Friday, August 22, 2008

End of Chapter One

I got a letter today from the school superintendent about the school board's decision, making it official what I already knew. They won't be able to provide transportation, since there isn't a bus big enough for me, so I'll have to walk to school.

There was a map enclosed with the letter of my "strongly suggested" route--the long way that bypasses downtown. And there's a number I'm supposed to call if I'm going to be going home later or earlier than normal. I like that they included that word, normal. On some streets there will be wooden barricades set up for me to walk between but still, that's going to be considered normal.

School starts on September 4th but I'll have a special orientation on the 3rd to meet my teachers and arrange my room--which will be a secondary gym that's being converted into a classroom. The letter says it has a high ceiling and double-doors that open directly onto the faculty parking lot. It will be the only part of the school I'll ever need to go into, kind of like an old-time one-room schoolhouse. Maybe I'll get to wear my "Little House on the Prairie" dress after all!!!

Once school starts I'm going to be meeting more people than I've ever known in my life, and most of them will be my own age!!! It's exciting and scary. It really does feel like an important chapter in my life is coming to an end, so I'll write it out here...

END OF CHAPTER ONE
CHAPTER TWO BEGINS ON MONDAY, AUGUST 25th.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Caging the Monster

I've already run out of the sleeping pills Doc gave me, cuz I've got to take a whole bunch of them at a time on account of my size and metabolism. But maybe after last night, I won't need them anymore.

I dreamed of the meadow again but this time everything was calm and peaceful. It was daytime again with blue skies and a rainbow from one horizon to the other. I could still hear my monster shrieking in the distance 'tho, along with a whole lot of banging. I went to investigate and didn't feel frightened at all.

Over the ridge, I came to my old barn. Something inside was making a terrible racket, banging again and again into the doors, but the crossbar them shut. Red light and smoke seeped out through every crack as my monster struggled to break free.

"It's about time you showed up," said Miss Freckles. She stood by the door with her hands on her hips. "I caught your monster for you--don't thank me or anything."

"You? You're the one who did this?"

"It wasn't so hard. I'm not the one he's so pissed off at. Well, maybe a little, but he's your monster and not mine."

"I don't know what to say," I told her.

"Thank you would be appropriate."

"Oh, right, thank you."

"You're welcome. Just don't get used to me fixing all your messes. You're not my responsibility. Not anymore." She looked at me seriously. "This is only temporary, Melly. That door won't hold forever. Eventually you'll have to face him and own up to what you've done."

"I know," I whispered. "I'm just not ready--Oh!" I had a sudden, terrible thought. "In another dream, the barn was the last place I saw Ma!!!"

"Your mother?" Miss Freckles sighed. "Yeah, I've got that covered too. You really would be helpless without me."

She led me to the other side of the barn and there was Ma!!! I got down on my knees and hugged her close.

"Oh, Melly, Melly, Melly, you've grown so much!" she exclaimed.

I shook my head. "An inch and a half, maybe, since our last dream together."

"Not height, Melly. You've grown in other ways, too. You can relate to other people now and you're well on the road to finding your own place in the world."

Miss Freckles chortled under her breath. "Your own place in a circus freakshow is more like it."

"Hush, you!" Ma snapped and, remarkably, Miss Freckles dropped her head.

"I don't know if there really is a place in the world for someone like me," I said to Ma. "I feel out of place every time I go into town."

"And yet, you keep on going," said Ma. "You'll be going into town every day for school, and doesn't it feel more natural and normal each time?"

"Yes," I had to admit.

"Your father and I did you wrong, Melly. We had to hide you away, but at such a high cost... I hope someday you can forgive us."

"Oh, Ma! There's nothing to forgive!"

Miss Freckles grinned. "If she only knew..."

"Hush!" Ma snapped again.

I looked from Ma to Miss Freckles and back. "Do you two know each other?"

Miss Freckles laughed. "If you think your deepest, darkest secret is the one in that barn, you're in for the shock of your life!"

