Beyond The Veil

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2. Making "Friends"

It was late next morning that Edith awoke to the sound of her mom's nagging and cursing announcing that she was late to school. What's worse, it was her first day to the new school and she wanted to be a quiet, non existent little creature.

She could see the gloomy sky through the parted curtains. It was smudged grey and more rainclouds seem to be gathering. The wind whistled slightly by a small gap between the windows slight drizzle was pattering on them making a constant humming.

Groaning, Edith sat up to find she was almost naked. Then she remembered last night's little trip to the garden and the dream that followed. She sighed; she thought (Well, her mother thought) that coming to this place might be the relief they needed. Guess not. She wiped the sweat from her brows and got up from the bed. Gathering the pile of dirty clothes rumpled at the bottom of the bed, she dragged herself to the bathroom.

She spread a generous amount of toothpaste on her brush and looked in the mirror. She let out a short scream.

Her hair looked like it had been struck by thunder. And last night's sleep on the grass in the little garden had done way more than feel nice at the time. She didn't see it in the night but her hair looked like some critter's nest. A glue like layer of mud seemed to be keeping the whole monstrosity together. Oh no! She furiously started to scrub her hair with water, brushing her teeth forgotten.

When Edith came downstairs later, she had become somewhat composed and felt a whole lot more fresher. Wearing a pair of faded blue jeans, a white undershirt and a yellow jumper, she was ready to brave the weather outside. She saw her mom was also dressed to go and dreaded the walk to school.

"Mom, you're not_"

"No no. Don't worry. I'm not gonna embarass you at school," said Johanna reassuringly.

"No I meant..." she grew quite not knowing what to say. "I meant... you're not gonna go out in this weather right?"

Her mom cocked an eye at her for a moment and then laughed.
"I'm just gonna go explore the town. Y'know, we need to integrate. Maybe there's a town club or something."

Edith sighed. And there was her mom again. She loved to be part of something. To get in with the cool crowd or to have a say in the matter and be allowed to control, most of which she could get by getting into the management sector.

"Just be careful mom," said Edith and readjusted the strap of her bag and crossed the room taking her little yellow umbrella from the stand near the door.

"You too honey." She heard just before she closed the door.

She felt the cool whip of rain on her face and stopped to relax for a moment closing her eyes. It's okay to want company but Johanna wanted it too much. She wanted to be friends with everyone even though most of them just wanted to get done something. She was a people pleaser and she had gotten into trouble because of others on more than one occasion. It was by a mistake that she had been borne and it was a mistake of hers to be with him. Fifteen years with him... if only she left him. They wouldn't have had to move... And her little brother would still be_

"Hey are you sleep ?! You're getting soaked." An annoyed sounding voice disturbed Edith's thoughts and she opened her eyes.

A boy, directly opposite her across the road was looking at her intently. A washrag on one hand, a water hose on the other and a car behind him seemed to indicate to her that he was washing his car. He had a hunched posture and a slight scowl on his face and very messy dark brown hair. Wearing a pair of beige coloured pants with a hoard of pockets and a dark bluish shirt, he looked like one of those teenagers she had seen in the corners of her previous school smoking.

"Well?" He asked expectantly.

Edith realized she must've looked weird with an umbrella and still allowing herself to get soaked by the rain.

"I uh_ I was just getting some sun."

He looked at the grey sky and back at her.

"Right," said the boy clearly weirded out by her. Spontaneous wasn't one of her strong suits.

"I'm_ I'm going to the Westwood high school. I mean, I'm just starting it." She felt very nervous speaking to strangers.

"Yeah I can see that. Never seen you before." When Edith didn't respond he opened his opened his hands wide and said," well, this is Westwood and we only have one high school."

".... thanks," said Edith not knowing how to respond to that.

She took her umbrella and opened it in an effort to keep away the rain and block the boy's intent view. She crossed the road in front of him and started to walk rather quickly attempting to widen the gap between them.

"Are you gonna walk all the way to school?"

She turned around slowly. "Yeah?"

"It's on the other end of the town y'know. The part that actually looks like a town."

He let out a snort. "You didn't know that did you." He turned around not expecting an answer.

