05 Bring it on!

– “What the fats are you doing?”

Amy peeked into the attic to see Kate hanging upside down from the rafters, swinging herself up, touching her toes, then letting herself fall down again.

– “How in the world did you get yourself up there?” Amy asked, impressed at what “little Kate” could do.

Kate swung round and let hersself fall to the floor. She rolled round and jumped up onto her feet.

– “Adam helped me,” she admitted.

Amy sat down on a nearby chair.

– “Kate?” she said hesitantly.

– “I think a low profile would be better at school than trying to stand and fight. Nothing good will come out of this!”

Kate smiled and shook her head.

– “I don’t know what low profile means!” she giggled.

– “Priscilla is going down!”

Amy shrugged her shoulders as she stood up to get ready for school.

– “I think your doing a mistake,” she said as she headed for the door.

– “But you need to find this out for yourself! Be careful, okay?”

Kate nodded agreeingly.

It was a rainy day. The sky was grey, almost black in fact. They would all have to wear raingear to school, hoods up. Kate could feel that she was warmer than usual, and that the rainjacket was not breathing propperly. She was sweating as she hopped along to school, avoiding the puddles in the middle of the road. What would Pricscilla do today? she wondered. Would she try fighting again? Last time had not been fair as her whole gang had jumped her. Hopefully, she had picked up enough tips from the Black Rose to be able to stand her ground, but that was if she was only fighting Priscilla.

Kate made it to school without any problems, and she was happy to get her raincoat and -trousers off. Slyly, she peeked around to see if she could spot Priscilla or any of her accomplishes. None of them were to be seen, so she made her way to her classroom. First lesson of the day was English, but when the bell rang, Priscilla still hadn’t shown up. Mrs. Staples came in, sat down and started her rollcall. Priscilla Evans was not there, but some of her friends were. Kate noticed their names, Francis, Gloria and Rhonda.

Mrs. Staples told everyone to get their readers out, and they started reading out loud following an unvisible line winding it’s way round the classroom. Kate read as well. She didn’t goof up, and was happy about that. She didn’t want to attract any unneccessary attention to herself in class. She followed Mr. Stewart’s advice, she kept her mouth shut and only spoke when spoken to. After class, she kept to herself in the free period, and the rain was welcome as she was harder to spot with her hood up.

The day went on. Priscilla must have been off on the sick, because she never came that day. A little mouse of a girl called Britney came and talked to Kate, and they hang together most of the free time. Britney was a skinny little runt with blond pigtails and big blue eyes. She was wearing a green sweater and blue jeans. They hid themselves often behind the school building where they played and giggled a lot. When school was over, Kate was actually glad that Priscilla had not turned up. She had survived the first whole day at school. But what was she to do when Priscilla  returned?

The next day, the sun was out and the weather was warm and inviting. Kate woke up with a happy sigh and a mile on her face. This should be a lovely day! Maybe she could invite Britney home? Oh no, that wouldn’t do  There was work and chores and a grouchy Mr. Stewart to contend with. Maybe on a Sunday when they got the day off. Kate decided to wait and ask Mr. Stewart when would be a good time. She ran up to the attic to do her exercises, but Adam wasn’t there. Oh well! she thought to herself. I don’t have to exercise every day!

Kate didn’t have many clothes at this time, but she found herself a yellow t-shirt and blue skirt that went well together. Then she grabbed herself some corn flakes, two pieces of toast and a glass of orange juice before she picked up her books and started dancing off to school. She skipped, whistled and smiled all the way to school, eager to see Britney again.

Arriving at school she ran excitedly to her classroom to see if Britney had arrived yet. As she stuck her head round in the door, her blood ran cold and she stopped breathing for a while. Yes, it also seemed that her heart skipped a beat or two. In the middle of the room stood Priscilla in a red flowered summer dress, eagerly talking to Rhonda, both with big smiles on their faces. Priscilla noticed Kate and raised her voice.

