The Devil of Sunnydale Elementary This story is set at Sunnydale elementary school, during the time previous to Wading pools and watery welcomes, going back all the way to Revelations and Consultations, chapter two of Lost Souls. I found it difficult to fit this into the main narrative, so I finally decided to make it into a separate story. Later chapter will go up as Lonely Souls progresses to the point of this story’s ending.
Dawn was not having a good morning so far. Before she and Janice had managed to reach the schoolyard they were stopped by a tall thin, cold eyed girl. Before the girl had even opened her mouth Janice had handed over fifty cents of her lunch money, not looking the taller girl in the eye. Dawn had seen her before, but the girl had never spoken to her, always hanging back, always apart from the groups.
Dawn was not going to let this slide. Her fight the first day had firmly established her reputation to take care of herself. “Did you lend her that before Jan?”
Janice shook her head and tried to drag Dawn away. “Just come along Dawn. No need to worry.”
The tall girl turned her flat blue eyes on Dawn, her dirty brown-blond hair hanging lankly down her face. Dawn noted that her t-shirt was rather ragged and her jeans were frayed at the cuffs. There was a hard edge to her, hard and nasty. Now she stepped into Dawn’s personal space and spoke menacingly.
“Fifty cents. Or else you get it.”
Dawn snorted. “I’m not afraid of you.”
The tall girl reached out and grabbed Janice’s braid, pulling hard, driving the smaller girl to her knees. “You’re not…everybody else is. Aren’t you…Jan?”
Janice nodded, tears in her eyes as her braid was twisted and her hair was almost tugged out by the roots.
The girl let go of the braid and looked down her nose at Dawn. “Fifty cents. Tomorrow it’ll be a dollar.”
Dawn glared at her. “No way.” She didn’t see the punch coming, but it connected with her stomach violently. Then as she was bent over, gasping for breath, the taller girl grabbed her hair, near the skull, and her nose and twisted. Dawn screamed. The taller girl sniggered and let her go.
“You squeal like a piglet. And piglets get slaughtered. Fifty cents.”
Tremblingly Dawn reached for her money and handed over fifty cents. The tall girl nodded and walked away. “See you later.”
Dawn rubbed her nose and scalp and glared at Janice. “Who the hell was that?”
Janice rubbed her own scalp, wiping away her tears with the back of her other hand.
“K-Kit Holburn. She’s…nasty.”
“You can say that again. Why don’t the teachers deal with her?”
“She attacks outside of the school…Miss Mellowes tried, but Mr. Farmingham nixed all the complaints. He won’t take responsibility for what happens outside the school grounds.”
“Why don’t the kids take care of her?”
“’Cause she makes what you did to Joey Brand like child’s play.”
Dawn winced. Joey still flinched away from her whenever she looked at him and all the boys tended to cross their legs when she came near. If Kit Holburn was worse....
“If she takes money from everybody she must be loaded.”
“Not everybody. She takes fifty cents from five kids, every day. She’s done so every day for the past year.”
“Nope. She calls it good husbandry…says were sheep made for shearing.”
Dawn looked thoughtful. “Always the same kids?”
“Nope. Different ones every day.”
“I see…” Dawn was thoughtful the rest of the day.
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Dawn observed the actions of Kit Holburn for two weeks. She noted the girl did not socialize. She only sat in the shade of a large tree and observed her victims. She picked on the richer kids, leaving the poorest ones alone. She avoided larger groups of children. Anything more than two was apparently too much of a risk. She had several places from where she liked to ambush her victims, the low walls by the bus stop, the bushes by the statue of Richard Wilkins I, the shrubs by the short cut through the park where she’d waylaid Dawn and Janice.
So she started leading Janice to the school by different paths every day. It seemed to work quite well until the day four weeks after their first encounter with the school bully when she felt a thin, but very strong hand on her ankle as she tried to boost herself over the low wall that circled Richard Wilkins Memorial Park.
Dawn was fairly strong herself, but Kit Holburn had years of experience as well as several inches and more mass. Dawn felt her grip on the wall loosen as the dirty blonde pulled on her, felt the nails digging into her ankle through her thin socks. She kicked, but Kit avoided her easily, absorbing the power of her attack and using it do destabilize her victim. Kit pulled hard while Dawn was off balance and Dawn fell on her back, the breath knocked out of her.
The bully was on her in seconds, her knee in Dawn’s stomach and Dawn’s hair clenched in her fist. Dawn sobbed for breath.
“You been avoiding me, Dawn. No one gets away from me. It’s the rules.” She glared at Janice, who was straddling the wall, her eyes wide with fear and her breath shallow.