"I can walk, and I walk fast." Edith could feel her anger rise up again.

"Not enough to walk that distance. Not even running would. Already pretty late," he said keeping his back to her washing the car.

She turned on her heels and was going to continue when he asked her something She didn't expect from him.

"You want a ride to school?"

She looked at him; the sullen look had returned to his face.

"No thanks. I think_"

"Tommy I'm so sorry. Damn I didn't know where I put it last night. Just found it in the dustbin. Must've put it there last night." A loud crashing sound followed by a shriek announced the arrival of a blonde haired girl with a mountain of makeup which at the moment was smeared with dirt and her hair appeared entangled with small pieces of leaves and vines.

"Did you just fell down the stairs?" Asked the boy in bewilderment -edith was more bewildered how she managed to get up and continue so quickly.

"Yeah, it's nothing," she said taking out a "pocket mirror" and looking. "Nooo! My make up is ruined. What should I do? We're already late! But I just have to do it again. Wait a bit, I'll get my makeup set." She wailed turning in circles.

"Here take mine. You can do it here." Edith handed out a little makeup set that her mom insisted she carried- she didn't like that at all.

"Oh thank you so much, you're a life saver! Are you new here anyway, haven't seen you before."

"Er yeah, my mom and I just moved here."

"Yaaay! We need some fresh blood around here," she said while applying fresh mascara beneath her eyes. "I'm going tired of watching all the same people, this is a small town y'know. There's the Raynes up the hill and oh_ Tobias rayne is so hot. Y'know, the brooding, menacing kinda hot. His sister, Stella is a sweetheart, quiet most of the time but really nice once you get to know her." -the eyeliner came next as she continued with sure strokes- "Then there're the hodgekins a few blocks away, Michael is hittable if you want my opinion. Their youngest, Shipu is such a darling little thing. Their dad is a nasty piece of work though, urgh. And oh_" Then she hit the boy with the side of her arm eliciting a yelp from him. ("Dude, what the hell?!" He said taking his body out of her arm's reach.)"_ I expect he haven't introduce himself at all. That's Tommy and I'm Alicia, call me Ally," she said hugging Edith, eliciting a yelp from her too.

"Er hi, I'm Edith," said Edith gasping for breath.

"Alright, I'm finished. Let's go quickly, we're already late!" Shouted Alicia grabbing Edith's hand and getting into the backseat dragging her along as well.

"Hey wait, I'm not_"

"Tommy get in quickly! We're late to school." Tommy grumbled and got in the front seat starting the car.

Edith was forced to sit down on the back seat next to Alicia while she kept looking for any smudges with her little mirror. The car turned from the sideway onto the main road, passing sideways like the ones they came out of to one side and rows of high housed that bordered the side of a hill on the other.

"Guess he's already at school right?" Said Alicia looking dreamily at the hillside.

"Huh?"

"Tobias! He's up there somewhere. I mean not right now. But later... at night... after showering..."

Edith heard Tommy mutter Jesus.

"Oh er yeah," said Edith trying to keep all the information she had given in her mind. It was hard for her to make friends and Alicia was practically giving it to her; she had to alreast try a little bit on her part.

"So um... I take it you guys are brother and sister?" Edith started nervously.

"Step brother and sister," started Tommy.

"Yeah his mom married my dad after_"

"Ally!" Tommy almost shouted. Edith looked between them; Tommy was gripping the wheel tightly and Alicia was licking her lips nervously.

"Oh oops. Anyways, she's such a darling. Dad was kind of an alcoholic before she came. Now he's getting better."

This was followed by silence in which Edith glanced at the window. The outside looked much more urban here filled with mostly grey looking old faded buildings.

"Oh yeah, this town has a lot of history, or garbage atleast."

Edith looked back and saw Alicia also looking from her side window.

"I don't know why they don't break down these. I mean, some of them don't even have any value... And some are complaining of less building area," said Alicia.

"Do you know if there's a library here? My mom wants me to see that."

"Yeah it's right there." Alicia pointed at a big grey building at the centre of a square they were coming to. It looked derelict but you could still see faded red and white banners handing from some windows. It seemed to be the biggest building in the town.

