Fair Game begins

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My brain needed a lot of stretching before it would work again, so I was unable to make myself write Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.

But today I had success. Here is a section of what I did today. It is the first part of Chapter 1 of a new book. It is a rough draft. There will be a few rewrites before it is in the final form. The working title is “Fair Game”.
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Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

“Not now!” Autumn muttered as she placed her foot on the first step of the staircase. “I don’t have time to dig through my backpack to find my phone. I don’t want to be late the first day.”

Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

“Another one? It must be important. No one sends two texts in a row unless it is important.”

She paused at the bottom of the wide staircase and looked to the top. Once she got into the school, her cell would have to stay hidden in her backpack. The school had a strict policy about cell phone use within the building. If she were caught with her phone out, even if she were just reading a text, her phone would be confiscated.

“Maybe I should check. It could be important. I still have time. I won’t be late if I hurry—”

The backpack of a passing student slammed into her, making her twirl around and lose her balance. As Autumn spun on one leg, she tried to regain her balance by stomping the raised foot hard to the ground—right on the foot of a huge boy with frizzy hair.

The very same boy who had been so inconsiderate to slam into her.

The mass of muscles grabbed his foot and groaned. “What do you think you are doing, you klutz! That hurt.”

Autumn just stood there paralyzed. This boy could easily crush her like a bug.

“Aren’t you going to say you are sorry?” the mountain sneered, still looking at his aching foot.

Autumn gulped, and looked down to hide the fear that had begun to course through her body. Was she going to be trammeled on her first day of school? Autumn was not a fighter, and if this boy decided to start punching she wouldn’t have a chance.

“Well, where is your apology, little girl?” growled the angry giant. “You stomped on my foot!”

Autumn hated to be called little, but decided to let it slide. Every muscle in her body told her that she was in danger and needed to think her way out of this situation. She cautiously raised her head an inch to peek at the mass of students around her. Several were looking her way curiously, but none seemed prepared to help if it got ugly.

She was on her own. A rare occurrence for Autumn. She was the youngest of four.

Thinking quickly, Autumn remembered several books she had read that implied that a bully was a coward who was trying to convince himself, and everyone else, that he was a rough tough bad guy who was afraid of nothing. The trick was to stand up to the bully from day one so that he realized that you weren’t easy prey. If you showed fear, or any sign of weakness, you would become a prime target on the bully’s radar. A sure set-up for terror and fear on a daily basis.

But reading that bullies were cowards and acting on it were two different things—very different. What if she stood up to him and he punched her? He was twice her size, he could do some serious damage.

“So what’s it going to be little girl? Are you going to apologize, or do I need to teach you some manners?”

Autumn took a deep breath, straightened her shoulders, and looked the bully straight in the eye.
“You only got what you deserved, you big oaf. I was minding my own business when you knocked me over with your oversized backpack. Why don’t you learn how to watch where you are going?”

The bully stared at Autumn’s face for several minutes, no expression whatsoever showing on his face. It was as if all his thoughts had retreated into an inner fortress, possibly to regroup.

Without another word, the giant turned on his heal and continued up the staircase, shoving anyone unfortunate to be in his path out of his way.

What do you think?