“A buck fifty, Janice.” Kit’s grin was pure evil.
Janice reached for her wallet with trembling fingers and took out a dollar bill and two quarters. “Please let Dawn go…Don’t hurt us…”
Kit dug her knee deeper into Dawn’s stomach. Dawn writhed in agony, causing the hand in her hair to pull, causing more pain. Dawn tried to reach up and hit at Kit, but the bigger girl easily trapped her hands.
“Five bucks …Aurora
. And don’t even think of going to mommy or daddy. Nobody likes a snitch.”
Dawn sobbed but couldn’t speak. *BITCH!! That’s Simon’s name for me! Don’t you dare use Simon’s name for me! You…you bitch!*
“You got five bucks, Dawnie?” Kit’s strong fingers dug into Dawn’s hair, tightening their hold and Dawn felt her scalp being pulled away from her skull. Or that might be her imagination, but it hurt…
Dawn nodded, tears running down her face. Kit leaned forward, her face very near Dawn’s ear. “Got it with you now?”
Dawn sobbed as the move pressed even more air out of her. “Y-yes…Please…”
“One wrong move and you’ll suffer like you cannot imagine…”
Dawn nodded. *Buffy hunts vampires…I get beaten up by a stupid bully at school…* The cruel knee left her belly and she heaved in a breath. She almost vomited up her breakfast. Kit pulled at her hair and Dawn reached for her wallet, taking out the five dollars allowance she’d earned for doing her chores the previous two weeks. Kit took them, almost contemptuously.
The bigger girl rose and looked at Janice. Janice held onto her money with one hand, and the wall with her other, breathing so fast Dawn thought she must be hyperventilating. She extended a trembling hand and Kit took the her money as well.
The bully leaned forward and Dawn flinched. “Don’t try anything like this again…Aurora.” She flicked her dirty hair over her shoulder and walked away.
Janice jumped off the wall and knelt by Dawn. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry…She…”
Dawn nodded. “Yeah…She’s scary.”
The next two weeks Dawn paid her fifty cents whenever Kit demanded it, observing the bigger girl’s actions. Strangely enough it didn’t seem as if Kit had any special victims, she didn’t even terrorise Dawn more than the others, despite her attempts at resistance. Dawn noted that other bullies were quickly dealt with, no one bullied except Kit, and those who paid faithfully and on time were left otherwise alone.
Kit still did not take part in any school activities, did not play or run, only sat beneath her tree and looked, went to class and left.
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Simon had on occasion, when she beat him at chess, or Willow beat him at chess, or mom beat him at chess, groused about the fact that chess was unrealistic in a tactical sense. When Willow had called him out about tactics and strategy he’d grinned and dug out a book called The Art of War by a Chinese guy called Sun Tzu, and he’d shown her a folded piece of thick paper with some rules by another guy called Roger.
And then he’d gone on and on about logistics and proper disposition of forces and support until mom had laughed and told him this was neither West Point, nor Army Staff training. And her children were not subordinate officers to be trained in warfare.
Dawn managed to find the book; the sheet of paper folded in the front, and sneaked it to her room, where she read it. She started to plan her campaign.
Getting the various children to travel in groups of three or more at all times she thought was not an option. There were too many factions and conflicts among the kids to get that to work. At least for now…
Sun Tzu stated that the object of war was to deny the enemy his objective. Dawn did not know what Kit’s objective was, other than extorting money. She did not gather a clique, did not tolerate other bullies…She did it for the money and the power, Dawn decided. Therefore to deny her those would deny Kit the satisfaction she got from her position.
She still thought the use of larger groups would prevent Kit from using her superior personal strength. But maybe another way might be found to deny Kit her pleasure.
Dawn approached Miss Mellowes with a proposal. “Miss Mellowes?”
“I was wondering…you know, why we don’t have sort of class fund to manage the lunch money, I mean, a lot of the kids spend part of it on candy and stuff and don’t have enough for lunch. So if we set up a fund in which parents can pay, say once a month in cash, we could stop that couldn’t we? My mom says that eating well is necessary and candy isn’t eating well.”
Shannon Mellowes blinked. * Well, well. Looks like we have a little crusader…* “Well Dawn, a lot of parents prefer doing it this way. It gives them control over their spending.”
Dawn looked crestfallen. “Oh…that’s a pity. I think it would be much better for everybody to eat a good lunch.”
“I agree…but people are people. If they don’t want it, it won’t work.”
Dawn nodded and scratched one notion.