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Alyssa's Friend

(c) 2001 Christi Scarborough - do not reproduce without prior written permission

This is a short story about childhood. Not the way people like to remember it, but the way it was. It was actually improvised on the spur of the moment, so I didn't know where it was going when I began it. I think it works nicely though - I'm quite proud of it.


There once was a young girl called Alyssa. Alyssa was sad because she was very lonely and no-one would play with her. They said that she was creepy and weird, and that she spoilt their games. The girls thought that she was scary, and the boys wouldn't play with her because she was a girl.

Because Alyssa was sad, and she wanted friends very much, she decided to find out secrets about the children she knew, so that they would be her friends. So one day, she followed a girl called Posy home from school. She was very quiet, and hid in all sorts of odd places, so Posy didn't notice her. Posy was scared, because she could feel someone watching her, so she kept looking behind her. But when she did, Alyssa would duck behind a wall, or squeeze between the boards of a fence, and so she wouldn't see anybody.

Posy shook her head and carried on walking, a little faster than was perhaps wise. I guess that's why she didn't see the horse and cart coming down the road, and ran out in front of the horse. The horse reared up in fear, and trampled Posy. Her leg was broken, and she screamed and screamed and screamed. Alyssa watched from the bushes. She wanted to go and help, but she couldn't because then Posy would know she was following her, and she would be angry.

The man on the cart got down and picked up Posy. It took a long time, but eventually Posy told him where she lived. The man, who was a Rag and Bone man, put her in the back of the cart among the old carpets and furniture. Alyssa slipped under the cart, and grabbed onto the bottom as it started to move. But the journey was a long one, and holding on was difficult, and soon her hands and feet were hurting from gripping so tight. Alyssa held on tight though, not making a sound, because if Posy was in pain, it was only right that she was too.

The ride was long and bumpy, and all the time, Alyssa could hear the screams of Posy as she was jolted about in the back of the cart. Eventually they arrived at Posy's house, and the man took her inside. The house was old, and in a poor state of repair. Alyssa didn't dare go in, and she hurt so very much from the ride. So she slank off home instead.

The next day, Posy was not in school. Nor the day after, either. But on the third day, Alyssa could bear it no longer and snuck off to Posy's house at lunch time. After all, no-one really noticed her anyway. The house was very quiet, but Alyssa slipped in through the back window which was open a crack. She crept around looking for Posy, and eventually found a bedroom, whose door she pushed open.

There was a loud and piercing scream, and Alyssa had to duck very quickly to avoid a wax candle that had been thrown at her. Lying in a bed in the room was Posy. Her face was white as a sheet, and she was shivering.

"I'm sorry," said Alyssa. "I didn't mean to startle you. I just wondered what had happened to you."

"Oh, you're Alice, aren't you?" said Posy. "I'm all alone here and I thought you'd were a monster come to get me."

"I'm sorry," said Alyssa, too frightened to correct Posy. "I didn't mean to scare you. I'll go."

"No, " said Posy, quickly. "Please stay. My leg hurts and it's very boring here."

So Alyssa and Posy did become friends. Alyssa would tell Posy about everything that had happened at school, and Posy would laugh and together they would make up wonderful stories in which they were the heroines and they would have marvellous adventures. Until one day, Posy was well enough to walk again, and she came back to school, limping and leaning on a stick. Alyssa was so happy to see her, she rushed up and hugged her, but Posy was all stiff and shook her off.

"Leave me alone," she said.

"But why?" asked Alyssa. "I thought we were friends."

"Don't be silly," replied Posy. "How could I be friends with someone like you. These are my friends." And she wondered over to a group of children without a backwards glance.

Now I think Alyssa wanted to do something very nasty to Posy for what she had done, but she never did. I think she felt guilty for causing the accident in the first place. But I can't help feeling that Posy deserved the pain she got. Because Alyssa never had another friend all the time she was in school.