My THEME for the A to Z challenge 2017 is an ongoing speculative fiction story featuring telepathy.
Each letter post is titled and inspired by a commonly misused word or phrase.
The story started with All Intents and Purposes.
It’s important to reflect on events in your life and your experiences, Anah. I don’t want my students to just scarf down knowledge and spit it back out on tests. Teaching, and learning, is more than that; it’s taking in existing knowledge and then using it to generate new thoughts and ideas.
So writing a letter to my five-year-old self is going to help me figure out how to avoid capture by the task force? Because it looked like evidence that put me at risk.
Mr. Bennett shakes his head. It didn’t have to be about telepathy. You could have told your five-year-old self about your best friend, about a fun party, or about the first boy you danced with in middle school.
Jerk. I lean against the oak tree. This was becoming our spot. I don’t have a best friend. I sit with some girls at lunch because the guidance counselor assigned us to each other. I’ve never been to a party. My parents think they’re dangerous. I had to beg them to let me go to high school. They were going to enroll me in homeschooling. I wrap an arm around the tree. And as for dancing with a boy, or kissing a boy, or holding hands, none of that ever happened.
“Why not?” He puts his hand on my shoulder.
Memories flood back. Hearing Jarrett thinking about asking me to the seventh-grade winter carnival, but deciding not to because he thought I’d say no and tell everyone. Me asking him, and his friends making fun of him for it, so he said no and called me ugly. Hailey wondering if I wore my black hoodie all the time because I liked girls. Me passing her a note explaining that I didn’t think I liked girls the way she did, but that I’d be her friend if she wanted. Her hitting me after school that day. My hair being pulled out as she called me a freak. Hailey stealing my black hoodie, saying she was giving it to her pet wolf, and that the wolf would come to eat me. Sleeping inside the hope chest at the foot of my parents’ bed for a month, because it was the only place I could nod off.
I hold the tree tighter. Mr. Bennett prompts me again. I just shrug. He can’t hear my memories, I’ve blocked him out.
“We should hone your social skills.”
“Yeah. I’ll just home in on dating. Tomorrow will be better because kissing someone will magically protect me from the HSMTF.” I press my forehead to the tree bark.
“Hone means to sharpen and improve. Home in means to get closer to something, like when using a homing device.”
I have to go. I don’t need an English lesson from my teacher right now. I need a friend. I need someone who will call me first with some great news. I need to be the shoulder of someone who can’t talk to anyone else. I need someone who will share secrets and a bowl of ice-cream.
Mr. Bennett can’t, or won’t, be my person. Even though he knows what it’s like. He’s left me to be an outsider, just like him.
Did you learn anything today anywhere that will make your tomorrow better?
by J Lenni Dorner
Reference and Speculative Fiction Author
A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer