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Afternoon in the Chokey (Updated 2-16-24)


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(I wrote this years ago, back in my fanfiction days. Some money may have exchanged hands for me to continue it, so I brought it back from the dead. I tried to find my original posting, but It's gone. So this is a repost with two new chapters.)

 

The five and a half year old brown haired girl sat with her face scrunched in concentration as she stared deeply at the group of cheerios sitting on the kitchen table. MOVE! She yelled at it within her mind.

 

“What the hell are you doing you little brat? Clean this mess off the table!” Harry Wormwood barked at his daughter.

 

“Yes, daddy.” Matilda quickly answered swiping her hand across the table and scooping up the scattered pieces of cereal into her palm before making her way over to the trash can.

 

“I work too damn hard for you to be wasting food like that!” The large man with the receding hairline said.

 

“Sorry, daddy.” Matilda said returning to the table to properly pour herself a bowl of cereal this time. Matilda scooped a spoonful of cheerios in her mouth as she sat deep in thought. Maybe this was all just her imagination, Matilda thought to herself ignoring her older brother, Mikey, who had began throwing his own cereal at her. She had thought for sure she had somehow blown that TV in the living room to bits the other night. All she had done was glare at it while wishing it would break and the next thing everyone knew, it exploded! Maybe it was all just a coincidence. Maybe she had stayed up one too many nights reading past her bedtime.

 

Matilda simply sighed again as she got up and put her empty bowl in the kitchen sink before finishing getting ready for kindergarten. Matilda slipped on her favorite blue dress before carefully brushing her hair and tying it up with her red silk ribbon. After carefully going over her “special homework” from Miss Honey (8th grade algebra) she packed up her backpack and waited by the car. Soon Matilda was on her way to her most favorite place of all-school. Matilda smiled widely as she took her seat behind her best friend after saying good morning to Miss Honey.

 

“Want to hear something crazy?” Matilda whispered to her friend. “The other night I think I broke my families TV set; with my mind!”

 

“I think you’ve been reading too much.” Lavender said giggling.

 

“Yeah, I think you’re right.” Matilda agreed smiling, but suddenly frowned when she was alerted by a sudden pressure coming from her bladder. Matilda looked at the clock checking to see how much time she had before class started. If the Trunchbull found her out in the hallway even a second after the bell rang! She didn’t even want to think about that!

 

“You okay?” Lavender asked seeing the sudden serious expression on her friends face.

 

“I have to go to the bathroom.” Matilda admitted blushing slightly. Normally she could hold it no problem, but today was show and tell and she didn’t want to be distracted at all. Suddenly the bell rang as everyone ran to their seats before the Trunchbull made her morning rounds. Everyone jumped slightly as a large stern looking woman with her hair pulled into a tight bun holding a leather riding crop stormed in un-announced.

 

“Surprise inspection!” The Trunchbull yelled snapping the riding crop in her hand. “Everyone on your feet!”

 

All the children, including Miss Honey, nervously sprang up at attention. “Textbooks have been going missing from my office!” The Trunchbull said walking up and down the row of children glaring at each and everyone of them as they all nervously averted their eyes. “I think I know just who the thief is!” The Trunchbull said glaring down onto the small brown haired girl. “Wormwood! Open your backpack!” Matilda gulped as she picked up her bag and unzipped it before having it suddenly snatched out of her hand and overturned onto the floor. Textbooks of various grade levels spilled onto the ground with loud thumps as the Trunchbull bent down to pick up the Intermediate Algebra book that under normal circumstances a kindergartener should have no business carrying around.

 

“I-t’s not what it looks like!” Matilda stuttered as she felt the back of her dress grabbed.

 

“Oh, I think It’s exactly what it looks like!” The Trunchbull said smiling maliciously while showing off her yellowing teeth. “You’ve been stealing books out of my office!” She spat.

 

“Ms. Trunchbull, please-” Miss Honey started to say.

 

“Shut up, Jen.” The fat woman said grabbing a fistful of Matilda’s hair from the back of her head causing the young girl to wince in pain as her eyes watered. “I’ve caught the thief red handed! Don’t try and cover for her!” She snarled pointing the riding crop at the blond woman who looked on with a look of horror on her face. “I’m taking the brat where she belongs and if you take one step out of this classroom you're fired!” She threatened while dragging Matilda through the hall and into her office.

 

“No, please! Not the Chokee!” Matilda begged as she was drug along.

 

“That’s exactly where you’re going you good for nothing thief!” She yelled opening a separate door that had several large nails and pieces of glass protruding from the inside. Matilda grimaced as the door was opened to reveal the tiny space only a child could fit in without being impaled by the sharp pointy objects. “Now stay there!” The Trunchbull said pushing the young girl into the corner and slamming the door closed and bolting it with several dead locks. Matilda whimpered as she stood in place while the door was shut leaving her in total blackness.

 

Tears rushed into the young girls eyes as she stood trembling in the dark from fear. How long would she have to stay in here? An hour went by and then another as the cause of the girls trembling went from fear to her steadily filling bladder. She tried to take her mind off of it by thinking about the latest book she had read by Charles Dickens. Matilda moaned quietly shifting from foot to foot thankful that her small size allowed her that much room to move about. Her teacher, Miss Honey, had been giving her textbooks from more advanced grades to help her prepare for college. The Trunchbull must have noticed they had begun to go missing from the supply cabinet in her office.

 

“I have to pee.” Matilda whispered in agony as she grabbed the front of her dress and bunched the material inside her legs to get a better hold. What was it that she had read about the human urinary system? Girls her age could only hold so many mls before their bladders gave up. Matilda moaned again as she used both her hands to press down in order to apply extra pressure. She didn’t dare call out for help for fear of her sentence inside the Chokee being doubled, or even tripled, but she was running out of time. If she had an accident who knows how the Trunchbull would punish her. Not just the Trunchbull, but her parents as well! Last time she wet the bed  they hit her upside the head and took away all her books for a week! She was only three at the time to boot; she didn't want to know what would happen if her mom was called to the school to pick her up because she had wet.

 

Matilda grimaced as she felt moisture beginning to enter her panties. She pressed down even harder and slightly bent her knees as much as the small space would allow. Another ten minutes in she had begun to leak for a second. Matilda wondered how long she had been in here. How many hours had it been? She moaned in desperation as a second longer leak escaped and then a third.

 

“SOMEONE HELP!” She finally yelled out as the door began clanging as if someone was trying to open and close it without undoing the deadbolts. Finally after several hours Matilda lost control as she felt warm liquid beginning to trickle down her legs; slowly at first but picking up momentum as Matilda finally gave up and removed her hands as she sobbed.  The steady stream of urine trickled and pattered onto the ground soaking her panties, socks, shoes and dress. Matilda continued to cry; she was hungry, tired, wet and miserable. Her eyes grew wide with fear as she heard someone approaching and undoing the dead bolt. There wasn’t enough time for her accident to have dried; there was no way to hide this. She clenched her eyes shut waiting for the worst as the door was quickly opened.

 

“Oh, Matilda.” She heard as she opened her eyes to find a very worried looking Miss. Honey. “It’s okay, sweetie.” Miss Honey said pulling the girl out and wrapping her into a tight embrace while Matilda couldn’t help but cry and beg for forgiveness. “Honey, it’s okay. It’s not your fault.” Her teacher said kneeling down to her height and lightly tracing the girl’s tear streaked face with her palm.

 

“I’m sorry!” Matilda continued to sob, but stopped when she felt herself suddenly get lifted into the air causing her to wrap her arms around Miss Honey’s neck as she buried her head in her shoulder as she was carried down the hall. “Please don’t call my parents.” She begged as she was set down in the bathroom.

 

“Why not? I’m sure they’ll understand. Accidents happen-”

 

“No! They won’t!” Matilda insisted locking her fear filled eyes with Ms. Honey’s. “I wet the bed when I was three and and.” She said starting to sob again. Ms. Honey bit her lip anxiously thinking of what to do. Clearly something had happened in the past to worry her this much. This was so unlike the normally mature girl. Ms. Honey finally nodded in understanding as she remembered the last run in she had had with Matilda’s parents.

 

“Alright, honey, I won’t call your parents.” The teacher assured her. “How about you wait here and I’ll see if the nurse has anything.”

 

“Okay.” Matilda agreed calming down some and went and hid in a cubicle until her teacher had returned.

 

“Matilda, I’m back.” Ms. Honey said entering the girls bathroom carrying a dress as Matilda peaked her head out from the stall. “How about you go in the big stall.” She suggested as she began to dampen a washcloth in the sink before following the girl into the teachers only cubicle. “Go ahead and take off anything that’s wet.” Miss Honey instructed as Matilda was forced to remove, well, everything while Matilda blushed as Miss Honey began cleaning her wet skin. “I’m sorry, dear, but this is all the nurse had in the way of underwear.” Miss Honey said apologetically as she held up the babyish teddy bear print diaper. Matilda blushed furiously while Miss Honey helped her put it on still standing and tape it up.

 

“I’m sorry.” Matilda apologized again looking away once they were back in the empty classroom.

 

“This wasn’t your fault.” Miss Honey said kneeling down and wrapping her arms around the girl in a big hug. “You don’t have to keep apologizing. You were in there for four hours; I’m sorry I couldn’t get to you sooner. Would you like to come over to my house after school? I can wash your clothes for you.” She offered referring to the bag Matilda kept hidden under her chair containing her soiled dress.

 

“I’d like that.” Matilda nodded with a smile.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                               Chapter 2

 

Jennifer Honey sat at her desk with a worried expression plastered all over her face. She shifted anxiously about in her chair as her eyes fell upon the empty desk that should have been seating her star pupil. While she loved each and every student in her kindergarten class; there was something special about Matilda. Her intelligence far surpassed any student in this school yet she was only six. How could she have been so stupid, Miss Honey chastised herself. She thought the Trunchbull wouldn’t notice a few books missing here and there, but she was wrong and now Matilda was paying the price. She needed to find a way to get her out of there, but with the Trunchbull sitting in a chair in the corner watching her there was nothing she could do.

 

Miss Honey bit her lip anxiously as she worried about Matilda. She had seen children come out from the chokee completely traumatized and she couldn’t blame them. This had to be illegal she thought while she walked around passing out worksheets for her students. Suddenly the lights in the classroom began to flicker on and off as the Trunchbull jumped to her feet. Ms. Honey hid her smile knowing how superstitious the Trunchbull was. Maybe if something else happened she hoped while stealing the occasional glance over her shoulder at the giant olympian that was gawking up at the florescent lights while beating the case with her riding crop.

 

Ms. Honey began instructing the children on how to work through the addition problems but froze mid sentence as suddenly the door to the classroom sprung open and then loudly slammed shut by itself. Ms. Trunchbull cowered away from the door as it continued to open and close by itself. Ms. Honey peeked into the hall as her eyes widened in surprise to see all the doors to all classrooms were opening and banging shut by themselves. The lights continued to flicker on and off as if someone was playing with the lightswitch. Ms. Trunchbull at that moments found what little courage she had left and sprinted out the door as it slammed shut behind her before opening once again. Teachers began peeking into the hallway to see what was going on as the Trunchbull sprinted down the hall, out the building and to her car.

 

Ms. Honey immediately made a beeline for the principal's office after she timed her escape from the self operating doors. After jumping into the hallway she began sprinting until she got to the chokee to see the door rattling and shaking. Quickly Miss Honey unfastened the dead bolt and threw the door open to find the sobbing child standing in a puddle of urine.

