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Im Not Like Other Girls

By Mia Schoenbeck

Allie looked at the picture case in the hallway next to the gym-ateria, flipped her blonde

ponytail over her shoulder, and tapped her foot. Today was the inauguration, and rule thirty-four

stated that during the school day, the head cheerleader should take part in a quiet contemplation

of how she reached her position, what she did as head cheerleader to forward the team, and also

to respect the head cheerleaders of the past. There she was, smiling from the top of the pyramid

in the picture farthest from where Allie was standing. She could almost hear the crowd's cheers.

Allie turned away from her own picture to face the oldest picture in the case. She smiled at the

happy face and starchy perm of Whitney Sheraton, the first head cheerleader of Mellowbrook

High. Next to the photo, bronze replicas of The Eternals rested.

Allie knew those pom-poms personally: she held them every practice. The Eternals were

Whitneys pom-poms, passed down from one head cheerleader to the next since the mid-eighties.

It was the first thing the new cheerleading recruits were ever told: that the first head cheerleader

of Mellowbrook High had held those pom-poms as she toppled off the top of the pyramid to her

untimely death, may she rest in peace. And now, since Allie was the head cheerleader, she was

the only one who could touch them.

In memoriam, said a voice from behind Allie, coming completely out of nowhere. Allie

whirled around, ponytail thumping against the glass case. Oh, did I sneak up on you? Ms. Fimm

in the office told me to come find you for a tour of the school. It was a girl. A girl wearing a

beat up cardigan, dusty old vans, a choker, and a black shirt. And a pair of gray skinny jeans.

And she was monotone, everything about her was completely monotone. Her skin seemed gray,
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her clothes were grey. But there was something else to her voice, almost like another voice was

layered on top of it, or someone was autotuning her. She was so familiar, like Allie had seen her

before. Weird.

Allie smiled at the new girl, tight. It didnt quite reach her eyes. Who are you?

Lorelai, said Lorelai. But my friends call me Lori. Im new. Who are you?

Allie laughed, airily. Of course she was new. Allie had probably just seen her on the way

into school. Im Allie West. Head cheerleader, Junior Prom Queen, homecoming queen... Allie

squinted at Lorelai as the other girl rubbed her neck. What happened to your eye? For a

second, it looked like Lorelai had a black eye. As Allie stared at her, she slowly felt her eyes go

out of focus, until she could only see a blurry outline of the girl in front of her. She blinked and

rubbed her fingers over her eyelids. She should have gotten more than three hours of sleep. Who

could blame her, though? She had been messaging Brittney all night.

The girls eye was back to normal. Oh well. Allie had probably mistaken the thick black

eyeliner around Lorelais eye to be a bruise.Nice sweater, is it from Forever XXI?

The new girl rolled her eyes. Uh, try Maurices Village Thrift. You wouldnt have heard

of it, she scoffed. Allie tightened her smile.

Oh, sorry. Its cute. The two stood, looking at the picture.

You smile like her, you know. You actually have a lot in common, said Lorelai.

What? Allie preened. She did pride herself on looking similar to Whitney. Sometimes,

Katie said it was like Allie was born to be the head cheerleader.
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Same blonde waves, same high ponytail. Same uniform, of course. And the same smile,

Lorelai listed these off, counting them on her fingers. She paused for a second. Youre not dead

though. Her lips were a gray line. Allie could swear she had seen her before.

Excuse me? Allies mouth fell open. Where the hell do you get off saying shit like

tha- Allie took a deep breath in as she heard footsteps approaching quickly from behind her.

She braced for impact and was run into by what felt like a bulldozer. She gasped, as the strong

arms squeezed her. Brad, she wheezed. Youre crushing me.

At once, the hug stopped. Sorry Al, wont happen again, said Brad. Allie snorted and

rolled her eyes. Lorelai cleared her throat.

Who is this?

Oh, this is Brad. Hes the offensive quarterback, and-

Allie, weve talked about this. Offensive quarterback isnt a thing.

I know that. Anyway, Brads-

A major hunk. Brad fell into his well-known Hercules pose, two arms out and flexing

like one of those chiseled greek statues. The better question is who are you? I havent seen you

around here before, said Brad. Allie elbowed him.

God, shut up. Youre so embarrassing. He wasnt like this in elementary school, Lori.

Come on, babe, said Brad, placing a hand over his heart. Im not that bad. Brittney

wanted me to come get you. She says theres an emergency,

Lorelai rolled her eyes. Lorelai. I think were only mild acquaintances at best. So you

can call me Lorelai.Youre also supposed to be showing me around the school, Allie. The

double-tone voice had come back, and Lorelai seemed to crackle as she spoke.
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Brad and Allie slowly made eye contact, and Allie pulled out a compact mirror and

refreshed her bright red liquid lipstick. She popped her lips. When she raised her eyes, she met

Lorelais in a glare, paired with a wide, red smile.