"Monument, right?" Alicia snickered.

"Kinda," responded Edith. Her mom had been right. She did live history and she was kind of curious to know about this small old looking town.

"So you want to go there? Maybe after school. I can come too, if you like."

"That'd be nice," sighed Edith not wanting to get gobbled up by that old grey relic alone.

"But what about me? You know I have to meet up with Adam and Alfie," Tommy butted in exasperatedly as they started going past the centre square.

"Come on. You always meet up with them. Let's just call this one off or maybe let's ask them to come too! They can meet Edith."

"To that old place? I don't think so."

"Fine! Then I'll go with her. You can tell them where I went," said Alicia determinedly.

"And how are you getting there?"

"How do you think? This car."

"We need this car and you know that. Plus, I'm not letting you ride this baby."

"Baby huh? Well, wanna know what I'm going to do with 'this baby'?"

"No I don't!"

"I'm gonna shove it up your_ "

"Hey guys!" Edith shouted above the rising voices. They both looked at her. "It's ok. I can go alone. You can go to whatever it is you planned. I didn't mean to barge like this."

Alice looked a little ashamed and Tommy looked back at the road intently.

"Is the school a long way from it?" Edith asked trying to break the silence.

"No we're almost there," Tommy responded.

They rounded a corner and there it was.

"Westwood high school, welcome to hell on earth!" Alicia said dramatically. Edith conjured up a smile while Tommy let out a snort.

The car turned into the parking spots at the front of the low slung brick building. The entrance didn't look as crowded as her previous one, thought Edith, or maybe it's because they're late. Some shady teenagers are crowded at a corner and some others were hurrying to the double doors that marked the entrance. Once the car stopped, Alicia adjusted Edith a little bit which surprised her.

"So ready for your first day?" Beamed Alicia.

"What do you think?" Said Edith nervously.

"Don't worry about it. You look great!" She laughed and opened her door and dragged Edith out too which she let her do.

Tommy turned off the car when they got out and stood behind them.

"You know what's waiting for us in there?" Said Alicia excited.

"Slavery and despair?" Edith suggested with an idea of what she might say.

"Hot boys," said Alicia emphasising each word,"and you've got a broad selection, from naive freshmen to experienced masters, it's all yours for the taking." She winked.

Edith internally gagged. Although she have had crushes, she hadn't liked the idea of being so intimate with another person. The closer you get, the more strings get attached, the more you have to lose, this she knew.

"Ally! Hey Ally!" Someone or someones shouted and Edith looked back.

Three girls were walking their way or more accurately, twerking their way thought Edith. Even though they looked more or less like Alicia; brightly coloured and hoards of makeup, while Alicia had looked kind from the get go, they looked nothing like that.

A scream by her side panicked Edith But then Alicia flew off to meet her friends leaving the two of them alone. She seemed to have forgotten them as she and her friends made their way to the entrance.

Edith looked around to see Tommy strap his bag and then he passed her making his way to school, taking no notice of her.

"Hey wait up!" Edith decided to try a bit more, scared but determined.

"Aren't you going with your friend, Alicia?" Tommy said mockingly as she came up beside him.

Edith bit her lip. "I would but I don't think her friends would like me very much."

"No they want," said Tommy opening the steel and glass doors and stepping in.

The ceiling was a bit low for Edith's liking. She wasn't a fan of small spaces. Even though the hall seemed mostly empty, the ceiling gave her the impression she was halfway to getting crushed under it. Maybe they had designed it like that to intimidate "You might be big out there mister, but here you're just a gnat beneath my feet" the ceiling seemed to say, thought Edith. There were several passages leading away from the hall and one directly ahead with similar double doors guarding it's entrance. But here they were coloured with a sky blue colour so it's not transparent. What goes in the school stays in the school thought Edith. There was a staircase leading to the upper floor at a corner.

She looked around and saw Tommy disappearing through a side door. Unlike her, he hadn't waited to gaze at the hall's majesty.

"Hey?" She shouted but got no response. Some of the students looked at her odd though.

She muttered under her breath, strapped the bag more tightly and resumed walking looking at the timetable given to her, careful not to look at anyone.

