Lucas Alder was bullied, plain and simple. Had been ever since that fateful year when Leia left for summer break and Lucas came for the start of autumn quarter. He hadn’t expected a warm welcome, but the constant torment was certainly not. Sure he knew trans kids were more likely to get bullied and harassed than your average high school student. He didn’t know just how far they would go.
After a long day of hateful names, spilled lunches, and teachers who don’t watch out for their own students Lucas was walking home alone. A rust red truck pulls along the curb. ‘Oh dear god, didn’t they get their daily bullying quotas during school’
“Hey Freak, just you wait til we lay hands on you without some puny school rules to stop us.” A jock yells from the rolled down window, he throws a bottle of beer. It smashes at Lucas’ feet spraying glass and liquid everywhere.
That was the problem, contrary to popular belief, the bullies at Northberg were smart. They never got caught, ever. And Lucas was afraid of them. They could do anything to him.
A week passed since the truck incident, nothing out of the ordinary happened. Paranoia was eating away at Lucas as a little voice in the back of his head.
‘They’ll be back, just you wait‘
Alone in the dark riding his skateboard home from his shift at work the voice gets louder and harder to ignore it’s insistent hiss.
‘Just think of what they, what he, can do to you’
Lucas skates faster, if he tries he can leave the voice behind.
‘You can’t run away from your problems Lucas‘ The voice singsongs, ‘it won’t end well if you do‘
“Shut up!” He breaks down on the sidewalk, burying his face in his blue and silver scarf. “Just shut up!”
The voice goes silent. It was only his paranoia, he’s not going insane. He’s not losing his mind.
Lucas stands, brushes dirt from his jeans and continues on. Wheels on cracked asphalt create a soothing rhythm.
An engine roars behind him, headlights trained to his back.
‘RUN!‘ The voice screams.
But it’s too late. Lucas is flung up onto the hood of the rust red truck. He blinks at Dunkin through the windshield before the world goes black.
He wakes gagged in the bed of the tuck. Hands also bound behind his back.
‘You’re gonna die! He’s gonna kill you and no one will find the body!‘ The voice chirps, once again not helping.
“Shut up.” He mumbles around the cloth gag.
“C’mon princess, I’m gonna show you that no matter what you say you’re a girl and gonna enjoy the hell outta it.” He slings Lucas over his shoulder.
Lucas kicks and screams until his legs are sore and throat raw.
“Now now, no need for that. Out here no one can hear you scream.” Dunkin drops Lucas like a sack of potatoes onto the damp ground of the park near the woods.
Lucas screams and cries the entire time Dunkin shows him “what it means to be a girl”. After the horrid event he leaves Lucas undressed, unconscious, and shivering on the ground. Lucas wakes up with the sun. His close strewn about and his body cold and exposed. The memories come back in a tsunami. He vomits off to the side. Images flash through his mind, hands groping places they shouldn’t, a gag preventing him from calling out, but not from choking on his own tears. A dysphoria so strong he passed out, and ones I as the writer don’t want to think about.
Still shivering he finds his binder a few feet away, it’s stretched and mangled, but it’ll do. His clothes are all torn and dirty, his shoes flung into the woods.
The moment he crosses the tree line his ears go dead, like the air pressure has dropped. All sound is gone, but a ringing in his head. The air also feels heavy making it near impossible to breathe. Lucas grabs the shoes and runs. The image of a faceless man in a suit forever burned into his memory.
He doesn’t go to school Monday, or Tuesday, not until Friday. It’s the day of the homecoming assembly, the entire school of three hundred plus the fifty staff members will be in the gym.
Lucas learns that the voice in his head is quite helpful after That Night, as he will remember it always. It gives tips and plans on how to make the school pay for what they did to him and didn’t do those who hurt him.
First it told him to wait, then how to get ready. That he needed bottles, flammable liquid, and simple chemistry. Now it’s giving him the strength he needs to complete the plan. Oh what a plan it was.
Clad in a dark blue hoodie, dark jeans, and a pair of homemade welding style goggles tinted blue with black X’s over the lenses he’s ready to face the world. The bottles strapped across his body clink as he enters the school with no resistance and a skateboard tucked under his arm. Northberg wouldn’t know what hit it. Throwing down his board onto the tiled floors Lucas makes for the outdated gymnasium. Sound just pours out of the open door, he imagines the smoke that will be. Lucas can’t keep a smile off his face. It feels too big, too bright, and not too sane.
‘Make them pay, make them all pay’ the voice eggs on. Lucas pulls up the black bandanna over his mouth and nose. “Oh and how they will.”
He kicks the other doors to the gym wide open. All of the commotion stops dead in its tracks. Lucas throws the first bottle into the bleachers. Flames roar and writhe over the students as they try to get away. Lucas cackles as he throws more into the other side of the gym as he seeks out his target. All of the student body is rushing to get out the tiny doors as their beloved school goes up in smoke, it’s too bad the doors are already on fire. Lucas spots a familiar blond head and with unknown strength yanks him to the center of the burning gym.
“Let go of me you f*****g freak.” Dunkin struggles, but Lucas holds tighter and continues to laugh his maniacal laugh.
“Shh, don’t worry.” He pulls out one of the last bottles. “No one will hear you scream.”
Lucas smashes the brown glass onto the jocks head sending him up in a column of flames.
‘What a sight we’ve created‘ The voice cooes ‘none of them are making it out of here alive‘
It’s right, the old school is already collapsing on those trying to escape, all of those souls who would just stand by and watch others get bullied. They deserve to die, every last one.
“The best part is.” Lucas laughs at how fuzzy his brain is from smoke and fume inhalation. “They never stood a chance.”
He throws the last, most full, bottle at the mass of students. A last hurrah as they all scream louder and louder. A symphony of destruction.
As Lucas feels the floor sway under his feet his ears pop and the world turns to a ringing in his ears. The faceless man in the suit is standing in the roaring flames reaching out a bony hand to Lucas.
‘A path to make those who deserve it pay‘
And so Anonymous was born as Lucas took the offered hand.
“We bring you breaking news on the attack at Northberg high. There are only ten survivors and almost two hundred and fifty deaths. The suspect still remains an anonymous figure to those who saw him. We’ll bring you updates at six.”
~A week later~
“Four middle school boys were found burned and hacked to death outside a local park. Police see a possible connection to the recent arson attack at Northberg high, whose main suspect still remains unknown. More on this story at eleven.”