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Within a few minutes of the school bell ringing, she was surrounded.

They towered over her, looking down at her and smiling.

“Hello, new girl,” the biggest one said.

She smiled back. “Hello,” she said, carefully enunciating the word.

“You’re new here, so you might not know how things work,” the big girl said. “We’re going to teach you.”

The little girl’s smile widened. “How kind of you.”

“First,” the big girl said, holding out her hand. “You should give me all your money. You need a local to look after it for you.”

The little girl frowned. “I spent a long time learning the monies. I think I will keep it.”

The group stepped closer to her, forming a solid wall to stop her breaking through.

The big girl punched her fist into her open palm. “You don’t understand, new girl. You’re going to give me your money.”

The little girl shook her head. “No. I understand well. You think you can threaten me. I think that is not good idea.”

The big girl nodded and one of the bullies grabbed the little girl’s hair. The little girl yelped briefly, then clenched her fists.

Shadows seemed to swarm up from the ground to gather around her hands.

“Not good idea,” she repeated. She twisted free of the girl behind her and slammed her fists full force into the big girl’s stomach.

“Shadoooow PUNCH!”

The big girl flew back several feet and landed in an uncomfortable heap. The other bullies froze for a moment, then ran away.

The little girl adjusted the strap of her satchel as the shadows scuttled back to their places. For her first day in a new country, she thought it had gone well.

© Kari Fay