All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The Green Plague
the GREEN PLAGUE
Beeeeep! Angry screeching of the alarm clock told me it was time to begin my day. With a sigh and a smile, I climbed out of bed and eagerly set off to my morning routine. I dressed in an elegant gown of imported snow-white silk, gently ran a brush through my lovely golden locks that weaved ringlets down my back, and opened my make-up kit. Of course I didn’t need much to enhance what I already had, but every day was a new chance to look my absolute best.
“Layla!” My escort, James Anderson, called as I daintily layered my cosmetics. I rolled my eyes as he stepped into the doorway of my dorm room.
“My name is Savannah!”
“Sorry. Savannah. Let’s get a move on. It isn’t like you have anybody to impress.”
“Excuse me?” I retorted. How little could this imbecile possible know? Did he truly not understand that I had expectations to surpass, that I was the vicious envy of my peers?
“You’ve got two minutes left before we leave whether you’re finished and ready or not.” James left. I shook my head. He knew exactly who I was. He just chose to disregard it, and that was the source of annoyance.
I knew I was pretentious, conceited, and cocky, but I had every right to be. I had everything. To begin with, I was drop-dead gorgeous. There wasn’t a guy I knew who wouldn’t “tap this” if given the opportunity. I also had the perfect parents. They’re insanely wealthy and they still love and support me with all of their hearts. That combination of love and wealth is rare. In addition to being so beautiful, I was also a fantastic student. I hadn’t had less than an A on a report card since elementary school. I managed my looks, grades, and I was a tri-athlete. I made varsity in softball, volleyball, and soccer all in my freshman year of high school. As if this wasn’t good enough, I was head soloist in my choir class. It’s only natural for everyone to be jealous of me.
“Layla! Let’s go!” my escort barked, returning to my room.
“Savannah!” I hollered back, capping my make-up and returning the contents to its box.
“Whatever. We are leaving.” He grabbed my arm, but I jerked it from his grip.
“I can walk on my own.” With this, I took the lead and began the expedition down the hall, James in pursuit.
“…and he cuts me short on my make-up time again, and he got my name wrong twice in five minutes,” I complained to my best friend. Mollie was my only real friend in this place. She, too, envied my life, but she didn’t attack me as so many others have. She did not judge me. She was a great listener and an even better friend.
“I’m sorry. You deserve so much better than that,” was Mollie’s response.
“I know, right! He’s not even new. That’s the thing.”
“He will learn. I’m sure of it. Anyway, are you ready for the soccer match tonight?”
“You know it! I can’t wait to destroy the other team. I’m surprised they are allowing us to play against each other.”
“Savannah!” My teacher snapped. “Pay attention, please!” I rolled my eyes and smirked at my friend before we did as instructed.
I tried my very best to focus during class, but it is often very difficult. I usually talked to Mollie until I got yelled at for disrupting. If I couldn’t contain myself, Mollie and I just left. A few times I have asked Mollie to stay and take notes for me, which the teachers didn’t understand and used to get very upset with me for this, but since I almost always return before the end of class, they don’t mind.
Today I left Mollie and went out to the soccer field. That always seemed to make me feel better. Fresh air always helped to clear the fogs in my mind, especially during the summer. The cool, crisp breeze weaved gracefully through the soft grass, the chartreuse blades gratefully accepting the momentary relief from the blazing heat of the sun. The cheerful song of brilliant birds, the joyous chirp of numerous diverse insects. All contributed to the pacification of my mind.
This was where the soccer tournament would be held that coming evening, and I was pumped. I was one of the better players, and I knew the opposing team. They were from another wing of the institute, the one I had been in when I first arrived. The wing I had been moved to provided many more opportunities. The team I now played on retained girls who bore similar skill sets to my own. There was absolutely no way my team would lose tonight. With a sigh of restored confidence and a smile to express it, I made my way back to class.
The rest of my classes were almost stagnant. Everything seemed to be set in slow motion. I had to leave twice more to regain composure. My last class of the day was physical education, and I was teaching Mollie how to do summer saults. James sat on the far side of the room, talking to my instructor and coach for the soccer game. James always spoke to my teachers after class. The reason I had an escort in the first place was because people used to attack me all the time when I was new to this place. They wanted my name, my beauty, my everything, and they thought physically assaulting me was the way to get it. Once I was beaten so viciously that I couldn’t leave my bed for an entire day and no amount of make-up could mask the fresh bruises and cuts for weeks. I was therefore assigned an escort to accompany me to classes as well as from them. At night my dorm room was securely locked to prevent intruders. Mollie was more often than not allowed to stay with me. I let her sleep right next to me. Every now and then the night patrol tried to make her leave, but neither of us can handle that. Mollie kept me sane here. She was my only true friend. After endless fits of crying and worse, the night patrol complied with our wishes. James arrived early in the morning to deliver us to school, and the night patrol informed him of the night’s proceedings. I suppose if they went through that much trouble to protect me, I must have had more enemies than I thought.
