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Casper's Voice

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Everybody has that special someone in their life.
That one person who lightens up the most pessimistic day;
Has the best shoulder to cry on, and masks their own tears with a smile to hide their hurt, sparing your feelings.
This person means the world to you, the only person who really knows you in and out. Even when life is at its toughest, this person stays with you through thick and thin, through everything.
When you don’t have anybody else, you will always have that special person.
Except for me; I had no-one, not a single soul to look out for me, to love me, to tell me everything is going to be okay.
I was the ugly duckling...

“Out my way!”
Stage lights soaked every one of us in dazzles and thrills. Beads of sweat tickled our foreheads. You could tell who the first timers were by their nervous smiles stretching from one red ear to the other.
“Move! You don’t belong here!”
The curtains opened ever so slightly. Not enough for the audience to see us, but enough for us to clench our fists to hold back the nerves. Our baited breaths made the deathly quiet excitement seem almost, tense.
“Get to the back! You don’t do anything!”
The gap in the curtains widened. Our make-up seemed all the heavier.
The music started, and the last few performers sprinted professionally on, willingly pushing me further and further behind them.
The singing began, and the strong power coming from everyone’s voice made our show come alive. Alight faces filled the stage.
I pulled my act together and sang my heart out. A few girls next to me in the wing scowled, pulling me a disgusted face. “You’re a failure, your ruining the show!” the smallest, yet meanest girl, Ella, hissed. Ignoring the usual, I did my best to show her I wasn’t bothered, and continued singing for the rest of the song, then ran off with everyone else.
As every bustling, half undressing performers scampered to the dressing rooms to get ready, I pondered about in the wing, watching the star acts enter the stage and have the spotlight all on them.
Kim and Liam, the jokers, interacted with the audience, laughter mixing with the buzz.
Lily used her flexible bones to the extent, spiralling gracefully through the group of equally talented, poised dancers leaping into elegant movements. It was like watching swans, beautiful and mighty.
I looked down at my frumpy clothes, straggly hair and scrawny body, at my freckly skin and lack of figure.
This enchanted show was performed like there are no barriers in life. Everyone, even the oldest and biggest, most insecure, were shown to believe they were unstoppable, beautiful, swan-like. Their leashes had been let go. For those few hours, the audience sat in awe and wonder, watching their own little dream world come to life.
Funny that, though; I was the only one who wasn’t seeing this captivating performance through a mask, I never did. Right from the beginning, the concealing disguise had been ripped off my eyes, showing who they all really were; insecure, gleaming in sparkles, all trying to outdo each other with everything.
The school’s motto was teamwork, though the sad reality of today is there was none.

The stage cleared, and the lights glistened tiny sparkles in the audiences eyes. Everywhere was misty and white.
I knew what was coming.
Yeah, sure enough, I was right.
Out from the snowy mist, a dazzling girl appeared, pirouetting and prancing from one end of the stage to the other. Her silver, glistening dress fitted perfectly, showing her petite, dancers figure, and the millions of gleaming jewels along the lacy corset filled every person in the audience with a sparkle dancing in their eyes, as well as a ‘totally blown-away’ look on their face.
Her fluffy blonde locks and olive eyes brightened up the whole theatre. Her performer smile screamed golden material. Every pair of eyes goggled at her, ablaze.
And when she sang, it was so perfectly stunning, so gorgeously faultless, that even the smallest of pin falling would be heard.
Her classy, echoing voice roared from the core of her lungs, bellowing out a song that the original artist couldn’t sing as beautiful. I was proud, at that very moment, to call her my sister.
Jazz gave it her all, and sure made the audience jump, as fast as they possibly could, out of their seats and clapped their hands together, along with whistles and ‘woo!’ It sure was an ending to a show that would be hard to beat.


Liam strode through the school’s corridor, pride in his steps, throwing a ‘hey!’ to many swooning girls. Even if you were a total airhead and lived under a rock, it was so obvious that Liam was the founder, owner and runner of our drama school by his good looks, charm and clear dress-code. It was all these things that sent the girls’ hearts flying. When he walked through these corridors, the buzz changed drastically. The hushed whispers seemed louder than the usual chit-chat and laughter, and the air tensed. The show-offs flicked their hair and chimed ‘hey Liam!’ through flirty giggles. The boys stuck thumbs up and patted him on the back, while the shy, newbie’s backed away into the side, blushing in case he had seen his posters in their lockers, whispering perky mutters to their friends.
I sat on the bench, just outside the assistant’s office, fixing my drama books. One of my ears was filled with a blaring track from the Rolling Stones, while the other was half-listening to the usual drone.
“Hey, babe!”
My heart skipping a beat, I wheeled around, for a second thinking it was someone for me.
No, it was just Liam. He wasn’t talking to me either; he just walked past me like he always did. Instead, he headed for the lockers behind me, where my sister wrapped her arms round his neck tenderly. He kissed her forehead and pushed her gently away. Jazz’s friends awed at it, and he then left and pushed his office door open. Once Jazz’s friends were sure he was out of sight, they pounded on her, all rushing to try to be the first one, all bustling over her.
“You’re so lucky, Jazz!”
Rolling my eyes, I turned my back away from them. Of course no boy would say that to me, how was I stupid enough to think anyone was talking to me?
The bell rang for class, and when everybody left, I stayed put. The teacher wouldn’t notice I was gone, anyway. I sat for what seemed like ages, though the same track still hadn’t finished. Impatient, I took my mind a wander, thinking of everything that happened the night before, with Ella, with the performance, with my sister and brother...

