Cast Out of the Shadows...

…and into the sun. Myranda stumbled and fell onto her knees. Hands on the ground to brace herself, forehead sweating, breath panting heavily, Myranda slowly raised her head. She heard streams of laughter and struggled to get to her feet. Myranda was sure the laughter was directed toward her; it wouldn't have been the first time. As a dark form passed over her, Myranda felt her hands tighten into hard fists while she looked around.

You don't belong here. The words still rang in her head as if they had just been said. You don't belong. Lexi hadn't even flinched as she said those words. Don't belong here. She hadn't hidden the fact that she was smoking illegally, either. It was as if she didn't think Myranda mattered enough to hide from her. Don't belong, belong here, don't belong here, you don't be…

Suddenly, Myranda felt sick. She retched on the ground in front of her. Nervously, Myranda looked around to see if anyone had been watching her. Of course not, she thought, no one cares about me. Still, she didn't lower her guard.

More laughter flowed from the alley behind her, and Myranda jumped around to face them. The very person she least wanted to see led the group walking toward her.

"Oh, it's you again." Lexi said, disdainfully looking at the pile in front of Myranda. "Look, face it. You're not one of us. You're just too…different."

"Different?" Myranda defended herself, red in the face. "What, like 'in your description, but not the majority' different? Or really different? Don't stand for something if you only represent a small part of it and shun the rest." Myranda glared at Lexi for a moment, then turned away. She could hear muttering behind her, but did not turn to look.

You don't belong here, the voice in her head said again. Myranda tried to shove it away, but it kept getting louder. Shut up! She argued with eyes now wet. I don't care what anyone else thinks. She lied to herself. I…just…

Myranda stopped. She had been trying to get away from Lexi, but she couldn't escape her thoughts. As she stood, almost mad, trying to explain to herself why she didn't care, she realized something. Myranda didn't actually have any idea where she was headed. Myranda thought about going home, but she didn't feel like dealing with her parents, not to mention her annoying little brother. Besides, she couldn't stay at home forever, and there was no way she was going back there. Tomorrow, she'd skip school. And the day after that was the weekend. But, on Monday…

Myranda suddenly realized what had just happened. She always hid, had always run since she was young. Now, though, it wasn't enough to be different. She had to be different in another way, a way the 'different' people weren't. Lexi's words were proof of that. She hardly belonged there either, yet she was accepted, if not approved of. Myranda… was not.

Myranda had no one to comfort her, nothing to make her feel okay. She wanted friends, to be safe in someone's arms…

Myranda took off her favorite rainbow headband and threw it onto the ground. Hesitating only a moment, she ran away, trampling her headband as she did so. The headband that got left behind, trampled upon and mud-covered, became the last of the girl seeking solace. The headband was a symbol of the girl that threw it- a mark of despair, lost in the rain, an outcast even among the outcasts.

Myranda had been tossed from the shadows, and she couldn't stand the light.





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