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The Friendly Specter
Weird happenings have been going on at East Bay High School. Granted, they are weird for the better, but still weird. It all started when a disembodied voice humiliated Greg. That was very unexpected, but had fantastic consequences. Ever since he hasn’t laughed at a cruel joke, he’s become so docile. Bullying has always been bad here. It is best to keep your head down and to try to get through without incident, but the popular people here are pretty good at spotting the oddballs.
I thankfully, am not abnormal enough to attract attention. Either being a metal head is normal, maybe people secretly like it, or I’m just not that interesting. Someone did try messing with me once, but it was about my music taste, so it was easy to ignore. Since then, nothing has happened. Either way, I’m fine being completely ignored. Unfortunately, some people just can’t help but stick out.
But back to the weird part. No one had ever tried to stand up to the bullies, for some reason or the other. I, personally, have had too much to do, or at least that’s what I keep on telling myself. I’m not much of a smart mouth, or intimidating in anyway. A couple weeks ago, however, someone finally did stand up. It might have been the biggest news in the school for weeks, except it keeps on happening.
And that is not the weirdest part. No one knows who the brave one is. First, she gets the bullies attention by either throwing or dumping something on them, like she dumped leftover spaghetti sauce on Gabby. Then she insults them and completely humiliates them in a battle of wits, (and for some it is over quickly), then when the bully turns around, their victim has disappeared. It’s never done the same way, but it happens just about every day now. The bully never has the chance to contemplate revenge, and usually drops in popularity. There have been maybe six Queen Bees since Gabby went down because they can’t learn from the other’s mistakes. A few popular kids have learned and bullying has gone down slightly, but there’s still trouble and the “Friendly Specter,” as the Peter the newspaper geek calls her, continues to save and humiliate.
I have an idea of who it is, or at least I’ve narrowed it done to a few people. It has to be one of the girls that started coming at the beginning of the second semester. Tarja seems very likely, but I’m not completely sure. I think she’s a loner. I have three classes with her and she’s very smart, but I doubt she would admit to being the specter if I asked. I asked one victim Anna if she knew, but apparently, the specter just gave her a note that told her to slip away, so she never saw who her rescuer was. Annoying, but it won’t kill me to be just as clueless as everyone else.
Right now in literature, we’re reading “Till We Have Faces” by C. S. Lewis, which I think is dull, so I just skim through it. I’ve never been a big reader, and everything we read in lit is extremely boring, and the teacher doesn’t help. It’s safe to say that I might do better if I had a better attitude towards school, but I don’t. I’m also perfectly fine with B’s, as are my parents, and I’ve yet to have a C on a report card.
Still, the teacher was blabbering on about how Orual was Ungit, as if I care, and told us to write a paper on it. I can put something together, and then the teacher started rambling on about something else. We were supposed to be taking notes; I had all of the important things down, but then I noticed the new Queen Bee talking with one of her cult followers. They pointed to a girl three desks up from me and snickered evilly. They obviously weren’t saying anything nice and might have been planning something.
The girl they were planning to torture was dressed sort of gaudy. It looked funny, but I’m sure the girl knew exactly how it looked. Why wear it? Looking back, though, she liked wearing weird clothing, but she also cared about what people thought of her. The girl obviously hasn’t learned.
Then I heard a scream. Everyone looked toward the source to see why. The new Queen Bee was standing on her desk, trembling, as a little mouse explored the floor under her. It looked really cute - the mouse, not the scene - and it climbed into the girl’s purse. It really liked her lotion and I think it started chewing the container to get inside of it.
“Get it out of my purse! Get it out, get it out!” Her shrieking was high pitched; it hurt my ears. I was tempted to laugh. The scene was comical, a girl stuck up on her chair, or in this case, desk, all because of a little mouse. Several other people obviously couldn’t help themselves and were laughing out right.
James, the dorky nature geek, finally saved the girl. He reached into her purse to pull the mouse out, and a couple of other things came out in the process. It squirmed in his hands, but it couldn’t escape.
“I want that thing killed! Do you hear me? Killed, annihilated, just destroy it!” She was climbing down as carefully as her trembling legs would allow.
“Aw, it didn’t do any harm, and anyways, I’m going to keep it.” As I said, James was a nature freak. He was probably going to go to Africa or somewhere, find new species of creatures, and help the endangered animals. He was an animal lover and couldn’t help it.
“Oh, no you will not!”
“And what are you going to do, stop me?” I think the specter incidences had encouraged people to stick up for themselves, because this was happening often. Queeny was not going to take impudence, however and took a step towards James; probably to slap him, but her foot landed on the lotion container, which had come out with the mouse. Apparently, the mouse had gotten to the lotion, because the lotion squirted all over her. She must have stomped hard, because it squirted out really high. Of course, it had helped that she’s only like five, three. It was also liquidy which only added to the effect. It was all over her front, and some had even reached her hair. She looked so ridiculous; none of us could hold it in.
She shrieked again, and started to swing her fist, though I don’t think it would have had much impact since she finds exercise beneath her, but James simply raised the mouse to her face, which stopped her immediately.
During all of this, I’m surprised the teacher had not stepped in. Of course, Queeny didn’t show anyone respect, so I think the teacher was enjoying it. Then a thought hit me, it was all so convenient that the mouse had ended up there. Queeny had been planning to harass another student, but then the mouse happened, and now she probably won’t stay Queen Bee for long. This was also one of the three classes I had with Tarja. When I looked at her, however, there wasn’t a hint of anything but humor. No satisfaction, no vindication, no contempt. She was just laughing like everyone else. Maybe she’s just good at hiding her feelings. Anyways, she was the only new person in this class, I think.
