Butterflies

By Faith (a.k.a. The Maine Coon Cat)

Summary: When Vendetta, tired of Charlotte's antics, unleashes personality-altering butterfly-fiends on the girl, she realizes she may have gotten more than she bargained for. After all, even a stupid, obnoxious Charlotte is easier to deal with than what she's created....

Chapter One

In the scheme of things, children rarely play a large role. When laws are passed, when countries go to war...even in the most mundane decisions of our everyday lives, we often fail to take children's opinions into consideration. Adults simply believe that youngsters do not have the capacity to make choices about "grown-up" issues, and thus overlook them completely. Still, there are some children (more than you would think, really) who are born with the wit and capability to not only be noticed by adults, but to actually control them.

Vendetta was one of these children.

Those in Clamburg who were old enough to remember recalled that her parents had moved into town about seven years ago. That was back when things were bright and lively; when people sang at the bandstand in the park and stopped to talk to each other on the street. Back when no one had to rush to get home and bolt the doors behind them out of fear of being eaten alive. Back before all the stores and attractions had been crudely boarded shut...and back when the two Bulgarian immigrants were just a normal couple trying to make their way in the world like everybody else.

And then she had come.

There was always something different about little Vendetta. Perhaps it was that fateful day in first grade when she somehow forced poor Maggie to throw herself off the top of the slide. It might have been in third grade, when she threw a dictionary at Malachi because his odd way of speaking infuriated her. Or maybe it was when her parents both mysteriously disappeared without a trace....Whatever and whenever it was, however, the people of the small, happy community of Clamburg slowly began to realize that trouble was brewing.

Yet, how could they have known the enormity of the situation? It wasn't until those "fiends" were unleashed...those horrid monsters that ate flesh and watched their every move. No one could say where such a young girl could have gotten a "recipe" book that showed her how to make those wretched creatures. Could it have been a relic from Bulgaria? A secret family heirloom, possibly? Her parents could have kept it for years, unaware of its power. After all, who would believe such things as real, live monsters could exist? At least, who then? Now, of course, there was no question.

Now...now everyone lived very cautious lives. No one wanted to bear the brunt of the child's fury. As harmless as she may have seemed before, with her cute face and childish pigtails, everyone was well-aware of the threat she posed to their living out the rest of their lives in peace...or at all.

Well, of course, there was one exception...

Charlotte.

What was to be said about the little blue girl who greeted each and every person with a smile– even Vendetta? None of the trouble she caused (plentiful though it was) was purposeful. She was simply, as Vendetta herself often exclaimed, too stupid to realize that she was constantly teetering on the edge of death. If given the proper incentive, she could most likely be talked into walking off the side of a cliff. It was this unique ability (or disability, one may argue) to overlook all that was bad or harmful in the world that made her so powerful. In a town where even the adults were basically Vendetta's bond-slaves, she could sing and dance and walk about freely, unaware that danger was on her every side. It made many hate her; but it also made them jealous. "Ignorance is bliss!", the old saying goes; so maybe she alone– in all of her stupidity– was better off than the lot of them.

Mr. Milk certainly hoped so, anyway. He liked Charlotte, despite the frights she often gave him when she riled up his "favorite" green student. She was the only child who had ever given him an apple; the only person in years who had positively acknowledged his existence without him having to use a demonic toupee in order to get their attention. Every day, he watched over her and his other students closely, hoping beyond hope that they would all remain safe and whole throughout the day– with the exception of Vendetta. Though he was too timid to admit it, even to himself, he secretly hoped that the girl would get eaten by one of those awful creatures she was so keen on making.

On this particular morning, he paused and the doorway, casting a weary glance back at the perpetually overcast sky, and sighed. She would be here again today. She was always here.

"You STUPID girl! Do not touch my hair!"

...And there she was.

"Aw, but, Vendetta-! Your hair looks so pretty in braids!"

Mr. Milk stepped inside his (as if it were, he thought depressively) classroom to see most of his children scooting their chairs toward the walls, away from the two girls at the front of the room. The first, a pretty, cheerful blue child, was wielding a brush and a plethora of shiny ribbons; some of which had been knocked to the floor by the the latter-- the furious green girl she was trying to work her magic on. Next to both of them stood a giant, malevolent-looking hamster, who was unsuccessfully trying to shoo the blue child away.

