Jae Reed didn’t know what tasted worse, the metallic iron from the blood in his mouth, or the tangy grime from the floor of the Boys’ toilets. Either way, they both weren’t nice things to be tasting on his tongue, but all he could do was suck it up as that arsehole, Derek Cole, pressed his head against the ground.
“Fucking chink” Derek swore, “You think you can look at me funny when you walk in this bathroom!”
The gaggle of idiots that hung around Derek laughed and chuckled as Derek repeatedly kicked Jae’s back in, and proceeded to press his dirty trainers against Jae’s head, his foot holding him in that spot.
The heavy smell of cigarettes and the thick odour of piss that hung around the bathroom made it hard for Jae to breathe. He felt his lungs gradually begin to seize up and he started to gasp, “My inhaler!”
“What was that you need something?” Derek laughed, pretending he hadn’t heard him properly.
“Please my inhaler…I ca-can’t breathe!” Jae gasped
“Inhaler?” Derek put on a puzzled face as he pulled out Jae’s blue inhaler from his pocket, “This thing? Is this what you want?” He tauntingly waved it in Jae’s face.
Jae reached out weakly, trying to grab it from Derek, but Derek continued to pin Jae down and tauntingly put his own hand higher so that the inhaler was just outside of Jae’s reach.
As Jae struggled Derek’s five stooges started hooting and whistling, “Look he’s going for it! Look at that idiot.”
Derek took a long drag on his cigarette while he watched Jae’s breathing become weaker. Jae felt like he was staring into the eyes of a demon as he saw the emotionless and cold expression on Derek’s face.
It was as if Jae wasn’t human, in Derek’s eyes he was equivalent to a worm or an ant, and Derek was simply stepping on him as if he had every right to.
As Jae’s breathing became more laboured, Derek shoved the inhaler in his mouth and pressed the pump. Jae gasped and sucked in the air desperately. While Derek pressed the pump several more times he had a twisted look on his face, his lips curled with contempt and anger.
When Jae could finally breathe normally again Derek kicked him in the stomach.
“ARRGH” he gasped.
Derek smirked and then kicked open a bathroom stall, he then threw Jae’s inhaler into the toilet.
“If you need to breathe again then go fetch Mutt” Derek cackled spitefully.
He smiled at his mates, “Let’s get out of here, this place is gross.”
With crooked laughs, Derek swaggered out with his entourage and Jae was left lying on the floor hugging his chest.
“I hate it here, I hate it here, I hate here” he mumbled as he summoned the strength to slowly get to his feet.
Eventually, he staggered to the toilet. He felt sick as he saw his inhaler sitting on top of a massive un-flushed turd. “Fuck my life” he mumbled while wrapping his hand in wads of toilet paper.
After collecting his inhaler, he washed it with plenty of soap in the sink. He then proceeded to wash the blood and grime from his face. His jaw ached.
Moments earlier, all Jae had done was walk into the bathroom. The moment he had seen Derek with his gang standing there smoking he knew he’d made a mistake. He had tried to leave but the moment he turned away Derek’s fist had come flying and smashed him repeatedly in the face.
He felt sick and tired, this bathroom used to be his safe place, the dirtiest toilet in the school located in the old abandoned building. No one ever came here, not normally. He could do his business or get some peace and quiet here without the usual arseholes breathing down his neck. Yet now his only safe haven had been taken.
Jae was feeling very sick and tired of everything.
He frowned as he stared at his reflection in the mirror, remembering Derek calling him a ‘chink’ he grumbled, “Racist arsehole.”
Jae wasn’t even Chinese, his Mum had been Korean and his Dad was British. That’s why his hair was a light blonde yet he had his Mother’s mono-lids and Asian features.
Since his Mum died, Jae had moved from Seoul to this small British Town called Twicking, to stay with his Uncle and Aunt. His Dad’s job as a Flight Attendant took him all over the world, so it was impractical for Jae to stay with him. Jae had accepted that, and a had actually been excited to move to the United Kingdom.
