She had a chance. She was Chance. --- All her life, Chance Abernathy had been bullied. From her grandmother to her classmates, there was no one who didn't. No one except her one best friend, Natalie Cadwell and her parents and aunt. Chance is afraid to tell them that she is bullied, but she knows that's the only way out. Will she tell, or will she keep her mouth zipped about her daily tortures?


6. All Hallows' Eve


I woke up with the feeling that I was being watched, and I felt scared, to say the least. I didn't open my eyes but gently peeked through one eye, still pretending to be asleep. The tall mirror was right in front of me and, though I saw nobody in my room, I might say that the girl who stayed in that mirror was watching me earlier, before I woke up. The white blanket was covering my waist and my knees as I lay without opening my eyes for a while. The window was open and I smelled warm smoke and candy, combined with a faint pumpkin smell.

It struck me like lightning. Today was Halloween Eve!

I jumped out of my bed, fell on the floor and scratched my chin in the process. I rushed to my bedside table and grabbed my phone to find a text message from Natalie.

From: Nat

To: Me

How's your day going, Offie?

And don't tell me you JUST woke up!!!

I laughed at imagining her, chuckling and shaking her head, when she typed. So, sleepy as I was, I replied:

From: Me

To: Nat

Can't complain. I just stopped sleeping haha

She didn't read my message yet so I assumed she was busy. Anyhow, I flung open my door and ran to the bathroom to get ready. I toned my dark circles very well and put on a frilly orange frock with black shoes, because I loved wearing dresses that matched the holidays. I put on a little makeup and perfume and, feeling quite nice, I ran down with a small grin.

That grin didn't last long, because as soon as I stepped down, the whole family was sitting in the verandah on sofas, talking. And, when I say 'whole, I mean whole- even Grandma. So, for a while, I just stared at them with wide eyes. Then Carol looked up and her smile vanished when she saw me.

"Oh... Chance..." she said quietly and everyone turned to look.

Grandma gave a heavy frown but Mum said," Chance, baby, sit down. Your Grandma just came back from Moscow!"

"Err, hello... Grandma..." I whispered, slowly walking to the seat beside Carol.

"Hello," Grandma answered simply and dryly.

"How are you?" I blurted.

"I have been okay- better than you, I guess," she hissed, glaring at me with cold hard eyes.

"Mom, you can't talk like that," Dad intervened.

"She is my granddaughter. I can talk like that, Lewis," Grandma spoke hardly.

"No, you can't. That's harsh!"

"Dad," I started slowly, "just let her be."

"Chance, I will not let anyone speak to my daughter like that. And I don't care who it is. Okay? So sit tight, pumpkin. And let me deal with it."

His words were strict and powerful and even Grandma appeared shocked.

"Lewis!" she exclaimed.

"What?" he asked.

"I- I am the head of the family! And I am your mother! You don't tell me what to do!!" she cried, voice raising.

"No, I am the head of the family. How did the position change just now!? Claire, tell me who is the head of the family?" Dad asked.

"You, honey," Mum answered without hesitation.

"Carol? Chance?" he asked.

"You... Dad..." I whispered.

"You, Lewis," Carol replied.

"So," Dad turned to Grandma, "in my house, my daughter is my princess. And I, as the head, forbid anyone to speak like that to her. She is growing fast, she is already fourteen and, when she is a young lady, I will make sure she has a lot of self-respect and esteem. Now, I warn everyone and anyone, that if I know you disobeyed my word, I swear to God I'll either cut off your tongue and throw you out."

His words were loud and clear and striking in their abstract form, and Grandma shook. I shuddered too, and I felt tears rising. It was my own guilt that I feared. Outside, I got beaten up and teased, and I never told my family. If I did, they would defend me, just like they were defending me from the harsh words of Grandma. But, what a sick beat I was that I still didn't tell them!

My thoughts were broken by Mum's whisper:

"Chance, I think you should go have a walk... and freshen up..."

I looked up with tearful eyes but I knew she wanted me to get some alone time and relax.

"Okay," I whispered and stood up.

"And, in my purse, there are five five-dollar notes. You can take them and get some pumpkin and stuff," she smiled.

I nodded. "Thanks, Mum," I said, and, as soon as I had taken the money, I got out of the house and walked along the cold streets, considering that it was still early morning and people were just starting to decorate.

My phone beeped. Apparently, another text message had been received.

From: Nat

To: Me

ooh, you're tryna escape the pun

but hey, I got some pumpkins. Wanna decorate them?

I laughed and replied back.

From: Me

To: Nat

Sure. Meet me at the park near school then?

The reply came as fast as lightning, but then, I didn't expect less from Natalie.

From: Nat

To: Me

Oh yea gimme five min and i'll be there

So I ran to the park as fast as I could. On the way, there was a small shop selling pumpkins and candles. I decided to buy a few in honour of the day but it was jolly hard to carry all of them. The shopkeeper, a man of around twenty, noticed the absurdness of the situation and laughed.

"Seems like you are in some trouble," he laughed.

I chuckled nervously. "I should have thought of it first, huh?"

"Yeah, but you didn't. Now look at yourself."

