lilfluff: A fennec fox boy pencil and paper in hand, showing off what he has written. Drawn by Tod Wills (aka Djinni on LJ) (Writing)
[personal profile] lilfluff
Title: Leslie McCormack And The Story Without A Title: Part 1C: Leslie McCormack Would Like To Wake Up Now. Please?
Fandom/'verse: Original - For lack of a better name the Leslieverse
Notes: A revised version of my April 2017 Camp NaNoWriMo project
Summary: Tossed into another life by an annoyed a R.O.B. (Random Omnipotent Being) Leslie McCormack is certain anything this impossible must be a dream, right?
Warnings: Involuntary bodily changes and transportation by said R.O.B. An unsympathetic teacher, occasional expletives, sibling strife. Other sections may involve bullying, sibling strife, threats of or actual corporal punishment, at least one case of bigotry, and embarrassment for the main character.
Words: ~5100 words

Continuing from: Part 1B: Leslie McCormack Thinks It's All A Dream

Part 1C: Leslie McCormack Would Like To Wake Up Now. Please?



I knew I hadn't stopped to put anything in my locker. I wasn't even sure where it was. I hadn't seen anything to eat when I was looking in my backpack for other stuff. Which since I didn't remember making a lunch at home or grabbing anything to bring. But I didn't remember seeing anything to buy lunch with either. Digging through my backpack didn't find any food and I didn't find so much as an old penny.

With a sigh that rapidly turned into a groan I turned away from the line I'd been approaching and just wandered while trying to ignore the complaints coming from my belly. Finding a quiet spot I sat on a bench and watched a line of ants carrying tiny crumbs off to their nest. I don't know just when I started crying but once it started I couldn't stop. I sat hugging my backpack in my lap and settled for trying to keep it as quiet as I could. Which I thought I was doing a good job with until I rubbed some tears away with the back of my arm and found myself looking up at an older lady in a plain gray suit.

She stopped and mumbled something I couldn't make out before sighing. "So what tragedy has you crying right outside my classroom?"

I wiped at my eyes again and took a deep breath but she just stood there waiting for an answer. "I forgot to bring anything for lunch and didn't bring any money…"

"You do realize your student ID card is also a food card."

"I, kind of, you know, overslept this morning..."

"So you don't have it with you?"

I just shook my head and she sighed again before closing and locking the door of her classroom, "Well, come along."

I stood up and followed along meekly. I didn't really care what she offered I was hungry enough I'd take cold Spam and say thank you.

"What's your name, child?"

"Leslie ma'am, Leslie McCormack." With a nod she opened the next door we reached and led me to a counter. Looking around it looked much more like the offices I worked in than anything I'd seen in this entire dream.

"Miss Jones, this is Miss McCormack who needs to see Mister Lewin about not having her student ID card with her today." With that she put a hand on my back to encourage me to step up to the counter. "It's the first day so he probably won't go too hard on you dear."

What?

I watched her walk back the way we'd come and turned back to Miss Jones, "Mister Lewin?"

"Vice Principal Lewin. You can sit by his door over there."

I suppose I could have run. But I was tired and hungry and Miss Jones already had my name so even in a dream what was the point. I dropped into one of the barely padded chairs the were lined up along the wall. The secretary had a quiet phone conversation a minute before she called to me. "Principal Lewin will see you now."

I walked to the door on stiff legs and gave a tentative knock right by the nameplate that read, Vice Principal Graham Lewin.

"It's unlocked, come on in."

Inside was what any storybook could have used as an illustration of a friendly werewolf grandfather. An English grandfather judging from his accent. Or from somewhere over that way. His dark brown fur was streaked through with gray and he used a cane as he stood and gave me a smile.

"Come, take a seat dear child. No, no worries, I'm not going to be yelling at you or taking the paddle off the wall."

That was not a very reassuring joke. I hoped it was a joke. But behind his chaotic mess of a desk a slender wooden paddle really was hung up on the wall between his windows. I couldn't help but look at it now that he'd mentioned it. But my legs protested my continuing to stand so I let the door close behind me and sat at the closer of the two chairs in front of his desk. I hugged my backpack to my chest and did my best to ignore the rumble in my belly when I saw the half eaten lunch he'd somehow managed to fit between stacks of papers and folders and a collection of knick-knacks. I didn't even like the way it smelled and it still just made me even hungrier.

There was a knock at the door and one of the clerks came in to hand him a folder which he opened and skimmed through before looking at me.

"So, Miss McCormack, I trust you know why you are here?"