Back in my room after school, there wasn’t really much to do to occupy one’s time. It’s such a strange thing to say when one has so much luxury: a seventy-two inch plasma flat-screen television, a cherry-oak vanity that doubles as a small art studio, an antique record player, a media center containing every movie and gaming system imaginable, and so much more. I was merely bored of it all. What I really wanted to do was go home and spend the afternoon in the stables with my horse, or host an event party with my parents, but until school ended for summer in three weeks, I would just have to find contentment here at the institute. Home-sickness flooding into the pit of my stomach, I grabbed Mollie’s hand and once more we headed for the soccer field.
“Alright, Savannah,” James began as I sat at my vanity with my make-up before the big game. “Since you’re playing a full game tonight, we are going to use a new security procedure.”
“Mhm,” I mumbled, only half listening.
“I’m going with you to the locker room tonight, I’ll be on the field on the sidelines, and all of the security equipment is already set up on standby.”
“Oh, come on. It isn’t like I’m going to kill anybody,” I scoffed. My escort paused as if to say something, thought better of it, and merely shook his head at me.
“Cosmetic time is over. We need to get going if you want to start on time.”
“Alright, alright, I’m moving. Jeez,” I snapped, capping my make-up and tossing it back into the box. James and I made our way to the locker room where I grabbed my uniform and changed before quickly falling in line with the rest of my team. My escort cast me a warning glare before taking Mollie’s hand and heading out ahead of us onto the field where they took a seat on the sideline bench next to all of the precautionary equipment. I rolled my eyes and followed my team to our side of the field.
As our coach went over tactics and strategies, I watched the other team make their way to the other side of the field.
Savannah sat with her team in the locker room after their state championship. As they all changed out of their uniforms and into street clothes, their coach gave a congratulatory speech. Savannah grinned at the mention of her name. She had scored the winning goal yet again and would be the lead kicker in the National’s tournament. She was thrilled.
“Layla, what are you doing in here?” Savannah grew uneasy at her friend’s presence. Layla’s expression was conflicted. Something was wrong.
“I’m sorry. I’ll wait until you’re through here. I just wanted to talk to you.”
“Savannah! You’re putting the ball into play! Got it? You don’t all have to play like you’re incompetent, you know,” my coach shouted.
As both teams made their way onto the field, I could feel the fire of determination swell inside my core and distribute among the girls surrounding me.
“Hello, Layla,” the opposing team’s lead kicker sneered.
“My name is Savannah Hope,” I retorted. The coach blew his whistle to begin the game.
The coach blew his whistle a final time to dismiss the team, and Savannah slung her duffle bag of equipment over her shoulder as she made her way out of the locker room and toward the soccer field. It was her personal tradition to walk the perimeter of the field after a victory and tonight was no different.
“Savannah!” Layla called, jogging up to her.
“Yes?” Truth be told, Savannah had momentarily forgotten about Layla, yet the girl hadn’t forgotten about her.
“Great job tonight! You played really well.”
“Thanks, Layla.” Savannah’s apprehension of the girl subsided as her friend fell in step with her leisurely strides.
“You have a lot of talent.” Savannah lanced at Layla for a moment and saw a brief spark of anger in her eyes.
“Savannah!” My coach yelled. “What’s wrong with you? You could have blocked that goal!” I shook my head, dazed. The other team laughed at my obliviousness. My breath quickened. What was I doing? I could do this. I won the championship. I was born for this.
“You’re so stupid,” a team member groaned, passing by me. Anger bubbled inside me.
“I’m serious. You’re really amazing. You have it made.”
“Wait, what?” Savannah stopped and met Layla’s eyes, but she didn’t see Layla. No, this girl was far from that whom Savannah had come to know.
“You. You just…..Have everything. You’re so talented, and beautiful. You’re just so perfect.”
Fear churned in Savannah’s stomach. “I think I need to go now-“
“No! You can’t,” Layla demanded, her face distorted by pleading rage.
“Layla let me go home. My parents-“
“Yes, your parents! Parents nobody else has! Parents anybody would want!” Layla moved maliciously toward Savannah and with every step she took, Savannah shrank away.
