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Cricket the Early Years Part 1

Cricket the Early Years Part 1

This is the story of Cricket and how she got to be the way she is today.

Before Cricket became Emily Truesdale, she was Marcia Shaw of Paramus, New Jersey U.S.A. She was an only child with two loving and caring parents. Her early childhood was normal with no significant differences from any other girl her own age. She was sweet, innocent and caring with a few friends and no enemies. To most people she was small, quiet and a top student. Her life changed in the third grade, when the school singled her out for her academic achievement. The school cheered for her, but her fellow students became jealous and isolated her. This caused the changes in Marcia that shaped her future and her reputation. She slowly evolved from being sweet and innocent to the tough, hard and evil person who took down countries and companies and ran one of the strongest wolf rescue organizations in the world.

Her trouble started in 1984, when her parents decided to switch schools to one, which gave her a more academic challenge. It was an all girl parochial school for academically gifted. The school required every student to wear a uniform, which eliminated the fashion show every day. Marcia walked into the office to get her assigned class schedule and encountered her first trial in a new school. The most popular girl in the fourth grade met her as she entered the office. Her name was Sarah and was one of the official greeters at the school. After checking in, Marcia picked up her information packet and schedule. Sarah took her by the hand and led her to her classroom. Sarah was also in the same class and sat next to Marcia. The day went well until lunch when Sarah abandoned Marcia and joined her friends. The elite clique of the school was Sarah and her friends and membership was by invitation only.

As Sarah sat with her friends, Marcia came over to her, but found no place to sit at the table with her. Marcia looked around and saw a table with only one girl sitting at it. She went over and sat down with the lonely girl. The girl at the table introduced herself to Marcia. Her name was Monica and she was new to the school too. Sarah abandoned her the same way she did Marcia.

Meanwhile at Sarah's table, the group was abuzz with the latest news of the school. The chatter continued for a while and soon, they all looked over at Monica and Marcia, pointing laughing at them.

"There are the two newest losers at the school now. They are so drab and so not worthy. I don't want to be seen with either of them again." Sarah said and the group laughed with her.

Marcia looked over when the laughter started and saw the group taunting them. She controlled the anger that rose inside her. It was her first day, she thought, it might get easier as time moved on.

She asked Monica, "How long have you been at this school?"

"I started here a few weeks ago. It is a good school and the other kids are OK for the most part. Not many people like Sarah and her group." Monica replied.

"Are they always like that?" Marcia asked pointing her head in the direction of Sarah's table.

"They pretty much are," replied Monica.

Monica and Marcia sat quietly and finished lunch together. They got up from their table, deposited their trash and walked back to their classroom. Just as they left, Sarah and her crew blew past them pushing them out of the way, as if they were not there. Marcia frowned and Monica smiled at her, knowing how she felt. She thought, Marcia and I will be very good friends some day. They quickly walked to class and sat next to each other. Marcia found a friend and was content for the first time in her life.

One facet of life at the school was that everyone wore the same uniform. This stifled the need to stand out and dress to impress your peers. For Sarah and her cohorts, it held them in check and stifled their creativity in their wardrobe. The uniform consisted of white cotton ankle length socks, buffed black tied shoes, navy blue or black slacks or just below knee length skirt, a long-sleeved white shirt, a red plaid cravat, a navy blue blazer with the school emblem on the breast pocket and for very cold days a navy blue sweater worn under the blazer. Even the backpacks carried by the students were of a specific type, color and size, unadorned by patches. The only thing left for creativity was the student's hair. Monica and Marcia wore their hair short, combed to the left and parted on the right. This is the one area where Sarah and her cohorts excelled in standing out. Each of the girls had long hair worn either piled up or straight, adorned with colored swatches of blue, green, purple or neon pink hair.

Each day for Monica and Marcia became an adventure as they wound their way through the labyrinth known as the fourth grade. Marcia made a few more friends and had her own group loosely forming about her. In her eyes, her group was just that, friends and nothing more. Sarah viewed it as a direct threat to her being the queen of the fourth grade. The bond forged between Monica and Marcia, grew very strong and they became inseparable.

It was late October. The weather turned cold, leaves turned all colors and fell all around. The school buzzed with rumors of a huge party at the summerhouse of Sarah's parents. It was a place not far from school on the shore of the Hudson River. Almost every student received an invitation, but Marcia, Monica and her friends. Marcia and Monica felt that they would not go even if they received an invite. Parties were not their thing, especially with Sarah and her friends. As the party date drew closer, rumors flew that Marcia and Monica rejected their invitations and planned a party in protest. These rumors started with Sarah and spread quickly by her friends throughout the fourth grade. When no reaction came from Marcia, the rumors escalated in their attack becoming more vicious and filled with hate. Still Marcia held her ground and did not retaliate to quell the rumors.