I gave a quick nod, "Miss... Um, she never did tell me her name. One of the teachers saw me crying, and she asked what was wrong, and I overslept this morning so I didn't bring a lunch and I don't have anything to pay for anything in the cafeteria and she brought me here and said I should talk to you."

He didn't complain about my rambling, just asked, "That included not having your Student ID, correct?"

I gave another little nod, "Yes sir."

"Miss McCormack, did you read your student handbook?"

Did I? I wasn't even here before this morning. But he must have taken the blank look on my face as an answer.

"Did you bring it with you? Could you turn to section three, part one?"

Opening my pack I dug around until I spotted the handbook all secure in the front of my unicorn binder. Turning where he'd instructed I saw what he wanted me to see right away. "Students will carry their school supplied student ID at all times when present on campus unless participating in an activity which prevents carrying it without risk of loss or damage damage. This identification must be shown on request to any faculty or administrative staff."

Mister Lewin gave a nod, "And the note at the end of the section. It will be the part in the box and should have been initialed."

I skimmed along until I saw the box and wanted to sink into the chair, "Failure to follow these rules may be punished through by detention or other approved corrective measures. Repeated or serious violations may result in suspension or expulsion."

"Now just one question, did you violate any of those rules?"

"I... I didn't mean to."

He gave me a sad smile and shook his head. "I realize that dear. But you need to understand you are no longer in primary school. You are in high school now and whether you will be going on to college or directly to a workplace you will have rules you are expected to follow. You will no longer be coddled as you were in the lower grades. We would be doing you a disservice if we didn't help you learn to take on the responsibilities of adulthood."

"Yes sir." I stared at the front of his desk. Something about the disappointment in his voice had me feeling very small.

"Now Miss McCormack, I understand that you did not set out intending to break the rules and you were not engaged in mischief. So I believe we can be satisfied with a simple lunch detention tomorrow."

"Yes sir." I kept staring at the front of his desk and gave my pack another hug. I figured I'd just have to keep waiting to eat something.

He slid a sheet of paper over and when I took it I saw it was an already completed form stating that I was to report to room 42 in the north building at lunch tomorrow. Which also had a space at the bottom where it would have to be signed by mom or dad. Great.

"Now dear, there are still twenty minutes left of lunch. That is hardly enough time to go to the cafeteria and get some food even if you had your student ID or cash. But I believe we can still make sure you don't go through the rest of your classes on an empty stomach."

He stood up again with the help of his cane and motioned for me to head out of the office. Locking his door behind him he led me down a short hall into a small break room. Opening a cabinet he pulled out a small can and passed it to me. "Two minutes in the radar range, you'll find some spoons in the cup next to it."

I looked at the small can of beef stew and back up at Mister Lewin. "Thank you, sir."

"Punishment isn't the only reason I'm here for or even the most important part of my job. It is far from my favorite duty. Much better when I can bring a smile to someone's face and help them learn something they didn't know the day before. I started as a history teacher you know."

I hadn't, but I nodded anyway. I gave the can another look popping off its plastic cover and pull tab top before sticking it in the microwave. I started to toss the top when Mister Lewin cleared his throat and pointed to a recycling bin.

"How about I wash that while you wait for the range to finish. Now I really hope you don't look at our office and only see detentions and lectures. If you need someone to talk to you can come to see myself, Principal Aquino, or one of our counselors." Shaking the lid dry he looked over and added in a softer voice, "Now while we're really supposed to direct you to the counselors if there is a teacher you feel more comfortable approaching do consider asking for their help. Or Nurse Young with any health related questions. But you should feel free to approach any member of our staff or any teacher you are comfortable speaking to."

"Yes sir. Sir? How much trouble am I in?"

"You'll lose one lunch, that's all. The rules aren't so harsh if you don't give us reason to be harsh. Now tomorrow you will have ten minutes to from the bell to show up for your detention so I would recommend you don't dawdle and bringing a lunch from home tomorrow. I would recommend studying but you can read a book or magazine so long as it is appropriate for school. Then you just go on with your day."

That didn't seem so bad. Not that I really needed to worry, as soon as my alarm went off this would just be a strange dream. A few days or weeks and I probably wouldn't even remember it.

The microwave chimed and when I opened the door I started drooling. It smelled better than any microwave stew I could remember. Once I sat down the principal gave my shoulder a pat.

"I'll let you eat now and return to my work. Just remember to clean the can before putting it in the bin and don't be late for your next class."

It wasn't much. But it was enough to make my belly stop complaining. I ate quick as I could and washed the can out as I'd been asked before adding it to the recycling bin. Then gave the spoon a rinse and added it to a basket on top of a dishwasher. That left plenty of time to check my schedule and make it to English I on time.

