Thank you for reading my work in progress, Weird Academy. This chapter is FREE to read. I am always open to feedback and comments. To find out more about me and my work, please check out my patreon at www.patreon.com/ipiluni.
Work in Progress: Weird Academy – Chapter 1
Written: by Evan Ipiluni
© 2020 Evan Ipiluni, All Rights Reserved.
In an ordinary little town, on an ordinary little street, in an ordinary little house lived an extraordinary little girl. Her name was Olympia Wilde. Tomorrow she was turning thirteen years old. Little did she know her life was about to change in some not-so-ordinary ways.
“Welcome back, Ms. Wilde. Now if you wouldn’t mind answering the question.”
Blinking herself back into existence. Olympia looks around the room, looking for clues as to what the question might have been.
“What were the dates of the Revolutionary War?”
“1775 thru 83?”
“Is that an answer or a question?”
The bell rings.
“Don’t forget there is a quiz tomorrow.” Mr. Hamilton yells over the noise of chairs and chatter. “Olympia, can I see you for a moment?”
“It’s Ollie. Still.” She stands in from of Mr. Hamilton shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other.
“You are aware that participation is still part of your grade in this class, correct?” Mr. Hamilton hands Ollie a paper.
“Yes, sir.” She stares at the paper.
“Good grades are not enough. You have to show some initiative.”
“I got an A on this paper. Is that not enough initiative?”
“Yes, sir. Can I go?”
“Yes. See you tomorrow.”
Ollie turns and walks out the door. Outside the door, Lola is waiting a bit impatiently with Stu. Wide-eyed and curious, she pushes up her glasses as Ollie approaches. Stu and Lola flank her and continue down the hall.
“What was that about?”
“Participation.” Ollie rolls her eyes. “So I don’t like talking in class. I really don’t see the big deal.”
Lola and Stu exchange looks.
Ollie catches them, “What?”
“It’s really not just class you know. You have been kind of MIA a lot lately,” Lola says tentatively.
“Yeah, you have, O. Is everything alright?” Stu stops in the middle of the hall, and waits for an answer.
“You guys, I am fine.” She checks her phone. “I am going to be late. See you after school?” They nod and Ollie rushes off.
“Right. You’re just fine.” Lola looks at Stu as they walk down the opposite hall.
Lola and Stu are sitting on a bench in front of the school.
“Do you know what you are getting her for her birthday?”
“Going shopping tonight. What about you?”
“I got her something weeks ago. I just hope she likes it.” Lola starts fumbling with her backpack.
“Of course you did. I don’t know how you do it, Lola.”
“Do what?” Ollie approaches.
“Be on my ‘A’ game all the time. Where you been? Schools been out for twenty minutes now.”
“Right. I had to turn in my lacrosse uniform.” Ollie grabs a chip from Stu’s chip bag.
“Why yes Ollie, you can have some of my chips.”
“Thanks.” Ollie reaches for another but Stu pulls it away.
“You guys want to study for the history quiz tonight?”
“That’s a negative. Mom wants to take me shopping for tomorrow night’s festivities. So, what kind of snacks do you guys want?”
“Gummy bears… Oooh, and those sour jacks.”
“I would love a whole charcuterie table with meats and cheese and weird named olives, and dried fruits.”
Lola and Ollie look at Stu like he is speaking a foreign language. “Is that all? Would you like some wine with with that?”
“Would your mom do that?”
“Ugh. Chips and dip is fine. Ranch dip please, it makes anything palatable.”
“Right. Chips, ranch, sour jacks and gummy bears. Got it.”
“So no to the studying?”
“Lola there is so much more to life than school.”
“Unlike you Ollie, I am not a genius, and I have to study to get good grades.”
“I study, I think. Most of the time.”
“Alright, message you later.”
“Mama.” Ollie tosses her backpack down on the floor, and starts to kicks off her shoes.
“Don’t take your shoes off, we are leaving. And hang that bag. I didn’t get a fancy entryway hangy-thingy for you to not use it.”
“Alright, alright.” Ollie hangs her backpack up and follows her mom out the door.
“Where we going?”
“Madame Mumphry’s, to start.”
“What’s a ‘Madame Mumphry’s’?”
Mrs. Wilde pulls up to a dirty little strip on the edge of town.
“What’re we doing here?”
“Meeting an old friend. Come on.”