All his previous trips to Britain had been great before and he’d always enjoyed his Dad’s home country.
But Twicking was unlike any tourist spot he’d ever been to. It was a small run-down town, filled with Chavs and druggies. Surrounded by farms, the most exciting thing in Twicking were the sheep. All the local stores were small, the library was small and the area was small. And, due to that, the ethnicity ratio was small.
In the entire town, Jae was probably the only Asian, and he’d only seen one Black family, and there were no Middle-Easterns, Latino’s or anything.
In all small towns, everyone knew everyone else’s business, so from the moment he moved in, already people were pointing him out and saying “He’s that Asian, must be Simon’s nephew, heard his Mum died and he’s moving in with them, bless his cotton socks.”
It wasn’t bad at first, people gave him a strange amount of attention or weird friendly smiles when he went out, but they were well-meaning. And, overall the average local person was quite nice. The problem started when he enrolled in the local Secondary school.
Jae knew he’d stand out, transferring into year 10 in the middle of GCSE prep. Everyone knew each other, everyone already had their friends and no one knew how to interact with him. He’d been okay with that though, he had just wanted to keep his head down and study.
But then Stephanie Blue came and ruined his life. She was one of those girls that Jae would describe as ‘Yummy’. She had angelic blue eyes, a small face with unblemished and even skin, and long sleek platinum blonde hair. She was curvy, she had those perfect perky and big breasts combined with a skinny waist and wide hips. She was pretty and well-proportioned and she knew it.
Even in their disgusting uniform, with the navy blue blazers and grey ties, she still looked good. Her adjusted outfit went against school regulations. She always wore the tightest and shortest grey skirt, and she always had a button undone on her shirt and her tie always messily hung outwards.
Stephanie was a lot of things, wild, smart, seductive and she also liked K-pop. The moment she encountered Jae and found out he could speak fluent Korean and had lived in Seoul most of his life, she latched onto him.
Jae hadn’t minded at all at first, although she was a koreaboo she had her heart in the right place, and she wasn’t creepy or weird, just overly friendly and flirtatious. Being a bisexual, Jae wasn’t going to push away a pretty girl that was flirting with him.
The issue came with the fact that every guy in the school seemed to have a crush on Stephanie. So, as these stories go, Jae developed a large target on his back.
The bullying had started off small scale at first, just some shoves here and there. Guys moving away from him in the hallways, weird rumours spreading about him. But then it escalated to his gym bag getting stolen. His school P.E kit being vandalised. Soon enough he had thugs like Derek Cole seeing him as some kick board.
Once Derek started beating him up it was like a signal for all the other arseholes to start on him. Spitting in his direction, smacking him around and making him run to do their errands with the threat of more beatings. Back in South Korea Jae had been somewhat popular and he had good grades, so he’d never been bullied before. He’d see the bread shuttles, the bullied kids, around back then, but he had never imagined that one day he’d become one of them.
And what happened to Stephanie, the cause of all this? Well, after the rumours and the bullying started she avoided him like the plague. Later she even became Derek Cole’s girlfriend.
The entire situation had just become so frustrating.
Of course, he’d told the teachers, his Aunt and Uncle had even come in to complain, but all that happened were those boys getting suspended for a few days or put in detention, and they always came back with a vengeance.
He wanted to change schools but transferring wasn’t as easy in the UK as it was in Korea. Schools were allocated based on catchment area/location. Twicking was such a remote Town that “Fair Academy” was the closest secondary school to it, even though it was an hour away and Jae already had to wake up super early each day to commute.
Jae didn’t want to frustrate his Uncle and Aunt either, they were taking such good care of him and he didn’t want to cause them trouble.
So, eventually, he started lying, telling them the bullying was over with. He’d hide all his injuries and if he couldn’t he’d lie about them some more.
A year passed like that. Jae was now in year 11, exams looming ahead and he was still in the same shitty situation.
Jae used tissue and water to rub off the shoe marks that Derek had left on his blazer, his hands trembled with anger. ‘One of these days I’m going to kick all their arses!’ he swore.