Chapter 1: I Dream of Jeanie
When I first met Jeannie, I was in the eighth grade, she was the new girl who had just moved to our school. It was the first day for her, but the middle of the school year for the rest of us.
Our home room teacher Ms. Payne checked her office slip, wrote her name in her attendance book, and asked her if she would l to introduce herself, while standing in-front of the entire class.
As a new student, I would have been horrified. I mean it would have been a struggle for me just to remember my own name being a new student in a new school.
Ms. Payne had a real knack for putting students on the spot. But Jeannie seemed very comfortable and introduced her with a poker face that hid any underlying fear. And in a very organized manner that almost sounded like a speech she had rehearsed.
She started by telling us where she was from, the name of her old school, how badly she missed her friends, and how happy she was for the opportunity to make some new ones.
And finally, the reason she moved here: Jeanie’s dad got a promotion, but if he accepted, they would have to relocate within 30 days.
Her father did not have a choice about the timing, otherwise her parents would have waited until the end of the school year instead.
Then Jeannie concluded by looking over at Ms. Payne to see if she was satisfied, Ms. Payne told Jeanie that we were happy to have her, and we were.
I know I was because Jeanie, was hotter than hell. I have never seen a more beautiful red-head in my life, and redheads were my favorite.
My name is Mark Winters and I got in so much trouble sitting next to my two friends, Kevin and Carlos, that Ms. Payne, our home-room teacher moved me to the other side of the room.
The desk in front of me was the only other empty desk in the classroom, I sat in the second seat behind that one.
The student who previously sat there was an authentic Native American named Johnny Wolf. And he lived on a reservation with several other Indian families that composed an actual tribe.
I called him Johnny “Howling Wolf” because of his allergies, as he was constantly itching, sneezing, and coughing. And it was non-stop. Nothing against his heritage, but I hated sitting next to him because of it.
One day it got so bad, I waited after class to complain to the Ms. Payne about him.
“Ms. Payne,” I said, “I want to be moved back to my old seat.”
“No, I’m not going to do that, she replied.”
“You can move Carlos or Kevin next to Johnny instead, I offered.
“Thank You for telling me what I can do,” she replied.
“I don’t care where you move me,” I said, “just anywhere away from Johnny.”
“Forget it,” Ms. Payne said dismissively.
“Truth be told, I don’t even want to breathe the same air with Johnny let alone sit next to him.”
Ms. Payne seemed to be ignoring me, as she was going thru one of her manila folders.
“Johnny sounds sick,” I said, “and I don’t want to catch whatever it is that he has.”
“You’re exaggerating,” Ms. Payne replied, “it may only be allergies, or a bad case of hay-fever.”
How did she know, was she a doctor?
I never heard of someone coughing up a lung because of Hay-Fever? Hell, my grandfather had bronchitis and he didn’t sound a bad as Johnny.
“Ms. Payne,” I asked, “how do you know that whatever Johnny has isn’t contagious?”
“Then I assume we’d all been coughing,” she said.
Well I had been beaten, so I left, but the problem continued. After another month passed, Ms. Payne gave the first student in each row a stack of tests, then they would pass the remaining test to the students behind them.
Johnny was in front of me, suddenly as he turned, he had one of his uncontrollable sneezing fits and coughed right in my face. He didn’t even try to cover his mouth, even with the tests in his hands.
I was so disgusted that in a fit of rage, I lost it, “Cover that sewer, you filthy savage!!!”
Ms. Payne had her back turned so she hadn’t seen why I “over-reacted” the way I did.
“Mark Winters,” she said, “I am appalled, you apologize to Johnny this instant.”
I got up and told her that I had to go to the bathroom to wash my face first, because Johnny hadn’t covered his before he decided to vomit on it.
After class, I stayed behind again, “Mrs. Payne, if you had moved me like I asked you to in the first place, this whole nasty incident with me and Johnny could have been avoided.”
She was grading the test papers.
“Johnny’s condition sounds like it’s getting worse,” I continued. “I think he needs some modern medicine and not whatever their giving him out on that reservation, because it’s not working.”
Ms. Payne looked up, “What are you going on about,” she asked annoyed?”
“I’m talking about you blatantly overlooking your duties as a teacher, and ignoring one of your student’s dire health conditions.”
“My duties,” Ms. Payne repeated?
“Well, I don’t have him in any of my other classes,” I answered.
“It is not the school’s policy to recommend treatment or medication, nor are we authorized to give it,” Ms. Payne sounded like she was reading from a cue-card.
“Now if you have a problem with that, maybe you should take it up with Principle White, I was going to sent you to his office anyway,” and then she handed me my test, it was a “B.”