 

“It’s okay, sweetie, Ms. Trunchbulls gone now. You can come out.” Miss Honey said gently coaching the shaking child into her arms. “It’s okay.”

 

“I’m sorry!” Matilda cried as she felt Miss Honey wrap her arms around her and pick her up.

 

“Shh. It’s okay, Matilda.” Miss Honey whispered rocking the girl in place noticing that the lights had stopped flickering and all was finally still. How strange she thought as she carried the girl into the nearest bathroom and set her down.

 

“Please don’t call my parents.” Matilda begged with wide pleading eyes filled with fear. Normally it would have been school policy for any and all accidents to be reported, but something in the girls eyes told her she should let this slide. What could she tell her parents anyway? Your daughter wet herself while we locked her in a cage for half the day?

 

“Alright.” Miss Honey agreed. “I’ll try and find you something to wear.” She walked back down the hall towards the nurse's office while ignoring the streams of kids and teachers pooled into the hall for lunch break.

 

“Ah, Jenny! What can I do for you?” The school nurse said looking up from her paperwork.

 

“Hi, Carol. You wouldn’t happen to have any clothes that would fit a six year old girl, would you?”

 

“You can check the lost and found box.” Carol said pointing to a drawer.

 

“Thank you.” Miss Honey said digging through the box and pulling out a white one piece dress that looked like it would fit the girl. “What about underwear?” She asked after going through the box of mostly sweaters.

 

“No, I don’t have any. What happened?” Carol asked looking up.

 

“One of my students was put in the chokee for too long.” Ms. Honey explained with a sigh. “Poor things really shaken up about it.”

 

“You want me to call her parents to come get her?” Carol asked quickly putting the pieces together. It wasn’t the first time a child had wet themselves from being left in there and unless something changed it wouldn’t be the last.

 

“No, I don’t think it’s a good idea. I’ve met her parents before; I don’t think she get’s the love and support she needs at home.” Miss Honey said. “I think it would be better if I just helped her get cleaned up and we move on.”

 

“You wouldn’t be talking about the Wormwoods, would you?” Carol asked going through some drawers.

 

“Yep.” Miss Honey said nodding. “How’d you know?”

 

“I called her mom once when Matilda came in with a fever. She told me to tell Matilda to suck it up, told me not to bother her and hung up.” Carol explained opening up a package and pulling out a plastic garment. “She can’t go without underwear so she’ll have to wear this.” She said holding up the diaper.

 

“You don’t have anything else? I think this would just upset her more.” Miss Honey said frowning while examining the folded up garment with cute printed teddy bears. “It’s not even a pull up.”

 

“Sorry.” Carol apologized with a shrug. “Kids don’t leave underwear lying around, thankfully. Here’s a washcloth too.”

 

“It’ll have to do, thank you.” Miss Honey said before rushing back to the bathroom to find Matilda hiding in a cubicle. “It’s okay, no one else is in here. How about you come out and I’ll help you get cleaned up.”

 

“What if someone walks in?” Matilda squeaked while Miss Honey dampened the green washcloth in the sink.

 

“Then let’s go in the big stall. I found some clothes that will fit you.” Miss Honey said smiling comfortingly once Matilda finally stepped out of the cubicle and followed her teacher into the larger stall. “Alright, let’s see.” Miss Honey said inspecting the damage. The poor thing was literally soaked. “Go ahead and take off everything wet.”  Matilda silently nodded turning her head away as she pulled down her soaked blue striped panties and dress leaving her completely naked. She jumped slightly as Miss Honey knelt down and began wiping her legs down with the damp wash cloth. Matilda blushed and closed her eyes. She wasn’t used to having anyone care for her and she definitely wasn’t used to having accidents.

 

Matilda let out a quiet moan in embarrassment and covered her face with her hands as the washcloth moved higher up her legs until she felt it cleaning her privates and butt. “I’m really sorry about this next part, but It’s the only option.” Miss Honey explained as she unfolded the plastic garment as Matilda’s eyes grew wide in shock as her teacher began taping a diaper on her waist.

 

“I-it was just a one time thing!” Matilda whimpered while her teacher adjusted and played with the waist band. “I’m- I’m not a -a baby!”

 

“Of course you’re not a baby; you are a very wonderful and mature young girl who just had a run of bad luck is all. We just can’t have you going without underwear and this is all I could come up with.” Miss Honey explained motioning for Matilda to lift her arms so the dress could be slipped on. “There! All better.” She said smiling as she unlatched the door while Matilda picked up her wet clothes and followed Miss Honey out.

 

“Thank you.” Matilda said still refusing to make eye contact after they returned to the now empty classroom once they found a bag to put the wet clothes in.  

 

Miss Honey glanced at the embarrassed young girl who took her seat and stared out the window. Miss Honey wondered what she could to do make Matilda feel better until an idea struck her.

 

“Would you like to come to my house after school?” Miss Honey asked. “I have a large collection of all sorts of books you’d be interested in. I could even wash your clothes for you.” She smiled seeing the shine in Matilda’s eyes return as the girl nodded gleefully.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

The rest of the day went along smoothly without any paranormal activity. Miss Honey quietly chuckled to herself as she saw Matilda making weird faces as she tried to adjust to the extra padding underneath her. Miss Honey sighed in frustration while she quietly graded papers during nap time. While other students were learning how to read and write basic words and letters, Miss Honey had Matilda writing full essays and book reports. Another grammatically flawless research paper on the human heart she thought as she read over Matilda’s work.

 

Matilda didn’t belong in kindergarten, or even elementary school for that matter, but the Wormwoods had nearly slammed the door in her face when she suggested she begin preparations for college. The Trunchbull was of course no help either, accusing Miss Honey of being weak minded and that she was attempting to “pass the little brat off on someone else”. Seeing no other solution, Miss Honey took it upon herself to provide Matilda with the proper level of education she deserved and began trying to assess just how high of a grade level she should be at. So far she had aced every test this school had to offer which put her above the 6th grade. What she really needed was a full time private tutor, but there was no way she could ever convince the Wormwoods to pay for something like that.

 

Once the final bell had rung dismissing the children, Matilda hung back eagerly awaiting getting to spend alone time with her favorite person.

 

“Ready?” Miss Honey asked smiling as Matilda enthusiastically nodded her head. “You need to call home first and make sure it’s okay with your family.”

 

“Oh.” Matilda said as she bit her lip. “Okay.” She said finally dialing the number into the phone sitting atop the desk. Miss Honey frowned as she overheard the conversation on the other side that sounded a lot like “Don’t bother me with that.” “They said it’s fine.” Matilda lied. Close enough Miss Honey thought as she grabbed her stuff and walked out the door.

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Just how had she let this happen Miss Honey thought as the two of them huddled together in the small closet in the mansion. She should have never told Matilda the story of her childhood. She thought that by explaining to Matilda that she hadn’t grown up in a loving home either Matilda wouldn’t feel so alone. The young girl had looked shocked to learn of Miss Honey’s father’s death and of being forced to live with the Trunchbull as her aunt growing up.  What she hadn’t expected was Matilda to run into the house when she told her of her lost doll that was left behind.

While walking past the mansion that rightfully belonged to Miss Honey, the two had hid behind some bushes as they watched the Trunchbull pull out of the driveway and next thing she knew Matilda had made a mad dash inside to retrieve Miss Honey’s doll. Overcome with sudden nostalgia Miss Honey had looked around instead of getting Matilda and making a run for it. Not five minutes later the Trunchbull had returned and the two of them were forced to hide in the nearest closet. That was nearly two hours ago Miss Honey thought as she sat on the closet floor with Matilda in her lap.

 

Miss Honey grimaced as Matilda leaned back putting pressure on Miss Honey’s full bladder while she cursed herself for not using the bathroom at school before she left. How was she supposed to know she’d be hiding in a closet from her deranged aunt all night?  She wondered if this was how Matilda felt being stuck inside the chokee all day. She grimaced again as Matilda began shifting in her lap increasing her discomfort dramatically. The girls restlessness only seemed to be increasing as the minutes slowly dragged on.

 

“What’s wrong?” Miss Honey whispered in Matilda’s ear when she heard a small quiet whimper escape the young girls mouth.

 

“I have to go pee.” Matilda mumbled as she shifted again.

 

“Yeah me too.” Miss Honey whispered back. “As soon as she goes upstairs we’ll make a break for it. Just try not to move so much.” She said as she felt a sudden spasm from her bladder from the pressure of Matilda’s constantly shifting weight against her lower stomach. Miss Honey began to worry that if they didn’t make it out soon she really would feel like how Matilda felt earlier. At least Matilda was wearing protection she thought giving the girls front a pat to see if she still had it on. Miss Honey shook from the effort of clenching as Matilda squirmed causing a little to leak out. She’d have to get Matilda to sit still or else she was going to have an accident too. There was only one way that was going to happen.

 

“Sweetie, it’s okay if you can’t hold it.” Miss Honey whispered through clenched teeth. “Just go ahead and pee in your diaper.”

 

“No, I can hold it!” Matilda said pressing her hands into her lower half. “I’m not a baby.”

 

“This doesn’t make you a baby.” Miss Honey whispered wrapping her arms around Matilda to hold her in place. “It’s called being resourceful and making due with what you have available.”

 

“But…” Matilda mumbled trying to think of a counter argument.

 

“Sweetie, just go. You’ll feel better.” Miss Honey encouraged holding the girl against her while petting Matilda’s hair. “I won’t tell anyone.”

 

“Promise?” Matilda asked as her face burned with embarrassment at the thought of wetting a diaper while sitting in her teachers lap.

 

“Promise.”

 

“O-okay.” Matilda mumbled turning her body and burying her head into Miss Honey’s shoulder as the woman tried to comfort her by rubbing her back. Miss Honey bit her knuckle and clenched her thighs together while she heard the loud hissing of Matilda relieving herself into the garment secured to her waist. Miss Honey could feel the diaper slowly expanding atop her legs and growing warm. Matilda lightly trembled as she kept her head buried in her teacher’s arms.

 

“It’s okay.” Miss Honey whispered when she realized the girl had begun to cry. “Shh we still need to be quiet.” She said as she lightly patted the girls back. “I’m going to be in the same boat soon if we can’t get out of here.” She admitted as she sharply inhaled wishing the space she was in was big enough to move around.

 

“What time do you think it is?” Matilda asked as she felt her teacher beginning to tremble and fidget.

 

“Six maybe.” Miss Honey said through her now labored breathing. “Matilda, no!” She gasped as Matilda stood and slowly opened the closet door to peek her head out.

 

“She’s watching a movie.” Matilda whispered sitting back down in Miss Honey’s lap who let out an audible groan.  “Miss Honey,” Matilda said studying the pained expression on her teachers face in the dimly lit closet from the cracks in the doorway.  She smiled sympathetically knowing her teacher wasn’t going to last much longer. Miss Honey let out a weak smile as she clenched her fists at her side.

 

“I guess now I understand what you went through today.” She groaned feeling a leak escape and then another as she desperately tried to keep holding it in despite her dress already becoming visibly wet.

 

“It’s okay, Miss Honey.” Matilda said wrapping her teacher in a hug once her little hand had felt the dampness on her teachers dress. “I won’t tell either.” With misty eyes Miss Honey nodded knowing it was going to happen anyway. She patted Matilda’s head as she forced her clenched and trembling body to relax. Almost immediately pee gushed and hissed into Miss Honey’s panties as it pooled beneath her soaking her dress and legs.  

