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Chapter One

The first time that Wendy Walker got into a fight was also the first time she noticed the mysterious lump on the back of her shoulder- Tessa Seward had forced her arm around her throat- and realized that it might have the capability to take her life. Little did she know that the dime-sized lump would lead to the creation of a hero. In a way, she later reasoned, if not for that gargantuan girls' ability to grind her victims into human pretzels, allowing them to view sides of their bodies they couldn't see without a mirror, she would have never saved the world. Instead, she probably would have died of cancer. Wendy eventually grew to be grateful that the incident had happened, but she wasn't grateful that day. That day she was angry.

That day started out like any other day... unfortunately. Wendy woke to the sound of someone pounding on the bathroom door down the hall as if their life depended on it. Then came the screaming:

"DENISE! You stole my lip gloss! I'm gonna kill you!"

"I didn't steal anything! It was in here already!"

The bickering continued as Wendy got out of bed and struggled to change into her school clothes in the dark, tripping over junk in the cluttered bedroom. When she accidentally banged her knee against the dresser, a voice hissed, "Thanks for wakin' me up," along with various choice words.

"So, your snoring drowned out World War Three down the hall, then?" Wendy replied, whispering so as not to wake any of the other girls. She was answered with a broken flip-flop hurled at her head.

Trying to ignore the bruises forming on her knee and forehead, Wendy hobbled down the hall to stand in the ever-growing line for the bathroom.

"Morning, Wendy."

"Good morning, Roxanne..." sighed Wendy, rubbing her head.

"Didn't manage to dodge Kate's flip-flop today?" She smiled sympathetically.

"Nope. I guess it could be worse... on Wednesday the closest article of footwear was a combat boot."

Their conversation was interrupted by more banging.

"Liz, I swear, if you don't quit pounding on the door, I'll flush your precious lip gloss down the toilet!"

Of course Liz couldn't hear anything over her incessant banging. Denise opened the door just long enough for Liz to view her 'Berry Bliss' lipgloss swirling in the commode.

Liz clenched her fists as her eyes bulged.

Wendy put a hand on Liz's shoulder. "Liz, please don't yell, you'll wake the-"

Liz threw back her head and screamed. "DENIIIISE!"

Wendy and Roxanne scowled. "-Baby..." Wendy groaned as te baby wailed and shrieked from the makeshift nursery. As Roxanne tried to calm a seething Liz, Wendy rushed into the little room. The odor hit her like a semi-truck as soon as she opened the door.

"Ugh... smells like Miss Turner forgot to change you... again..." Wendy gagged as she scooped up the screaming child.

"Don't cry, Gwen, don't cry, baby... let's get you cleaned up, huh?" Wendy changed the baby as quickly as she could while she held her breath.

"Will breakfast make you feel better, Gwennie?" Wendy asked, looking into the little girlls' teary eyes. A strange look appeared on the baby's face.

"Yech... I'll take that as a no," Wendy wrinkled her nose at the spit-up on her shirt.

"Roxanne?" Wendy called over the sound of both Gwen and Liz's wails. "Where are the baby wipes?"

"Downstairs- Denise, please get out of the bathroom, we need to get ready for school- in the kitchen, I think..." She called back.

Wendy held the baby on her hip as she made her way down the stairs and into the kitchen.

"Wipes, wipes, wipes..." she sighed, rummaging through drawers and cupboards.

Suddendly, Miss Turner entered the room. "Wendy, exactly why are you excavating my kitchen?"

"Just looking for the baby wipes," she responded shortly.

"Well, hurry up and find them. You're going to want to have time to fix your hair and clean that stain off your shirt. What is that, oatmeal?" The woman hacked as she exhaled cigarette smoke.

Wendy subconciously pivoted her body to shield Gwen from the lingering cloud. "It's baby vomit; you forgot to pick up oatmeal... what's wrong with my hair?"

Miss Turner cocked her curler-covered head. "Oh, hon..." She said, fingering Wendy's dark, chobby bob. "You did this on purpose?"

Wendy grit her teeth as one of her many rings yanked a loose curl when she moved her hand away to spritz air freshener throughout the room. Miss Turner wrinkled her nose when she got a whiff of the baby.

Wendy's fingers tensed when she located the baby wipes and cleaned off Gwen's mouth, then dabbed a wipe on her shirt.

"You know, maybe it'd smell better around here if we had another pair of hands to help clean up Gwen every once in awhile..." Wendy hinted as she walked off and set Gwen down in her playpen in the living room, not bothering to soften her irritated tone.