Despite acting out occasionally, I was a good student.
“Well before you do, I just want to make sure that we have our story straight.
She adjusted her glasses.
“The school’s position is to just ignore Johnny’s health problems and pretend that there not serious, so if anything does happen while he’s still on school property, the District can claim to have no prior knowledge.
“Because if he has a history, and it was reported, and God forbid… something happens, the School District would get sued for negligence by the Native American Council.”
Mark sounded like a lawyer, and then Ms. Payne remembered his father was one. Maybe that’s why this kid was such a smart-ass.
“I do not make those decisions,” she retorted, starting to turn red and looking both frustrated.
“What about your Hypocritical oath,” Mark asked?
“My Hypocritical what,” Ms. Payne replied?
“What if what Johnny has is terminal,” Mark said. “I mean why is it those Native American’s have all the money in the world because of the casino’s, but they still choose to live out there on those reservations, like a bunch of…”
“Savages,” Ms. Payne completed”
“Yea,” Mark agreed, “that’s right, savages, I mean why is it that the Indians are so sufficient with everything else, except when it comes to home-schooling their own children???”
Maybe they want to modernize,” Ms. Payne said, “and start indoctrinating themselves into society.”
“That’s fine, let them modernize,” Mark replied, “I’m not a racist, but I don’t want to suffer from whatever it is that Johnny’s suffering from, just because they don’t believe in the “White Man’s Medicine.”
Mark used quotation marks with his fingers to emphasize the last sentence.
“Well I can’t very well tell Johnny that he can’t come to class, now can I,” Ms. Payne said defensively?
“You don’t have the authority,” Mark said disgustedly, “I bet Mr. White doesn’t either.”
“Why don’t you go find out for yourself,” she replied???
“How about I call the Army instead,” Mark said with a straight face, I’ll tell them there’s a break out and let the (CDC), storm in here and quarantine the entire town.
“But I’m going to call you first and give you a heads-up, that way I can sneak you out with me. I mean I would hate for you to wind up on the wrong side of the plastic bubble. We can go to Vegas until the whole thing blows over.”
Vegas, she thought to herself, was he flirting with her??? Suddenly Ms. Payne burst out laughing.
Vegas, God that was adorable!!!
Mark stared back at Ms. Payne in total amazement, more like shock. He wasn’t even trying to be funny, but whenever he got really upset about something, he started running off at the mouth and couldn’t stop himself.
“Yea, your parents would love that,” Ms. Payne said laughing again.
He waited for her to finish, and then he said, “You know Ms. Payne, this is the first time, I ever heard you laugh,” it sounded more like a revelation than a statement the way Mark said it.
Ms. Payne was already back to grading her papers.
“I didn’t know you could laugh, Mark continued.”
She chuckled but this time she covered her mouth like she was embarrassed.
“Look, she said, “I can’t make any promises, but I’ll talk to Principal White maybe there’s something he can do, but me…, I’m just a history teacher.”
Despite her age and profession, Ms. Payne revealed herself to be a warm human being who had a sense of humor. She could even treat a student with respect, instead of just being another condescending adult.
Mark suddenly realized that maybe Ms. Payne was just another person stuck in the same horrible situation that he was in.
And they shared a common tragedy. It was like a worker from the boiler room of the “Titanic” who was on the top deck now, and speaking to a passenger from first class.
Or maybe the captain himself, it did matter who you were now that the ship was sinking, they were all in the same boat.
Could it be, that Ms. Payne was just as disgusted about Johnny’s condition as he was? But unlike Mark, she didn’t have the luxury of complaining about it because she had a job to protect.
“You hate Johnny being in your class, as much as I do,” Mark said out loud. Margaret Payne looked up at him like he had read her mind.
She was startled and studied him and when she noticed that he saw a look of panic on her face, (maybe she had revealed too much), she immediately regained her composure, and went back to grading her papers, “Goodbye, Mark.”
Ms. Payne, the teacher had returned.
Mark slung his backpack over his shoulders and headed out. But before he left the classroom he stopped at the doorway and turned around.
“You know Ms. Payne; I would like to tell everybody that you have a very contagious laugh. But I don’t think they would believe me.
“Maybe if they heard it from you themselves some time, you could help me convince them, and then Mark left without saying good-bye.”
Never in her eighteen years of teaching could she remember a student giving her a compliment. Not on her looks, not on her hair, not on one of her outfits.
Margaret Payne continued staring at the empty doorway.
Mark did learn that Ms. Payne had made good on her word however, because something finally changed regarding Johnny.
His parents admitted him into a regular hospital, where they discovered that much of his illness was due to allergies. But it wasn’t just hay-fever, Johnny had a rare condition because his lungs were super-sensitive.
