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“I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Metisa1. We’ve tried everything. You’re just gonna have to let go of her,” the old doctor said with a pained expression as he brought this news to the young troubled couple.
“We know you’ve done everything in you’re power. Thank you, doctor. All we can do now is wait,” Mr. Metisa said to Dr. Sutec as his wife wept bitterly on his shoulder. He pulled her into a tight embrace, holding her and weeping into her hair. After all this, our 4-year-old daughter is going to die.
They still didn’t know what happened, but the daycare had recently found that someone knocked her off the jungle gym. Whether it was on purpose or on accident, none knew. All they knew was Slaine now had many shattered bones.
After being taken to the hospital, her parents were notified. Two hospital transfers later, Slaine was still out cold. However, the doctors were able to determine she had many internal as well as external injuries. The operations needed would kill her.
“Bill, the child might survive,” a deep voice growled.
“Key word – might. Oh yeah, and she didn’t have it on her, so the plan was pointless anyways,” came Bill’s harsh reply.
“It was not pointless,” the voice yelled, “No plan I make is pointless! Understand?”
“Yes, master,” Bill answered in a meek, shaky voice.
Slaine was the type of kid that could do anything she put her mind to. Being home schooled, Slaine always had time for other activities, like basketball, running, and drums. With the help of her photographic memory, Slaine was fluent in Spanish, was doing calculus, and was up to par in all high school (junior level) subjects. And she was only 13. She wasn’t exactly a spoiled child. She could take care of herself, but her parents sometimes remembered the fateful day and gave her occasional gifts. However, that all changed the summer before 9th grade when her parents were murdered and she had to illegally move into her grandmother’s retirement home/apartment.
Slaine was starting 9th grade, supposedly the toughest year at Gnytsott2 High. Nervousness made her break into a sweat. She had one more chance to make friends. Long silky hair hung in a ponytail and her bangs were pulled back with a headband. She had on a mossy green backpack that looked about 40 pounds. She looked at her map. First stop – locker.
“1763,” Slaine mumbled to herself as she searched for her locker, “1762. 176 – 4?” she said in confusion. Where could her locker be? She looked for the nearest person.
“Do you know where locker 1763 is?” Slaine said as she tapped a tall redheaded boy on the shoulder. He took no notice of her, but one of his friends spotted her saying, “Hey Mark! Looks like someone’s tryin’ to talk to ya.”
“What? Oh. Hey,” Mark said facing Slaine and blushing slightly.
Slaine repeated her question.
“Uh, it should be right about – here?” he said. Disappointed, Slaine started to walk away, “Never mind. Here,” Mark said handing her a sheet of paper, “You can have my locker and I’ll take yours. I don’t need a locker anyways.”
“Thanks,” Slaine replied taking the paper, her bright eyes showing her true gratitude.
“No problem. See ya later.
“1306. 1306. 1306,” Slaine muttered, “Right here.”
As she turned the lock, she noticed people were watching her. Feeling awkward, she concentrated on the combo. 17. 43. 9. Glancing at a nearby clock she read 7:33. Next stop 1st period – Spanish 4 at 7:40.
“New row. Mark Naslade,” Mr. Reftry was seating his 5th period gym class during the second week of school, “Behind him, Slaine Metisa,”
Everyone looked at the new girl. She looked pretty normal, but her eyes, shining a bright blue, mesmerized everyone.
After everyone was seated Reftry yelled, “Today is Thursday. And every Thursday we run a mile. This one will be timed and recorded. Girls-14 is 8 minutes and boys-14 is 6:50. Everybody outside. Now!”
All the other classes were already outside waiting for the freshman. The despised-mile-run was about to start.
“Ready! Set! Go!” Mrs. Frenst screamed. Everyone took off.
As always, seniors were in the lead and freshman were in the back, except for two. Mark easily stuck out at 6’5” and was among the seniors. However, there were two figures whizzing around the track. One was small, ahead of all but one senior. The other was a popular 6’7” senior jock.
“Who’s the other person?” Mrs. Frenst whispered to Mr. Reftry.
Everyone on the track was wondering the same thing, especially Trent. She’s gaining on me. But I run a 4:30 mile. Is that even possible? She looks like a freshman. It would be embarrassing to be beaten by a freshman girl.
