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Prologue of By the Cover

Prologue

It was my first day at primary school. The fact that it was pouring was clearly a sign that I shouldn't go, but my mother, however, did not agree. She practically dragged me down the road, her umbrella held high above her as she held mine with her other hand. Through the hailing rain and wind, she clung to my wrist tightly.

"I don't want to go!" I whined, pulling away from her.

"Come on, Rose," Mum pleaded, obviously at her wit's end, "Rose Oliver Willow, do as you're told."

"No," I screamed, wriggling out of her grip.

"Rose, do as you're told."

"No," I said sharply.

Mum sighed a breath of relief, "Look, Rose, we're here."

"Nooo."

"Rose, open your eyes right now," she snapped, "Look."

Opening my eyes, I saw a colourful building, decorated with murals of dancing daisies and rainbows. They seemed to smile at me, drawing me closer to the building, causing me to relax just enough to allow her to lead me into the school. She pushed open the mammoth doors to a world of children; screaming, wailing, yelling. I saw one boy pick his nose. That is absolutely disgusting.

Seeing this mayhem, I cower behind mum's legs, not wanting to socialise with any of these strange and terrible children. Mum gets down to my level "I'll back at three, OK, darling?"

"Don't go, mummy," I pleaded, holding onto her hand more tightly

"I can't, darling, mummy has to go to work, but you be a good girl for me, eh?" Mum replied, softly kissing my head before turning to leave.

I wave goodbye sadly. Just then, my new teacher, Mrs. Joy, called for our attention. "OK everyone, come sit in a circle."

We do as she says, gathering in a massive circle of children, all new to each other, on a large, round rug in the centre of the room.

"Now, children, we're going to play a little game. As we go round the circle, each girl or boy will say their name and a little fact about themselves," Mrs. Joy explained, "OK, let's start with—"

"-Britany White, and I like dancing," a confident, bubbly, blonde-haired girl exclaimed.

A little brunette girl next to her piped up, "I'm Nessa, and that's my mum," she said, pointing to her mother who sat at the top of the circle.

"Thank you, Nessa," Mrs. Joy said, a little bit annoyed at her daughter's outburst.

This went on for a while until they got me on number eleven. My mouth suddenly went dry and the words just wouldnt form. They were all staring at me.

"What about you, little one? What's your name?" Mrs joy asked, trying to encourage me to open up.

I couldn't think of anything else except..."Oliver," I blurted.

"Oliver. OK, sweetie, well that's a nice name," Mrs. Joy replied without even a hint of the laughter that I know is inevitable. I brace myself just in time for the uproar of laughter.

"She has a boy's name!" laughed Brittany

"Boy's name, boy's name, boy's name," the rest of the children chant.

I start to cry, getting up and covering my face with my hands, running out of the room to the playground behind the school, hurrying to hide behind the swings. Tears stream down my cheeks, pasting the floor with more wetness, mixing with the misty air. The rain falls all around me, soaking through my clothes as I cry, still cowering behind a set of swings.

"Hello," I look up to find a boy with dark brown hair and matching eyes standing beside the swings, soaked to the skin by the downpour.

"My names Nathan!" he exclaims cheerfully, reaching out a hand for me to take.

I grab on, wiping away my tears as he pulls me up, "I'm Rose."

He just smiles.

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Prologue of By the Cover
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