"Ah...g-g-girls? Wh-what's– ?"

Vendetta was seething. "My hair is not to be touched! My hair is not to be in braids! My hair is not to look PRETTY!" With one swipe, she cuffed the brush out of Charlotte's hands, sending it spinning across the floor. "Leave me alone!"

"U-um– "

The green girl's head whipped around, her eyes narrowing on the pasty teacher. Per usual, she said nothing; just stared at him in satisfaction as he practically stumbled to the chalkboard, where the red bird-fiend waited. "U-um, he-hello, class...." Though he knew it made no difference– that he would never get anywhere with it; he held up a book, "I was, uh, thinking that we could, well, study b-butterflies today? Maybe?"

As he had feared, Vendetta scoffed loudly, "Butterflies? Butterflies?! I hate butterflies!"

Charlotte clapped merrily, her previous efforts to beautify her "friend" already forgotten. "Oh, yay! I LOVE butterflies! They're so pretty and colorful and--"

"Butterflies sicken me!" The pigtailed girl struck her desk angrily. "We will not learn about butterflies today-- or ever!"

"B-but– " He stuttered miserably. "I– "

"Isn't it time for recess?"

The red monster squawked; the giant hamster grunted, and Mr. Milk knew he was beaten. "O-of course, Vendetta. I-I suppose it is."

"Good." With a sickening smirk, she brushed past him, throwing a crumpled ribbon that she had torn from her hair at his feet.

As the entire class slowly filed outside, he sighed to himself. Shoulders sagging, he set the book aside. As long as she was here, none of these children would ever have a proper education...and he was too much of a coward to do anything about it.

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Vendetta smirked to herself. It always gave her a rush of pleasure when anybody cowed to her, but especially when it was a full-grown adult.

Her pleasure faded, however, when she heard the obnoxious squealing of the girl behind her.

"Oooo, Vendetta! Let's go look for butterflies!"

The green girl groaned, massaging her forehead. Charlotte's voice always seemed to give her a headache. "Go look for them yourself! I am busy!"

Whether it was because she was completely oblivious to the order or had simply refused to acknowledge it, Charlotte happily grabbed Vendetta's hands and began to frolic in circles, dragging the horrified girl along with her, "Butterflies! Butterflies! Flying all across the skies! Pretty wings, pretty things-- make me want to dance and sing!"

This continued for several minutes until, with a shriek, Vendetta pried the blue girl's hand from her wrist. She would most likely have thrown something as well, but going round and round with Charlotte so long had made her too dizzy to aim properly. "Agck! You stupid girl! You like butterflies so much?" Putting her hands to her hips, she shot said 'stupid girl' the most intimidating grin she could manage with her breakfast still in her throat. "Fine! I will make you butterflies!"

"Oh, YAY!" Charlotte cheered. "You're the BEST, Vendetta!"

Tossing her pigtails over her shoulders, Vendetta gave a final, emphatic "hmph" before stalking away.

Having overheard her threat, the remaining children on the playground gulped, darting frightened glances at the little powder-blue girl who was pirouetting over the dead brown grass.

"Butterflies, butterflies! Flying all across the skies...!"

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"Ugh, that stupid girl! How I hate her!" Vendetta paced about her kitchen in a frenzy, her "recipe book" (if so benign a name could be given it) in her hands. "Always happy, always singing, always braiding my hair!"

Grudge grunted in agreement, sidestepping so as not to get run over.

"She likes butterflies, eh? She thinks they are so pretty? I will show her pretty!" Scanning the pages, she cackled triumphantly, "Here it is! ...Oh, this is even more perfect than I thought! Heh-heh-heh!"

Her laughter died in an instant, and she shot her hamster a stern frown, "Hamster!"

With another grunt, the creature scurried off to get the fiend-mix. Meanwhile, Vendetta rubbed her hands together in glee.

"That stupid girl will never know what hit her. Heh-heh-heh...."

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