 

“I can’t believe I just did that.” Miss Honey said with a depressed sigh. “ I haven’t had an accident since I was a little girl.” After another 20 minutes Matilda stood and peaked her head out the door again to find the Trunchbull snoring loudly in the recliner.

 

“She’s asleep.” Matilda whispered as Miss Honey stood from her puddle on the ground and peeked her head out. Quickly and silently the two made their way through the house and out the front door. It was nearly 7pm by the time they made it to Miss Honey’s and both were in desperate need of cleaning up. After throwing all the clothes in the wash Miss Honey took a quick shower before calling Matilda’s parents to ask if she could stay the night. After getting a less than courteous, “You can keep her for all I care”  Miss Honey hung up the phone and was about to ask Matilda what she wanted for dinner when she heard a sudden “Woah!” Come from the living room.

 

Matilda stood looking up at the overflowing bookshelf that took up nearly half the wall. Her brown eyes sparkled as she read over all the different titles. Miss Honey smiled as she quietly watched before taking a seat in her favorite recliner and instructed the girl to pick one. Matilda stood indecisive for a moment before finally choosing one about a dragon. Miss Honey then motioned for Matilda to climb up in her lap as the young brown haired girl eagerly obliged as she pushed up the sleeves to one of the woman’s old T-shirts that nearly went down to Matilda’s knees. After snuggling up close to her teacher Matilda began to read out loud with ease, never stumbling over any difficult words until she could barely keep her eyes open. Miss Honey finished reading the chapter for her as Matilda closed her eyes and rested her head on Miss Honey’s chest as she listened to the woman’s voice lulling her to sleep.

 

“I wish you were my mommy.” Matilda muttered before losing consciousness. Miss Honey stopped reading in surprise and looked down to find the young girl fast asleep. She smiled and set the book down as she lightly stroked Matilda’s back.

 

“I wish I was your mommy too.” She replied.

 

 

                                                                                                                     Chapter 3

 

 

There was just no way she could make this happen she thought as drew up a document of her monthly finances and bills. She could barely support herself on her income. How could she support a small child? Not to mention she’d need to get her a private tutor. Miss Honey sighed before switching off her monitor and joining the girl in her bed who appeared dead to the world. She smiled as watched the girls deep even breathing for a few moments before flicking off the light on her nightstand.

 

It was a nice thought, but it could never work on her current income. Who's to say her parents would even just hand her over to her just because she asked?  Them supporting her while living here would probably be too much to ask for as well. How would she even start that conversation? Hi, remember me? Since you don’t seem to want Matilda, can I have her? There’s just no way she thought until she felt a pair of tiny arms wrap around her waist as a small body huddled up resting it’s head on her stomach. I’ll find a way, Miss Honey thought to herself while running her fingers through the young girls thick brown hair as the pair slept peacefully through the night.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Miss Honey was the first to awaken Wednesday morning in the darkened room. She squinted her eyes at the digital alarm clock which read 6:08 AM. Just a few more minutes, she thought taking notice of the sleeping girl cuddled up against her chest. She could be yours, the voice inside Miss Honey’s head told her as she lightly rubbed the girls shoulder. Can she really? Miss Honey thought as the girl began to slightly stir.

 

“Time to wake up, Matilda,” Miss Honey whispered as the girl slowly opened her brown eyes before searching the room in confusion until finally they met with the woman’s kind smile. “Did you sleep well?” She asked as Matilda nodded her head in response as Miss Honey began lightly stroking the back of the girls head.  Suddenly Matilda’s eyes went wide as the color drained from her young face causing Miss Honey to retract her hand. Was she uncomfortable with this much affection? The woman tried to best to read the startled features on the young girls face, but came up with a blank. It was almost as if she looked...afraid? “Honey, what’s wrong?” She asked growing concerned once Matilda’s eyes had quickly begun to fill with tears. Suddenly the girl  ducked into the covers before pulling them up over her head as she curled into a ball sobbing.

 

“Matilda, please come out.” Miss Honey said worried. Did she do something wrong? Did she somehow hurt her? Why are the lights flickering? The bed is...shaking. An earthquake!

 

“I-I can’t.” The woman heard coming from underneath the covers.

 

“Why not?” Miss Honey asked, but received no reply. “Would you come out if I made...french toast?” Nothing. “Pancakes?” Still nothing. “You’ll have to come out if you want to go to school.” Miss Honey said smiling at finally seeing movement underneath the covers as a small tear streaked face popped out. “What’s got you so upset this morning? Are you scared of earthquakes?” She asked as Matilda shook her head. “The only time I’ve seen you this upset was when you...oh.” Miss Honey said as she pulled back the blankets to confirm her suspicion.

 

“I-I’m sorry!” Matilda said as more tears fell down her face.

 

“Matilda, it’s ok.” Miss Honey said with a soft smile. “Look at me; it’s ok. It was just an accident.”

 

“I haven’t wet the bed since I was three.” Matilda mumbled looking back down.

 

“How about I run a bath for you, and we forget this happened? Just like yesterday,” Miss Honey said as Matilda nodded her head as her teacher lead her into the bathroom to run the bath. Matilda stood awkwardly in the corner gripping the bottom of the now wet T-shirt as she watched Miss Honey fill up the tub for her. “Go ahead and get in and I’ll bring you your clothes and a towel.” She said. “Just go ahead and throw the shirt on the ground, and I’ll wash it later with the bedding.” Matilda nodded again and undressed before tentatively sticking her foot in the water to check the temperature before slowly lowering herself in the tub.

 

I can’t believe I peed in Miss Honey’s bed, Matilda thought as she breathed a heavy sigh. That’s three times in one day! She’s never going to let me stay over again. Matilda let herself sink lower into the water as she imagined her teacher telling the entire class what she had done. What if she puts me in the chokey as punishment?

 

Once Matilda was settled in Miss Honey walked to the back of her cottage where she stored her washer and dryer. After collecting the girls now clean clothes from the previous day and a towel Miss Honey stood in front of the open bathroom door studying the girls worried expression as she sat motionless in the tub. Poor thing, she thought before making her presence known.

 

“You look so down.” Miss Honey commented as she sat on the closed toilet seat lid. “I enjoyed getting to read with you last night.” She said after a moment of silence.

 

“I enjoyed it too.” Matilda said while finally meeting the woman’s gaze. “I’m sorry about your bed. You’re probably never going to let me come over again.” She said sadly.

 

“Matilda, it’s normal for kids your age to occasionally have accidents; these things happen. Haven’t you ever read that?”

 

“I did, but it’s not normal for me.”

 

“Have you been stressed more lately?” Miss Honey asked as she began digging through the  bottom cupboards  underneath the sink and produced a large plastic cup with a nearly completely faded design.

 

“I guess being put in the chokey was pretty scary.” Matilda admitted.

“It would scare me too.” Miss Honey agreed as she dunked the cup into the water and poured it over the girls’ head. “I don’t like being in tight spaces. Miss Trunchbull used to lock me in the closet for hours as punishment. Ever since I can’t handle feeling trapped.”

 

“Were you scared yesterday in the closet?” Matilda asked as Miss Honey nodded.

 

“I was, but you were there with me so it wasn’t too bad.” Miss Honey said splashing the girl in the face.

 

“Hey!” Matilda said giggling.

 

“You’re always welcome here, Matilda; bedwetter or not.” Miss Honey said with a smile as the light returned in the girls eyes.

 

“Really?” Matilda asked.

 

“Really.” Miss Honey answered. “As long as it’s okay with your parents of course. I can’t just kidnap you, but whenever you feel like staying over you’re more than welcome. “Now, think you can hand me that shampoo bottle over there? It’s the white one in the corner.”

 

“Sure.” Matilda said as she stretched out her hand. Suddenly the white bottle began to shake before it slowly rose in the air by itself and floated gently into the girls outstretched hand.  Matilda stared at the bottle in utter shock before slowly meeting the woman's equally stunned gaze as the two sat in silence trying to process what just happened. 

 

 

                                                                                                                       Chapter 4

 

Matilda sat alone in her room among the pile of borrowed library books thinking about the past two days. It seemed no matter how hard she tried, her thoughts kept drifting back to her afternoon in the Chokey. The feeling of being trapped inside that tiny little space made her chest tighten in anxiety. She closed her eyes, while taking a few deep breaths as she leaned back on top of her bed. It was bad enough she had had an accident then, but to follow it up by being put in a diaper by Ms. Honey. She shivered at the thought. Then she got them both locked in a closet for several hours where she ended up wetting the diaper, and poor Ms. Honey, she thought. It must feel so much worse for an adult to have an accident. To top the whole day off, she just had to go and wet the bed!

 

“Ugh” Matilda moaned softly. Other than that though; it had been so... nice. Never before had she felt so cared for than she had in that 24 hour period. She smiled as she remembered the feeling of Miss Honey’s warm arms wrapped around her.  When was the last time her own mother ever made her feel like that? Had she ever? No, definitely not. She had never held her or read with her, or even... said she loved her. How many perfect scores on tests had she shown her in hopes of earning some kind of praise only to be told, “that’s nice” or “I’m on the phone”.

 

The way Ms. Honey had held her though. It had made her feel like she was actually...wanted. She probably does that with all her students though; It’s not like she was anything special. So what if she could read at a higher level or do a few math problems. She probably does that all the time.

 

“I hope she lets me come over again sometime.” Matilda mumbled wrapping her arms around her pillow pretending it was her teacher’s soft stomach as she remembered the lovely feeling of having her hair played with. Would she ever let her over again, she wondered. It wasn’t just the bedwetting that was the problem now after all. Matilda had actually scared her teacher.  She grimaced as she remembered the look Ms. Honey had given her after the bath tub incident. It was a look of pure fear. “She probably thinks I’m some kind of freak now; that’s definitely why she wants to meet with my parents alone tonight.”

 

She had had this inexplicable feeling for days now that something...strange was going on with her and just the other day wasn’t she trying to move cereal around? To think that it actually happened though. It wasn’t just her imagination; it really happened! She was elated when she had gotten over the initial shock, until she saw the look on her teachers face however.

 

The two had walked to school that morning in complete silence, leaving Matilda to wonder if she had done something wrong. She hadn’t meant to make the shampoo bottle move on its own, it just sort of happened. She went to reach for it, but it came to her instead. The feeling of guilt intensified when Ms. Honey forbid her to tell anyone what had happened that morning; even Lavender.

 

She felt kind of bad ignoring her friend all day in favor of daydreaming or looking over at Ms. Honey for some sign that she wasn’t in trouble. If only she’d smile gently at me like she usually does, she thought unaware her teacher was lost in her own thoughts. Matilda had been so distracted that day that she hadn’t even finished all of her special school work like she usually did and was forced to take it home as homework on top of her usual reading assignments. Pre-Algebra and intro to chemistry just didn’t hold her interest like usual.

 

When Matilda heard the doorbell ring, she sprang to her feet and dashed to the end of the hall peeking her head around the corner so as not to be seen. She could hear her parents grumbling about their show being interrupted as an unhappy Harry Wormwood opened the door to find one of his least favorite people standing in the doorway.

 

“What do you want?” Harry barked.

 

“Mr. Wormwood.” Miss Honey said trying to stand up as straight as she could under the intimidating man’s glare. “I’d like to talk to you about the possibility of adopting your daughter.”

 

 

                                                                                                                               Chapter 5

The twenty-three year old dirty blond haired woman sighed and bit at the inside of her cheek as she asked herself for what felt like the millionth time how she was going to make this work. It would help if her aunt didn’t take most of her paycheck, but the fact of the matter was, she did. Nearly all of it. She told herself, as she had told herself many many times, it was the only way she could get this job.

