I got up by myself after a few minutes, and was strong enough to walk over and wash my hands. My shirt was white, so that sucked, and it was obvious that I fell into a puddle of bathroom soup. I also smelled like my brother’s room, and the shirt was sticking to my belly because it was wet. I asked the nurse if I could go to the nurse’s office, but I only realized I sounded ridiculous once I said it outloud. The nurse smirked and said, “Go ahead, Mrs. Wonsom will be there. Tell her I sent you to get a new shirt.” I nodded yes and opened the door with all my helpless little muscle strength. I started walking down the hall, kinda limping with both legs. I was a few corners away from the nurse’s office when the bell rang. Oh no, this is when rush hour is. After lunch and recess for the 7th graders, the 6th graders need to head to lunch and recess, and the 8th graders are all heading to their elective and special. I was soo close!! This is hopeless. I tried to make it to the wall to cling to that, but I was shoved in directions to I don’t know where. I fell down and people just started walking over me. One person stepped on my fingers, one kicked my nose, and tons stepped on my hair. The curses of having long hair. After the rush hour was over I was even more weak because I was hurting all over. I crawled to the nurse’s office, making smear marks where my belly hit the floor. I used the handle of the nurse’s office door to help myself up to open the door and I stumbled in. Inside was a few 8th graders that looked like they got in a fist fight, a 6th grader that looked like she spent the past hour crying, and Max, the trombone player I like. I totally wanted to sit down by the 6th grader and say, “you and me both girlfriend,” and give her a high five, but I couldn’t risk exposing my wet stomach. I found a seat decently far away from Max so I didn’t blow my chances with him and become a chatterbox. I looked around the room like I was occupied and I was so busy, but I couldn’t help but notice the fact he chose a new seat closer to me. I was now kinda twitching like I usually do when I get nervous, and I screamed in my head, “STOP IT!!! YOU’LL MAKE A FOOL OF YOURSELF!!” I bet I looked horrible then, with the black marks on my face, and from all the grime of those people’s shoes in my hair. I wanted sooo bad to tame my hair, but every bit of my stomach needed covering. Max started looking at me and said, “Are you the girl in that new post with the L on your forehead?” I sighed and realized that’s why he was looking at me, and said, “Yeah, that’s me, the ‘Hated by many Alisha’” I saw that as the title on the post, and also a bunch of comments like “Is this how you wake up in the morning? I wouldn’t be surprised.” and “Are little brothers invading this building? Seems like we found the first wimpy victim.” Max nodded and scooted in closer, my twitches getting bigger and bigger by the second. “So,” he said casually, “Are you going to the dance next month?” Next month? They haven’t even told us about that yet or handed out the forms for tickets. “Um. . .I’m not sure, you?” He looked up for a second and then looked back at me. “It depends on who I’m going with. But, come to me when you know if you’re going or not.” I nodded and he finally smelled my fumes. His nose upturned a slight bit but he quickly ignored it and scooched back to where he was normally sitting. I was called up to see the nurse and I walked in seeing a short and chubby, gray haired nurse at the computer. I said what the blonde haired nurse said for me to say for her to notice me, and she just nodded and pointed to a cabinet and responded, “In the cabinet, you can choose from a t-shirt, tank top, or a long sleeved shirt.” I nodded and said thank you, and opened the cabinet. I then picked up the t-shirt, and it said, “Uni’s will rule the world” I saw the many, many food stains on it, and asked if they have ever been washed. When the nurse said no, I quickly tossed the weird smelling t-shirt down. I used my two fingers to pick up the long sleeved shirt that said, “I am weird and I’m proud of it!” Nope. Not a chance. I grabbed the tank top and it had a nice picture of the milky way on it. Clearly it was also the most used, and I took it and said thank you to the nurse and walked out. She called to me, “Come back, I need to give you a pass.” I walked back and she handed me a familiar orange slip and opened the door. I walked out with the shirt scrunched up in a ball and behind my back so no one saw it, but then my belly was exposed, so