Title: The Life & Times of Sara Sidle

Rating: T

Summary: Sara Sidle is an obsessive workaholic and a clean freak. She has a college reading level and is studying twelth grade calculus. And she's 12-years-old.

August 12, 1984

Sara walked through the halls of her rather tiny home. It was old and in certain places of the house, mold was forming and spreading further. She was intrigued by the mold and she had even asked her mother if she could get some to observe, but her mother of course said no.

She walked into the kitchen of her house and sat down. The smell of bacon and eggs filled throughout the house and her mother walked over to her daughter handing her a plate.

"There's your plate."

She looked down at the plate. "Mom...there's green peppers in these eggs."

Her mother turned to face her. "Of course, dear."

"I'm allergic to green peppers, mother."

Her mom sighed as she mentally slapped herself in the face. "I'm sorry, honey."

Sara sighed, twiddling her fingers on the table. "Mom?"

"Hm?"

"How old am I?"

"You're 10, of course."

That was it. She walked out of the kitchen to her bedroom. She grabbed her backpack and threw three books in it before heading to the front door.

"I'm going to school," she said in nothing more than a mumble. Before her mother could say anything else, she slammed the door. She sighed as she headed outside. It was cold that morning. She wrapped her arms around herself attempting to warm herself up. Her attempts were in vain.

During the walk to school, Sara always thought. Not about anything in particular...she contemplated the events in her life and what she was in for at school. She dreaded going to school. She was away from her parents, but she was at the mercy of the little devil spawns- the other students. She walked and walked, a bile forming in her throat with every step. Every step took her closer and closer to school. Kids wouldn't leave her alone. They didn't understand her ways of thinking, just like her parents. She couldn't believe how they acted- so carefree, so loose. How could the do that? Life wasn't all fun and games, something Sara Mare Sidle learned at a young age.

Hey, at least she made the school proud- when testing season came along, the teachers and principals were flattered when they saw young Sara Sidle's test results. The school got more money, which meant a possible raise in their futures. They praised Sara and gave her little gifts. Last time, she got a sticker with a smiling rabbit that said, "Good job!" Sara was more interested in why a rabbit would be telling her she did a good job. And why was the rabbit so cheery in the first place? What did he have in life that made him happy?

She decided that the rabbit must've lived a good life. Maybe he had a wife and children who he went home to every night who loved him very much. She bet he had a wonderful dinner and snuggled with his children, telling them stories before he went to sleep with his adoring wife.

At the moment, Sara was getting closer and closer to school. She was knocked out of her thoughts when she heard wheels coming up behind her. She stopped and she turned around coming face-to-face with a kid her age, but about twice her size.

"What do you want, Josh?"

He laughed as he jumped off of his skateboard. "Why so cold, Sidle?"

She sighed as she rolled her eyes. She hated it when he called her by her surname. Really, to tell the truth, she wanted nothing to do with the Sidle family. She wanted nothing to do with the name 'Sidle'. She wanted to change her name. Yes, that's what she would do. When she made it to college, she would officially change her name.

"Leave me alone, Josh."

"Aww, come on, Sara!"

"Oh, so now I'm worthy of the mighty Josh Deckard to be called by my first name?"

"Don't do this, Sara."

"I'm not doing anything but walking to school and getting away from you."

She turned to walk to the school, but he followed behind her on his skateboard. "You're a bitch."

He skated ahead of her finally leaving her sight and she sighed in relief. Josh Deckard was a jock-in-training. His parents thought he was the best thing that ever happened to them, heck they worshipped the ground he walked on. Sara wanted to go over to Josh's house, slap both parents in the face, and tell them the truth- that their lovely prodigy was a bratty, lying, snotty little runt.

This brought a smile to her face as she stepped onto school grounds. Then, her smile disappeared. She looked up at the old sign with faded white writing that said, "Mountain Peak Middle School." She hated Mountain Peak Middle School, and why was it named that anyways? She lived in Tamales Bay, for goodness sake.

She walked through the school, feeling eyes latching onto her. She ignored them as best she could, but she felt their eyes burning through the back of her head. She grimaced as she walked away quickly and went to her locker in the hallway. She twisted the lock right and left until it clicked off of her locker door. Her combination was simple- 1-9-0-8. She could remember that forever.

She opened her locker and smiled to herself. It was very organized. On the locker door, her schedule was taped. She had various books alphaphatized stacked up in her locker on each shelf. On one shelf was non-fiction, the other fiction. The titles varied from Famous Poets of the Seventeenth Century to To Kill a Mockingbird. She emptied her backpack of its contents, placing her lunch in its brown paper bag between the shelves and the textbooks she brought from home. She put the books in their rightful places before grabbing To Kill a Mockingbird. She would read that at lunch, she decided. She closed the locker, and after hearing the satisfying click of the lock when she re-locked her locker, she walked off to her first class.

