Judy Derby tells us a sad tale of a boy who lives imprisoned in a school where bullies reign. This story brings light to an issue that many young teens face on a daily basis. Perhaps this story will make us more mindful of those young people under our care.

Lights Out

By Judy Derby

From the narrow slit in the janitor’s door, I watched as the lights went out one by one in the dormitory hallway. The nun whose duty it was to inspect each room for the evening was only doing a spot-check, thankfully; or I’d have been in serious trouble. But then, I chose this night because I knew that Sister Agnes was near-sighted and always eager to get back to her room and her book.

The next 15 minutes were the longest of my life. I was so close to freedom now; I couldn’t afford to make even one mistake. I mentally reviewed the route I needed to take to get out of the building; my prison for the last four miserable years. Down the back stairwell to the kitchen, then into the pantry closet. The room had a large casement window which I had checked earlier in the day to make sure it was unlocked. I would drop out of that window to the back alley, four feet down. No problem. And I had all night to put as much distance between me and my jailers as a fourteen-year-old could cover.

Today I had reached my breaking point. They’d pushed me into the bathroom, shoved my face into the toilet then jeered as they walked off, leaving me choking and half-drowned. No more, I promised myself. Living on the streets couldn’t be any worse than this.

The closet door gave a long creaking sound as it opened wide. Terrified, I froze and held my breath for several seconds, heart pounding loud in my ears. I let out the pent-up breath and filled my lungs again shakily. Tiptoeing on my bare feet, I made it to the stairwell and hurried down the steps, thankful for the dim security lights.

Finally, in the pantry, I saw my hand on the glass, pushing it open. I smelled the clean night air, beckoning me to freedom. Suddenly, the pantry light switched on, and I looked up into the face of my abuser. Panicked, I tried to yell, but no sound came out. All I could hear was the sound of his laughing. His face blurred, and dissolved, but I could still hear his mocking laughter.

I woke up and found myself lying on the bathroom floor, choking and wet. They were walking away, laughing again as they always did.

JUdy Derby

Judy is a confirmed bookworm who, having finished college after the age of 40, fulfilled another lifelong dream by self-publishing her first short stories on Amazon. With her degree in psychology, she is currently at work trying to figure out what makes people tick. Stay tuned.

For more stories like this one, buy New Zenith Magazine at http://newzenithmagazine.com/shop/.

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