“Oi, Scarlett!” The Queen of Mean strolls up to her, hands planted firmly on her hips. “Did I, or did I not, tell you to leave my Jason alone?”
Just the question alone makes Scarlett feel positively sick to her stomach. “I don’t have anything to do with Jason.”
“You’re a liar!” A crowd has formed around the pair, and just about a thousand mobile phones are filming the argument. “I know you were with him last night!”
“I wasn’t, I swear.” Tears start forming in her eyes, treacherous balls of sadness that fall effortlessly down her cheeks. For months, she’s put up with the torment… and she will endure it for many months to come.
“You’re such a big baby. If we weren’t in school, I would have slapped your stupid face by now.”
“Jesus Kelsie, chill.” Jason, the infamous bad boy of the school, grabs Kelsie’s arm, which is trembling with anger. “Although there is enough of me to go around, it’s you. It’s only you, I promise.”
Kelsie gives Scarlett a smug, satisfied look. “There. He’s all mine. And he always will be.” As the argument subsides, the crowd disperses, and everyone walks off to their classes. Kelsie wraps her arms around Jason, steering him away from Scarlett. Just as she’s about to turn the corner, she gives Scarlett a hint of a smile, and winks subtly. Scarlett returns it, and then they pretend as though this interaction never happened, going about their separate ways.
In reality, Scarlett and Kelsie are an unlikely friendship. A classic tale of extrovert and introvert meet, and then change each other’s lives. In this story, Scarlett is the introverted one, and is one of the shy, quiet kids who hides in the library during lunch. She detests confrontation. Kelsie, however, is the complete opposite; arguably one of the most popular girls in school, she spends her time flirting with boys and fighting off jealous girls who threaten to overthrow her. However, they both have something in common: beautiful, undeniable intelligence.
You see, they’ve convinced the whole that they’re in a life-long feud with each other. Why though, I hear you ask. Why would anyone want to pretend to hate someone else? It seems almost bizarre at first. But that’s before you know the full story.
If you look deep underneath the surface, they both work together to uncover venom of the youths, the foulest of secrets ever known to humans. They aim to help show the world the true colours of people who are idolised, unmasking evil, one person at a time. Although they haven’t gone global yet, that’s the plan. Every day for them consists of meetings in secret, digging up dirt from unsuspecting mules, and then confronting them with the ugly truth - it’s the perfect covert plan! And it has proved to work wonders for all this time.
The day passes agonisingly slowly for them both, and by the time the bell shrieks through the classroom, they are itching to get out. Racing out of their seats, they rush to their meeting spot: the dilapidated shed at the very end of the school grounds. It is perfect; no one ever wanted to endure the painfully long walk across the grounds, and there was nothing else around for miles anyway. After waiting for the crowds of students to dissipate, the girls sneak over there, excited to discuss their plan.
“Wow, today has been a hell of a day,” Kelsie admits, letting out a huge, racking breath.
“I’ll toast to that,” Scarlett produces two plastic cups from her bag. “You were amazing today; everyone thinks you’re obsessed with Jason.”
“Right? But he’s so gross, I’m really offended actually.” Kelsie grabs a flask from her bag. “I figured I’d get something a little bit stronger for this mission, I hope that’s okay?” Scarlett shrugs, so Kelsie doesn’t hesitate in pouring her a glass and a half of whatever substance is in the flask. Scarlett doesn’t know, and doesn’t ask, but instead downs it in a few gulps. It helps to take the edge off,
“So, what have you found?”
“Well,” Kelsie starts, “he’s pretty much like every other douchebag we’ve exposed so far. It’s difficult, as we normally are so private with our investigations, but as this one is public, I’m conscious we might blow our cover.”
“We’re not doing anything wrong, even if we do get caught,” Scarlett assures her. “We’re just uncovering what’s already happening. We are not in the wrong, at all. Just leave the worrying to me.”
