Pecking Order

“Just look at her.”

The teenage girls huddled together. Usually ruffling, preening, and cooing at each other over shiny new clothes and shoes, currently their attentions were on a lone figure across the yard. She was nearly identical to them, slender, shining mid-length hair, eyes fringed by long lashes, rosebud mouth. Just the same as they. Except. . . .

Serena wasn’t interested in them. She preferred being alone. Dressed plain, She blended into the beige buildings and gray stones of the schoolyard. However, she glowed from within. She was entertained beyond the mainstream, outside the box. Today she was reading, humming an unfamiliar melody.

“She has a tattoo. She hides it under those ugly skirts, but it’s so there.”

“All of you, just SHUT UP!” The ringleader fluttered. They froze. “Don’t you get it? She’s different. Don’t you know how dangerous she is? She could ruin everything. We can’t just ignore her. We have to stop her.”

Serena looked up to see the flock of girls moving toward her.

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