This is another short story that I am considering featuring in the anthology, but I would love to have some feedback. Please spread it around and post, comment, repost and reblog please. And thank you in advance for the support. It is a rough draft so please don’t be too harsh about grammatical or punctuation errors, but also please don’t hesitate to draw my attention to it.
Another Time, Another Place
“Dammit, Grayson! I trusted you!” Nomie screamed, throwing his phone across the room in a fit of rage after he screamed at her for invading his privacy when she insisted upon looking through his texts. It hit the wall and she hoped she’d broken it to smithereens. She wanted to throw the computer across the room after she’d found his email open but was hoping to have a civilized talk about it first.
“It’s not what you think! Tony has been the one talking to all those girls! I don’t know why you’re going through all my stuff, anyway. I have nothing to hide!”
“Using your email? Really? And how dare you accuse me of not trusting you; I did until I saw those messages, and it’s not like I deliberately went on the computer to look at your stuff! I’ve never questioned you about your privacy before, but if you have nothing to hide then why did you make such a big deal about it when I asked for your phone PIN? How stupid do you think I am?”
“I don’t!” Grayson protested. “I don’t think you’re stupid. If Tony’s wife would have found out she would have freaked! That’s why I gave him my email info so he can use it from his house.”
Nomie’s world spun and as he spoke, she started to believe his words. He was so warm, so convincing. She knew that he would never hurt her. But that night as he held her in bed, something inside her kept her awake as he held her. She cried silently to herself as he snored in a deep sleep, cutting through her eardrums.
She wriggled out of his tight grip and went to the bathroom to wipe her face. How could he do something like that to her? He wouldn’t. She knew that in her heart. It was stupid of her to read his emails even if he’d left it open. He was right when he accused her of not trusting him after she questioned him about cheating. She looked in the mirror at her puffy-eyed reflection and scolded herself for being so silly. Then she slipped back into bed to a troubled night of sleep.
The next day while Grayson was at work, Nomie tried to forget it all but she just couldn’t focus. She sat at the computer to get some work done for her boss, the invoices she had planned to have done the day before when she ran across the email that stared her in the face, telling Tony, or Grayson, as she didn’t know what to believe, how good he was in bed. But she didn’t get past typing the date. May 10, 2015. She started crying, remembering what she’d found the morning before. She remembered that the phone had hit the wall but wasn’t sure about the damage yet. She went to where it had hit but it was gone, so she walked into the kitchen to grab a soda and found the phone on the kitchen counter. It was banged up pretty good and didn’t seem to work. Curious, she tried to turn it on—Nothing. He probably left it knowing it was a goner. Or was it?
She plugged it into the charger and turned it on. There were signs of life in it! He’d never given her the passcode but she tried the PIN from their mutual bank account. It worked, but she wished it hadn’t. The text messages and voicemails she found were heartbreaking. She recognized a few of the girls’ names from his email account, and she knew from what was said that the messages were not intended for Tony as he’d claimed, but had to be for Grayson. The last one she read before breaking down was sent ten minutes ago. “Where r u? R we still on for lunch today?” It was from some girl named Chrissy, the girl he talked to most.
In a midst of a panic attack the size of Texas, Nomie slunk to the kitchen floor and sobbed uncontrollably, saying an unintelligible prayer that it would all go away and that things would be different. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to know about these things, but she wished he’d never betrayed her trust. She knew she had to leave him, but how could she? She hadn’t heard his side, so maybe there was an explanation like with the emails. And maybe he’d die in a horrible accident on the way home and she wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. She felt guilt at her hope for his demise.
A cold wind whooshed by her, but she was too busy to truly notice. A few minutes later, she felt a presence. There was a thing standing in her kitchen that looked like a shadow that had been burnt to a crisp, but there was something sympathetic in its blue eyes as it looked upon her. She felt a calm about this entity, as if he, or she or it, was going to make everything okay.
“I know what happened, you poor thing. And I can make it all go away.”
She was desperate but cautious as she stared at it for a moment, trying to take it all in. Maybe it was just a hallucination. “How?” she asked, drawing the word out with skeptical reservation.
“He betrayed you. I can take you back to another time, another place, before the betrayal began. I can make it so that it never happened.”
