The Silent Hundreds

Even as a child I was different. I suppose no one with a name like Vexalonna could be perfectly normal. Strange things would happen to my mother's little 'Vexxy'. Fires would start when I was angry. Forces pushed people away when I wanted to be alone. These odd little coincidences didn't worry either parent to being with.

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1. I wish you would burn!

Sometimes she hated her life. Even walking to school wasn't a simple task- as it should be. Walking through the street this morning, she noticed nothing. No one. Nothing but silence. A deep, rich silence that sounded like velvet. A wonderful feeling like chocolate for ears. It puzzled Vex. Normally she would be flocked by the school's entire population of bullies, a figure not to be proud about. They liked targeting her. She who had the weird name. She who they got the most reaction from. All she wanted was for them to just leave her alone. After all, it wasn't her fault Sidney White woke up hanging suspended from some sort of invisible cord. Was it? At least Sidney had one or two braincells, and left Vex to herself nowadays. The others weren't half as intelligent. It was all a eight-year-old could do just to stay away from the worst of them.

Shaking her head in silent disbelief, Vex looked from right to left, left to right. Maybe they were planning an ambush. Maybe she was walking right into a- No. They wouldn't think of that. In the garden in front of her, a bin fell on its side, revealing its contense to all who dared look into the stinking pile. Vex froze, staring fearfully at the muddy-green, plastic, blue-lidded bin for recycling.

A small, black cat strode out, mewing at the human standing above for a few moments. It quickly realized she wasn't going to give it food, and trotted away, tail aloft, down the street. Vex set off again, clutching her lunch bag close to her chest, slightly faster than before.

 

Vexalonna arrived at school with no significant delay. She huddled into her usual corner of the playground just as the teacher called them inside. She walked into the school building, hung up her dark grey coat before  slipping out of the cloakroom and finding her way to class.

She sat away from everyone else, preferring to keep away from those who turned her schooldays into torture. She scanned the classroom, her oddly yellow eyes wide with fear and worry. They were what put most off. At least, that's what Vex hoped it was. She located them sitting in the opposite area of the room, further to the back, near the fire exit. A shiver ran down her spine as Miss Wolvern called their attention. The year 4 teacher was fairly young, maybe around 25? She was one of those teachers that could change from being absolutely wonderful to being a complete witch in less than five seconds. She wasn't too bad if you answered the questions you were asked and did what she said. She looked upon the class now with a mask of mild annoyance.

"Today in maths we shall be learning the twelve times table." She growled.

Miss Wolvern never simply spoke. Her voice was strange in the way that it could snarl, growl and even whimper. It sounded rough, yet defiantly feminine. You knew what she was saying from her body language more than the words. It was strange.

Regarding what she had said, everyone groaned.

 

The morning passed swiftly. Maths, a bit of R.E, followed by a session of guided reading. The dreaded lunch hour drifted from future to present, promising a session of pain. Vex stumbled out, like a fawn taking its first few tentative steps. She settled on a bench under the shade of a tree and ate her lunch in silence, marveling at the fact that she remained there. She watched with curiosity as Miss Wolvern walked out to take lunchtime duty, before watching Vex intently. The teacher's unwavering eyes made the girl shift uncomfortable, before she stood from the bench and  moved to put the half--eaten food in the bin and return the lunch bag to the cloak room.

Vex returned to find Miss Wolvern nowhere in sight. A deep dread trickled down her spine, and rested in the pit of her stomach. Her wandering eyes stopped on the small group now walking towards her. As they started to get too close, she broke into a run, sprinting away from the open door towards the small cluster of sheds. Too late, she realized her mistake, before Sam from year five clamped his hand around her shoulder and pushed her face-first into the ground. She tried to  rise, spitting mud as she did, before a heavy foot thumped onto her back and a hand slammed her face back down. She moaned in pain as pairs of hands dragged her to her feet and pinned her to the shed wall. "What's little Vexxy gonna do now?" Sarah sneered, her own hands forcing one of Vex's hands into the brown wood. She answered with a vicious kick to Sam's lag, earning her brief freedom before Johnny regained control and Sam pushed at her chest again.

"Trying to be brave, are we?" He muttered through gritted teeth. Vex squirmed as two more students joined in, keeping her legs still. The leader of the gang stepped backward, pacing the space in front of Vex.

"Who would give someone the name Vexalonna?" He sniggered, eyes glittering.

"Her parents!" The rest of them chanted back. Sam grinned.

"What was their nickname for you?" He asked, looking at his nails, as if bored.

"My little Vexxy!" They cried in unison. Giggles ran through the group.

Vex shook with anger. "Shut up." She said, calmly.

"What was that?" He asked, leaning in as if he hadn't heard.

"SHUT UP!" She yelled, as all children holding her were pushed into the air and off their feet. She stood, glaring at them with hooded eyes. She looked directly at Sam.

"I wish you would burn." She growled, as he stood. He tried to sneer, but it came out looking slightly less bold then he would want. They stood, fuming, for a few moments, before Sam frowned. "Do you smell..." He paused, sniffing. "Burning?" He asked.

Vex smiled without humor. "Maybe it's your brain working into overdrive from so much schoolwork?" She suggested.

He shook his head. "No. It's getting... Hotter..." He murmured.

It was her turn to be surprised.

He backed away, fear sparkling inside him. Flames reflected in his eyes as he looked at Vex. "Make it stop!" He cried, not unlike a small child.

"M-make what stop?" She stuttered, pressing against the shed.

"The fire! The flames! The burn-!" He cut off as pain shook his body and he began to scream. Miss Wolvern rounded the corner, looking from Vex to Sam, ignoring the other children.

His skin began to char.

 

London's burning. London's burning.

 

The two words played over and over in her head, like a song stuck on repeat. Vex backed away further.

His hair was smouldering, his once pale skin was the colour of roasted meat.

Miss Wolvern's eyes narrowed. "I told them." She snarled, falling onto her hands.

 

Her classmates backed away in fear, staring at Sam, their eyes flickering between his charred remains before looking to her. "Murderer!" A lone voice called out. The entire playground and field was silent. Many had come over to investigate. Muffled gasps rippled through the gathered crowd. Others called slightly different variations of the same thing.

"Witch!"

"Alien!"

"Killer!"

Vex backed up even further, despite there being no where to back up to. The shed formed a hard wall behind her, and the three walls of crowd closed in on her. Her breathing quickened. They advanced, steering away from Sam's burnt corpse.

Everybody ignored Miss Wolvern.

Vex's knees buckled, and she found herself sinking from the ground, sobbing. His eye sockets watched her.

Miss Wolvern liked it when they did that.

Her body shook with silent tears. They were closing in like a pack of hungry wolves.

 

Literally.

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