About three days before the party, Sarah confronted Marcia in the school cafeteria. Marcia stood alone, as Sarah and her friends formed a tight circle around her, not allowing her to move. Sarah glared at Marcia and the staring contest began immediately. Marcia stood firm, exasperated at the behavior of Sarah. Sarah moved in closer and pushed Marcia back against the circle. The circle pushed Marcia into Sarah, who brazenly fell, as if hurt by the action and reaction sequences.

Sarah cried from the floor, "Why did you hit me?"

Marcia looked down with wonder on her face and said, "Ask your friends, why they pushed me into you."

"I did not see anyone push you. All I saw, was you coming at me with fists raised."

Marcia shrugged, reached a hand down and offered to help Sarah. "I don't want a fight and certainly would not want to hurt you."

Sarah got to her feet on her own, angry. She glared at Monica and said, "This is not over yet. I am not through with you and your vicious rumors." She turned quickly, shrugged her shoulders, as if shaking Marcia off and walked away quickly.

Marcia stood, watching Sarah retreat into the group of waiting friends, who treated her as if she was the injured party, but also the hero. Marcia shook her head, looked around at the remaining students and went back to her classroom alone. Marcia sat at her desk with her face hidden from view. Her shoulders shook with each sob that racked her body. No one entered the classroom or saw her crying, so her secret was safe and never would surface again. Thoughts crept through her mind. Why is Sarah so cruel? Why does she hate me? What can I do? Before she answered those questions, the bell rang signaling the end of lunch. Her classmates drifted back into the room, forcing Marcia to dry her tears and paint a smile on her face, although her heart felt torn in two.

The end of the day came and Marcia never felt so happy to walk home from school alone, as she did today. She lived about one and a half miles from school and it was an easy safe walk. Walking allowed her to think about the events of the day and decide what she needed to do to keep Sarah away. She knew in her heart that the rumors came from Sarah and she used them to create bad feelings toward Marcia in the class. The problem was that the rumors backfired on Sarah. Instead of tearing Marcia down in the eyes of her classmates, she became their hero. Everyone who was not a friend of Sarah now looked up to Marcia as she defied Sarah, by not responding to the rumors.

Marcia walked slowly home pausing in front of the dark woods she passed every day. Something in her head called her to enter the woods and seek the answers contained there. Many people talked about these woods that they might be haunted. Marcia turned, looked into the woods and saw a path winding deeper into them. She heard the chirping of many crickets in the woods. She always liked the sound of crickets and thought this might be a good place to capture some. Maybe later she could come back with a jar or cage and get some. She wanted one as a pet and knew how to care for them.

She hefted her backpack and hung it on her back. She picked her way through the thicket pushing bushes and branches aside until she found the path. The path was old and slightly overgrown, but had seen much use over the years. It led deeper into the woods, which got darker as more trees grew there. She walked for about twenty minutes and the woods thinned out, as they abutted another street. Marcia stepped from the woods into an unknown area, which she knew was all right. There was a girl her age walking down the opposite side of the street. She looked familiar and wore the identical uniform as Marcia did. Marcia shouted, "Hey!" The girl stopped, saw Marcia and waved to her.

"Hey!" She said. "I know you. You are Marcia."

"Yes, I am. Who are you?"

"I am Sabrina. We are in the same grade, but I am in the other classroom. Do you live over here? I have never seen you here before."

"No, I walked through the woods out of curiosity today. I live on a different street. How do you like school? I find it fun except for a few people who just don't want to be nice."

"I know who you mean. Sarah has been like that since she started there in first grade. How can she be like that?"

"I just transferred in from public school and this is a nice school for gifted children. She does not seem to be that smart."

"She isn't super smart. She gets by using her cuteness and kissing up to all the teachers. Her friends like her because she has a big house, a pool and hosts great parties. I never get invited, but it does not matter to me."

"What about the upcoming Halloween party? I received no invite, because of the rumors floating around. I know where they started and can't understand why."

"I am not on her list of friends or even a want to be. I can't go even if I was."

"You have a new friend now Sabrina. I will not be going to the party either. You can come to my house for the night like a sleepover if you want?"

"Come home with me now and I will ask my mom and you can call your mom to come get you. OK?"

Marcia stepped up beside Sabrina and walked with her to her house. The house was a small bungalow with a one-car garage and an unkempt lawn. Sabrina and her mom lived there alone. Her dad died from a car accident when Sabrina was a small child. The income from a small insurance settlement kept them in the house and the part-time job as a waitress kept food on the table. It was a modest place but clean and homey inside. Sabrina led Marcia to her room, where she dropped her backpack on the bed. Marcia put hers down too. They went to the kitchen where Sabrina offered a glass of juice and a few cookies to Marcia. Marcia took the drink, but declined the cookies. Sabrina showed Marcia to the phone where she could call her mom.