“You can take us back to before all of this even started?”
“Yes,” said the crispy creature. “But in exchange, you have to give me your soul. Fair deal?”
“What does that mean?” she asked hesitantly.
“It means you can have happiness with your beloved once again while you’re both here on Earth, but your soul will be mine for Eternity.”
Without putting any thought into anything else that the Shadow-Thing said except for “happiness with your beloved once again,” she sniffled and whispered a feeble, “Fair enough.”
“And one more thing. You won’t remember anything that happened these last few days. I wouldn’t want that interfering with your happiness. I’ll take you back to a time before the affairs began.”
“When was that?”
“Chrissy was the first. He started a friendship with her on February the fifteenth of 2013. Do you remember the day before? He took you out to a nice Valentine’s Day dinner. He even went into work earlier than he had to because he couldn’t bear being home without you. That morning, they both stopped in to get a cup of coffee at the convenience store and stood in line together. Every day after that, Chrissy stopped at the store hoping to catch him and even waited until she saw his car before she’d set foot in the store. It was around March that he started falling for her and took her up on a lunch date, and when he got away with seeing her, he started seeing the others. But I’m sure I’ve already told you more than you can handle in your delicate state. I can change all that; I can make it so that they never even cross paths.”
“That bastard!” Nomie screamed. She thought of how she and Grayson had a nice dinner and went home early since they both had to work the next day, but they made up for the early-night-in in bed. Afterwards, he spooned her and gave her small kisses along her shoulder, caressing her body gently with his fingertips as he whispered sweet words in her ear. “I love you, baby. I hope I made your Valentine’s Day as good as you’ve made mine,” he said as she drifted to sleep, still feeling his loving touch on her skin. It was so perfect. “And I’ll forget all of this?”
She sighed, desperate for relief from the pain in her mind, heart and body. “Yes.”
Suddenly everything went black. She woke up on February the Fourteenth, 2013. It was the same as it was two years ago, but she didn’t remember it. She had a sense of deja vu all day but couldn’t pinpoint exactly why. But she ignored it. She was just excited to get home from work after he’d sent her a text about how he had a special surprise for her.
That night she went to bed feeling the most love for him she’d ever known for anyone. From the Five-Star restaurant to the sex, everything was perfect as she curled up in his arms and fell asleep in a state of euphoric bliss under his touch.
The next morning she still felt that sense of deja vu, but was still high from the magic of the night before to think much of it. He sat on the bed buttoning his shirt with a sly smile, He motioned to her with a “come here” gesture and pulled her in, giving her a long, seductive kiss. “Too much of that and both of us will be late to work. If we make it in at all,” he laughed. “That would be fine by me,” she said, wishing she could just lay in bed with him all day. Then she looked at her watch. “Well I’d better get going, I think I’m going to be cutting it a bit short here.”
“All right, baby. I still have forty-five minutes, maybe an hour before I have to leave. Gonna be lonely here without you.” He gave her a sad puppy dog look and she smiled. Then he pulled her in for one final kiss before she left the room. He heard some noise from the kitchen before the front door closed and her car started up. He felt so much more love from him than ever, but couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it was last night’s escapade. And he also had a strange sense of deja vu.
He was going to leave early because the night before was so wonderful with Nomie that he was missing her like crazy, but something told him not to. It was a nagging feeling in his gut that if he left early, things wouldn’t pan out the way that Fate, or possibly some other Entity, had designed it to. Instead, he passed time by sending out a few emails. He didn’t realize that he’d let time slip away and then he headed out the door, knowing he would have to speed a little to get to work in time.
It was around 9:51 on the morning of February 15th that Nomie received the call that Grayson had been in a terrible accident. “Is he okay?” she asked with her heart pounding.
The officer on the other line hesitated before saying, “I’m sorry; Grayson didn’t make it.” He didn’t want to tell her that not only had his car been T-boned by a big rig, but it had pretty much crushed Grayson’s car with him in it. He had briefly rehearsed the right words to say to her before calling, but in a situation like this, he found it difficult.
A guy from the cleanup crew yelled, “We got another chunk of him over here!” as the officer grimaced at the lack of couth, hoping his voice hadn’t carried over the phone.
