Chapter 8:

"Oh God," whispered Tapeworm, his face pale. He knew as well as Zack did that they couldn't beat them, three against eight.

Zack was pushed up against a wall, Drew and his gang surrounding them, their faces leering. Tapeworm protectively pushed a pale Cody behind him, recompensed with a grateful look from Zack.

"God, Drew, can't we work this out?" Zack asked, wincing as his voice arched onto a desperate note. He wouldn't mind settling the fight with Drew once and for all, but he didn't want it to involve Cody. "It's just between you and me—you don't have to get Tapeworm and Cody involved."

"Really?" Drew said sarcastically, kicking Zack hard in the leg. Zack almost crumpled, but he quickly recovered, not wanting to give Drew the satisfaction. "I don't know, Martin. I think it's a whole lot more fun to hurt you the right way."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Zack wanted to know.

"I think you know," Drew said, staring at him hard in the eyes. "I think you know as well as I do that you hurt more when the ones you love are hurt. I would love to beat you up, Zack, and settle this the easy way, trust me, I'd love to. But I've noticed that you don't learn any lessons with that, Zack. I noticed that you hurt more when it's your fault—your fault that you couldn't save the ones you care about."

He nodded at one of his cronies, who took the baseball bat and brought it hard against Tapeworm's ribcage. Tapeworm let out a groan of pain and almost fell, but remained standing, pushing Cody further behind him. Cody knew that Tapeworm would give himself up to protect him, but Cody didn't want that. He tried to step out so the crony would get him and leave his friend alone, but Tapeworm pushed him hard against the wall, and Cody knew that his friend meant it.

He decided to listen and stayed behind his friend. He glanced over at Zack who wasn't doing too well. Drew had smashed the bat into Zack's stomach as hard as he could, causing Zack to double over and vomit blood. As Zack lied on the ground, moaning, Drew kicked him hard in the stomach, and Zack groaned, a trickle of blood escaping from his mouth.

Cody screamed. "Zack!" Then he jerked his head away from his brother as he saw several guys grab Tapeworm. Tapeworm fought back wildly. He grabbed a guy and started punching him hard in the face after kicking him several times hard in the crotch. He hit the teen so hard that he was unconscious before he hit the ground. Tapeworm usually didn't hurt anybody, so he was left staring at what he had done. He'd never hurt anybody before, but he'd done it for Cody, which made it acceptable.

One guy slapped Tapeworm hard against the face, and another brought a baseball bat down hard on Tapeworm's back. Cody could only watch as Tapeworm silently screamed in pain, his mouth in a twisted shape of agony.

"Leave Cody alone," Zack managed to gasp from on the ground.

"Yeah right," snapped Drew, stepping hard on Zack's side. Zack let out a small yelp of pain and he apologized to Cody with his pained eyes.

Tapeworm was grabbed and dragged in a different direction, leaving Zack alone. Drew came up to Cody and grabbed him, dragging him away. Cody tried to scratch back at Drew, but one hard whack with the bat taught him a lesson.

"You couldn't save your brother, huh Martin?" Drew sneered at him.

Zack clenched his fists with hate, and then moaned in pain at the action. Zack could only lay there helplessly as Cody cried for help. He tried to call for help, but couldn't find the strength and just laid there… the life seeping out of him…

xxx

"Tapeworm, we're going to play a game, ok?" One of Drew's cronies grinned at Tapeworm, his smile sarcastic and cruel. Tapeworm wanted to punch him.

He couldn't though. His arms were tied together tight with duct tape.

"See, we're going to play a game. Whoever can make you scream the first wins, ok? I'll start." The guy pulled out a switchblade, and jerked Tapeworm's hair back with his hand, exposing Tapeworm's throat. He pressed it against Tapeworm's throat, hearing Tapeworm gulp, and then pulled the switchblade away to stab Tapeworm in the leg. Tapeworm let out a small yelp of pain.

He recovered quickly, spitting out in disgust. "I won't scream for you." Like Zack, he wouldn't give them the satisfaction.

"That was close. Not quite screaming though."

Another guy approached, grabbing Tapeworm's arm. He twisted it hard, and Tapeworm couldn't help a groan. As the teen pulled harder, shocks of pain ran through Tapeworm's body. He let out a scream of pain. "Stop!"

"Pretty good. Let's hear louder. I want to hear you beg us to stop. You'll wish you'd have done so earlier."

xxx

"Augh!" Cody spat out water as Drew forced his head into the toilet and flushed again. Cody had never felt so dirty in his life as Drew stood and smiled. "Enjoying your swirly, Martin?"

"Leave me… leave me alone," Cody said pathetically, his blonde hair dripping with water that ran into his eyes.

Drew pulled Cody up next to him, staring hard into his eyes. Cody's eyes flashed down immediately.

"Are you complaining Martin? Is that it? Do you think that what you're going through is so much harder than what your friends are going through right now? Did you know that your brother is lying on the pavement outside bleeding to death and that your buddy Tapeworm is getting tortured right now? Do you think that you got the harder part?"

Cody shook his head, his eyes wide. What were they doing to Zack? What were they doing to Tapeworm?

"See, Martin, you're still that same selfish kid I knew years ago. You haven't changed at all! You're still pathetic and pitiful. You'll never amount to anything! Why don't you just get rid of yourself, Martin? It would help your dear twin so very much. He wouldn't have to watch out for you anymore, would he Cody? He'd just go back to his own life, his preferred life. His perfect life that he had and you didn't!"

Cody tried not to listen. All that he didn't want to be true was coming true.

"You know I'm saying the truth, Martin." Drew snapped, "Don't look away from me. You know it's true. You know that life was so much better before you came back, right? I don't know why you had to be found. It would have been so much better if you'd just stayed lost. That's what Zack wants, Cody. That's what Zack wants. Don't you want to make your brother happy?"

Cody nodded, feeling a lump in his throat, hot tears burning in his eyes.

"Oh, are you crying now, Cody? Is that it? You're crying now? You're just the same pathetic loser, I always knew it."

Drew grabbed Cody's hair and pushed his face back in the toilet, flushing it. Cody couldn't breathe, he felt as if he was drowning. He needed to breathe, but all he sucked in was more water. A cloud of redness covered his vision. Oh my God, this is what it's like to die. I'm dying, I'm dying. I'm sorry, Zack. I'm sorry.

Drew pulled Cody's head out by his hair, and slammed it against the toilet lid, laughing as blood spilled from Cody's hairline. He left Cody there, as his consciousness slipped and everything turned black…

Sort of lame and melodramatic. Oh well. Review please.