Tame a Monster

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Chapter Three

The next day at school, I felt something was off. Yesterday some people ignored me but some people also gave me acknowledging looks. Now? People avoided me like the Black Plague, no one would dare stand within a ten-foot radius of me.

Do I actually smell? Am I that repulsive?

Even Jean, who I thought would be my new best friend, wouldn’t talk to me. I saw her walking down the hall and smiled, she didn’t return it, only reverted her eyes away and kept walking on.

In art, I tried to engage in a conversation with her and my table members but they wouldn’t even answer my questions with one-worded answers. They just pretended I didn’t exist.

My friend in Gym wouldn’t talk to me either. Unbeknownst to me, I shared this class with not only Vivienne but also Keenan, Tanner, Alan, and some of their closest friends too.

If I had thought Vivienne ran the school, I was absolutely and unquestionably wrong. The real undeclared ruler of this school was Keenan, everyone listened and hung onto his every word, all adults and students alike. His influence was prominent and unmistakable. He got full reign and first pick in all subjects and with all teachers, he’d even command people around him to do what he wanted and they did it without question or hesitation. It was unnerving to watch.

I didn’t know how, but I knew this sudden isolation was his doing. He really didn’t like me.

But I didn’t want to just accept it either. I couldn’t accept that this would be my life now.

After changing into my new PE clothes, I stood outside the locker room door, waiting. This could be either the worst or best idea of my life.

Who am I waiting for you ask?

Vivienne.

The hope here is that if I can get on Vivienne’s good side, and explain myself, that by default she could convince Keenan I wasn’t a threat or opposed to the fixed system they have in place. And then hopefully stop hating me?

That’s the hope at least.

“Vivienne, can I talk to you?

Immediately her supermodel face turns into an expression of distaste.

“What do you want Vermin?”

“I just think we misunderstood each other, and I wanted to clear the air.”

She gave me a blank stare.

“I wanted to say I’m sorry about how I... acted yesterday. I didn’t mean to overstep my boundaries.” Personally, I don’t think I did anything wrong, but this is not the first ass I’ve had to kiss to get someone to leave me alone. I know how it goes.

She said nothing, just kept staring at me with the same blank stare until suddenly, like a flash of lightning, her face broke out into a scary grin. Showing all of her pearly teeth.

“Oh my gosh! You’re totally right! And I know EXACTLY how you can make it up to me!”

Whoa, what?!

“I want you to come to my party that’s this Saturday night.”

Saturday night? That’s tomorrow.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to.” My dad never lets me go out.

She gave me another blank stare, “do you want to be friends or not?

“Yea but I-”

“Cool! I’ll see you there then! Savannah will give you the address.”

She was gone before I could say anything else, weird. I’ve never been or been invited, to a high school party before. Maybe if I beg my dad he’ll let me go just this once?

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It was cardio today in PE, absolutely dreadful, the teacher had us run many laps around the track outside and there was just no way I could keep up. Well for starters I was out of shape, second was that I couldn’t run half a lap without having to stop to inhale from my inhaler. Thirdly, was that I could swear everyone in this school must be on steroids. By the time I was done with my first lap, Keenan and his cronies were on their last and final lap, and they weren’t even winded either.

I was either really REALLY out of shape, or they were some supernatural human beings. Probably the former.

I froze when I felt a familiar pair of eyes on me. I sneak a quick glance to confirm my suspicion, my heart jolts in my chest as my eyes connect with his beautiful dark ones, glaring spitefully at me.

This is about the fourth time I caught him glaring at me, each time I looked away first, and tried to keep a low profile. But I could still feel his presence, I could still feel his gaze following and peering at me, watching my every move. It made me feel super self-conscious and hyperaware of myself.

In the last 20 minutes of PE, the teacher let us play a quick game of California kickball. Apparently how the game was played, was that they’d have us split into two teams. One team would be up to “bat” and the other on the field. There’d be a kicker and a group of students would need to run from base to base without getting knocked out and eliminated by the squishy ball. After three strikes, the teams would alternate playing the field. The teacher wouldn’t let anyone NOT participate, she’d notice you even if you hid in a mass crowd of students. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Instead of humiliating myself with kicking the ball, I opted to run instead.