– “Look who’s come back for some more beating, girls?”

All eyes were suddenly on Kate, and she felt like she couldn’t move. There was a pause before several of the girls started laughing. Suddenly, the school bell rang, and more kids came in, pushing Kate a bit further into the room. Priscilla started coming towards Kate and stopped right in front of her.

– “What are you looking at, fool?” she said with a loud voice.

Then Mrs. Staples came in the door, and Priscilla went to her desk and sat down. Mrs. Staples went straight to the blackboard and asked everyone to find their places. The loud humming noise disappeared, and Kate found her desk. First lesson of the day was maths, but Kate could not concentrate. She was dreading the free period that was about to come, and her courage from the day before seemed to have suddenly disappeared. Time passed slowly like a snail slithering through tall grass. Kate was wondering what to do. She turned her head and met Britney’s eyes. She smiled at her, and Kate smiled back. At least she had one friend in class!

It seemed like it had been ages and ages’ ages before the bell finally rang again. Chairs were pushed back quickly, making a lot of noise and several of the pupils started running for the door. Mrs. Staples shouted at them not to forget their homework, then started gathering her papers together. Britney came over to Kate as Priscilla went out the door.

– “Are you ready?” she said with her thin squeaky voice.

– “Mhm!” Kate mumbled. – “Just a sec!”

She pretended to be busy with something in her school bag, then when Mrs. Staples started for the door, she stood up.

– “Okay!” she said with a big sigh. – “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be!”

Kate and Britney followed Mrs. Staples down the hall and down the stairs to where the teacher’a lounge was. As she went in the door, Kate peered around. Priscilla was nowhere in sight. They ran to the back of the school where they normally liked to play. There was no one else around, so they started chatting, then playing one of their pretend games. Britney was very good at pretending, but Kate had never done that before she met Britney. She soon discovered that she had a very vivid imagination. They played, giggled, ran, fell over and rolled around laughing. Kate’s fears of Priscilla had vanished like the morning mist, but when the school bell rang to let them know it was time for a new lesson, all Kate’s fears suddenly returned. They sneaked round the first corner. No one there! Then there was one more corner. Britney followed behind Kate as she carefully popped her head around the corner. Most  of the children had run inside the big, yellow school building, the last ones just squeezing in through the main doors. Priscilla was nowhere in sight.

– “The coast is clear!” Kate exclaimed. – “Let’s run for it!”

They raced as quickly as they could towards the doors, managing to squeeze in with the last late runners. Kate felt a bit safer as they passed the teacher’s lounge. They ran as quickly as they could up the stairs. As they rounded the corner into the hall where their classroom was, a foot suddenly stretched out behind a short wall, and Kate fell flat on her face. As she turned around, she saw Francis and Rhonda bending down, grabbing one arm each. Priscilla appeared smiling, Gloria was standing a bit behind Priscilla, hiding a nervous giggle with her hand. Priscilla pointed with her finger, and Francis and Rhonda held Kate down to the floor in front of Priscilla. Britney shot off like a flash of lightening. Priscilla wrinkled her nose.

– “What is that foul smell I smell?” she said, screwing up her mouth.

– “Oh yes!” she almost shouted.

– “It’s that foul smelling, dirty looking tramp that won’t to lick my boots!”

Francis and Rhonda twisted Kate’s arms up behind her back as Priscilla leaned down towards her.

– “But you will lick my boots, won’t ya?” she almost whispered.

– “When you have done that, you can go in to class, and it’ll be all over!” Priscilla promised.

Kate looked up at Priscilla, moving her mouth back and forth without opening it, no sound coming out at all. Priscilla leaned a bit closer.

– “What was that, Stinky?”

Kate suddenly smiled a bit, then spat straight into Priscilla’s face, getting her between the eyes. Priscilla roared, Francis and Rhonda tightened their grip and twisted harder, and Kate felt a sharp pain in both arms, making her groan. Priscilla stood up and swung her foot back, getting ready to kick Kate in the face.