She heard the air freshener can being set down with a clatter.

"Are you saying I'm not doing my job?" Miss Turner's voice called out with a steely edge.

Wendy spun on her heel, grabbing her backpack off of the couch and pulling a knit cap on her head.

"Well, I'm not saying you need a vacation." Wendy avoided Miss Turners' death glare as she stormed out of the room, preparing to join the other girls at the bus stop. She felt claw-like nails on her arm as she was tugged backwards.

"Look at me."

When Wendy tried to pull away, the iron grip tightened.

"I said, look at me!"

Wendy whipped her head around and stared into the woman's face, her blue eyes frightened, yet fierce.

Miss Turner clenched her teeth. "Don't you talk to me like that again, do you hear me?"

Wendy's face grew hot. She could practically feel her blood boiling.

"Do I make... myself... clear?" Her voice grew dangerously low and quiet, her gaze burning into the teenagers' skull.

Wendy jerked free, setting her jaw. "Crystal." She raced out of the house and down the sidewalk to the bus stop, scanning the crowd of kids for Roxanne's long, auburn ponytail. She opted not to call out her name, for fear her voice would crack.

"Wendy? Wendy, what happened?" Roxanne asked when she noticed her friend's bedraggled, stricken appearance.

"Shh..." Wendy lowered her eyes and turned her back. Just what she was afraid of- Roxanne's sweet, concerned tone of voice- the 'the-person-I'm-speaking-to-is-probably- about-to-cry' voice- had caught the attention of Tessa Seward.

Wendy had witnessed the kind of mockery and humiliation Tessa was capable of- in the cafeteria and the halls at school, on the bus... in her home. Tessa lived in the basement by herself. All of the oter girls were afraid of her- that's why it was so crowded upstairs. Wendy had tried to reach out to her multiple times, only to be shut out... sometimes literally. She had come to think of her relationship with Tessa like electricity. She's always around. She is to be respected- because she can be dangerous if not dealt with properly. Tessa had never harmed or embarrassed Wendy before, but Wendy feared the day when she would.

As the bus pulled up, Wendy kept her voice level. "I'll tell you about it later, okay?" Her nerves, already frayed from her showdown with Miss Turner, threatened to disinigrate at the thought of being publically humiliated by the she-beast. Tessa gave an amused glance her way.

Wendy took her seat next to Roxanne, keeping her peripheral vision on Tessa at all times.

Suddenly, Wendy cringed, hearing the sound of a leather bus seat creaking and squeaking under the weight of a certain beefy girl, three seats up and to the left, right next to little Lea- the new resident in the girls' home. The third graders' blonde head was just barely visible over the bus seat and Tessa's bulky frame. All at once, Wendy's previous fears vanished and were replaced by a fear for Lea's well-being. She knew how difficult it was to be the new girl- especially without the support of loving parents.

Roxanne noticed Wendy's intense gaze.

"Oh... poor Lea..." Roxanne bit her lip.

Wendy's brow furrowed. "She's talking to her... Tessa's saying something to Lea..." Wendy murmured.

As the bus began to roll, Wendy began to feel sick. Lea rarely made her prescence known at the home, but when she did, she seemed very unsettled and anxious, which wasn't surprising, being in the same house as Miss Turner, but all the same... she didn't seem like the type of girl who would be comfortable sitting next to a person like Tessa Seward.

Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard a small voice.

"Stop... please, stop it. Give her back..."

Wendy's eyes darted over to the two girls. Tessa was holding a small doll and dancing it on the open bus windowsill.

"Look, Lea... Dolly's dancin' for ya!" Tessa sneered in her scratchy, throaty voice. THen she pretended to gasp. "Uh-oh! Hope she doesn't fall!" Tessa gripped the doll between a meaty thumb and forefinger, the doll's legs blowing in the wind. One of the delicate felt shoes disappeared in the breeze.

"Oh!" Lea gasped. "Please, please give her back! She was a gift from my mo-" She suddenly stopped. Wendy froze, unable to tear her eyes away from the scene.

Tessa's eyes widened in mock surprise, settling the doll tightly between her knees to ensure its captivity.

"From... who?" she asked. Lea lowered her head and repeated herself.

"Sorry, I didn't hear ya! From your... mouse? Your mustard? Your... monster? Your..." Tessa hummed, tossing Lea's doll back and forth in her hands.

"My... my mom!" Lea choked, her breaths quickening.