 

The Trunchbull had gotten her way, as she always had by terrorizing the girl growing up, and had prevented the woman from attending college, even though it was Miss. Honey’s dream to become a teacher. She was lucky in the sense that the Trunchbull didn’t care if the teachers she hired had proper teaching credentials or not, as the children’s well being was not her first priority- or any priority.

 

Cranham Hall had an extremely high turnover rate for teachers, as it was widely known the Trunchbull would simply fire anyone right before hitting tenure, if they could even last that long. Most simply gave up mid year. As far as Miss Honey was concerned, they’d never had a teacher last more than a few years before they’d crack under the terror of the Trunchbull. So whether it was desperation, or the Dictator like Principal simply wished to continue tormenting her niece by keeping tight reigns on her, she offered Miss Honey a teaching job, under a signed contract that 75% of her wages went directly in the Trunchbull’s pocket. For “Back payment of raising her,” the woman had said.

 

“It’s not like she could teach anywhere else without a degree,” She had told herself many times and even though she took home less than a part-time minimum wage job, she was happy….sort of. At least she was making progress. It had taken years of saving to move out on her own into her shack of a cottage, but she was finally free! - sort of.  Money wasn’t everything after all, but now that she was considering expanding her one person family- it was certainly becoming a bigger and bigger problem. A problem so big in fact, she was about to face her biggest fear of all- her aunt.

 

Her legs trembled at the thought as she tried to take deep even breathing to calm herself down. She wouldn't ask for much, perhaps make it a 50/50 deal instead of 25/75. That was reasonable, right? And that was how she had ended up in front of the headmistresses door, her legs were shaking, she felt like she was going to be sick, but it had to be done- for Matilda.

 

“What do you want?” Trunchbull yelled from the other side of the closed door  ten minutes later once Jennifer Honey had managed to find the courage, somehow, to knock on the door.

 

“M-Ms. Trunchbull...It’s..-It’s me.” The woman choked out, fear evident in her voice- just the way Ms. Trunchbull liked it. “C-can I come in?” She asked after receiving no reply.

 

“Whatever.” She finally heard before pausing to calm her nerves, and gently pushing open the door with a creak. “Well, what is it? I don’t have all day!” The Trunchbull barked after seeing no effort on Miss Honey’s part to begin speaking first. A trait the Trunchbull had taught her very early in life. Do not speak without being spoken too- ever. That was the number one rule.

 

“I-i’ve been thinking of starting a family.” Miss Honey finally said trying her hardest to keep from buckling under the Trunchbull’s menacing glare.

 

“What? You actually found someone that would fuck you!?” The Trunchbull laughed in a disbelieving way as Miss Honey cringed at the sudden rise in her voice and coarse language. “You expect me to believe someone- no ANYONE, wants to see your disgusting body. Don’t make me laugh!” She said taking her infamous riding crop and circling around the young trembling woman while looking her up and down. “With what breasts will you tempt him with?” She asked taking the end of her crop and circling around Miss Honey’s chest and poking at each meager lump underneath her shirt. “With what ass will you shake at him?” She suddenly cracked the whip against Miss Honey’s backside causing the woman to yelp in pain. “Or are you trying to marry for money perhaps?” The Trunchbull said forcefully taking the younger woman’s chin in her hand and forcing the terrified soul to look her in the eye. “ANSWER ME!”

 

“There is no man!” Miss Honey said anxiety gripping her core. This was a bad idea, this was a very bad idea.

 

“So then what are you planning, you conniving bitch! Trying to run away from me are you?!”

 

“N-No, Miss Trunchbull, I-I was thinking of..of adopting a child!” She stuttered out as the beast of a woman finally released her face. “O-one of my students actually.”

 

“Oh, and where do you plan to come up with that kind of money? Being a whore? It would suit you.” The Trunchbull sneered. Jennifer closed her eyes in order the hide the fear in them.

 

“I-I was hoping we could re-negotiate my contract...a little.”

 

“Why would you even want one of those disgusting little things?” The Trunchbull asked sitting down in her chair as her lip curled in disgust.

 

“This girl is...special, unlike anything i’ve ever seen. I just want to raise her in an environment where she would feel wanted and appreciated, most of all, loved.” Miss Honey said. “I was hoping maybe, I-I could keep a bit more of my salary so this could be possible.”

 

“I’ll give you 75%” The Trunchbull said so suddenly Miss Honey didn’t believe her ears. She could only stare at the woman blinking in confusion as the sudden understanding. Was she finally coming around? With 75% she could pull it off! “IF” Miss Trunchbull started to say with a wicked smile showing off her rotting teeth. “You can last the rest of the day in there.” She said as she pointed her riding crop at the Chokey.

 

Miss Honey’s face fell faster than a rock falling to the bottom of a pond. In there? There was no way...not anymore. It was the place that haunted many of her nightmares. The thought of stepping anywhere near that box of death made her lungs feel as though they were no longer doing their job. A cold sweat broke out over the woman’s skin as her eyes filled with tears.

 

“A-anything but that, please!” She begged backing away from the door as her past childhood trauma at the hands of aunt came crashing down on her.

 

“Since you obviously don’t want her, I take it you’ll have no problem with me expelling her, will you?” The Trunchbull grinned. “You’ll never see that brat again.”

 

“No! Please, No!” Miss Honey begged as tears fell from her face. “Don’t send her away!” Miss Honey cursed herself. Why did she have to be such a coward? Why couldn’t she be brave and stand up to her aunt? Matilda stood in there for hours yesterday because of her; so why couldn’t she do the same in return?

 

“What will it be? Get in the box or say good-bye to Wormwood.” She taunted grabbing Jennifer by her wrist. “Now doesn’t this bring back memories. Get in the closet or I’ll break your wrist...again.” She whispered pushing the struggling woman towards the chokey.

 

“I won’t fit!” Jennifer tried to counter attempting to become dead weight, but the menacing giant pulled her along as if she weighed nothing more than one of the children the Trunchbull bullied herself.

 

“Oh, I’ll make you fit, Jen. You’re still the little whiny, spineless coward you’ve always been. I think a little time in the Chokey will do you some good.” She said pulling open the door with one hand and tossing her in with ease. “A single peep out of you and you’ll never see the little brat again!” She said and with that, the door was slammed shut in Miss Honey’s face as bits of nails punctured her arms. She was indeed too big, but she managed to crouch down and pull herself in a ball in order to avoid any more superficial wounds from the doors “decorations.” The only question was how long she’d last.

 

She was beginning to hyperventilate and it had only been a few minutes.  The Trunchbull was right; she was nothing more than a coward who couldn’t stand up for herself or others. What would Matilda think if she saw her like this? She was crying like a punished child. Pull yourself together! Matilda went through this yesterday and was fine! Shooken up sure, but fine. She would be fine too. Deep breathes and keep your thoughts on something else.

 

Miss Honey distracted herself with thoughts of the heroines in books she had loved as a little girl. Books had always helped her through those long miserable days as the Trunchbulls “plaything.” How many hours had she locked herself in her bedroom reading as an escape from her deranged aunt? Jennifer had always dreamed of being brave like them, but in truth, she was as weak, timid and powerless now as she was back then.

 

Her goal was simply to be the kind of adult she wished she had in her life growing up. What she really wanted most of all, was to be that adult in Matilda’s life. From what she could tell, she deserved so much more than what her “family” had to offer. Matilda needed someone who could recognize just how special she really was- strange telekinetic powers and all.

 

Miss Honey smiled faintly in the darkness remembering the previous night. Matilda had indeed said she wished Miss Honey was her mom, and it had sent the woman's heart a flutter like nothing ever had before. She had greatly enjoyed getting to cuddle up in her favorite chair while holding her and just listening to her read until Matilda had fallen asleep in her arms. It was pure bliss and the ache in her heart longed for more.

 

Miss Honey had a lot of time while locked up to think about her second largest challenge. How would she convince the Wormwood’s to give her custody of their daughter? While not the most intelligent beings on the planet; they were certainly proud and marching to their house and accusing them of bad parenting sounded like a terrible idea. Another problem she encountered was how they viewed her. While clear they did not care for their daughter as a person; they might think of her as their “property.”

 

As terrible as the thought sounded, it was the only way Miss Honey could imagine winning custody. She would have to play their game. It sounded horrible to the woman and she cringed at the thought, but the more she thought about it, the more she realized it was the only way.  

 

“Oh, Matilda, please forgive me for what I’m going to say tonight.” She whispered. She was smart; she’d understand it was all an act.

 

                                                                                       Chapter 6

 

Matilda sat in her bed gripping her stuffed bear tightly. What was going on? Why was her teacher here at the house? The temptation to peek her head out of her room was quickly building up more and more. Her father had been in a bad mood when he got home from work, something about a raid on a warehouse and profit losses, but he may as well have been speaking an entirely different language. Matilda knew lots of things far above her age range’s capabilities, but her father’s business practices was an area she purposefully let herself be uneducated in. Some things she knew were best left unknown.

 

They had just sat down in front of the TV when there was a knock on the door. Whoever it was, Matilda had thought at the time, they in for an unpleasant surprise. There were two rules in the Wormwood house: Don’t interrupt Harry Wormwood when he was eating, and don’t interrupt Harry Wormwood when he’s watching Tv. This person had broken both those rules.

 

At first, he pretended he didn’t hear it and kept on eating his microwavable meal, but then the knocking began again. He snorted in annoyance with a, “I’m not getting that!” Matilda knew better than to answer the door as well. If Harry Wormwood didn’t get the door it meant no one was to either. When the knocking became more persistent, Harry Wormwood slammed his silverware down before pushing his tray away with enough force to knock it over.  The air had become tense. No one uttered a single word while Harry stormed over to the door muttering curse words under his breath the entire way.

 

The rest of the Wormwood family craned their necks to see who was brave or stupid enough, to come knocking on the door during dinnertime. Harry had sent the last door-to-door salesman running in a panic with a message to the others never to come back. When Matilda saw that it was her teacher, her heart sank. She was the last person she wanted to see treated poorly by her father.

 

“You again!?” He had shouted, before turning and glaring daggers into his daughter. It was her teacher; therefore, it must be her fault Harry’s logic told him. “Room. Now!” And that was how she had ended up here in her room, worried out of her mind for the one person who had ever shown her kindness. Her curious mind couldn’t take it anymore. She slid out of her bed and hurried over to her door. She quietly as she could pulled it open and cringed at the loud groaning sound it made. She stood in place terrified as she wondered if anyone else heard that. After a minute or two of no one storming down the hall to punish her for trying to eavesdrop, she let out her held breathe and tried to focus on what was being said. Try as she might though, she couldn’t make out a thing.

 

She had to get closer, she thought. She slipped out her open door and as quietly as she could tiptoed down the hall. Matilda stopped at the edge of the hall right before she knew she could be spotted. She held her breath as she strained to listen.

                                  …………………………………………

 

“Mr. Wormwood, did you know it cost 35,000 pounds a year to raise a child?” Miss Honey said. She was anxious and sweating. She was about to pull off the biggest bluff she could think off, in other words, she was lying through her teeth. She had no idea what it cost to raise a child, but if she had to guess, it was more around 10,000 a year. It was still 10,000 more pounds a year than she had. She was so relieved when Mr. Wormwood had told Matilda to go to her room so she wouldn’t have to say this in front of her. She’d look like an idiot. 