They lapped most people once during their second lap and halfway through the third lap she passed him. Her small legs skimmed the ground as she ran at a dead sprint. Trent had to envy her endurance.
Trent ran a good mile that day with a time of 4:22. However, he was still thinking about the girl, who was still running. She had run a mile in 3:30 beating his PR of 4:04. Finally, she stopped after her 12th lap and 10:37 minutes. Trent went over to her, examining her as he went. She was pretty, her blue eyes shining and her black hair and tan forehead beaded with sweat.
“Hey,” he called out.
“Hey,” she replied without the slightest trace of exhaustion.
“Got a name?”
“Yeah. Slaine. You?”
“Trent. Good run for the mile today.”
“Sure. Um… we have to head in,” Slaine said sarcastically adding, “Basketball in gym. Fun.”
Laughing, Trent followed her in. He knew exactly what she meant.
All gym classes started with the usual passing, dribbling, and shooting drills. Slaine looked like one of the worst there. Her passes barely made it to Mark, she could hardly keep the ball under control, and she was constantly air-balling shots. I couldn’t have had a worse partner, he thought.
The four classes were split up into 16 teams of 8 people each. On each team there were two people, one boy and one girl, from each grade. There was a shuffle as each partner group joined the other three they were assigned to. Trent, Mark, Slaine, and some gothic people were on the same team.
Just suck at basketball. It’s not hard to suck. Do what you did in the warm-up, Slaine kept telling herself.
After Mark’s team had won the tournament with a buzzer-beater three-pointer made by Slaine, Trent came up to him.
“Hey Mark, have you noticed the new girl?”
“Yeah,” Mark grinned, “Who hasn’t?”
“That last shot, she made a perfect shot with perfect form. And when she made the shot I saw her look around like she hoped no one had seen it. Something’s going on with her,”
“Maybe. Who knows?” there was an awkward pause, then Mark finished, “I gotta change. See ya at the gym.”
“Later little bro,” Trent said with a nod of his head.
“Master. Have you laid out a new plan?” Bill asked.
“Patience my doubtful follower. I have yet to decide our final step.”
“Well. Better than last town. Instead of none, I now have two friends,” Slaine was trying to console herself. She knew she needed a social life. Although she was outgoing, she never had had any true friends. Ones that stood up for her, that helped her, that comforted her. Except her parents. But they were gone now. In other towns she’d lived in, she was the outcast, despised by other home-schooled kids because she excelled at everything. Not in this town though, where basketball was the sport, and that’s the way she wanted to keep it. Speaking of basketball, she had to practice. Grabbing a wad of money, she left a note for Grandma in the apartment and, after sneaking down the staircase, began running to the gym. Though Grandma was a millionaire, she still lived in the 1960’s, refusing modern technology. A laptop was all Slaine had, so she spent much of her time at the local gym. Dressed as a guy with curly brown hair and a cap, she was able to hide her true identity.
She slowed her pace as she neared the gym as to not give herself away. As she rounded the corner, she saw Mark and Trent enter the building. She’d never seen them there before. Did she really want to do this? They could recognize her. But how? She argued with herself, After all, I’m disguised and need the practice. She’d have to risk it.
Bill entered the gym near Gnytsott High. His master knew Slaine went to the gym dressed in … Bill checked his paper again. Baggy shorts and sweatshirt, a curly brown wig covered by a baseball cap.
Slaine walked into the gym and shoved some money onto the counter. She casually strolled into her corner with a basketball low on her hip. Stares followed her as she walked, giving her an uncomfortable feeling.
“Hey Trent, look at that kid. Never seen ’im before. He’s good and there’s something kind of familiar about him. He one of your friends?” Mark whispered to Trent as they began warming up.
“Nah. Thought he was one of yours. You’re right though. He seems familiar… I’ve seen someone shoot just like him. Can’t remember who, though.”
Slaine glanced at Trent and Mark from under the cap that covered her eyes. They’re pointing at me. She concentrating on the jump-shot three-pointer she was about to make. Swish! She grabbed the basketball as Trent’s voice made her turn.
She stared at the ground, not want wanting them to notice her eyes.