"Your mom?! Well, Lea, your mom wouldn't want you to cry. Or play with dolls. Would she, Leaky Lea? Now, would she?"

Lea buried her face in her hands and began to weep.

"Please give her back, she's all I have left!" Lea pleaded, her face red and blotchy. "I'll do anything!"

"Anything? For this old thing? You're too old for a dolly, Lea." Tessa smirked, then raised her voice an octace, waving the dolls' hand and dancing her precariously on the windowsill.

"Yeah, Lea. You're too old for me. Don't be a baby... Bye, bye, Lea..."

Tessa's tightened fist around Lea's doll turned into three fingers... two fingers... one finger hooked under the dolls' collar...

Wendy held her breath- she couldn't take it any longer. Her heart ached for Lea as it pounded.

"STOP!" Wendy shouted frantically. Roxanne's eyes widened. Lea jerked her head around. All of the chaos on the bus turned to uncomfortable silence.

Then Tessa's head slowly turned. Her beady eyes seemed to appear even smaller. She had an undeniably smug look on her face. She set the doll on her lap and grinned.

"Wendy? Why are ya freaking out? It's just a doll!" Tessa smirked. "You're not gonna cry, are ya? Please don't tell me you play with dollies."

Wendy's fiery emotions fueled a burst of confidence. "Actually, I don't. And if I did, what would give you the right to harass me about it?" Wendy stepped into the aisle and stopped in front of Tessa, looking her in the eye. "You know exactly why that doll is important to her. Just give it back." She spoke fiercely.

Tessa's jaw dropped slightly for a second, then her voice tensed. "I don't have to do anything you say. So what if we live in a girls' home?!" SHe tightened her grip on the doll, whispering, "We're all on our own here. I don't need anybody."

Wendy blinked, then swallowed. "No. That's why we need to stick together. And... and if you don't want anyone, fine. Be alone. But don't make it harder for the rest of us."

Everyone could tell Tessa was getting insecure. Her reputation was draining every second. She was getting desperate. Her face turned scarlet and her tone darkened.

"I may be alone around here. I may be the most hated girl on this bus. Both my parents may be in jail, but I've got one thing going for me. They're alive. And no matter how many friends you have, how pretty or smart or nice you are, nothing will ever change the fact that you're really the one who's alone."

Wendy felt her fists clenching and her face felt like it was on fire. Tears had begun to spill down her cheeks.

"Shut up. You... you don't know anything. They could still be out there... you don't know... you don't..."

"Face it, Wendy Walker. There's nothing you can do about it." Tessa's eyes grew wide, surprised at her own cruelty.

"Shut up!" Wendy shouted.

By this time, the bus was in an uproar. Kids were screaming, teenagers were shouting profanities at Tessa in some attempt to defend Wendy, the bus driver was yelling through his own bewilderment, and through it all, Tessa couldn't control herself. She couldn't contain her rage and jealousy. Even though no one else could hear what anyone was saying over the yelling, all eyes were glued to Tessa and Wendy, and they all could guess exactly what she whispered into Wendy's ear as se let Lea's doll slip out the window.

"They're dead."

All at once, Wendy felt like the world was moving in slow motion, like they were underwater. Lea was screaming and frantically grabbing the air out the window, Roxanne was trying to restrain Wendy, and before she could even make sense of what was happening, Wendy felt her fist make contact with Tessa's jaw. Then the rest sped by like a blur.

Tessa screamed and lunged at Wendy, who was scrambling backward down the aisle, tripping over backpacks. Roxanne grabbed Tessa's arm, only to have her ponytail used as a whip to send her head crashing into the wall. Tessa pinned Wendy against the back emergency exit, preparing to do whatever it took to make her furious feelings disappear. Wendy ducked at the last second as Tessa's fist made a spiderweb-shaped crack in the glass.

Suddenly the bus swerved and lurched to a stop as the girls lost their balance. The bus driver stood and ordered Wendy and Tessa to get off of the bus, his voice frantic.

Wendy tore down the aisle, stumbling down the steps, her eyes wide with fear. Tessa followed in hot pursuit.

"Girls! Girls!" The bus driver shouted, panicked. When Tessa burst through te door, the driver tried to stop her, but she was too furious, too livid to be reasoned with. She shoved past him, pinning Wendy's upper arms to her sides.

"Tessa, stop!" she shrieked, struggling to free her arms. Desperate to escape, Wendy kicked her shins and butted her forehead into her face.

Tessa pulled Wendy in front of her, then wrenced Wendy's right arm across her throat as she coughed and gasped. She swore she felt her right wrist make contact with her spine, hearing a sickening popping sound.