As the officer explained what had happened, Nomie crumpled to the floor, screaming as her co-workers ran to her to see what was wrong. her boss drove her home, promising that he would look after her car and told her to keep in touch and take a little time off if she needed to.
Grayson’s family was notified by police, which she was grateful for since she barely had the strength to relay it to her mother without choking up. Her mother called the rest of the family and ten minutes later showed up at her doorstep.
Nomie was quiet and could barely eat. She went into the corner of the living room where the computer was and noticed that Grayson hadn’t turned his computer off. Desperate to know what some of his last thoughts were, she sifted through his “sent” folder. Every message she came across mentioned her in some way, but the very last one was to his brother who was having girl troubles.
“If you ever find a girl like Nomie, don’t let her go. I hope someday you’re as lucky as I am.”
The tears began to flow in a neverending torrent. He was the most loving, caring, faithful and loyal husband any woman could ask for.
Have you gotten your copy yet, or can you handle it?
If you love horror, you shouldn’t be without this book!
I’ve been goth for almost fifteen years, and it’s a battle! Not so much in the struggle for societal acceptance since people no longer fear goths or stereotype us as blood-drinking Devil worshippers, but rather those minor irritations due to my choice in clothing and accessories. If you are goth, know that you are not alone. And for those of you who are non-goths, maybe you will become more sensitive to our plight after reading this.
You ever put on an elaborate piece of jewellery to go shopping at Wal-Mart? Maybe a full-finger ring? Rings like that are the worst because they have a tendency to get caught in just about everything, particularly plastic bags. Sometimes I get hung up on things by my collar. I have the same problem with chain bracelets. And chains worn around the neck can be heavy and uncomfortable. Fellow goths know what I’m talking about. But at least we’re stylin’!
As a goth, you can get away with having a really bad haircut. However, if you want to go out and cavort amongst the normies as a normie, you’re going to have to work with it more than the average person because the hairstyle that looks great on a goth doesn’t look so great when you need to pull off a put-together look. I recently had to cut my hair a little more “normal” because it wasn’t suitable for everyday situations. Now, even when I’m dressed goth, I look *gasp* normal….
Black talon polish used to be sooo goth. Now it’s become *cringe*…trendy. Yes, what once separated us from the normies has become their trademark! It’s used by glossed over pop stars like Pink and featured as a staple in fashion magazines. Thankfully we can still call black lipstick our own, but if you’re judging someone by their nail colour, you just can’t tell anymore. You may approach them in hopes of having a lovely conversation about Marilyn Manson, but instead they respond with, “You mean Paul from The Wonder Years? No, but hey, have you heard the new Pink album?” Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Horror and the paranormal is now mainstream. You can’t turn on the telly without finding a programme that’s about spirits and such. And because of the availability of such shows, they’re all the same. Back in the day when you had to seek these things out for yourself, the standard of quality was a bit higher. Thanks to The Ring, horror has now become a commercialisation to please the general public instead of the hardcore horror buffs out there. I find the pop-culturalists saying how scary a movie was, only to find the film lacklustre and disappointing in my personal opinion. Maybe it’s because horror enthusiasts such as myself are harder to please, so opting to make it less scary while giving it a glossed over mass appeal is the better marketing option.
I break the goth mold when it comes to being pasty-white. I prefer a bit of a tan myself. Sometimes to the point where I actually end up looking lobstery. Which is partly because I am pasty to begin with so my love for the sun has led to my own downfall at times. So for those of us who have a pallor in competition with the Undead, the sun can be an enemy. If you go out with anything less than an SPF of 45, you could get a really nasty burn!
While the majority of people don’t see us as ritualistic axe murderers because we dress like Marilyn Manson, there are still a few out there who go all Antoine Dodson, hiding their kids, hiding their wives, hiding their husbands because they think we’re axe-murdering everybody out here. Most of us are pretty normal people. Do not be afraid!