“You’re right - you do worry better than I do!” Kelsie grins. “Anyway, he’s a cheat, of course. I’m talking to a few people tomorrow, but I’d say we already have enough evidence to at least tarnish his reputation, if not destroy it completely.”
“That’s amazing.” It’s now Scarlett’s turn to grin. “So can we finish this mission tomorrow, do you think?”
“Who’s a bit of an eager beaver?” Kelsie teases her. “I should think so, but we will see.” She pulls a packet of cigarettes out of her bag, and with a swift flick of her lighter, she lights one. Inhaling deeply, she blows a cloud of smoke into the air, and Scarlett braces herself.
“I thought I asked you to quit?” Scarlett asks her, an edge of disappointment in her voice.
“You did,” Kelsie says, and then coughs. “But I didn’t listen to you.” In the awkward silence that follows, the sound of Kelsie’s phone cuts through like a knife. As she apologetically goes to answer it, Scarlett gives her a wave, grabs her bag and leaves.
The next day is greeted with anticipation. There has been nothing between the two about their plan to expose Jason, and as the day draws to a close, Scarlett wonders whether she’s said something to upset her friend. Unnerved, she’s just about to call her, when Kelsie beats her to it.
Seeing her friend pop up on her phone is enough to send a chill down her spine. “Kelsie?”
“Scarlett, thank goodness!” Her friend sounds frantic, breathless even, over the phone. “You need to get here right now.”
“Kelsie, I have biology in a minute, what’s going on?”
“I need you to come to my house. Something has developed in our plan, and it’s prudent you see it. Urgently.”
Alarmed by the panic in Kelsie’s usually chill demeanour, Scarlett rings off. She ditches her biology lesson, and travels straight to Kelsie’s house. When she gets there, Kelsie is pacing on her front lawn, biting her nails agitatedly with each step. The relief is palpable as she nears her, and she throws her arms around Scarlett.
“Thank you so much for coming; I didn’t know what to do.” Kelsie drags her friend into her house, down the staircase and into her basement. “So, there have been some mine changes to the plan.” As Kelsie pulls a switch, light plunges into the room. Scarlett’s eyes adjust, and she eyes a figure in the corner of the room. Muffled cries are being omitted from figure, and he seems to be struggling against something.
Rope. He’s struggling against rope. He’s tied up.
Scarlett gives Kelsie a horrified look. “Is that Jason? Why is he tied up? Have you been drinking again?”
“No, of course not,” Kelsie hisses back. She’s a bear being prodded with a stick, especially with Scarlett’s accusations. “He came over here. I didn’t tell him my address, and yet he somehow found my house. He had been drinking, and he tried making a few passes at me, but when I said no, he started becoming aggressive.” She lifts her sleeve up to reveal a deep bruise, already a nasty purple colour. “I tied him up before he did any more damage.
Scarlett exhales, drawing her friend in for a long hug. “Are you okay?”
“I’ll be fine,” Kelsie brushes her off. “But he needs to pay. Not only is he a liar and a cheat, he can now be arrested for assault. I have the proof. And that will mean one less scumbag on the streets.”
“Wow.” Scarlett is left speechless. “Who would have known that this would have led to us actually having to involve the police? What if there are other people out there who are stronger than Jason, who take offence by our actions and actually hurt us?”
“I don’t know about you,” Kelsie begins, “but I’ll go down fighting, every single step of the way. These people, these disgusting, vile people, will never learn. Until we live in a world where everyone feels safe, I will not stop exposing these people. I’ll do it to save my future children, and yours, and for all of the future children. Because they shouldn’t ever have to deal with unwanted people on their doorstep, and the certainly should never be embellished with bruises on their body.”
Scarlett nods. “You’re right. We’ll call the police immediately.” They share a knowing look with each other. Scarlett walks towards the squirming figure. “However, in the meantime, I suggest we give Jason here a bit of a taste of his own medicine.” With a sickening grin, she pushes Jason round to face her. “And this is where the fun really begins.”