I held the shirt with one hand and covered my stomach with my other. I walked out sheepishly smiling to Max and as I was leaving, and when I was opening the door I held the shirt in front of me because it was in the middle of classes, and I rushed to the bathroom. I washed the shirt, wrung it out, and changed into it. It didn’t feel as wet as I thought it would, but you could still definitely tell it was wet. I got my stuff from my locker, and this time I actually took the time to slightly organize it. I got my stuff for math , and I headed to my classroom downstairs. I opened the door to Mrs. Youngman’s room and I handed her my slip. Again, I probably looked horrendous, but I walked to my desk casually and plopped in my seat. I got out my homework from last night and placed it on my desk because we were still going over it. I asked my neighbor if I got some questions wrong or not, and she just grumbled and said while looking at my paper, “You are right, wrong, right, right, right, right, wrong, wrong, Ok? Good, now you’re caught up.” I caught a sarcastic hint in her voice and said, “You don’t like me, do you.” She turned her head and glared at me and retorted, “No, I completely love you! DUH, I don’t like you. You are the face of every web post nowadays.” I answered back, “You know, that isn’t a good thing, nowadays.” “Yeah, not a good thing for me, because no one goes to my blog anymore because the star of ‘The Talent of Embarrassment’ is so popular now.” “Not in a good way,” I put in to defend my point. “Still, I would like for you to stop being embarrassing.” “It’s not like I’m trying to be!!” I declared. “Well either way you’re destroying my blog.” It was my turn to glare at her. “I’m not destroying your blog, Genevieve is, because she set all this up.” “Oh really, you took the blaming card.” “Yes, I did, because Genevieve is a mutant monster that destroys humanity.” “No she isn’t! She’s a Godzilla with speaking powers and a nice mani pedi.” “Really? I bet she was thrown out in the garbage because her family didn’t want her and than a rich bratty family came along and saved her life because they wanted to have a little girl to spoil.” “Well I guess we agree on something,” The girl realized. “What’s your name by the way?” I asked casually. “Shaimaa. My name is Shaimaa.” She answered. “Interesting name.” I commented. “Soo, what’s the answer for number nine?” Shaimaa answered and we chatted for almost the rest of class. When class was over me and Shaimaa were chatting all the way until my locker. Surprisingly, her locker is just behind mine. She went to her locker and opened it, containing a mirror inside and posters that say, “Save the economy, You’ll live!” And a bunch of other cheesy posters for the benefit of the economy. I walked over to her insanely organized locker, and I said, “How in the world do you have your locker so neat and tidy like that? There’s no way my locker could fit all of my stuff.” I could tell though now that she is a real organized person. The way her smooth black hair is just so tucked into her ponytail, how her clothes fit her just right, the way she stacks her stuff when she carries it, and how she never makes a grammatical error. She isn’t a bad you-want-to-hate-it perfect, but she’s a organized-just-so kind of perfect. She turned around, spotted my locker, and cringed. “No wonder you’re always late to your classes.” She realized. “Hey, I’m not late to all of my classes, just about one a week.” She looked at me and said, “Oh really,” In a sarcastic, silly tone. She came over to my locker and took out a bunch of random folders, “What are these for?” She questioned. I grabbed few and examined them. I held up one and declared, “This blue one is for. . .French!! Oh, wait, that green one if for French. I think this one is for Social studies.” I picked up a pink one and opened it, seeing it contained all of my homework I have or ever had. I handed it to Shaimaa and admitted, “I have no clue what this one is.” She opened it and examined it. “I’ll take home all of your folders and notebooks tonight except for the ones that contain homework, and I’ll clean them out.” I looked up to her and asked, “Really? Is this a trick? Are you going to trash all my stuff and say your dog ate it? I barely know you, how do you know I can trust you?” Shaimaa turned around and gestured to her locker. “You want this to be your locker, right?” I nodded. “Yeah, well except for the cheesy economy posters.” She rolled her eyes at me and gave me a playful shove. I took the