Can You See The Monsters Around You?

Hiya, Welcome back to PEP! I know I said June was going to be my opinion month. However, while I have many more opinions, I’ve run out of ones I desire to express here just now. As such, the next three Fridays will be writing posts in preparation for Camp NaNoWriMo in July. I don’t know what I’ll be writing that month yet, I have a few different projects going on and haven’t decided which on to focus on.

So for today, here’s a few different short pieces:
Eddie glanced behind him, unable to shake the feeling that he was being followed. He didn’t know why he would be followed, he was of no worth to anyone, dead or alive. But when he glanced behind him, he could just make out a shadow figure about a block behind him. They were careful to stick to the even darker part of the street so he couldn’t even tell if it was a guy or girl following. The fact they were so careful to stay at a certain distance and stay unknown sent a chill down his spine and he knew he had to get out of here. He looked in front, careful not to give away he’d seen them, while looking for the next street sign. He suppressed his sigh of relief, he was only two streets away from his destination that was located on a bright and busy street. If he could get there, he should be okay.
Taking another careful glance, he realized the person had moved up closer, now only half a block behind him. He started walking quicker, hearing the footsteps behind him match his pace. He threw caution to the wind as he was only block and half away from his street and began running. He wasn’t good at very much but running was one thing he was exceptional at, having honed it as a child and teen, running from bullies. He heard the steps behind him begin running as well and he pushed himself harder, the street was in sight now.
He broke onto the lit street at full speed and didn’t dare slow down until he’d made it to the hotel he was headed to. He stepped in, uncaring how it looked coming to a dead stop from his dash.
The hotel clerk came around the desk, “Are you alright, sir?”
He nodded, unable to speak just yet.
After he’d gasped in some air, “I’m fine now. I was headed this way on a dark street and someone was following me.”
“Do you know who it was?”
He shook his head, “I never got a look beyond a shadow figure. But every time I changed pace, they matched me, even when I began running.”
The clerk nodded, “You’ll want to stay off dark streets now. There’s been rumors of kidnapping by unknown individuals but nothing concrete. Clearly you’ve been marked so it’ll be best for you to stay on busier streets, even during the day.”
He certainly didn’t have any argument and headed to his room.
Once he was out of sight and hearing, the clerk sighed.
“They almost got you. Fortunately you managed to escape from those people.”
His eyes glowed red, teeth sharpening, “After all, we can’t lose our meal now, can we…”
The moral of this story? Not all in the dark are monsters and not all monsters reside in the shadows.

Maya stared at the young girl in disbelief before gazing around the room.
“How?”
What had been a pristine bedroom perfect for a little girl was now in shattered pieces strewed around as if a tornado had struck.
The little girl, Emma, shrugged, “I don’t know, miss. I was looking out the window and when I turned, it looked like this.”
Maya furrowed her brow, suspicious, but the innocent look in Emma’s eyes fooled her and she chose to ignore the mystery.
“Well, come along. We’ll need to have the housekeeping staff clean this while we shop for new décor. You can choose it this time since you’re here. And remember, in private, it’s Maya.”
Emma chirped, twirling in her bright pink ruffled dress, “Okay, Maya!”
“While we’re out, we’ll pick you up a new wardrobe as well.”
“I like the bright colors but can I have some pants? Dresses are so constricting.”
Being a forward thinking young woman, “Of course, though we’ll have to make sure some of the clothes follow the dress code of your new school.”
“I’m going to a new school? When do I start?”
“Of course, your previous school was passable but as one of society now, you’ll need to be among your peers. You start next week Monday.”
Emma smiled, “Yay!”
Maya smiled, a child’s innocence was so amusing sometimes.

