“Yooma is a weird one isn’t she?
“She’s smart but it seems like she’s kinda scary.”
“I don’t really talk to her much, she’s such a loner.”
To me, I have always thought that friends were people who brought me nothing but lies. I have always just ignored them and the awful rumors they spread concerning me. They were something that I didn’t need anyway. That’s why being friends with someone is utterly unnecessary for me.
In this time and age, school is not entirely about learning. It’s now about grouping yourself among the others, pretending to be someone else just to fit in, in fear of being cast out. And those who were unfortunate enough not to get in one of the circles, will be their target.
Society has changed for the better, they said. But all I see through my eyes were pitiful students being everyone’s prey. Those who were on top of the society, would trample on the backs of the lower ones, to be specific.
“What the heck? I told you to buy cranberry juice!” Fei, one of the people who managed to gather senseless students to be her slaves, said in an irritated voice as she threw the opened can of milk on a petite girl kneeling on the floor. From the looks of it, she’s poor and only has one set of uniform but the contents of the can soaked it, earning a whimper from her.
I watched the usual scene right in front of the class. Everyone, however, was too occupied in their small circles not watching the situation since it has been an everyday thing that they grew tired of it. Feigning ignorance as they laugh and giggle at themselves. The teachers, were not much of a difference. They’d do the same and feigned ignorance, not wanting to help the students in need.
While I, don’t really care that much about them either. They chose their path, it’s their decision to be stepped on or be the one stepping on people. My decision is to not get involved in their drama, since I can’t be with other people. I do not give anything to anyone, that’s why I dont expect anything in return either. I reject anything and everything because getting involved with people is the same as creating disadvantages and I refuse to do that.
I am much better off alone.
“Yooma!” An irritating voice echoed from the doorway, causing the whole class, including the people at front, turn to her direction.
“How foolish.” I muttered, closing my eyes in intent annoyance as I close the textbook I was halfway finishing.
The girl who owns that irritable noise came rushing towards my direction, attempting to pounce on me.
“Stay 2 meters in radius away from me.” I spoke as I put a full stop on her before she could reach and tackle me using the book I was holding, completely hitting her face.
After that, the whole class, returned to their own world, Fei continuing to pester the girl at front.
“Yooma, you’re so mean! Is that a way to treat your best friend?” I pulled my book away from her face before continuing to read.
She sat down on the seat in front of my desk and faced me with her usual annoying grin.
“Guess what? Joon and I are going on a date!” She squealed, holding her reddened cheeks as she squirm around.
“Guess what? I do not have the slightest bit of care about your statement.” I remarked, flipping the pages to look where I stopped.
She, however, didn’t stop and kept squirming her body in delight.
“You should care! Because Joon is like the most handsome guy in campus!”
“Which only means that a lot of woman would come pulling your hair.” I uttered but she was too busy visualizing her fantasies that she took no notice of my statement.
I glance over at Fei and saw that she was looking at our direction with utter jealousy, crossing her arms as she whispered next to the girl besides her called Jina. I looked back at Youngji sitting in front of me before an exasperated sigh escaped my lips.
“Youngji. You should stay away from Joon. You know he’s up to no good.” I advised, and once again, she ignores me.
It wasn’t too long until she became their target, it was inevitable anyway since Joon, the most liked guy in the whole school, is surprisingly her boyfriend.
Since the day she mindlessly believed that Joon likes her and began dating, almost all the immature women are out making fun of her as if it was their daily routine.
Youngji, however, does not mind as long as Joon is by her side. If it wasn’t for the genuine smile she shows whenever she’s with him, then I’d already disposed of that guy to keep him away from her.
I was walking through a small alley, a plastic bag filled with food dangling on my hands as I spotted the familiar rundown apartment.
“Open up.” I lightly knocked a few times at the almost broken door before it opened to reveal Youngji in her usual clothes. Ragged and old.
“Yooma! You’re here again!” She squealed, tackling me before I could even enter the freezing clamped room.
“Yes yes, get off me.” I pushed her forehead away and began walking towards the living room. I sat down on the floor since there’sno couch or even a chair found, placing the plastic bag on the small table at the middle. “I brought food–” before I could even finish my sentence, she was already rummaging the bag in search for her favorite.
“Cupcakes!” She leaped from the floor and once again attempting to tackle me but I stopped her with my raised foot, resting on her stomach.