stuff I needed from her and headed to language arts. I said bye to Shaimaa as she headed to Mr. Green’s trailer. When I got there Mrs. Draco was taking homework, and I handed her mine. She took mine and muttered, “Not bad, Crenton. Not bad,” I sighed and relaxed in my seat. An annoying boy named Maddux said, “Not bad? Gee, Mrs. Draco HATES you. She said to me, ‘Great job, Maddux.’” “Since when do you know exactly how Mrs. Draco feels?” I retorted. “Ever since she said I was her favorite student.” He said boldly.”And when was that, teacher’s pet?” He glared at me like he had the most confidence in the world, but then his eyebrows started shaking. I leaned back in my chair and listened to what Mrs. Draco was announcing. “I am assigning you guys a project.” The whole class groaned. “Because the elementary kids are dressing up on costume day-” “Oh yeah, a second halloween in December.” Someone randomly called out. Mrs. Draco eyed the direction the comment came from but continued talking. “All language arts classes in the school will be dressing up as idioms.” The class perked up a bit, but not completely satisfied. “And, what we’ll be doing on the 20th is for the whole day we’ll be going class to class with a partner of your choice to get different candy at each classroom across the building.” The class ERUPTED! Kids were clapping and laughing and patting each other on their backs like they just won the olympics. My first thought when the “partner” came up was Courtney. We could have so much fun doing this!! And, only in 3 days! But, then again, Courtney’s name hurt me. I guess I could go with Shaimaa, if she doesn’t already have ideas on who she’s going with. She doesn’t strike me as the friendless type. Mrs. Draco dismissed us to get our chromebooks and, as usual, I stay back after the rush is over. Once most people had already grabbed their chromebook. I walked back to my table and logged on. I opened google classroom and Mrs. Draco had put up something new. I refreshed the page and a short story called 11 popped up. Mrs. Draco explained that we’ll be answering questions about this passage with a partner chosen by popsicle sticks. Again, Courtney popped into my head. Why can’t I get her out!! I started hitting my head with the bottom of my palm and Maddux just stared at me and said, “Are you alright Alisha?” He started snickering. I sat up and straightened my hair while saying, “Yeah, I’m fine.” I glanced around and I noticed the class has died down. Mrs. Draco started pulling sticks. “Maddie is with Macy. . . Julian is with. . .Kevin B., Jacky is with Linda, Alisha is with. . .” the tension here was strong “Kevin L. Mathew is . . .” I got up and carried my chromebook to where Kevin L. sits. Kevin is the kind of guy that never gets in the way but pitches in the work that he needs to do. The perfect partner type. He also never asks questions but answers yours. I was happy with who I got until Maddux and his poor partner sat next to us at the table. I groaned and started reading the article. “So, what paragraph are you on Crenton, huh, huh?” Maddux started nagging. I never answered him but he still kept asking although I was clearly giving the hint I wanted to be left alone. I poked Kevin on the shoulder and gestured to another table with another pair of partners sitting there. He got the hint and we got up to move over there. Maddux looked disappointed that he couldn’t bother us anymore, but I enjoyed the look on his face. I continued reading and once I finished I got up to grab the question paper. I gave one to Kevin and he took it and started writing answers. I sat down and started copying off him, not even caring. When Mrs. Draco came over I started writing my own answers because Mrs. Draco hates people copying answers, even if they are partners. When she left I went right back to what I was doing and I saw the light in the vent. I ignored it, because the last time I didn’t I ended up with a decorated face and a newspaper article about me. I continued copying but the blue light would not go away. Maddux noticed it and taped his partner on the shoulder to show him, but the light disappeared when his partner turned around. Huh. I finished my paper and walked up to turn it in, but Maddux grabbed my shirt on my way up and muttered, “Did you see that?” I nodded and tugged my shirt back to turn in my paper. I passed him again and he waved for me to come closer. I sighed and came closer and he asked, “Do you have any idea what that was?” I nodded again and said, “If you stop bugging me