“Go on,” he taunted, voice laced with utter mockery and malice. I gulped. I had to do this, to prove my worth to the gang and yet… Standing a few meters away was an old lady, whom I gauged to be about 80 years of age. Her back was hunched in an undesirable manner and her frail, wrinkled arms were slowly rummaging the filthy dustbin for empty canned drinks.
Just the thought of what I was about to do to her made me nauseous. I wanted to turn away, wanted to tell Jeremy that I could not harm the poor helpless woman, however, I knew the consequences if I did so.It would be a never ending torture of nasty ridicule and dreadful insults and I was not about to let that happen all over again. “What are you waiting for? ” There was a hard iciness in his tone now.
It became a tough battle between my moral conscience and selfish desires. Images of the torture emerged in my mind, one after another, again and again, faster and faster. I shook my head wildly in frustration. I had to do this. Renewed with determination, I took a deep breath and strode towards the old lady, trying to appear as brave as I could manage.Clenching my right hand into a tight fist, I raised it up slowly, while calming my nerves down. The old woman had noticed me then.
A look of sheer horror spread across her face, her lips parted and closed, but no sound came out of it. My heart thumped wildly against my chest. This was it. Closing my eyes, not daring to witness the gruesome scene that would unfold before me, I summoned all my courage and brought the fist to her face. “Crack! ” The sound of fist against flesh sounded deafening to my ears. I wanted to break down right there and then. I should not be doing such a thing, I told myself.
There was a loud thump and as I opened my eyes, I saw that the old lady had collapsed to the floor in pain. She was lying on the floor helplessly, her eyes squinting hard in pain, hands held protectively over her injured jaw. What have I just done? A sinking feeling surfaced in the depths of my stomach.
I dropped to the floor on my knees while apologizing profusely; however, I knew that what has been done has been done. From the position she was in, the old lady glared back at me while pointing a scrawny finger at my face, seemingly to question my actions.I bit my lips in shame, berating myself for my foolishness. It was then that Jeremy walked towards me. With a firm hand placed on my shoulder, he muttered, “Good job. You are in,” before sauntering off with an arrogant smirk on his face.
Waves and waves of remorse splashed over my whole being. I seemed to be drowning in an abyss of guilt and shame. How could I, at the expense of someone’s health, do such a thing? A lone tear escaped from my eyes as I got up and ran towards the nearby store, hoping to get an ice-pack to reduce the damage I had inflicted on the old lady.