JILL WAS NOT WELL liked in her school. It wasn't that she was disliked, it
was more that she didn't really have many good friends. Jill was not
involved in extracurricular activities, not that she was busy, it was more
that the activities offered by her school didn't interest her, and she
didn't ever go to parties, not so much that she didn't like celebrating, it
was more that alcohol and pop music didn't really seem like much of a good
time to Jill.
Of course, just because Jill didn't have many good friends, it didn't mean
she was unpopular. The social structure of her very small high school was
unusual, and popularity was relative. There were so few people in the
school; it was impossible to really have an "in" crowd. After all,
everyone knew everyone else, and everyone had a small circle of close
friends besides those acquaintances they talked to but didn't share
personal information with. If there was an in-crowd, it was impossible to
know which crowd that was.
Angellica was one of those girls who Jill would consider one of her close
friends. Jill didn't open up much with people- mostly because she didn't
have any secrets and she didn't have many problems. Angellica, on the
other hand, was a very secretive person who kept to herself. She made
small talk with Jill when they had classes together, and Jill felt a sort
of connection with this girl- neither of them shared deep, personal secrets
with others, and neither had a "best friend."
Jill couldn't be sure if Angellica felt the same connection- she'd never
really mentioned it, for fear that Angellica would think the idea was
weird. However, Jill did consider Angellica to be a good friend, and she
was sure that Angellica considered her to be one of her own good friends.
"Jill, are you done with your assignment?" her English teacher asked,
interrupting her reverie. Jill nodded- she'd finished reading her
selection long ago. The teacher made a face, obviously not pleased with
the idea that Jill hadn't been doing anything wrong, and said, "Well, I'm
sure you have something better to do than stare into space. Get something
to work on."
The fact of the matter was, Jill didn't have anything else to work on, so
she pulled a book out from under her desk, and began to read it. The book
was very boring, and it had been written by one of Jill's least favorite
authors- Charles Dickens. It was hard to concentrate on what she read, and
she finally gave up when other people in the room began to talk to each
Because the teacher wasn't yelling at them, Jill decided that it was all
right with him to socialize. She put her book away and peeked at
Angellica, who was sitting next to her. She was busily writing something-
maybe it was homework. It could also be a story- sometimes Angellica let
Jill read the stories she wrote. Curiously, Jill read the paper, figuring
that if it was something personal, Angellica wouldn't be writing it in
"Pfi gorvuyk ggsty, se liirpupfi zarbud sehtlon. Morendtor, pyargpfi apfi
jubel bodu, se seintreaupfuajz gehtka nio shlep telyo," the paper read.
Jill didn't recognize any of the gibberish, and she asked, "Is that Spanish
homework?" Since she didn't take Spanish, it made sense that Jill wouldn't
recognize the language.
Angellica's head shot up, as if she'd forgotten anyone was with her. She
saw Jill, and said, "Oh, it's just a story I'm writing. I, uh, sort of
made up my own language, and I thought it would be cool to write something
that only I would understand."
Jill snorted. "You made up your own language?" she asked, quickly deciding
that Angellica had far more free time than she needed. "And you actually
know enough of it to write stories in it without looking anything up?" she
continued, finding this more shocking than the fact that Angellica had
created a language. "What's it called, Angellish?"
"Actually . . . . Well, I haven't thought of a name for my language yet,
Angellish is as good as any," Angellica replied.
Julie pointed to the passage she'd just read. "What does that say?" she
asked, underlining the words with a pencil. Angellica quickly erased the
marks, and Jill momentarily regretted not asking Angellica if she minded.
"It says, 'I am very afraid, and I know much can go wrong. However, I know
there is no other choice, and I will follow through with our plan."
Angellica read, not even pausing to think about what the words really
meant. Jill wondered if maybe Angellica was just writing gibberish and
making this up.
"What's your story about?" she asked. Even if Angellica had made up the
meanings for the words, she was still intrigued by the story. Angellica
always wrote great, descriptive stories, and Jill loved having the
opportunity to read them, even though Angellica usually didn't let her
Angellica made a face. "I don't really like to talk about my stories
before they're done," she admitted. She glanced at the clock, and Jill did
so as well, and saw that there were only about twenty seconds left of
class. Angellica began to gather her books, and said, "I'll let you read
it once it's done." A second later, the bell rang, and Jill hurriedly left
the room, hoping to get out of the parking lot before her crazy classmates
began their daily drag races.
ANGELLICA HAD CHANGED QUICKLY, seeing no reason to stay behind and
socialize with the other cheerleaders. She wasn't particularly interested
in knowing the current gossip about dates, and she had far better things to
worry about than rumors.
She was still nervous when the coach arrived and began practice. The coach
yelled at her, telling her that she was a half-second behind on the cheers,
and that her movements weren't sharp. Angellica did her best to smile and
pretend everything was OK, because she knew that she couldn't share her
problems with anyone else, and she didn't want anyone to try to make her
talk about her problems.
The coach was obviously becoming irritated with the way Angellica was
performing, but she said nothing. "Let's work on stunts," she said, and
had the cheerleaders set up in their usual formation. Being the smallest
and lightest cheerleader, Angellica was the flyer- or the one who was
lifted into the air. Laura and Stacy supported Angellica's feet, while
Brittany steadied her from behind.
The stunt was executed perfectly, as the cheerleaders had been working on
it for a while. Once Angellica was in the air, however, the coach
suggested they add something new. Instead of letting her back on the
ground again like they usually did, the coach suggested that they hold her
in the air as long as they could, then throw her in the air and catch her.
While Angellica wasn't sure about how well such a thing could be done,
especially if this was the first time they attempted it, she was sure that
the coach wouldn't listen to her worries after such a bad practice, so she
Stacy's arms were already shaking while they held her in the air, but she
didn't say anything either, not wanting to appear weak in front of her
friends. When the time came to throw Angellica, Laura and Brittany threw
her high into the air, and Stacy tried, but instead, she dropped
Angellica immediately fell in Stacy's direction, and while the others
rushed in to catch her, they were unable to stop Angellica's head from
hitting the hard gym floor, and everything went dark.