The allergies from the dust and pollen created a constant state of irritation within the air sacks themselves. So, given enough time and left untreated, his condition could have become fatal.
His family moved Johnny to another tribe further North of the state, and Johnny lived on another reservation, but one closer to a clinic that specialized in his type of illness.
After Johnny left no one from the school ever heard from him again, Mark never got so much as a Thank You, let alone an acknowledgment, but if Johnny got the help he needed, that’s all that really mattered.
Anyway, Johnny’s exodus was the only reason why there was an empty seat in the classroom to begin with.
And now the new girl Jeannie would be sitting next to him, instead. Her name reminded him of that show from TV Land, “I Dream of Jeanie.”
And Mark could not have dreamt up a better replacement. Jeanie was so beautiful that Mark had to turn away as she walked towards him, and so that he would not stare, but that was almost impossible, because her beauty seemed magnetic.
Mark thought Jeanie might have been one of the most beautiful eight graders in the entire world. And that was also because she matured early; and already had the body of an adult woman.
Mark had read somewhere that girls were maturing much earlier now, then any other time in human history.
There was this theory that it was due to all the hormones, and steroids that they put in the cow’s milk. Well if Jeanie ate her Frosted Flakes, she was proof of that.
She might have had the face of a 13-year-old girl, young, fresh, and innocent, but she had the mature body of a curvy, voluptuous vixen.
Her tits were fucking huge!!!
The contrast between her youthful, innocent looks, and her mature well-endowed body, only enhanced the other that much more.
Mark couldn’t help but wonder, if Jeanie’s body was as innocent as her face looked. Then right after she sat down, Mark began to have a hard time concentrating.
He saw multi-colored spots, and instantly developed a headache, the pain throbbed until he had to close his eyes. He rubbed his forehead, and temples to try and relieve some of the pressure. If it got any worse Mark thought he might cry out.
Suddenly he started to get flashes of pictures. They were of Jeanie, the new girl. Sometimes Mark got “visions,” for lack of a better definition. It didn’t happen with everyone; he wasn’t psychic in the broad sense.
Usually it was just a female who Mark found extremely attractive. Sometimes the pictures were accompanied with a sound, or a feeling, but mostly they were just images.
The last time this happened to him was with a blonde girl named Tiffany who was the first girl who had ever given him oral sex.
Aside from kissing a girl or feeling one up once or twice, back in fourth grade, Tiffany the blonde, was Mark’s first real sexual experience.
She was one of the most popular, and attractive girls at the school, but she was vain, and shallow, and visions of her leaving him broken-hearted always overshadowed any sexual desire he felt towards her.
Tiffany was ultimately deemed a selfish bitch, who would punish any man who loved her, even destroy him for it. Girls had conquests too. It was always the getting and not the having with Tiffany.
Mark didn’t know why Jeanie suddenly “activated” these images the same as Tiffany had done before her.
Was this a warning?
Silently as Jeanie sat down next to Mark the pictures kept exploding in his head like silent flashbulbs, one after another.
Pop, pop, pop!!!
“Mr. Winters, can you give me the answer, Ms. Payne interrupted his thoughts.
“Mark jumped back in his seat, his “visions” were gone, the story was over. Hearing Ms. Payne’s voice brought Mark back to the present. To the here and now.
But how long was he out???
“The answer,” Mark said, clearing his throat.”
“Yes, the answer,” she repeated, “weren’t you paying attention???”
No, I wasn’t paying attention, Mark thought to himself. How could she even ask him that with a straight face.
The only reason she called on him in the first place, was because she caught him not paying attention.
Mark wanted to ask Jeanie out after class but if Ms. Payne made look like a fool, it could ruin his chances with her, because he hadn’t even introduced himself yet.
And you never got a second chance to make a first impression. Not a good one.
“I’m sorry Ms. Payne,” Mark said, “I couldn’t hear you, could you repeat the question again???”
Ms. Payne scoffed.
“Who shot our 16th President Abraham Lincoln,” Ms. Payne repeated???
“That John…. Telephone…… Booth guy,” Mark stammered.”
The entire class erupted in laughter.
“That-is-not-funny,” Ms. Payne said to the class enunciating each word carefully to let the room know she meant business.
“All of you quiet down this instant,” she commanded.”
Then after the class quieted down, Ms. Payne returned and picked up exactly where she left off,
“You mean John “Wilkes” Booth,” Ms. Payne corrected him?
“Yes,” Mark said,” that’s exactly who I meant.”
I guess Ms. Payne didn’t want to look like a fool in front of the new girl either, Mark thought to himself.
