'Pasty' by Iyanna Armwood
Published on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 10:26am
The Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library held a scary story contest during the month of October for children and teens. The prize for the winner of the teen contest was to have their story published on the Library's website. Here is our winner.
I hear my alarm clock but I don’t feel like getting up. I just want to continue to sleep, but the alarm keeps going beep-beep beep-beepbeep-beep. It is getting too much for me so I finally decide to get up and walk across my room which feels like a mile away but is actually only a few feet. I finally reach the other side of the room and put my work-swollen hands on the snooze button. I am exhausted from typing 7 different students’ research papers which are due tomorrow. Placing my alarm clock on the other side of the room so it would force me to get up in the morning seemed like a good idea a month ago.
After showering, I walk over to my closet to retrieve my uniform that I had ironed and hung nicely the night before. My uniform consists of black chino pants, white dress shirt with an option of a solid color tie and black penny loafers. After putting my uniform on, I go to the bathroom to fix my hair and brush my teeth. I put my rectangular glasses on and look in the mirror and see my camel colored eyes, honey colored hair and acne covered face. The thing I hate most is my pasty skin. I am teased because of my skin. I asked my parents if I could get a tan and they laughed and asked if I thought I would really look better if I got a tan.
My parents have always been judgmental about everything from what someone wears down to how they talk, even how someone looks, especially when I was younger. I wasn’t only pasty but also fat. They called me “whale” in school, even the kids in my neighborhood. My parents didn’t want the other parents to know that I was their child. They said I embarrassed them so they picked me up a block away from school. I worked hard to lose weight because I didn’t want them to be embarrassed of me anymore. But it was all in vain when I gain acne. They then gave me my own apartment just so they wouldn’t have to be seen with me.
I leave the house to pursue another day of being laughed at and joked about. When I enter my classroom, everything suddenly becomes subdued. People look at me through the corner of their eye and some don’t even hide the disgusted look on their face. Even without anyone saying it, I know what they are all thinking: “You don’t belong here.” I am hurt. I feel my heart sinking and body tense up but I can’t give them the satisfaction. I make my face emotionless even though I feel like crying, walk calmly to my desk and sit down. I put my bag at my side on the floor and place my elbow on my desk, head in my hand then stare out the window. The best way to handle a nuisance is to ignore it, that’s what I always say.
“His parents don’t love him,” one classmate said in a mocking tone. Then everyone simultaneously burst out laughing. Everyone smiled in a malicious delight. I feel a lump in my throat and my stomach contracting to a tight ball. I feel sick. Very sick. I am sure that if Ms. Marie didn’t come in when she did, I would have thrown up right there and then. She starts class so everyone returns to their seats and face the front. I am sure I hear cruel snickering. It isn’t my imagination. I’m sure I hear it from all over. I want to leave. I want to flee. I definitely have to throw up. I kept thinking after class.... after class.
Finally it is time to go home. After throwing up as much as I did even though I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch, I need the fresh air. Unfortunately I am stopped by Ms. Marie before I could even leave the classroom. I hate being in the same room as Ms. Marie, let alone talking with her. Women have always been like a foreign language to me. I think it is because I think all women are like my mother: cruel. All women just make me nervous. Very nervous. My stomach knots up and I feel myself sweating when I talk to them. Plus I can hear my voice crack too. Just like the other times, it is the same in this situation. She waits for everyone to leave before speaking to me.
“Is everything alright? You seem paler than usual. If there is anything I can help you with you can confide in me,” she said worriedly.
“Everything is fine. No need to worry,” I said in a cracked voice.
“Are you sure? I mean-”
“Yes,” I said to cutting her off, “I am sure. Now if you would excuse me. I have somewhere to go.”
I dash for the door, down the stairs and out the building. I put my hands on my knees and try to steady my breath and heart again. I wish I could get better at being around women. How am I supposed to act if I ever get a girlfriend?