“I thought I told you to stay 2 meters away from me.” I calmly said, pulling out a new textbook I bought and began reading.
She frowned, returning to her spot across the room but eventually smiled to herself as she began eating the cupcakes I baked.
From time to time, I kept glancing at her and at the rundown room. It wasn’t that messy but from the lack of furniture and stuffs, it looked almost like an abandoned place. The once peach walls were dark grey and molds had already formed, her bed was nothing but a stacked carpets in attempt to resemble a decent bed. Aside from the small table at the center of the room and her bed at the corner, a small drawer was placed just besides the bed. I’m already certain that the only clothes she has was her school uniform, the uniform from her part time job and a few old clothes.
At the top of the drawer lies a picture frame of a 10 year old Youngji and her parents. Her father was tall yet stout, wrapping his hand around Youngji’s shoulder, while her mother has her hands resting on Youngji’s head.
All of them had a genuine smile plastered on their face, their eyes almost crinkling in delight. It made me wonder, why they left their only daughter in famine. Well, she did told me that her parents were always fighting day and night, she even got involved in their catfights and got her arms broken. Then one night, she found herself all alone in her house with nothing but a note from her parents saying that they’ll go to another country and uncertain when they’ll return.
I glanced back at Youngji, still devouring the food I brought while constantly smiling to herself with each bite she takes.
It left me pondering why she’s still smiling after all the sufferings she received. She’s basically a mess. At school she’s being bullied by almost everyone, after a tormenting day she returns to this lonely apartment with no one to accompany her, and at night until dawn she has to go work in a karaoke bar. And the next day she comes to school without any sleep only to be harrased by everyone again.
“Youngji.” I called to her amidst the silence. She glanced over to my direction, chocolate icings stuck on her face.
“What?” She asked, stopping her continuous devouring of cupcakes.
I stared at her pale complexion, it’s obvious that she’ll get sick from her current situation. I sighed, closing the textbook and placing it on the table.
“Nothing.” I remarked, earning a puzzled stare from her.
“Okay then.” She resumed consuming loads of sweets, while I kept on staring at her in disbelief.
How long is she going to put up this act. Pretending as if she’s fine even though her whole world had already crumbled. Yet she wore a cheerful smile to the world not being able to be warmly embraced. I can hear the painful cries through her eyes, it echoes through the sky and shakes the Earth, yet no one glanced at her with sympathy. . .
Not even me. . . Her own best friend
Scandalous pictures spread across the whole campus like wild fire, earning giggles and smirks from everyone.
I watched Youngji walking through the crowded hall, her head hanging low and her hands trembling in deceit.
People around her erupted into soft murmurs, a disgusted yet satisfied look plastered on their face.
“How foolish.” I sighed, closing my eye before heading towards the student council office. At least I can do something for her, even though it was her fault for going with Fei knowing that she hates her with great intensity.
When will she ever learn not to trust people. Always, and always smiling to whomever she encounters, even if their motives were malicious.
Striding across the hallway, my ear caught familiar voices talking inside an isolated classroom at the very end of the hallway before I make a turn to head for the library. I stopped in my tracks and stood in front of the certain room and listened silently.
“Youngji is really done for. I bet she’s already expelled from this school, and I wouldn’t have to see her ugly face anymore.” The one speaking, which I believed is Fei, laughed in a mocking tone. Various laughter also resonated from inside, making me bite my lip and wonder why they’re so happy by Youngji’s crisis.
“I think she doesn’t even have the guts to show her face at school because of those pictures we took.” Kelly interjected, earning an annoyed voice from Fei.
“Excuse me. I’m the one who made sure that her face is clearly seen.” She proudly said, giggling afterwards.
“Hey, without my camera, you wouldn’t capture those awesome pictures.” I heard another voice, specifically from a man. And as far as I can remember, that irking loud voice belongs to Youngji’s boyfriend, Joon.
Knowing that Youngji’s most loved person in the school is actually a part of her downfall was enough for me to slam the door open and walk in the room. The room was filled with an awful smell that comes from cigarettes, Fei was sitting on top of a desk while all her other friends were gathering around her, and Joon was leaning on the wall next to them.
“Oh shoot. It’s the president.” Joon mockingly smirked, acting happy to see me when in fact he was expecting for my reaction to be furious, which it was.
Fei on the other hand was surprised and was taken aback right after seeing me burst through the door.
