20 Weeks – Chapter 6 (Part 2)
Everyone called Cory ‘Panda’.
And though Cory smiled and acted as if it were a really great nick-name, he couldn’t help but cringe inside every time he heard it. Because he was intelligent enough to know it was a dig, every bit as much as it was a term of endearment.
Then again, it had been given to him by larger, more genetically blessed individuals, who all fit that Hollywood ‘stereotype’ they’d been peddling soundly and profitably his entire life.
You know one… the stereotype where ‘tall’ means ‘strong’, and ‘handsome’ means ‘morally superior’. No matter the issue.
And Cory was none of that, because he was just an average Asian man living in a white-cult world.
But he didn’t care about any of that. Or any of them. Nor what they thought of him or his nick-name.
What Cory cared about was what Bijuu thought. Because she was the only one who really mattered. Because she was the only one who ever saw him; really saw him, for who he really was.
“Oh, hey, Panda. What do you want?” Bijuu asked, as indifferently as she possibly could, despite the fact her heart was still racing and her room looked like a tornado had recently hit it.
“I just wanted to make sure you’re okay,” Cory told the young girl, who looked like she’d spent most of the night crying.
“Yeah… I’m…” the girl began, but then she let her words drift off, as her ghost was suddenly motioning very violently from the upper corner of her room.
“Just a sec,” Bijuu told the boy, as she quickly shut the door in his face, without even waiting for his reply.
“What?” Bijuu asked of her long-dead friend.
“He could help us, you know… get a little revenge,” Nyx, the long-dead punker, told her mortal charge.
“How?” Bijuu asked, not one to prolong getting to the point.
“He could lure them up here, to your room – and then… Well, I have a plan. So that no one will ever forget what they’ve done,” the ghost told her with such a malevolent look on her face that Bijuu simply couldn’t refuse.
And so, she threw open her door and quickly pulled the startled boy inside, by his collar.
“What? What’s going on… in here?” the startled boy asked, as he suddenly took in her messy room, which was topped off with the demolished Brad Pitt poster, where half of his head had been impaled upon one of her bed posts.
“Predatory house pet… indeed…” Cory got out with a smirk, before Bijuu stared him into silence.
“I need your help,” she told the boy she’d always trusted, but had never really seen before now.
“My help? Why? With what?” he asked, with a nervousness in his voice he had hoped to hide better.
And for a second the room was deathly silent.
Because, how does one simply say ‘I need you to lure my rapists into my room’ without it sounding both insane and criminal at the same time?
And then the wind left Bijuu’s lungs. All that air she’d been holding since… since forever. Long before she’d killed her groping boss, anyway.
And then she slumped down on the end of her bed and began to cry. Softly at first, into her hands, so that not even her ghost could witness her shame.
“My mom was a catalog bride. Did Chad ever tell you that?” Bijuu said into her hands, hoping her friend could understand her, despite the bubbles of snot and the odd hiccup.
“My dad used to go to the Taiwan for work, and one year he brought home my mom. But she always hated him. And me. And she especially hated my brother whose mother had died the year before. His white American mother.”
Cory had known about the catalog bride situation; cuz it had been something Chad had often joked about whenever Bijuu was out of ear-shot. Because even Chad had known that was a joke too far with his younger more fragile sister.
But still… the jokes had been ready-built, hadn’t they? Considering what a comical thing it must be for an already messed up teen who valued Instagram likes more than anything.
“He mentioned it, once, I think,” Cory answered, with as much honesty as he dared.
“Dad says she went crazy, and that’s why she’s locked up. But I think she just got tired of him and didn’t see any other way out.”
Cory, not knowing what else to say, just nodded his head in silent understanding. Though, technically, he didn’t understand at all. And he certainly didn’t understand why he was suddenly hearing about it now.
“Are you okay?” he asked, and then he put a comforting hand on the girl’s back.
“When do we get to have power over our own lives?” Bijuu asked him, suddenly looking up into the boy’s big brown eyes.
“When do we get to feel safe and protected?”
Cory had wondered that himself, just recently, when another one of his friends had been pulled from a car and beaten by some cops.
“When we’re the ones in power,” Cory told her, not really believing it would ever be something he’d see, at least not in his lifetime anyway. And certainly not when those in power were there because they’d sold the illusion of ‘being on our side’ to the masses.
Bijuu looked the suddenly sad boy in the face, and then asked him point-blank, “You know what they did to me during Chad’s birthday party, don’t you?”
And suddenly Cory had nowhere to retreat.
She’d painted the trap well. Baited it with his own feelings of helplessness, and rage.
And then she’d snapped the jaws shut – trapping his mortal flesh.
“I…” he began, but then stopped, as a single tear welled up in the corner of his eye.
A tear that elicited and instant and homicidal rage inside of Bijuu.
A silent tear… for all the good their silent fucking tears have ever done! The half-Brit, half-Taiwanese girl screamed inside her head. But outwardly she remained silent.
Because as much as she detested his silence – she knew she still needed his help.
“I’m so sorry…” Cory finally said, as he looked down, into his empty hands. Hands that could pluck any instrument and make it sing. Hands that had been made fun of more times than he could count… just because they were small.
“I should have…” he began, but then stopped, when he saw the firm look of utter determination march across the girl’s tear-stricken face.
“Go and get them. Tell them any lie you can think of… just don’t let anyone else know what you’re doing. Don’t let anyone see you bring them up here,” Bijuu instructed him, as she took his hands into her smaller, much colder ones.
“But…” Cory began, but then he simply nodded.
And then he stood up to go.
“Are you sure?” he asked, turning at the door.
Bijuu nodded firmly, and then said, “Remember, not a word. And don’t let anyone see.”
Cory nodded his head, which caused his mop of dark black hair to bounce on top of his head, and for a moment Bijuu wanted to smile. Smile because that mop of hair had always felt safe.
But then she frowned, and almost burst into tears, as she thought of what she was getting him into.
However, once the door was shut behind him, all thoughts of what Cory deserved were gone, replaced instantly with thoughts of what her rapists deserved.
“So,” she asked her ghost, who was still floating in an upper corner of her room. “What’s the plan? We don’t have much time.”
“The problem, as I see it,” Nyx told her human companion, “is the silence. So long as they can sweep it under a rug… the problem simply doesn’t exist.”
Bijuu knew the young punker had been a trafficking victim, whose body had been discovered in a landfill, rolled in a motel rug, and so Bijuu couldn’t help but cringe when Nyx had said the word ‘rug’.
But her ghost went on, as if her own death meant little to her now.
“We just need to get the world to see them - the way we do…”
Nyx floated down to the girl’s dresser and with a flick of her hand lit the largest candle.
And then she picked up a leather brand Bijuu had gotten as a gift last Christmas. It was a large letter ‘X’.
Nyx stuck the brand into the flame, and then turned once more to her charge.
“Once everyone sees them as the cowards and villains they are… no more innocent victims. No more free passes to try again. Ya?”
It was then, as Bijuu took the bright-red X” leather brand from the flame, that her door opened, and in walked the three young men.
© Raena Exe 2021
*All characters, places, and events are completely fictional.
*All rights reserved.
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A pregnant teenage girl accidentally kills her boss and then struggles to dispose of the body.