It wasn't hard to find. It was just all the way up on the third floor. There was probably and elevator but when the bell rang I found myself crammed in the middle of a wave of students heading for the stairs. So I just went with the flow until it thinned out at the top and found the right room. It wasn't anything surprising for an English classroom. There were book cover posters on the wall and a few more talking about things like parts of speech and sentence diagramming. Really? Who still diagrammed sentences? The answer it turned out is that we would be. But not until after a Mister Owens introduced himself and then hit us with a huge spelling test before even talking about anything else. I'd complain about a hundred word spelling test but I remembered my sophomore year English teacher. She hit us on the first day with all three hundred and something words she planned to use for the whole year. The weird thing was she did that despite being the same teacher who thought computers meant we'd be the last generation to bother with writing. So a hundred spelling words, a quick overview of the pages we were supposed to read tonight on things like sentence diagramming, and a request for five hundred words on something we did during the summer break.

Why couldn't I just wake up already? Or at least go home.

After English was Physics. We really only reviewed what would be covered the rest of the year but it sounded like it could be fun. Stuff like an egg drop or predicting where a marble sent down a ramp would hit the floor. Then came History which had never been one of my better classes. I wasn't expecting it to be any better in a dream and it didn't give me any reason to be surprised. Okay we'd skip the pilgrims and such and go right to the Revolutionary War. Yeah, like anyone got to high school without hearing about that already. I went ahead and let my mind wander until the bell rang again. It got me laughed at when the teacher had to call my name twice before I realized he wanted me to answer some question about Washington before the revolution but at least the class was over soon after that.

I barely remembered where I'd got on the bus and almost missed my stop on the way home. It only occurred to me what I stood in front of my childhood home that there'd been more than a lunch missing from my backpack. There wasn't a single key anywhere within it. Great. I was locked out. Sitting on the front step I sighed and without anything better to do pulled out the physics textbook and leafed through it while waiting. Eventually another bus came by and out came a young girl, who despite also having almost golden tan fur and a tail that was wagging a mile a minute I recognized was my younger sister Jamie. When she got closer her tail stopped wagging and she stared at me for a bit before finally speaking in a so very familiar voice.

"What'ya doing out here?"

"Forgot my keys."

She looked at me like I'd said I'd forgot to put pants on before going to school. After a moment she stuck a finger under the neck of her shirt and fished out a key on a shoestring. She unlocked the door, then quickly stuck her tongue out at me and slammed it shut while I was still putting the book back in my pack.

"Hey!"

Jumping to my feet I heard the lock click and the security chain get latched just as I reached for the knob.

"Jamie!"

There was another click and the door opened a crack.

"Yes?"

"Not funny."

I stuck my foot in the doorway and she walked away leaving me stuck until I managed to unlatch the chain. I don't think you were supposed to be able to do that. Probably meant it wasn't installed right. But at that moment I didn't care.

"Brat."

Even after the day I'd had there wasn't much feeling in it. I could remember doing similar things to Casey and Jamie as a kid. Heading to my room I saw her sitting on the other bed. Yeah, I guess that made sense. I'd shared a room with Casey as a kid, but if I was a girl in this dream it made more sense for Jamie and I to share a room and Scottie probably shared with Casey.

Dropping my pack I sat on my bed then blinked as I looked at the desk next to it. There was a purse hanging off the chair. A purse with a little vinyl unicorn dangling off one end. Peeking inside I quickly found a keyring hooked on a strap, as well as a wallet coin purse combo that had what looked to be my student ID stuck in a window pocket. If I'd just noticed that in the morning I could have skipped half the day's drama. Groaning I fell back on the bed and gazed up at the ceiling.

Huh. There were bunches of decorative stars stuck up on the ceiling. Didn't remember those having been there. In my old room or the one Jamie and Scottie had shared for a few years. Sitting up again I looked back at the desk and the computer that sat on it. It was another old beige box, maybe a little older than the ones at school. A big chunky monitor, big ugly case, and a badge on the front that bragged it had a Turbo 20 MHz 32-bit cpu. Wow, a whole turbo 20 MHz. I turned it on and sat down only to run into another sign in dialog.