“I heard everything you just said.” I said in my most dangerously calm tone, standing in front of them. My whole body was shaking in anger as I stare at all of their faces, almost half of my classmates were here, smoking and laughing about Youngji’s scandal.
“Wha. . . You. . . Ugh. . .” Fei struggled to form a decent sentence as I take a step forward to her direction.
“Wha? You? Ugh?” I repeated what nonsense she just whimpered in a more furious tone, glaring daggers at her shaking pupils. “What language is that? Could you speak in one of the 13 languages I actually understand?”
“What’s with you? Boasting about your intelligence and s–t.” Jina sat up from her seat and stood between me and Fei, probably shielding her from me.
“Well, I know now that all of the people here are behind the allegedly scandal of Youngji and is responsible for scattering the pictures across campus.” I tried to calm myself but my anger still makes my whole arm shake. “It made me wonder why there are conveniently placed pictures everywhere, turns out I was correct that there are more than one person behind this.” I stated, making Fei click her tongue in annoyance before avoiding eye contact, but Joon was fast enough to speak up to defend their innocence.
“Hah? Where’s your proof that we did all that?”
I glanced over to his direction and saw that he was furrowing his brows, probably because I was slowly making my way for getting them expelled from this place.
“I already told you. I heard all of it.” I deadpanned, and the corner of his lips tugged upwards as if I was delusional.
He crossed his arms and leisurely leaned back on the wall. “You think the principal will believe that? Theres 20 of us here and you’re only one, we can easily brush it off by saying that you’re making that up.” Fei regained her boastful composure after hearing those words from Joon, smirking and raising an eyebrow at me.
“Yeah, you’re just being a psycho and misheard everything.” She added, also crossing her arms.
The people around her was nodding too, staring at me as if waiting for me to speak.
Great, a group of idiots. I thought to myself before talking back. “You think the principal will believe a bunch of disgusting good for nothing people? And did you also think that me, Kim Yooma, will get easily brushed off?.” The irritating smirk Joon and Fei had on quickly disappeared right after realizing that the most well behaved, intelligent, most trusted student in the school is infront of them right after mindlessly blurting out their crimes and I coincidentally heard everything.
Almost all of them stepped back and was exchanging glances at each other before looking back at me with a guilty look.
“I’m not involved in this, I was just here to smoke, nothing more.” One of our classmates shook his head, raising his hands in mock defeat.
“Y-yeah, I didn’t do anything to Youngji.”
“It was Fei, not us.”
“We only did it for the money Fei is giving us.”
“It was Hyemi who organized that party as well as Youngji’s scandal.”
One by one, they started pointing their hands at each other. I just watched them bark at themselves when in fact, they’re all in the same boat. Once I put a hole in it, all of them will drown.
“Now then, what shall I do? Should I broadcast it for the whole school to know how well you schemed all these? I wonder if expulsion is enough for the likes of you.” At this point, I was the one smirking from seeing them panicking.
Fei was furiously gritting her teeth, her hands shaking in anger and was refraining herself from charging towards me.
“You’re a nuisance!” She yelled, planning to scare me with her loud and angered voice but is not working since I was blankly standing still in front if them. “If you didn’t meddle with us then I would’ve already had the whole class on the palm of my hands
Go on, broadcast it! I dare you. But don’t think you would get away with it. I’ll make sure your crushed, I will destroy your life and I will make sure your oh-so intelligence won’t help you in any way you could possibly think of. I’ll break your family apart and make sure you’ll be the one kneeling on the ground! And of course, Youngji will also be there, kneeling besides you in agony.”
After a few seconds, silence outstretched all throughout the room. Everyone was sitting in silence and was hesitant to break the awkwardness since I was giving off a bad vibe while standing still.
“You. . .” I mumbled, Fei was panting from excessively yelling.
“What? I can’t hear you. Are you scared? Go on and beg, say that you’re sorry and you won’t mess with us anymore.” She smirked, still panting.
Without saying a word, I suddenly lifted my hand and slammed the hell out of her face, sending her crashing towards the groupp of mindless people behind her. The strong impact from the crash made her face swollen and vibrantly red, another silence stretched between us.
“I won’t mind becoming a murderer right now.” I glanced at her, as well as everyone else in the room. They were all shaking in fear and is not brave enough to stand up for themselves. “Go ahead and destroy my life. It’s what you do anyway, since your life is too boring that you meddle with someone else’s.”