 

The first thing she had done was butter him up. She complimented his house, his wife, his business sense, and it had taken all her acting skills to do so, but also his intelligence. She had wanted to gag when she said those things, but it had served its purpose. Suddenly she went from unwanted intruder to guest of honor. She hated everything about what she was doing, but she had no choice. She had to play these people’s games.

 

Mr. Wormwood’s smug smile faltered as he stared at her with a look of utter horror on his face. She could see the gears moving behind his eyes as he tried to do the math in his head. If she weren’t so nervous she would have surely let out a chuckle at how comical he looked. His face reddened like a frustrated child about to throw a tantrum over a simple math problem. “But I have two!” He finally blurted out before clenching his jaw.

 

“Did you know that girls cost almost twice as much as boys?” She lied again. “We are materialistic beings: clothing, accessories, make-up, jewelry.” If he had half a brain he would have noticed Matilda was not that type of girl, but fortunately for Miss Honey all Harry could see were the dollar signs flying out of his pocket.  He looked to his wife as she simply shrugged. It was true for her, so why wouldn’t it be true for the little runt as well.

 

“I can’t afford two of you!” He barked. “Just last week she spent almost 125 pounds on hair products!”

 

“Well, sow-rry, but my hair gets all frizzy when I use that cheap stuff.” Mrs. Wormwood complained twisting her long blonde locks in between her fingers.

 

“I could lose my business!” He said. Miss Honey smiled on the inside. This is exactly what she had hoped would happen. Clearly their finances were more important to them than their children. Just one final jab into his pride.

 

“What would the neighbors think of that?” Miss Honey said trying to sound as casual as possible. “It’s too bad you decided to have more than one kid. I could see you starting the next Vauxwell Motors.”  She watched his face turn bright red. She wasn’t sure if he was about to yell and scream or simply internally combust. Finally he let out a defeated sigh. “You know, it might still be possible.” She said. He looked up at her, eyes begging for a solution. “Your son, he seems like such a good boy, a spitting image of you in fact. You could put him to work and together you could make that dream possible.”

 

“Yes, you’re right. He is a spitting image of me, and if he’s anything like me, you know he’ll be great!” He said. Miss Honey nodded her head as she felt a little bit of her lunch coming back up.

 

“Just think, Wormwood and Son, 1,000 car lot right off the highway where everyone could see your name.” His eyes shone brightly as he saw the dollar signs. Maybe he could even afford a commercial! “But Matilda…” Miss Honey said with a grimace. “As her teacher, I can honestly say, she doesn’t have what it takes.”

 

“That runt is a burden to us all. I hardly believe that’s my own flesh and blood. I think there was a mistake at the hospital.” He scoffed.

 

“What if I told you I had a plan that would save you 15,000 pounds a year and take away the burden of having someone like her in your family?” On the outside, Miss Honey remained calm and collected, but on the inside she wanted to scream. How could she say those things about her? Where was this manipulative lying side coming from? If her father could see her he would be ashamed. “You could sure make quite the investment into your business with an extra 15,000 pounds a year.”

 

“Yes, yes I could!”

 

“What if, for a measly 850 pounds a month, I raised her for you. I could turn her into a proper Wormwood for you.”

 

“And you can’t do that at that school I’m sending her to?” He asked suddenly becoming suspicious. “Why should I pay you?”

 

“She’ll be out of my class in less than a year. Then she’ll go to some other teacher that doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Not to mention, normally, it would cost closer to 3,000 pounds if she stayed here with you.” Miss Honey said. “Why should you bother to raise her if she’ll be no use to you?” She dug in her bag for the paperwork. This was it. All they had to do was sign this paper and she’d have a legal document agreeing that they would pay her child support. She wasn’t proud by any means of what she’d done, but once she had Matilda it wouldn’t matter.

 

“So if I sign this?” Harry asked looking over the document. She could see him stumbling over the larger words as he tried to make sense of the situation.

 

“Then she’s out of your hands and you’re one step closer to that empty lot by the highway.”

 

She said. Her hands shook as she bounced her knees in anticipation. She was bouncing her knees so much she was shaking the whole coffee table. Wait…that wasn’t from her, the whole house was shaking! The last time this happened…Oh no! Miss Honey looked up and saw Matilda standing in the hallway. Her expression was one of which Miss Honey had never seen on her before. Tears were streaking down her face, not of sadness but of rage. Suddenly Mrs. Wormwood screamed. Photo frames, dinner trays, and sharp silverware was flying around the room. Even their 75 lb television set was hovering off the ground.

 

“Ghosts!” Mrs. Wormwood shouted. “The ghosts are back!” She stood on the couch screaming and using her arms to cover her head.  Did these people really believe in ghosts?

 

“Not again!” Harry shouted grabbing a broom as he swatted at the flying silverware. So they didn’t know about Matilda’s powers. She could use this to her advantage.

 

“Look!” Miss Honey shouted amongst the chaos. “Look at Matilda! She’s possessed!” Matilda’s eyes narrowed even more as everyone looked at her. The house shook even more violently and to confirm their fears, she lifted her hand and pointed it towards her father as a Tv dinner tray came from behind and smacked his bottom repeatedly. He swore loudly and as he begged for someone to help him.

 

“It really is her!” Mrs. Wormwood shouted. The house was utter chaos. The light bulbs shattered one by one along with the tv screen. Fashion magazines swarmed around Mrs. Wormwood as she screamed and batted them. Michael was cowering underneath the coffee table, large butt sticking out as a prime target. Another tray dinner tray swooped down and smacked him as he shot up howling only to hit his head on the table.

 

“Sign the paper and it will stop!” Miss Honey said amidst the chaos. “I will take her and banish the demons plaguing her!”

 

“Sign it, Harry!” Mrs. Wormwood shouted.

 

“Where’s a pen?” Mr. Wormwood shouted. A drawer off to the side began shaking violently and burst open as a pen shot out and stabbed into the coffee table just inches from his fingers. “She’s trying to stab me!” He shouted before tugging the pen out of the table and signing the paper. “OUT! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!”

 

Miss Honey grabbed the paper, grabbed Matilda’s hand and ran out the door as everything in the air fell to the ground. Now the only problem was calming her down.

 

“Matilda, I am so sorry you heard that! I didn’t mean a word I said! It was all a trick! It was-“ Miss Honey searched the young girls face for the rage and fury it so obviously shown earlier, but to her surprise, all that was there was a mischievous smile.

 

“I know it was.” Matilda said calmly.

 

“You…you mean you’re not mad?”

 

“You’re not the only one who can act. My father is stupid, but he would eventually figure out it was a trick. I needed to improvise to make him afraid. You played well on his pride and love of money, but the one thing that drives him even more is fear.” Matilda explained.  Miss Honey stared at her in amazement. To think a six-year-old girl could process her surrounding that well. What surprised her even more was the suitcase and backpack she carried. Miss Honey hadn’t even noticed until just now.

 

“You’re packed?” She asked. “How did you pack so fast?”

 

“I had everything ready days ago.” She said with a smile. “I just knew you’d save me!” Matilda quickly latched on to the woman’s waist as they stopped walking. Miss Honey smiled widely as she bent down and held her new daughter in her arms.

 

“So how do you plan to rid me of my demons?” She asked with a giggle.

 

“I guess it’s something we’ll just have to figure out together.” 

 

                                                                                        Chapter 7

 

“Matilda, please come out.” Jennifer Honey said, trying to coax the small child out from under the blankets. The lump ever so slowly began to move forward until a small face emerged sporting a look of pure guilt. “It’s not your fault.”

 

“I’m so-“ she tried to say, but was cut off by a gentle finger pressing against her lips.

 

“You don’t have to apologize every time this happens. It’s okay, I promise. Why don’t you hop in the bath and let me take care of this? Leave your wet things in the hallway.” Matilda nodded her head and unpeeled herself from the covers before she made her way to the bathroom, head hung in defeat. At least the house didn’t shake this time, Jennifer thought to herself as she stripped the bed.

 

Maybe she should schedule her a doctor’s appointment. In the week that Matilda had come to live with her, this was the third time she had wet the bed. With Matilda swearing up and down this never usually happens, Jennifer was worried. Perhaps Algebra two was a little too advanced for the six year old. Or maybe it was their other training that was too much for her little body to handle. What would she tell the doctor? I think my newly adopted daughter, whose parents I convinced was worth less than a car dealership, is wetting the bed because of the physical strain of having telekinetic powers? Oh yeah, that’ll go over real well. They’d think I was nuts. Great job, Jenny, lose custody over her before the paperwork is even finalized.

 

It wasn’t like Matilda could use her powers on demand yet; although they had been having fun trying. The first night started with her attempting to levitate a piece of popcorn. Jennifer would throw it in the air and Matilda would try to manipulate it into her mouth. After a handful of failed attempts, they spent most of the evening just throwing popcorn at each other. It was great. They giggled, lost in an all out free for all, the purpose of the exercise completely forgotten. It wasn’t until Jennifer had launched a handful at Matilda’s face did they remember why they had started this in the first place. Instead of showering the young child in bits of popped kernels, they froze midair, suspended in place by invisible hands.

 

It was then they discovered emotions to be the driving force behind it. The lights had flickered on and off because she was afraid. The popcorn kernels hung in the air because she was happy, and the worst of all, the night Jennifer had taken Matilda from her home. She had been hurt. The way her parents had given her up without a fight, even if that’s what she had wanted, hurt her to the point of being able to manipulate a household full of objects. It was as clear as day to Jennifer now. Matilda had lied. She wasn’t acting that night, and if she was, it was only to reassure Jennifer she was ok with it. Maybe the reason for her bedwetting now was because she was hiding that hurt deep within herself. The thought tore Jennifer up inside; to the point she was tempted to see if she could move objects as well.

 

She wondered what she could do to help her. What could someone like plain and simple Jennifer Honey have to offer someone extraordinary like Matilda? An education? Jennifer spent more time learning from Matilda than Matilda learned from Jennifer. Money? Even with the money from her parents they would still be scraping to get by. Love? Yes, that was the one thing she could give her. Matilda had already stolen her heart long ago on that very first day. She’d shower her in the love and affection she had so obviously been lacking in. It was all she had to give her.

 

“Miss Honey! I forgot a towel!” Matilda’s voice rang from the bathroom, snapping her from her thoughts. She went to the cupboard to look for the biggest, and fluffiest one she could find, but all that was there were thin, old ratty things she had picked up from a garage sale more than ten years ago. Hmm, that was something they could do today. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and the swap meet would be in full swing.

 

“Here you go.” Jennifer said handing over the least torn up towel she had to the dripping wet and shivering child. “You know, it’s the weekend. You don’t have to call me Miss Honey at home.”

 

Matilda looked at her puzzled for a moment seemingly lost in thought. “What should I call you then?”

 

Deep down she wanted to hear the word, mom, but stopped when it was on the tip of her tongue. Too much too soon. “Jennifer’s fine.”

 

“I can’t call you by your first name.” Matilda said. “You’re my teacher!”

 

“Not at home I’m not, silly. Hmm, how about, Jenny?” She said, taking the towel from her and throwing it over her head.

 

Matilda giggled as her head popped out. “I guess that’s okay, but only here. It’s impolite to call a lady by her first name.”

 

“Whatever you’re comfortable with, but you still have to call me Miss Honey at school. Now what would you say to going over to the swap meet after breakfast? It’s a nice day out after all.” Jennifer suggested rubbing the towel over the girl’s head.

 

“That sounds fun!”

 

After a quick bite to eat of toast and tea, Jennifer pulled a mason jar of change out of the cupboard and examined it. She had maybe about ten pounds at the most saved up. She frowned slightly as she pulled out the highest denominations and put them her pocket. They’d have to be careful and only buy what they absolutely needed.

