Yet somehow now, on this all important first day of school, Minnie was not feeling so safe; she felt afraid and exposed, like a little naked newborn bird left abandoned by her mother in the nest. She wished that her mother walked beside her up those ominous shelves of concrete stairs that seemed to grow taller with every step, shielding her with her slim, hard body through which the questioning hawk eyes that children have could not penetrate. Their narrowed lids sliced through her threadbare purple and blue disguise like razor blades, daring her to speak a word to them. As she stood in front of class, her little body trembling within its furry shell against the looming blackness of the chalkboard, as if she were facing a firing squad, and the smothering ivy of self doubt snaked over her soft, pink, rosebud of unassuming exuberant youth, crushing it until there was only a lingering perfume, not sweet floral but a mixture of cold sweat and salty tears. The creature that had stood so tall and powerful in the supernatural flurrying shadows of Halloween shrank in fear against the harsh light of reality. In the darkness we are afraid of branches tapping against our window panes, creaking floorboards and the unknown wasteland of under the bed, but in the daylight, it is each other whom we fear most of all.
The nashing of their white pebble teeth, the savage stamping of their feet on the yellow parquet floor, the laughter and the cries of “Little Monster, Little Minnie Monster” that rang out across the asphalt and fibreglass jungle of the playground were echoing in Minnie’s head as she opened the heavy red door of her mother’s station wagon. Her mother took one look at the crestfallen expression on her daughters face and the torn strap of her beloved Batman and Robin backpack and exclaimed “Oh, Minnie. What did you do?” in a tone that leaked annoyance and frustration. Minnie stayed silent, pouring all her concentration into keeping the tears back behind the barrier of her eyelids, and ignored her mother the entire way home. As soon as Minnie’s mother pulled into the parking garage of their apartment complex, Minnie leapt out of the car and sprinted up the four flights of stairs, breaking herself into her own house to escape a barrage of questions she was sure to face but could not bare to answer; her mother followed her not out of concern but out of exasperation, yet when she reached her daughters room she found it barricaded against her. Minnie was already inside, pulling the heads off all her plastic blonde Barbie dolls and throwing them out the window.
However, after a volcanic flood of pent up tears and a brief experiment with her own hair and glitter glue, Minnie decided to embrace her monstrous reputation. She still insisted on wearing her monster costume to school, and she would not even let her mother take it from her to wash it, in fear that she would throw it in the trash; each night when she took it off to go to bed, she would hide it in a new clandestine place, one that her mother could never find, no matter how hard she tried. Minnie would not brush her hair, she hated wearing shoes, she stayed completely silent when she was addressed by her teachers, to the point where they just stopped trying to involve her in the class, and let her sit in her corner drawing pages and pages of all different types of monsters; bulbous eyes, long yellow sabre teeth, matted fur in a rainbow of garish technicolour. She would fill her Batman and Robin backpack, which her mother had sewn up for her as a peace offering, with her drawings, and carry them around like crude talismans.
Yet when the children spoke to her, regardless of their intentions, she nashed her little white monster teeth at them, she snarled and she spat, and no one would come near her. She felt the strong pull of the power infused in her disguise; it was so hard to make little girls like you, but so easy to make them hate you.
“Without his costume, Batman would be nothing. No one would write comics about Bruce Wayne. No one would remember him” Minnie told herself, when she saw the groups of girls running past her in a fairyfloss cloud of sugar pink giggles, and her clandestine heart gave a little quiver. She just sat at the edge of the playground, drawing her monsters and waiting for her masked avenger.