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from Sasha's Journey by Sheri Conaway

Copyright © 2014–2020 Sheri Conaway

Chapter 5

“Just another day in paradise!” Sasha grumbled, trudging home after another disaster-filled day at school. Just once, she’d like to have a boring day when nobody noticed or spoke to her, much less tried to make her life the living hell it had become since she moved here. Unfortunately, today had not been that day.

Though she’d succeeded in slipping into her seat unnoticed, the respite was temporary. She couldn’t keep her mind from wandering to her missing parents and a certain telepathic cat. Her distraction meant she missed the question her history teacher posed. Once again, she was the center of attention. Her classmates’ rude comments and jokes concerning her intelligence stung. Back home, she and Mariel had shared honors at the top of their class.

If that wasn’t enough, she tripped while crossing the quad to the tree where she ate her solitary lunch. As she picked herself up and gathered her books and lunch, she saw Josh bent over double, barely able to get the words “clumsy” and “moron” out between gasps. He would find her predicament amusing, especially since she was reasonably certain it was his foot she tripped over. She looked up to see Amy’s smirk and heard words forming in her mind. The encounter with Tess made her realize they might not be her imagination after all.

italicized textMaybe now you’ll see you don’t belong here. Go back where you came from. Everyone hates you here.

Refusing to let her tormentors see her cry, she’d bitten the inside of her lip and clamped her jaw until her lips turned white. Throwing Amy a look that would melt steel, she’d clutched her books to her chest and completed the trip to a scraggly tree holding lonely vigil outside the administration building and slid down its trunk. She’d thrust Paul’s uncharacteristic look of sympathy from her mind. He’d been as cruel as the rest, so why would he show any compassion now?

At least the day was over and she was on her way back to the only place where, at least before Tess’s visit, she could be certain nobody would be bothering her for the next sixteen hours or so. She only hoped that annoying furball would make herself scarce. The feeling that her world was about to take another hard left turn grew stronger, the closer she got to the house she’d never consider home. The thought: “what else could possibly go wrong today?” started to form in her head, but she quickly squashed it down to avoid giving the fates something else with which to swat her like an unsuspecting gnat.

She focused her attention instead on the sweltering heat sending rivulets of sweat down her back and the scorching sidewalk threatening to liquefy the soles of her sneakers. Despite the censorious silence of the two relics playing their interminable checker game, she looked forward to reaching the General Store where the concrete was replaced by wooden slats; the few precious feet allowing her shoes to cool a bit. Still, the voices assaulted her brain as she crossed the wooden path.

italicized textThem kids hain’t managed ta run ye off yet? Back in my day, ye wouldn’a lasted a week. Mebbe ah need ta give them welps a few pointers.
Ya need ta git gone ‘fore you and yer kin taint us with yer furrin ways.

Sasha was sure nobody else heard their words, but there was no mistaking the rusty laughter or the cold stares as she passed the two men. Their words hit their mark though she kept her...

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