“Then why didn’t you say so in the first place,” Ms. Payne asked putting him on the spot again?
What? Are you fucking kidding me?
I gave you the right answer now move on bitch, Mark thought to himself.
Why was Ms. Payne giving him such a hard time for?
Was she deliberately trying to embarrass him in front of the new girl? She had never asked him two question in the same day.
“Ms. Payne,” Mark started, “you told us last semester that if we couldn’t actual remember the answer; to associate something with the answer instead, like an image.
“So, I took the last name “Booth,” and I tried to link the answer with a picture. And Telephone Booth was all that I could come up with.
“Telephone Booth and John Wilkes Booth,” Mark said, putting his two hands together and interlacing his fingers for emphasis.
Ms. Payne was both, amazed and confused, the latter because she had never told the class to link words with pictures. Mark had made that up on the spot.
There was a pause while Ms. Payne stood standing confused, like she was trying to remember when she had said that, Mark pre-emptied a comeback before she could respond a third time.
“Look,” Ms. Payne,” Mark said, “I don’t know why you’re always calling on me, unlike these snobby rich girls, I like your casual shoes.”
And then he pointed at them for effect and giving her the thumbs up for approval. Mark wanted the attention off him and back on her, it was a gutsy gamble.
Everyone in class including Ms. Payne herself, looked down at her shoes, and then, once she knew that she’d been had, she lifted one of them up to check the underside to see if she had anything stuck on the bottom.
“No, the other one,” Mark said, she checked the other shoe too, the entire class erupted in laughter again.
This time Ms. Payne didn’t yell at the room to quiet down, she waited for them patiently. Maybe Mark had earned that laugh.
But before she spoke again, Mark panicked. He should have quit while he was still ahead. But he couldn’t help himself; he was still reeling from the images that he’d seen from Jeanie’s past and now his mind and mouth were racing into over-drive.
Mark couldn’t have stopped even if that meant a one-way ticket straight to the principal’s office. Better to die a rebel than branded a fool.
When the class was quiet again, a composed Ms. Payne with a Mona-Lisa smile scanned the classroom. Her body language exclaimed: I am the adult here; I will be the bigger person.
Her tone and mood seemed much lighter when she spoke this time as well, “Well, I hope the rest of you will be able to associate pretty pictures with answers because there’s going to be a test, next Monday, and you can bet that question will be on it.”
The entire class grumbled as if in protest and then Ms. Payne stood in front of Jeanie’s desk, “I’m sorry, honey, but that includes you as well.”
Jeanie nodded without looking up at her. Suddenly the bell ran and everybody got up and filtered out of class, and into the hallway.
Mark straggled behind as most of the class disappeared, some the girls turned around to size Jeanie up again, before they left.
It was common for Ms. Payne to leave for the teachers’ lounge refill her coffee during the bell in-between classes. When she left with the rest of the class, Mark took this as a good sign.
Kevin and Carlos, who sat together on the other side of the classroom, were waiting for him by the door, but Mark waved them on impatiently to leave, but trying not to be too obvious.
He didn’t need those two idiots sticking around, he needed to have Jeanie alone when he spoke to her, if they stayed, they would only make him look bad, and fuck things up for him.
Jeannie didn’t act like she was in a hurry either, so while she was taking her time collecting her things, Mark tried to keep pace; desperately trying to think up an excuse to talk to her. Now that he had the opportunity, he had drawn a blank.
When he couldn’t think of anything clever, he was just going to say “Hi,” before she got away, but when he turned to face her, she already looking at him, and she caught him off guard, and he froze.
She smiled, “You were funny,” Jeanie said.
“What do you mean,” Mark asked smiling.
“By complimenting her shoes,” Jeanie returned.
“I wasn’t trying to be funny,” he said, “Ms. Payne really did catch me daydreaming… but I was distracted.”
Then he checked the doorway to make sure she hadn’t double-backed.”
“So, you were lying when you said you like her shoe’s,” Jeanie asked?
“Oh, there okay,” he said, “but I’d wish she buy some new ones, she wears same outfits on the same days, and sometimes the other kids make fun of her because of it. I was just trying to help her out.”
“Really,” Jeanie said smiling.
“Some people can be so… immature,” Mark said, “besides, I like your shoes better.”
Jeanie laughed again, she hadn’t been this nervous talking to a boy in a long time, but she did have on a cute pair of “shoe-boots” that were a fashionable style at the time.
“Homeroom Teacher “Ms. Payne,” is well named,” Mark said, “because she is good at causing me grief, every chance she gets.”
“The bad boy, defending her,” Jeanie asked?
“Alright,” Mark smiled, “maybe I’m exaggerating, but this time my distractions were legitimate.”
