The Monster's Scribbler
by Annie Rachel Cole
Phoebe closed her eyes and chewed on her bottom lip, torn between the need to be invisible and the need to help the girl. She opened her eyes, took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
She put her notebook and some of Madison’s books into stacks on the table. “You don’t need to apologize to her. She’s the one who pushed the bag under your feet,” she said to Madison.
“I should’ve b-been w-watching where I w-was g-g-going.” Madison’s voice was soft and low.
“You did nothing wrong. Jayla shouldn’t be trying to get her kicks at your expense.”
“Excuse me!” Jayla’s head bounced from side to side. “But you are not a part of this conversation. Besides, you were too busy writing in that notebook to even see what happened. So go away. Drop dead. Or something.”
Heads bobbed up and down in agreement at her table.
“I didn’t have to see it to know what you did. You’ve been pulling stunts like that since kindergarten,” said Phoebe.
“I know you. You are a scribbler. Right?” Jayla’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “Loser!” She put her fingers in the shape of an “L” up to her forehead. The girls at her table roared with laughter.
“At least I’m not a—what do you call yourself?” Phoebe paused tapping her finger on her head. “I remember now. At least I’m not a weregerbil. How low on the shifting chain is that?”
Snickers flickered across the room, but everyone at Jayla’s table suddenly grew quiet, waiting to see what Jayla would do.
Jayla turned several shades of red. “I don’t need this. There’s too many freaks on the this committee.” She grabbed her gym bag and stomped out of the room, followed closely by her gaggle of friends.
Phoebe turned her attention to Madison. “Are you okay?”
The other girl nodded and pushed at an imaginary pair of glasses. Realizing what she was doing, she quickly put down her hand. “Thanks. You didn’t have to do that.”
Phoebe shrugged. “It wasn’t right what she did.”
“Way to go, Wilson,” said a black-haired girl with a pierced lip and a silver studded dog collar around her neck. “Weregerbil. That’s a good one.”
“Yeah, I’ll have to remember that,” said the girl sitting across from her. She was also dressed in black. “Who would have thought—weregerbil.”
Murmurs of agreement and approval rose from different parts of the room.
“Can I sit here?” asked Madison. She had collected the rest of her books. She looked at Phoebe with the expectation of being told to go somewhere else.
Phoebe shrugged. “If you want to.”
Madison put her books down and slid into the chair next to Phoebe. A huge smile covered her face.
Phoebe handed her the books she picked up. Madison took them adding them to the stack that loomed in front of her like a wall.
“I’m Madison Rose.” She held out her hand to Phoebe.
A little reluctantly, Phoebe shook her hand. “Phoebe Wilson.”