Then the bell rang. Lunch was next, and I was definitely eager to get out of the classroom; Queeny’s lotion smelled nasty. The Queen Bee had broken down and was now sobbing, as the one and only “friend” she had left tried to comfort her. Why bother, was my question. The teacher was also shouting above all of the noise, “Make sure you have written down your homework! You only receive half of the grade if it’s late, and I have had enough of all of your excuses!”
I joined the people spilling out of the doors into the greater mass in the hallway. I wanted to get to an exit. The weather was nice so I’ve been hanging outside for my break, but it was always a challenge to go against the major flow of bodies. I was maybe three yards away from an exit when I heard shouting. “Dangit!” I thought, “I’m not going to be able to move until this is over, which might take a while.”
It is at times like these that I really hate going to this school. Naturally, it was bullying. A group of student’s higher up in the hierarchy were attacking another student for something he did. I realized it was someone that was in my previous class, and that the people harassing him were ‘friends’ of the current Queen Bee. They were probably getting on him for laughing. Life just seems so fair when a situation like this happens. Everyone else in the class, including Queeny’s conspirator, had laughed at what happened, but the bullies were attacking the weakest person, naturally. At the moment, it was just talking, a lot of jeering on the friends’ part, and stuttering from the harassed party.
Right when I was sure things were going to get physical, deus ex machina (I am very proud of myself for remembering that)! And who do we have to thank for saving the day this time? The friendly specter, of course!
“Really people? You’re picking on him? You know I was probably laughing the hardest, but I don’t see you coming after me! And what about Rick, the lineman for our corrupt football team? He was guffawing pretty hard as well, but you stayed clear of him! Why don’t you just admit that you’re all cowards and get on with life, instead of doing a lousy job at trying to cover it up? Even a mental person could see through your sorry excuse for a worthless disguise! And we’re supposed to look up to you? As if!”
She gets funnier every time. One problem, though. The specter definitely could not be Tarja. I was looking around to see if I could spot her in action, but she was standing several feet away from me, obviously not insulting the group or pelting them with, well whatever was being thrown at them, which I was pretty sure wasn’t raisins, but really looked like them. Although I didn’t really want to, I had a good idea of what they were, which made me think of one person.
The group was cowering behind whatever shelter they could find, but the specter was throwing fast and with great accuracy. In fact, so much ammunition was being thrown, that it couldn’t possibly be one single person behind it. Now I was searching really hard for a specific person. I found him, standing in a doorway of an empty classroom, throwing the pelts, but he wasn’t the one talking. Now that I had a clue of how they hid, I continued searching and found two other specters.
After a minute more of pelting, the specters let up enough to let the bullies escape, but sent them off with a warning, “Next time I’ll use bigger ones, and they’ll just keep on getting bigger if you don’t stop picking on people, you mongrels!” I do not want to be around for any of those, or even fathom what their bigger amo will come from, or how they’ll get it. If I had been even slightly interested in lunch before that comment, I sure as heck wasn’t anymore.
I waited in the corner I had been pushed into, observing the phantoms. I had a ton of questions for them. They exited their room’s one at a time and headed outside. I followed the three I knew of wondering, “How many of them are there anyways?” until we were safely outside. They weren’t very far off, but it did take me a few moments to locate them, and I only found them because I knew what to look for. They were congratulating each other for another job well done. It was only the three of them there, but they mentioned another group in the lunchroom.
It took me a while to find the nerve to announce my presence, but this is what it came out as, “Well that was an impressive show you guys put on. How do you guys come up with this stuff, and so quickly anyways?”
They didn’t jump six feet, per say, but they definitely were surprised. James recovered the quickest, “Um, glad you liked it.”
“The rat poop or whatever tipped me off slightly, and then it was just a matter of locating you guys. I don’t think the enemy has enough brain power to think that well, so you don’t have to worry about them having found out.”
“That was good thinking. I don’t think I know your name. You aren’t involved in much.” Anna had now recovered her voice. I noticed her and James were holding hands. Those two? Who would have thought!
“Lacey. I’m not a big people person, exactly. Well at least not around most of the people here. I just want to get through. So, when did you guys decide to start this, um, group of yours? It’s really helped, by the way.”
“Well, my cousins are doing the exact same thing at their school, so they inspired me. They said they were inspired by some book. Was it the Red Flower? I don’t remember, but it was something along those lines. So I came back here, and James agreed to help me. It was just the two of us for a while, but then we quietly started recruiting others we knew we could trust and would help us. There’s about nine of us now, so we have three groups of three.” I seemed to remember Anna being slightly OCD, and I think I know which book she’s talking about. Peter mentioned it in his first article about the specter.
“That’s awesome. It was about time someone stood up. So, uh, how do you sign up for this?” It was about time I joined something.
“Well, we don’t really have any test or oath or anything, you kind of just join.” The third girl was speaking this time, Nia. She looked at James and Anna and they simply shrugged. “This is the first time we’ve had someone come to us, so yeah. You’re in.”
“Awesome, so can you fill me in more, like if I’m supposed to carry something around at all times, or something?” This is how I became one of the Friendly Specters. They couldn’t think of any better name, so they adopted Peter’s idea. It wasn’t too bad, I guess, and I probably couldn’t have done better.
High school was much more interesting after that. I had fun, was never caught, and helped save a lot of people. Our group didn’t grow much, it was too risky, but I think five other people joined us when I was a member. And though we were unable to completely annihilate bullying at our school, we did come close.