I am not a normal girl. If anything, I’m extraordinary. Well, at least according to my little sister, Nora. I wouldn’t call what I have extraordinary. Where I’m from is called Flippen. Middle of nowhere, Missouri. We are a strange little town, always cloudy and grey, not even seen on a map. Every couple generations, a freak generation is born. Andy, Nora, Phillip, and I are part of one. Each of us is different. You may think that's sweet, how we are unique or something, but it's not. Being different is never fun. You get classified as a freak. And it’s not fun. Especially the way I, Melody Brook Chesterfield, the 7th-grade freak is treated.
I slipped into the Burrygrate Junior High lunch room, speed walking to the small table in the back corner with my head angled downward, hoping one would notice me. Yep, the best seat in the house right here. Phillip beat me to it. Phillip is what most people call a humanoid, with the body of a thirteen-year-old boy, but the face of a fox. The only feature on his head that wasn’t fox-like was the tuft of blonde hair on his forehead. And like always, Phillip wore a long-sleeved shirt and sweatpants, no matter the day. To be fair, the weather’s always sweat-shirt weather here.
“Hey Phil,” I sighed as I plopped down across from him.
“Hi Melody,” Phillip muttered, his eyes downcast to his sandwich. I could tell Alyssa and her goons got to him. One of these days, I’m going to pull off this beanie and these sunglasses and turn her to stone. With that thought, my little snake friends fought excitedly against my beanie, but I pulled it down securely around my ears.
“Did they do something?” I asked, nodding to the kids at one of the middle tables, dressed like high-schoolers, laughing their heads off.
“For square dancing in the gym, I was paired up with Alyssa,” Philip said with disgust on his face.
“Oh,” I muttered. Alyssa was the queen bee of bullying me, Phil, and Andy. She hasn't stopped since she moved here in second grade. Most kids just ignored or avoided us, and once in a while they were nice to us. Not Alyssa. I tried to befriend her once, but instead, she shuddered and screeched “Ewwwww! Creeps! All of you! Get away from me! Fur Butt! Fang face! Slop monster!” The memory echoed in my head. My hand went instinctively to my mouth. I have only Alyssa to thank for being too scared to smile in school.
I glared over at Alyssa, watching how her sleek, shiny black hair reflected the large, harsh ceiling lights of the cafeteria. I wished I could do something to avenge Phillip’s bad gym period, but none of the teachers found any fault in her. If we tried to fight her, the lunchroom supervisors would stop us and put us in detention for attacking a “Poor defenseless child.” Most of the people here weren’t born in Flippen, and therefore don’t trust those of us with, shall we say, unusual tendencies.
“Heads up, slop monster!” Rider, Alyssa’s boyfriend, shouted through the lunch room. I looked up to find Andy, another of my friends, running up the middle aisle trying to reach our table. Rider threw a bag full of leftover sloppy-joe at him. I wished I could pull off my glasses and turn it to stone, but I would get in big trouble if I missed. Luckily, Riders throw went wide and hit some other kid in the head. The kid stood up, furious, and whacked Rider hard in the head with the bag. In the meantime, Andy bolted the rest of the way to the table.
“So… how's your day?” he sighed as he dropped down into the seat.