Stop

One little word- stop. Saying it would have changed everything.

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1. Stop (Speechless Competition)

"Check your FaceSpace right now, and go to Ellen's profile," Yasmine shouted in my ear, her voice teeming with excitement. 

"Okay, okay, calm down," I replied as I walked through the door from yet another exhausting day at school. My bookbag fell to the floor and I jumped on my bed, making it groan with the weight of my body. 

When I opened my laptop and entered the passcode, I logged into FaceSpace and opened my feed. Wow, what was with the statuses about keeping your boobs in your shirt? I would have thought that people would have gotten the message by then. I shook my head and typed in Ellen's name to the search bar. Her face popped up, and I had to fight back the wave of pure nausea, disgust, and hatred that suddenly came over me.

Ellen and I had been very close friends long before she let boys, sports, popularity, and the obsession of wearing shorts a few inches too scare and shirts that dipped a slight bit too low get to her egotistical head. "You know, Opal, you're just too much of an immature baby when it comes to life. You're just too obsessed with me to see that people change and life moves on. Friendships get washed away, and they just invented this new thing yesterday called making new ones. You should try it." I scoffed at her accusation of being an immature baby. At least I wasn't the one that sucked my thumb and would rather watch Spongebob and Hey Arnold on the weekends than actually do something with my life. 

 I clicked on her profile and scrolled down to her wall. Saying that what I saw shocked me would be the understatement of the current century. 

Whore. 

White trash. 

Conniving minger. 

Dirty letch. 

What could possibly happen for everyone to call Ellen something so... disgusting? My hatred for her still burned like a kerosene-lit fire, but I didn't understand how someone could be so judgmental. Luckily, Yasmine was still on the phone, so I asked her to enlighten me. "Really? You don't know?" Yasmine asked, shock coating her tone. 

"Hm, sorry, but Ellen is not the center of my universe like the rest of the existing world."

"Well, whatever. Since you haven't heard, Ellen decides to send a nudie to her boyfriend Travis, right?"

"Right."

"Well, Travis, being the not so smart person that he is, let's his friend take a peek on his phone at ball practice. This said friend takes the picture and sends it to his phone when Trav isn't looking, right?"

"Hm."

 "Travis sends it to a couple of his friends later, who in turn send it to a  couple of their friends. Fantastic, right? So now, pretty much everyone here and at the high school across town has the picture, and everyone knows that she isn't little miss perfect like she let the school believe she is."

"Wow." I didn't know what else to say. Yes, I could talk about how much I disliked Ellen all day long, but I couldn't imagine her doing something like that. I remembered the picture message I received from an unknown number a few hours earlier. I hadn't bothered to open it when I saw that it was from a number I didn't recognize. Now, I decided to open it. 

Looks like Ellen isn't as good as we thought she was, the little message said. I looked at the picture for about three seconds before closing it and trying to shake the image from my mind. Not only was she unclothed, but she was.... performing acts for her boyfriend, and now the rest of the town, to see. Why would she do something so... stupid? What if her mother saw that? I knew her mom better than I knew my own mom, and that picture would be enough to send her into a mental home for the rest of her life.

"Look, Yasmine, I'm gonna go. See you tomorrow at school, okay?"

"Sure thing. Read that long string thats going on on El's page!" She hung up. 

I scrolled up and saw a post from Gina, who was one of Ellen's best friends as far as I was concerned. She had abandoned me for someone who was now criticizing her and calling her names that I wouldn't dare let come out of my mouth in a million years. I read the post, my jaw dropping further and further to the ground with every word that I read. Not only was the post bad, but the likes filed in by the second, and the even more hateful comments poured in as well. Hundreds and hundreds of comments agreeing with how much of a whore Ellen was. The worst was this one by Gina:  "Ellen, you see all of this? We all agree. Go kill yourself. Overdose or drink bleach, or even better, both. We all hate your self, and apparently you have yourself too if you would let something like that nasty picture get around. Have fun dying."

Stop. 

I clicked in the text box, going to type a comment, telling everyone to stop and just leave her alone. My hands ended up hovering over the keyboard, and I couldn't even get my words out. I sighed and gave up, closing out the page. I lay back on my bed and covered my face with my hands. 

 

 

The next day at school, I sat with Yasmine and a few other people I befriended after the parting of ways with Ellen. All I could hear in the cafeteria was one word - Ellen. 

Did you hear about Ellen?

Oh my god. Have you seen that picture that Ellen took?

Ellen is such a whore. 

Ellen, Ellen, Ellen. I shook my head. Suddenly, the whole cafeteria got quiet. I turned to look, and there Ellen was, walking through the doors. She didn't look any different - she looked like the same bubbly, confident person she always was, but to people like me, I knew better. Her eyes showed that she really wasn't okay with this whole situation. 

Laughter erupted from a table in the corner, where Ellen usually claimed her throne. I guess that's how life is, sometimes. One day you can happily and prominently be sitting on top of it, and the next day it can completely devour you and sit on top of you. One ringleader named Gina voiced her thoughts. "Cough-whore-cough." 

The whole cafeteria laughed as if that was the funniest thing they had ever heard in their lives. Even Yasmine started sniggering at the joke. I looked at her, but I couldn't bring myself to even say anything. Yasmine looked at me and shrugged. "What? I have the right to laugh. At least I kept my clothes on." 

Gina sauntered over to Ellen, her hair flying in a very modelesque way behind her. "Well, if it isn't little miss El. Quick, everyone, pull out your cameras, because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity!  Ellen actually has her clothes on!"

Once again, laughter crowded the air. I felt sick. 

Stop. 

Gina pushed Ellen to the ground, and she fell like a sack of flour. Ellen would never stand a chance against Gina, who was a women's wrestler as well as a volleyball player. I watched in horror as Gina pounded Ellen's face and stomach in, stopping for nothing. Everyone pulled out their cell phone cameras to get the action on video. 

Stop. 

I wanted to get up, yell at everyone to stop treating Ellen like a punching bag and a freak show, and to just leave her alone. Yes, she had made a big mistake, but so had all of us. Why did she get treated less than the dirt beneath our shoes? 

Stop. 

I was always told that I had been a quiet one. I never opened my mouth about anything ever, even if it meant putting my own concerns last. I never gossiped with anyone or said a bad word to anyone so I wouldn't ever have to be involved in drama. Silence always seemed to work for me, so why should I change that now?

"Kill yourself, you attention seeking nit! Drink bleach!" A few people shouted from the onlooking crowd. 

Stop. 

Maybe, if I would have uttered that four letter word, one syllable word, maybe she would be here today. 

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