Maya stepped into the principal’s office, immediately spotting Emma, her blazer torn, hair unkempt and a bruise already appearing on her cheek.
Glancing at the two boys on the bench, she turned to the principal, “What is the meaning of this? Why is Emma hurt? Who’s responsible for this?!”
“Not to worry, Miss Randall. Everything’s being take care of. These two boys,” he gestured to the two boys on the bench in worse condition than Emma, “apparently decided to bully miss Emma as she’s the new student. The playground monitor spotted them pushing her to the ground on the playground and brought all three here. They claim that she made them do it, that she took over their minds. However, not only she but several students in the vicinity have stated that she was minding her own business, talking to a couple of other girls in her class, when they came up and shoved her. Mr. Greg is being suspended as he didn’t actually lay a hand on her, though he’ll be on probation when he returns in a month, and Mr. Brandon is expelled as he was the on to actually shove her.”
Maya nodded her head, “Good. Young men should not lay hands on young women and certainly should not be making up such lies.”
One of the boys, no doubt Brandon, spoke up, “We didn’t do it! She made us, she’s framing us!”
Maya sneered at the two boys, even as the principal let out an exasperated sigh, “Are you accusing my ward of being a liar? Despite numerous others backing up her account? How exactly would she have made you? Clearly your punishments aren’t coming too soon.”
The two boys slumped as clearly another adult wasn’t going to believe them.
Greg looked up in time to see Emma smirk at them as the adults were distracted with each other. He thought about pointing it out but had no doubt she’d wipe it off before anyone looked and he’d be the one punished as he was now for something Brandon did.
Instead, he resigned himself to eventually being expelled as well once he’d returned. She’d clearly set her sights on them and no one would believe him over her as her blonde curls and light emerald eyes made her look oh so innocent.

Maya looked up in surprise as Emma came running in, tears pouring down her face, quickly followed by Greg, the young man from several months before. He hadn’t acted up since, instead Emma had made a friend of him so she was confused as to why Emma was so upset now.
“What is it, Emma? What happened? Did Greg do something?”
Emma shook her head, blonde curls flying wildly, “No! He tried to protect me. It was those other two! Christie and Hailey! They started picking on me, calling me an evil witch, telling me that I should be burned for what I’ve done, that no wonder my parents don’t want me!”
Maya was immediately angry and had Greg fetch her butler.
She sent him after Mrs. Daniels and Mrs. Watson, the two girls mothers. She would not stand for those girls saying such horrid things about her ward.
The two women came in short order, curious as to why Miss Randall had summoned them. Had something happened to their daughters. But they saw their daughters sitting out in the gardens, perfectly fine. However, Miss Randall’s ward was nowhere to be seen. They entered the parlor and immediately knew something was up from the look on her pretty face.
Once they’d been told of what their daughters had done, they fell over themselves, apologizing. Maya Randall was not someone you wanted to anger in their small town and clearly their daughters would need to be reminded and that as such, Emma Randall was not to be disrespected.
Christie and Hailey were summoned and reprimanded for their words.
Hailey remained quiet but Christie tried to defend herself, “But Mother, it’s true! Strange things have happened ever since she came into town! She even got Brandon expelled when he’d never done anything before. It has to be her!”
“That’s enough!”
“But-“
“Christine Elise Daniels!”
She fell silent, knowing when her mother used her full name, she’d only make things worse for herself.
Apologizing once more, the two mothers led their daughters out by their ears, informing them that both were grounded and just wait for their fathers to get home.

Upstairs in the redecorated, dark blue and light pink room, Emma watched the two girls be led out as Greg stood a few feet away, watching his ‘friend’.
She smiled, the sharp teeth out of place on the innocent face, “Well, that’s two more that won’t think of stepping out of their place.”
Her eyes gleaming, she looked at Greg, watching with glee as fear entered his brown eyes once more, “You know, If I wanted, I could destroy everything.”
Voice barely steady, “I know, ma’am.”
An innocent smile replacing the conniving one once more as she heard footsteps on the stairs, “But I’m a good girl.”
As Maya entered the room and Emma asked what had happened, Greg simply prayed he’d stay on Emma Randall’s good side.
The moral of this story? Not all monsters are what you expect and even adults can be deceived.
© Paula Crofoot

Sometimes they win

Slán.
Paula

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