Friday, 6 November 2015


  Benji Haight didn't belong. He sat on the bus bench, staring straight forward, his face burning with shame. Behind him, the older kids chanted, "We hate Haight! We hate Haight!" Across the aisle, Benji's best friend, Timmy, seemed to shrink into a ball and ignore him.
  Benji felt more alone than he could ever remember. He looked out the windowat the tree-lined road flashing by, wondering how much longer until they arrived at school. Maybe ten minutes, he thought. He could stand this for ten minutes. Anyone could.
  The voices began to falter. Maybe they would lose interest in him before the bus reached school, he hoped.
  Then Benji heard Danny Thompson's voice. He hated Danny Thompson, a fifth-grader who should have been in sixth except he'd been held back a year.
  "Two, four, six, eight. We don't like Benji Haight!" chanted Danny, and soon the other kids had joined in.
  It wasn't all of the other kids, Benji noticed, just the older ones. Benji was in forth grade, and it was only the forth and fifth graders that were making fun of him. This wasn't the first time it had happened. Last week, Benji had arrived home in tears after the kids made fun of him. His mom had said they were afraid of him.

"Why?" Benji had asked. "Why would they be afraid of me?"

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