Im just going to go, said Brad, waving his thumb in the space next to his head. Allie-

remember. Me, Steve, you, and Brittney. Momma's Diner. Double date. Oh, and Brits looking

for you.

Allie waved him off, not taking her eyes off Lorelai. Bye, Brad. Her eyes were cold.

Neither girl spoke for a few seconds. Then Allie clapped her hands together. We better get

started, then. Lori, you really couldnt have shown up on a better day. I mean, you transferring

here the same day of the cheerleader inauguration, the same day I have to organize literally all of

the ceremonial bows by color and length? What a coincidence. Allie looked into her compact

mirror again.

Lorelai, said the other girl. Like I said two minutes ago, you can call me Lorelai.

Allie snapped her compact mirror shut, and started leading Lorelai out of the hallway. She

smiled at the picture of Whitney--give me strength, poise, and whatever else I need to deal with

Lorelai-- and Whitney was not, in fact, smiling back. Her brows were furrowed, and her full

teeth, cheek to cheek grin had transformed into a sneer. Her eyes had turned to look at Allie.

Allie blinked, and the picture was back to normal. Wait. There was a dark smear in the corner of

the photo, which had been and should be pristine.

Lorelai cleared her throat. Allie smiled at her and chipped off a piece of her red nail

polish. She flicked it onto the ground then led Lorelai out of the hallway. Okay, so the first floor

is basically the freshmen floor. Nobody ever hangs out down here, except for lunch. Youre a
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Senior.

Okay, so youll have D lunch. It starts at 1:55. I think todays chili day. Allie loved

chili day. She had a mini-fridge in the gym-ateria storage room where she kept her personal

toppings. She had a spice rack too. The school lunches always ran a bit bland, and access to the

storage room was one of the perks of being a head cheerleader.

Allie, theres an emergency! shouted Katie, running up to the pair of girls. Allie was

glad to see her. She was grooming her to be the new head cheerleader when Allie graduated.I

went to go get the pom-poms for the new recruits, and all of the extras are destroyed! Katie

stopped to catch her breath. Oh, hi. Im Katie. You must be the new girl.

Yeah, yeah. This is Lorelai, and- My friends call me Lori, said Lorelai. Allie grit her

teeth as she got cut off.

Katie looked her up and down. Cool. Lori. Whered you get your sweater? Its really

cute! Is it from Forever XXI?

No. And were apparently not her friends, so we call her Lorelai. But lets focus: the

pom-poms are destroyed?

Yeah. Someone cut them all up.

Allie pinched the bridge of her nose. Lord, give me strength. This is why Brit was

looking for me. Katie, would you go find her and tell her to meet me in the gym. Oh, and to

bring forms seventeen and twenty under file 7. Were gonna fix this. Katie nodded, and ran off,

her curly black bun bobbing up and down. Sophomores. Allie stood quietly for a second, looking

down at her perfectly pressed red uniform. She smoothed out her skirt anyway.

Who do you think did it? asked Lorelai.


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Youll have most of your classes on the second and third floors.

I said who do you think did it?

And I said that youll have most of your classes on the second and third floors.

Yeah, I know. I looked at my schedule too.

Of course. So well go see the gym-ateria now, if thats okay with you This is your

tour. Allies eyes went out of focus again, seeing Lorelai in blurry grayscale. Allie smiled at her

after blinking a few times.

Guide on. Lorelai glared at Allie, and the two girls walked in silence down the hallway.

The fluorescent lights above them flickered as they passed through the hallways. Cheap school.

So, Allie said, after a little ways. What do you do for fun?

I paint. I do some photography, said Lorelai.

Oh, neat. Maybe Ive seen it somewhere.

I doubt it. Its probably above your level.

Hmm. What do you like to watch?

You wouldnt have heard of them, said Lori. Allie squeezed her hand into a fist as they

got to the rather well-lit gym-ateria.

Sure. Well, this is the gym-ateria. Gym/cafeteria, said Allie. They set up lunch tables

on one-half for the lunch periods, then take them out after. Allie sighed, tension leaking out of

her shoulders when she saw Brittney jog up to them, her dirty blonde ponytail swaying gently

behind her. Being a cheerleader fit her, although she complained about the color. She always said

the red made her look sick; Allie always disagreed with her.Talk to me, Brit. Whats going on?

Brittney stared at Lorelai. Oh yeah. This is-


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Lorelai the new girl. I know. Brittney kept staring at Lorelai, squinting her eyes.

Allie laughed and turned to Lorelai. Brit knows everything. Thats why shes second

row of the pyramid, second on the right. And our Historian, obvi. Back to business.Do you

know who did it?