“What distraction was that,” Jeanie flirted.
She didn’t mean to sound flirtatious, but it came out naturally, and she couldn’t prevent it when it did.
“Well for one thing,” Ms. Payne’s’ voice itself is a distraction. You ever hear the voice of the guy that does “Garfield” the cartoon cat in the Movies.”
“Yes,” Jeanie said.
“Ms. Payne’s voice is a little like that, he said.
“Like Garfield,” she asked?
“Yea, monotone,” he replied, “it has no inflection, and for someone who has a “boring” voice she sure loves to hear herself talk.”
“Are you sure you’re not exaggerating again,” Jeanie smiled?
“You didn’t have a “Ms. Payne” back at your old school,” Mark asked???
Now it was Jeanie who looked at the doorway, “Yea, but her name was Ms. Harp,” Jeanie replied.
“I knew it,” Mark nodded.
Jeanie laughed. “And you Jeanie,” he said shyly
“And me what,” she asked?
“And you had me distracted,” Mark replied.
“Why me,” she asked?”
Why you! Don’t you own a fucking mirror? It might have something to do with those two-bowling ball titties strapped to your chest.
“Well, it’s not every day we get to meet a new student from a faraway land, and that’s very exciting for these parts,” Mark said with a country western twang.
“Exciting,” Jeanie seemed confused, “What do you mean by exciting.”
“You’re a mystery,” Mark said, “and nobody knows anything about you.”
Jeanie noticed Mark was using her first name a lot, and he seemed very comfortable doing so, like they were old friends, and that was odd considering they had just met.
“Even after I told you, and the entire class, my life’s story,” Jeanie exclaimed.
“Yea,” Mark shook his head, “I can’t believe Ms. Payne made you do that, I hate standing in front just of the class just to give a book report -let alone telling my life’s story to a bunch of strangers.”
“Oh my God, Mark,” Jeanie sounded over-dramatical, “I was so embarrassed, please tell me I didn’t look like a fool.”
“No, you were cool,” he laughed, “maybe a little shy, but for your first day, you were great.”
“I have to admit,” Jeanie said, “out of all my teachers Ms. Payne was the only who made me do that.”
Mark moved in to whisper, Jeanie smelled of expensive perfume. It was intoxicating.
“I should warn you Jeanie, Ms. Payne is a real bitch, so don’t take anything she does too personal, I heard she even drinks in-between classes.”
Jeannie laughed. This boy was hilarious.
“Thank you, Mark,” Jeanie said, smiling, “you’re good at making a new girl feel better.”
“Well, I wasn’t born here either,” Mark said, “I was a new student myself at one time, but even then, I had the luxury of starting fresh in September like everybody else, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to move in the middle of the year.”
“You don’t know the half of it,” Jeanie replied.
“Then give me your number,” he said, “so you can tell me the other half after school.”
And then Mark took out his pen immediately and waited for her to give it to him, putting her on the spot.
Wow, Jeanie thought to herself, how could she resist?!!
“My number,” she balked, “I don’t even know you!!!
“I wish we had more time to talk,” Mark said “he handed her his pen and notebook, but why don’t you give me your number so I can call you after school.”
Then Mark turned around again to check the doorway.”
Jeanie stared at him, and behind those emerald-green eyes, Mark could see her trying to decide if this was a good idea or not. He nodded slightly as if silently encouraging her.
“Mark, I don’t even know your last name maybe we shouldn’t rush into anything,” Jeanie said.
“My last name is Winters,” he replied offering his hand so that could shake it.”
She took it, but with the same side, she was left-handed.
“Yes,” she said, “and I’m Jeanie the new girl, Mr. Winters, so I hope you understand if I don’t.”
“I do, Ms. Grant’s, but I would like to be your first friend, if you let me…” and he smiled.
Jeanie flipped over the front cover to write but stopped when she saw notes from a previous class.
“Can I write on the back page instead,” she asked?
“You can write over the notes if you want,” Mark replied.
Jeanie laughed as she quickly found a blank page and scribbled, her number.
“There you go Mark Winters,” she said.
He studied her handwriting, “Jeanie Winters” he mumbled.
“What did you say,” she asked fearfully?
“I’m sorry,” Mark said, “I must have thought one thing but said another, because your handwriting is beautiful.”
Jeanie looked at him a little suspiciously, as she handed the pen back.
“Thanks,’ she said.
“Thank you, Jeanie Grants,” Mark corrected himself the second time.
Jeanie never took her eyes off him while Mark put his notebook away and slung his backpack around his shoulder; then he picked up Jeanie’s pink backpack and handed it to her.