“How is she your sister?” They all mocked at the sight of me, with my straggly caramel bush, scrawny figure, mixed-coloured eyes and uneven teeth.
Freddie just scoffed, avoiding my welled-up eyes.
“I bet she can’t even act, or sing!” One particularly nasty girl laughed, but the rest was droned out by the audience’s claps. When Jazz finally pranced off, they all applauded her.
“That was great, sis! Sorry I couldn’t come on, with this leg...next time though, our duet will rock the roof off!”
“You let me down, Freddie! I was awful!”
“Don’t be silly, you were a-m-a-z-i-n-g!” the malicious girl yelled, and everybody else chipped in. Jazz soaked up the attention, the mask of make-up unable to hide how phony she was. The little pride I had had for her earlier vanished.
I was trying to use this as my chance to sneak away, but a rather muscular boy shoved me into Jazz.
“Jazz, look what we found watching you perform. Shouldn’t you be in bed?” His smirk illustrated just how ugly he was inside.
Freddie pulled me back, and hissed in my ear. “Go away! You’re ruining our reputation! They can’t see you!” He half-dragged me away from the wing of the stage and through the back doors into the dressing rooms.
“Freddie! I’m fourteen, I can walk myself!”
Yes, I may be able to walk, but I couldn’t keep the fat sobs in any longer. When Freddie gave me one last icy look, I couldn’t look. I couldn’t show him my blood-shot eyes or the streaks on my cheeks. He sauntered away, and I stayed put, watching the group surrounding my brother and sister snigger and sneer.
“I can’t believe you are related to her! She’s so...ugly!”
“When she was born, the doctor’s thought she was a boy! Mum told me once that she was a mistake. She looks it too!”
“I don’t know why mum sent her here with us; I think it was just to get rid of her. She unquestionably has no talent!”
As the audience left and the curtains went down, the crowd stayed put in the wing, and I escaped to the little pond outside. I couldn’t bear to listen anymore...