for the rest of the school year starting now, I’ll eventually tell you. That includes bothering me about telling you.” He groaned and muttered, “Ssssssure. . . .” I held out my hand to shake but realized how gross that would be so I pulled it back when he put his hand out. He cleared his throat and pulled his hand back while also smoothing his shirt. I headed back and because I finished my assignment, I started reading. Mrs. Draco came around passing papers and she announced, “This is your homework. It is due tomorrow and I am letting you work on it now.” I got the paper and It was an article about monkeys. It was a two page article, and the question paper was double sided. The bell rang and we all started packing up. I was stacking my stuff when Maddux came up to me and said, “When are you going to tell me?” I turned around and said, “I promised some time, not tomorrow or in ten minutes, I said sometime. And don’t nag me about, I can cancel the deal anytime I want to.” He moaned and left me alone. I grinned while I walked to my locker. I got to my locker and some stuff fell out, but this time I wasn’t too mad at it because I knew Shaimaa was going to help me fix it. I saw Shaimaa and I waved over to her. “Shaimaa! Over here!” She nodded and headed in my direction. I came up to her, “So,” I asked, “Would you like to be my partner for the idiom day costume thing?” Shaimaa’s face lit up. “Yes! Now me and my friends won’t have to worry about the odd number of people.” She glanced at me “That’s not the only reason we’re partners though, OK?” I nodded and laughed. “OK.” She explained to me that her friends Hannah, Charlotte, Lauren, Sophia, Addy, and Maddie were stumped on who’s with who. Because there are 7 of them and you have to be in partners, they worried on who was going to be the outsider. Shaimaa seemed really excited to tell her friends that their dilemma was solved. Shaimaa came over to my locker to take some things and my locker looked ridiculous. You could see the BACK OF THE LOCKER. It was insane. When Shaimaa saw my gaping mouth she laughed and said, “Just you wait till tomorrow.” I took my backpack out of my locker and said, “I can’t wait!” She smiled and walked to her locker to pack up. I put my stuff in my backpack and started walking to my classroom. When I arrived Maddux strutted up to me and started following me wherever I went. I asked him what he was doing and his response was, “I don’t want to miss any chance you can tell me.” I shooed him away and said, “Don’t you have any other friends to bother?” He said no without any hint of sadness in his face. I asked him why he wasn’t sad he had no friends but he just said, “Because I haven’t had any friends for so long it doesn’t bother me.” “What do you do during lunch?” I wanted to know. “I just eat.” “Wait, you don’t, like, trade or anything?” “Nope. I like my food just the way it is.” I tried imagining not being able to trade and choose what you prefer, but I couldn’t. “Recess?” I asked. “I just get out a book and read.” I couldn’t believe it. Who would he complain to when it was cold, this guy is missing out on so much. But, this does not mean I should feel sorry for him. It’s his fault that he has no friends. I mean, it’s his habit to tell people he’s better than everybody else. My bus was called and I left the room, leaving Maddux there alone. I walked outside and a gust of air blew my hair in my face. I ran into somebody with a blue backpack that looked REALLY full. The person turned around, and I saw it was Shaimaa! We laughed and I asked, “What bus do you ride?” “twenty four.” “No way! I ride bus twenty four! How come I’ve never seen you on?” “I only ride in the afternoons.” She answered. “Oooh, what seat?” She traced back and answered, “Seat eighteen.” I nodded. “That’s why I never see you, your right in front of me.” We continued walking and Shaimaa told me a little what she’s going to do with my folder. I got on the bus and sat down, soon getting up on my knees to look over the seat and talk to Shaimaa. I told Shaimaa about the fight I had with my mom about milk, and we both laughed. I didn’t need to tell her about any of the mishaps this morning because they were all blasting on the internet. She told me that her mom is a baker and has to wake up very early because the bakery opens at 7:00, and Shaimaa wakes up at 7:00, so she always hangs out at her neighbors house and her neighbors drive to school so she goes with them to school. And when she gets off the bus to that street of houses, she actually crosses