groaning from the stiff muscles as he tried to walk out to the kitchen for some water.
'Looks like dad is not home yet.'
His eyes glanced at the leftover food he prepared earlier, still untouched in the fridge, and reached for a bottle of water, drinking from it, then placing it back on the shelf.
His body was aching, the run at the gym had him pass out for 2 hours when he had come home, and it was already late into the evening.
It felt as if his body was screaming at him to not go back in the morning to that place, thinking of it brought back the memory of the blue hooded guy and the thought made him grimace.
" F him.."
He sighed big and walked back into his room to lay back down, his body aching at his every move.
'Ugh I don't need more strong guys punching me around'
Kian thought back again at his time at the gym, remembering the hard punches the punching bag had received from that guy, which only made his body shudder as he recalled the heavy sounds of impact.
'Yeah... I should stay..away'
He grabbed his wallet from the counter, got his jacket, and quickly left the apartment.
'I need to clear my head'.
He walked down the stairs from the apartment and up the road, ignoring the aching muscles, screaming for him to stop using them.
The evening was cold and he brought his hood up to cover his ears from the chilling wind.
Around him, stores were closing up. He quickly turned a corner, almost bumping into an old man hauling his food truck behind him to store it for the night.
Kian greeted him with an apologetic look and received an acknowledging nod in return, as the old man turned towards the corner from where Kian had come from.
'I hope that old man had decent customers today..'
He thought to himself as he eyed the bright lights of the 24/7 convenience store ahead of him on the street.
He opened the door, hearing the regular "ring" sound above him, as he entered.
The sound made the owner look up from whatever magazine he was reading, to give a lazy nod at Kian.
The neatly looking man quickly darted his eyes back to the magazine with a bored expression.
Kian walked through the few aisles in the store, moving directly towards the section with cup noodles, grabbing a couple of different flavors, and continued his pace towards the drink section.
It was then it happened, someone tapped him on the shoulder from behind.
Surprised, Kian turned his head to be face to face with a stupid grin, smirking at him.
"Hey if it isn't little Kian."
Kian felt his blood freeze leaving him rooted to the floor.
"Hey Chad," Kian finally stuttered back.
He greeted the smirking face and stepped back to regain some personal space.
"What you got there Kian, shitty cheap food as always huh?"
The guy in front of Kian looked down at him with a sadistic creepy smile, bringing his condescending voice close to Kian's ear.
"I see those bruises healed up fast this time, maybe it was not enough to keep you from school"
A hand reached out to Kian's face, and his brain started screaming in his head for him to move.
Nothing changed. His body was frozen to the ground.
A sharp stinging pain flashed across his cheek, and Kian realized he had been slapped in an instant, not even registering the movement before it had happened.
He gritted his teeth, clenching his free hand, as his body was filled with the familiar frustrated feelings, regret and anger.
But his body was not following his mind, his body remembered too vividly the repeated bruises and hits brought by that hand.
He didn't move, or more like he didn't dare move. His body would not listen.
Kian looked past his former friends to try and locate the convenience store owner, but no one was there. and a flash of panic jolted through his mind.
'What was with the timing, where was the owner?'
His thoughts were cycling through many scenarios while standing frozen to the spot, unsure about how to get away.
'They wouldn't.. would They.. in this place?'
"Hey what are you guys doing, get your stuff and get out, don't linger!"
An angry voice was raised from the register area, as the owner walking in from the back area.
Chad bend down and got close to the frozen Kian "See you real soon K"
The two other guys behind him let out ugly groans, which Kian assumed were some kind of laugher.
They then turned around flashing him an annoyed smile as they left.
"Who wants to buy this shitty stuff anyways."
He heard them snort out, before Chad raised his voice.
"Sorry, we just thought we saw a friend."
'Friend.. Ha.. yeah once they had been...friends, not anymore.'
They left while Kian followed them with his eyes, then realized he had not been breathing, and sucked in a deep breath, his body trembling slightly still remembering what had happened a week ago.
'I can not do this anymore.'
Tomorrow they would corner him again... Why were they so adamant for him to leave the school.'
His feet finally decided they could move and he silently crossed the store to the register to pay and left in silence with a bag of noodles and drinks.
As he opened the door he heard the 'ring' sound again and suddenly walked into something hard.
He had bumped into a person and for a second froze while looking, the fear from before still wavering his judgment, only to see a hooded person enter, seemingly not having cared Kian had bumped into him.