Miss Freckles was still laughing as the dream faded around me. The last thing I heard was Ma's voice saying, "You have a long way to go, Melly dear, but you'll get there. I have faith in you!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One Thing Away from Ruin

Mr. Appleton pulled me aside today for a talk. That sounds funny, doesn't it? Cuz you know he'd need a tractor to literally pull me aside, and what he actually did was sit me down for a talk. While he stood. Looking up.

"Melly, we're tapped out. We've taken out loans and second mortgages in order to set you up in your shed. The money we get from the state doesn't cover any of it, or even a fraction of your food budget."

He must have noticed my expression of worry because he quickly added, "Not that we're unhappy to have you here. Quite the opposite, in fact--I've never seen Becka happier since the day I married her."

This sounded true, 'tho Mr. Appleton really only talked about Mrs. Appleton being happy, and not himself or Jay. Mrs. Appleton seemed so happy to have a girl around that she hardly paid any attention at all to her own son anymore, which was yet another reason for Jay to resent me.

"Any little thing could be the end for us," said Mr. Appleton. "Any unforeseen expense, any unexpected damages, any injury caused to another person, or anything that costs us any money at all. If any of these things happen, the state will take you away and I honestly don't know what would happen to you then. Do you understand?"

I nodded, but Mr. Appleton was waiting for more than just a head-bob so I also told him, "Yes, I understand." I'd never seen his face so tightly drawn and serious.

I never imagined things were so bad as Mr. Appleton made them out to be. How would I ever keep from costing the Appletons whatever was left of their life savings when the world and everything in it is as delicate as Ma's old porcelain tea set--which she never let me play with, but which I still ended up breaking when I accidentally bumped into the house hard enough to knock over the curio cabinet.

"Also," said Mr. Appleton, just when I thought there couldn't possibly be any more, "we usually hire a few farm hands to help with the harvest, but this year the orchard budget is a little tight. Jay and his friends will help some but I really need you to step up."

"Of course," I said. I always helped Ma and Pa at harvest time and it's not like there were any crops this year at Mills Farm anyway. "What about that GlomCorp sponsorship?" I asked "That would help a little, wouldn't it?"

Mr. Appleton smiled a little with just the right side of his mouth. "That would help a lot, actually, but I haven't heard from GlomCorp in a week now and anyway, Becka's not too keen on anyone using you to shill products for them. For now, we'll assume the sponsorship deal is dead and be pleasantly surprised if it ever does happen."

When he said that, Mr. Appleton reminded me a little of Pa. Both of them had that "hope for the best but expect the worst" thing going on, and both of them kept their distance from me. With Pa, it was cuz he loved his horse more than he ever loved me and that's okay cuz he did still love me too. But Mr. Appleton doesn't like me at all and only keeps me around cuz it makes his wife happy. He still thinks I'm a monster. I can see it in his eyes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Illusion is Complete

Something amazing and magical happened inside my shed today. There's a fuzzy white carpet on the floor now, picked out by Mrs. Appleton, and a headboard for my mattress--built by Mr. Appleton and Jay and stained birch-white to match my desk, chair, and shelves. As a finishing touch, Mrs. Appleton had posters made of "hot boys" from movies I've never seen and TV shows I don't watch, each blown up to six feet by nine and plastered at odd angles all over the cotton candy walls.

The magical part is, when I'm in my room, everything seems to become normal sized including me!!! And any small person who comes in looks like a Munchkin from the Land of Oz!!!

There are still a few things out of scale, like my computer--which could be a toy sitting on the corner of my desk. Or Tinkerbell, who might look like a weirdly-shaped dog with Guernsey markings if you catch sight of her in the corner of your eye. It's not enough to break the illusion 'tho, cuz all those posters have a powerful effect.

"Now this is a girl's room!" Mrs. Appleton exclaimed. She was jumping up and down on the bed like she'd suddenly become a six-year-old, only smaller. She jumped hard enough to knock over the giant teddy bear she'd bought me, which was almost as tall as she was. Boo-Bear, she insists on calling in.