the street to the plaza that has her mom’s bakery. She stays there to do her homework and projects on the computer or on the desk in the office of the bakery. By the time she gets home and the bakery closes it’s around 9:30, so she has 30 minutes to make dinner or have her mom make dinner for the two of them. She said that her dad left them to take this job he needed for them to pay for the bills, but he never came back from that trip. “I’m used to the late dinners because of my early breakfasts,” she told me. “I usually don’t get much sleep, but I’m used to it.” The bus stopped at the street of houses behind the bakery and Shaimaa got off. I said bye to her but then realized I never got her number. I sighed but told myself I’ll get her number tomorrow. I only realized that I was still sitting with Nadia when Shaimaa got off. I waved hi to her but she turned and started talking to Emma. I sighed and got out a coloring notebook, opening it to a page that’s already partially colored. I continued to color it with the gel pens in my schoolbox. My coloring session was peaceful until the bus stopped at my stop. I forgot the fact that I have to get off the bus, so I was scrambling to pack up my gel pens, my school box, my folder that I put the coloring pad on and the coloring pad, and I think I lost some gel pens in the process. I was holding my backpack from the strap on my arm and my coat wasn’t even zipped up and I was freezing. Eventually I made it off the bus, and I packed up all my stuff. Connor didn’t wait for me at all, I just saw him race to the side door. I put my backpack on and raced up to the side door and burst in the house. I smelled cookie batter and I threw my stuff on the floor. Today was COOKIE DAY!!!! I ripped my coat off and stomped the snow off my boots while racing in the kitchen. I went over to the counter that was loaded with sugar and eggs and flour and peanut butter, and I stuck my finger in the peanut butter and licked it off my finger. I asked what kind of cookies she was making, and she said, “Peanut butter, sugar cookies and double chocolate cookies..” I knew exactly how to make her peanut butter cookies-1 cup of peanut butter, 1 egg, and 3/4 cup of sugar for 12-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven- but I had no idea how to make her sugar cookies. No matter how many times I ask she doesn’t tell me and says “When you’re ready to know, I’ll tell you.” I mean, when will I be ready? It’s just a cookie recipe! I asked her for like the twentieth time and she said again, “When you’re ready.” I groaned and walked upstairs to see Dad on his computer emailing this dude named Travis. I walked in and asked, “Who’s that?” And he jumped in his seat, apparently I scared him that bad. He closed that site and turned to face me, red-faced. “One of my buddies from college.” I nodded and left, hoping he wouldn’t go on about how those were the good days. Just him and his buddies, riding to the club to stay up too late and getting a little woozy. He would say how he would need to call his mom to pick him up because she could tell by the way he talked on the phone that he was drunk. I opened the door to my room and flopped on my bed, looking at the pale blue walls, covered with my favorite drawings I’ve done. I glanced over to my desk with all the papers falling off, and I walked over and shoved some more off to create space for a new drawing I was working on. I looked at it, and realized it was one of my not-too-good drawings. I glanced at it and crumpled it up. There was no way that that trash piece would sell. I picked a fresh paper from my stack and started lightly scratching the paper with my pencil. I let my mind wander as my pencil danced across the paper. I blew up my forehead, noticing a few flying hairs on my forehead. I put down my pencil and got up to change out of the galaxy tank top that I forgot to give back. My eyes caught the paper that I was drawing on, and I noticed it was a picture of a a full moon hiding behind a cloud. I was so surprised to see that on a paper of mine. Connor called for me and yelled, “Cookies are ready!!” I scrambled downstairs, almost face-planting when I thought I was going to plant my feet on the flat ground, but it was another step. (That happens a lot) When I missed the ground and it felt like my foot was flying through the ground, my heart skipped what felt like 30 beats. When I caught myself I felt like I had no balance at all, but it felt good to breathe again. I stumbled to the kitchen and saw mom setting the