The ball is kicked by the batter on my team to what I thought was an easy homerun for us, by how it looked like it literally disappeared into the sun. But with how athletics came as natural as breathing to these people, I should have known better. I’m only about six full steps from the home base when I feel the squishy ball slam into my upper back, almost taking off my head. But it did send me dramatically sprawling several feet across the floor.

Immediately the whole class erupted into laughter, the force of the impact knocked off the glasses on my face and the breath from my chest, so now I can’t see and I’m struggling to catch a single breath.

Let me tell you something, I am blind as a bat, squinting stopped helping in the sixth grade. Without my glasses, I was at a severe vulnerability. I can’t see where they went, they’re blending into the floor. I start patting the ground around me and the laughter gets even louder, my cheeks redden and I realize how pathetic I must look to them.

Finally, I spot what I think is their outline, I make a grab for it when a huge foot appears, completely crushing my one and only pair of glasses, underneath them. My glasses are basically my lifeline that helps me function in the normal world. Even now his face was a distorted blob in my vision, yet I knew exactly who he was by how every fiber in my being stood on its edge.

“Hmmm,” he said, the sound of his voice a low and deep timbre that rolled through my ears like silk. “That’s unfortunate.”

He was emotionless and cold. I imagined that if I could see clearly, I’d find his dark soulless eyes narrowed down at me, daring me to do something about it.

I’m not a confrontational person, never have been. It’s just not in my DNA, even being yelled at is enough to bring me to tears.

But I’ve witnessed firsthand the kind of influence this man in front of me has, nothing I do or say will stand a chance.

So I crouch down and pick up what’s left of my shattered glasses, I don’t have to assess it to know there’s no salvaging it.

I walk away, defeated.

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At lunch, my seat at Jean’s table was piled with all their bags. The message was more than clear, I was not welcomed to sit with them anymore.

I don’t bother waiting in the cafeteria line or trying to find some place else to sit. I go outside to the back of the school and sit down on the bench. Being without my glasses is giving me a headache, but I still open the young adult novel I’m currently reading to distract myself from feeling so lonely. I try to relax my posture but my back is sore from being hit with the ball, I have no doubt I’ll have a nice sized bruise there tomorrow.

I don’t notice the change in the atmosphere until it was too late. I could’ve sworn even all the happily chirping little animals nearby all went silent and ran away with their tails tucked between their legs.

He loomed over me, he was alone and I didn’t know if that meant I should be relieved or terrified. I don’t know how long we stood there staring into each other’s eyes, his eyes seething and mine uncertain and wary, but also entrapped by the darkness of them. Immediately I feel ashamed of myself for even thinking that. He closed his eyes for a split second, and when he opened them, he gave me a look that said he wished me death itself.

“I refuse you,” he said.

Um, what?

“Pardon me?”

But he didn’t answer, just turned around and walked away.

Well that was beyond weird.

For the rest of that day, I couldn’t stop thinking about that odd exchange. What did he mean by ‘I refuse you’? What the heck was that even supposed to mean? Never mind that either, but what the crap was wrong with me? Why did I get flustered just hearing his name? I shouldn’t even be having thoughts and feelings like that about someone who’s been nothing but cruel to me. Is it possible I’m developing a crush? That’s not only insane but also very dangerous territory.

But that’s the only thing that made sense to me. I mean it’s normal to get flustered and insecure in front of someone who looks that inhumanly attractive. I’m sure girls that meet Harry Styles or Zac Efron act the same way. It’s a completely normal human reaction and doesn’t mean anything.

But you can’t stop thinking about him.

Shut up! I quiet the voice in my head. I do not like him. I don’t.

One thing I knew for sure though, was that I was not excited for 7th hour.

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Luckily in 7th hour it turns out I didn’t have to worry much, Keenan didn’t show up and Vivienne was being super nice to me. I’m glad I was at least able to change her mind about me, she may end up being my only friend in this place.

When the bell rings, I’m walking down the hallway to my locker when I feel a hand suddenly wrap around my arm and pull me into an empty classroom. I have a mini heart attack until I realize it’s just Jean.

“What are we doing in here Jean?”

“Did Vivienne invite you to the party that’s tomorrow night?”

“Yea but-”

“Don’t go.”

“What?”

“Don’t go.”

“First you completely ghost me and now you don’t want me making any friends?”

“I didn’t ghost you by choice, trust me.”