Marcia dialed her mom and spoke, "Hello mom? I am at a friend's house and need you to come get me."

She gave her mom the address and sat with Sabrina until her mom arrived. They got their books out and worked on homework together. They quickly finished the homework in record time. As they chatted about school, Marcia found out a lot about the school and Sarah. Sabrina attended the school under a scholarship for gifted girls sponsored by the city public school system. She started at the school in first grade and excelled in her studies. She kept to herself until now when she met Marcia. Marcia's mom came and Marcia asked if Sabrina could sleep over on Friday night. Her mom said yes if it was OK with Sabrina's mom. She left her phone number and drove Marcia home.

After dinner that night, the phone rang in Marcia's kitchen. It was Sabrina's mom. "Hello, this is Louise, Sabrina's mom. May I speak with your mother?"

Marcia called out, "Mom, it is Sabrina's mom for you."

Marcia's mom picked up the phone and spoke, "Hello, my name is Helen, Marcia's mom. The girls want to have a sleepover here on Friday night. There will be three girls if you allow Sabrina to come. I know Marcia looks forward to having her here. My husband and I will be here all night."

"I think that would be a wonderful thing. It will be her first sleepover. I work so Sabrina has no real friends with whom she can spend time. Marcia is the only one she talks about lately." Louise replied.

"Good, it is settled then, the girls will walk home together and I will gather them up after they get her sleep things. Maybe sometime we can get together and spend time getting acquainted." Helen said.

"I would like that. Thank you, it was nice talking to you. Bye" Louise hung up and Marcia's mom turned and looked at her.

"Sabrina will be here on Friday night. Did you invite Monica yet?"

"No, if you give me the phone, I will call her now and set it up. OK?" Marcia replied.

Marcia dialed Monica's number and when she answered started talking about her new friend Sabrina. Monica met Sabrina once, but did not know much about her. Marcia filled her in and asked about having a sleepover on Friday. She told her that Sabrina would be there too. That made Monica happy to have another friend at school. The sleepover was set now and the three friends would spend the night together gossiping, playing, watching movies, eating and maybe get some sleep too. They agreed to meet at school during lunch and plan the whole night. Marcia hung up with a very big satisfied smile on her face.

The next day in school, Monica, Sabrina and Marcia sat in the lunchroom huddled together, chatting and planning the sleepover for Friday night. The three girls were very animated and loud in their glee about the sleepover. Their happy behavior caught the attention of Sarah and her clique. Time moved slowly through lunch and Sarah plotted a way to disrupt the merry trio before the end of the period. The three friends attracted a few other students who joined them sitting at the table. Unnoticed by the trio, one member of Sarah's clique joined them at the table. This new interloper sat on the fringe listening intently to the plans for Friday night. After ten minutes, she got up from the table and returned to Sarah, where she reported about the sleepover.

The Halloween party at Sarah's house was Friday night too. Sarah felt angry that someone would dare plan a competing event on the same night as her party. This sleepover violated the rules of Sarah's parties. No one dared plan another event, when Sarah had a party scheduled. She did not care that the students planning the sleepover received no invitation to her party. Her social events were more important than any old sleepover. She had to teach these girls a lesson and it had to happen today. Sarah contemplated what to do to hurt these girls, but throw suspicion and blame on someone else. After all, she was the queen of the fourth grade and did no wrong. It took a few minutes, but the plot fell into place and Sarah gathered the materials needed to make it happen.

Five minutes before lunch period ended, Sarah gathered up all the trash from her table and piled it on one tray. She and her friends normally left all their trash on the table knowing someone else picked it up. This trash contained half-eaten food, fruit peels, yogurt, milk, other liquids, dry foodstuffs and paper goods. Sarah carried the tray in one hand and her book bag in her other. She walked slowly toward Marcia, Monica and Sabrina, but passed opposite them. She turned slowly as one of her clique called her name. As she looked around for who called her, she continued walking and pretended to trip over a book bag lying on the floor. She lost her balance and started to fall or it appeared that way. She dropped her book bag, reached for the back of a chair near her to stop her fall and the tray she carried sprayed all her trash across the table. The trash fell and covered Marcia, Monica and Sabrina. Sarah broke her fall and recovered her balance. She looked over at the trio and broke out in raucous laughter at the sight.

The three girls sat at the table covered with all the trash, Sarah gathered. The rest of Sarah's clique gathered around her asking if she was hurt and who was so careless to leave their book bag in the way. They looked over at the trio and laughed along with Sarah. Monica and Sabrina looked at each other and felt like running away. Marcia looked over at Sarah and knew that this was no accident. Now she had to do something about it.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

Posted with permission at storiesspace.com

All other rights reserved.

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