The bell rang. Straight away Tom’s tummy started to hurt. He subconsciously rubbed it, making tiny circles with the palm of his hand. As the other kids excitedly filed from the classroom, chatting about their lunchtime plans, Tom stayed seated, gazing out the window, wishing he could be anywhere but there. He hated lunchtime, it made him feel sick, for real.
Biting on a trembling lip he pushed out his chair with a large scrape. Waiting wouldn’t make any difference, it was going to happen no matter what he did. Might as well get it over with. He tried hard not to cry. No wonder everyone picked on him, he thought. Stupid cry-baby. He hugged his bag to his chest as he left the room.
He scuffed down the hall towards the door to the playground. He’d do anything not to go out there, but no one was allowed in the building at lunch, it was school rules, and he didn’t think the nurse would fall for another fake sickness. She got real mad at him last time.
Through the glass door at the end of the hall, Tom saw Garry, smirking. He was twice the size of Tom, probably because he always ate Tom’s lunch. It’s not that Garry beat Tom up, well not usually, he pushed Tom to the ground that one time when Tom tried to stand up to him like his dad told him to. It was worse than being beaten up though, they made fun of him. Garry and his friends called him Tom Thumb, because he was smaller than everyone else. They made chicken noises when Garry took his lunch, which was every single day. Tom hated them.
He looked at the floor and shuffled towards his destiny, sniffing back tears. He didn’t notice the garbage bin carelessly left in the middle of hall until he crashed right into it. He heard laughter as he flew through the air, before everything went black.
Tom lay on the couch his broken ankle propped on a pile of pillows, a PS4 controller in his hand.
“Well, I’ve called the school and told them you’ll be off for at least three weeks. They’ll send round some homework so you don’t fall behind.”
“Thanks mum,” Tom said, as he shot another zombie.
“Now, sweetheart, do you feel like you could eat a little lunch?” His mum pushed the hair gently out of Tom’s eyes.
“Yes please,” Tom said.
It felt like a year since he’d had lunch.
(c) Amy Hutton