On The Outskirts Of The Gang

Rosa is a pretty, self-conscious girl who wants to be cool. She's a bit afraid of Jessica, the most popular person in the entire year. As she clings on at the edge of Jessica's gang, she notices things that slowly make her realise that there is something odd going on...

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9. Tuesday 30th September

Damn it. I've been so stupid! Oh, sorry, you don't know what they've done! Well, here it is.

I couldn't get over what happened to Megan. I grilled myself in my head, thinking about how I could have stopped it. Whatever it had been. Guilt hit me every time I saw her, or even one of her friends. I just wanted to go over and say how sorry I was, how I should have helped her. I even thought about confronting the gang, but I knew I was much too cowardly for that.

None of Jessica's lot were in any of my lessons. Perhaps I could make it through the day without having to face anyone but me. That was not to be.

It was the final lesson: Tech. Usually, I loved trying all the machinery and tools but today my mind drifted, picturing a world where there was no gang to constantly keep me on my toes and worried. Everyone at school got on most of the time. Betty and I had never fallen out...

Okay, so I know I said that was ages ago, but it was only in the last year that me and her stopped being friends. I was self-conscious, and stressed about not being cool. Betty made a huge effort to pull me away from it all. Back then, she had been funny and confident, with a smile almost permanently fixed to her face. She was pretty, and not at all fat. One of the cleverest people in our form, she helped everyone and was a friend that you could fall back on when you needed her. It really bugged her to see me so on edge.

One day, she tackled Jessica about the way she took over people's lives and put them down. The following row stripped her of all her self esteem, and half killed her bubbly-ness. I was really embarrassed at her actions, and broke friends with her. That destroyed most of her remaining fun spirit, so she turned into a terrified loner.

"Excuse me, Rosa? Are you using that?" Megan's timid voice cut through my thoughts. She had her arm out, reaching for a hammer that lay on the workbench in front of me. A bandage was strapped around her wrist.

"Oh lord!" I breathed. Had they really gone that far?

Megan pulled it back and hid it behind her. Her cheeks had gone pink. She spun around and started half walking, half running away from me.

"Megan!" I called pleadingly, before quickly changing my tone to a more normal one. "The hammer?"

She came back over and snatched it up. I only had time to fling her a quick "Sorry!" before she fled back to her friends.

My mum knew that I was forgetting myself. I'll have to act fast so I don't get pulled away again.

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