Wow! Cleo! OMG you emailed! I so wasn't expecting you too. . .But I'm glad you did. Hey, thanks for the chocolate. It was amazing. You know, I looked up on Google© why American chocolate isn't as good, and I found out why. We Americans—well, maybe not you anymore—but anyway, we put lots and lots of wax in out chocolate. The British only put a little, so theirs is better. So, about the French translation. She said to you, “Sors de mon chemin et être poli. Les gens ne sont jamais si rude en France. Américains inintelligente sont. Assez envahissant.” Well, . .um. .It was sort of an insult. But you asked to know, so I'll tell you. “Get out of my way, and be polite. People aren't so rude in France. You mindless Americans are always invading. . .” But anyhow, you know Adriana? Well, it's too hard to forget her, and I didn't mean that in a sweet way. So, anyhow, do you know what she did? When you left, she went over to your house—it's vacant right now—and she threw a party one Friday! That's illegal! So, she got into some real trouble. You know her dad is a police officer and all. . .Well, she didn't come back to school for four days, and then she didn't speak to anyone and her eyes were all red. So I don't know what happened to her but I don't think it was good. I have to go. . .Email back. Love yah.


“I. . . .I'm Cleopatra. Um . . . .Halifax.” The girl with the black hair gave her a quick once-over. “Why are you here? Oh, wait, you're that new girl, aren't you?” Cleo nodded. “Well, I'm Keely Hart.” said the girl. “People just call me Cleo.” Cleo said, still hung up on introductions. “Got it. Well, if you think I'm going to befriend you then you're wrong. I don't like new people.” said Keely, suddenly. “So leave me alone, and find a desk as far away from me as possible.” Surprised, and a little taken aback, Cleo wandered about the small room, looking for an open desk. She spotted one at the front of the class- room, and walked back there to sit down. “Hey! Don't sit here! It's Janie's seat. She's gone today, but you can't have it.” said a girl with dirty blonde hair and sharp eyes who was sitting at the desk to the right of it. “Oh.” said Cleo. “I'm sorry.” Cleo looked around some more, then finally saw one at the very back of the classroom. She walked back there and sat down. She was next to a girl with long, brown hair. The girl looked away as soon as Cleo sat next to her. Cleo shrugged and looked down at her new desk. It was clearly quite undesirable, as there was no light near it, and it looked old and had scratches in it, made from fingernails. Little messages were engraved all over it. Cleo looked down to inspect some of them.

WhY diD I CoME HerE??
SumMeR SCHool 1981
ThIS DesK iS RottEn.

In truth, Cleo was a bit freaked out. This desk is rotten? Cleo wondered. Well, it can't be a huge mystery. I'm sure it is. She looked towards the shy girl next to her. “Excuse me.” Cleo whispered. “What's your name? I'm Cleo.” The girl looked towards Cleo, her eyes widening in fear. She swallowed and made a slicing motion across her throat, shaking her head vehemently. Cleo's brow furrowed in confusion. “What? Are you not allowed to talk?” When Cleo said this, all heads in the classroom turned back to look at her. The girl next to Cleo bent down to her work. “Were you talking?” said Keely, her eyebrows raising. Cleo nodded, a bit scared. “That's not allowed here. If you do it again I'll tell Ms. Tilden. Then you'll be in real trouble.” Keely turned back her work. All of the other girls follwed her example. Oh, I see, thought Cleo. Keely is the teacher's pet. The spoiled brat. She's like the teacher when Ms. Tilden isn't around.

Cleo waited for Ms. Tilden to come back so she could work on something. When she finally did, she said that Cleo's mother had left. “Now, girls, here is your next assignment.” said Ms.Tilden, handing everyone a sheet of paper. Write a two-page essay on a famous woman who was born in London between 1780-1850, was the heading. Oh, no. Cleo didn't know what to do. “Um, Ms.Tilden.” she said, waving her sheet of paper in the air. “I don't know this.” Ms. Tilden looked up. “Surely you do. You Americans must have learned something of Britain in your history class at home?” “Well,” said Cleo, “Actually, not much.” “You still have to do it. You can think of somebody, surely.” said Ms. Tilden, making it clear that the matter was over. Cleo bent down to her paper, thinking and thinking. Suddenly, reaching inspiration, she headed the page:


By Cleopatra Halifax

Cleo had learned all about Florence Nightingale at home. This would be easy. She took her pencil and started writing hurriedly.

“What do you mean, I failed?”

Cleo stood in front of Ms. Tilden's desk. The other girls had just been dismissed to the lunchroom.

Ms. Tilden folded her hands across the top of her desk. “Miss Halifax, Florence Nightingale was born in Italy. She didn't move to England until the following year.” “B-but. . .” Cleo trailed off. “Miss Halifax, go claim your lunch. I will discuss this matter later, with your mother.” said Ms.Tilden, waving her arm in air at Cleo, as if to shoo her. Cleo nodded—sadly, though—and walked out of the schoolroom.

She followed the smell of food down the hall, and into a room on the left. She walked in. It was small and old-fashioned—and without windows, like the other room—but still nice. There were two large mahogany dining tables in the center of the room, and a polished counter against one of the walls, also mahogany. On top of it was plates, food, drinks, napkins, and forks, spoons and the like. All the other girls were already crowded at the tables, just beginning to eat.

Cleo walked over to the counter, grabbed a tray, and opened a crock pot holding food inside them. As soon as she opened the first one, she shrank back. There was a kind of red, bloody pudding inside. “Ulg. Ew.” said Cleo, replacing the lid and moving on to the next crock pot.

Inside the next one were some green mushy peas. “Well,” Cleo said to herself, “These look all right.” She carefully scooped some out and moved on. There were two crocks left. The next one held a kind of stewed meat, which Cleo took some of. The last one held rice pudding, for dessert, and Cleo took some of that too. She grabbed a roll, a fork and a spoon, and a napkin, and headed off to find somewhere to sit.

She walked over to the first, and largest, table. She stood at the head, contemplating where to sit.

“What are you doing here?” said Keely, moving a book bag on top of the one empty seat at the table. “Go away. You don't belong here.”
4/18/2011 12:14:16 pm

Oh my god, poor Cleo! This is very well written, as always! Just a question- how long do you anticipate this will be?

4/18/2011 10:26:59 pm

Oh, I'm only going to make two more short sections, then on to Shruti's story. So, it's almost over. When I finish it I will put the whole story up and people can copy or download it to save it if they wish.

4/19/2011 07:11:55 am

All right.. you know, we're a lot alike with stories. I also do two chapters after an absence and put whole stories up when I'm done. That's cool.. Keep writing!

4/21/2011 06:50:33 pm

Very interesting post - Might be old new, but it was new to me. You have done a marvelous job! I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.


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