In Between And Neither



“Hey Alice, I heard something funny, you want to hear it too?”

The boys who are crowding behind the burly guy who just said this to me cheer their approval of their leader's approach. I straighten after I finish tying my shoe laces and stand up to face him. He's muscular, obviously a fan of frequently working out, with a strong jaw, short hair and an almost feral look in his brown eyes.

“It's about you, Alice.” He resumes, now grinning broadly.

“What is it, Bruce?” I say, as I marvel in the back of my mind at how stereotypically a bully this guy is.

“Some of the girls are saying that you used to be a guy.” Bruce says, his grin if possible widening even more.

“And you believe this?”

“They say you still got the penis and everything. Maybe you just like to dress up.”

“Why would you care?” I respond, evasively, as I try to find a way around Bruce and his mob without making them realize what I'm doing. It appears that my route back to the training field has been cut off. I have never liked Bruce, but this is the first time he has ever paid this much attention to me. I wonder who these girls he mentions are and what they have told him.

“I care because you're a freak.” Bruce says, moving in closer until I can smell sweat on him and see the nicotine stains on his teeth. “And if there's one thing I don't like it's freaks.” At this statement the mob nearly goes wild, cheering Bruce on like it's the end game for some important match.

I don't answer, still hoping that maybe they'll go away if I don't give them what they want. That's how bullies are supposed to work, at least. Start crying or attempt to run and they'll pounce on you like a pack of wolves on a fresh kill.

“I say we'll find out right now.”

Damn it, I think, they're going straight for the kill. Somewhere in my mind I think that this would be a great time for a teacher or someone else to interfere. Another part concludes that this is unlikely to happen until it's too late already. Maybe trying to run is really the only way out of this.

As Bruce reaches with one big, meaty paw towards my shirt, making it very obvious what his intentions are, I dodge to the side and dash towards the one little gap in the mob which might provide an escape route. Even with my running shoes sliding nearly out from underneath me on the grass, it seems for a moment that I'll actually make it. Then someone's leg suddenly appears out of nowhere, causing me to stumble as strong hands grasp me in a most decidedly unfriendly manner. Great, I'll at least have bruises all over my arms when I get out of this.

Then I'm pulled back to where Bruce is standing, the heels of my shoes dragging on the ground.

“Very good, guys.” He praises his mob, then I'm thrown onto the ground, landing on my back. Towering above me I see Bruce's vile grin. “You really think you can get away from me? I told you I don't like freaks.”

“I'm not a freak.” I say, hoping I can still talk myself out of this situation. One can always hope, right? As I see Bruce narrowing his eyes I know I guessed wrong.

“Hold this freak down.” He says, with eager hands quickly obeying his command. Even if I wanted to try to run again, there's no way I'll be able to move more than my fingers and wriggle my toes. I slowly feel that I'm beginning to panic. Trying to stay calm, I tell myself that there's no way they can do anything serious to me, that it will most likely just be embarrassing. I almost believe myself. Bracing for what's coming, I grit my teeth as I tense every muscle, prepared to take advantage of any opportunity.

Before I realize it Bruce's hands grab my cotton shirt and rips it into two, exposing my tummy and bra. I find myself wondering at feeling relieved that I put on a simple bra this morning. Then Bruce rips it away too, causing what feels like painful burns on my back and sides. I consider screaming, but realize that if nobody is wondering about this mob at the corner of the training field they're probably not going to check out any screaming either. Or maybe I'm wrong.

It suddenly hits me that the entire mob and Bruce are staring at my naked upper body. It's like they've never seen a woman topless before. Sad. My breasts may not be large, but they're perfectly formed. I guess all they're used to are sagging, huge breasts in those dirty rags they pass around like priceless treasures.

“Well, these seem real enough.” Bruce says, as he cups two handfuls. I just give him a hate-filled stare. He looks at me. “Aren't you going to scream?” He teases. At this point I know that they have made sure that no one is around to hear my screams and care. I'm definitely screwed. Maybe it will be easier to just give in to this panic and stop analyzing. Maybe they'll knock me out or something and I won't have to sit this ride out until the end. Whatever this end may be.

