Here is Part 2 of a fictional short story I worte based on a pivotal moment from my own life that left me a changed person. If you'd like to read about my pivotal moment to see where the inspiration comes from, be sure to join my email list where I share all the intimate details. You can join at the end of this post.
Otherwise, enjoy the story!
Seeing Beauty in the Pain (Part 2)
“Speak up. Use your Seer voice.” Megan said these words as if they were spoken to her on a regular basis. From the teachers? Maybe her own mother. Seers were supposed to be the lioness of their communities, strong, prideful, and determined. Minerva didn’t feel like any of those things.
“Unless . . . no, it couldn’t be.” Megan let out a menacing laugh and raised one finger to her chin.
“What it is Megan?” A smaller, blond-haired girl appeared and stood slightly behind Megan. She bounced eagerly on her toes as if she were getting far too much enjoyment out of Minerva’s embarrassment.
“I mean, she doesn’t look like a Seer, does she?” Megan continued. The other girl stepped up and scanned Minerva from head to toe. All Minerva could see now were the laces tied into perfect bows on her sneakers. Her face was hot, and she felt light headed as she fought the tears.
Why are they doing this?
The room grew with soft chatter as more girls took interest in what was going on.
“The black hair, the tiny voice and crooked nose . . . I think she looks much more like a Witch.”
Megan laughed again in a loud, raucous way, drawing more attention to herself. More girls began to gather, staring at Minerva like she was a zoo animal. This was it. Minerva’s greatest fear about being the new girl was coming true.
Being called a Witch in a school of Seers could never end well.
Minerva had no problem with Witches. In fact, some of her parents’ closest friends were Witches. Most of the magical community though, believed in a hierarchy from least magical to the most powerful magical beings.
Witches were a couple of levels down from Seers.
Minerva would give anything in this moment to be gone—to be back in bed where no one could bother her. Still staring down at her feet, Minerva felt a tear fall down her cheek as a dark heavy feeling swept over her.
Why can’t you speak up? Stand up for yourself!
It was like her body wouldn’t listen to what her mind was telling it to do. In her thoughts, she wanted to tell Megan to leave her alone, but her mouth wouldn’t utter a word.
“This one doesn’t say much.” The other girls giggled behind their hands, giving Megan more reason to keep going with the torture. Minerva was getting very uncomfortable and she just wanted to get to class and get the day over with. “What if, you become my obedient servant and follow me around all day doing my bidding, Witch?”
Minerva’s face grew hotter as she felt all eyes on her. She continued to stare down at her shoes, hoping it would be over soon. But Megan didn’t let up.
“I’ll take your silence as a yes.” Her whiny voice shifted into something that sounded more malicious. “You can start by rubbing the scuffs from my shoes.” She lifted her shiny black shoe so that it was right under Minerva’s nose. “You heard me.” Her voice bellowed the demand.
The swarm of girls giggled again.
Tears burned in Minerva’s eyes. She just wanted to disappear. To be forgotten for good.
“What’s the meaning of this?” A woman’s deep voice rumbled down the main hall, reverberating around the entrance room. In an instant, Megan’s shoe was gone, and the sound of scattered feet and whispered secrets echoed around Minerva.
She didn’t dare look up for fear of seeing how many girls had witnessed her humiliation. The very core of her being was wounded and she only hoped the woman now entering the room didn’t make things worse.
“Nothing Headmistress.” Megan’s tone changed in an instant and she spun around to face the old woman now standing in the center of the room.
“It doesn’t sound like nothing.” Minerva could only glimpse long green robes overflowing on the ground around the Headmistress’s feet. “It sounds like you’re creating trouble again.”
“No, ma’am.” I – I was – just . . .”
Megan couldn’t find the right words. It seemed the only person in the entire school who could intimidate her was the Headmistress.
Minerva continued to stare at the floor, too embarrassed to make eye contact with anyone. She’d allowed the other girls to bully her and now she appeared weak to them. This alone was enough to knock her self-esteem to the ground.
The dark green robes glided closer until they rested right in front of Minerva. “You must be Minerva.” The Headmistress sounded stern but softer than she had when she entered the room. “You will speak when spoken too.”
“Yes.” Minerva only managed a whisper.
“And make eye contact.”
It took all the strength she had left to raise her eyes to look into the face of her new Headmistress. The older woman’s gray hair was pulled tightly back into a bun, revealing the wrinkles around her eyes. “Well?”
“Yes, I’m Minerva.” She spoke so softly her voice was hardly audible.
“Good.” The Headmistress pushed her staff up under Minerva’s chin, lifting her face into the light. “Keep your head up. You won’t get by here by wallowing in your own misery. There’s work to be done. Megan will show you to your first class.”
Minerva’s heart sank and the will to disappear deepened.
“Megan, any funny business and you will be expelled from this school. Do you understand?” The Headmistress looked at Megan like she was a flea she wanted to squash.
“Yes, ma’am.” Megan stood, attentive and straight as a board.
With a disapproving grunt, the Headmistress turned and walked back down the hall she’d come from.
(To be continued)