 

“Miss Honey, here.” Matilda said reaching out her fist. Jennifer opened her palm as Matilda deposited a wad of bills in her hand. Where in the world had she gotten this? There had to be at least 100 pounds if not more. “I saved my allowance.” Matilda said with a shrug.

 

“No, sweetie, this is yours.” Jennifer said trying to give it back, but Matilda just shook her head.

 

“Hold it for me then.” Jennifer sighed, but agreed. She should be supporting her, not the other way around! She couldn’t spend a little girl’s allowance! She’d sell all her books if she had to!

 

They walked out the front door and chatted about the book they had been reading together- an old warn out copy of a Charles Dickens novel Jennifer had picked up years ago at a second hand bookshop for fifty pence. Maybe if they still had the energy- and money- she could take Matilda there. She’d probably find it a lovely place to spend an afternoon browsing.

 

When they got onto the main road ten minutes after 9 am, the little town was in full swing with the nearby farmers market as bustling as ever. After they finished with the swap meet, she figured she should stop by on the way back and pick up a few groceries. She’d have to ask Matilda what she liked to eat.

 

Once they arrived, they got lost looking at all the little odds and ends people were selling in their stalls. Different kinds of music blared from various large boom boxes. A stall to their left sold every type of flower she could think of: lilies, tulips, roses, and daisy’s lined the white plastic table in ten gallon buckets. A tent to their right had dresses and blouses swinging from hooks in the gentle breeze. Food vendors were out setting up their sugary snacks on display sending scents of cinnamon wafting into the air.

 

She was curious about what kind of things Matilda was interested in. All she knew of was her love of academics. Even her packed suitcase and bags-which she said she had packed days prior- was nothing but necessities. Not a single toy. Did she even have interests outside of reading?  Jennifer kept a close eye on her as they walked through the stalls. The little girl browsed around, but nothing appeared to really keep her interest for long- until she came upon a beat up looking chess set. Her eyes shone as she opened it up and examined the pieces.

 

“Do you know how to play?” Jennifer asked.

 

“I’ve read about it, but I’ve never had any one to play with before.” Matilda admitted. “I had hoped there would be one in the classroom, but-“ She trailed off looking it over.

 

“Well, chess is a little advanced for a kindergarten class.” Jennifer said with a laugh.

 

“Would you play it with me?”

 

“Of course! I’d love to.” Matilda smiled wide and pulled a five-pound note out of her pocket. Just how much money did this girl have? If she hadn’t known her to be such a sweet and honest girl, Jennifer would have assumed she cleaned her parents out before she left. The elderly man smiled and handed her her change, as he looked her up and down.

 

“She yours?” He asked as Jennifer proudly nodded.

 

“Make sure she doesn’t eat the pieces.” He said. Jennifer frowned and looked to Matilda to gauge her reaction. She had almost expected her to be angry at being talked down to, but she just smiled and shook her head.

 

“I’m not very fond of the taste of wood, sir.” She replied before turning and searching through the other games he had. Jennifer stood at a distance glad to have found something she was interested in other than just books and schoolwork. Board games did seem like something she would be interested in. She wondered if he had any jigsaw puzzles they could do together in the kitchen, but a look to her left revealed Matilda was already one step ahead of her as usual.

 

“Margaret!” The old man shouted into his trailer. “If I sold all the games here for two pounds each, and subtracted the seven percent the lot gets, what would my profit be?”

 

“I don’t know! I’m not a calculator!” A woman’s voice shouted back. The man grumbled under his breath and reached for a pen from his pocket along with a dirty napkin. He sat hunched over scribbling number down.

 

 

“We’d make fifty nine pounds and 34 pence if we sold everything!” He shouted back a few minutes later.

 

“Your math is off.” Matilda said without looking up from the instructions on the back of the game. “You need to take your number of board games, multiply it by two, which gives you 72 pounds, and then multiply that by .07. That gives you five pounds and four pence. Now subtract that from your 72 pounds and you end up with a total of 66. 96 pounds.” The man blinked in surprise for a moment before a wide grin spread across his face.

 

“Cute.” He said, before yelling inside for a calculator. A few moments later, the woman named Margaret appeared with calculator in hand and passed it off to him, before she returned to the sanctuary of the trailer. Miss Honey watched him curiously for a moment as he punched in numbers from his napkin. He remained still staring at it, before erasing it and starting over. “What did she say her answer was?” He asked after a moment of silence.

 

“66.96 I believe.” Jennifer said, a smile spreading across her lips at his shocked expression. She knew that look. It was the exact same look she had worn the first time she had experienced Matilda’s calculations.

“Here you go, six pounds for these.” Matilda said, handing him the money as she held up the puzzles she had picked out. He stared at her blankly for a moment, before thanking her and accepting the money.

 

“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure she doesn’t eat those pieces either.” Jennifer said as they continued on. 

 

                                                                                                                                Chapter 8

Matilda tossed and turned in her sleep. The dream had started off so pleasant. She was just about to be crowned England’s youngest chess Grandmaster. Miss Honey was there with a bouquet of flowers for her, and the audience was cheering. She heard a voice bellow from the audience, “That’s my daughter!” and “That’s my little girl!” She followed the sound until she locked eyes with her mother beaming up at her- an expression she had never received from her before. Matilda felt a rush of happiness and relief rush over her and then… everything changed.

 

The audience gasped. She looked down at herself to see her bare legs damp with pee. Her dress was ruined. The cheers turned to cries of disgust. The expression on her mothers face became one she was all too familiar with, repulsion and indifference. 

 

“See, this is exactly why we sent you away!” Harry Wormwood yelled. “Disgusting, get her out of my sight! You’re a Wormwood it’s time you started acting like one!” 

 

Matilda felt a giant hand clamp around her arm. She let out a wail of pain as the Trunchbull dragged her off stage and onto a different one. She was thrust into a chair facing the other children in the school. There, sitting on a table was a giant chocolate cake. No! This wasn’t her punishment! This hadn’t happened to her! She was in the audience! Her only punishment had been…

 

Then she found herself standing alone, wet and cold, staring at the nails in the walls mere inches from her face. If she dared move even a muscle she would be met with the sharp pain of  rusty metal cutting into her skin. Even worse, she could get tetanus! She had read about that in a book and it sounded awful! 

 

A small panel opened and eyes peered down at her. She had expected the Trunchbull, but instead they were Miss Honey’s. 

 

“Please let me out!” Matilda begged. 

 

“I’m disappointed in you, Matilda.” 


 

“Wake up, Matilda.” 

 

“I’m sorry!” The small child moaned in her sleep and shivered from the damp bedding. A gentle hand touched the top of her head. Her eyes sprung open and she examined her surroundings. She slowly sat up and looked around the small apartments one bedroom. Various items that had once been on the nightstand were now scattered across the floor. A mirror that had once hung on the wall now spread shards of glass on the carpet. “Was there an earthquake?”

 

“N-not quite.” 

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Stress.” the doctor said after a moment as Matilda pumped her legs that dangled off the exam room table. 

 

“That’s it?” Miss Honey asked. “Are you sure? She really hasn’t been herself lately.”

 

“How so?” 

 

“Well, she’s been acting sort of...well...childish.” Miss Honey said. The doctor raised an eyebrow as he looked at the small six- year- old girl sitting on the table, and then back to Miss Honey. “I mean she’s normally very mature, but she’s started,” She dropped her voice to a whisper, but Matilda could still hear the word “accidents.” “I mean, it’s not a big deal or anything, but I just want to make sure there isn’t some kind of underlying issue.”

 

“I could check her blood sugar, make sure we’re not dealing with juvenile diabetes. Excessive urination can be a symptom.”

 

“Please, but it’s not just that it's, well, how do I put this? Things have been… flying around the room when she gets upset.” 

 

“Flying around the room?” The dr. looked at the woman doubtfully. Miss Honey locked eyes with Matilda, whose expression was one of horror as she shook her head. “You mean she’s getting upset and throwing things?”

 

“Y-yes, like that.” Miss Honey said. 

 

“So she’s been throwing tantrums and you’re concerned because it seems out of the ordinary for her?”

 

“Yes!” Miss Honey exclaimed as Matilda scowled. She was not throwing tantrums, Matilda thought until she remembered last night. 

 

Miss Honey had brought up the idea of wearing diapers to bed. Logically it made sense! It shouldn’t have been such an issue, but instead of thinking things through like she usually did, she had resisted the idea and it had led to their very first fight. Not even a fight, but a disagreement...at least until the unknown pressure inside her had become so unbearable she had thrown it out and the invisible force smashed the bedroom mirror to bits. She couldn’t play dumb with her arms outstretched like some kind of cartoon superhero mid attack as glass exploded around the room. 

 

Matilda sighed. She knew she needed to apologize, even if she didn’t quite understand how she had made the mirror blow up. 

 

Matilda tried her best to tune out their conversation, even if it was about her. The pressure in her chest and behind her eyes was beginning to bother her and if she didn’t get it under wraps, she would unintentionally demonstrate what Miss Honey was talking about. She tried to think about Miss Honey’s promise that afterwards they’d go to the museum together. They were having a special exhibit today on ancient civilization. She had always wanted to go. It was huge! Three stories and there was a massive hedge maze in the back. She had tried on several occasions to go, but they never let her in without an adult. Even that though quickly lost its grounding ability after listening to the two of them go back and forth.

 

“May I be excused? I need to use the restroom.” 

 

“Yes, of course. I need something from you though.” The doctor said. 

 

Matilda hopped down from the table and was handed a specimen cup. She examined it. She knew what it was for from reading about medical tests, but she had never had to herself. She couldn’t even remember when the last time she was in a doctor’s office. Had her parents ever taken her at all? 

 

“Am I current on all my vaccinations?” Matilda asked. Legally, she would have had to be for school, but she had a sinking suspicion Crunchem Hall wasn’t very particular about following the laws. Hadn’t she seen a girl in her class get thrown over a fence by her hair on the first day? Bruce Bogtrotter would agree “normal” wasn’t in their schools vocabulary. 

 

The doctor let out a patronizing chuckle. “Can’t say I’ve ever heard a little girl ask me if she was getting a shot that way before. Why don’t you let the adults discuss that?”

 

“Please, I’m-” Matilda started to say, but was cut off. 

 

“Now I know shots can be scary, but it’s not as bad as you're imagining.” 

 

“I want-”

 

“Now run along and go potty, or do you need your mommy’s help with that?” He gestured to the cup in her hands. 

 

The pressure in her eyes was too much to take. Behind the doctor, the wastepaper basket began to levitate. 

 

Miss Honey let out a gasp. “Yes, I think I’ll go help her!” 

 

Matilda felt a larger hand begin to pull on hers, and the trash can fell back to the ground with a loud thunk. The doctor swiveled around in his chair searching for the noise as Matilda let Miss Honey lead her to the bathroom.

 

Once there, Miss Honey watched with a mixed feeling of apprehension and wonder as bits of paper towel floated around the family style bathroom. Matilda on the other hand, seemed hardly to notice. She stood as still as a statue, staring transfixed at the trashcan as garbage continued to rise. After about a minute, everything fell to the floor leaving the bathroom covered in trash. 

Matilda let out a relieved sigh and rubbed at her eyes. 

 

“Matilda.” Miss Honey said, a bit of apprehension in her voice. The young girl looked up upon hearing her name. “What’s going on? How long has this been happening?” 