Bruce shrugs: “Seems like the freak isn't going to scream. Let's move on with the rest, okay?” Again the mob cheers him on. I can see many faces crowding around me. I hope they're having a good time. I most definitely am not. I desperately try to make my mind go blank for what will come next.

I don't need to look to know that Bruce is moving his grubby paws down now, towards my shorts. I can feel his fingers touching my thighs now, then they grab the top of the shorts and pull them down my legs. I squeeze my eyes shut.

“Well, what do we have here? Seems suspicious!” Bruce exclaims in a triumphant voice. I know what he's referring to. In regular panties, as I'm wearing at the moment, it is quite visible that I do have male bits.

Suddenly my panties are also dragged down my legs, fully exposing me. I can feel my cheeks burning. I'm quite sure this has to be the most terrible moment in my life. I fully understand what people mean when they say they could just die right there on the spot from shame. Please make it quick.

A sudden kick into my left makes me open my eyes again to look at Bruce who has just kicked me. A sickening pain is spreading through my left side as I find that breathing has suddenly become a painful experience. I try to hide my discomfort, however. Something about predators and smelling blood.

“So you really are a freak, huh? Pretending to be a girl while you're just a filthy freak. What are you? Are you one of those sickos who want to be a girl? Huh?” As he shifts his balance so that he can kick me again, I manage to weakly shake my head.

“I'm...” I grit my teeth against the sudden burst of pain as I try to speak, “I'm not a transsexual or something like that. Really.”

“You don't say.” Bruce responds, narrowing his eyes as though he suspects I'm lying. He's clearly dense enough to not know when someone is actually speaking the truth. Just my luck.

“I'm intersex.” I say, trying to put as much conviction into my voice as I can.

For a moment everything is quiet, then Bruce starts to laugh, quickly joined by the mob. As this chorus of mocking laughter descends upon me I feel the last bits of hope slip away.

“You're lying.” Bruce says as the laughter has somewhat receded. “That's not even a word. You really want to get beaten up, don't you? Freak.”

I shake my head, which causes Bruce to really lose his temper. The feral look in his eyes is replaced by one of pure rage as he gets up from the crouching position he was in. As I try to follow his moves I suddenly see his boot swinging towards my head. Turning away to keep the impact away from any dangerous spots, I don't see the impact itself. Suddenly an explosion of pain starts in the back of my head, then darkness quickly claims me.



Softness. Lightness. Just my first impressions as I slowly slip back towards consciousness. Part of me wonders where I am, as I honestly can't remember. Then I recall the mob and Bruce. It has to have been a dream. I'm just lying in bed and it was just an awful dream. It has to be, right?

A sudden surge of pain causes me to groan. I open my eyes and see that I'm lying in a bed in what I take to be the school's infirmary. Apparently it was less of a dream than I had thought. As I try to slowly move my limbs which are safely tucked away underneath the white bed covers, it evokes a stinging pain. Moving my head is even worse; it feels as though my skull is falling apart with my brain leaking out onto the pillow. As the room spins around me, I groan in agony. Suddenly the curtains surrounding the bed are pulled aside and I see a nurse standing there.

“You're finally awake.” She concludes. Professional to the bitter end. “You got a nasty hit against your head. I think you may have a concussion. Do not try to move too much.” She walks towards my bed and fishes a small flashlight out of a pocket and uses it to shine it into my eyes.

“Normal response. That's good. At least your brain seems to have taken it quite well.” She attempts a careful smile at this point. Pulling up a chair next to my bed, she sits down on it and stares at me. Interrogation time. Fun. I really don't know what to tell this nurse.

“A teacher found you lying unconsciously in a corner of the training field, you got carried here about four hours ago. Do you remember what happened?”

“Nobody saw or heard anything?” I manage to croak through a parched throat. The nurse fetches a glass of water from a nearby table and supports it while I sip from it. I can't recall ever having tasted anything as great as this water. Another experience I always scoffed at when reading it in books. Until now.

