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My Life as a Brainwashed Teen
Alana listened hard for approaching footsteps. She heard running, then the footsteps slowed and stopped. She hardly dared to breathe. After a few terrifying moments, the footsteps turned around and went back the way they came.
Alana Jones was your average middle schooler. Except that she didn't have a single friend in the world. A lot of people say that they weren't popular in middle school, but for Alana, that was the understatement of the century. Not only did the kids in school hated her, but all of the teachers hated her too. They always called on her when she didn't have the answer, and when she had the answer, they never called on her!
At the moment, Alana was hiding from Clarrise, the biggest, meanest girl in the school. She was in the janitors closet waiting for Clarisse to give the chase up. Although she was beat up almost daily, she still tried to avoid it when she could, especially when Clarisse was after her.
Her life at home wasn't much better than at school. Her dad was always at work, forever defending some rich celebrity in court. He was a lawyer. All he cared about was money. He didn't care weather the person who hired him was guilty or not, as long as he was paid. Alana's mom was busy taking care of her four younger siblings, and going to night classes to get her high school degree. All in all, Alana was on her own.
All was silent in the hall outside the janitors closet. Alana opened the door a crack and peered out. Nothing there. She opened the door the rest o the way. Clunk! The door had knocked a broom to the ground, staring a chain reaction. Each time a new something smashed to the ground, Alana winced, hoping that the noise didn't summon Clarrise to her.
When the noise finally stopped with a final clunk, Alana waited a few more seconds to make sure nobody was coming, then ran as fast as she could towards the front door.
Clarrise terrorizing her had made her miss the bus, like always. so she ran for a few blocks past the school, and then walked the rest of the way home.
Alana lived a few miles away from the school, in a big house that every person wished they had enough money to live in. Three stories, with four acres of land attached, everybody automatically thought that the people who lived there must be spoiled and snobbish. 'Of course,' thought Alana, 'most people who live here are spoiled and snobbish.'
As she walked through the door, she encountered Elise, the maid, pretending to dust the banister (which Alana had seen her doing when she had left for school) to escape the battle raging in what sounded like the kitchen.
Going against everything Alana had ever been taught, and her instincts, Alana dropped her backpack next to the door and went into the kitchen.
Alana's three younger brothers-Daniel, Michel, and Bobbie-were running around shooting Samantha, Alana's two ear old sister, with Nerf guns. The triplets, enjoyed terrorizing Samantha, and other than demanding obscene amounts of expensive toys from my mother, it was their favorite pastime. Samantha was a spoiled brat. She had three bedrooms, two of which were solely for storing her toys, and a closet bigger than Alana's room!
Alana couldn't see her mom anywhere, so she ducked the shot Bobbie had shot at her and went to find her. Alana found her in her dads office, looking through one of her night classes text books.
"Hi mom." Alana said, approaching her.
"Oh hello. Can you go make a snack for the triplets and Samantha? I have to study for a test." she said, without so much as glancing at me.
That was it. No 'how was school today?' or 'how did you do on that algebra test you've been talking about for the last month?'
"Ok, are they still boycotting peanut butter? Should I make them chocolate chip cookies?"
"Cookies. Hurry up, they haven't eaten since breakfast." Alana's mom said, turning the page of the textbook.
Alana waited for her mom to say something else, but she only took a note on something that she had read in the book. Alana reluctantly turned and went to the door.
"Oh, Alana? Tell Elise that she isn't fooling anybody with pretending to dust the banister. She's done it four times already!"
Alana did as she was told than went to her room to do her homework. As she started her history homework she looked outside and saw two little girls walking down the street side-by-side, their arms linked together. Alana had always longed for a friend like that. She had always been different than the other kids in school. Every time a new kid comes to school she hopes that they would be the kind of person she would like, but they always turn out like the rest of them. Once, a girl had come to school, and for two weeks she was Alana's friend, but she soon became friends with Clarrise, and that friendship went out the window. That had been the closest thing she had ever gotten to a friend, other than Samantha's dog Lily, who bit Alana on a regular basis.
That night, as Alana lay in bed waiting for sleep to come, she wished again, as she did every night that just one friend would come and she wouldn't be so lonely anymore. She would have someone to complain about her family to, and someone to hide in the janitors closet with whenever Clarrise chased them. Smiling at that thought, Alana slipped into sleep.
