Chapter 1: Minished

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Chapter 1


"I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become." Carl Jung.

"If life throws you a curveball, hit a homerun."

What if you don't have a bat?

People are full of shit sometimes. Agreed?


"I thought I told you to stay away."

The bully towered over me, flexing his muscles. I didn't look up from the ground between my shoes, which were falling apart.

It was something I'd seen my mom do... when she was still alive. Sometimes it worked. People would leave you alone if you didn't acknowledge they were there.

Other times, it went terribly wrong. For me, it always went terribly wrong. But I had to try.

"Look at me," the heavyset boy commanded.

I shook my head. My hair was hanging over my eyes, so I couldn't even see him. But I'd responded- acknowledged he was there.

Strike one.

Probably, he had a few of his "friends" with him. They always caught me whenever I tried to run.

That was the other option I had. There was only hide or run. Most times, they had the same outcome.

"I said" -he shoved me backwards off the swing- "look at me!"

I finally looked up from my perch on the ground, groaning. There was the familiar throbbing in my head, and the bruises on my back. That was where I smashed against the pavement a few times a week. Every week.

We made eye contact. Strike two.

Dirt playgrounds were so much better. When you got pushed down, it was like landing in sand.

That was my favorite part about the beach near our old home in Florida. When you got pushed, it never hurt.

"Miss your home?" he asked me, sticking out his bottom lip to mock me. "I can see it in your face. You wanna go home to your mommy? You wanna go back to Georgia?"

His friends erupted in laughter, punching each other hysterically in the shoulders. They all began to talk over one another, shouting words at me and names that I'd heard so many times before. None of them were very unique.

"Florida," I muttered, "not Georgia."

Strike three.

The voices stopped. Every face turned down to stare at me. Some shocked. Some confused. The one in front looked absolutely murderous.

"Did you just correct me?" asked the lead boy. His name was George, or something like that. Maybe that's why the first state he thought of was Georgia.


"Did. You. Just. Correct. Me?" He breathed out every syllable through gritted teeth, and I saw his hands clench into fists, one finger curling with every word.

"No, no." I shook my head desperately, hair flying around. "Of course not."

"Do you know what I do to people who correct me?" he asked, taking a step towards me.

I scurried backwards on the ground, scraping my elbow on the pavement, but that didn't bother me. So much worse was going to come unless I did something. "I didn't-"

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