Barbie Doll – Julianne

Savannah disappeared last Tuesday. Nobody had seen Melody since the Sunday before. The police found both of their bodies, or at least what was left of them, two days ago. There are grief counselors and investigators both at the school today, but nobody talks to me. I am invisible.

Not that I care, really. When people do notice me, it’s not for something positive. It’s not for having the highest score in the class on the Algebra midterm. It’s not for trying out for the soccer team. It’s not for my brilliantly white, straight smile that I suffered four years in braces for, not that I really smile much anymore. I’d rather not be noticed at all than noticed for my faults.

Melody noticed me, once. Fifth grade. That awkward year when, as a female, your body starts morphing, spreading, shaping into something new. Most call it puberty. I called it Hell. I had never considered myself unattractive. Average, really. Average height. Average weight. Average features. I didn’t stand out at all, at least not until that day.

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The Summer Job – Stacy

Kate unlocked the door to the library basement, and the chill of stale air conditioning escaped into the hot summer sun. She climbed down the stairs one by one, passing librarians on their way out after the long work day.

Night shift, she sighed to herself.

Even Ms. Caparelli was leaving for the evening, her portly frame passing through the exit by the basement stairs. Ms. Caparelli had been working at the library longer than anyone else there, and Kate often mused about her. How many things had changed over her years in the building? And what on earth had driven her to stay so long? Kate liked to imagine what her personal life must be like, although she often found it difficult to muster a realistic image. The woman seemed such a staple of the library that she may very well have just ceased to exist when the building’s doors closed for the night.

Kate settled into her desk chair, the hurried sounds of last minute shuffled paper and shuffled feet turning to silence – silence and the tick, tick, tick of the clock on the wall. The second hand occasionally moved lazily, failing to make that satisfying tick during intervals of silence as it rounded out the minutes. Kate was attuned to these sorts of things.

She checked her e-mails and fidgeted in her chair. A co-worker had explained the night shift duties to her when she first began the post. You’re there in case anyone calls – in case anyone needs anything. But mostly you’re just a body at the desk.

The words echoed in her head. A body.

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