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The ugly kids, p.1
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       The Ugly Kids, p.1

           Renee Adams
 
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The Ugly Kids
The Ugly Kids

  By Renée Adams

  Copyright 2011 Renée Adams

  Lily frowned at the scene in front of her.

  There was a boy in her locker.

  Well, that wasn’t entirely right, she realized. He was only half in her locker, knocking down her stack of schoolbooks, tearing up the posters of fish she had tacked to the inside of the locker—there went her clown fish—and strangely enough, laughing as if he was having a great time. The problem was that he was a very small boy, and it was easy to see how he could fit in there.

  Two hulking football players were shoving him inside it. Lily recognized them as Scott and Dan. They were always tormenting smaller students, but normally they shoved them into their own lockers. Not other people’s.

  Lily stepped up to them.

  “Excuse me. What are you doing to my locker?” she demanded.

  The two of them stopped pummeling the boy into Lily’s locker and looked up.

  Yes, up.

  Lily was a good six inches taller than either of them, and twice as large. The only thing delicate and beautiful about her was her name. She was six feet and three inches tall. Her weight was due to her hiding indoors with her fish most of the time. She tended to get stared at outside, so she stayed at home. She was well muscled though from lifting tanks of fish to move them or clean them, and hauling enormous buckets of water from the garden hose. Her face was like a pug in some ways. It folded in on itself in odd ways around the brows and cheeks, and her nose was as big and red as an apple. Her eyebrows were bushy and wiry, meeting in the center of her brow like old friends. Her teeth stuck out slightly, and her ears were too small for her head. Acne was scattered liberally over her face. Her eyes were bright blue and perpetually watery, and her hair was straight, frizzy, and brown. She kept it loose to hide her face most of the time.

  When the two nitwits had finished staring, Dan managed, “Your locker?”

  “Yes, my locker,” she said. “I need my books, and you’re wrecking my pictures.”

  The geniuses looked down at the torn photos.

  “We thought it was his locker,” Scott said. Scott’s face, unlike Lily’s, was perfect. He was tall, but not too tall, husky, blond, and popular. He dated a cheerleader.

  “Yeah, he had it open and was going through it, so...” said Dan. He was slightly taller with dark hair and a boyish face, and right now, he was shuffling uncomfortably and smiling up at her...like that was going to help.

  Lily shouldered them aside, grabbed the boy in her locker by his collar, and lifted him off his feet. He was also surprisingly skinny.

  “What were you doing in my locker?” she demanded.

  She kept her lunch money in there, along with her sketchbook, and some other things she wasn’t keen on having anyone else see. A strange boy opening her locker was cause for concern.

  The boy was smiling brightly up at her with an oddly wide grin. His nose was small and came to a sharp point. His chin was also very pointed, and his cheeks were bordering on gaunt. He had a mop of black hair that jutted out in all directions and bright green eyes. He was very tan for a kid who looked like he spent most of the time with his books too. But otherwise, he wasn’t very remarkable. He wasn’t handsome, but he wasn’t ugly. If you ignored the tan, he looked like one of the kids who sat around at lunch playing Dungeons and Dragons or that card game with all the pictures of elves and stuff on them. He wore clothing that looked three sizes too big for him, which wasn’t surprising given his diminutive frame.

  He reached out, and clutched in his fist was a tiny bouquet of dandelions and their fuzz-ball seeds.

  “I wanted to give these to Lily. The teacher told me Human girls like flowers.”

  Lily stared at him.

  Dan and Scott broke down laughing, hyena-like.

  “The...tiny...little...” gasped Dan.

  “With...the huge...” gasped Scott.

  The boy just grinned at her. “I’m Gohber.”

  “Goober is more like it,” Dan choked out between laughs.

  Lily had had enough. She wasn’t a violent girl, but often, with her size, she didn’t need to be. She stepped forward with Gohber’s shirt still clutched in her hand and his feet dragging the floor until she towered over the two of them.