You know how young children are drawn to furry animals? They are also drawn to goths. I think it’s because we have a tendency to be shiny with all of our accessories. I’ll be walking around in the store and suddenly there’s a baby attached to my skirt while its mother stands there smiling at me. I’ve also been followed as I take my evening walks by little kids exclaiming their love for my bracelets. It can make you feel like a rock star sometimes with all of the shallow popularity. They only like me for my bracelets. It makes me wonder if these kids and sometimes their parents have ever watched Stranger Danger. Maybe the emphasis of that show was too much on what to do if a stranger approached you, but they should focus on how you’re not supposed to approach strange people and follow them around, even if they are shiny. However, I also get that from kids I know, but the kids I know have a tendency to become slightly more aggressive. I’m constantly poked and prodded in the face because of my piercings and elaborate makeup. “What’s this? Ooooh, how pretty! I want one of those when I grow up! I like your makeup! Let me see how this is attached…” I know how a classroom hamster feels.
So there ya have it. Those are some of the things that I have to deal with on a day to day basis as a goth. It’s an existance filled with struggle and strife. I hope that reading this piece has either made you feel that you have an ally, or has just helped to enlighten you on some of the problems your goth friends may silently struggling with.
For quite some time, I have admired the style of the one and only Jenocidal Doll on Facebook (http://facebook.com/Jenocide13). I love her flair and how she adds a splash of colour to her gothic style, although I don’t know if you can really pin a label on her…How do you pin a label on someone who is so eclectic, so unique? She doesn’t really fit the mold when it comes to alternative fashion. She breaks it. She’s just herself and I think that’s what I admire about her most. She’s an artist, a true artist, in a world where real and raw art is on the decline. And you can tell that from her answers in this interview.
13 Questions! Interview with Jenocidal Doll
Q: You have *AMAZING* fashion sense! I love how you have your own unique style. Who or what inspires you when you are thinking of the perfect outfit for a particular occasion?
A: thank you very much!! honestly i dont have too much inspiration just general. i have basic things i like and end up wearing them. most times if i have a goal it never comes out right. lol!
Q: Do you consider yourself to be dressing up, expressing yourself, or just being you? Maybe even a combination of all three, or maybe even something more?
A: i never considered either of those options really, its whatever i feel in that morning and what the weather allows. im not going to do full velvet in 90 degree heat. :p
Q: Whenever you have an “off-day”, where you don’t feel like getting dressed, let alone putting on makeup, what do you do?
A: depends on who is coming over or if i have to leave the house. I dont like people to see me “naked” and feel uncomfortable without my “mask”. i dont do full on make up to go grocery shopping but i probably wont take my sunglasses off. only a few people can see my face. for some reason that is very private, but if someone asked me to do a a tasteful nude photo shoot i would be butt naked.
Q: If you had to “tone down your look” so to speak, what would you wear? How would you do your makeup? And what would be absolutely non-negotiable?
A: I have a few times, clothes would usually be the same, maybe i have to cover my tattoos. long sleeves. less black in make up and pink lip gloss. must have, i would die without is a choker. i need a choker, like the face, i feel weird without something on my neck.
Q: Do you wear things that have meaning or symbolism behind them? Maybe something that takes you back to your childhood?
A:meaning and symbols? not sure anymore. i wear a coffin necklace that ive had since high school and im never without my bondange bracelet. i do have a necklace that i never take off. it has random charms: a key from my dad’s cigar box that had random Marine corps days trinkets, a dagger through a skull that my aunt gave to me, a pentagram that my friend gave to me in high school (which im considering retiring it), an anchor for my cousin and best friend (One is in the navy and the other is out), and a handcuff key that a friend gave to me.
Q: Describe your style with five words.
A:….. Spooky causual with nerd flare?
Q: What are some interesting things others have said about your style?
A: dont remember too much, it’s a mix or positive and negative, mostly “i love your style!” or “Are you a devil worshipping whore and that’s why u look like that?”
Q: NAME FIVE FASHION STAPLES YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT! (Either specific or generally speaking.)
A: …. i barely have one! LOL. I love tripp, they have good quality and fit well. other than that i dont look at brands, just clothes and price tags.
Q: What is the best colour to compliment black?
A: Depends on my mood, all colors mix well i think, but my usual colors r blue, purple, pink, red, burgundy or neon green.