– “Hello there!” a sharp, adult male voice boomed through the hall.

– “What do you think you’re doing?”

A bald teacher that Kate had never seen before came running down the hall, Britney following at his heals. Francis and Rhonda suddenly let go of Kate, and Priscilla froze, then slowly lowered her foot. Kate was still in pain, but she was ever so thankful to Britney for fetching the teacher.

– “All of you; straight into the principal’s office!” the teacher said to Priscilla and her girls.

He nodded to Kate.

– “You can go to your class, but we’ll need to talk to you later! I presume you’re the new girl, Kate Stewart?”

Kate nodded silently as she rose to her feet.

– “Okay!” the man said, his voice milder now. – “I’ll see you later today!”

He turned to the other girls.

– “Now, off you go!” he demanded.

As the teacher took off with the three girls, Kate gave a smile to Britney.

– “Thank you for getting help!” she said with a deep sigh.

– “That was just perfect timing! Did you see her face when I spat her straight between the eyes?”

Britney looked horrified.

– “You didn’t!”

– “I sure did!”

Britney shook her head.

– “Kate!” she exhaled. – “You don’t know what you’ve done…”

Kate’s smile disappeared.

– “What do you mean?”

– “You don’t know what Priscilla is capable of!”

The English lesson with Mrs. Staples was over half gone when Priscilla and the other girls came back into class. They brought a note for Mrs. Staples, then they sat down at their desks, looking angrily at Kate. Priscilla drew her finger across her throat when she knew Kate was watching. Kate just turned and looked at Mrs. Staples. The teacher had just finished reading the letter.

– “Kate?” she said.

– “When next period starts, you need to go to principle Brewster’s office! Okay?”

– “Yes, miss!” Kate replied quietly.

The lesson continued. Kate was wondering what would happen next. She couldn’t believe that Priscilla would try anything straight away. Maybe she would wait for her outside after school was finished? Thoughts raced around Kate’s mind as she was wrecking her brain trying to find out what Priscilla and company would do to her.

The school bell rang loudly, jerking Kate up from her deep thought. Several kids were running for the door. Priscilla did not. Mrs. Staples rose from her desk and disappeared out the door before Kate could follow her. Priscilla and the other three were still in the classroom. Priscilla gave Kate an evil smile. Then she turned to Britney.

– “So the little grey mouse ran and told the teacher, eh?”

She walked up to Britney and poked her. Kate ran up to her.

– “Leave her alone!” she shouted. – “Your problem is with me!”

Priscilla pushed Britney so hard she fell on the floor.  Kate felt anger flood through her like a great flood sweeping through a flat village. As surely as the village would have been swept away by all the water, Kate was swept away by her anger, losing all self control. She roared as she ran forward, grabbed Priscilla by her red summer dress and pushed her hard backward. A load scream was heard as Priscilla’s head went smashing through one of the classroom’s windows, shattering the glass into a million pieces. Kate suddenly let go of Priscilla. Priscilla felt the back of her head with her hands. When she took them out again, they were filled with blood. She screamed! She yelled! And the entire group of kids that had not left the classroom yet stood as bolted to the floor with their mouths wide open.

Suddenly, Mrs. Staples came in to see what had happened. She gasped and ran up to Priscilla.

– “It was Kate!” Priscilla sobbed. – “Kate did it!”

Mrs. Staples turned towards Kate with an angry look on her face.

– “Kate! What have you done?”

Kate stood pale beside the bleeding Priscilla.

– I… I… didn’t mean to…” she started. Her eyes were filling up with tears. She started to sob. It felt like fire climbing up inside her, and her throat got so thick it hurt like crazy. Finally she spun round and ran away as fast as her little feet could carry her. She went down the hall, down the stairs, out the front door, and out of the school yard. She ran and ran and ran till she didn’t know where she was anymore. Then she let herself fall down on a green piece of grass, sobbing her heart out.

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