Brittanys face fell, and she bit her lip. She twirled a piece of hair under her fingers. Allie

wanted to grab her hand.No.

Lorelai snorted. Maybe not everything, then. Brittany shot her a cold glare. One of the

lights above them went out.

I have good news, though. The saboteur didnt know the combination to the safe, said

Brittany. Everything in there is okay. Including The Eternals. The corners of Allies mouth

perked up into something that was a little less than a smile.

Good. Martie Summers owes me a favor. Get her and her art nerds to rip up old

newspapers to make new pom-poms. Youve got the forms? Brittney produced the papers and a

black pen. Allie scribbled her signature on them. Submit these to Principal Landing. Oh, and

meet me at the third floor janitors closet during lunch to, uh...decompress. Allie twirled a piece

of hair around her finger, grinning.

Brittany nodded and walked off. Allie watched her go. Lorelai cleared her throat. Again.

She did that a lot. Allie looked back at Lorelai and started smiling. At least Im not like, totally

boned.

Lucky the person didnt know the combo to the safe, said Lorelai. It must have been

really tough to break. But I thought that other cheerleader said that all the pom-poms got

destroyed.
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Katie? She...can get a little excited sometimes. And of course the safes pretty tough to

break. I think I made it impossible.

What do you mean?

I got to set the combo myself. Im the only one on this planet who knows the combo.

Anyway, I think thats the end of the tour, if you already know where your classes are.

Sure. Lorelai cast one more look around the gym-ateria. A cheerleader, obvious in his

red and white uniform, walked around them.

Hey Jeremy, you are you going to stay here? shouted Allie across the wide room.

Jeremy nodded and stood outside the storage room door. I was going to ditch anyway,

he said. Why not make myself useful?

So, do you have cheer practice in here? asked Lorelai.

Allie sighed. Yeah, when its nasty outside. Well have our inauguration in here, of

course. Thats when we let the new recruits officially join. We invite the football team to watch

and everything. The bell rang, signaling the end of study hall. I have to go to math now,

though.

Hey Allie? said Lorelai. Allie hummed in response. Youre the only person on the

planet who knows the safe code?

Yup. Why?

No reason. Lorelai rubbed her neck. She kept rubbing her neck.You know, Allie, I

think you could call me Lorelai now.

Allie shrugged. Okay. Ive got math next. What about you?
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Lorelai smiled at her. It was wide and toothy, and it kind of looked like something that

would be on the cover of one of those stupid internet creepypastas. Math with Ms. Franklin.

Looks like were going together then, said Allie, eyebrows raised. What a funny

coincidence.

***

The cheer inauguration was going great. Brad, Steve, and some of the other guys on the

football team had finished practice early and had shown up. She had walked into the gym to

applause, and the speech her and Brit had written during french went great. Lorelai had shown up

too, which was a little strange, but it wasnt unheard of. The yearbook club always wanted

candid shots, and apparently, Lori really did love photography.

Okay, so new members, come line up for the assigning of bows. Brittney will take your

name, and Katie will hand you a ribbon. Tie a bow in your hair, and then sit back down. When

were all done, youll be allowed to go.

Katie grinned and clapped her hands together. Steve Stevenson is having an after-party

at his house. Thank God its Friday, right?

Allie lined up the new cheerleaders, and the football team and Lorelai dutifully clapped.

Soon, everyone was seated again. Alright, thanks guys. First practice is Monday at four. Dont

be late, well be going over rules and traditions. She paused and laughed. Oh, and you need

your pom-poms. Just to note, these arent your actual pom-poms. Some cold-hearted, treacherous

snake grossly violated our actual ones. Ive already talked to Principal Landing about ordering

new ones.
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Allie pulled out the key to the supply closet and crossed the gym-ateria. She stuck the key

in the lock and turned the knob. The gym-ateria door slammed shut, and the fluorescent lights

overhead went out, leaving the room with only the afternoon sun. Allie shrieked as she got

thrown across the room. Pain flashed through her as she hit the wall with a moan and a loud

crack. Katie held the other people back as Brittney and Brad dashed towards her. Allie couldnt

breathe. Couldnt breathe. Couldnt see anything but Brittney, who rubbed Allies shoulders as

she choked on her own breath.

Lorelai walked calmly down the bleachers, ignoring the football team and the other

cheerleaders. She walked quietly to the storage room. Allie leaned into Brittany's arms. What

kind of freak ghost...starts haunting...in the middle of the afternoon. Help me up. Brad lifted

her, and together, he and Brittany started walking her towards the storage room. Lorelai, what

are you doing?

A laugh filled the room as the trio arrived at the doorway, and there were some shrieks

from the freshmen. Id monologue, but I dont want to wait anymore. Im taking my revenge.

Allie rolled her eyes. On who? You just got here, she said.

On you. Youre so much like her, you know, said Lorelai.

