Olietus is going to keep causing trouble. For some reason, he’s still focusing on me rather than all the other females in class—most who are around his own age.
He didn’t like it that I moved seats. For some reason, he seems to think I want his attention. That’s the last thing I want. I just want to go to class and be left alone. That’s all.
I’m going to have to find a way to deal with him. I’m too old for childish, schoolyard bullying.
He mocked me after I had to speak in class.
I know I stutter.
I always have.
My mother took me to a healer once. I’m one of the few Dardaptoans with a genetic deformity. It’s in the muscles of my mouth. Unfortunately for me, it causes me to have difficulties articulating sometimes. It’s mild. Barely noticeable anymore.
Mostly when I’m nervous or afraid.
I’m used to it. But it is one reason I don’t often speak up in a group. I felt embarrassed about how I spoke for the first time in three decades. He’d laughed at me.
Fortunately, others in the class gave him a fierce set-down that he fully deserved. But he glared at me for the rest of the class. I felt horrible, needing the rest of the class to defend me. I should have been able to handle him myself, but I was just so shocked that he would act that way that I couldn’t even think to say something in return.
But the way he was glaring at me—that was what frightened me the most.
I’m not stupid.
I called Kierce, the police chief who happens to be a good friend of my sister Kellis, and asked if Kellis could stop by on her route to give me a ride home. That I had had a bit of trouble and just needed a ride home.
It helped that Kellis drove a patrol car. Everyone knew about Kierce’s police force and what they were capable of. They are some of the best warriors and protectors of our Kind, after all.
I told her exactly what happened, calmed her down—Kellis can be a bit overprotective. She wanted to find him and deal with him for me. But…I’m almost seventy. I’m not helpless.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m twelve instead of sixty-eight. Maybe I have isolated myself from the real world more than I should have? Sometimes I don’t think I know who “I” am at all.