After a little while, I gave up and started playing games. That was better than getting frustrated about the classes, and it gave me something to do besides wondering if Delia would ever let me into the front of the shop again.
Since I went to detention, I’d stayed off Facebook and all the other social media sites where I had accounts. I didn’t even remember some of my passwords anymore. I was probably better off. No one could track me down, and I wouldn’t see what they said about me.
But I was bored out of my mind, so I signed into Facebook. Right away, I wished I hadn’t.
My wall was full of posts from other people. A few said things like, “Those bitches ruined your life. You should have said they were lying.”
Most were variations of “Rapist” and “Monster.”
People had posted threats like “We’re going to make sure everyone knows what you are” and “We should kill you.” They’d left comments like “Why don’t you slash your wrists and make the world a better place?”
I couldn’t breathe, and I couldn’t look away from the screen no matter how much I wanted to. I knew people hated me, but I hadn’t realized how much until now.
They wanted me dead. Not that I blamed them, but seeing it was harder than I’d ever believed it would be. Especially when some of the worst comments were from people I’d been friends with since kindergarten.
Back when Chastaine first accused me, she’d been bullied and threatened. I’d seen the posts online. People said she was lying or trying to start trouble. Now everyone supported her and Maryellen, and I was the one getting all the crap.
Exactly how it should be.
“Lunch time.” Delia walked into the room and stopped. “What’s wrong?”
I didn’t try to speak. I just held out the tablet for her to see.
Squinting, she leaned over. Her eyes widened, and she snatched the tablet out of my hand. “What the hell? Who posted this?”
I swallowed hard. “People back home.” My voice wasn’t much more than a whisper.
“You should report this.” She held the tablet out to me.
I didn’t take it. My whole body was so numb I couldn’t have moved my hand if I’d wanted to.
“Take a breath,” Delia said. “This is nothing more than a bunch of people being idiots. You’re safe here, Jim. You know that, right? This is all just words on a screen.”
“Yeah.” It was more than that. If I hadn’t left Massachusetts, maybe I would have been dead by now. I at least would have had the crap beaten out of me. The people at my old high school knew where to find me, even after I went to live with Dad. Hell, my mother and stepfather probably would have told them where I was.