Janie looked around her wildly. The white beach shone in the bright, orange-and-yellow sky. The palm trees danced in the wind, their bright green leaves swaying. Janie looked so rapidly from her left to her right she fell over in the sand. She didn’t get up. She just laid there, her hands lying useless next to her. She felt paralyzed and stuck, lying there in the sand. She didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know why. She just was. Her tears dripped into the sand as she sighed, the wind taking the sigh above and beyond her. Everything was beyond her now. Where was she?
Janie stirred in her sleep. The bugs were so loud here. And they were ugly. She slapped her neck. She woke up with a start as a shock of pain flew through her neck. Shocked, she grabbed her neck. Something bit her hand. She threw it far into the ocean. She felt her neck. She looked at it by the dim moonlight. Her neck was bleeding. A lot. And there was a swollen bump there now. That stupid bug had bit her! It wasn’t the first. The mosquitoes came in such large amounts, buzzing in big groups, eating, and then moving away to go attack something else. Frustrated, Janie threw herself into the ocean. She was too tired but she remembered reading in a book that salt water was good for wounds. The water rushed into the bite, cleaning off all the blood and stinging. All of Janie’s body felt swollen and rough. Bugs. She groaned. She couldn’t believe she used to collect them when she was younger! She rolled farther into the ocean. She felt like her whole body needed salt-watering. All of the sudden, there was a rumbling sound out of the sound of bugs. Janie jumped up, suddenly alert. She yelped and jumped farther and farther into the ocean, crawling faster and faster, deeper and deeper. She didn’t want to know what that animal was. Whatever it was, it was smelly and big with big teeth. The farther she swam, the more tired she was. That couldn’t be good, she realized as her eyes began to close. She was in the middle of the ocean. Alone. How had this happened to her?
“Janie! How could you?” Lauren asked, nudging Janie as they walked down the hallway. “Well…” Lauren stopped her, her face twisted with a disgusting look. “Janie, we don’t steal! We’re not stealers! I feel like I don’t even know you anymore!” Lauren yelled, stomping down the hallway. Janie didn’t feel anything. She had expected Lauren to be like this. They weren’t stealers. And maybe Lauren didn’t know Janie anymore. Maybe they had stopped being friends when Janie grew up and Lauren just didn’t. Janie had gone out for clubs, accepted middle school with open arms, and had started to become interested in her hair. It wasn’t really noticeable. But, Lauren noticed. She didn’t accept the fact she was in middle school, she didn’t like it, she didn’t join clubs, and she didn’t care about her hair. Not caring aout her hair didn’t matter to Janie, it was just that she was closing herself up to middle school. She refused to make other friends which made her clingy to Janie, her only friend. Janie just swiftly walked to her locker, banged it open, took out her books and put in her science books, clanged it shut, and set off down the hallway. She didn’t know what had made her steal. She had just walked down the isle and stuck her hand out in a quick, expert motion, and just taken that pack of chips. She had stuck it in her pocket and walked coolly out of the shop. Nobody suspected a thing and she ate her chips on the beach. Nobody was there to stop her and she felt good about it. She didn’t care. The storied didn’t need the chips, nobody really went to that store. What was the big deal? Then the guilt had moved in. First it had just been a thought, “Hey, I don’t think that’s such a good thing to do.” Then she went wild, she had to tell somebody. She was going to lock herself in her body, guilty and angry and feeling stupid. So she told Lauren.