Q: I like mixing goth with classic ‘80s looks, or sometimes a little 1920’s. And, being from Texas, I tend to mix in some Western gear, like cowboy hats and boots. What are some of your favourite styles to integrate?
A: I guess i like the throw in something nerdy if i can every once i a while. Something ironic or funny. i guess i like cyber because ive always kinda done a mix of spooky hard core goth and raver and cybers are just the bastard children of both. they will never admit it but they are…. they are. DANCE GRAVER DANCE!!!!
Q: Do you have something that you are known for wearing? A trademark of sorts?
A: Bondange braclet
Q: What kinds of music do you like?
A: I like a lot of stuff. EBM. Industrial. Goth. 80s. Rock. Mostly dance stuff. Electronic.
Q: How do you feel about the commercialisation of goth and vampires(i.e. Twilight)?
A: I want to kill every last one of those little twilight fans. I love vampires. If u want vampires go back to Interview or the true blood series. I loved vampires until twilight.
This is the first chapter of FOREVER GOTHIC: Witchery and Rivalry, the first book in the creepily delightful FOREVER GOTHIC series by me, Joslyn Corvis.I welcome any and all feedback, so post a comment, or leave a message here or on facebook.This chapter is intended to give some insight into the personality of Marnie. I have been told by one critic that the character of Marnie was “darling”, and that the book itself, especially the first chapter, really captures that essence of teen angst and that socially awkward time everyone experiences at some point or another.Marnie and her best friend Willis set out on a journey to find out whether or not the most popular girl in school is just your average, prissy cheerleader, or if she’s really a witch.
FOREVER GOTHIC: Witchery and Rivalry
by Joslyn Corvis
“I’m gonna be late because of you!” shouted Marnie Deegan. “Why won’t you ever do what I want?” She furiously shook her brush as she scolded her hair.
Any other day her unruly hair wouldn’t have been a big deal, but today, however, it was a different story. Today everything had to be just right. Because today was her first day of high school.
Marnie didn’t consider herself to be the prettiest girl, or the most popular, or the tallest, the thinnest, or even the most athletic. She didn’t think she was a spectacular or even an interesting person. She was just an average girl with above average intelligence, though she never really thought of herself as smart. And she just happened to be goth. She wanted to make a good impression, but she didn’t have much to work with.
“Why can’t I just be perfect like…?” she trailed off, gazing into the mirror.
Overall she was pretty happy with herself. But she secretly wished she could be like Rhonda Drake, the most popular girl in school. She was the head cheerleader and had been since junior high. If she just had long blonde hair and clear blue eyes like Rhonda, everything would be perfect. She resented her plain brown eyes and brown hair that she kept dyed black, sometimes with streaks or tinges of blue, red, or pink. Rhonda had it all.
It wasn’t the expectation of harder classes that intimidated Marnie. Teachers always remembered her as she had no problem making the grade. Her peers, however, would often mistake her for a new student. There wasn’t anything special or memorable about her. Thoughts of school years past flooded her mind.
What can I do differently this time? she wondered. What will make people remember me?
She was sure that Rhonda wasn’t having this dilemma right now. She was going to walk right into the front doors of Morning View High without a worry in the world, and before lunchtime, everyone, even the upperclassmen, were going to know the name Rhonda Drake. And every single hair on her head would be perfectly in place! Just the thought of it annoyed Marnie.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock at her bedroom door.
“Honey, I made breakfast,” her mother said, poking her head inside. “Oh, you look like an angel!”
Marnie rolled her eyes and smiled. “You have to say that. You’re my mom!”
Downstairs, she prodded her breakfast as she and her mom talked about the day to come.
“Just be yourself. Everyone will love you. You’ll do just fine.”
Marnie knew her mom was trying to be helpful, but it didn’t relieve her anxiety. When her mother offered to drive her to school, she nearly had a full on panic attack.
“I won’t do anything to embarrass you. No hugs, kisses, or embarrassing nicknames. I promise.”
There was no way that Marnie could decline the offer and the next thing she knew, her mother was pulling up in front of the school. Marnie sat in the car for a moment, summoning some courage.
“I promised not to embarrass you, so all I’ll say is you’ll be just fine.”
She leaned over and gave her mom a big hug.
