Brooke lay in the fetal position buried into her unkempt purple bedspread, her face immersed in tears. One hand gripped a wad of half-used tissue, while the other clutched her cell phone. With blood shot eyes she stared at the most recent text.
your a fat pig you dont deserve to live
Beside the bed a dark figure loomed, peering at her with cold eyes and luring her with a curious voice.
Brooke stared at the gun on her nightstand.
Pick up the gun, Brooke. Itís the only way.
The text was just one of several bullying messages sent to her phone in the past five days from multiple classmates. However her phone wasnít the only method used to spew venom. Facebook and Twitter were filled with equally piercing insults.
The devil knelt beside the bed and tilted his head toward the girl. He continued to speak in a soft, matter-of-fact tone.
Itís never going to end, Brooke. They will never stop.
A sophomore at Cedarville High, Brooke had been the brunt of fat jokes since the fifth grade. The insults had done their job, slowly whittling away at her sense of worth. Clearly she was inferior.
The relentless comments, jabs and nasty looks were enough to bury her in depression. However when the recent photo of her in a bikini was unleashed into cyberspace, it was like a hungry monster had been let out of its cage and its only goal was to devour her.
The devil began to stroke her hair.
The photo will never go away, Brooke. Itís all over school . . . all over the world, for that matter. Theyíll never stop laughing at you. You canít live with that.
She began to sob. The pain deep within her poured out in rhythmic moans. As one trailed off, she gasped for air and released another until exhaustion temporarily silenced her.
Pick up the gun, Brooke.
Brooke sat upright and let her feet fall over the side of the bed. She stared at the gun to her left and thought about the embarrassing photo. She only wore that bikini once in her own backyard to sunbathe. She was alone, or so she thought. The idea of someone watching her and taking pictures of her gave her nausea.
Releasing her grip on the phone, her hand moved toward the gun. She slipped her fingers around the cool metal, drew it close and studied it. Her eyes glazed over while mad thoughts ran wild in her head.
He moved in closer. She could almost feel the heat of his breath on her ear and smell the sulfur oozing from his infernal pores.
Do it, Brooke.
Another wave of sobs poured over her, forcing her body to convulse. She slid to the floor propping her arms on her knees with the gun clutched in her right hand. Her head fell back against the bed as a new series of moans immerged.
Tears and mucous streamed down her face mixing with the sweat of her neck. Perspiration seeped through her hair and clothes.
The devil lingered to her left, crouching beside her.
Theyíre right, you know. You are repulsive. This world was not made for people like you. Nobody loves you, Brooke. No one cares.
Brooke lifted her head and examined the gun.
The devilís neck stretched and twisted like a snake around the front of her face, his eyes piercing into hers.
Put it to your head, Brooke. Do it.
She swallowed hard and pursed her lips. Her chest moved rapidly with loud, uneven breaths. She squeezed her eyes tightly causing a new pool of tears to gush from her lids. The gun shook in her quivering hands. Lifting it slowly, she aimed it at her right temple. The barrel, cold and rigid, nudged into her sweaty skin.
The devil reached his right arm around Brookeís shoulders, as if embracing her. With the same hand he stretched his fingers toward the gun, cradling his hand over hers.
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