Read Odd Girl Out part 1
Read Odd Girl Out part 2
Read Odd Girl Out part 3
Two summers ago
Scarlett, Laina, Regan, Ashlee, and Charity stood in a circle in the upper bedroom of the A&B Building, waiting. It was Scarlett’s first summer, but she had already emerged as their leader. A general. Her mother had come here many summers ago, so she knew about the ritual. Knew from day one that she had to exude confidence. She had to be loved and feared.
The door opened downstairs. Stella called out a timid hello, but was only answered by silence. Stella. So hopeless. Her awkward posture, the fattening homemade baked goods she’d brought as gifts on the first day, which everyone had thrown in the trash behind her back, her eagerness, desperation, to fit in. She stank of it. An obvious odd.
Stella crept up the stairs, pausing when she saw the girls. Quickly, they engulfed her, dragging her to the floor. She was going to be hard to pin down. Charity dragged the metal cage, created to fit a large dog, out of the shadows. It would be Stella’s home for the next eight hours. Her arms would be cuffed to its roof. The cage would be pushed into the dark closet, where Stella would be forgotten. The girls would go about their day. They’d tell Gwen Stella was ill and she would nod, not responding. It was what had been done to odds at this place for decades. It’s what would be done to Maggie the following summer.
Scarlett the summer after that.
But Scarlett didn’t know that. Couldn’t imagine it, as she sat on Stella’s chest to keep her still so Ashlee could snap handcuffs on Stella’s wrists, adjusting them so they would dig into her skin, leaving the tell-tale scar that all odds wore. Charity placed duct tape over the lower half of Stella’s face. Laina stood to the side, watching, looking terrified. Loser. Laina should be thanking Stella. If Stella hadn’t come along, Laina would have definitely been the odd.
Hours later, after the girls had enjoyed a day of sports, swimming, and tanning, they returned to the closet. Scarlett unlocked the cage. She noticed Stella wasn’t struggling anymore. She undid the cuffs and tried to pull Stella to her feet, but she was too heavy. Pig. When she looked at her face it was obvious. Stella was dead. Maybe the tape over her mouth and nose had caused her to suffocate. Maybe she’d had some sort of cardiac event. Maybe Scarlett had crushed her when she sat on her chest. They would never really know.
Scarlett composed herself as she faced her soldiers. The other girls stared at her blank-faced, waiting for their next instructions.
Read Odd Girl Out part 5