"Good morning class," Mrs. Gottschalk, Alana's homeroom teacher droned. Motioning to the girl standing next to her she said, " We have a new student today."
Alana couldn't help but smile, because the only empty seat in the room was next to her.
"Delilah, would you like to tell the class something about yourself?"
Delilah, the new girl smiled a big, huge, sparkly white smile, and said, "Hey! I'm Delilah Smith! I'm thirteen and I just moved here from a little boarding school for girls in Alaska. I moved in with my Aunt Cassie because I don't live with my parents anymore."
Alana wondered why she didn't live with her parents anymore, but she figured that it must be a painful subject for her, and decided to forget about it.
"That's great Delilah," Mrs. Gottschalk said. "Why don't you go sit back there next to Alana."
Delilah bounced back gracefully to Alana and sat down next to her. Now that she was closer, Alana could see her better. Delilah had red hair like flames and sea green eyes. She had a a few like freckles on her button nose, and the longest eyelashes Alana had ever seen. Although she wasn't wearing any makeup, it was clear that Washington Junior high school had a new prettiest girl in school. Definitely not the kind of person who would hang out with Alana, with her big nose, frizzy black hair and too big blue eyes.
Delilah smiled at Alana and Alana gave an uncertain smile back. Alana decided that she would warn Delilah about the hazards of hanging out with her as soon as she could. She looked back at her notebook that she was drawing in. Drawing was the only thing Alana was good at. She was drawing a picture of herself, but a better self. Her face was pale and her hair honey blond. Her eyes were smaller and she had lashes. Suddenly, Delilahs hand reached over and took her notebook. Delilah's stunning eyes scanned the drawing.
"OMG! You are so awesome at drawing! You must have won tons of awards!" Delilah said, her eyes wide.
"Actually," said Alana, taking the notebook back, "I haven't shown anybody. Well, except my mom, but she says I should be concentrating on getting good math grades so I can get into Princeton."
"Oh, that sucks! My parents were never supportive of my writing poetry either. They wanted me to become an actress, like my sister. They thought that all pretty girls should be in movies. That's why I went to Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies. It's a boarding school for girls who's parents aren't supportive of what they do. You should go there!"
"My mom probably wouldn't let me. She needs me at home. I look after my four younger siblings. Besides, I wouldn't know anybody there!"
"That's the thing Alana! If you went to Gallagher, you wouldn't have to look after your siblings! You would never have to see your family again!"
"Never? My family's horrible to live with, but I still would want to see them sometimes!"
"Well, Samantha could come to Gallagher when she starts school, but even then you wouldn't be responsible for her! Her dorm mother would!"
Alana thought it was strange that Delilah knew her sisters name before she told her about it, but she didn't say anything. If she was staying with her aunt, that she would have been warned about the Jones'. According to the towns people the Jones' were "spoiled rich folk whose children think whatever they see is theirs." Of course the Jones' did own must of the city, and a tenth of the rest of the state. Many of the people in the city rented from the Jones'. The high prices of rent were the reason for all the resentment towards the Jones and their children, although it wasn't Alana or her siblings fault.
"I still wouldn't know anybody! Just like here," Said Alana, starting a background to her drawing. The background would be a snowy place and a big mansion with lots of girls around out in the snow, and looking out of the windows.
"The only reason I'm here is for the renovations at Gallagher. I'm going back next month. You would know me!"
Alana had to admit that it was a well reasoned argument. If she knew Delilah, and she could come visit for breaks, like Delilah was doing with her aunt, then it would be a perfect situation. And even if she hated it worse than she hated it here, she could always come back after the year ended.
"Alright, if you help me convince my mom, I'll go." Alana said.
"Don't worry, I'm super good at convincing people to do things," Delilah said with a brilliant smile.
That day Delilah walked home with Alana. Apparently, Delilah's aunt lived a few blocks down from Alana. Delilah also had most of her classes with Alana, so the two had been together almost all day.
"Mom! I'm home!" Alana called as she was hanging up her sweater.