The first class was English. She had never been too keen of her English teacher, he was an old man with thick glasses and clothes that made him look like he had dressed himself in the dark. He had ugly greenish-yellow teeth and his voice was hoarse and crackily. He had ugly socks and his pant-legs were too short for him, so his hideous socks showed.

"Sara, hello."

She looked up to see her teacher sitting at his desk with a smile on his face. She looked around and saw that she was the only one in the classroom.

"Hello, Mr. Wickerman."

He smiled. "What book do you have there?"

"Oh, uh..." she fumbled with her things until she got to the book and held it up for him to see.

"Ah...a classic. Enjoy."

Mr. Wickerman wasn't the cleanest man in the world, but he certainly treated Sara like the true adult she was. She smiled and nodded. "Thank you, Mr. Wickerman, I'm sure I will."

She walked to the back of the class and sat in the seat at the far corner. This was her favorite spot. This way, she could read when she had already heard the lectures before, and when she was crying no one could see or hear her.

She opened up her book and began reading the first page.

FADE IN

EXTERIOR: MAYCOMB, ALABAMA, DAYBREAK.

It is just before dawn, and in the half-light cotton farms, pinewoods, the hills surrounding the Maycomb, and the Courthouse Square are seen. A young woman's voice is heard.

Before Sara could get any further through her book, the door flew open and the rest of the students ran into the room. They all kept their distances from Sara, and that was best, Sara decided. This made them happy, this made her happy. This way, she could avoid social contact withthe students. She closed the book as the day began.

In an hour, Sara would go to her history class and then PE. She hated PE. She hated it with every fiber of her being. She hated it so much because she hated physical activities. She didn't need to prove herself to anyone by kicking a soccer ball or hitting a baseball.

She also hated the fact that she had to change out in front of the other girls. Why did they do that? Why could they not go to PE in the clothes they wore to school? Why? She just didn't understand.

Sara's thoughts went to her birthday coming up. She sighed- would her parents even remember? Her mother thought she was 10-years-old, she doubted they would remember her birthday coming up. She never really had a normal birthday anyway...she found out long ago that what her mother and father did to each other behind closed doors wasn't normal. She learned that beating each other to a bloody pulp was very much indeed not a way of telling each other 'I love you'.

On her past birthdays, she woke up early in the mornings. She was excited- she expected a big homemade birthday cake with all the candles and sprinkles on it, and lots of presents. Last year, she got a small cake her father brought home after work. It was a carrot cake- Sara hated carrot cake. He put seven candles on it. She told him she was turning 11 and he ruffled her hair telling her she was just a silly little kid wanting to grow up. She knew from then on she wouldn't expect any presents on her birthday or any cake for that matter. Her parents were too busy beating the crap out of each other to notice they had a daughter.

And her brother moved away the second he turned 18. He had nothing else to do with his family now, and he didn't seem to care about his baby sister being left in the uncapable hands of Laura and John Sidle. She wondered if he was mad at her for ratting him out all those years about the weed under his bed. She had no idea what it was, she was playing hide-and-seek and ran into his room. She hid under his bed and saw the bag. She was so young, bless her heart she thought it was dirt. It was marijuana, and her brother, Daniel Sidle was grounded for a year.

"Sara?"

She looked up from her desk. All eyes were on her, some glaring at her and some looking at her like she was crazy.

"Uh...yes, Mr. Wickerman?"

The old man smiled. "Could you explain to us the differences between an antagonist and a protagonist?"

She slowly nodded. "An antagonist is basically the villain or the evil character in the story. The protangonist is the good character, and those who usually try to stop the antagonist."

He nodded. "Nice job, Sara." He turned to the class. "Now, I know you have all been told this before, but what scares me is that you all seem to forget about the definitions of these two terms on tests!"

Sara smiled, holding back the urge to laugh. He winked at her before turning back to the rest of the class. "We're having a test Thursday morning. Don't. Forget. Again."

The class ended. Sara walked to the front of the class after the classroom was emptied and she smiled at her teacher before walking out.

She thought again. How was her brother? Did he go to college? Was he still on weed? What if he was a junkie? Would she ever see him again? Would-

Someone bumped into her and sent her to the ground.

"Watch it, Sidle!" said an older girl. Sara sighed as she got up picking up her books. She didn't understand why everyone called her by her surname, she hated it, that was for sure.

She walked to her history class. She despised her history teacher. She hated her so much. The woman had long black hair and shiny green eyes. They freaked her out. She dreaded asking her teacher for help on an assignment because of the fact. The woman was like the bad witch in the Wizard of Oz, except she didn't have green skin. Some days, though, Sara could've sworn her skin had a green tint to it.

Sara went to the seat in the far corner yet again. She took her seat and hugged the book against her chest. She held onto the book as tightly as she could, as if it would break if she let go. She lowered her head. She was so tired, and she wanted so badly to fall asleep. She closed her eyes and lowered her head more so that it just hovered over the desk. She was not about to lay her head on that desk, it was unsanitary.

