Friday, 24 April 2015

Chapter two (segment nine), twenty four years earlier, May, Ulf

“Get out!” Ulf shouted.


This was the boys' locker room after all, but it couldn't be helped. “Girl incoming. Out!”

He helped Christina inside and glared at the boys as they exited. A few showed signs of reluctance and needed some help convincing. “Get the hell out of here! You don't help them when they're in trouble, you don't bloody get to look at them!”

That convinced the last ones.

When did it get this bad? I got photos from her locker and desk, but I never believed they'd actually beat her up.

Christina had made it to the toilet and locked herself inside when he heard voices behind him. “Outside!”

“What makes you...” he started before he thought of listening to the distinctly female voice inside the boys' locker room.

“Look,” Noriko, because it was Noriko with Kyoko in tow, said in a much friendlier tone. “I like your good intentions. Pity they didn't come with a brain.”

Ulf stared at her. Then he stared at the bundle she held in her arms. Dry clothes? Dry clothes! Brains one, white knight zero.

He bent his head and gave his feet a long look as he shuffled outside.

There he took up guard by the door. Yukio was already waiting, and down the right wing stairs, several steps at a time, Ryu came jumping and joined them.

You get an F for tardiness and an A for attitude. Ryu's face was flaring with rage.

“Teachers coming?” Ulf asked Yukio.

“Hope so. This is getting dirty,” Yukio answered and threw an exaggerated look at the left wing stairs.

Boys from second and third grade were slowly descending on them.

“I'm not moving,” Ryu growled silently, as if he was worried about how Yukio and Ulf would handle the threat.

“You freshmen, get away from there!” And now the threat had been verbalised.

“Make me!” Ulf suggested. It didn't matter any longer. Any hope he had left of maintaining the fiction of being a member of geek squad was already destroyed. Spreading the graces. Bye bye monopoly, 3:1.

“Learn to respect your elders you little shit!”

Now that was novel. The speaker was easily ten centimetres shorter than himself, which put the definition of 'little shit' in a new light.

“Respect where respect is deserved. Doesn't include you.” Ulf removed his glasses and stretched to his full height. There was a time for being polite and one for being intimidating.

“We're going inside, so move it!”

“I'll stop you.”

There were over a dozen of them now. Ulf knew he could handle himself well if it came down to violence, but there were just too many of them now.

The speaker felt the addition of supporters as well. “You and what army?” He eyed Yukio and Ryu over and smiled.

“This army!”

All of them turned to see who had shouted the last words.

Watabe, I bloody love you! Both twins came down the right wing stairs spearheading more or less every member of the combined fan-clubs. By now a fight was out of the question. The last forces to arrive included girls in the double digits. Ulf slowly let out air from his lungs he hadn't even noticed he had drawn.

With the situation finally defused Ulf felt the door behind him budge. Kyoko and Noriko came out flanking Christina in a dry PE-uniform and a bag with her soaked school uniform in her hands.

They had made an attempt to fix her up, but nothing could hide her swollen face and cut hands. The sight made the present freshmen gasp, and then the sound of their voices turned ugly again.

“What happened?”

“Seniors. They beat her up.”

Shut the fuck up Yukio! You're not helping.

Ulf looked at Christina. She could take a joke, he decided.

“She tripped and fell into a doorpost. Several times,” he said deadpan.

“Clumsy me,” Christina added.

Attagirl! You're my heroine! “My lady, shall we?” he asked and offered her his arm.

She accepted, and together they strode down the corridor in the direction of the infirmary. Finally understanding the game the freshmen filed in behind them.

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