Delilah had come in with her and was planning on staying to do their science homework and to have dinner. Of course, they were also planning on convincing Alana's mom to let her go to Gallagher Academy, but they weren't going to tell Alana's mom that. Elise came down the staircase holding a basket of Samantha's dirty clothes to be washed.
"Hello Alana! Who's this?" Elise asked.
"This is Delilah. She's going to stay for dinner tonight. Delilah this is Elise our maid." Alana replied.
"Hello!" Said Delilah.
"Your mom is up in your fathers study. You should go introduce her to Delilah!" Elise said starting towards the laundry room.
As Delilah had predicted, Alana's mom instantly was impressed by Delilah.
"Well, I suppose that if girls like you go to this school of yours, it would be good for Alana too go. I'll sign you up tomorrow." Alana's mom said after Alana and Delilah had told her of their plan to go to Gallagher.
"No problem! I can call the headmistress. She'll let her in right away when she learns that she's with me!" Said Delilah, smiling again.
'Delilah was nice and all,' thought Alana, 'but she smiles way to much. It's like she's always trying to suck up to people.'
The next month, Alana and Delilah packed their bags and trunks and Alana's mom dropped her off at the airport.
"OK," said Alana's mom, "remember that the school van picks you up at the baggage claim in Anchorage. Don't forget to get on the plane when the person at the gate calls your seating number. Ask the flight attendant if you can't find your seat. And don't make to much noise and annoy the other people. Oh! here comes the person who'll help you find the gate."
Apparently, you weren't allowed to wonder the airport by yourself until your eighteen, so they both had to wear 'unaccompanied minor' badges and escorted through the airport. When Alana and Delilah were in the van that said 'Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies' printed in fancy letters on the side, Delilah explained that Gallagher was a really upscale place, that only the richest people can go to, so any of the servants they could order around.
"They're all girls our age who were homeless, and Headmistress Sullen took them in. Their fed, housed, and we teach them. They do chores because they don't have enough money to go their. Headmistress Sullen is really very kind for taking them in," Delilah explained.
She also told Alana about the relationship between the girls and the headmistress.
"Like all the girls who go there, Headmistress Sullen had a horrible family. Because all the girls never had a supportive family, Headmistress Sullen is your new mother, and your fellow students are your new sisters. Whatever you choose to do, we'll support you. Of course, we won't let you do anything completely stupid! Oh! Here you are!"
When Alana climbed out of the van, she saw a mansion surrounded by snow covered trees. Girls were making snow angles, snowmen, and having snowball fights. They all were wearing cute designer clothes.
Alana followed Delilah through the mansion doors, with the distinct impression that she had seen the mansion before. She looked into a room and saw a room full of couches and overstuffed chairs. There were girls reading, sketching, writing, and doing other quiet activities while drinking hot drinks. There was a roaring fire in the fireplace, and there was a blond girl warming her hands in front of it. Delilah pulled Alana into the room and addressed the girls.
"Hey! I want to introduce you to a new student. Her name's Alana! I met her in New England while I was staying at my aunts house. She's going to room with me!"
All the girls got up and introduced themselves to Alana. She met Lauren, the girl by the fire, Cho, one of the girls who had been writing, and Rebecca, one of the girls reading a book. She met lots of others, but she only remembered those three.
"Hey!" Cho had said. "It's traditional that a new student get a makeover on her first weekend here! We get to go on weekend trips to Anchorage every other weekend. We'll get you a new wardrobe, a new haircut, the whole deal!"
"Come on!" Said Delilah. "I'm going to show her our room."
'Room' was an understatement. There was two closets big enough to park a couple of buses in, and a room big enough to house the entire Senate!
"Two girls to a room. Some girls get their own because there were extra rooms and they figured if they had the rooms why shouldn't some girls have their own rooms." Delilah explained. Lauren and Rebecca were in the room on one side of us and Cho and another girl named Nicole were on the other.
"What are you going to major in?" Asked Nicole.
"Oh, I forgot to explain about that." Delilah said, and then she turned to Alana. "You pick what you want to do, like for a living, and then you take classes based on that. You still have to take all of your basic classes like math and science and history and English, but you take electives based on what you do. Based on what I know about you, I'd say you want to do art."
"OK. Art." Said Alana.
