Status: updates when inspiration and free time collide.

Sotto Voce


I got back from weight training a little later than usual so the halls were pretty empty by the time I got back into the main building of the school…except for a lone person – Someone light on their feet and in a terrible hurry, from the sound of the footsteps. It was the new girl, Brett.

“Oh, hi, Zack,” she muttered, looking around and going through the backpacks hanging on the hooks by my locker.

“Looking for something?” I asked as I peeled off my shirt and used it to wipe the sweat off my body. Kelly loved when I did that, but Brett didn’t even notice. Wow.

“My backpack,” Brett said with a soft sigh, hanging her head and walking off to somewhere else because she didn’t find her backpack here.

I threw my shirt back on and hurriedly packed up so I could run after her. “Hey, wait up. Let me help you out.”

Brett glanced up at me in surprise. “Oh, thanks…”

I threaded my fingers through one of her belt loops, pulling her in a new direction. “Come wth me. I think I might know where it is.” I pulled her along to the now empty cafeteria.

“I already checked here,” Brett told me, but I silently scanned the cafeteria anyways. My eyes quickly fell on the misshapen black lump lying beside the vending machines. We walked over to it and I picked it up and opened it.

“Is any of this stuff yours?”I asked, pulling out a pencil pouch, a binder, and a few composition notebooks.

“Yes,” Brett answered, sounding so relieved, but I was angry.

I dumped the backpack’s contents onto a nearby table and began to turn her backpack outside out again. “You got your backpack turtled, Brett,” I told her as I handed her the backpack after I fixed it.

“What’s turtled?” Brett asked, genuinely confused as she put all her things inside of it.

“Turtled. When someone snatched your backpack and turns it inside out so it’s impossible to find,” I explained a little impatiently. Turtled. Brett asked me what turtled meant. I bet a fifth grader knows what turtle means.

“Oh,” Brett laughed a bit, nodding in understanding.

I ran a hand through my sweaty hair in my frustration. “Brett, don’t you get it? You’re being bullied!”

“I know,” Brett said with a shrug, shouldering her backpack again. “I was kind of expecting it, considering where I come from… Don’t worry about me, Zack. I’ll be fine. It’s just one more year, after all,” Brett reasoned, pulling the sleeves of her oversized sweater down so that only her fingertips were visible. “Thanks again, Zack. Bye.”

Brett walked away, but I was hesitant to leave her by herself. I decided to follow her to her car, at least, and I’m glad I did. Even though the parking space next to Brett was empty, I knew that she had parked next to Kelly. Brett’s car had been wrapped in Saran Wrap.

Brett tossed her backpack onto the ground, retrieving a razor from one of the pockets before she started to cut at the Saran Wrap. I knew I should’ve left while I could – what girl packs a razor in their backpack? – but I stayed to help her.

“Brett, they’re pranking you pretty hard,” I told her. She peeled the Saran Wrap off while I balled it up so we could trash it much easier.

“I don’t understand why,” said Brett, the frustration apparent in her voice.

I felt bad for her. Kelly and Jude and all those people were going to give her hell. This wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Kelly could be really fucking mean. Obviously. I knew that associating with Brett would only incite them more, but…Brett was really in need of a friend. I know that I’m not the best friend you could ask for, but I’m good for some things…like ripping Saran Wrap off her windshield because she couldn’t reach that far.

“I owe you so much, Zack. I can’t thank you enough,” Brett told me with a warm smile as she put her things into the trunk.

And in that moment, I realized why I was so drawn to her – we were so similar.

We were both just keeping our heads down and taking so much shit from people at school. But whereas mine was merely verbal abuse – vicious gossip and vitriolic rumors – Brett’s was physical abuse. They weren’t hurting her…yet. This was one of those “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile” things. They would continue to push her buttons and test her limits until they broke her. That’s the way it always worked.

That’s the way it worked with Monica, one of Kelly’s friends. Monica got picked on so much, but what broke her was when even Kelly, her supposed best friend, criticized her as well – something about her weight. I’ll never understand the problem girls have with weight. I don’t know what’s so hard about eating right and exercising. But I digress.

“Brett, you’ve gotta stand up for yourself or they’ll just keep walking all over you.”

“I don’t care about them,” said Brett, a hint of defiance in her voice. “Do you?”

“No…but for some reason, I care about you,” I said before I could stop myself.

Brett simply stared at me, a blush slowly but surely rising in her cheeks.

“See you tomorrow,” I mumbled, quickly walking to my own car.

That was another thing - Brett was too cute for her own good...

She needed to steer clear of guys like me.
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thanks for reading; hope you liked it!
i've never had my backpack turtled, but somebody did that to our school bus once.
they were salty because we kicked their ass in volleyball >:D
anyways, feedback would be lovely and greatly appreciated :3