Monday, January 8, 2018

Special Something

FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE: The Danger of Undeserved Power
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At Morris High, they were it. The ones to be. Christina wasn't sure how it happened, and she didn't precisely care. Other kids watched them to know what to wear, how to talk, where to be. She and her crew. They were the what, how, where. Why? Because.

After a while, Christina believed it was the way it should be.

When new girl, Tae, got introduced in third period Bio on a Wednesday in February, it was a point of interest, not concern.

Christina, being magnanimous, and appreciating the ambitious vintage Converse/ skirt combo Tae chose for her first day, welcomed the new comer after class. She was popular, but she wasn't a heathen.

"Hi, welcome to Morris. Mr. Novac is a dick, but he'll go easy on you, since you're the new kid."

Tae looked at her. "I don't need anyone to go easy on me."

They stared, and Tae pushed past, her Converse squeaking on the polished tile.

Christina gaped. Did Tae understand the gravity of what she'd done? Did she know she committed social suicide in less than a half a day? Becoming aware she stared after Tae in the middle of a bustling hallway, Christina looked around. Kids plowed along, giving her sideways glances.

She couldn't interpret those glances, not like normal. Like the school band, Christina felt out of tune enough to notice and for the whole melody to grate the ears. What were the glances trying to tell her? Were those looks giving her deference? Pity? Admiration? The faces flowed by, and they had no meaning. Worse, some of the kids didn't look at her at all. Christina put a hand to her stomach. 

"Hey, 'tina." Emma's voice chimed right behind her.

Christina whipped around.

Em's face scrunched in. "What's wrong?"

"The new girl's a bitch, and we hate her."

Without so much as a question, Em nodded.


Weeks passed, and the warfare escalated. Christina even felt a bit sorry for Tae. But then she remembered those glances in the hallway, how the kids had made her feel pitied, or worse, something to ignore. It was Tae's fault. Who comes into a high school mid senior year, and is bitchy day one? Who does that? Well, Tae, that's who. And this is what it gets you. 

Except... Tae wasn't participating. Infuriating beyond belief, Tae seemed immune to their daggered glances, their cutting comments about her body, little pranks Em found so amusing. It might be time to take it up a notch. The girls had been talking about it last night. Some of the ideas they’d come up with were really horrible. Horrible in a perfect kind of way.

Em and Abby’s shoulders brushed Christina's as they walked three-wide down the hallway. Each held a textbook to their chests, displaying the French manicures they decided were the look of the week. Girls passed by on either side, their nails hot pink with lime green tips, causing Em and Abby to smirk. That was so last week.

Christina searched the hallways for Tae. Distressingly, Christina noted it was getting easier to find her. Why? She had an increasingly large number of people around her at all times. Tae laughed a lot, and was loud. It was obnoxious.

Ah. There she was. 


WHAT was happening? Michael Polowski had his arms around Tae's shoulders. Christina seethed. Michael was asking her to prom any day. He was hers. She stopped. Naturally, her girls stopped with her, causing a bottleneck in the middle of the hall. Em glanced between the two enemies. 

Abby, never one to let a silence stand, called out, "What're you doing with that hoe bag, Mike?"

Christina couldn't've said it better. Tae's nails were black. Damn it! That was next week's color, now Christina was going to have to revise the schedule. She would not have kids thinking she was following Tae's Conversed footsteps.

Enraged, Christina walked up to the group. Her girls followed perfectly on either side of her. 

With Mike's arm still around her shoulders, Tae smiled. "That, like, a prey response? Make yourself bigger to scare away the predator?"

What the eff was the hoe bag talking about? And, wait, was Tae the predator in that analogy?

Christina stalked up to her, anger clouding all her thoughts. She'd never been in a fight before. The angry part of her was cheerleading, do it, do it, do it... wipe that smirk right off--

Christina came wide with a punch. Tae swatted it away, but Christina was already coming in, no thought to what she doing, only to hurt.

Then she was down on the ground, staring up at Tae, who had her Converse planting Christina to the ground. There was enough force on her chest to prevent her getting up, not enough to prevent her breathing. Stunned, she lay there.

Tae leaned down, her black nailed-hands draping over her bent knee, and her brown eyes inches from Christina's face. "Let's be clear." 

Everything had stopped. The hallway had taken on a hush. Everyone was watching this. Tears sprang to Christina's eyes. Where was Em? Abby?

Christina had hit her head on the way to the floor, she was sure of it. Her body was numb all over.

What was happening? Tae's eyes were changing, the pupils going oblong, the iris' slanting.

Christina tried to draw a deeper breath, to clear the illusion. The Converse prevented it.

Tae whispered, "All your power is borrowed, baby. I’m taking some back."

Abruptly, the weight pulled back from her chest, and Christina took a deep gulp of air. She struggled to her feet. Em and Abby stood there, stunned. Christina wiped the tears away and walked off. Around her, she had more attention than she'd ever gotten. More heads turned her way, more whispers. But there were other things, too. Snickers. Laughter.

Christina swallowed. Something had been taken from her. She didn’t have the name for what it was.


  1. High School can be so horrible. Great post. Loved it. I hated Christina and then felt sorry for her. So you did a good job evoking emotion! Thanks for the read.

  2. I liked this. I hope Tae is a real predator and gobbles Christina up. :-)