“What does that even mean? Did Keenan tell you not to be my friend? What’s up with that guy anyway? Why is everyone so scared of him? You guys are just weird, with you suddenly ignoring me, Vivienne being super nice to me, and Keenan telling me he ‘refuses me.’”

Her eyebrows shot up in surprise, “he said what?”

“That he refuses me, I still have no idea what he meant by that.”

“Interesting,” she said absentmindedly, then snapped out of it a moment later. “I’m serious though, don’t go. It’s not what you think it is. I’ve known that girl my whole life, she’s not nice for no reason.”

“Maybe she’s nicer than you think.”

Jean gave me a deadpanned look, “and maybe the sky is blue. Look, Angeline, I’m only trying to warn you. In my honest and most professional opinion, I think it’s a trap.”

So eager to have friends I didn’t want to believe it, but deep down I think it’s true too.

“Why won’t you talk to me anymore?” I at least wanted to know what I did wrong.

She sighed in resignation, “it’s complicated. I still want to be your friend but I can’t be seen with you.”

Okay, that hurt.

“I get it,” I whispered. “Sorry I wasn’t good enough for you.”

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“No it’s okay, I wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who cares about what others think so much anyway!”

“That is NOT why okay? I can’t really tell you why but at least heed my warning alright? I’m asking you to trust me.”

I didn’t say anything, she opened the door and scouted the hall to see if anyone was watching.

“Oh and Angeline? You can’t tell anyone we talked or that I’m still your friend.”

“Who would I tell?” I said miffed.

“I’m just saying no one can know,” she said and disappeared out the door.

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It’s 6:45 pm when I get down with my art homework, if I’m honest with myself, it’s possibly the best and most articulate drawing I’ve ever done as of yet. It was a drawing of a massive dark wolf with equally dark eyes. He stood proud and majestic, his black eyes bore into mine like he could see right into me. I don’t know why I picked a wolf to draw, I’ve never drawn one before. But last night in my restless sleep, I dreamt of a beautiful monstrous wolf watching me from a distance in the woods. In my dream, I wasn’t afraid, more fascinated than anything else.

I take a break from my coloring to cook some dinner before my dad gets home, I decide to make us some delicious tacos. I’m cutting up the ingredients when I suddenly felt perturbed, something was wrong.

I feel the painful pricking sensation from last night come back, but this time on my collarbone, then it traveled to random parts of my body. Sometimes simultaneously in different places.

Oh no, not again.

I drop to the floor when I feel that excruciating pain in my nether regions again. This time I can’t hold back the screams as I spasm uncontrollably on the floor. After a couple minutes of torture, it finally ends. But I don’t get up from the floor, I lay on the floor just trying to recover, feeling miserable and shaken to my core.

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I just finished making dinner when my dad came home.

“Hi mija, how is school?” He said in his thick accent.

“Fine,” I mumbled, unable to meet his eyes. My dad, being the clueless man that he is, doesn’t even notice my change in demeanor.

We sit in silence and I watch as my dad devours about eight tacos. I, however, still feeling uneasy from earlier, could only stomach one.

“What happened to your glasses?”

“I broke them. I need a new pair.”

“How’d they break?”

“I dropped them... and then accidentally stepped on them.”

He sighed, “I spent a lot of money on those.”

I lowered my head, “I know.”

“I’ll call some of the local offices tomorrow and see if we can get another pair.”

“Okay, I was also wondering if I could borrow like 20 bucks?”

His brows furrowed, “for what?”

How do I even say this? “Because I need girl stuff dad, supplies for my monthly friend, you know.”

“But you already bought some last month.”

“Yea, and I’ll have to buy some next month to dad. That’s how they work. I need bras too dad.”

“But I already bought you some.”

“That was three years ago dad. My last one just broke.”

He grumbled and reached for his wallet, “here I only have ten dollars on me.”

I took the bill from him, “thanks.”

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That night I finished my homework and wrote in my journal for a little bit. Being so mentally drained, the minute my head hit the pillow, I was out like a light.

I dreamt of that beautiful wolf again. We sat in a flowery meadow with his massive body curled around my own as I sang to him and gently stroked his fur. I could feel myself smiling happily as I hung out with my wolf, it was a sweet dream.

Suddenly I’m awoken from my pleasant dream to that awful awful freaking feeling again.

That night I had to suffer through multiple of those episodes, they were relentless and showed me no mercy. Once I thought it was over, it’d start back up again.

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