While the girls in the summer session passed Jasper down the hall, his steely blue eyes were only focusing a pointed glare on one person, Colby Stevens.
"Well, if it ain't the cheesy poof," Jasper said, inviting a roar of laughter from his posse of fair-weather followers. "You know the drill poofster. Hand over your homework from last night." Jasper held his hand out to receive the daily tribute and grinned toward his ragtag team of thug wannabes.
Colby expelled a long slow breath as he prepared himself for the usual routine of turning over his homework to Jasper. He began the habit of creating two copies of his assignments. Jasper always received the barely average prepared copy, and being barely average himself, he never caught on. Today he would not be receiving a copy at all.
Colby stopped reaching into his backpack just before his fingers connected with the awaiting sheets of printed essay answers. His mind began replaying the events of countless times being bullied. He saw from the outside while feeling it inside, every humiliating sneer, jibe, name, and the situations he became subjected to since middle school. He finally felt he has put up with enough. Colby held the last of the air he exhaled to produce a single syllable.
"No," he said in a low and determined, yet shaky voice.
Jasper turned his head from his buddies while his grin twisted into a snarl. "What was that cheesy poof?" Jasper spat through clenched teeth. His outstretched hand curled into a fist as he pulled his arm back, preparing to strike. "You will hand over your homework one way, or another, and it better cut the mustard."
Colby leveled his wavering glare and met Jasper's stare, but the crippling fear and desperation behind his eyes was transforming into anger and determination. "I said no, Jasper. Are you as deaf as you are dumb? Unless you're making a sandwich with a yellow condiment, it is cutting the muster, M-U-S-T-E-R."
Colby's eyes twitched, and their normal pale blue irises began to take on a bluer hue as the light began to shine dimly from behind them. "I will no longer yield to your bullying and then handing over copies of homework that earn you the subpar grades. Though they're higher scores than you're capable of on your own."
The look on Colby's face sent a subconscious need to back away into the minds of his taunters, and all but Jasper backed off.
Though his expression softened into a look of concern and confusion, Jasper continued to stare down Colby until the flickering of the lights overhead drew his attention.
A buzz filled the air as the fluorescent lights hanging from the speckled ceilings began to flutter. Glittering blue and red sparkles danced across the long white bulbs in the fixtures. Silence fell over the crowd that only moments before watched Colby standing up to Jasper.
The buzz grew louder exponentially as the hushed silence joined with whispers of concern and confusion. No one was watching Colby, except his only true friend Gary.
Gary watched as a spark chased along Colby's body from his phone to his eyes and then propelled toward Jasper. Gary dove toward Jasper without thinking as the energy Colby expelled passed over them. They landed in a heap just as the wall behind them took the full force of Colby's assault and seemed to absorb it. Gary spared only a moment to watch the last of the glowing fade into the bricks. His confusion over the fact that nothing happened to the walls quickly disappeared as the sound of a scattering crowd drew his attention.
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