Their laughter rang out in her ears as she struggled to stand which brought tears to her eyes. She wondered why they were so mean to her, when she did nothing to deserve it. She never asked to be one of them; true, she may have entertained one or two fantasies about being a part of that royal clique, but not once did she try to infiltrate the Monarchy. Her only sin was being who she was-the shy, quiet nerdy girl in glasses who was always hunched up in a corner and more often than not had salami stuck to her braces, who was always tardy to classes and the first to leave the school premises for the fear of being bullied.
Finally, she got to her feet, but the moment she felt herself planted firmly on her feet, her foot slipped on something mushy and she slipped again. It was a wet sanitary pad stained red with blood-no, it wasn’t blood. It was the red paint from Art class which she had used to finely blend in a red apple onto canvas, much to the approval of Miss Wood.
“Look at how pathetic the little bird looks,” cooed Jennifer Simon, queen bee and absolute monarch. Her wish was their command. It was she who caused her pain, she who erected her hell. It was Jennifer she desperately wanted to get away from.
Again, she struggled to stand. She could her mother’s stinging voice in her head.
“Get up Shay! I didn’t birth a quitter. Get up!” her mother would say at karate practice, whenever her limbs grew weary and tired from taking stances all day.
However, this time she didn’t make it up, because her ankle was sprained from slipping on the pad. Pain shot through her leg like a lance piercing raw flesh and she winced in pain. She would not cry out; she wouldn’t give them more reasons to laugh and jeer at her. They had done enough already.
Jennifer waltzed towards her, already weary of the show. She looked down on her like a queen would a filthy beast, and her face shone in the light. It was hard to believe they were only thirteen, but here they were playing at being royalty. She sniggered at the sight of the girl on the floor, and pouted her lips in a tut.
“Let this be a lesson to all of you,” she raised her head and her voice, commanding respect and hushed silence the instant she had started to speak. She looked around, holding their gazes one by one, as if to burn her warning into their brains, and finally, her gaze rested on the girl on the floor who was silently writing in pain.
“I hope you’ve learned your lesson too,” she said, and with that she dumped the contents of her glass on the girl.
No one came to her aid, for the fear of crossing the queen, and in so doing, they had sealed their fate.