She invited me to join her but I shook my head. "Could you take your shoes off, Mrs. A?" I asked, because somebody in that room had to be an adult.

I have to admit, the shed finally does look like a girl's bedroom. A normal girl's bedroom. Not my bedroom, maybe, but I place where I can hang out and pretend.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Staying Inside with the Doors Locked

I confronted Jay yesterday and accused him of sneaking under the fence last summer to watch me bathe. I didn't have any proof, except for the weird dream I had in the back of Dr. Crisp's truck, but Jay didn't deny it. It's hard to lie about stuff like that when you're being dangled upside-down by an angry seventeen-foot, eleven-and-a-half-inch girl.

"Give me a break, Melly! What fifteen-year-old boy would turn down a chance to see a naked girl, larger than life?"

I wanted to get back at him, and I could have. It would have been so easy, while I was holding him by the feet with one hand, to peel him like a banana with the other--but that's one banana I don't ever want to see. Never, ever, ever, ever!!! Instead I tickled him until he peed his pants, dropped him on his head, and told him we were officially even 'tho we're probably not.

Jay rubbed his head and looked up at me. "I'm sorry, Melly. That all happened back before I knew you. I wouldn't watch you now though, not even if you paid me."

"Gee, thanks."

His face turned red. "You know what I mean! Besides, I never went back again after..." He made a twisting motion with his hands.

"So you really were there that day." I frowned. "And I suppose you told Mrs. Rodriguez all about it?"

"Of course not! I told her you had a temper problem and about some of the stupid stuff you've done to me since my parents took you in, and she actually laughed. She said she'd done all that and worse to her own little brother when she was your age. After that I was too embarrassed to tell her how I'm actually two months older than you, and we never got around to...that day."

I let out a long breath. My deepest, darkest secret was still safe, or as safe as it could ever be in the hands of Jay Appleton.

"Still, I can't ever get that image out of my mind," he said.

I nodded. "I feel really bad about what I did. I have enough guilt to--"

"Choke a horse?" Jay suggested. "No, sorry, that wasn't funny."

"I have enough guilt to give me nightmares every time I close my eyes."

"Good," said Jay. "You deserve your nightmares." I didn't say anything to that cuz I knew he was right. I haven't had any more dreams since Doc gave me those sleeping pills but I will have to face my monster eventually.

From now on, no matter how hot the day is or how much that old creek seems to call out to me, I'm sticking to the private shower in my shed. The one with no windows and a door that I can lock!!!

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Illustrator Challenge

Artists can create illustrations of me or the events in my life, as long as they are appropriate for my young readers. Any previous post on this blog can be illustrated. If I like an image that goes well with a post on the blog, I may add a small thumbnail version along with credit to the artist and a link to the full-sized image. Images of me posted elsewhere should link back to the "Giant Girl Rampages" blog.

If you want to draw a picture of me, here's what you need to know:

I'm 15 years old and almost (but not quite) 18 feet tall. Mrs. Appleton says I'm very pretty and well proportioned, which I guess is a complement. I'm not super thin or anything but I think I'm in pretty good shape.

I have dirty blonde hair that's kind of wild because I trim it with Pa's old hedge trimmers. My eyes are green as the ocean, as Ma always said, but I wouldn't know because I've never seen an ocean. My skin is tanned from being out in the sun a lot but not too dark and (usually) not burned.

I wear a blouse and skirt-shorts that my mother quilted for me three years ago. They look like a big patchwork cuz she used many squares of fabric and cowhide. I've grown since then, so the skirt-shorts no longer come down to my knees, my blouse is way tight, and there's a bit of skin showing in between. I don't have any shoes (and that makes me sad to think about so I usually don't).

If you do draw my picture, send the link in a comment so I can post it to my blog. Thanks!!!

Fan-Fiction Challenge

You can write fan-fiction about me if you want. Just let everyone know your story is made up and not real, unlike this blog which is absolutely 100% true.

Be sure to link back to my blog and I'll link to the stories I like best!!!