The first class she had was literature and it said it was on the second floor so she decided to take the staircase. Arriving on the landing, she was facing a long series of windows that looked out into a courtyard and was filled with greenery. The green light reflected by them gave the narrow passage she was on a greenish hue making her feeling like she was out in a bright forest. It made her feel warm and calm. She took a deep breath and started looking at the doors.

The nearest one had the number 9 on a wooden plate on the wall by the door. She had to go to number 13. Oh there it is! She opened the door still filled with that warm feeling and her view opened onto...

A meteor?

A red fiery ball was hurtling towards her and She felt confused. How is a meteor inside a classroom. Then she felt the stupidity of even that question and her eyes opened wide just before...

SPLASH! A soggy piece of something went splat against her face. She felt wet. She closed her eyes to prevent whatever it is dribbling over her head getting into her eyes. Laughter erupted from everywhere and some muttered curses and someone else gasped.

"So you're the new student huh? You must be so shy judging by how red you are_" which elicited anothe round of hollering, "_ don't be, we're really welcoming here. In fact_"

"Shut up all of you! Oh I'm so sorry honey! " was followed by sound of pitterpattering of feet. "Hold on now." And a wet cloth was dragged across her face and she could view the classroom albeit blurry.

In front of her was small petite looking woman wearing a woolly jumper and skirt and horn rimmed glasses. Behind her were the students. Most of them were snickering. Some looked concerned although with a slight smile on their faces. Edith looked at her feet. There was a rag bundled together into a ball with red paint leaking out of it and pooling at her feet. She could feel the weight like she was submerging from water and new her hair was filled with paint. She trembled with a sudden cold and the humiliation.

"Don't worry honey. Its a water paint not an oily one. Come on darling let's get you cleaned up. I'm miss pentaghast by the way," said the woman taking her arms and nudging her towards the door. "And stay put all of you," she hissed at the class.

"Right away miss Bend aghast" chortled a heavy gruff voice.

"And detention for a week for you, mister Pfaro." This was followed by a groan and shouting before the door was shut.

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Edith bobbed her head out of the restroom to which miss Pentaghast had her directed along with a bunch of clothes she had salvaged from the supply room. This was the reason she was afraid to step out of the door. She sighed. She had started new school getting embarrassed -this must be some kind of record. Looking at her new clothes did not improve the already dire situation. The sleeves of this "normal sleeved" shirt reached past her elbows and she could fit another two of her inside the shirt. Going with that was a pair of baggy trousers ending in faded boots. No!

Yes! You're going to get through this first day no matter what! Urged her mind and she -taking a deep breath- opened the door and stepped out into the 'hell on earth'.

Immediately she noticed the silence surrounding her along with piercing looks. She started walking towards her next class and a group of people snorted right beside her. "Oh my god, what is she wearing? Do you think she's a dyke. I think she's a dyke." She glared at them only to realise another set of people whispering in front of her. "Did you see how stupid she looked with that paint dripping down her face?" "This isn't 1960's honey. We don't look like hobos anymore," came a shout from a little way off. Edith could feel tears welling up inside but she refused to let them escape. Setting her jaw tight, she walked quickly past them and around a corner(which was thankfully deserted) and she heaved her breath and stifled a cry and punched the wall and then heaved her breath again. Shuddering for a few moments, she ran to the class.

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Edith didn't think things would be easy and she was right. The dyke insult had spread around the school but now it had mutated no longer concerning the red rag accident but directed at intimate activities. She got catcalled at her history class asking how much she asked and if she'd want by the hour and some boy asked her which historical figure she thought was the hottest. But The attacks came on her clothes as well. A mousy looking boy wanted to borrow her clothes so he could convince someone he timetravelled which resulted in a late but prolonged laughter, a student came in a hurry sweating and asked if they saw Indiana Jones right in front of her. But the nasties incident happened near the end of her first day.

She was walking to her final class of the day when someone shoved her from behind. She fell with an "oof" and landed hard on her arms. Her head swimming, she looked back.

There was a girl and Edith's first thought was she is pink. Everything about her from her fingernails, the clothes, bags to her two flanking friends was pink.

"So you're the one huh? Listen dyke, if you think you can come here wearing that hideous hide you call clothes and take my boyfriend, you're mistaken."