“Miss Harper,”
I knew that dull voice anywhere. I guess it was my turn.
I wasn’t sure to take a seat or not, so I pondered in the middle, waiting for the lecture.
“Miss Harper, please sit,”
Cautiously, I sat down in the chair facing her, clenching the sides of it with my nails. Looking around, you could see by the bland colours and faded newspaper articles hanging on the walls, how her personality matched. And when I looked at her worn, weary face and featureless expression, it proved I was right.
“You know why you’ve been sent here, right?”
“Yes.”
“Oh good,” it was hard to tell if she was being sarcastic or truthful with her mono-tone voice, “Well, this will go a lot quicker than I thought.”
Just by looking at her unpronounced features, it was extremely hard to tell she was only a few years older than Liam, and the senior students.
“Miss Harper, d-“
“It’s, Casper,”
“Yes well, I’m Lila, I’m 26, in my spare time - though I don’t have any anymore - I like to cycle, I live at home - when I ever get home - with my two dogs... Miss Harper, please, I don’t need to know anything about you except you’re in trouble,”
The clock on her desk contrasted against the silence made the ticking a whole more distinct and annoying. I drummed my fingers, while she never took her eyes off mine.
“If I’m correct, you were caught at the pond last night, out of hours, and before had been caught behind the wings long after you had been on, even after the audience had cleared?” Now, her voice was beginning to sound like a jury.
“I was. But I was only watching Jazz, my sister, perform her solo, and was going to leave, but a whole crowd of her friends and my brother came, and they were teasing me, so I couldn’t leave. I ran to the pond, only to escape the snide remarks and mocking. You must understand?”
Lila laughed now, but it came out in a cackle. “You’re telling me, Jazz is your sister? I don’t believe that! You are clearly just making up lies to get out of trouble for staying up out of hours, and harassing the star of the show!”
Angry tears built up in me; how dare she say such a thing!
“I am! Jazz and Freddie Harper! I am admitting to being at the pond, but definitely not harassment. It’s the other way around,”
Lila couldn’t control herself; she rolled about in her chair, clutching her sides in hysterics. “Jazz, the same Jazz that goes out with my boss? You’re not their younger sister, no way! You’re to...”
“...To what? Ugly! Yeah, I get that a lot,” Sobs bled out of me; without thinking, I picked up my stuff and stormed out, not caring to check Lila’s taken-aback expression. She didn’t seem too bothered, though; as I forced her office door open, I could hear her pen scribbling away like it hadn’t happened.
I marched right past the classrooms and dance-rooms, and out the back doors. Tears streaming down my cheeks, I shakily ran across the gardens, dumping my bags on the ground. I kept running, over the bridge and into more picturesque grassy fields. It was untidy and overgrown, though that made it all the more beautiful. Through the middle, there was a barely noticeable path made up of dainty cobblestones. I was too angry to take in the fresh air, the wonderful scent of trees and flowers and the beaming rays of sun against the river.
Once I had trudged along, I slumped down in my usual place; a petite bench, grass and flowers weaved and coiled through it. The bench was placed next to a graceful pond. Lily-pads and reeds shone in the water. Watching the delicate ripples in the water had a calming effect. The tranquillity and peace in this little area made my whole world.
Just as I was half-closing my heavy eyes, something grey and shivery caught them. And there, amongst the flowers and reeds, was a tiny duckling. I picked it up.
It was terrified and drenched in mud. “You poor thing! I’ll take care of you,” I wrapped my jumper around it to keep it warm and dried it; it looked like a fuzzy ball of fluff! It seemed much happier now, and nestled into my arms.
“There you go; you’re all better now. Why don’t you go back and see your family, I’m sure they miss you!”
Though when I looked around, there was no other duckling in sight.
The little duckling seemed comfortable and content, so I left it to snuggle in me.
Time past, though somehow, it seemed to have stayed still. I could just stay here forever, knowing no-one could see me, or hear me sing. The little duckling appeared to enjoy it, and I liked being able to sing on my own. I know my voice is nowhere near as good as Jazz’s, but at least here I could feel like somebody.
I sang, and sang, and sang, about love, about peace, about hope, about anything that came to my mind. Nobody could stop me.
“Wow, that’s some voice you’ve got there,”
My heart skipped. A boy’s voice had just come from behind me; I was too shaken to turn around. The duckling had woken at the sudden change in my heartbeat.
“Mind if I join you? I could sit here forever,”
Again, my heart jolted. Was he talking to me? I foolishly nodded, but didn’t say anything; the next thing I knew, there was a light thump, and a totally stranger boy was sitting next to me.
When I slowly turned to face him, my heart stopped.
He was gorgeous. These chestnut-eyes, strong and bold, stared back at me with a fixed gaze. His profound cheekbones gave his face a mature edge, though the distinct dimples and massive grin exposed his friendly side. Wild, floppy brown hair waved slightly in the breeze.
“Hi, I don’t think I’ve seen you before.” He held out a hand, “I’m Louis. And you are?”
I never returned his handshake, partly because I had a baby animal in my arms, but mostly the fact there was a living boy, sitting opposite me, talking to me, complimenting me.
“Umm...hello,” I couldn’t say anymore.
He laughed softly, “What’s wrong? Duck got your tongue?” I could see in his eyes he wanted me to say something. I couldn’t help laugh at his attempt joke.
“Yeah, no it’s just...I’m Casper. Why are you talking to me?”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“Well, boys don’t talk to me. People don’t talk to me,”
Louis smiled gently, and then leaned over to pick up the baby duckling. Its vibrant blue eyes stared at Louis lovingly. I stroked the duckling one more time, and then let Louis place it back into the water. It looked bright and vivacious now, swimming to its little hearts content.
It looked as happy as I felt.
“You’re incredibly talented. You’re voice...I take it your that amazing voice I hear from the dressing room. You get that solo, at the end. Wow, the audience last night were -”
“Yeah, that’s not me. That’s my sister, Jazz,” He must have seen my smile drop, because he hesitantly and carefully lifted my chin up level with his. I gazed into those brilliant chestnut eyes.
“You’re right; I was only being kind,”
Great, I knew he was only here to put me down.
“You’re a million times better,”
Or not.
“Umm...” was all I could manage. What else could I say? ‘Thank you’?
There was no need for anything else to be said.
As I took my eyes off Louis for a second, I stared at my reflection in the water.
What I saw next took my breath away.
A beautiful swan stared back at me...


Stage lights soaked the both of us in dazzles and thrills. Beads of sweat tickled our foreheads.
“Ready?”
The curtains opened ever so slightly. Not enough for the audience to see us, but enough for us to clench our fists to hold back the nerves. Our baited breaths made the deathly quiet excitement seem almost, tense.
“Ready!”
The gap in the curtains widened. My make-up seemed all the heavier.
Louis squeezed my hand. I squeezed it back. I gazed into those chestnut eyes.

It doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s the beautiful swan inside that counts.



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HammiThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
May 10, 2012 at 10:35 am
Very beautiful although in my opinion there were too many cliches. 
 
kimberdawn said...
May 9, 2012 at 11:43 am
So beautiful! I love it!!! I couldn't help but cry. 
 
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