Chapter 39. Brand New Fourth Grader part-1

Something was thrown aiming at Rocco’s face. He dodged it barely, but then more came from the left and right. Rocco swayed his head to the right and left to dodge it, but then heard noise on his back. What could be it? He turned back to look what it was. His brand new school satchel was turned in a sad shape. When he left home a few minutes ago, it was shiny, but something red stuck to it. Rocco could tell what it was from its smell. It was a tomato. He felt bitter. He didn’t mean to flinch from such attack, but he was disappointed that he couldn’t protect his school satchel which Father bought for him. He forgot how thick the school satchel was.
There was a high fence to separate the park from the street. A group of bullies occupied one corner of the park and booed at Rocco. “You are a mere cat. You can’t go to school!”
“A cat should behave like a cat.”
“Who do you think you are, trying to give people a lecture?”
They shouted jeers at Rocco. On the opposite the street, grownups shot a cold look at him, although pretending not to see what was happening. Suddenly, three big dogs jumped at him baring their fangs. Rocco lightly jumped on top of the fence, glanced briefly at dogs, and down onto the ground inside the park. The stoutly-built man who had thick leashes in his hand ordered something to his dogs, and then the neighborhood recovered its quietness.
Then, Rocco’s eyes shined. He found familiar faces on the park bench. It was Shimatora (no such cat appeared before). He is with Torakichi, the alpha cat of the neighborhood. Rocco felt relaxed to see his old friend, and shouted at them. Slightly embarrassed, but he wanted to change the atmosphere. But Torakichi turned his back to him and ignored him plainly. Shimatora glanced at him awkwardly and then ignored him following his boss. Rocco was stunned. Then, he realized that he was shunned by not only humans but also his fellow cats.
He felt very sad to think that he had to go to school every day from now on, following such a thorny path. At that time, a tomato as big as his head hit the back of his head. He was caught off guard. He felt himself light and fell slowly onto the ground.
He passed out. The bullies came to Rocco, shouting. Rocco didn’t move, lying on his face, with his stained school satchel on his back. The bullies filled his school satchel with big stones, and scattered away. Feeling faint, Rocco was asking himself why, and trying desperately to stand up. But because the burden on his back was too heavy or he lost all his energy, he couldn’t rise any more.