“Hey, pasty~,” John Rock said to mock me in a sniveling sing-song while strolling toward me with his two buddies Rick and Michael. At the same time they all have a mischievous smirk splat right across their faces. When I realize who called out to me and found out why just from past experiences, my eyes widen in alarm. All the blood drains from my face, my heart hammers in my chest and I swallow dryly. When he finally is close enough, he gestures me to follow him. I know fleeing isn’t an option because Rick is the captain of track team. I wouldn’t even make it to the front gates of the school without being caught by him. Plus if I did, when I get caught by Rick, he would hand me over to Michael, the vice-captain of the wrestling team, and I would be in true pain then. So I decide to just follow quietly.
We finally arrive at a stop when I realize we are in the middle of the forest. I was too busy freaking out because I don’t know what John and his friends will do to me. They turn around and all of their eyes blaze murderously at me.
“You tried to rat us out, didn’t you?!” John said almost screaming. To say I am scared or frightened is an understatement. The way his nostrils flare and his muscles tense up made my face become a mask of terror. I swallow a lump in my throat and said in a childish whimper, “N-n-no. Sh-sh-she just wanted t-to talk. I didn’t say anything! I swe-,” I am cut off by a punch in my stomach. I gawk at the strongest member on the boxing team, John, as he looks at me as if I am a cockroach that needs to be stepped on. I fell to the ground while holding my stomach. I cough a hundred times and saliva waterfalls out my mouth.
“Let’s teach pasty here what happens when you want to be a snitch,” John said in a malicious glee. My heart stops and my face grows paler and paler. I can’t take three people beating me up at the same time so even though it is futile, I ran away anyway. I ran as fast as I could. Even faster than that if that is possible. I heard John and others running behind me. My hands are so tight in a fist that my knuckles are turning white and my tears are welling up in my eyes that I almost can’t see. The wind isn’t helping either. I came to a full stop when I realized that I am at a cliff. I was thinking about running in a different direction but I turned around and found John, Michael and Rick standing there about 3 feet from me with clear irritation crossing their face, especially John with his red face that seemed to be turning purple with every second that passes. He suddenly runs toward me with his fist behind his head to lunge at me when he reaches me. I naturally move out the way and his fist hits nothing but thin air. Since he is on one foot, this is a perfect chance to push him to the ground to give some space and time between us so I can run again. But somehow I push him in the wrong direction and he fell off the cliff. As if everything is going slow motion, I stare at John as he looks back at me in a pleading way. I just can’t grasp the situation. Did I really push him? It was an accident. Yeah. It was an accident. He deserves it anyway. But...does that mean I want him to die? Is that what I secretly want? For all the people who were and still are mean to me to die? Does that include mom and dad too?
I came back to reality when I hear a crash from below me. My heart is beating so fast. I creep up to the edge and look down. My heart stops. John laid there motionless as blood formed a pool around him. His eyes are blankly looking up emotionless and half open. Did I just kill him?
“Murderer...” the voice said struggling to control quavering. I watch John with numbed horror. I can’t even turn around to deny it because it is true. I am a murderer. I hear Rick and Michael run away while crying out. I don’t know when I started to hear the siren and saw the red and blue lights. But they feel like they are consuming me.
About the Author
Iyanna Armwood is 15 years old and attends Elizabeth Seaton High School in Bladensburg, Md. Iyanna says she enjoys writing because it is a way of "putting beliefs or fantasies on to paper and sharing them with the world."
Her story, “Pasty,” was inspired by an exercise in character development. “Once I created the characters, the rest of the story just sort of fell into place,” she said. When asked how she chose the theme of bullying, Iyanna explained that while this is not a major issue at her own high school, she feels that it is important to spread awareness about the significant effects of bullying on today's youth.
Iyanna’s favorite movie is Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. She enjoys listening to Coldplay, reading the novels of Sarah Dessen, and currently finds inspiration from San Francisco artist Leilani Joy. While Ms. Armwood has considered the idea of pursuing a career in writing one day, she says that she is open to the many possibilities the future may hold.