He just said that when I stumbled and a pumpkin crashed to the ground. I groaned- what a waste!

"Tie them," the man helped.


"Tie the tops with thread. Here," he said, giving me a woolen thread.

"Oh, thanks. How much?"

"It's fine. You lost a pumpkin. I don't want to rob you," he laughed, putting the dark thread in my hands.

"Ah, well, thank you," I smiled, "Now I'll be on my way!"

I caught the pumpkins' tops and firmly tied them together. I didn't see how it helped that much but, at least, now I was able to carry them all by myself. And, then I ran to the park at top speed.

When I reached, Natalie was waiting at the gates. Beside her were lots of candles and pumpkins with five different knives and a medium-sized ornate box.

"Hey, Offie!" she cried, when she spotted me.

"Howdy," I smiled.

"Well, I see you cared to buy your own bunch of pumpkins," she laughed.

I looked at my pumpkins and blushed. She had three times more pumpkins than me and they all were very orange indeed.

"Actually, I regret bothering," I smirked, "but the stall was so pretty that I had to."

"Oh! A stall? My grandparents came by to visit us and they brought us home-grown pumpkins, from their own farm."

"Whoa, not everyone has grand grandparents," I laughed, internally broken because Natalie's grandparents seemed to be much better than my Grandma.

"I saw what you did there," she laughed back and then added, "You must have had difficulty in carrying these three babies."

I looked at the pumpkins again and shrugged. "I had four, but one fell down... and bumped his head..."

"Well, I am sorry for you then. My brothers helped me."

"Your brothers? Are they here, Nat?"

"Nope, they just left."

"You have two brothers, right?"

"Yeah," she nodded, "Now let’s get carving, Offie, shall we?"

I snapped my fingers brightly. "Bench," I smirked.


"Let's get to a bench, Nat!"

So, we ran to one of the biggest benches in the park. The park was vacant at that time and children were just starting to pour in, with holiday decorations and stickers. Fortunately, since we got there first, we could claim the bench without any fights. I sat at one end of the bench and Natalie sat at the other end and all our equipment lay in the middle. We didn't make parts but used each other's things as we liked.

Natalie opened the ornate box in which there were glass sheets. They all were quite thin so the box held many of them. Bewildered, I questioned Natalie to which she replied:

"Dramatic FX."

"FX?" I asked.

"Glass and fire. The glow effect, you know."

"What? Where's the place for the glass, Nat?"

"Well, uh, we get to fix it in the place for eyes. I was thinking... how about the mouth too?"

"What, have you gone all glassy!?"

"Evolution," she smirked, "I bet once our glass pumpkins are hanging around, next Halloween, everyone will do the same. It'll be called the Nat-Offie Orange Glass Effect for Halloween Pumpkins!"

I frowned as I carved out the sharp mouth of my pumpkin. "Oh, yeah? That's a long name."

"N.O.G.E.H. P, for short," she smiled dreamily.

"No gap? What kind of name is that?" I asked.

"N.O.G.E.H. P! Not gap!" she cried.

I laughed. "Chill, princess, I was just messing with you."

We carved for more than an hour after that and I forgot breakfast in that time. Mum called me back home for breakfast to which I reluctantly agreed but made Natalie promise she would still be there when I would return. We had apple pies with cream and tea and I ate in a hurry to get back to Natalie. My hurry raised considerable questions but I lied that I had met a few girls who were acquainting with me.

It was a happy lie and my family- or, most of it- smiled brightly at it. When I reached back to the park, breathing like insane, Natalie had kept her word and waved at me as I approached her. The park was awfully noisy though, with people rushing here and there. Natalie was slicing an eye out of the glass cautiously and smiled when she saw me.

I sat down and put one of the smaller pumpkins in my lap as I sharpened the knife.

I had already broken three glass sheets in carelessness so I told Natalie I wasn't going to touch it again- which she was quite happy to agree on. Now, I just carved pumpkins happily.

"You have to diversify," Natalie commented, pointing a finger at me.

I giggled. "Says the girl who is just cutting glass," I replied.

"What?" she said, astounded.

"I am diversifying!!" I groaned, out of my gaming mood.

Natalie wiggled her eyebrows and stared at me in confusion. Natalie could wiggle her eyebrows in any way, and it was practically funny because she often couldn't help but wiggle them in the most facetious way ever.

I burst laughing- I couldn't help myself either when she did that.

"Ah, someone can still laugh," she chuckled, getting back to her glass.

"W-Well, if you didn't do that," I laughed, " I wouldn't have!"

"No?" she asked, thrusting her face near mine and wiggling them all over again, with a silly smirk on her lips.

I covered my mouth with both hands to laugh suddenly and the knife slipped from my hands- on the glass sheets. There was a loud shatter and we both looked down to see smithereens everywhere.

"Oh my gosh, what happened?" Natalie gasped.

"Uh, ahem, the knife dropped from my hands..." I swallowed quickly

"Oh no!" she sighed and dropped her head in her hands.

"Sorry," I whispered, looking at my hands nervously.

Natalie sighed and shook her head. "Forget it, it is not even your fault... I don't want to mess anything today... so... you know what? I am just going to rush home and get another box of glass."