Oh my god. Shut up. The pronoun game is stupid. Let me guess, I remind you of-

Whittney. She killed me, and now youll pay the price, said Lorelai. Electricity

crackled in the air next to her, and Lorelais eyes glowed grey. Her eye was black, and her neck,

oh god. It was bent at some kind of awful angle. Allie saw Katie instruct everybody to get on the

floor and cover their faces like there was some kind of tornado. A freshman screamed. She fell

off the pyramid, and onto me. She laughed at me every day, told me that I was a weirdo, said that
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no one wanted to be around me because I was such a freak. And then she fell on me, and I died,

and no one cared. I got a stupid memorial in the library. Nobody goes there!

Allie leaned over and rested her head on Brittneys shoulder. Thats where I knew her

from! She rolled around back to face Lorelai. Whatever! I didnt do a thing to you.

I dont care! screamed Lorelai. The lights above her popped and sizzled. Now, how

happy do you think old Whitney would feel if her precious Eternals got fried? She might not be

too happy. Might even wake her up in time to take her own revenge on the poor head cheerleader

who didnt do her job right. And the school wont be able to reinstate a cheer squad after two

cheer-related deaths.

Theyre in the iron safe, bitch. Good luck guessing the combo.

Lorelai grinned. I know the combo. Its a four letter word. Youre not smart enough to

remember a random number combo, so it had to be something youd remember. Someone you

loved. I think B-R-A-D will fit. 2-18-1-4. But you shouldnt worry Brad. I wont let her touch

you. You can be redeemed, and we can rule over the school. No more head cheerleaders. No

more stupid popularity. The barbie doll blondes get punished, and the sweet, innocent girl gets

the guy.Allie glared at Lorelai, and Lorelai punched in the combo. Allie inched forward,

towards the spirit. We can be like, like

Brittney edged forward. Like Aaron and Cady from Mean Girls?

Lorelai paused. No, not like Aaron and Cady from Mean Girls, you stupid, ignorant

Lorelai hit enter. Nothing happened. What? Whats going on? I know I typed it in right.

Allie snorted. Guess Im not as dumb as you think I am. And for the record, Brad is

dating Steve.
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Brad nodded. Sorry, babe. Allies one hot piece of ass, but Im a kept man. Were just

friends, he said. Brittney passed Allie a cannister.

But dont worry. I still have someone whod love to date you. Lorelai, meet kosher salt,

said Allie. God bless chili day. She swung the container towards Lorelai, spilling white granules

all over the extra supplies. Allie had seen this trick on Not Natural, a show about two cousins

fighting demons. She and Brit had binged all fifteen and a half seasons back in freshman year.

Lorelai screamed, and the windows blew out. Katie snapped into action and started escorting the

new recruits out of the gym-ateria through them. The food heres so bland. We have it to throw

in some flavor.

The power of christ compels you! Get out of here! shouted Brittney.

Hes not very compelling! screamed Lorelai. Her voice sounded like a million bees,

and she was so blurry, Allie could barely make out her form.

Oh my God, Ive heard that joke on freakin vine! And youre just as dead! Youre not

any more unique than we are, yelled Allie. Lorelai screamed and collapsed on the floor. When

she stood up, her neck was bent at an irregular angle, and her eye was black. But you, like,

didnt deserve to die, said Allie. She stepped forward and brushed the wisps of hair that had

come apart from her ponytail out of her face. She didnt smile. Everybody has freaking issues.

Everyone is hated for something. But you dont see me slamming people around.

What issues can you possibly have. Youre a bimbo, youre a barbie. Youre Lorelai

was clear and visible. Allie walked closer to her, a ghost of a smile on her face.

Sorry, said Allie. Im blonde, Im the head cheerleader, and Im sorry that you died.

Sorry. Lorelais neck was straight again. Youre sorry.


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Yeah. You deserve to be cared about, just as much as Whitney did. Allie said, limping

over to her. In Not Natural, one of the cousins had been able to successfully talk a ghost back

into Hell or whatever.

Lorelai closed her eyes. Im tired.

Yeah. Wouldnt you say its time to go?

Lorelai faded in and out. Allie couldnt see a clear picture of her. Then, like before,

Lorelai came back into focus. And she walked away, through Allie, through Brittany and Brad.

She looked around the gym. She disappeared.

Allie limped back to Brittany, wilting into her. Can you take me to the nurse?

Brittany nodded. Lets go. Well say you fell off the top of the pyramid.

Allie looked at Brad. I need you to unlock the safe. Bring them to John Johnson. His

dads a priest. Hell exercise Whitney from them. It probably isnt safe having a dormant spirit in

them.

Whats the combo, asked Brad. Allie waved him over.

2-18-9-20, she whispered. He nodded, and Brittney led her away.

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