I turned my back at them before walking away, but before I could exit the room Fei added a few words to her awful blackmail.
“Don’t forget that money can buy everything.”
I didn’t put much attention on those words, since I believed that everything she says is complete nonsense. But later that night, my mom and dad spoke to me, telling me that I should be nicer to Fei. That made me furious, my parents siding with the evil one and not their own daughter. It turns out that my mom works for Fei’s father, and if I did anything wrong to her, my mom would lose her job and is possible that she won’t get another job since Fei will follow us everywhere. My dad was still working his way to become a policeman and is still unemployed, so right now, my mom is the bread winner, making her lose her job will also make me lose the privilege to study in a prestigious school.
So I had no choice. . .
The day of Youngji’s death, I was there with her. But I didn’t have any clue that it would be the last day of me being with her.
I was almost done reading the textbook I got from the library, when I heard loud screams and whimpers from outside the window. I shifted my gaze outside to see Youngji already being beaten up by Fei and her immature gang.
“I can never leave her for just a minute can I?” I groaned, watching teachers from the distance, walking towards the school gates since class hours had already ended hours ago.
They took notice of Youngji being bullied by them, but they pretended that they didn’t see anything, continuing to talk with their colleagues and left the school.
My eyes turned menacing, realizing how money can change everything in the world, even their own principles.
“Yooma!” I heard, I glanced back at Youngji. She was already alone, Fei walking away with her so called friends.
“How foolish.” I closed my eyes, leaving the classroom with another towel I took out of my bag.
It has become a habit of mine to bring towels and other medical stuffs since she’s always being targeted at.
As soon as Youngji heard my distinct footsteps, she weakly lifted her head from the ground, dirts falling off from her hair and cheeks.
“I told you. . . You never listen.” I knelt down, wrapping the towel around her limp body.
She didn’t retort back, just whimpered on my knees. She sobbed and sobbed, feeling an excruciating pain from her bruises and possibly from a broken rib.
“Get up. I’m taking you to the principal’s office. Whether you like it or not, I’m not gonna let you get stepped on by them anymore.” I harshly said, waiting for her to stand.
And so, eventually, we reached the familiar huge doors at the end of the hallway. The word principal’s office engraved majestically besides it.
I opened it without even knocking, revealing the balding principal lazily shaving his unruly beard with a tiny blade. He made a startled noise as I shove Youngji inside, glancing at me as I closed the door.
“What can I do for you?” He asked in a stern voice, scampering to regain his usual calm composure. Putting the razor blade he was using inside the drawer from his desk before locking it. He clasped his hands together in attempt to look presentable.
I motioned Youngji to sit down on one of the couches, but the principal noticed how dirty and unruly her uniform is, so he stopped her. “Don’t sit on that, it’s new.” He frantically gestured his hands, shooing Youngji away.
She yelped in fear from his sudden annoyed voice before standing up. I scrunched my nose, glaring at the principal as he look down on the spot where Youngji sat on, completely covered in dirt.
“Tsk, now it’s filthy.” He cursed, looking at his newly bought couch in dismay.
In attempt to do something evil, I raised my foot and kicked the couch, completely flipping it around. He gasped in horror as he dash towards it, standing it back up before turning to glare at me. “If you’re not the pride of this school then I’d already expelled you!”
“I’m not the one you should be expelling.” I crossed my arms, pointing at Youngji, bruised and wounded. “Fei and everyone did this to her.”
The principal looked back at her and does not look surprised, as if he already knows that Fei has her eyes on Youngji. Walking back to her seat and slumping down as he studied her pitiful state.
“You do know that Fei’s father sponsors this school, right?” He asked, already pointing out his point that if he sues Fei, then he will get not a single penny from her dad.
“You do you know that this is a crime, right?” I quipped, earning a startled look from him. “According to republic act number 10627, it is the school’s priority to prevent any kind of bullying, what they did to Youngji was too much.”
He was shocked by my informative statement, gaping at the two of us standing in front of him but eventually shook his head and laughed. “I almost thought you’re the most intelligent student here.” He stopped from laughing and stared at me, resting his elbows on his desk. “Unfortunately. . . That law is only applied in other countries, and not here. In this place, we encourage bullying. It serves as a lecture for those who are not strong enough to stand up for themselves.”
“We are here to state the tedious acts from your students. You people should educate them about being a decent person and not wasting their time on bullying others.” I slightly raised my voice, completely far from my personality, but I had no choice. This person is determined to side with Fei who has loads of wealth.
