Here is a short story that neglected children can understand. This is chapter one.
A day in the life of Ann Lark
There were still a few slow, angsty hours until it was time for Little Ann Lark to get up and complete her morning routine - an empty one that seemed to have no end.
It began with her bringing her toddler brother Pugnacion - a spoiled little imp -to the kindergarten where he was to attend preschool classes for the day. Ann would spend the first painful hour of every morning changing his diapers and chucking his soiled napkins in the trash. Of course, the little brat’s howls of protest against having to rise at the insane hour of 6 a.m. were golden sounds in Ann’s ears.
The Perils of Pugnacion
Then, she would spend the next half hour hauling his little body - it was different from a deadweight - to school. That Pugnacion was obese to a fault wax no help. Ann did not need Mr Punch’s daily physical education tips by the time she was in the classroom.
Ann had to execute the task to perfection; Pugnacion was the pride and joy of their parents. No error was excusable when it came to Pugnacion, as Mrs Lark had waited for years for a baby boy. Ann had more than her fair share of smarts but was a little scattered.
“Ann, how many times must I tell you that Pugnacion must have exactly 200 ml of his C Vitamins daily! Must I lock you in your room before it makes sense to you?”
The timid little girl would nod her head with a “Yes, ma’am.” before cowering in a corner and accepting the inevitable - an entire week without dinner and a stern warning about the consequences of neglecting anything Pugnacion-related. Those would arrive regardless; Ann often found herself either cleaning her parents’ ill-used restroom or being confined to her room for a fortnight. The infractions were usually less than minor, nothing more than forgetting to clasp a button on the boy’s shirt.
Being mousy and insignificant made her a target for school bullies. Naomi Beach, the school’s Queen of Popularity who always had a string of fans behind her, seldom passed up the chance to make her feel worthless. She would point out Ann’s faults openly in class. The only way she would stop
making life difficult for Ann was if Ann gave her lunch for the day. At times,
she and her cronies would corner Ann in the toilet and berate Ann nastily until she cried. She would also pull down her pants and film compromising videos which she would threaten to post on Facebook if Ann did not do her bidding.
Ann’s only solace was her voice, the beauty of which she did not inherit from her parents. The little girl often drowned herself in music and singing, frequently listening surreptitiously while her parents watched American Idol reruns. The scrawny 10-year-old (her mother would not let her eat at the table with the rest of the family because Pugnacion needed the space)would hide behind the curtain while her parents criticized, often too harshly, the vocal calibre of the contestants.
Ann came across a poster indicating that her school was organizing a talent show, Thunder Idol. She pondered being a part of it but looked away with a deep sigh. She knew that Naomi and her beloved buddies would have a part in it as well.
The gang would orchestrate matters so that they would be the shoes only participants. It did not help that Naomi’s father was a member of the school’s board of directors.
The moment for Ann was an unlucky one indeed. As her eyes and mind moved longingly over the poster and the dream that it was, Naomi and her friends came up behind her.
“Having sweet dreams again, Ann?” The snickering was just too loud.
Ann sputtered uselessly. “It…...it’s my mind, isn’t it?” The little girl ventured her rebuttal hesitantly, yet with astute bravery. She understood the dire effects of a rebellion against The Great Naomi.
And these arrived more swiftly than Usain Bolt could run the 100-metre dash.
With a single bound, Naomi grabbed Ann by the end of her skirt and hauled her up. Her most loyal fan, Prudence, pinned Ann with the seemingly endless strength of both her arms before flinging her with brute force onto a side wall.
“That’s what you get for having wild dreams!” Naomi snickered, a cruel smile plastered onto an equally malicious face. The group of girls took off giggling mindlessly.
Ann lifted herself up with a quiet sigh. This was an everyday occurrence. In fact, the sufferer of Naomi’s wrath probably had a worse fate to look forward to if nothing happened for days. Thunder Idol was just a dream, one that she had to give up who she wanted peace.
This is the first chapter of Ann's story. I will release more characters in due course.