Issue 5 of CAKE.shortandsweet is now available to read and download here.
Again, I’ve accidentally ended up writing something for it (oh god, too many other things to do!)
Amy was twelve years, four months, sixteen days and four hundred and twelve minutes old. She didn’t tell people the last bit any more, they didn’t like it when she went into that much detail.
When kids were picked for special assignments, like showing the new girl around, or being lunchtime monitor, Amy never got chosen. The only thing Amy was in charge of was picking up the litter after lunch, and nobody wanted that job. She wasn’t very good at lessons either, because the only thing she was interested in was biology. Amy wanted to be a vet. They had stick insects in class, and Amy was so sure she’d get to look after them, but the job was given to Lucy instead.
Dad told her she had to try hard in all her lessons, even the boring ones, so Amy had been trying her hardest all year to make Dad smile.
Amy found it hard to read faces, and couldn’t understand why the things people said never seemed to be what they meant. Except the other children, who called her weird, and some much worse things that Dad told her not to repeat. She knew that their smiles weren’t nice smiles like Dad had, they were mean smiles. Laughing-at-Amy-smiles.
It was the last week of the summer term when they were ushered into the school hall for the annual Prize-giving Ceremony. Amy had never won a prize, but she just had a feeling about this year. This time, something was different. She was going to win. There was a prize for achievement, effort, and improvement. Amy didn’t kid herself that she could get achievement or improvement, but when it came to effort, nobody had tried harder than Amy.
She held her breath as they read out the names.
“And the winner for effort is…”Amy felt her stomach do a little leap of joy. “…Simon Forsythe!”
Amy’s face froze. She barely noticed as all the students started applauding around her. Simon walked up the stage steps to collect the beautiful hardback book that should have been hers. Simon didn’t even like books. She was numb as their class filed out of the hall to collect their bags.
“Amy!” She kept walking. People shouting her name usually meant name-calling and the kind of smiles she didn’t like.
She turned, pulling her bag onto her shoulder. It was Lucy, one of the girls who did the laughing-at-Amy-smile an awful lot, even when the other kids weren’t around.
“Are you going home?” Amy shrugged. “Do you want to come over for tea?”
“But you don’t like me,” Amy said.
“I don’t know you,” Lucy replied. “But you seem nice.”
“Will you let me feed the stick insects tomorrow?”
Lucy grinned. “Of course!”
Amy looked again at the smile. It didn’t look like a bad smile after all. “Okay,” she said.
Lucy took her hand as they walked home, which nobody had ever done before apart from Dad. To Amy, it felt like a prize.
Sooner or later I’ll get around to posting something that isn’t stories. In fact, I have some big news to announce in the next few days – stay tuned!