"What're your talking about?" Edith almost shouted, her eyes spewing out tears now.

"Huh? Pretending you don't know now. And I thought you could get no lower," She said dripping sarcasm. " Wanna know what hurts more than a punch to the stomach, a foot up your snatch. Hold her down girls," she screamed at her friends and the gathered crowd seemed uncertain for the first time.

She heard someone says "get some teachers here now!" And someone in the crowd shouted "leave her be now" and she saw out of the corner of her vision, Tommy appearing from the crowd looking confused. The other two girls started circling her and she put up her fists in front of her; not knowing how to fight but determined not to go down without one.

But someone got to the pink girl first - not her not Tommy- and connected their fist right to her Jawbone. It seemed she did a piroutte as she fell and the other two girls screamed and went to their fallen leaders.

Edith looked through blurry eyes at her rescuer. She was a wild looking thing, her hair jet black wearing a dark purple jacket which had been used so much she could literally see it breaking to pieces. Same went to all her outfit which included a black short and boots and faded light colour shirt and dark fishnet leggings. All this she noticed in an instant as the queen bee started to get up, helped by her friends.

"Paige, get out of my way!" Her eyes seemed to be bulging. "You're dead you hear me. Dead!"

"We all know that don't we, eventually. You wanna get yours now?" Growled the wild girl.

A direct death threat wasn't what she expected as a comeback and she looked at her cronies. They seemed taken aback too.

"You should take your boss to the infirmary y'know. Maybe you can sew up that hole she calls a mouth while you're there," she shouted almost gleefully.

"You..." shouted the pink girl, her tears visible now.

"Me what? Yeah you got nothing. I suggest you keep walking before I test my precision. Maybe I'll get the same spot or maybe the other jaw."

"Come on, Abe. Let's go. Teachers are here too. It's not worth it," said one of her friends and both of them dragged her with them.

"No!" She screamed her face taking the colour of a ripe strawberry. "Get her now. I'll take care of the dyke_"

Another slap hard across her face made her gasp. But this wasn't from the wild girl, Edith noticed.

Alicia stood shivering, her outstretched hand ready to strike again.

"You've done enough Abigail!"

"Ally you?" Abigails eyes are wide with disbelief.

"Yeah me! And I'm done putting up with you."

"But you can't_ you wouldn't_"

"I have. I'm not staying silent anymore Abby, when you hurt people. You're plain mean, nothing else. And someday you'll get what's coming to you," Alicia said shaking.

Abigail looked stunned for a moment. Then a snicker came back. "You think you can survive without me? No Ally, someday you'll come crawling back to me." Then she turned back to Edith. " You got off easy dyke. Next time you might not be so lucky."

The wild girl literally growled but Abigail's cronies looked fearful and urged her to retreat which she did after a hrrrumph.

The crowd slowly dispersed, the excitement gone now. And Edith stood there trembling, her legs felt like two thin sticks and she lowered herself to the floor. She looked up at the back of her saviour's jacket, now looking above her.

"Jerks!" She muttered and turned around to face Edith, who was surprised to find a smile on her wild face.

"Hell of a day wasn't it? Heard you were the new kid," she said lowering herself to her level.

"Yeah that's me, the new kid," She muttered still shaking.

"Hey I don't know any subtle way to do this thing, but uh_ wanna be friends?" And Edith was surprised again because now this girl was showing nervousness.

"I'd love to," she said putting her hand out deciding to take the lead. " My name's Edith. What's yours?"

"I'm Paige," she responded taking Edith's hand in her's and lifting her up.

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Author's note:

I know! I know! This chapter is probably too long but I had already written it and didn't see a way to shorten it without making it seem like two distinct events of the story. I'll try to make the other chapters shorter :)

This part didn't have any horror thingy but I wanted to introduce some of the characters involved before getting to their points of view.

ANYWAYS, did you guys enjoy the story? I'd love to hear your views and advice! And oh which character do you like most?

Thnx for reading guys! Comment, share and if you liked it hit that little star!

Ps- that house in the photo I found kind of looks like the house I imagined Edith's would be.

☆☆




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