The next morning, Rosechan got up feeling somewhat refreshed after her long night and trip back. It had stopped raining too and the sun was shining, a beautiful October morning.
Her parents were waiting for her at the table, wanting to speak to her. Miss Court had spoken to them last night about what had happened, the writing on the bus and getting lost in the forest. She had also told them about the wonderful art works Rosechan had done. Her parents gave her a strict lecture, she was very sorry she had disappointed them and promised to do the chores and come back straight home from school everyday. They grounded her and said she wasn't to take part in any after school activities for a month, and there was to be no socialising with friends either. So the party she had organised with Niky and Sandora went out the window. She wasnt to even take the school bus, she would be driven to school.
'Hi girls!' called Rosechan to Niky and Sandora when she reached the school gates.
'Hi Rosechan!' they called out. 'Did you manage to get some sleep after the journey?'
'Yes thanks. But this morning I had a lecture from my parents, Miss Court told them everything last night. And now I'm grounded for a while, which means we cant have that party we talked about. And I'm banned from any social activities here, so I cant work on the school paper for a month.'
'Oh poor Rosechan!' said Niky sympathetically. 'Our parents have grounded us too.'
'Yeah, no parties for us either. But don't worry, we will definitely organise something soon,once the curfew is over,' said Sandora cheerfully.
They were just about to walk into the school when somebody suddenly appeared in Rosechan's way. She looked up to see Joe, the bus driver, looking down at her with an unamused expression.
'Morning Joe,' Rosechan said uneasily. 'I'm so sorry about all the trouble I caused you.' His expression stayed the same; he obviously wasn't in a forgiving mood.
'I have something that belongs to you,' he said, 'You left it behind last night.' He was holding Slappy in his right hand, whom he pushed into Rosechan's arms and left.
'I did, didnt I?' said Rosechan, staring at Slappy somewhat dazed.
'Hey everybody, here comes crazy doll girl with her doll boyfriend!' mocked Ginny as soon as she saw them. Ever since that session with Slappy at the drama club, she had it in for Rosechan. Soon the hall was filled with guffawing, mocking voices.
'Hes not a....' Rosechan began, but Sandora stopped her.
'No Rosechan, just ignore her words. Don't give her the satisfaction.'
Rosechan calmed down and trying to ignore the stupid remark, walked past Ginny together with Niky and Sandora.
She was in for a shock when she got to her locker. The words 'WEIRDO' and 'DOLL GIRL' had been scrawled across the door in black ink. People pointed and laughed at her, as she turned crimson with shame.
'And here I was about to ask you on a date, but you're too weird,' the popular boy in the school said as she went past.
'Well, sorry to disappoint you, but I'd rather be weird than like you!' retorted Rosechan, suddenly finding her confidence.
As she put Slappy into her locker, she noticed a girl by one of the other lockers. It was Karcia from class 7B, who ahe also had a history class witj. She was a pretty girl with blond hair and blue eyes, usually dressed in a black skirt, purple t-shirt and black jacket. She was holding a little plush figure of Dick Dastardly, one if Rosechans cartoon heroes. Karcia turned to look at her and Slappy, wondering what had happened to her locker.
'Nice dummy,' she said.
'Thanks!' Smiled Rosechan happily.
At lunch time Rosechan went down to the pier to share her fish and chips with the dolphins. They lived at the Wackyland Aquarium, which opened out into the sea so the dolphins had all the freedom they wanted. Rosechan came here often, with her family and friends but mostly when she was sad or needed to relax. The dolphins made her feel calm and happy. She sat down to think about her predicament. She was grounded, both by the school and her parents. She was also the unpopular girl at school, one who still played with dolls and took them everywhere with her. A total weirdo.
She thought about camp, and realised it wasnt all that bad, she had managed to do 2 art works which her teacher liked, though how she had done them was a mystery to her; she had had fun with her friends at the dance which had turned into a fantasy, and she had also had a crush on her counsellor, who had rescued her and her friends and kissed her before she left. She felt something in her pocket. Of course, the note from Boomer! She pulled out a note with his number on, and a polaroid snapshot of him. She was so happy. She only regretted not having taken any together with him.
On a bench further down, Karcia was sitting, having lunch and drawing.
'Mind if I sit down?' Rosechan asked. Karcia nodded. Both girls sat in silence first, admiring the view. Then Rosechan glanced at the drawing.
'Wow, thats really good Karcia,' she marvelled.
'Thanks!' Smiled Karcia.
'And the Dick Dastardly plushie, did you make him yourself? Love him!'
'Yes I did, he is my darling! ' beamed Karcia. Rosechan smiled too.
'Want to see my darling?' Rosechan showef her the photo of Boomer. 'I met him at camp, and he kissed me!