“Thanks,” Marnie said drawing in a deep breath. She slowly made her way to the school. She didn’t dare turn around; she didn’t think she could bear to see her mother drive away.
Once inside the building, a wave of optimism struck her like a bolt of lightening. She smiled as she walked past the other students who stood in small clusters, catching up on the latest summer gossip. As she glanced at her schedule she felt a little lost. There was an upperclassman with a blue mohawk, so she approached him to ask where her first class was. He pointed the way, told her his name was Frank and wished her luck.
It wasn’t a huge school, but she got a little turned around. By the time she found her first class, the seats were almost full. She was beginning to feel right at home by the time second period came, which had been cut a little short to make time for a special freshmen class orientation.
Rhonda walked to her locker, followed by three of her closest friends. The girls were engaging in the latest gossip about their fellow cheerleaders.
“I saw the whole thing! I thought she was going to start crying!” said Cindi with a ruthless laugh. “He just broke up with her right there in front of everyone! What a way to start off the first day of school!”
“I would just die if that happened to me!” said Kristi, “But I doubt it ever will!” She began to laugh, loudly and obnoxiously.
Kristi and Cindi could have passed for twins, but they were actually cousins. It wasn’t until the seventh grade that they went from “Kristy and Cindy” to the trendier “Kristi and Cindi”, with an “i”. The main difference between the two was that Kristi was slightly taller, but when they weren’t together it was hard to tell them apart. Marnie had always thought of them as androids from the sci-fi movies she so loved; they were near-perfect annoying carbon-copies of each other.
“Are any of you guys going to sign up to help out with the dance? Everyone is going to meet up in the gym on Saturday to discuss decorations and stuff,” said Rhonda, but her friends ignored her when they noticed Marnie walking by. They were like vultures, standing and staring silently, waiting to make their move. Marnie found her locker and began to twist the numbers on her lock until it popped open. Due to a very unfortunate coincidence, she was assigned the locker right beside Rhonda’s, and wherever Rhonda went, the flock was never far behind.
As usual, Marnie was decked out in all of the latest goth gear: Combat boots, fishnet stockings, knee-length ruffled skirt and a Victorian blouse, all in black and complete with a cameo choker. Only a couple of days before school started, she had touched up her hair with black dye and refreshed her bright red streaks. She was feeling pretty good—until Miranda started in on her.
“Nice costume,” said Miranda, the red-haired-green-eyed Irish beauty, “but isn’t it a little early for Halloween?”
“Yeah, you should really think about taking off that mask,” Marnie replied.
The girls stood there stunned for a moment, and then in true android style, Cindi and Kristi bellowed, “Ooooh,” in unison. Miranda looked less than pleased and threw her hair back.
Cindi and Kristi, laughing, followed Miranda as she stormed off unamused.
Rhonda waved goodbye.
“Catch up with you guys later!” she promised.
One of Rhonda’s books toppled out of her locker while she was trying to get organized. She was wearing strange crystal at the end of a velvety black thread that caught Marnie’s eye when they both bent down to pick up the book, nearly bumping heads.
“Thanks,” said Rhonda faking sincerity as Marnie handed the book to her.
“No problem. By the way, I like your necklace. In fact, I’ve seen the same necklace in Witch’s Coven Magazine, a replica of the very one Grace Faulkner wore during her witch trial in Salem! They say that everyone gathered around her to watch as she burned at the stake, and several of the jurors and the judge all fell dead on the spot. On the first full moon after she died, the courthouse mysteriously burned to the ground as a cackle rang through the air, and bad luck struck the whole village for years to come. I haven’t had the money to buy it yet but I’m saving up!” Marnie’s feeble attempt at conversation didn’t go over as well as she had hoped.
“This isn’t one of those cheap, generic necklaces from your stupid magazine.” Rhonda accented the insult with a flip of her hair and narrowed eyes. She then took the necklace off, stroked the stone, and gently polished it on her blouse before she tucked it away into the safety of her locker. After the assembly, the cheerleaders were to attend a meeting during study hall to get organized and practice some moves. She usually took the necklace off before practice so as not to ruin it, but she was really making a show of it before disappearing from view as she headed off to the auditorium.