The world slowed once more as Wendy's life flashed before her eyes. Her right sleeve slipped, allowing her to view her shoulder while it was under her chin. The last thing she remembered was spotting a large, dark lump on the back of her shoulder and realizing that it seemed unfamiliar. Then Tessa slammed her into the concrete, and everything went dark.
Chapters:   1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 12 Next »

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This book has 37 comments. Post your own now!

MissEmilyDickinson This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 12, 2014 at 10:23 pm
Oh, wow. This is amazing. :D I love this. This s one of my favorite books, on Teen Ink. :) It's so good. And I love the idea, the concept. :) It's really wonderful. In some ways, I can connect to Metalligirl or Wendy, haha. Her life before she had medical experiment, was rather like mine. Anwyas, haha. Your story is amazing. :D Nevr forget, that you're talented and that you have light in you, okay? :) Thank you for sharing this. 
CurlyGirl17 replied...
Oct. 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm
Aw thanks! I'm glad you liked it! And hey, I checked out some of your work- nice job!!!
love_writing said...
Aug. 22, 2013 at 8:41 pm
Your welcome and just saying I love how you called her Metalligirl instead of just Metalgirl.
CurlyGirl17 replied...
Aug. 22, 2013 at 9:58 pm
Thanks! And I checked out your poetry; I really like 'To be Perfect'.
love_writing replied...
Aug. 23, 2013 at 10:12 am
Thank you!  I'm pretty new to this sight so I've been trying to get people to read my work.  :)
love_writing said...
Aug. 22, 2013 at 10:18 am
This is my favorite teenink book so far!  I loved it!!! ;)
CurlyGirl17 replied...
Aug. 22, 2013 at 5:27 pm
Thank you so much! That means a lot! :)
MadisHeart said...
Jun. 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm
Self-consious cyborg, love it! So creative girl! Congrats on all the comments. I think you might be entertained by my book so you should check it out! You have a great way with words by the way.
CurlyGirl17 replied...
Jun. 30, 2013 at 12:19 pm
Thanks so much; I'm glad you enjoyed it! And I'll definitely check out your book! :)
PortiaDawn said...
May 23, 2013 at 3:08 pm
I love female heroes!!!
CurlyGirl17 replied...
Jun. 11, 2013 at 2:59 pm
Thanks! Me too :)
milforce said...
Apr. 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm
Alright, so I write all of my comments as I’m reading, just so you know. That way I won’t forget anything. Also, I’m completely honest and share all of my thoughts. Please don’t be offended by criticism, I only want to help you improve your writing. With that said, here we go! First off, Wendy Walker is a very generic name. It doesn’t stand out by any means so people won’t remember it. The first paragraph was okay. There wasn’t anything really special ab... (more »)
CurlyGirl17 replied...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 3:42 pm
Wow! Thanks for being so thorough! This is very informational; I'll try to keep this all in mind. I think I'll keep the name, though- I got it from the whole superhero character identical-sounding initials thing- (you know, Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Clark Kent, etc.) But anyway, thanks for all the time you put into this comment; it means a lot! :)
nightblade said...
Apr. 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm
I liked your story and the whole flow, sometimes I was confued but when I read it over again a few times I understood what you were writing. I know you've heard this before from everybody else that commented so I'm sorry if this seems really annoying but I couldn't help but notice the grammar. You did a great job with introducing you main character and how her life was before while connecting it to the plot. I loved it and did my best for advice - even if it wasn't the grea... (more »)
CurlyGirl17 replied...
Apr. 8, 2013 at 4:20 pm
Thanks for the comment; I appreciate it! :)
CurlyGirl17 said...
Apr. 6, 2013 at 10:20 am
Hey, sorry about the double negative in the story summary- I meant to say 'was never.' Oops. :)
munchkincora said...
Apr. 5, 2013 at 8:04 pm
Hello. :) I wrote Merrikeep and read your comment. First of all: Thank you for reading and commenting on my book. I really apperciate it. Second: I really like your book. It's very good and has an interesting story line.
CurlyGirl17 replied...
Apr. 6, 2013 at 10:09 am
Thanks a lot! :)
Shahiro said...
Apr. 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm
I really like how you never really let the reader's rest - always keeping us on the edge of our chairs! nice jjob!! =-D
CurlyGirl17 replied...
Apr. 2, 2013 at 8:50 pm
Thanks! Knowing readers are interested in the story and what happens to the characters means a lot to me! :)

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