hot cookies on the cooling rack, and Connor literally drooling over 3-4 cookies. I came over and carried Connor over to the couch and raced to the rack to do my part on the drooling. The double chocolate cookies were still soft and gooey, and the rich aroma was filling my nostrils. Mom shoved me out of the way to reach her sugar cookie dough, me realizing that now was my chance to see the ingredients in her cookies. I flung my head up and saw lots of ingredients on the counter. I tried making a mental list of the ingredients, but once Mom put the cookies in the oven, she smiled at me and said, “Those are the ingredients for the Double Chocolate cookies, Alisha.” I sighed out of disappointment and Mom started laughing and chuckled, “You think I would make it that easy for you? I made the batter just before you came home, put it in the fridge, and put the ingredients away when the bus passed by.” I shook my head while smiling, she is smarter than she lets on. “When do you think we can eat one of the cookies?” I asked while waggling my eyebrows. She picked one up and put it in my trembling, not-wanting-to-break-the-cookie hands. I knew it was a cookie, but it had no reason to break. “Now.” She answered. I thanked her and stepped backwards so Connor didn’t crush my cookie when he trampled over to the cookie rack. I took a small, crumbly but creamy bite, with the chocolate flavor filling up every corner of my mouth. I took another bigger bite, and sat down enjoying it. I couldn’t describe it, it was made with dark chocolate chips, and the dough was chocolate so it was sweet and bitter at the same time, a perfect balance. The creamy, melted chocolate chips pairing with the dry crumbly cookie, I closed my eyes. I finished chewing and opened my eyes to take another bite, seeing Connor licking his fingers, crumbs all over his face, no cookie to be seen. “Connor! You murdered that cookie!” I cried. “The cookie was going to die anyway, I was just speeding up the process so it would go through less pain.” He reasoned. My mouth gaped open, wishing I never brought a cookie’s death into this, it just makes me feel guilty for eating that cookie. Oh well, I chomped another bite out of the suffering, dying cookie. Once I finished my cookie I raced upstairs to finally change out of the galaxy tank top that I never returned. I opened my dresser and found about 5 shirts. “MOM!! YOU NEED TO DO THE LAUNDRY!!” I yelled, while pulling out a random shirt. I went to the bathroom to change, and closed the door. I was in the process of taking my shirt off when I thought I saw the blue light coming out of the vent. This freaked me out because I would like to have privacy of my own, and I didn’t want those blue peering eyes to see me naked. I yanked my shirt off and quickly tossed on my long sleeved shirt. I saw the light and yelped, grabbing a loofah on a stick and stabbing at the vent, only realizing this didn’t help at all after the light was gone. I quickly changed my not-so-helpful-weapon to a toothbrush, hoping this would be able to fit through the vent. I thought I spotted the blue light in the sink and started stabbing at it, seeing it won’t go away I stabbed at it harder. My arm started getting tired so I stopped for a moment and noticed that the blue I saw was Connor’s weird bubble fruit toothpaste. Dang it! I saw the light again, and I knew this time it was the blue-eyed-boy. I grabbed my toothbrush, and started stabbing, bristle side out. I thought I got him when I felt the bristles hit something, and I heard a slight “Ow,” It was so faint you could barely hear it, but I heard it. Mwahahahahaa. I didn’t see the light anymore so I tried to take the toothbrush out, but I had lodged it in there so I couldn’t take it out so I left it there. It looked so weird when I left. I walked out, and stomped downstairs. “I’m going to go drop off Conner at boy scouts, Alisha.” I nodded and tossed the shirt on my backpack to bring to school, and stomped back upstairs. I went down the long hallway to Connor’s room to continue building my lego city (yes, I still play with those). I saw Connor in there sitting on his bed, touching what looked like a scratch on his upper cheek. I walked in and his head jerked up, finally realizing I was there. “Oh, hi, you, uh, startled me. I was, just, getting ready for boy scouts?” He quickly grabbed his sash. I did my silly suspicious stare. “Oh really, you, Connor Samuel Crenton, getting ready for a boy scouts thing without being told. You have never in your lifetime gotten ready