Hit A Girl
Darren kicked at the desk with his feet and balled his hands. Shannon gave a smug look and laughed to her friends when the teacher turned away. He fumed through his nose and glared.
It had been group day in class and nothing had gone right for Darren. He liked making jokes in his usual circle of friends. But, from the moment he stepped into the room, Shannon Gray was on him and he had no idea why.
The teacher had been at the door. When Darren walked through, Shannon gave it a push from behind. Because the teacher saw Darren right next to the door and "good, reliable Shannon" had confirmed he did it, despite all his protests, he was moved from his usual group.
But Shannon was relentless. She kept making up stuff which she claimed Darren was doing and the teacher just ate it all up until Darren had been exiled from groups to the time-out at the back of the room to do demerit writing.
As he sat there and imagined wringing the neck of a little voodoo doll in his hands, a girl joined him at the other time-out desk.
Her presence was enough to distract Darren from Shannon. She was short with feathered hair which looked dyed in a bright, frosty-blue color. Her clothes were strange, colorful, and strikingly girlish from her silvery stockings to a sapphire skirt which ruffled over her knees. Bits of lace adorned her top, which had the same, cold color as her hair. Her makeup was thick and her lips glossy. She had a fragrance like mint and looked a little old for someone in middle-school.
She gave a wave of her hand to Darren and mouthed a 'hello'. Darren looked her over and sighed.
When the teacher was on the other side of the room, the girl whispered, "Whatcha in for?"
Darren took a moment to look and check that Shannon wasn't watching and answered, "Some girl has in it in for me."
The blue-haired girl leaned on the desk. "Bummer. Anything you can do about it?"
Scratching at the desk, Darren glared ahead. "I wish I could just hit her
The girl rapped her fingers. "So why not go punch her during lunch or between classes?"
Darren grimaced. "You can't do that. It's not right for a boy to just hit a girl
even if there's a good reason." He knew that from his dad. Still, he could just see himself giving Shannon a good licking, if it were fair.
The teacher's attention was away and everyone else seemed to ignore the back of the room. The girl leaned closer and told Darren, "But it's okay for a girl to hit a girl, right?"
Darren nodded automatically. "I wouldn't want some other girl to get involved though. I'd rather do it myself. If only I could be a girl too for a little bit and fight her fairly."
The girl took a deep breath, like something in the air made her feel good. Darren gave her a suspicious little look and asked, "By the way
who are you anyway? I don't remember you in class."
She gestured to herself with a smile. "Natalae Ree. But that's not important. I was just thinking I might be able to help you.
Darren frowned and had to ask, "How? I'm not dressing up as a girl. That doesn't count."
Natalae waved her hand. "Nothing like that. Come to the far side of the gym during lunch and I'll show you." She rose quietly from her seat and slipped out the back door of class.
Shannon glanced back, raised her hand, and said, "Mr. Ross? Darren is messing with the door now."
Darren clenched his jaw.
When lunch finally came, Darren nodded quietly through Mr. Ross's admonishing words and passed in his demerit writing. He also kept a wide distance from Shannon.
He fumed quietly as his friends tried to distract him with thoughts about the best places to eat and various lunch clubs. They walked through the middle-school's looping halls with enclosed glass areas like empty exhibits in a zoo. Darren stopped and told the others, "There's something I have to take care of first. Catch up later
His friends accepted this readily and headed off on their own. Darren made his way out of the main building to the back of campus. The gym was at the far end. He shook his head but continued towards it across the field.
Some guys were playing basketball at the hoops. Darren went on until he was past the four-squares on the far side. The blue-haired girl stood against the wall with her arms folded. Darren nodded to her and said, "Alright
She bent her head towards him. "I'm glad you came. Are you still willing?"
Darren just bit his lip. "Whatever it takes."
Natalae clapped and stretched one hand out to Darren. "Just take my hand and I'll do the rest."
Carefully, Darren took her hand. It felt chill and quite soft. He tried not to shiver. The girl took a breath. "You want to be a girl long enough to beat up Shannon Gray, correct?"
Darren nodded, not exactly sure how the girl knew Shannon's name. Natalae shut her eyes a sliver and added, "I can do that for you. Until the lunch bell rings, you will be a girl. Close your eyes and grip my hand tightly."
Despite rampant doubts and a general feeling this was silly, Darren closed his eyes and gripped the girl's hand. He figured, even if this was all a sham, at the least he got to hold a cute girl's hand for a bit.
Softly, Natalae chuckled and took a deep breath. All over his body, Darren felt like a winter wind had blown up around him despite the otherwise warmth of spring. This time he shivered and the shiver rippled through his entire body like a burst of energy.
When the shiver passed, Darren gripped his fingers a little and realized he wasn't holding Natalae's hand anymore. He opened his eyes to see she wasn't even standing in front of him. Turning his head to look around caused a lock of long hair to bat at his eyes. He brushed it away with an unfamiliar hand.
Gasping, Darren averted his eyes from himself and made his way to the nearby gym restroom. He paused at the choice of girls or boys and began to enter the boy's restroom. He was stopped by a guy exiting. He gave Darren a look and said, "Wrong one. This is the boys."
Showing all the embarrassment expected, Darren nodded and slowly made his way over to the other one. It was empty. He walked to the nearest mirror and braced himself on the counter. The face looking back at him had more in common with Natalae than himself.