 

Matilda thought about it. “Well, I guess it started when I accidentally blew up my dad’s tv, but i’m still not sure. I can’t control it or anything. I get this burning in my eyes and I feel like I’ll blow up if I don’t get it out. I’m really sorry about the mirror, Miss Honey. I wasn’t trying to break it, I had to get the pressure out before it broke me!” She blurted out without stopping. She hadn’t realized her eyes had begun to water and sting, but this time for a more mundane reason. “Please don’t send me back!”

 

“Matilda, I would never send you back, sweetie. You are the most extraordinary and brightest child i’ve ever met. You are wonderful, and special. I’m sorry your family never recognized you for what you truly are. Maybe the doctor’s right and you are just under a lot of stress right now. Sometimes I forget you’re only six-years-old. You may have the mind of someone far beyond your age, but your body is still growing.”

 

“I was embarrassed and. . . I lost control of it.” Matilda tried to explain. “I think I need more practice.”

 

“Well,” Miss Honey said looking around the room. “I guess we can start by cleaning up in here.” Matilda took in the room for the first time and cringed. There were paper towels everywhere! One was even dangling from a vent in the ceiling! Not only that but the faucet had turned itself on. She pointed at the nearest piece of trash and concentrated and then… nothing happened. She pointed again and again trying with all her might, but the most she could get to happen was turning over a crumpled up wad on its side. 

 

“Where are you when I need you?” Matilda said. Resigned to her fate of manual labor, Matilda used her foot to sweep everything into a pile and Miss Honey picked it up and put it back in the trash. Matilda looked up at the vent. How were they going to get that down?

 

“Do you want help with that?” Miss Honey asked quietly. 

 

“I guess, but how?” Matilda said, still looking up.

 

“Well, you sit on the toilet and lift your gown up and i’ll hold the cup so you don’t drop it.”

 

“Wha-” Matilda started to ask until she saw Miss Honey holding the specimen jar. Matilda’s face grew a shade of pink. “I can do it myself. I’ll meet you outside.” 

 

“Are you sure, it can be tricky with small hands.”

 

“No, thank you. I’ll be fine.” 

 

She waited until Miss Honey left, before reading the directions on the label and sat on the toilet. Why in the world would she think I needed help with this, she thought to herself. She lifted the gown and bent over, but she couldn’t see where to position the cup. All she could see was the gown no matter where she bunched it up. Some genius she was if she couldn’t even pee in a cup by herself. Resigned to doing it by feel, she blindly stuck the cup under her and relaxed. She could hear it splash in the bowl below. This wasn’t right. She moved her arm around under her until she heard a different sound and felt the warm liquid begin to fill from the outside. 

 

There, no problem. She had this. She. . . 

 

. . . . . 

 

“Matilda?” Miss Honey asked, seeing the young girl come out with her head hung low. 

 

“I dropped it in the toilet.” 

 

…..

 

They had made her drink eight cups of water. She felt so full by the time she downed the last one. She looked down at both her arms now covered in bandages and felt relieved. Sure the shots had stung, but the momentary discomfort was nothing in comparison to catching a preventable disease. She had been right to be concerned. She hadn’t been vaccinated since she was a baby. So it had been one shot. One cup of water. Another shot. Another cup of water. 

 

“I know Diphtheria isn’t very common here as its mostly found in Asia and developing middle eastern countries, but a virus that creates a toxin that can destroy the nose and throat, before leading to paralysis and death doesn’t sound pleasant. It’s still nothing compared to Polio though. Miss Honey, did you know that 1 in 200 people that had Polio ended up paralyzed?” Matilda rattled on. 

 

The doctor chuckled politely, as she spouted out different dates, until she had come to the M.M.R. vaccine. That date he did know off the top of his head. It was 1971 and as she confidently repeated it, he stopped in his tracks and stared at her as if he was noticing her for the first time. He had assumed she was pretending to know as children sometimes did in order to appear more knowledgeable than they really were. 

 

“That’s right.” he said as he knit his eyebrows together. He wanted to assume it was a lucky guess, but that didn’t seem right. “Do you know what M.M.R stands for?”

 

“Mealels, mumps, and rubella, they each had their own separate vaccinations in the late sixties, but they didn’t put them together until early 70’s.” Matilda said. 

 

“Where did you learn that?” 

 

“A library book about contagious diseases. It was really interesting, but I skipped over the pictures, especially when it came to the bubonic plague.” 

 

“I don’t blame you. That medical book, you read it or did someone read it to you?”

 

“I read it.”

 

“And you understood it?” 

 

“Yeah, I wash my hands a lot more now.” 

 

“You said you were six, correct? How long have you been able to read adult books?”

 

Matilda shrugged and thought about it. “Well, my parents left me home alone since I was three, and it was really boring so I’d walk down the library everyday since it was just a couple blocks. The children’s books stopped being all that interesting pretty fast, so I guess since I was four?”

 

“Wait, what?” The doctor asked alarmed. He looked up at Miss Honey. “She’s been left unsupervised since she was three?” He gave her an accusing look.

 

“Yes, that’s why she’s in my care now. She is a student in the class I teach and I started noticing signs of severe neglect. When I asked her parents about it, they signed over custody to me. I’m just waiting on the courts to make me her legal guardian.” Miss Honey explained. 

 

The doctor relaxed a little. “You must be a very kind person to take her in. Most would just report them and move on with their lives.”

 

“Matilda is a very special girl. She’s not like other children her age. I asked my kindergarten class as a joke to multiply a large sum, and she knew the answer right away. I thought she was kidding until I worked it out with a pencil and paper.” 

 

“I’m starting to understand your concerns a little better, but I stand by my earlier assessment. I think it’s just stress. It can affect the body in strange ways, especially small children. I must admit I am quite impressed with her knowledge and mental capabilities, but she is still just a child. If the urine test and blood work come out fine, my advice is give it time. This is a big change in her life, and she might just be having trouble adjusting emotionally. If the bed wetting becomes persistent, get a mattress protector and maybe some of those absorbent night underwear for kids.”

 

“No!” Matilda said, before cringing in embarrassment for interrupting. “I’m sorry, but please, no diapers. “I’m, I’m…” she started to say before pausing to get her thoughts in order. “I’ve really never had this problem before.”

 

“Well, I wouldn’t call them diapers.” The doctor said, but she shook her head. “Well, then I would suggest no liquids before bed, and if need be, set an alarm in the middle of the night to wake you up to use the bathroom.” 

 

Matilda frowned. Why hadn’t she thought of that? 

 

“That’s a thought.” Miss Honey agreed. “Let’s do that then.”

 

“You ready to try this again?” The doctor asked, handing Matilda another specimen cup. “Please take this nice woman to help you this time.” 

 

“You, you really don’t need to help me.” Matilda mumbled. “It’s kind of embarrassing. You’re my teacher.” 

 

Miss Honey frowned, feeling a little hurt. She thought they were more than teacher and student at this point. Is that all Matilda saw her as?

 

“Well, we can’t have you drop it again, what if one of my female nurses went with you?” the doctor asked.

 

Matilda shrugged. She’d rather do it herself, but she had blown that chance. Anything was better than accidentally peeing on Miss Honey’s hand or something. She might blow up the sink with her mind. She had read that viruses were spread via bodily fluids, and what if this sudden telekinetic thing was a symptom of some unknown illness? She couldn’t risk passing it on to her. 

 

Not Miss Honey. 

 

Anyone but Miss Honey.

 

The nurse would wear gloves at least. If she couldn’t do this by herself, this was the next best option. She gave her agreement, before giving her small hand a glare. “This is your fault.” she whispered at it as she followed a young black haired woman with glasses back into the bathroom.

 

“Go on and lift up your gown with both hands and spread your legs.” Matilda didn’t fight it when she felt herself get cleaned, it was weird but necessary with her hands occupied. “Now what you’re going to do is pee for a second to flush out anything, and then stop.”

 

Matilda stared over at the sink and relaxed. One second went by, and then two. No, no, no, no!!

 

“I can’t stop it!”

 

“No worries, it happens. It takes practice, as long as I can get enough in the cup. Good, just a little more, and... this should be enough. D-did the sink just turn on?” 

 

Oops, Matilda thought as the nurse stood back up with the half-full cup. 

 

“Go ahead and finish up here and meet us back in the room. Don’t forget to wash your hands in the haunted sink.” 

 

Matilda breathed a sigh of relief when she was alone. Embarrassment seemed to be the trigger for whatever made her lose control. She didn’t realize doctor appointments could be so...awkward. At least all the embarrassment for the day was over, she thought as she washed her hands, blissfully unaware that the day had only given a taste of what it had to offer. 

                                                                                       Chapter 9

 

As smart as Matilda was, there was one thing she didn’t fully grasp, and that was just how remarkable she really was. She didn’t know why adults sometimes gaped at her with glassy eyes, or why Miss Honey kept telling her she was special. She had never thought herself as special before. She had certainly never been told so by her family. She enjoyed reading and learning new things, but in her mind that didn’t really set her apart from anyone else her age. 

 

She didn’t feel any different than her friends, Lavender and Hortencia. They all loved pulling pranks on Miss Trunchbull, but if anything though, if anyone was a “genius” it was Hortencia. Matilda and Lavender were in awe of her when it came to her bravery and how far she was willing to go to pull one over on the Trunchbull. They looked up to her, as any pair of six year olds would look up to an 11 year old, with awe and reverence. When Hortencia had told the tale of how she had single handedly snuck into the Trunchbull's office and sprinkled every single one of her pair of gym shorts in itching powder, it had elevated her to god status in their young eyes. 

 

Once the doctor had left the room, Matilda changed back into her overalls, glad to be rid of the gown. She got her legs in fine by herself, but when it came time to hoist the straps up, she winced. Both her arms gave off a dull painful throb which she fought through as she tried to fasten the buckles. 

 

There was something that Miss Honey had said that had bothered her. She didn’t quite understand what she had meant by “she was usually so much more mature than other kids her age?” What did she mean she was being more childish than usual? Did Miss Honey expect her to act like an adult all the time? Matilda had a sinking feeling Miss Honey was putting her on a pedestal far higher than she deserved to be on. Matilda wondered if she meant childish because she needed help sometimes. 

 

“How are you feeling? Still up for the trip?” Miss Honey asked, before taking the loose strap of Matilda’s overalls and buckling them for her.

 

“Yes!” Matilda said and frowned as Miss Honey fastened her clothes for her. Was this childish? She had been enjoying having Miss Honey there, brushing her hair and tucking her into bed at night. It was a new experience for her, but was she not supposed to? Was that a childish thing to want help? Mom’s always did that sort of thing for their kids in books, but Matilda wondered if that’s why Miss Honey liked her, because she was “more mature”. Was she the exception to the rule because she was different? 

 

They walked in silence down a few blocks in the small village. Matilda stared questioningly at Miss Honey’s offered outstretched hand before they crossed the busy intersection. Was it some kind of test, she wondered to herself. Before she could make up her mind on what to do, Miss Honey had taken her hand and led her across. Matilda let out a small whimper as she let her arm be raised. She had only expected pain during the actual injection process, but not after. 

 

Once they stood in front of the large white multi-story building all thoughts of pain and childish actions were far behind her. Now she was the one who eagerly marched forward pulling Miss Honey by the hand. She was so excited to be here! The place was full of adults and children alike on a bustling Saturday afternoon. A banner hung on the entrance that read, “Come Meet our Award Winning Olympic Athletes! Today Only!” 