More and more students walked in through the doors and took seats away from Sara. Again, she didn't care. It also gave her time to think, to clear her mind. Sometimes she even meditated, it helped her ease her mind of the events of the day before. She was hoping that history class would be extra long today since she had PE right after it.

Bringing her mind back to PE, she had no idea that the bell had already rang. Great, it was time for PE already. She sighed as she stood up from her chair and walked out. She avoided the glances she got from the students she walked passed and went straight to the girl's locker room. She was the first one there, luckily. She ran inside and opened up her locker taking out her PE clothes. She kept two pairs of shoes and two pairs of clothes for PE in her locker. She slipped off her sneakers and tied her tennis shoes to her feet after slipping on a pair of black shorts. She hated shorts- they showed off her legs and she hated the sight of her legs. She slipped on a purple tank top and looked at herself in the mirror. The sight she saw made her want to gag.

On her legs were two nice purple bruises forming around her calves. She looked at her arms- she had no idea they were so banged up. They were turning black and blue. She hadn't seen this before, today. She then remembered she had worn a long-sleeved t-shirt that day. She walked over to her locker, looking frantically around for something else to wear- pants! She needed pants! She could make up something to explain the bruises on her arms, but if she said she got the bruises from a fall on her legs too, it would sound fishy.

"Damn," she muttered.

Sara rarely sweared, but at this moment it was appropriate. She couldn't find any pants. She was going to have to go out there looking like she had been hit by a car.

"Alright, two captains, pick your teams."

The PE teacher was in a cheery mood. He picked two team captains. We were going to play flag football, great.

"Alright, Alyssa, Jeff, get up here."

The two team captains ran up to the front of the group of kids. They quickly picked out the kids for their teams, and Alyssa grimaced as she noticed Sara was the last person there. Sara was on her team. Her team. She couldn't believe it- her team always won. She wasn't going to let Sara ruin her winning-streak.

"Hey Sidle," Alyssa said walking over to her.

Sara was dreading this. "What?"

"Stay out of the way and let the real athletes do their work."

She shrugged. "Whatever you say."

"You can go read or something."

This made Sara want to slug her across her face, but she refrained from doing so. Everyone tied the orange and green sashes onto their waists and the whistle was blown. Sara was happy no one had said anything about her bruises.

"Oof!"

Sara went down. Three guys toppled over on top of her followed by two of the more muscular girls in the class. She couldn't breathe.

"Hey! Get off, now!" This was the coach. Oh, so now he was concerned.

Everyone rolled off of Sara and she gasped for breath when she sat up. The coach saw her bruises and grimaced. "Sara, go to the nurse."

Sara walked off, limping as she did so the nurse's office. When she arrived at the white, surprisingly sterile room. She took a seat and the nurse saw her and smiled.

"Hello, Sara."

She was sent to the nurse's office a lot. She always ended up getting hurt during PE or in a scuffle in the hallway. She learned to make friends with the nurse, she was a fairly nice lady.

"What's wrong, hon?"

Sara's expression changed. "Uh..."

She looked at the bruises all over her body and grimaced. "Oh, honey...what happened?"

"I got tackled during football."

"Just now?"

She nodded. The woman knew better. These bruises were older than a few days, but their colors were still dark and clearly visible. She shook her head. "Sara..."

"I'm telling you the truth."

The woman sighed. "If you're really telling me the truth..."

"I am."

She nodded. "Alright."

Sara stood up and began to walk out, but she collapsed into the chair. "My ankle hurts."

The woman removed her sock and looked at the swelling skin. "It's just sprained, don't worry."

Sara nodded and walked out of the nurse's office, limping a bit. Luckily, lunchttime was next. She quickly made her way to the girl's locker room where she changed and went to her locker in the hallway and grabbed her lunch. She grabbed her book from its hiding place in the girl's locker room, making a second stop there, and almost ran to the lunchroom.

She sat in the corner of the room at a small table with wobbily legs. She opened the book as she took a bite of her ham and cheese sandwich and sipped her apple juice. Sara didn't believe in unhealthy lunches, it just wasn't her.

She continued reading the book until her lunch was completely eaten. The bell rang much too quickly and she had to go to her other classes now. She assured herself that she would only be here for a few more hours, and then would be gone. That wasn't very reassuring.

Home was in a way worse than school. At home, she sat isolated in her room, occasionally seeking the comfort of the darkness and quietness that was in her closet. She dreaded her father coming home. When she was younger, he was a better man than he was now. Now, the second the door opened, the fighting began.

Her mother was always cooking dinner. She hated her husband, yet she cooked a good meal for him every night. After the yelling had began, the fists would start flying. Her mother would fall to the floor with a black-eye and her father would be ready to throw another punch. Sara always tried to intervene, but all that got her was a bruised shoulder or an even worse beating if her father was really pissed.

Sara walked to her other classes and sat in silence taking notes every now and then. She didn't know what to do anymore- her life went around in circles.