Is a person crazy if the things that only they can see are real? Book in progress.
|Recess, the part of the school day that Rebecca dreaded the most. Other kids’ hated math or English but her most anguishing time of the day was when her teacher, Mr. Teague, opened the door as kids spilled out onto the playground. It was during this time that she got the most bruises. They would make fun, call her names. It was no wonder that she developed an imaginary friend, someone to help her get through the tough times. |
She would often be seen talking to no one by the other kids. This fact alone would set her up for more abuse. Jessie, her imaginary girl-friend, would tell her to ignore Wayne and his gang of idiots. Jessie would tell her that eventually they would get there just desserts, whatever that meant. Today didn’t look like it was going to be the day.
Rebecca ran as fast as her 10 year old legs could carry her. Jessie had told her to run after Wayne and his jerk friends had cornered her next to the swings. The name calling started and then someone had hit her from behind. It might have been Ritchie or Charles but she didn’t know for sure, it had happened so fast. Jessie had told her to run and she took off toward the wooden slide maze. She was almost there now. Had the bullies followed? She dared not look back.
The slide maze was made entirely of wooden beams fastened together with metal struts. It consisted of several tunnels woven throughout the structure as well as some stairways leading up and around. There were slides of varying length running off it but the main reason she had run to it was for its tunnels of wood. It was the first thing she thought of, even before running in to tell Mr. Teague. He probably wouldn’t believe her anyway. Wayne wouldn’t do such a thing was closer to what he might think. She talks to herself and clearly has issues anyway.
She reached the structure and immediately began working her way in. She didn’t hear the boys behind her anymore once the labyrinth had engulfed her. She welcomed the silence. After a few more turns she stopped to listen.
“Keep going!” Jessie’s voice broke the stillness like a gunshot.
A startled Rebecca began inching in further. The deeper she went the narrower the passages became.
“What if I get stuck in here?”
“Do as I say! Do you want to be hit again?”
Rebecca fought the claustrophobia engulfing her and pressed up against the wooden walls as they narrowed around her. She dropped to crawl when the ceiling closed in at an angle. When she was sure she could go no further she stopped. Her breathing came in quick, short bursts. Partly due to her run but mostly as the fear of getting stuck wormed its way into her mind. Her chest began to throb.
“Calm down. They won’t find you in here. Stay put and they’ll lose interest and leave.”
She felt the pain in her chest subside with her breathing. Then she heard the boys.
They were in the maze now, she was sure of it. She heard their laughter as they called to one another. They had obviously all taken different ways in. It was just a matter of time before they would find her and then what? She had no where to go. She had effectively trapped herself like a wild animal in a net waiting for the hunters to finish the job.
She looked up in the darkness to see the metal bolts holding the beams around her begin to move. Then the wood started creaking, ever so quietly at first. Jessie was in front of her smiling.
“I told you they’d get theirs didn’t I Becca?” Jessie whispered. “They can’t hurt us.”
Rebecca began to shake her head back and forth. She couldn’t speak. Jessie just looked at her. You’re a pathetic weakling was written all over her face. Rebecca closed her eyes and covered her ears to block out the creaking. The calls of the boys were close now.
A beam somewhere to her left made a resounding crack as it broke. Half a second later wooden beams began cracking all around her. The tears streamed down her face as she desperately tried to block out the sound of breaking beams mixed with the boys’ screams.
What was over in less than a minute, to her, seemed to go on forever. She opened her eyes and slowly stood up. Around her the slide maze was nothing more than unrecognizable piles of debris. She tried to comprehend the pain that the boys must have endured in their final moments. She stood in the middle of the structure in the only spot that had been spared, crying.
“What’s the matter with you?” Jessie startled her back from her grief.
“Why, why did you do that?”
“No one can treat us that way Becca. No one.”
Rebecca turned around to the shouts from the other kids and Mr. Teague as they stopped just short of the debris.
Continued in Chapter Five
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