“Isn’t Youngji here the one at fault? She mindlessly triggered everyone.” He retorted, scoffing at her.
Youngji was about to cry once more but I patted her back, and glared at the bald aging man in front of us.
“If you’re just gonna point fingers at her and not gonna help, then I’ll file a complaint against Fei, you, and to this whole school.” I slammed my hands against his desk, causing her to lean away from me on his chair.
“T-then. . . Would you mind if I speak to Youngji alone?” He gulped, but I’m not falling for that. I won’t leave Youngji alone in here with this awful man.
“What if I said no? I’m not leaving her here with you.” I squinted my eyes at him, almost sending out crackles of electricity back at him.
He was about to say something but my phone rang my usual ringtone. I pulled it out from my pocket and saw that my mom was calling me.
“Then I’ll leave you too behind. You better do something about this, or else I’ll have you locked up in prison for the rest of your life.” I menaced at him one last time before walking towards the door. Patting Youngji’s shoulder, she gave me a reassuring smile as she nodded her head, before I exited the office.
I left them there, walking across the corridor as I answered the call.
“Mom.” I mumbled, glancing back at the door where I came from then back at front.
“Sweetie, where are you? I got you freshly baked croissants! You’re favorite.” She beamed across the line, I smiled in delight, I’m sure Youngji would like to eat those with me.
Or better yet, after her talk with the principal and after we get those wounds and bruises treated, I’ll take her to my house and let her eat all the delicious food mom buys.
“I’m still at school.” I replied, stopping besides the window glass and stared outside. I glanced behind me and made sure I’m still near the principal’s office door, about 40 meters away from me.
“I’m at the school gate, I dropped by since I thought that you still might be here and turns out I’m right!” She cheered, I can hear the sound of the endless flowing of water, making me know that she’s besides the river infront of the school. “Come and get it here, I still have to give some for your dad at his office.”
I was reluctant, glancing back at the principal’s office then back outside the window. I saw my mother standing besides the gate, carrying a brown plastic bag where I believe the croissants were at.
“Okay. . . I’ll be there in a minute.” I ended the call, before walking away. Quietly observing the silent hallways, and wondering how peaceful this place is without people in it.
As soon as I reached the school gates, my mother wasn’t there anymore. The certain spot she was standing on is nothing more but an empty space.
“Mom?!” I called, shifting my gaze side to side. After continously searching for her, I gave up and pulled out my phone, dialling her number as I impatiently tap my foot.
“Yooma.” She suddenly mentioned my name which is very unusual, she usually calls me sweetie or honey but her using my name means that something serious had happened.
“What happened? You were just here a moment ago.”
“I’m sorry but. . . Our neighbors called us, there’s a fire right in front of our house and. . . I. . . I don’t know what to do. . . I immediately called a taxi.” Her voice was trembling, and my eyes were wide from shock.
“Mom! Don’t worry, I’ll be there in a sec!” I raised my voice, panic evident from my action.
Fortunately, there was a taxi passing by and I stopped it by raising my arms at it. I entered the car and said our address in a frantic manner.
As much as I want to stay behind and help Youngji solve her issue, I can’t possibly leave my mom alone in this kind of situation.
I’m sorry Youngji, I can’t help you right now.
Distant sounds of chattering and sirens from police cars parked outside the school echoed throughout the building. Students gathered at the 4th floor, near the restroom giving out a putrid smell.
“I only left my eye on you for a moment. . .” I stood steadily, my eyes staring blankly at the girl sitting peacefully on the toilet seat. “And you already caused another trouble.” I mumbled, tears streaming rapidly from my emotionless eyes as I stare at the dead body of my best friend.
Her lips were pale and bluish, her complexity turned much paler from the lack of blood that is now scattered on the floor around her. I looked at her tearstained face, a frozen smile formed and her eyes was closed as if she accepted her end with open arms.
“How. . . How foolish.” I stopped from suppressing my tears and let it all out, letting my head hung low amd stare at the glaring red floor
The policeman already dragging me away from the crime scene in fear that I might mess with it and ruin valuable evidence.
Before I was completely pulled out of the restroom along with the other students with their phones out, I caught a gleaming object at the floor next to her.
It brought back memories to my mind. That shining object is indeed, without a doubt.
Is the principal’s razor blade.
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