doing without

She was alone. The new kid at school. Same at home too. She’d spend hours (it felt like days) waiting for her parents to call even or to come home. Latch key kids do get lonely and in her case it made her ripe pickings.
She craved attention and affection. She wanted validation. There were so many nights she fell asleep with tears on her face. Something scared her, but she had no one to call. She felt worried about school and making friends, but there was no one to reassure her. She felt lonely, from missing her friends at her old school. And she was home alone, so the loneliness grew day by day,
She was pushed around by a couple girls from her gym class. Teased for being… well not like them. It didn’t really matter whether she was pretty or they were. It just mattered that they were a them and she was a one. It also mattered that for days, they were the only ones talking to her who weren’t teachers or parents.
The girls were checking to see if she told on them. But she really had no one to tell.
Next stage, one of the girls befriended her. When she was separate from the others. It seemed to be a secret. She was fine with that, because at least she had one voice in the void. Part time friends were better than nothing. No one.
The group added themselves, one by one. It felt like a push and shove too. Some days they liked her, some days they were bullies. Sometimes physical, sometimes name calling. But they sweetly apologized and let her in a bit more. She started to trust them more and more.
Finally the bullying stopped and they treated her like their own.
Then they started the next phase. They took her to the mall and had her steal things for them. She was a bit hesitant at first. But the last thing she wanted to do was lose her new friends. She finally felt accepted.
Then they had her help them pick on their target girls. She didn’t like that, but better them than her.
Till one day, she baulked and the girls turned on her. They beat her, kicked her, kneed her. Till she couldn’t get up. So they left her there.
About an hour later, she managed to drag herself home and get into bed. She passed out…
She was alone when she died of her internal bleeding. No one even called for hours. Her parents went to bed when they got home without checking on her. In the morning, finally, they knocked on her door because she hadn’t started to make her usual getting ready for school noises or come for breakfast. In a rush for the door, they yelled but she didn’t answer. Her mom went in and shook her. And shook her. Then she felt her cheek, Her neck, She was stone cold. Her mother looked at her dad at the door and he came to check her himself. Then he called 911.
Three days later, she was lowered into the grave, to spend the rest of eternity…alone.

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