I looked up, a bright grin forming on my lips. "For real?"

She ran her hand through her hair and nodded. "You betcha."

"Whoa! Awesome!!" I squealed, breaking into laughter again.

She stood up and grinned, “Don’t break anything while I'm gone!"

I smirked brightly. "I won't!!" I sang as she waved and strode out of the park.

I watched her go and then got back to carving my pumpkins. I carved two real long teeth in one of them and it looked somewhat silly, which made me snicker. Despite the harshness of Grandma, I really liked this day… at least, until I heard a familiar giggle.

“Aww, Dwayne, look who’s there!” Kristy giggled, pointing me out from a mass of children.

Dwayne turned and smirked. “Oaf-ie?”

I gulped. My hand shook and I felt like the knife would drop from my hand anytime now. They were here. How could they be here?

“Hey, don’t you miss us?” Dwayne guffawed, approaching me in his intimidating style.

“Hi…” I swallowed carelessly and Kristy burst cackling.

“My goodness, did you just say ‘hi’?” she chortled, holding her stomach as she laughed.

I shook, “What do you want?”

Kristy stopped in her tracks and, twitching her lips, thought for a brief deep while. Then she smirked and said, “Um, a lot of things, actually. We want to harass you. Embarrass you. Taunt you. Torture in all ways we can. And, also, we want to keep explaining to you why it is an excellent idea to throw yourself in a hellhole and die.”

“So, my reason for the hellhole idea,” she added with a loud snicker, “is because you are obviously not worthy of life. It hates you, even more than us. It is so tired of you, Ophelia. It really wants to flee from you. It deserves someone better, obviously.”

“Yeah,” Dwayne agreed, “and I think you are getting to realize what an awful person you are. But your riddance is necessary, Oaf-ie. And you better be in that hellhole before you are fifteen. Making life stick with you so reluctantly is plain cruel.”

“My fifteenth birthday is next year,” I croaked.

“March the thirteenth, eh? That’s about five months from now,” he grinned malevolently.

“You guys are terrible,” I whimpered.

The next moment, I regretted saying that because my hair was pulled forcefully by strong hands and I found myself sniveling at the face of the one and only Kristy.

“Listen to me, sucker,” she glared with her hard emerald eyes on my weak ones, “You don’t disrespect me, okay? You never disrespect me. You say one bad thing to me and I will rip those pretty eyes out, okay? My friend and I only wish the ‘best’ for you. If you don’t die in that hell of a hellhole yourself, I will gladly help. I would love to slaughter you with all my heart.”

She let go of my hair violently and I felt tears running down my face. Her words had scarred me so badly that I sobbed quietly and buried my face in the palms of my hands.

“And I love seeing you in so much misery. But I suppose I already know that!” Kristy slammed her hand on my shoulder and I whined sharply.

Then I saw a bleak grey light inside my head. It grew larger consequently and colours began appearing in it as it overtook the darkness of my mind. I saw a small room, painted the colour of sand and the walls a bright salmon pink. The bed was dirty and messy clothes were thrown about on the floor. There was a girl sitting on the bed speaking on her phone loudly.

And I knew who she was.


And I knew this vision as well.

I was seeing her dream. I was seeing her dream because her eyes burdened upon mine for so long that now her dream played in my vision.

I am having dinner at six. Yeah, the restaurant. Helen is with me. Are you coming, Dwayne? she said.

There was an obvious muttering but then the room darkened. It darkened, leaving Kristy gaping and shivering in a small grey glow. What is happening? she whimpered.

This is what is happening, another girl spoke from the darkness. I recognized that voice, even though the obscurity of it scared me.

It was Natalie. She stepped out of the shadows and glared at Kristy angrily.

N-Natalie… Kristy wept silently, tears rolling down her cheeks.

Just shut up, Kristina. I’ve had this. I know you hurt Ophelia. And now I am gonna make you regret it! Natalie yelled, thrashing Kristy off her bed.

Instantly, the vision flickered and vanished and I found myself weeping on the bench, just in time to hear Dwayne and Kristy say ‘bye’ and run off. From the corner of my eye, I saw Natalie coming towards me and I quickly wiped my face. But the redness was going to take a lot more time than one minute. I dug my nails in the pumpkin and furtively dribbled the orange juice on my face. At least, it would appear I was having fun.

“Hey, what happened?” Natalie asked, sitting down.

I managed a goofy grin and looked at her, hoping she wouldn’t notice how I was really feeing. Fortunately, she giggled loudly and said, “My God! Offie! What’d you do to your face? You look like a clown!”

“I was having fun,” I replied slyly.

“Well, you did a great job with the pumpkins,” she laughed, “And I think we should start hanging them now. This is a lot of work you’ve done!”

“Thanks, Nat,” I smiled.

So, we started hanging our N. O. G. E. H. P pumpkins in every single street and some kids liked the glass- so, Natalie was right! - and they wanted to help us. I stayed with them for a while but, I was feeling so unhappy that I told Natalie I was tired and I had to go home. She hugged me goodbye and then I left for home.

Feeling like I was drowning.


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