That night as she was unpacking her stuff, she picked up her drawing notebook. She flipped through it until she came to the drawing she had been working on when she had first met Delilah. She looked at the background. The mansion in the drawing looked exactly the same as the mansion she was in right now. What had Delilah said about renovations? Had the headmistress renovated the mansion to look like her drawing? No, she couldn't have. Shaking that thought out of her head, she crawled into bed and fell asleep.
Alana's first day at Gallagher Academy was hectic. She got up at nine and went to breakfast. She got her first look at Headmistress Sullen. The headmistress was around thirty, but she looked much older. She had wrinkles everywhere on her face, and her hair was brown, but you could see an inch of gray at her roots where she hadn't dyed it in a while. She had a doughy face, and she was wearing a lot of makeup, so her face was like a pancake. She was wearing a horrid pink fur coat, that made her look bulky.
When the headmistress stood for morning announcements, her voice was scratchy.
"Good morning students! We finished renovations a few days ago, and we are so happy with the improvements. Let's all give a hand to our wonderful helpers."
She turned towards a table full of girls in baggy jeans and dirty t-shirts. They all had rather ugly faces and were bulky and fat.
"That's the servants table. Those are the homeless girls." Delilah whispered to me.
Headmistress Sullen continued with her announce. She sat down and tried to make herself as small as possible. She hated attention.
"I hope you will all make Alana feel as welcome as possible." Headmistress Sullen finished and sat down.
After breakfast, Alana started on her lessons. She went to math, then to science, then history, English, then PE. After her core classes, as they were called, She walked to lunch with Rebecca and Delilah, both of which she had a lot of her classes with. She had found out that Delilah was not in just one of her classes, and in that class she had Rebecca and Cho to hang out with. After lunch, Alana went to art class. It was her major, and she didn't know anybody in it. Nicole was majoring in soccer, Cho in acting, Rebecca was majoring in science, Lauren in soccer with Nicole, and Delilah in poetry. In art class she met Sarah. Sarah was different from all the girls Alana had met at Gallagher so far. While all of the other girls wore designer clothes, Sarah dressed like Alana. Sarah had only been there a few weeks.
"Most of the other girls hate their families, but I kinda miss mine. The other girls try to show me how horrible my family was. I'm pretty sure their all brainwashed. Everybody here is brainwashed!" Sarah had told Alana.
Alana had thought it was a little strange. Wouldn't Delilah had told Alana if she was going to be brainwashed? Delilah had helped Alana escape taking care of her siblings for the rest of her life. She owed everything to her. She didn't talk to Sarah again after that. That night Alana told Delilah about her conversation with Sarah.
"Haha! Don't pay any attention to Sarah. The poor dear was abandoned by her parents a about a month ago. She was adopted by the headmistress, but being abandoned made her go a little funny. If she bothers you again let me know…" Delilah said.
After that Delilah had been quiet.
The next day Alana decided that she would ask Sarah about the headmistress, because she wanted to know about her. She seemed sweet, with a motherly nature about her, but thats what she had originally thought about her own mother, and look where that had turned out. But that day in art, Sarah wasn't there. She wasn't there for a whole week, until Alana finally asked Delilah about it.
"Oh, she decided to leave for a time." Delilah had said.
A few days later, Sarah was back in art class. She was wearing designer clothes.
'What?' Alana had thought, 'I thought she dressed like me."
When Alana sat down next to her, Sarah smiled at her.
"Where have you been?" Alana asked.
"Oh, I had a revelation about my family. The girls finally made me realize how horrible my family was. Headmistress Sullen and the girls here are my real family. I just needed a few days to let that sink in."
"Oh, OK." Alana said. "I'm not feeling to well."
Alana ran out of art class and up to her room where she locked the door and sank to the floor with her back against the door.
"Oh. My. Gosh. I'm in a brainwashing facility." Alana whispered to herself.
'Ok. I'm in a brainwashing school that Headmistress Sullen set up. She wanted her own family so she went and got herself one. She lures girls into her school and brainwashes them into thinking that their families are horrible.' Then Alana got an idea.
That's why I'm writing this. hopefully someone will realize that this is real and stop other girls from coming here. I, Alana Jones, made a mistake. don't try to follow me. By the time you realize this is real I'll be just like all the other girls here. I'm a hopeless case. Just make sure no one else comes here.