  “Was there anything else you wanted?” she demanded in a low tone.

  The laughter stopped, and they took the hint.

  “What a freak,” Scott said as they turned and walked down the hall, still chucking to themselves and genially shoving each other. The words “Goober” and “the Giant” could be heard.

  Lily looked after them, shaking her head to herself, then rounded on Gohber.

  “Consider this a reprieve,” she told him firmly. “But if I ever see you anywhere near my locker, I’m not going to be happy. Got it?”

  Gohber nodded vigorously, his bright green eyes staring up at her.

  Lily just grunted, set him down gently, and set to fixing her locker as best as she could. She grabbed the books she needed for her next class, slammed the locker shut, and froze.

  Gohber was still there.

  “Don’t you have somewhere to be?” she asked pointedly.

  He thrust the bouquet of yellow weeds at her again.

  Lily just groaned. “You’re kidding. You have to be kidding me.”

  “I didn’t bring any kids,” Gohber said, appearing to be at a loss. “Do girls like those too?”

  Lily just snatched the dandelions from him, half embarrassed and half suspicious that this was all a cruel joke.

  “Just stay away from me,” she snapped and stalked off to the laughter of other kids in the hallway, tossing the weeds into a trash can before she got to class.

  Lily peered through her hair and over her shoulder as she walked home from school.

  Gohber was following her.

  Or at least, it looked like he was following her. He was running from telephone pole to mailbox, to bush, to fire hydrant, keeping pace behind her. He even crouched behind a woman’s Great Dane until she started shouting at him and hitting him with the handle of the leash. “Pervert!” had been screamed at least twice.

  Lily tried not to think about what the other girls at school had said about Gohber, but of course, the first thing that popped into her head when she tried not to think about something was that exact topic.

  She had been sitting in class, when Dana, her best friend, had leaned over her desk across the aisle to whisper to her, “I heard Gohber likes you?”

  Lily had nodded, keeping her eyes on the teacher. He didn’t like whispering in class, but just then, he had been nodding off in his chair while the students read from the textbook.

  “He’s so weird! Did you know that Kelly Gordon saw him eating the mice in Mrs. P’s science class? When Mrs. P saw him, he thanked her and said they were delicious snacks! Ben Spakowski saw him going through the trashcans and pulling things out. I saw him doodling big knives in his notebook. Lily, you’ve got to get rid of him. He’s already been down to the principal’s office more times than I can count! He shoves pencils up his nose for God’s sake!”

  Lily winced at the memory, then peeked behind herself again.

  Gohber was shimmying down through the hole of a sewer grate in the curb to get out of sight.

  She shuddered. Gohber had a screw loose. She was sure of it. Was he going to murder her in her sleep once he learned where she lived? He had a face like a cartoon devil after all (sans pointy mustache, but in a few years, who knew?). Or was he just going to hang around and try to make her his girlfriend?

  Lily wasn’t sure which was worse. Either way though, she decided, she didn’t want him following her home!

  Lily turned the corner at the end of the next block, then qui
ckly went through the gate of the first house there. The woman who lived in that blue and white ranch owned two black Labradors who were very fond of Lily. They barked a greeting and loped up to her, tails wagging.

  “Shhh!” Lily hissed at them. She knelt down behind the hedge that surrounded the yard and let them lick her face while she scratched their tummies and behind their ears. Whatever it took to keep them quiet!

  There was the quiet slapping of bare feet on the sidewalk, and Lily frowned to herself. Bare feet?! He was running around the neighborhood without shoes?!

  The slapping sound stayed where it was, as Lily assumed he twisted in circles, looking for her, then flapped off past her. From the sound of things, he had enormous duck feet.

  Lily waited until the sound was gone, then stepped back outside the gate, careful not to let the dogs escape.

  She trotted down the road to her own home, huffing with the effort of it. It had been a while since she had run, but she made a valiant effort and got there pretty quickly, opening the chain link
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