“Wanna play 3 on 3 with us?”
She shrugged her shoulders, still staring at the ground.
Slaine was having a great time. She had made every shot, dominating in 3 on 3. She, Trent, and Mark were playing some seniors from the school team. They were killing them 17-6 when Slaine blundered. Mark had made a dunk, then flashed her a thumbs-up. She looked straight into his eyes, making him gasp. Reverting her eyes, Slaine decided it was best to leave. From under her cap she saw Mark talking to Trent, both their eyes zeroed in on her. Great. She walked off the court and into the lobby.
“Trent. I swear that was Slaine. She looked right at me with those bright blue eyes. And her shot in the gym tournament looks exactly like that. It’s her. I know it is,” Mark persuaded. He couldn’t tell if Trent was buying it or not. He turned back to look at Slaine, but she was gone, “I’m following her Trent,” Mark turned to leave, “Come on! Hurry up!”
Bill was asleep when he heard a small commotion. Two tall guys had Slaine, dragging her away. You slipped past me… again.
When Slaine walked out of the gym, she saw a small man sleeping in the lobby. It was Bill. Shoot. Not him. Remembering their last encounter, she stopped to examine him. His deep-breathing told her he was asleep. Good. However, as she turned to leave, someone grabbed her mouth from behind, stifling her scream. “You’ve got some explaining to do, Slaine,” a mocking voice said. It was Mark.
“Why’d you lie?” Mark demanded while drove Trent led them to the Naslade house.
Slaine was too overcome with emotion to answer. Now she’d be a despised outcast again. Just like old times. Suddenly she burst into tears. Mark’s expression softened. He hated watching a friend, almost a sister, suffer. He wrapped an arm around her, trying to calm the storm. After a while Mark gave Trent a what-do-I-do-now glance. However, as soon as he did this, Slaine stopped crying, took off her disguise and told them the whole truth, her story.
Bill pulled up behind Trent’s car. Minutes before, he had bribed a stupid police officer into letting him use his uniform and car, but no guns. Time to get her.
Slaine saw the police car pull up, saw Bill walk out of it. She managed to mutter, “He’s coming,” before her left eye twitched and she passed out.
Trent walked out of the car towards the “officer” while Mark called the police on his cell. They were due in any minute.
“Kid!” Bill called out, trying to make his voice sound gruff, “There’s a guy in your car that is wanted for questioning at the station. Would you so kindly bring him to me?”
“Sorry, sir, but the only other guy in my car is my brother, and if you don’t believe me you can check for yourself,” Trent called back, turning to his car and taking a piece of paper out of it.
“I would like that,”
“Before you do, though, I would like you to sign this,”
“Fine,” annoyance flashed through Bill’s voice as he scrawled out his signature.
“Thanks,” Trent said smugly with a triumphant ring.
Bill entered the side door of Trent’s car and immediately, his eyes fell on the unconscious Slaine. He looked up at Trent victoriously while pointing to Slaine saying, “That is the girl that needs to be questioned.”
However, Trent’s responded with, “I’m sorry, sir, but that is quite impossible.”
A look of confusion flashed across Bill’s face, but he coolly said, “You would do well not to speak to an officer like that.”
“No offense meant, sir. However, I would like to know one thing. Policemen are men of their word, aren’t they?”
“Then I’m afraid you can’t take her. You see, you said were to take a guy, not a female, and you signed this paper saying you would only take a male. So you can’t take her.”
Anger caused Bill’s nostrils to flare. This can’t be happening. She’s getting away again.
Trent continued, “However, I would be glad to drive her to the station myself.”
“That won’t be necess-“
Sirens cut off Bill’s voice. I have to get out of here. They might recognize me. As Bill turned to go, he felt pain shoot through his stomach. As he fell to the ground, he saw Trent standing over him and muttered, “It’s behind her left eye.” Then everything went black.
The police arrested Bill and the King the next day. They were charged with murder, of Slaine’s parents, and attempted murder. The city gave the Naslade’s $50,000 for their capture. As for Slaine, things gradually settled down. She began to make more friends. However, to this very day, her two best friends are none other than Trent and Mark, her savers. And what was behind her left eye? A miniscule basketball with the word “SLAM – MJ” written on it.