Kian muttered, embarrassed, and left fast without looking back.
He sat down on the edge of the sidewalk.
The night was getting more chilly, but the cool air soothed his mind and he calmed down.
He took out one of the drinks to open and take a sip from it, calmly starting to survey the area back to his place.
'He knows where I live...'
He sucked in the cold air and breathed out slowly.
'Maybe they went home, it has gotten cold.'
The street lamps, kept most of the area lit up, and he was unable to see any movement in the shadows.
A sigh escaped his lips, and he rested his forehead in his hands while laughing a bit to himself, before moving his body to stand.
Would boxing, even help him, he could barely even talk back to these people, let alone move, how could learning how to punch with his skinny arms, do anything but make it worse?
It would be better if he spend his time studying, and get into a better university he thought.
Stick it to them by becoming successful, that was the way to do it, or so he had heard.
He knew he used to have decent grades, but they had dropped significantly lately.
Maybe studying was what he was supposed to do?
He didn't know what to do, even his dad had tried to get the school involved, but there was no proof he had been bullied on school grounds or by fellow classmates. Nobody had said anything.
With these thoughts he started directing his feet on the way back home, deciding to just give up on the useless fighting, and focus on studying from now on instead.
He reached into his pocket, feeling the piece of paper crumbled together in it.
His dad had been the one to subtly suggest the gym. It had been a surprise when he figured out the intention.
He had found the note with the address for the gym by his breakfast that very morning.
The thought of his dad not knowing how else to help his son, had even suggested using violence.
His dad? the peace-loving guy, who would take trips to just watch birds and flowers in the countryside.
Kian felt a sting in his chest but not from a wound.
He needed to change this whole situation, but fighting? That could not end well he thought.
Kian had made it back to the corner that was now empty as the food stall was no longer there. He turned around the corner, bringing himself to a darker area.
Suddenly his face got connected with a fist, bringing a sharp pain to his nose, and he fell back to land on his ass.
"W..what," he muttered in surprise, seeing the three guys from the convenience store.
He cursed inwardly.
Why had he thought they would let him go that easy.
"You made us wait, sitting there enjoying your drink, how the fuck dare you"
"Just let me go home," he grunted, stumbling back on his feet.
His mind and body were exhausted, he just wanted to get home and sleep.
He ran the back off his hand under his nose, smearing blood over his cheek.
The sight not even surprising anymore after repeated attacks.
Would he get a crooked nose now?
"Why?... You are the one who betrayed me."
The words were low, so only Kian could hear it, the two followers stepping in to create a half-circle blocking him up against a wall.
Chad proceeded to look at him with a seething stare, the anger visible in his eyes, as he spat on Kian, who quickly wiped the saliva off his face with an appalled look.
"Ohh would you look at this."
Chad smirked but proceeded to punch Kian in the stomach.
"Don't give me such a dirty look K, you are fucking disgusting?"
Kian coughed, feeling as if his innards were being forced out, trying to catch his breath as the air had been knocked out.
He hunched his body over from the hit and looked down, feeling the tears press their way to his eyes.
Couldn't they just leave him alone, why were they going this far.
If he could just land one satisfying blow on that self-righteous bully.
Kian's thoughts were running wild suddenly, having already forgotten about the safe studying plan he had been trying to put together to avoid all this.
Instead, his mind was just filled with anger at the constant pain he had to go through, wanting to just once be able to stand up for himself and fight back.
Kian peeked up seeing Chad standing proud as if he had done something praiseworthy.
It somehow ticked Kian off.
This guy... this bully had been his friend, no not only his friend, his best friend for 5 years.
Kian was the one who should be feeling betrayed... he had confided in his friend, how he liked guys... it had taken him so much to finally say it, and had said it to the only person he trusted most.
It was now his biggest regret, and he had told no one else since, yet somehow rumors were going around school now, and the bullying had started.
Kian was mad, the pain surging through his body suddenly felt numb to him.
He heard them laugh, and Kian clenched his hand, his mind suddenly remembering the tall gym guy punching the sandbag at the gym.
The motion was almost completely silent, and the others had not noticed it, until his fist connected with a jaw.
Immediately feeling a new pain shooting through his hand.
He had done nothing wrong to deserve this, he was no longer gonna let them beat him around whenever they felt like it.