Chapter One : Innocent Series of Videos
You see thousands of clips collected over the years play through. The same five people, maturing in front of your very eyes. Laughing, crying, hugging, joking around, gathered in a circle.
” There was something special about our group. Maybe to you, we’re nothing more than a mere band of teenagers talking nonsense and letting our dreams take hold of us. To me, we were everything I had ever known, and we all had something in common. Asher Lionell tormented each one of us, every single day. He pulled at Susie’s hair, made fun of Marilyn’s weight, used Sebastian’s knowledge, pushed Kevin’s hypersensitive buttons, pushed Grace over the edge, and me? He did something to me that I can never get over to this day, I bet in ten years I’ll still be thinking about what Asher Lionell did to me. To all of us. “
August 3rd, 2014
A small girl appears in frame, sitting on a bed in one of the rooms you’d eventually become familiar with. She’s nervous, her long bangs flinching as she blinks. Round glasses rest on a doll nose, framed in freckles and pimples. Long, blonde hair waves as the fan beats above her. The girl is staring at the camera, smiling shyly.
A tall girl joins the small one. Short, brown hair fly around as well until the girl turns off the fan with a small remote. Her hair parts in the middle and frames her heart shaped face which is red from an acne outbreak. She smiles and awkwardly hugs the small girl.
“This is Susie,” the girl yells out excitedly, making the mic peak. “I’m Clara! And today is our first day at Lionell Academy.”
“Yep, the hardest school to get into here in boring Janetville,” Susie says sarcastically, anxiously playing with her fingers.
“Oh, you’re so funny, Susie. She just misses home, right Susie?” Clara laughs, and then starts talking about what their day looks like, but the audio is fading and you can’t hear what she’s saying anymore.
” Susie was my best friend, but things change in school, except for Asher Lionell. What started out as an innocent series of videos meant for older me to look back on fondly, turned into a record of how Asher eventually took control of all our lives; of my life. “
The footage in the bedroom ends and it cuts to a closeup of Clara walking through the halls. She smiles widely and runs to greet an unseen friend. Then she turns the camera around to reveal a boy. His black hair is combed over to this side, and his brown eyes are looking at Clara lovingly as she laughs, her arm not holding the camera hooked around his neck. She rests her head under his chin and says to the camera, “This is Kevin, he’s gonna be my future boyfriend, right, Kevin?”
“Uh–I guess if you want,” Kevin stutters over his word, and visibly blushes but Clara doesn’t seem to notice because Asher has hit the camera out of her hand. It whirls around before landing and all you can see is the ceiling. You hear Asher’s annoying laugh that you’ll grow to know quite well.
“Hey, that’s really expensive, what’s wrong with you?” You hear Kevin getting angry with Asher and Clara crying. She picks up the camera and as she’s checking to see if it’s okay, you can see Kevin going after Asher in the background.
“Wait, Kevin, sto–.” The footage cuts as Clara dives into action to stop Kevin from doing anything he’ll regret.
Clara sets the camera on a desk and you have a clear view of Kevin sitting in a chair next to Clara, who is sitting in her own chair. He glares at the camera, but doesn’t speak, just grabs Clara’s hand and turns his attention toward a person out of view.
“Is that on,” A man speaks with a command and power that would shake anyone, but Clara is resilient and firmly answers, “No, it’s just low battery, that’s why it’s flashing red.”
“If you say so.” You hear a chair squeak and the man clears his throat. “What happened in the hallway cannot happen again. I know you have an anger problem and that you are going to anger management for it, but next time actually learn from that class. Your parents are paying big money for that and you’re not being any help to them by lashing out, especially since my son was just playing a little joke.”
“Yes, Headmaster Lionell. I’ll make sure Kevin–.”
“I wanna hear from Kevin, young lady.”
Kevin sits there quiet, thinking to himself before he eventually speaks, “I’m sorry for punching Asher Lionell. I’ll stay calm next time.”
“You bet you will, or detention you go. I’ll leave you with a warning, but remember … don’t let it happen ever again.”
Kevin stands up and as Clara is picking up the camera, you can see a big hand land on her arm, “Stay here, I want to speak to you … alone.”
Kevin is hesitant at first, but then he leaves, nervously looking back. The camera moves and all you can see is a weird angle of Clara’s face, the hand on her arm, the ceiling, and a small part of Headmaster’s face.
“Young lady, never speak before you’re spoken to again. Little girls like you are meant to be seen, not heard, you understand?” You can see Clara nod her head quickly. The camera is shaking and you can see Headmaster’s grip tighten on her arm before letting her go. “Have a good day, Clara.”
“Thank you, sir, have a good day, Headmaster Lionell.” Clara quickly leaves before the footage stops there, fading to black.
” What Headmaster Lionell said stuck with me for the rest of day, and it still is on my mind to this very moment. Those words affected me deeply, despite my efforts to keep it from changing how I feel about my opinion. Maybe he is one of the many reasons Asher Lionell is the bully he is. You see Asher might have been a big bully, but the adults were worse for feeding into his behavior. “
“I can’t sleep,” Clara’s young voice sounds through your phone. It’s shaky, as if she’s just been crying, and is trying to stop more tears from coming. The only light on her is from the camera screen and the little night light on her desk behind her. “Susie says Asher sits behind her in fourth period. He tugs at her hair; not too much, just enough to be annoying. I hate Asher Lionell, I don’t know, something tells me he’s more than just a guy trying to annoy his classmates like Headmaster thinks.”
” Oh, little me, how right you are. He’s so much worse than that. “