Sinking back into the pillow, I try to think of what to say. My thoughts are a jumble, not to mention the state of my memories. Digging into the events of earlier today is akin to entering a house of horrors. I find myself shuddering at the recollection of fingers on my body. As I close my eyes for a moment, the nurse says with a slight tone of concern in her voice: “When the teacher found you you were... naked.” She says the last word as though it's something dirty. “Your shirt was torn and your shorts and panties pulled off. Just what happened?”

I try to say something, but the words keep getting stuck in my throat. I shake my head.

The nurse's professional mask melts away, showing a face filled with concern. “I checked with administration, they told me about your... unusual registration at this school. I can imagine things aren't easy for you, are they?”

She sighs and moves to sit on the edge of the bed. Taking my left hand into hers, she lightly squeezes and looks me straight into the eyes. “Please?”

My head feels as though it's going to burst. I try to think of where to start, what to say, and I keep losing track of things. Then I just try to focus on the soft hands which are holding mine and find myself drawn towards the nurse's face. Seeing real concern there, I suddenly feel all the pain and frustrations which I have gathered over the years flowing out of me as I start crying like I have never cried before. As my body shakes from the sobbing, I can feel my body’s every injury protest with surges of pain, but I just ignore them. It feels so good to finally be able to let go of this facade which I have been maintaining for all these years.

It takes a few moments for me to realize that the nurse is gently stroking my head. I can't remember anyone ever caring about me this much, which makes me want to cry even more. Slowly, I will myself to calm down somewhat. Taking deep breaths, I marvel at the sudden quietness inside my head. It's very pleasant.

A sudden squeeze of my left hand returns my attention to the nurse. Her face shows some relief as she smiles at me, this time with a real smile.

“My name is Catherine, would you like to tell me what happened today, Alice?”

I nod, and try to swallow the lump inside my throat. Then I start telling Catherine everything, about how Bruce and his mob attacked me this morning, how I have been forced to live with a double identity for my entire life already because the medical specialists refuse to acknowledge that I'm intersex and yet fail to offer any alternative explanation for my body, leaving me stuck in limbo.

“You have a woman's body, but also partial male genitals and possibly also partial female genitals, isn't that correct?” Catherine says, interrupting me. I nod.

“I wish someone would just tell me how my body is really put together, what I really am, and how this body is supposed to work. Right now I basically know nothing.” I say in disgust.

Frustrated, I stare at my hands which are now lying on top of the bed covers. They're slender feminine hands, with not a hint of masculinity, just like with the rest of my body. Aside from a few select parts, of course.

Looking up at Catherine, I say: “I don't think anyone will ever help me with this, though. They're all too busy with easy cases and ignore anything they don't understand. Can you believe I have had to explain to a number of doctors what intersex is?”

“I'm really not sure what to say, Alice. I wish I knew how to help you.”

“That's the whole problem!” I explode, “Those who can help me refuse to, while those who can't would gladly do so. I really think that my existence is just a mistake, that I shouldn't have been born.”

Silence. I had expected Catherine to scold me for saying such a thing, but she doesn't respond. As I glance at her, I see that she's looking as though deep in thought. I avert my eyes and start staring at my hands again.

“You really think that? Do you want to stop existing? Give up everything?” Catherine suddenly says.

“I... No, I couldn't...” I start, “There are many fun things I would like to do, but there just are so many things which hurt me.” I stay quiet for a moment, then continue: “It often feels like there's no place for me in society. All because I'm a...”

A freak?” Catherine asks. I can feel my cheeks getting flushed. She said exactly what I was thinking.

“I know that deep inside you will keep feeling that way until something big changes, but please don't try to think of yourself that way. It's not what or who you are. Understood?”

I nod as fresh tears start flowing down my cheeks.

“Whatever happens, you're always welcome to talk with me, okay?” Catherine says, smiling as she gently cradles me against her chest. I just nod faintly as I start sobbing again.