One day as we were running late for class, my friend, Shelby, decided we should tease the paraplegic boy bound to his wheelchair as he proceeded to class. The movement of the heavy machinery was slow and it was so bulky, no one could pass by him. Shelby grew tired of being late for class because of it, so she kicked the back of the wheelchair and began shouting.
"Can you move any fucking slower?" she questioned, in a caustic tone.
The boy ignored her and continued on down the hallway.
"Oh, you can't hear me? Are you deaf, too?" she continued, her voice rising with each word.
Still, the boy pushed forward, causing the fury within Shelby to reach a breaking point, as her efforts to demean him failed without acknowledgement. Casually, as if what she was doing was perfectly acceptable, she slapped the boy in the back of his head. Immediately, the wheelchair's motion ceased.
"Oh, now I'm speaking your language, huh? Fucking cripple," she said.
The boy called out for a teacher, who immediately rushed to the scene. After hearing the boy's side of the story, the teacher grabbed ahold of Shelby and told her to go to the principal's office.
"Come on, Dalton. Let's get you to class," the teacher said, following after the boy as they headed towards his class.
Naturally, I turned to watch as Shelby walked in the direction of the Principal's office. Before looking away, I noticed a girl walking towards Shelby. She was dressed in boyish garb with messy hair. Not only that, but she held a white cane in hand, tapping it against the floor as she walked. As soon as I saw the girl, I knew Shelby would make her the next target. So I turned away, walking in the direction of my class. I didn't want to witness another one of Shelby's sick games.
During class, I tried to forget what had happened. The image of her hitting the boy replayed in my head over and over again; each time becoming more painful for me to watch. I shouldn't have allowed her to take it that far; I could've stopped her. But... I didn't. I stood there, watching as she assaulted someone that couldn't fully defend himself. Being that I was raised Christian, a verse came into mind as I reflected on my inactivity against the wrongdoing of that boy.
"Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."
That verse stayed within my head the entire class, but, once the bell rang and I rejoined that awful hallway, my eyes set upon the commotion down the hall. Quickly, I approached; My head racing with worry as I remembered the blind girl Shelby approached an hour prior. But, once I pushed through the crowd, it wasn't the girl I saw sprawled across the floor.
It was Shelby.
She laid there without movement, as her mint green eyes frantically shifted from side to side.
"What happened?" I questioned, watching as the first responders loaded her onto a gurney.
"Please, step aside," the man said, rushing through the only opening in the large crowd.
I watched on as they carried her out of sight. But, this strange sensation fell over me as the crowd diminished. It felt like someone was burning a hole into the side of my head; So I glanced to my right only to see the blind girl standing next to me. She was looking right at me... It was almost as if she could see me, though I knew she couldn't.
"Hi," I said, nervously as she stood there, awkwardly.
At this point, everyone had walked off towards their classes. Only the blind girl and I stood in the hallway.
"I saw what she did," she said, lowly.
I crossed my arms; my eyes falling to the floor as I recalled Shelby's heinous actions.
"And, I saw what you didn't do," she said, stoically.
I shook my head, turning to walk away but... She grabbed me... In an instant, she pulled me towards her with unadulterated force. Slowly, she inhaled deeply; the sound of her doing so resembled that of a chronic smoker's first swig of a cigarette. Then, she released the steaming air from her mouth, searing my face as the putrid air burned away my nose hairs. I couldn't resist staring into her unnatural, pale blue irises. The way her eyes burned into mine, made me rethink whether or not she was blind at all.
"As she was punished for her actions, you will be punished for your silence," she said, releasing me.
I pulled away hastily, running towards my next class as the bell sounded overhead. Whatever that girl was, I could feel her stare even as I sat down in class. The class was filled with lingering questions of Shelby's accident, as I shook in my seat. I had never felt so scared in my life. That is, until I stared at the chalkboard and noticed the cloudiness in my vision. Progressively, my vision dissolved as I frantically stood up in a panic. Everyone turned in their seats, their featureless faces gazing upon me.
"Ashley, please take your seat," Mrs. Schoch said, standing up from her desk.
"I can't see!" I cried out, leaning up against my chair for support.
Fed up with my disruption, she approached. One minute, I see only the outline of her body as she walked towards me; and the next, I see nothing but darkness. Though I could feel Mrs. Schoch grab ahold of my shoulder, I could no longer see. Everything was black.
Suddenly, it was all made clear as a voice rang throughout my head; that phrase the blind girl made as her gaze burned into my eyes.
"As she was punished for her actions, you will be punished for your silence."
Written by GreyOwl