(A Collective Grudge)
Sixteen-year-old Brielle Bennett sat in front of Thomasville High School reading the new and recently published Shannon Crooke McGregor novel when she was approached by seventeen-year-old Bobby Crabtree, his girlfriend Rita Winchester, and friends Ashton Childers, Kevin Kearns, Aaron Hughes, Jada Ames, Austin Eves, Philip Adams Jr, and Sarah Dickerson. They immediately noticed the book Brielle was reading. The title of the book, in big bold letters, across the top of the cover, read “Scars Never Healed.” Across the bottom was the name, Shannon Crooke McGregor.”
Brielle, a shy and bullied girl at Thomasville High School, needed to confirmation that she wasn’t alone, which was one of the many reasons she idolized Shannon Crooke McGregor, the famous author who had lived in Thomasville as a teenager and who had attended the same school. Shannon escaped the chains the held her in place, which were the same chains that were now holding Brielle in place, and if Shannon could go on to become famous, then perhaps, she could too.
A Forbidden Book
Brielle was startled out of her reverie when someone suddenly snatched her book out of her hands.
“Well, well, well! What do we have here?” Bobby jeered as he looked at the book, surrounded by his friends, who were laughing and jeering behind him, “Shannon Crooke McGregor!” He read aloud before glaring at Brielle.
Bobby angrily shook the book at Brielle.
“Really, Brielle? Shannon Crooke McGregor!”
Bobby then threw the book back at Brielle, hitting her in the face with it. He then took her by the collar of her blouse and jerked her up from the bench she was sitting on.
“You support the bitch who slandered this town and this school? You know? We’ve always hated your guts! That’s right! We hated your guts before! But now! We fucking loathe you! You’re enemy number one now! You’d better watch your back from now on!” He growled before shoving her back down on the concrete school patio.
Brielle reached to grab her book but, in a rage, Bobby kicked it out of her reach and the book went sliding across the patio and hit one of the garbage disposals. He then walked away with his friends laughing behind him. Rita looked back at Brielle.
“Stupid bitch!” She called back…
…Over a year later, during graduation, Brielle received her diploma and walked back to where she had sat amid jeers and boos. Only her family clapped and cheered for her.
“Don’t pay any attention to them, Brielle. We’re proud of you, sweetie.” Brielle’s mother called out to her from the audience.
Just after the commencement ceremony was over, Brielle hugged each of her family members in festive and celebratory happiness. Her mother and father were so proud of her, and Brielle was excited for the future.
“I can’t believe it’s over! It’s really over!” Brielle gushed with tears of joy in her eyes. She hugged each of her brothers.
An Evil Pact
Not far away, Bobby and his friends, also in their graduation caps and gowns, stood together, all glaring at Brielle, watching her smile and pose for pictures with her family and few friends. They turned and looked at one another.
“She only thinks it’s over! But it’s far from it!” Rita sneered. Each bully stood in unity and put their hands-on top of one another’s.
“We need to make a pact. She still has to live here.” Bobby said, “So, we start a little campaign.” He suggested.
“Ha! When we’re done with her, she’ll have no job prospects, no prospects for college, no marriage prospects- we’re going to isolate her and drive her to poverty! She’ll live in squalor when we’re through!” Rita growled.
“And if that don’t work, we kill her!” Bobby pledged, with his friends cheering in agreement.
A New Life
Unbeknownst to the bullies, however, Brielle had other plans. She hopped a Greyhound bus and left Thomasville the following week, heading to sunny California.
Brielle tried getting into acting. Apart from a few guest appearances and bit parts in a few movies, she couldn’t seem to get her big break. While she tried her hand at acting, she worked in a gentleman’s club as an exotic dancer and made good money. She soon gave up on acting and decided to make a career in dancing. Although four-hundred thousand dollars a year was nothing to sneeze at, it was still peanuts in southern California.
At twenty, Brielle met and married a businessman, then had three children…