for something without being told. Let me see where it hurts.” I started to sit down next to him. “No, I’m fine! I actually have to go see Mom.” He replied sharply while jumping out of his bed. That was odd, I thought. Conner has never not wanted me to see if he’s bleeding or not (He HATES blood. Either passes out or screams and cries when he sees it. His or anybody else’s). I headed back down the hall to my room right in front of the stairs. I walked in and flopped on my bed. What harm could a little nap do? I tossed my blanket on my midsection and scooched up to my pillow. I was nice and comfortable, until the blanket warmed up even more. I took the blanket off but then I was too cold. I was debating where to put the blanket for like 10 minutes, but by then I wasn’t even tired. I walked over to my desk to examine my drawing again. What in the world is this? I know what it is, duh, a full moon behind clouds- wait, something just clicked. A full moon. . . werewolves!! I raced into the office and flyed onto the chair closest to the kid’s computer. I searched, “Werewolves” And about a million links appeared. Oh gosh. Dad turned around and stared at me. “Werewolves? Where’d you get that idea?” He chuckled awkwardly. “Something I randomly drew.” I didn’t even turn, my glare focused on the long, long geek-written paragraph. He turned around in his spinning chair and started typing to that Travis person again. I peeped over his shoulder slightly, glasses not helping me read the tiny letters on the distant screen. I saw something about tunnelers- no tunneling something. . .tunneling video games? I’m just not gonna ask. Who has even heard of something like a tunneling video game? Sounds really stupid. I finished the paragraph and learned nothing. Probably because I was having one of those moments where I was reading but thinking of something else so I didn’t read anything. I wasn’t in the mood to “re”read a paragraph so I got up and went downstairs. I sat down on a stool and started drawing our fridge and some cabinets that were open and roughly sketched their contents. Mom was bustling around the kitchen, closing and opening lids, cabinets, and the fridge, wanting to pack up to drop off Conner, so she ruined my whole drawing. The ones I had drawn open were now all closed and the ones I had drawn closed were now open, so I gave up and went into the living room to draw our fireplace. I love drawing our fireplace, this is where I always sit in family gatherings with our grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles. It is also where on christmas where the person opening the gift sits, so it has many memories stored in its ashes. I flipped to a new page in my notebook and started sketching. “Alisha, dear, can you please go get the mail for me? Thank you!” “I didn’t even say yes mom,” “I don’t care, go get the mail.” I sighed and tossed my notebook on the couch. I grabbed my phone and shoved it in my tiny pocket in my jeans. I walked to the mudroom and put on a coat, not even caring to zip it up. I walked outside and trotted down the driveway, almost tripping every step (I know, I have great balance). I noticed something moving out of the corner of my eye, but just ignored it. It was probably my neighbors playing a big game of boy only nerf battle. They never let me play, probably because the last time I played I got over dramatic and shot one boy in the place where it hurts, like 5 feet away. Oops, oh well. I stepped on the curb and opened the dirty white mailbox. I found a lot of boring official looking letters for mom, because, well, she’s a lawyer. And none for dad because he works at a mall. Auntie Anne’s to be exact. Every once and a while dad brings home a few pretzels, but most of the time he eats them before he gets home. I did find this odd letter to mom though, it was written in what looked like a red ink of some sort. I held it separate from the other letters because she needed to see that one before the others. I was walking up and I saw another sign of movement, my head whipping in that direction and seeing nothing. I was taking steady steps up, not wanting to fall. There was another flash of movement, and I defended myself with my thin little arms. I probably seemed sooo intimidating. A strong, hairy, hand covered my mouth and hit my glasses from behind, and I muffled a scream. A cloth bag covered my head, and I dropped the mail trying to get it off. When the man let go of my face again, I screamed, I felt woozy, heard screams, and I fell, seeing nothing but black.