Great, I was dreaming of proper computer security. I thought a moment and typed in unicorn for the password. Nope. I looked under the keyboard. Right. As if I'd put a password there with two little kids around. Purse? I dug through but didn't find any notebooks or index cards or handy scraps of paper that weren't receipts or candy wrappers. After a moment I looked in the wallet and started poking in every corner. Behind a picture of Jamie, Casey, Scottie and I, was a piece of paper with UnicornMeadow written on it. I know I've always liked unicorns but really? Sure enough when I typed that in for the password the computer happily let me in. Unlike the one at school it this one went straight into a graphical interface. Really pixelly graphics but still something much more familiar. There was the mandatory solitaire game. Some icons that looked like they were for a word processor and spreadsheet program, even a golf game. I hadn't seen a golf game in ages. And there was an icon that looked like an envelope. Email. Yeah, email, let's see what weird dream me was up to.

There weren't even a hundred emails. Not less than a hundred unread emails, less than a hundred total. A few emails from family about stuff back east. More emails from family... Aha! An email from someone who wasn't family. A name I just barely remembered from from back in Canton Falls. I'm pretty sure it was the sister of the kid next door who I used to sometimes hang out with. She talked about a birthday party and how she wished I could have been there.

Oh well. I closed the email and clicked on the telephone icon and listened to the old modem whistles and chirps and static that we used to hear every day. When the sign in appeared there was already a name and password, a password that looked the right length to be another UnicornMeadow, so I just clicked on connect and let the little animated successful connection message play.

I didn't see any familiar browser icons but one of the icons on the desktop did have browser in the name so I clicked on that and got sent right to a set of bookmarks. Wow, were there really that many web pages about unicorns back then? I clicked on a few and looked at lots of low resolution images of amateur unicorn art. Okay, a few were actually pretty good drawings. Wolfie me clearly had it bad for unicorns.

None of the rest of the bookmarks sounded like they'd lead to anything any more interesting so after a bit I signed out and fell back on the bed again. Jamie sat at her desk and seemed to be doing homework. Yeah, I don't think so. Why bother when eventually this dream would finally end and I'd be heading into the office instead. Instead fished the binder with the student handbook out of my backpack and started skimming through it. Damn, my subconscious was meaner than I would have thought. Right there in black and white photocopy was a warning that serious offenses could be met with corporal punishment. Along with reference to page in the back.

When I flipped back to the last couple of pages there were was one that had been signed by both my parents and myself. Which was apparently our copy of one to be sent in. A check box to say we'd read the handbook and more check boxes to acknowledge things like only using school approved locks and not bringing alcohol or other forbidden things onto school grounds. Not so bad until the last bit which sat in a boxed off section of its own. A couple of check boxes that said that no the vice principal had not been joking about that paddle. Maybe it was a good thing I usually didn't remember my dreams.

Eventually we heard a car parking in the garage and Mom and Scottie came in. Lucky kid got to go from kindergarten to daycare and play with friends instead of worrying about homework. Dad arrived home not long after and I could smell dinner being cooked. Very delicious smells that drew me out of my room to the kitchen where mom and dad were finishing up meatloaf and garlic mashed potatoes. Better still a nice big loaf of garlic bread and some salad too. Salad with lots of roasted carrots and pearl onions. And grapes, I wasn't as crazy about those but at least they weren't lettuce.

"There you are," Mom pulled me into a quick hug, "Can you set the table?"

"Sure!"

It wasn't too hard to remember where things were so wasn't more than a few minutes before we were all sitting and digging into the food. I was almost finished cleaning off my plate when dad asked, "So how was your first day of school?"

Jamie launched into a story about some new friends she made and a game they'd played at recess and someone named Jean was having a birthday party and could she go. I was getting dizzy with everything that was just spilling out until she ended with, "And Leslie locked herself out."

"Hey!" I glared across the table where she just smiled.

"I had to open the door for her."

"And then you tried to lock it again!"

"Girls. No shouting at the table." Dad didn't raise his voice, but the disappointment was almost worse than if he had. After we both stayed quiet he turned to me, "How was your day?"

"It was okay."

"Just okay?"

I shrugged, "Nothing much happened."

Jamie giggled until I turned a glare on her, "What?"

She gave me a big smile, "Nothing."

Yeah, little kids. Shrugging again I turned back to dad. "What about your– "

Before I could finish asking Jamie piped up all but singing, "Leslie got detention!" I gave her leg a good kick under the table. From the way mom and dad were both looking at me I think they noticed that. I wouldn't normally have done that. I don't really remember doing anything like that. But after this nightmare of a dream day I just went and did it.

"I was going to bring it up after dinner." But dad wasn't having any of that.

"Well you've finished, so you can go to your room and do your homework until we're ready to talk about it." I looked over at the tray of brownies but mom added, "that means now, Leslie," to what dad had said.

