The Zoey Chronicles: The Awakening (Vol. 1)

The Zoey Chronicles: The Awakening (Vol. 1) by Sophia Gray Page B

Book: The Zoey Chronicles: The Awakening (Vol. 1) by Sophia Gray Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sophia Gray
his face dropped, and he wiped his cheek with the back of his hand. “Exactly,” he said. “Our friendship means everything to me too.”
     
    I tried to smile, but I could see that I’d hurt him, and all I could manage was a weak mockery of a smile. I put my hand on his arm and squeezed it, and he looked up at me and smiled. Some of his strength seemed to have returned. But then his expression completely changed as he looked past me, over my shoulder. “What is it?” I said, but even as I spoke I knew.
     
    Jessica Kinburrow. She was one of the vilest creatures to have ever walked the earth, and she hated me even more than my mother did. I heard her voice before I saw her. “What’s this?” she said. “A couple of freaks getting freaky behind the science rooms?” Her friends laughed.
     
    I squeezed the medal and prayed to be as strong as my father. Would my father have let himself be bullied? Would he have meekly apologised for the crime of being alive? How would he have reacted to someone trying to make him feel small, like Jessica did to me every day? I knew the answer. He’d be brave, and deal with the problem.
     
    For the thousandth time in my life, I realised painfully that I was nothing like my father. “Oh, hello,” I said weakly.
     
    There were four of them. Jessica stood at the front. She was a fat girl, her school t-shirt barely able to contain her stretchmark-covered belly. She had a pig-snout for a nose, and her ears stuck out from her head at a harsh angel. Her friends seemed identical: bullies in school uniforms with mean smiles on their faces. “What did you say, you ugly worm?”
     
    I looked at the ground. “Hello.”
     
    Ben stepped forward, puffing his chest out. He looked ridiculous, like a mouse before a group of wolves. “Leave her alone,” he said, but they either didn’t hear him or pretended not to.
     
    “How much money you got, ugly?” Jessica said, coming forward and standing in front of me. Ben made to put a hand on her, but quicker than I would have believed her friends jumped forward and grabbed him, and threw him to the floor.
     
    They started beating him, and the saddest thing is that he didn’t fight back or call out. He just took it. I knew why. He’d been beaten so many times that he was used to it. I lurched forward, but Jessica shoved me up against the wall. I tried to struggle free, but I was no match for her massive bulk. “Did you hear what I said?”
     
    Suddenly I realised something, and the realisation gripped my heart. The medal! What if she saw the medal? It was still in my hand. If she found it she’d surely take it, simply because she could and she knew that it’d hurt my feelings. I clenched it tight and gritted my teeth.
     
    I knew what I had to do, but it would hurt. Was a chunk of metal worth it? Yes, I decided, because it wasn’t just a chunk of metal. It was the only connection I had to the father I’d never known.
     
    I spat in Jessica’s face with all my strength. A big, green-slime glob shot out of my mouth and hit her squarely in the nose. She fell back and screamed out in disgust, and I used the seconds to slip the medal into my back-pocket. But then she recovered.
     
    I tensed up and closed my eyes, but it didn’t make the beating any easier. For a time all I knew was pain and blackness. I was dimly aware of Ben calling out, screaming for Jessica to stop, but it was hard to hear over the sound of my own cries, or Jessica’s laughing.
     
    Her fist came down hard on my shoulder with a loud cracking sound. I screamed out and felt pain shoot through my body. She hit it again, and again and again, and the pain became unbearable. I opened my eyes and saw Ben being held back by Jessica’s friends. “Stop!” he was saying. “Stop! Stop!” But no one was listening.
     
    I felt my eyes becoming heavy and all I wanted to do was sleep. Jessica hit me again, in the same place, and it felt like someone had just stabbed me with a

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