|"Ghost Stories #Camping" by Bonnie Bogle.|
Truth or Dare. The infamous tradition at Valley Hills High. The game traditionally played on the first day of school where all the little jumpy freshmen and the mellow sophomores and the excited juniors and the cocky seniors all got in a circle in the gym and "bonded." The game I had sworn I would never, ever play.
The game that I was now a part of, whether I liked it or not. The wise "they" have always told me not to succumb to peer pressure. Well, how about "they" try saying no when the whole school is staring at you, inspecting your every move? That's literally 4,000 eyes. That can put a lot of weight on one little chubby sophomore girl's shoulders.
Dusty, my best friend since fourth grade, grabs my hand in excitement and squeezes. "Ana, isn't this exciting?" Her ponytail bobs with each word. "I can't believe you were sick last year. You're going to love this."
Dusty is a sweet girl and all but she isn't normally the most reliable source. Throw a cobra at her head and she'd call it "cute!"
"Yup, sure. Whatever you say." She just squeals and continues to bounce. Up, down. Up, down.
And so the game begins.
One of the seniors starts -- our school president. He chooses another senior, who chooses another senior, who chooses another, and so on and so on. The freshmen behind us quiet down as it sinks into their heads that they won't be getting a turn for quite a while, and I breathe a silent sigh of relief. All I have to do is wait, and maybe, with a bit of luck, no one will ever call my name.
"... Ana Gerard!"
The loud laughter is what snaps me out of my trance. For the past hour (two? three?) I've been daydreaming, staring off into space, trying not to pay attention to what's going on. But now...
"Did someone say my name?" I whisper to Dusty. She looks terrified, upset, conflicted, and says nothing. Feeling my heart speed up, I speak louder. "Did someone say my name?"
My face reddens.
Then a whisper from Dusty. "Jackson Bennett just called you..."
"FAT!" yells a freshman, snickering behind one hand. "Allie asked him who was the fattest girl in school and he said you!"
There is a reason I never wanted to play this game.
I was surprisingly calm about it though. I stood up, stared them down, and yelled, "I hope you're all happy, because I'm leaving!"
It was only after I ran into the bathroom that I burst into tears.