Marnie stood there, tears nearly welling in her eyes. This year will be different, she’d promised herself just as she had each new school year before, but of course, things never changed. She wanted to start fresh and make new friends; she would have even settled for just one. So far, things weren’t looking too bright but she still had an ounce of hope, if only an ounce. People either teased her or ignored her completely. She wasn’t sure which was worse—Being bumped into accidentally without an apology or being pushed on purpose and having her books scatter onto the floor, which was sometimes accompanied by a sarcastic “Sorry”. It didn’t really matter, because either way she felt invisible to the world. No one seemed to care about her or how they made her feel. She figured that she had better toughen up since it looked like Rhonda and her friends would be a part of her daily life unless she requested a locker change, but Marnie, being a bit stubborn, refused to let them get to her.
As she struggled to keep an optimistic outlook, she was hit by a sudden thought—This year would be different, but only because her best friend Willis Bradford was going to a private school now. She would be completely alone, but this wasn’t the kind of change she had in mind. Sadly and quietly she put her things into her backpack, which was black with spider zipper-pulls that she had put on herself, and though she felt like crying, she fought back the urge. If she cried, her thick layers of black eyeliner would smear and everyone would know, which would only cause the taunting to worsen. Freshmen aren’t supposed to cry.
Marnie made her way through the back doors of the stage in the auditorium where she met up with Mr. Higgins, the principal. He was one of those people who worry over the tiniest of things and it was apparent that he was now worrying over Marnie’s special appearance. He walked over to her and put his hand on her shoulder, rushing her towards the stage. All of her sadness soon subsided with all of the excitement that surrounded her.
“Marnie! You have less than five minutes until you’re up! Is your speech prepared?”
He patted the perspiration from his forehead with a white handkerchief which he folded up and put back into his suit pocket, but he was so nervous that the sweat continued to bead and glisten on the top of his bald head. He was short and stout and as he spoke to Marnie, she couldn’t help but notice his resemblance to a beardless lawn gnome.
“Yes, Sir, I’ve been working on it all summer to get it just right!”
“Good! Now wait until your name is announced, and then you can go out there and give your speech! Knock ’em dead!” Knowing her speech was prepared apparently eased his mind as he smiled and sat down to watch the rest of the assembly. He had already made his speech to welcome the new freshmen class, so at least he didn’t have to worry about that.
Marnie was the ideal student. She never made less than an A and had never been in any trouble, so when Mr. Higgins contacted the junior high to find a student to make a speech at the freshmen orientation, there was no doubt that it would be any other than Marnie Deegan. He had only met with her once before the end of the last school year. He explained to her how it wouldn’t have to be lengthy, as long as it inspired her classmates to take school more seriously and look at different options for a better future.
As Miss Donovan, a science teacher, spoke about the many career choices in the field of science one could pursue, Marnie began to daydream. She was hoping this speech would help her to gain popularity and respect from her peers, but the daydream was cut short as she caught her name being said on the microphone, followed by a feeble applause that bubbled through the crowd. Miss Donovan moved away from the podium and handed over the mike, which squeaked horribly as Marnie adjusted it to her height. There were several annoyed groans from the audience.
“Fellow freshmen…We are still young and have the rest of our high school years to figure out where we want to be and what we want to do after graduation, but now is the time to contemplate it very seriously.” Here, a paper airplane swirled over the crowd as a few giggles rose and fell. Marnie continued.
“As you all know, this is the most important time in our lives; some of us are planning to head off to college after high school; others are still deciding which college to attend; some of us still have no idea what we want to do at all. We have a lot of decisions to make, but keep in mind that we are paving the roads to one of the most important highways—Our future! It’s our first year here at Morning View High and we all have clean slates, so make the most of it!” Marnie paused and smiled as excited cheers rose up in the audience.
“These next four years will be gone before we know it, so study hard, and have a great time at the Back to School Dance; it’s only two weeks away!”
There was an even louder cheer from the audience at the mention of the dance. She felt quite satisfied with herself as she walked across the stage and sat in a chair behind the curtain to watch the rest of the speakers. Yes, this year will definitely be different, she thought optimistically as the applause died down.
Maybe they’ll remember my name!