'Aww how sweet!' Karcia smiled at Rosechans happiness.
When they got back to school, she was shocked to see Sandora and Niky by her locker.
'Hey, what's going on? Not you too guys!' She sighed, thinking even they had turned against her.
'Ah there you are Rosechan,' said Niky as they turned around. Taped to the door were two snapshots: her together with Boomer.
'We wanted to surprise you,' said Sandora shyly.
'Oh guys, thank you so much! But how, when did you...?
'We took them while you were embracing, it was such a sweet sight,' grinned Niky.
'After all, we know how much you love Boomer!' Said Sandora, winking.
'Thanks guys, love you so much!' Rosechan hugged them and Karcia. She felt blessed to have such good friends.
She put everything back into her locker and was about to leave when the popular girl in her class, Dujy appeared. She was more annoying than Ginny and very picky about the people she befriended. Her parents owned a string of clubs and posh restaurants, so she was very snobby and spoilt, always partying out at expensive clubs. She looked down on anyone who was different from her, both in style and opinions.
'Oh, how ugly!'cried Dujy in disgust, catching sight of Slappy. Suddenly Rosechan lost it.
'Shut it Dujy, why do you always have to put down anything that doesn't measure up to your standards?' Rosechan stopped, shocked at what she had just said. Did she just defend an evil dummy? Had she finally cracked? No, Dujy was always doing this about everything and Rosechan had had enough. Cheers and applause filled the air, it was high time somebody put the snobbish girl in her place. Dujy stared for a while, unable to respond, then left in a huff.
Walking through the empty courtyard at the end of school trying to figure out what had happened at lunch, Rosechan noticed some kids laughing and kicking something. As she got closer she saw it was Slappy. One of them then got out some matches.
'STOP! What do you think youre doing? You shouldn't be playing with matches! And leave him alone!' she yelled, rushing over and grabbing him from them.
'Hey what's your problem? We are only having a bit of fun,' retorted the one with the matches.
'Back off! You shouldnt be playing with things you know nothing about! (She didnt want to say, 'With cursed dolls' as it would only encourage them further.) 'And you really ought to show respect for other people's property.' She knew a little about these kids, they were always getting into trouble. Once they were breaking some roses and were threatened by her teacher Peter with a shovel.
'He is yours is he?'
'Youre like, older than us and you still play with dolls? What a loser!' They ran off, laughing at her.
Reeling from her angry outburst, Rosechan hugged the dummy close to her chest, as if he were a child. 'There there, youre safe now.' She suddenly jumped in shock when she realised what she was doing. Slappy opened his eyes.
'Hey Slave, you saved me! Just like when you pulled me out of the pit, seems you cant be without ol' Slappy!'
'Shut up!' said Rosechan, agitated. 'I just did what I would do for anyone. And I only got you out of the pit because I dont want anyone else finding you...' She stopped when she realised Slappy was grinning at her smugly, as it to say, 'I told you so, you can't be without me, you don't want anyone else to have me!' Anyway, I don't know much about you myself or even what just happened, she said to herself. Now be a good dummy and go back into the locker. I have to go back home', she said, carrying him to the locker.
'It seems you are like no slave I've ever had before,' Slappy said just then. 'Stick with me Rosechan, and you will go far!' What was he on about? She really wished she could understand this mysterious turn of events. She was hoping she hadn't completely lost her mind. Reaching her locker, she changed her mind. Maybe I should take him back home where I can keep an eye on him. I don't want to leave him here and end up being expelled next time.
Arriving home, Rosechan went up to her bedroom to leave her bag and hid Slappy under her bed. Her parents werent back yet and her brother was at his piano lesson, so she set about tidying the house and even cooked their evening meal: spaghetti with tomato sauce. Hey, at least its a start, she said to herself. She still felt tired so she decided to have an early night at 6:00pm.
Lying in bed she tried to make sense of what had happened. She had defended Slappy, then saved him from the boys who were about to burn him. She who was so terrified of Slappy, happy to have seen the last of the terrifying dummy. She who was planning to smash him to pieces, or at the very least find a necromancer who could silence him. The last thing on her mind was being kind to the dummy who had enslaved her, and tried enslave her friends in the woods. Why didn't she leave him in the pit? What was wrong with her? All those questions soon made her fall asleep, she didn't even hear when her parents came back, nor her mum calling her. Her mum found her asleep and kissed her on the forehead, covering her up. Rosechan had forgotten to do so.
Under the bed, Slappy couldn't understand what was happening either. This slave had saved his life. Nobody had done that before, they had all tried to get rid of him. Even she had done so last time.What was wrong with her? But more importantly, what was wrong with him, why was he thinking about her so much, and why was he starting to feel so... strange?