The mirror girl's face looked squished in at the cheeks where his rounded out. Her skin was lighter, as though frosted. The rosy blush around his nose had softened to a pink color. His lashes looked a little lighter and his lips were smaller. His eyes were icy like Natalae's too.
As his slender hands brushed at his shoulder-length and slightly-feathered-looking hair, he found places where it looked like it had been streaked with blue paint. The color was faint but clear.
His red, flannel shirt looked like it had been washed pink with stripes of blue. His jeans looked unchanged. But the form inside his clothes was very much changed.
He realized he'd been aware of his bra for quite some time. The fit of the flannel softened the contours. His arms had lost the bulk of their musculature but they didn't feel weak. Darren stretched and made fists with his hands.
She was ready for Shannon.
Darren rushed from the girl's restroom and made her way around the gym and over to the main lunch area. It was as busy as usual with people clogging up all the windows and a line stretching out the main door. Scanning the area, she didn't see Shannon's golden hair amidst the sea of people.
Clenching the strap of her backpack, Darren moved slowly with her eyes searching. Eventually, she found Shannon's friend, Karen.
She hurried over and tapped her on the shoulder. Karen turned around and Darren asked, "Where is Shannon?"
Karen raised an eyebrow to this girl she'd never met and asked, "Who wants to know?"
"Me. I've got a problem with her."
From behind her, Darren immediately recognized Shannon's voice. "What do you want, bitch?"
She whirled around to catch Shannon's harsh glare. Darren moved fast and punched her hard across the face before tugging her to the ground.
Quick yells of, "Catfight!" rippled above the regular din. Karen tried to get involved as Darren punched Shannon again but she just pushed her away. After that punch, Shannon brought her nails across Darren's arm as they rolled across the cement.
Darren clenched her mouth against the pain and sat up enough to bring her backpack around to ram Shannon. With all the textbooks inside, it slammed against Shannon's face. Wincing and clutching her jaw, Shannon snarled and lunged at Darren.
They rolled around until they landed on muddy grass. Shannon bolted up and away from the grass with disgust. Darren smiled and got to her feet quickly. She slammed her elbow against Shannon's side and wrapped her other arm around her, dragging her back to the grass. As she screeched, Shannon's clothes and face were coated with mud.
She turned and tensed her face to spit but Darren punched her in the cheek and slammed her back down.
As Shannon staggered to prop herself up, Darren realized she was starting to get out of breath. Shannon kicked hard at her with her shoe and yelled, "Get away from me, you bitch!"
Darren panted and strained to keep out of Shannon's touch. She socked Darren in the gut. Coughing, Shannon tore at Darren's hair, held her head up with it, and yelled, "EAT THIS, YOU COCK-SUCKING WHORE!"
Before Shannon's fist could connect, a deep voice yelled and froze Shannon in place, "SHANNON GRAY! STOP IMMEDIATELY!" Her hand let go. Darren coughed and edged away from Shannon. Mr. Ross stood over them both with an intense stare.
Shannon stammered and started to explain in a soft voice that, "I-I-I was defending myself
Mr. Ross shook his head as a pair of school security guards joined him. "That's not what I saw. You should be ashamed, Miss Gray. You're going right to the vice principal." The security guard grabbed Shannon by the arm and led her away as he screamed, "That bitch attacked me! You all saw it!"
The crowd was surprisingly quiet, offering nothing in Shannon's defense. Mr. Ross helped Darren up and noted, "You'll have to come along too."
Darren gave a quiet, passive nod while she smiled within.
Shannon yells continued behind the vice principal's closed door as Darren was led to the nurse's office to be checked out. She smiled as she walked in and saw Natalae standing there in a nurse's outfit.
Mr. Ross began to explain the situation but Natalae waved her hand and assured him, "I'll take care of everything. You just run along now."
Her words made Mr. Ross pause, but he nodded and said, "I'll just run along
and you'll take care of everything." Natalae smiled as Mr. Ross left, not entirely sure of what he'd just said but eager to get out of the room.
Natalae sat at the nurse's desk and told Darren, "The lunch bell will ring in a few minutes
and I can make this girl thing a little more than merely temporary
if you like."
Darren considered her proposal a moment but shook her head, "Nah. It's way too intimidating. Besides
no one would know me."
Natalae twirled a finger. "I have ways around that."
Brushing at her hair, Darren noted, "Shannon will definitely want a rematch."
Natalae shrugged. "You may need to give her a rematch some day. It's only fair. And there's no guarantee that getting roughed up will make Shannon any less of a jerk towards your boy self."
Darren nodded to all this. "I feel satisfied though. No matter what comes after this."
Natalae bowed her head as the bell began to ring. "Fair enough. But, if you ever change your mind, I'll be
As Darren blinked, Natalae changed into the regular school nurse with curly, gray hair. She smiled at Darren. "You'll be fine, Mr. Sullivan. Sorry you had to miss lunch. You should get to your fifth period."
Looking down at himself, Darren saw that his scratches from the fight and mud stains were all gone. He nodded to the nurse and headed out with his backpack on his shoulder. Shannon's distant yells slowly receded but Darren's smile remained.
On his way to fifth period, Darren had time to reflect. He touched at his regular hair. Now it felt strangely short. He looked at his arms. Now they looked a bit too big on him.
Darren shrugged off this odd notion but, in his mind, the seeds of new feelings were slowly taking root. And, in a near and distant realm of between dreams and ideas, Natalae waited.