“We better go, Jeanie,” Mark said, as he noticed the other students from the next class pouring in as he guided her out. He didn’t want to run into Ms. Payne again.
“Do you know where your next class is,” Mark asked???
“Yes, I memorized my schedule,” Jeanie said.
“Jeannie,” Mark said, “I was just thinking, is there a specific time I can call you, just so I don’t wind up talking to your dad.”
Jeannie laughed, “Listen my parents are old-fashioned, they would not be happy if a boy called for me the first day after school, how about Saturday around noon.”
“But that’s five days away,” Mark said pretending like he was wilting.
“Right so let’s not rush into anything,” Jeanie smiled.
“Saturday then, it’s a date,” Mark confirmed.
“No, no, I didn’t agree to a date,” she said, “I just agreed to accept your phone call.”
Jeanie sounded panicked, but inside she was lit up like a Christmas tree. She squeezed her arms tighter and closer to her chest.
A date, she thought to herself, she had never been on a date before, and then Jeanie started blushing, it brought out her freckles.
Ms. Payne was returning from the teachers’ lounge to her class with a fresh cup of coffee. She had just poured a shot of baileys crème from a disguised container that she hid in the back of the fridge.
This would be her third shot of the day. She reminded lagging student to get to their next class before the second bell rang.
The she wondered if the Mall was having a sale on shoes this week-end, as she sipped her Irish coffee.
Chapter 2: That Reoccurring Premonition
After school Mark was up in his room, laying on his bed, and throwing a rubber ball against the wall. He was catching it with one hand, then throwing it with the other.
Sometimes this helped him think, other times it relieved stress.
Periodically Mark would pick up his notebook and glace at what Jeanie had written earlier, he studied her handwriting.
He wanted to call her right now. But Monday was a long time from Saturday. When he thought about it, he was lucky that she gave him her number at all. She really didn’t want to.
He would periodically keep checking to make sure her signature and number were still on his notebook, and not just an illusion that would fade away and disappear like a mirage if he waited too much time in-between glances.
Mark had already rewritten Jeanie’s number on a post-it, and put that on his cork-board, in-case anything happened to his notebook.
Then he wrote down her name and number a third time and hid that piece of paper in a shoe box on top of his closet.
Mark constantly needed to prove to himself that everything that happened earlier wasn’t a dream, and Jeanie was real, and he had her name and number to prove it.
Everything about Jeanie was sexy, even her signature, light, soft, and feminine. He tried replaying the images he had about her in his head. Mark desperately wanted to know if any of it was true.
He closed his eyes and started rubbing them again as the flood of images that had poured in during class returned.
After a while Mark started to see enough of them, and the images formed a story like frames from a movie strip.
Marks first impression(s) had been that Jeanie had involved herself with something taboo.
She was in a cult. No, she was a student of the occult. Wicca, she practiced witchcraft. Jeanie had belonged to a school. No, not a school, it was called a coven.
She had a natural talent for Wicca. But something had happened. She was a novice, a very gifted student, but inexperienced and undisciplined.
Jeanie was “expelled” from the coven because as a student she practiced on her own, and outside of any supervision, which was both dangerous and forbidden.
Suddenly Mark wondered it this tied in with her move. Was this the real reason for her relocation. Not because of her father’s job, but because she was banished.??? These feeling seemed much stronger.
Wicca was a religion, and witchcraft were rituals. Every religion had rules and Wicca’s were stricter than most. And Jeanie disobeyed theirs.
Pop, Pop, Pop!!!
Images went off like flashbulbs in his head.
There was an older student at her in her other school named …Jason…John…Josh.
His name was Josh, and Jeanie had become instantly infatuated. He was her first crush. He was older than Jeanie, but because of her intelligence Jeanie was mentally, if not emotionally, his equal.
The two of them even shared some of the same classes, Jeanie advanced two grades, because of how smart she was.
She started as a freshman at her old school, but when she transferred to New Baltimore Heights, they would not allow her into high school, because of her age.
But Josh never seemed to notice her, Jeanie was very attractive, cute like a girl, but not sexy like a woman. Jeanie did not know why Josh was not interested in her.
It was because she still looked “under-developed,” and more like a child than a woman. And Josh a breast-man.
Pop, Pop, Pop!!!
One-day Jeanie overheard Josh talking to one of his friends, he said that he needed to go to the Mall this weekend to buy some new shoes.
Jeanie made plans to arrive at the mall first, so that she could “accidentally” run into him.
He didn’t say what time he was going to be there, so Jeanie was going to get there when the Mall opened and wait for him all day if she had too.
When she finally saw Josh walk in, Jeanie walked over and made up an excuse to talk to him.
