Nancy huddled deeper into her hoodie and stared out her window. A brisk morning breeze blew dead leave across the gravel road and she could hear the crisp rasp they made even through the glass. Another shiver rolled down her spine and she wished, not for the first time, to be back in the warmth of California and out of the bitter autumn of Michigan.
She kicked the wall before turning to her closet. Today would be the start of something new, the first day of a new high school. She ignored the blue jeans and skirts that would allow her to blend in with the rest of the kids and grabbed a pair of black paints with blood-red piping and over sized legs. As she pulled them on a fire spread through her chest.
In all the years she’d been there, she’d fought to fit in; a southern bell among the Yanks. Nothing she had done worked and she’d been cast aside as worthless of notice.
She pulled on a black mesh shirt next and fire grew. Then a black lace tee she’d ripped down the front and closed with crossing safety pins and the warmth nearly filled her.
With a practiced hand she drew eyeliner across her lids and crimson stain across her lips. She pulled her long black hair back into a high ponytail and secured it in place with a spider shaped clip, and the sweet blaze reached to her fingers and toes.
Before leaving to seek the gates of hell, she grabbed her spiked leather choker and studded wristlets, as power vibrated to her core. She stepped out into the cold and though it stung her cheeks and fingers the fire within kept her safe from its cruel bite. Anticipation tingled to the very tip of her nose as she waited for her mom to start the car and as they sped to school, Nancy knew there was no turning back. The knowledge lifted her lips and brought a sparkle to her eyes.
The car pulled up outside the large campus. She swept the ground and shuddered at the mass of people. The very same who had tormented her through Jr. High, the same who considered her beyond their notice. With a last deep breath, Nancy grabbed her bag and threw herself from the car. Four long strides, the coat whisked behind and around her like a protective shade, and she met the wall of bodies with a smirk tilting one side of her smile.
The instant she pressed into the mass, the horde shuddered and the sea of bodies parted before her. Head held high and fire burning deep within; Nancy made her way across the grounds, the River Styx, and pulled wide the mouth of hell.
Students and staff alike stopped dead in their tracks as Nancy pushed on. No longer worthless and beyond notice but an invisible force that parted seas and started fires. She would be ignored because she chose to be. She would be an outcast because it was her doing. She would be remembered on her terms and not the whims of anyone else. Shrouded in black and the power it gave, Nancy took her worth back with a line of eyeliner, the sweep of a trench coat and a knowing crimson smirk.