When I got back to my room I spotted the detention slip sitting on the floor next to my backpack. It must have fallen out when I was digging through and that's how Jamie knew. I didn't remember Jamie being a brat when she was younger but I guess anything was possible in a dream. I'd just finished off the last of the algebra problems before mom and dad came in. I turned over the slip and waited while they read and signed it. Then I got the We're Disappointed look again.

"I wasn't trying to get in trouble."

"No, you just ignored me and ignored your sister this morning when we tried to get you up on time. Do you think you might have avoided this if you had?"

Before I could answer dad asked, "Are you going to say you also didn't mean you kick your sister?"

"She didn't have to bring it up at the table."

They shared a look before mom laid down the law. "We've talked about this before. If you get in trouble at school you're in trouble at home. You're grounded tomorrow. That means no computer except for homework and you will do extra chores. Now have you finished your homework? Good, then I think perhaps it's time for you to go to bed. We don't want to repeat of this morning do we?"

"No. Fine." No, I didn't want to repeat today at all. I was ready to wake up now.

Mom frowned and seemed to consider saying something else but they left instead and turned off the light on the way out. I flopped back and tried staring at the ceiling and boring myself to sleep, waking up, whatever. After a while I gave up and decided I'd better go to bed properly. I found some pajamas in my dresser, with guess what, more unicorns on the top. I wasn't really very tired but I crawled under the sheets and waited for it to all be over with already. I'd close my eyes and try to relax only to open them again and look around at things. After a bit Jamie came in and got ready for the night while I stared at ceiling. But instead of getting in her bed she came over by mine and poked my shoulder.

"What?"

"You in trouble?"

"Yeah."

She was quiet for a moment then poked her tongue out at me again.

"Good. You get spanked?"

"No. Go to bed."

"Oh. Maybe next time."

"What the h– heck is you problem? You've been acting like a baby all day."

"Shut up!"

Yeah, no. I jumped out of bed and got right in front of her. With only the flickering of the light that filtered through the curtains she looked like she was about to boil over.

"Well? Tried to keep me locked out, glaring all the time, getting me yelled at, what's your problem?"

She's a lot smaller than me, even with those cute canine ears she didn't even reach my chin, but she balled up her hands and started pummeling me in the gut and sides. Damn, I don't think she was punching near as hard as she could just flailing like that but it still hurt. I grabbed her arms and pushed her back before tossing her onto her bed.

"Well?"

If she hadn't just been hitting me I probably would have been more bothered by her sniffles. Damn it, so past ready to wake up.

"What are you waiting for, just go ahead and hit me again like always."

What?

Dream or not, nightmare or not, what? Why the hell would I do that? I was about to ask her just that was supposed to mean when she curled up making me finally notice just what she was wearing to bed and I figured it out. Dream Me was a bigger asshole than Blondie the tail grabber in P.E. I bet Dream Me thought that with Casey going away to college she'd get a room to herself just like I had in real life. Oh sure in theory it was Casey's room too but while he might have helped with the move and left stuff in the room a few days later he'd left for college. So I'd had a whole room to myself and Jamie and Scottie shared another and the last room left was the guest slash sewing room. I hadn't had any reason to think about it in years. After all I was the lucky one the family curse skipped over, the one who could go to sleepovers or summer camp without fear of dying from embarrassment. Dream Me must have been upset to lose that room to Scottie and have to keep sharing a room with a nine year old sister who still wet the bed. I kind of wished I could have a minute or two alone with Dream Me. Nobody hurts my little brother or sister, not even imaginary dream ones.

"No. I'm not going to..."

Before I could think what to say mom's voice called from down the hall, "Girls, do I need to come over there?"

"No! It's fine, my fault, fell out of bed, we're going back to bed now!"

Jamie blinked up at me and I just shrugged and whispered, "Sorry!"

Back in my bed I sighed and stared up at the ceiling and the stars that it turned out were glow-in-the-dark stars. Huh. I should check online, I bet back in the real world I could find a glow in the dark unicorn poster. Someone had to make one. At some point while I was thinking about how cool that could be I must have drifted off.

* * * * *


I wandered around a featureless white plain for what felt like hours. I had the feeling there ought to be someone else there too. But no matter how much I called out no one answered.

* * * * *


I had really boring dreams about being stuck on the bus in traffic with cars honking futilely all around. I wanted to get off and use my bike to escape traffic but even when we stopped for a few minutes the driver refused to open the door since we weren't at a bus stop. Eventually all but the honking faded away. Ugh, morning. Horrible as morning is I'd finally made it. Reaching off to the right I waved my arm about trying to find my clock to hit the snooze bar only to smack a wall instead.

I froze at the sound of giggling.

"Your clock's on the other side stupid."
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