Josh smiled, flirted, complimented her, and even laughed at her jokes; Jeanie was sure that Josh was going to ask her out.
But then, just like a heart-breaking scene from a romantic comedy a very well-endowed female walked past them, and this girl’s timing could not have been worse.
Like an electric magnet that had suddenly switched polarities, his attention immediately switched from Jeanie to the other woman in less than a micro-second.
Jeanie looked to see what suddenly captivated Josh’s attention and that’s when she saw the rival female. She was vaguely aware that she knew this girl.
Her name was Brenda, and she shared a class with her and Josh. He made up a horrible, transparent excuse just so he could catch up with this other girl before she got away.
Jeanie had been outclassed, simple as that. Game, Set, and match.
His reaction was so abrupt that it would have been comical under different circumstances, but the shock of his sudden abandonment was devastating, and the humiliation she felt in his absence was monumental.
Jeanie couldn’t even move at first, her body was frozen; her mind refused to accept what had just happened.
Did he just leave me for Brenda???
She was an older, more mature, and certainly more endowed, but not prettier??? She looked like a whore with all that make-up on her face!!!
And Josh left her right in the middle of the mall where everybody could see, her humiliation. She might as well have been the lead actress in a tragedy not a romantic comedy because now, that’s exactly how she felt.
She didn’t know if she could prevent herself from crying, but her face suddenly turned red from embarrassment.
That she could not stop, she could even feel the heat coming off her body, and when it did, it brought out her freckles.
Suddenly Jeanie wished she could turn invisible so that nobody could see her as she forced one foot in front of the other.
She had to move, to try and maintain her dignity, just long enough to make it to the bathroom, before she burst into tears.
Jeanie was in the stall for almost twenty minutes, just long enough to make sure she got it all out of her system before she went home to do it all over again.
Josh was Jeanie’s first crush and he was devastating. She cried herself to sleep that night wondering what she did wrong, and why she wasn’t good enough for Josh.
For the rest of the week Jeanie was inconsolable, she couldn’t eat or sleep, or confide in anyone, she was becoming dangerously underweight. Then she could no longer deny the truth.
Why did that bitch Brenda have to walk past her at the exact, moment Josh was about to ask her out?
Now she heard that they were even dating, but this girl Brenda, had not won Josh, she had stolen him, and with an unfair advantage!!!
Jeanie was determined to win Josh’s affection and at any cost. It was unfair what had happened to her. She was cheated.
Jeanie was going to use a magical incantation that would emulate the body of this other woman, then Josh would notice her.
At the very least she would be able to compete against this other woman on a level playing field.
Pop, pop, pop!!!
This emulation was a very dangerous thing to attempt. First, Jeanie did not have the experience necessary to perform it.
Second the spell was not a one-person ritual, and third, she did have permission from the coven to perform it.
None of this mattered to Jeanie, she convinced herself she was doing the right thing, because she was in love. Besides she knew if she asked, that her request would be denied on principle alone.
Jeanie didn’t even know if she could bring herself to ask for a sexual endowment, it would be too humiliating. Childish, immature, unrealistic, and Josh was not her husband.
This was not a mating ritual. You could not rush or force nature. And those who tried were doomed. But no warning would deter Jeanie, she was a woman in love!!!
And a woman in love could move mountains, and God help the fool that stood in her way, they would be crushed underneath them.
Jeanie was a brilliant student of the Wiccan arts, a very gifted apprentice, but she was young, and she did not have the power, confidence or experience to complete such a complicated ritual.
Jeanie had performed the magic rite meticulously, and it had been effective, despite her inexperience, partly because Jeanie herself was still in puberty, she had just turned thirteen.
And so, her body quickly began to change quickly afterward, the results were astonishing.
Her body began to grow into the same form and shape of Brenda. But something went wrong. And that is why there is no substitution for experience in any field.
Some variation or deviation. Maybe something unnoticed or forgotten, Jeanie did not know what went wrong specifically. But something was left out, or overlooked, and as a result… the other woman died.
Pop, Pop, Pop!!!
When the elders found out what Jeanie had done; Janice the mother superior, shook her head in both shock and amazement She told Jeanie that she could not believe that Jeanie herself had been killed during the incantation.
Janis was Jeanie’s mentor and personal teacher, and because she was unable to have children of her own. she loved Jeanie like her own daughter.
She was protective of Jeanie, especially with her being the youngest member of the coven.
What she attempted, had never been tried before, which was a true testament of her abilities, and as a student, Jeanie was the most potential Janice had ever seen.
Maybe, she herself would have been the one to replace Janice, because of her ability. It was only natural for her to be the next to lead in succession, for she was the most capable, the most promising.
