There was around two-hundred metres of field between the school gates and the main doors, but it may as well have been a thousand miles. Samarjeet sighed, hitched his backpack up on his shoulders and plodded onto the field. He was plenty early, so he considered going the long way along the outskirts of the whole field. He took the first veering step then he heard his dad’s voice in his head as clear as the thrumming engines that drove past him.
“You shouldn’t ever hide who you are.” He always said that to him, the moral of one his stories.
Pfft, you never went to school in England, dad. It was alright for you in India.
None the less Samarjeet couldn’t even force himself to take another step towards the long way, so he cut across the field, making a beeline for the front double doors.
He walked fast through the year tens and elevens that loomed around him like giants. They left him alone, too wrapped up in their own lives and dramas and when he was half way across the field he scoffed at himself for being such a wuss.
Then the hand struck the back of his head.
Samarjeet stumbled forward. He clasped his hand on his turban to keep it from falling. He spun around to face the three boys. They towered over him so far they blotted out the sun.
“Y’alright?” The middle one said.
“Yeah.” Samarjeet edged back, away from them and towards the school building.
“What’s in the bag? Got your AK’s in there? Gonna blow up the school or summat?”
Oh God, here we go again, Samarjeet thought.
“Look, I’m not-”
“Shurrup now. Open the bag. We gotta to make sure you ant got nowt dangerous in there.”
“Ey, he might you know.” The one on the right chirped. “Now that that Bin Laden’s dead he’ll be wanting’ revenge for it.”
Samarjeet felt the cold sweat on him. He looked around for help, but nobody was paying attention. He tried to think of his dad, but nothing came. What would he do in this situation? He’d probably scare them off somehow, but how could Samarjeet do that? What did he have to frighten them with?
The tall one in the middle shoved Samarjeet’s shoulder and said: “My dad’s out there now, fighting you lot. You should be careful.” The three boys’ heads darted to their left like crows that just heard a cat behind them. From the corner of his eye Samarjeet saw the one on the left stuff a pack of cigs in his pocket.
“What’s going on?” Mr Brooks marched over to them. “I’ve told you lot before, leave this lad alone.”
“We was doing, sir. We was just apologising, weren’t we lads?” The one in the middle gave a wry grin. His crew agreed with him. Samarjeet knew Mr Brooks didn’t believe them, it showed in his eyes. They narrowed and stared them down.
“Come on.” Mr Brooks placed his hand on Samarjeet’s shoulder and led him to the front doors. “What were they really saying?”
“The usual stuff, sir.” Samarjeet sighed.
For my work at the University of Central Lancashire I had to write a handful of shorts about discrimination towards the disabled, religious beliefs and one about homophobia.
The following is the piece on religion.