Here's part 2 of THE TRIAL.

  Cleo paused to take a breath. She looked up and hugged the notebook to her chest, and watched the creek bubble cheerfully along, wishing and wishing to be somebody else. Her dark eyes took on a foreign look, and her expression was sad. “Why?” she whispered to the stony, silent world. “Why me?” A single tear rolled down her pale, white face.

Meanwhile, Cleo's mother had decided to go seek out her daughter, and stood up, brushing away any evidence of tears from her face. “I've got to be strong. Can't let Cleo see me crying like this, and carrying on so. Then she'll just start crying again, and that won't do me any good whatsoever.” Cleo's mother straightened her back and arched her head back at a proud angle. “It will be okay. Now not for my Cleo, no, not at first. But then she'll make some buddies and all will be well. Yeah, that's probably how it's going to be.” The woman walked out the still-open back door. “I know my Cleo's had it all rough since her daddy died, but that doesn't give her the right to be rude to me. Although, I suppose many other fifteen-year-olds treat their parents the same way.” The woman walked towards the woods. “Sad, today's world.”

As soon as Cleo heard her mother's footsteps behind her, she put her diary away. “Cleo.” came a quiet, but strong, voice behind her. Cleo didn't stir. “Cleo, darling.” Still no response. “Cleo.” The woman paused. “I know this is a change for you. I know it's different. But we have got to go. I'm sorry, dear, but I'll lose my job if we don't. And new experiences are healthy.” Cleo's hair blew across her face from a chilly gust of wind. “You'll make friends. Now come. Before it starts to rain.” Nothing. “Cleo, darling,” said her mother, who was on the verge of tears, “Don't make me cry.”

That was enough to make Cleo stand up and turn around. “But, Mom,” said Cleo, starting to cry, “You're going to cry anyway.” Then Cleo wrapped her arms around her mother, and the rain started to fall, dripping in between the trees and plopping heavily into the creek. And the two females turned and started walking home.


The next day, Cleo started to school wondering what in world to tell Krystal, her best and closest friend. And, for that matter, all of her other friends. She dreaded it.



 


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