Author's note: This started out as a short story I had to write for a Creative Writing class in school, but it... Show full author's note »
Chapter 1“Oh, look! It’s my favorite person, coming to Art class!” Spencer called from the back of the Art room. I rolled my eyes and attempted to ignore the catcalls I knew would be coming. It didn’t work so well.
“C’mon, Witch! Don’t you have a spell to use on us today?” Spencer cried.
I whirled around. “Say one thing more, and I’ll cast a spell that’ll give you all a black eye and a bloody nose!”
Ms. Edmunds chose that exact moment to enter her classroom.
“Why, Joy!” she exclaimed, “I don’t ever want to hear you say something like that again!” Damn Ms. Edmunds and her lateness.
But she was a pushover, so, instead of a detention, I was told to sit in the hall for the period. The only upside of this punishment, other than not having another detention added to my record, was that I was free from Spencer’s comments and cajoling for an entire class. Which was a lucky break in itself.
I sat in the hall alone, my personal sketchpad and drawing pencils spread across the desk. I was trying desperately to finish a sketch for the school’s annual art contest, which I’d only just recently gotten the courage to enter. Today though, I couldn’t find the focus. My mind kept drifting to other topics, mostly to Spencer’s ‘witch’ comments.
Those comments were a recent development in the ongoing war between Mr. Popular and The Freak. They’d begun one unfortunate day when I had the terrible idea to bring a book I absolutely loved to school. It was a fantasy novel, where fairytale characters were forced to blend into our world after theirs was destroyed. The book was a bit like the TV series ‘Once Upon A Time’. It was phenomenal, one of my all-time favorites, but the unfortunate part was the wicked witch.
In the story, the wicked witch adapted by dressing more or less like I usually did, a mixture of Goth and Emo. Once Spencer found that lovely bit of information, I was forever dubbed the Wicked Witch of Boulder High School. Or just ‘Witch’, for short.
God, with a lame insult like that, you would think we were still in elementary school, instead of our sophomore year of high school.
But, then again, Spencer and I had known and hated each other since middle school. I guess old, childish habits die hard. Especially when your archenemy has every class with you.
Normally, if I had to spend every school day with Spencer Blake in all my classes, I would just march on through the insults and occasionally make a smart remark or threat here or there. This year, however, I had my favorite class, Art, last period with him. That threw a whole other spin on the ball game.
Art was my passion. I adored flicking colors across a page, crafting lifeless paper into animated figures, and knitting a scene together through pencil strokes. I especially enjoyed Art class as my last period because it helped me unwind from a stressful day. It prepared me for heading home to a house that could never really be my home.
Most days, anyways.
But lately, Spencer had taken to pissing me off in Art, having figured out that it was the one class I truly enjoyed. I’d gotten in more trouble with Ms. Edmunds than I ever had in the previous year because of him. Sometimes, all it took was a little comment made at the beginning of the period for me to snap. Like I had today.
Luckily for Spencer, I was making a library stop before home, so I had one last chance at peace. Then, I would enter the rough-and-tumble world of a house filled to the brim with six kids, excluding myself.
If I hadn’t been planning on going to the solitude of the library, Spencer really would’ve ended up with a black eye and bloody nose. His four best friends who always enjoyed watching him torment me also would’ve gotten them.
The end-of-the-day bell interrupted my thoughts. Quickly, I snapped my pencils into their special case and shoved them and the sketchpad in my book bag. The bag was slung over my shoulder in seconds, and despite most people constantly wanting to avoid me, I managed to slip into the steady stream of people without too much fuss.
I’d disappeared in the crowd before Spencer had even reached Ms. Edmunds’ door.
Two minutes later, in the school parking lot, I approached my battered, ancient, black Jeep. I’d hardly had it for a year, since I’d bought it on my sixteenth birthday.
It was most definitely not a sports car or even a new car. I had bought it used with the two front seats slightly ripped up and the rearview mirror hanging on only by duct tape. However much disrepair it was in, my Jeep served its purpose. It took me to and from school, the beach, the library, my house, and my job at Becky’s Ice Cream Shoppe.
My Jeep was my best friend.
My book bag plopped into the passenger seat, and I slipped my school Parking Permit in the glove compartment. I climbed onto the driver’s seat. Bending over, I pulled my old library books from under the seat on the passenger side. To my immense relief, they were all still there.
It still annoyed me to no end that I had no proper place to keep my library books. I shared the room at my house with three of the other children that lived there, so there was no way they would be safe in “my” room. The locker at school was too small with all my schoolbooks in there. And there was no possible chance of me carrying them around in my book bag all day. I’d learned from that mistake. So, the only somewhat secure place left was under the seat in my Jeep.
Feeling suddenly disgruntled, I eased out of the parking lot, eager for the peace and quiet Boulder Public Library offered. Sadly, the ride there wasn’t as peaceful as I’d hoped.