Ollie gets out of the car and follows her toward a shop at the end, called Madame Mumphry’s. It’s got some dresses that look like they came straight out of the eighties, worn by broken mannequins. Mrs. Wilde pulls the door open. It jingles in a sad, broken kind of way.
Ollie scrunches up her face. “Eww, what’s that smell.”
“Can I help… Oh my goodness if it isn’t Ms. Homecoming herself! Fidora Rue, how the heck are you?”
Ollie mouths “Mariam Mumphry?”at her mother.
Mrs. Wilde smiles and winks. “Mariam, this is my daughter Olympia.”
“Daughter? Who’d you marry? Phillip? Or Geordie?”
Ollie is stunned to silence.
“Neither, I married Jules Wilde.”
“Get out of town!”
Mrs. Wilde clears her throat. “So, tomorrow is Olympia’s thirteenth birthday.”
“Is that so?”
“I thought we could find something magical for her to wear tomorrow.”
“It’s a big day.”
“I don’t like dresses.”
Mariam Mumphry looks sideways at Mrs. Wilde, who shakes her head “no” ever so slightly. “Well, we may have something here that you will like. Why don’t you go look around, Olympia.”
“It’s Ollie.” She turns and walks away to start looking thru the racks of clothes and dresses. Looking back, she sees her mother and Mariam in deep conversation. She catches eyes with her mother, who pardons herself and steps over to Ollie.
“There’s a lot of lace and sparkles,” Ollie says in dismay.
“Humor me?” She picks a horrid pink lacy thing from the rack and holds it up.
“Absolutely not! You know, I don’t need anything fancy. It’s just school, and then Stu and Lola sleeping over. No big party. You promised. What are you planning?”
“Nothing. Nothing. You are right. Nothing super fancy. I just want you to look every bit, well – magical as you will feel tomorrow. I mean, you only become a teen once.” She holds up a chartreuse green sparkly monstrosity.
“No. By the way, who’s Geordie and Phillip?”
“You nevermind about that.” Tentatively, she holds up an all black dress. Ollie ponders it for a minute then shakes her head “no.”
Mariam Mumphry approaches them, laughing at a green dress. “Ehm, I have your dressing room set up.”
“But I haven’t picked anything yet.”
“Why don’t you go see what’s there? Maybe you will like something,” she says hopefully.
Ollie walks for what seems like forever, past racks and racks of dresses, and tops, and hats. When she finally makes it to the back of the store, she looks towards her mom. All the way down at the other end of the shop, her mother winks as if to answer and unanswered question. Is the inside of the store is bigger than the whole strip mall? That is ridiculous concept. Right?
In the dressing room, Ollie finds a rack with five dresses, some pants and a few tops hanging on it. She picks out a blue plaid dress with black lace collar. Not bad. She decides to try that one on first.
“Ready?” She calls out to her mom.
Ollie walks out of the dressing room. Her mother scrunches up her face. “No.” She turns right around and walks back in.
After about ten attempts, getting tired of the process, Ollie walks out in a short, purple and lavender dress with ruffled lace around the bottom. It’s very loose, but her mother lights up and looks as though she is going to cry.
“No, it’s not. I like it but there is something about it. It’s too big, I think. Not sure.” Mariam Mumphry approaches Ollie and starts tugging and pulling. Ollie can barely stay upright with all the movement.
“Alright, why don’t you try it on with the jeans in there, and the black shoes.”
“There were no shoes in there.”
“Yes there are. I put them by the rack.”
Ollie turns to go back in, “I know there is nothing there…” Sure enough, there are some chunky black Mary Jane shoes setting in the corner by the rack. She slips on the jeans, and then the shoes. The dress now a bit shorter and fits her perfectly. Slightly stunned and a bit confused, she walks out of the dressing room.
“You look perfect, Ollie.” Tears fill her mother’s eyes.
“What’s wrong, honey.” Mariam Mumphry walks over to Ollie. “Don’t you like it?”
“I do. I really do. But, it didn’t fit, and now it does. And I…”
“Oh, it was just done up a bit wrong. I fixed it, no worries.”
With that Madame Mumphry turns Ollie to face the mirror. For not liking dresses, she loves the look of this one. With the jeans, it’s perfectly her. As she moves and twists in front of the mirror, the dress seems to be glowing. She looks around at her mother, who’s shaking her head and crying. Clearly, it has to be the lighting or the materials of the dress. Her mother’s right. It feels magical.