“Savannah! What are you doing? What’s wrong with you? You’re making us lose the game! You’re such a loser!” Shouts came at me like arrows from all directions on my team as I stood there, my mind flickering between reality and memories. I tried to refocus, tried to regain composure, but I couldn’t stop my mind from reeling. Tears pooled in my eyes.
“Please, Layla! Just let me go home,” Savannah sobbed, tears pooling in her eyes.
“Home? You want to go HOME?” Layla cried, pulling a knife from her jeans and switching it open.
“At least you have a home! A big home. A mansion! With anything and everything you could ever possibly want, or even imagine you’d want! We all want to go home, Savannah!”
“Layla, I thought we were friends,” Savannah whimpered through her cascading tears. Her body trembled violently.
“We were….Champion.” Layla lunged at her with the knife.
An animalistic cry emerged from me and I pounced on the lead kicker, reaching for the girl’s throat as tears streaming down my face. A pale blue rose in her cheeks. She clawed at my hands, fighting for breath. As if this were the command, other girls joined in combat around me. I was ripped off my victim and forced, face down, onto the ground. A knee dug into my back while my hands were jerked behind me and cuffed. Tight. Shrieks still curdled in my ears and I realized they were mine.
“I told you to watch it,” James hissed through gritted teeth, pulling me to my feet and toward the equipment stand.
“No! It wasn’t my fault. Please don’t do this!” I cried as another escort held up a strait jacket. I was un-cuffed but before I could even contemplate running, I was engulfed by the jacket. Wails erupted from my throat yet again as they fastened the constricting buckles. I pulled back, struggling for my freedom with no avail.
“Layla! Chill or you’re getting the shot!” My escort barked. I couldn’t do it. My mind wouldn’t register his words; only fear. I couldn’t go back to that retched room. What about Mollie? What about Savannah? What had I done? I was hyperventilating. I was going to collapse. I was going to pass out. An injection was jammed into my collar bone and within seconds my breath slowed and my body could no longer support its own weight. I was dragged by the escorts off the field. As we passed the head of the institute I could vaguely hear his profane mutters about having two psychopathic “teams” play against each other and how it was a shame he couldn’t just let us kill each other. I was dragged passed the other girls, where paramedics and security guards tended their wounds as well as detained them. I was lifted into the back of a padded truck. Mollie was thrown in beside me. They slammed the doors to the trailer, locking my in the darkness with my scattered mentality.
How did this all happen?” What is wrong with that girl?” A sergeant questioned James as the truck drove to the other side of the facility.
“The girl you’re assigned to guard. Savannah, I think?”
“Oh, Layla. Somebody just probably said something she didn’t like.”
“How did she get here anyway? She always says how she has it all.”
“No, Savannah did, a girl at the last school Layla went to. Layla is just your typical, useless, foster care screw-up who had been bounced around and abused all her life. They were friends. Savannah scored the goal that won the championship soccer tournament, and something in Layla snapped. She had basically coveted Savannah. Layla pulled out a knife and killed her in the soccer field. She stabbed her thirty-three times, one for each of Savannah’s victories.
“Wow. But she always gushes about her life.”
“It’s all fabricated to be the life of Savannah. Her “silk clothes” are the hospital gowns we provided. Her “make-up” is obviously magic markers. Her “vanity” is a plastic pocket mirror. She lies about it all. She admits Mollie is her best friend. Mollie is that dumb doll she always carried around. That’s why leaving Mollie to take notes in class is so questionable. I always talk to the teachers after class to make sure nobody said or did anything to set her off. She never did sports. She never had a home. She doesn’t have parents. She never remembers. Today she remembered. She remembered everything. She will be on suicide watch for the rest of the month, just like last time. The poor kid is crazy, but she has a conscience.”
“Wow. All of this from a fake game?”
“Yeah. She will probably be in this place for the rest of her life.”
The medics of the psych ward led Layla out of the truck, grabbed Mollie, and shepherded her to the white padded room where they sat her down. Carefully they proceeded to clean the marker from her face and brush her severely matted hair while asking her a stream of questions.
“What is your name?” the female medic asked gently.
“Layla Bane,” the girl choked out.
“How old are you?”
“Where are you?”
“Grayson Juvenile Prison and Mental Institution.”
“She remembers everything,” the female medic muttered to another, who was holding Mollie. He placed the doll on Layla’s lap.
“I don’t want it,” Layla whimpered, tears fogging her vision.
“Get her something for sleep,’ the female medic demanded, moving Mollie to the floor. The other medic left for a moment and returned with a full needle. He injected it into Layla’s collar bone.
“Why are you here Layla?” He asked.
“The Green Plague,” she breathed, and sleep consumed her.