Friday Fiction: Shame by Shawna Railey
The bell rand loudly and Gilbert sprinted out of the classroom, feeling a wad of paper hit the back of his head on the way out. The sound of laughter faded into the background as he rushed down the hall.
“Hey Gilbert! Where you going?”
He didn’t look back as he rounded the corner and headed for the soccer field. He slowed his pace once his feet hit the grass, now a safe distance from the bullies he left behind. He tried to catch his breath as he adjusted his backpack from the daily sprint.
By the time he reached the far gate that led to the main street, he was keenly aware of his need to go to the bathroom. He looked over his shoulder toward the school, now so far away. If he went back, would the bullies still be there? Gilbert didn’t want to risk it.
There was a cool breeze blowing as he started down the sidewalk. The light wind felt good on his face, drying the sweat that had started to form along his hairline. He glanced sideways and saw Mr. Peakes watering his lawn and waved absentmindedly. He wasn’t surprised when Mr. Peakes turned away. Gilbert got that a lot.
He looked both ways before crossing the street. Only two more blocks to go until he’d reach his house. He hadn’t realized before he left the school how badly he needed to go pee and he was beginning to wonder if he’d be able to hold it that long. He tried to pick up the pace but that just made it worse.
Gilbert passed Suzy Long and Jeanette Masters sitting together on Suzy’s front lawn. He waved as he passed them and heard them giggling at his back.
“What a freak!”
“He doesn’t even have any friends.”
Gilbert’s chin trembled and he tripped over a crack in the sidewalk. The sudden movement caused him to lose his concentration and he had to stop walking or he was going to wet his pants. When he’d finally recovered, he crossed the last street, anxious to make it home.
Four more houses to go. His eyes were beginning to water and the pain in his groin was excruciating. He could barely move but he limped and pulled himself down the street. He reached behind his back and unzipped his backpack. Better to find his house key now and have it ready.
He was heading up the driveway when he still hadn’t found it. Once he was on the porch, he dropped his bag and frantically searched for the metal key attached to string. When his fingers connected with the soft yarn, he tugged hard but got it stuck on a book. Fearing he was running out of time, he turned his pack upside down and shook everything out. The key clanked against the concrete and he snatched it up.
He rushed to turn the handle and fell inside the house. The movement was too much for him and Gilbert couldn’t get up. He peed on the thick carpet nearest the door.
His dog, Chili, galloped over, wagging his tail excitedly, but Gilbert was too ashamed to care. He closed his eyes, fighting the tears that threatened to escape. The dog sensed his emotion and whined softly, nuzzling Gilbert’s neck. He reached his arms around the dog and buried his face into his warm body, Gilbert’s tears mixing with the soft fur.
“And she said I don’t have any friends.” Chili licked his owner’s cheek and Gilbert tried to smile. “I’ll always have you.”
He walked slowly to his room and changed out of his wet clothes. He stuffed the soiled pile into the wastebasket, burying it deep so it couldn’t be found. Chili followed close behind, and Gilbert was glad to have the company. He needed him now more than ever.
He went back into his room and started on his homework, ready for the day to be over. Gilbert had just finished the last of it when he heard a loud commotion coming from the front of the house. His mother was home early from work.
Gilbert padded down the hall and his heart stopped. He shook his head, silently chanting, “No. No. No.”
“Bad dog!” he heard his mother yelling. “You are a very bad dog!”
Gilbert rounded the corner and found his mother hovered over the wet spot. She was forcing the dog’s head against the floor, pressing his nose into Gilbert’s puddle of urine. Chili looked up and his eyes locked with Gilbert’s.
“No,” Gilbert whispered. His mom looked up.
“What did you say?” she snapped.
Gilbert waited. He stared at his dog, his only friend, trembling under his mother’s grip.
“What Gilbert? What do you want?”
He swallowed and a tear trailed slowly down his cheek. He would never forgive himself.
“Nothing. Never mind.” And he turned and left them.
Shawna Railey is currently in the process of looking for an agent and becoming a published author. If you’d like to follow her struggles, gain valuable information or just laugh along with her, please check out her blog at http://sycamoremeadows-myjourney.blogspot.com