Your Own Worst Enemy

Miranda is the daughter of one of the most famous actresses in the world, but her life is far from fabulous. The girls at school bully her mercilessly. Yet that is not her worst problem. Adnarim, a malevolent spirit, follows her around, and embodies the people who put her down. But who is Adnarim? And how will Miranda ever learn to stand up to the real bullies when she can't even battle her worst enemy: herself. EDIT: In case anyone is wondering, Witzelsucht is a rare illness where a patient makes inappropriate puns or jokes at bad times. The sufferers finds these jokes amusing despite this.

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            “Jane,” I call, and Mum’s personal assistant comes running out of the house. “Tell Mum I’ve gone school.”

            There must be something in my expression which shows how terrified I am, because Jane’s warm brown eyes fill with anxiety. “Do you want me to speak to the Principal again?”

            “No, it’s fine. They’ve stopped.” The lie comes easily, but I need anything to take the look of pity off her face. I can’t bear the thought of everyone knowing I haven’t been fitting in, especially Mum’s normally vulture like personal assistant.

            I nod a goodbye, and start walking. In the warm Californian sunshine, I feel as though I can achieve anything. I blend into the crowd, just another nobody, not someone you’d want to pick on, but someone you’d want to invite round to your house for a sleepover.

            “Who’d want to be friends with you?” She appears beside me, walking though two boys to do so.

            “Leave me alone,” I reply in my head, but even in my mind I sound weak. She hears, and she smiles. It isn’t a nice smile. It reminds me vividly of Marissa’s when she invited everyone to her pool party, even soppy Lucy. Everyone except me.

            “I’ll never leave you alone,” Adnarim says. “Not even when you die. I’ll follow you.” She leaps into air, and starts doing cartwheels, as if to show how much life she has in her. None of the other people on the pavement bat an eyelid.

            The only thing that sustains me is the fact that she can be solid when she wants. She’s punched me enough times, and it has hurt exactly like a normal fist would. Which, by the way, I don’t think is fair. The girls at school have never hit me, although it wouldn’t stretch me to think that perhaps they have dreamed about it.

            I think that is how Adnarim works. She is a spirit, sent from somewhere to embody all of the bullies at school. That way my torture never ends. But as long as she is solid when she wants, there is a chance she might injure herself and leave me alone.

            “Miranda no friends. Miranda, sad little loser,” she sings. “Did you know Mum speaks to that woman, Jane, about you? ‘I can’t stand it if Miranda ends up in the newspapers again, with the paparazzi going on about what a misfit I’ve raised. Oh I wish she would try. She never tries.’”

            I don’t respond. I’m shaking, my heart beating so fast it hurts. Last night I overheard Mum saying exactly that, but it sounds ten times worse coming from Adnarim. I watch as she zips through the air, giggling manically, knowing she has hit a nerve.  I’m so dazed I walk into an old man, who squints at me over heavily rimmed spectacles.

            “Watch where you’re going, you moron,” he snaps.

            I retreat into myself, like I’ve learned to do so well. My legs take over, and I walk home without thinking about it. Mum’s convertible is gone, and I know the house is empty now. It is too late for me to even try and get to school, and I don’t want to go anyway. I’ll spend the day at home instead, lounging around, maybe listen to some music which has been turned up loud so I can block out Adnarim.

            “You can’t block me out,” Adnarim croons. “I can get inside your head. I can get under your skin!”

            And in that moment I know she will never leave me alone. I will be haunted by her, by those bullies, for the rest of my life.  For a second her cruel features, which are normally a blur, become sharper, clearer. I blink, because I have the uncanny feeling I am looking in a mirror.

 

 

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