But now, none of that would ever be possible.
Jeanie had to be held accountable for her actions the same as everyone else. No one was above Wiccan Law.
Pop, Pop, Pop!!!
During the next full moon all thirteen members of the coven gathered outside the courtyard. Twelve in a circle and Jeanie in middle.
Every woman present was clothed only in a hooded robe, and crying miserable, and that included Janice and Jeanie.
Another senior member of the council, Teresa, a beautiful blonde, seductive and alluring tried to speak in Jeanie’s defense, “Mother s, forgive this child, I beg thee, her intention was not malice.
“Yes, she was reckless. yes, she was foolish, but this folly was first love’s sake, and who among us has not been deceived by love, or been made a fool of by the same, not once but many times even afterwards.”
All the women in the circle save one, shouted in agreement.
It suddenly started raining in large, cold and heavy drops. And every woman except for Jeanie, put the hood of their robes over their heads to keep their hair from getting wet.
Janice could not rule on intention, but on outcome alone. Jean could not have preferential treatment.
Janis spoke, “I did not make the laws, sister Teresa, and Jeanie was well aware of them from the onset, the laws are in place to prevent exactly what happened, from happening, now we all have blood on our hands.”
Another woman, Cassandra, now hooded, and her face hidden the shadow of the moonlight spoke up, “She is but a child, Mother Superior, have mercy on her for she is young, she is young, and her heart is pure.” she repeated.
But Janice shook her head. “She was old enough, old enough to know better, yet she chose against the law, and now she must be held accountable because of it.”
Jeanie took off her robe even thou she was completely naked underneath, and threw herself on the ground.
She knelt before Janice grabbing her from behind the knees, and begged her for an alternate form of punishment. This was very bad form to beg forgiveness before the verdict was even given.
“I will take the lash until my back bleeds and scars,” Jeanie said, “and take the fire until it scorches and sears my flesh.”
They could even scratch her skin with steel wool, and salt water afterwards. That could be fatal. The wind started to howl, and it carried Jeanie’s appeal to the Heavens, but there was would be no latitude given from Janis. She would make the decision alone, and that decision would be final.
“Jeanie you have caused the death of another,” Janis spoke,” though unintentional, you were selfish, reckless, and negligent, Ye knew the law, but ye broke it anyway.
“Had this other woman lived, another punishment may have been considered, but as it stands the punishment will fit the crime.”
Jeanie was already crying miserable, Janice had to raise her voice, to be heard above the wind, “Jeanie, you are now excommunicated from our sisterhood now and forever, and you must swear an oath on your own life that you will never practice Wicca again, either now or in the future, with or without another Cover.”
Then Janis looked upon her, “That is the judgement I render.”
The group of women repeated their response in unison, “So mote it be.”
Jeanie looked up at Janice and pleaded, “Please Mother, you my only family, do not abandon me, I would rather you kill me than banish me. Death itself would be a kinder fate, but to live without my sisters, that is unbearable.”
“Some punishments in life are worse than death,” Janis replied, “you more than anyone know that.”
They exchanged a knowing look. “Swear the Oath or suffer the curse,” Janice warned.
“Please Mother,” Jeanie begged, “do not do this.”
Janice slapped Jeanie in the face hard, and she fell on her side, into the mud, it covered one side of her face and body.
Janice waited patiently for Jeanie to get up and then she repeated her demand, “Swear the Oath or suffer the curse, Janice repeated.”
Jeanie did not see hatred in the eyes of Janis, pity, anger, but most of all disappointment. Both woman we’re broken-heated.
“I will suffer… I will suffer the curse,” Jeanie repeated bravely.
And so, the mother superior announced what her fate was to be….” To never be loved!!!
And after Janice announced her judgement, she warned Jeanie, “Do not call me your mother, or these other women your sister for we are not your family anymore, nor shall we ever be again.
The lightning illuminated the sky as if for effect.
And then Janis walked away from Jeanie as the rain continued to come down, but now even harder. It was as if even Nature itself was washing its hands of Jeanie.
Now Jeanie was no longer kneeling, Jeanie fell into the fetal position and screamed hysterically, “I am alone, I am alone, I am alone. I have no one, I have no one, I have no one!!!”
Each time she cried out, the lightning flickered, and the thunder sounded above to drown her out. Yet no member of the coven would stay to comfort Jeanie, help her up, cover her with robe, or even look back to see if she would be okay.
The group silently followed Janis, back into their small concrete fortress that was the courtyard, and shut the iron gate behind them, which locked with a metallic rattle.
Mark was back in his room and he was just as startled as he had been earlier. But that reoccurring premonition… was it true?
Was Jeanie a witch?