 

Matilda was fascinated by the displays. Each room had a different civilization. There was Rome, and Egypt, Incan, Persian, Ancient Greek, Chinese, Mayan and Mesopotamian. That was just a traveling display that came and set up one month a year before packing up and moving to another city. There was still the Museum's usual year around displays she had never gotten to see. There were paintings, and sculptures, and the Garden Maze in the back that drew flocks of families. She heard along the way there were hundreds of different types of plants to see. She had seen pictures in a book and it looked so beautiful. In the center of the maze was a huge gorgeous fountain.

 

“So what do you want to look at first?” Miss Honey asked. 

 

“You pick, I can’t decide!” Matilda admitted. 

 

“How about we start with Rome and work our way around?”

 

Matilda peered into various glass cases and read all about various inventions, and tools. There was a display about the founding of the Julian calendar she found fascinating. She hadn’t even realized nearly 30 minutes had gone by in the first room alone. She had been reading about the history of aqueducts when Miss Honey reminded her if they wanted to see everything she couldn’t stop and read every little plaque that had writing on it. 

 

They passed through Inca and Mayan territory, but Miss Honey had to practically drag her out of the Egyptian room. She would have stayed in there all day if given the chance. The mummies history, and the pyramids were so interesting that she hadn’t even flinched reading about the embalming process despite Miss Honey’s concerns about it giving her nightmares. After two-and-a-half hours they had finished all the civilization rooms.

 

Matilda was ready to jump straight into the paintings, but Miss Honey pulled her in a different direction. 

 

“How about we take a break for a bit?” Miss Honey said. Matilda noticed she looked moderately uncomfortable. She seemed to be looking around for something, spotted it and Matilda obediently followed until they came to a line for the Restroom. It was fairly crowded and by the time it was her turn, Matilda began to feel the effects of all the water she had drunk. There was just one problem though, she realized as she stepped into a stall and closed the door. She couldn’t raise her dominant arm past her chest. 

 

Matilda winced in pain as she tried and tried again to reach the straps of her overalls. 

 

“Matilda, are you okay?” Miss Honey asked from the other side of the stall door after a few minutes. “Do you need help?”

 

“N-no!” Matilda lied, sighing in defeat. Needing help getting undressed to use the restroom fell squarely in the childish category. She didn’t need to go bad anyway. She’d ask for help if it was an emergency, but for now she was fine. She kicked the plunger with her foot for show to flush the toilet and came out to wash her hands. 

 

“Ready for more?” Miss Honey asked and Matilda eagerly followed. She quickly forgot about her predicament for the next twenty minutes until she found herself shuffling from foot to foot. She stared at the paintings with less rapt attention and focus to detail. After another ten minutes she was no longer enjoying the paintings at all. She was about to admit defeat and ask Miss Honey for help when a familiar voice behind her called her name.

 

“Matilda! Miss Honey!” Matilda spun around to find her older, blonde friend Hortencia and her mom. 

 

“Oh, hello!” Miss Honey said as Hortencia made the introductions. 

 

“Be careful out back at the Olympics display.” Hortencia warned ominously. “The Trunchbulls here and in a foul mood.” 

 

“Why?” Matilda asked, her joy now turned to horror.

 

“Have you ever seen her in a good mood?” Hortencia shot back. 

 

“No, I mean why is she here?” Matilda asked, but the answer to her question came to her the moment she closed her mouth. “The Olympics display.” 

 

“Yeah.” Hortencia nodded before leaning in close and whispering in Matilda’s ear. “And because I put something in her drink.” She grabbed Matilda’s hand and slipped something inside of it. When she pulled back away, Matilda examined the laxative wrapper crushed in her fist. She nearly lost control of her bladder from laughing, only recovering once she crossed her legs and leaned forward. “You okay?” 

 

Matilda gave a side glance at Miss Honey, but she was busy talking to Hortencia’s mom to notice. “I need your help.” Matilda whispered. “Not here though.”  She waited for a break in the adults' conversation to ask as politely as she could if she could go show her friend something in the other room. 

 

“I’ll be right back!” Matilda reassured them both once she had gotten their consent and dragged Hortensia by the hand towards the restrooms. She froze in dismay as she read, “Closed for Cleaning.” 

 

“What, what did you want to show me?” Hortencia asked. 

 

“Nothing, I needed your help with my overalls. I can’t get them off and I need to pee.” 

 

“Why didn’t you just ask Miss Honey? Why do you need my help for?” 

 

“Because.  Besides it doesn’t matter, it’s closed.” Hortencia rolled her eyes. 

 

“That’s such a little kid problem. You little kids can't hold it for five minutes without peeing your pants. Fine there’s another one downstairs. I’ll take you.” Hortencia groaned acting like it was the biggest chore. 

 

“Thanks.” Matilda mumbled, shifting her weight from foot to foot. “I can’t lift my arms for some reason. ” 

 

“Why?” Hortencia asked as the two of them rode the escalator down. 

 

“Got a bunch of shots this morning and-”

 

“Tetanus, wasn’t it?” Hortencia nodded her head in understanding. “Had to get one after spending all day in the chokey. I came out with all these cuts and scrapes before Trunchbull let me out. I had to tell my parents I got cut from the metal in the jungle gym, but yeah, couldn’t lift my arm for a week.”

 

“So it’s normal?” Matilda asked.

 

“I guess.” 

 

“Where are you two going?” A voice rang out. They turned to see Miss Honey and Hortencia’s mom at the top of the escalator about to ride it down. 

 

“The bathroom!” Hortencia yelled back up. “Matilda needs help getting her pants off!” 

 

Matilda cringed. “Thanks.” she mumbled. She could feel the heat radiating off her face. “Tell the whole place why don’t you.” 

 

“I think I will.” Hortencia said with a grin. “She’s about to pee herself!” She yelled back up before letting out a laugh. “Lighten up, no one cares, you’re just a little kid after all!” 

 

Matilda was horrified and the worried expression on Miss Honey’s face didn’t help. Even worse, she could feel the pressure building behind her eyes. She rubbed at them as tried to get the sensation to go away. 

 

“Jeez, don’t cry I was only teasing you.” Hortencia said.

“I’m not crying, there’s something up with my eyes.” Matilda said. She stopped at the bottom of the escalator and blinked trying to get the sensation to go away. 

 

“Matilda! Are you okay?” Miss Honey said. Matilda could hear the worry in her voice without looking at her. She must have taken two steps at a time to get to her this fast.

 

“I’m fine, my friend is just picking on me.” Matilda said, plastering on a fake smile. Try as she might, she couldn’t stand still long enough for that sentence to ring true. 

 

“Are you going to lose control?” Miss Honey whispered in Matilda’s ear. Her face burned crimson.

 

“No! I don’t have to go that bad!” Matilda said. 

 

“I meant the other thing.” Miss Honey said. 

 

“Oh, umm, I- I don’t think so.” Matilda said, sounding unsure. The burning pressure was now worse thanks to the question and the realization that they were surrounded by precious and priceless artifacts was not lost on either of them. 

 

“Let’s go outside just in case.” Miss Honey said. 

 

“Can I use the restroom first?” Matilda asked, but she knew the answer to that question as soon as a poster fell off the wall behind them.

 

“Quickly! Let’s get you out of here!” Miss Honey scooped Matilda up and raced outside, leaving behind a confused Hortensia.

 

“Uh, see you at school!” She yelled after them. 

 

Miss Honey briskly walked outside only to find the courtyard packed from the Olympics display. There was nowhere for her to release the pent up energy without being spotted, and the last thing either of them wanted was to be caught by…

 

“Jen! Jen! What brings you by?” The Trunchbull asked. “Come to see me perform my famous hammer throw perhaps? Wait, what are you doing with the Wormwood brat?” The Large muscular woman sneered at Matilda, who hid her face in Miss Honey’s shoulder. No matter how brave she was with her friends, her natural instinct was to shrink in terror when caught face to face with the horrible beast. 

 

“Absolutely! I wouldn’t miss it! When’s the next demonstration?” Miss Honey asked, trying to appease the horrid women. 

 

“You didn’t answer my question. What are you doing out of school with the Wormwood brat?” 

“We came to see the exhibits, and-” Miss Honey’s words were cut off by a faint gurgling sound. Miss Trunchbull's face paled.

 

“What do I care what you do with the little vermin on the weekends?”  The Trunchbull said before storming away inside while holding her stomach. 

 

Miss Honey breathed a sigh of relief before spotting the maze. “Here!” She said, rushing inside around a few corners and into a dead end. She set Matilda down in front of a pile of leaves when they were sure they were alone. “Would that help, whatever it is to calm down?” Matilda nodded and stared fixated at the pile until it was as if a strong wind had entrapped itself in the corner of the hedge. Miss Honey watched the leaves swirl around for a few moments, until the small pocket of wind died down. 

 

Matilda now kneeled on the ground with her ankles crossed and hands holding herself. Using her powers had made her urge to pee so much worse. She suddenly felt very weak. She gasped as she felt a small trickle escape into her pants. No. No. No. Not while she was awake! Not in public. 

 

“Oh, Matilda, I didn’t know you needed to go this badly. ” Miss Honey said. She rested her hand on the small child's back.

 

“ I’m-I’m fine.” Matilda said, before standing up. She still shifted from foot to foot, but felt she could move on. She looked down at her pants alarmed at the tiny dime sized wet stain. She covered it quickly with her hands, but Miss Honey had already seen it.

 

“Why didn’t you tell me you couldn’t undue the clasps? I would have helped you.” Miss Honey said gently as they slowly made their way towards the center of the maze. There had been a sign for porta-potties along with an ominous sign. 

 

“Due to the recent cost of the dying plant life and flowers, please use the portable facilities located in several points along this maze.” 

A large red circle with a parent and small male stick figure peeing into the bush was crossed out with a big red line through it along with more text underneath. “Punishable by permanent ban and 250 pound fine.”

 

“Because it was a childish thing to need help with.” Matilda mumbled, as she shuffled along as fast as she could. “I can’t lift my arms from the shots.”

 

“Matilda, look at me.” Miss Honey said. Matilda kept moving but looked up. “I want you to rely on me, okay? I know you’re so used to having to take care of yourself you don’t know what it means to rely on others. But If you ever need anything, big or small, I want you to tell me, okay? I don’t want you to feel you have to do everything by yourself.”

 

Matilda nodded, too preoccupied on the situation to let the words she was hearing sink in. Her eyes were watering and her pants felt suspiciously damp. She was afraid to look at the damage. After three more wrong turns, her heart soared when she saw the exit. 

 

“It’s the center!” She cheered rushing forward until she stopped dead in her tracks looking horrified. 

 

“What? What is it?” Miss Honey said, until she saw the problem. “Oh no.” She mumbled, before meeting the near crazed look in Matilda’s eyes. “Well, I guess we better get in line.” 

 

They stood in the back and waited with Matilda occasionally letting out a cry. She couldn’t hide her situation now. A tiny wet streak ran down a pant leg. Passerby’s offered Miss Honey a sympathetic nod as if to say, “Been there with my little one.” 

 

The door to the only porta potty finally opened. A mother and her toddler were about to go in when the crowd jumped as something large barreled towards them all. People left and right were shoved out of the way with grunts of, “MOVE!” and “Out of the way!” were hurled at them. 

The Trunchbull, holding her stomach, pushed and shoved her way to the front of the line, knocking over the mom and toddler in the process before going inside and slamming the door in the process with an angry THUNK. 

 

Miss Honey looked down at the horrified look on Matilda’s face as she held herself, tears now streaming down her face. She rubbed her back sympathetically, before guiding her away. “I have an idea.” She said. Matilda whimpered as she saw her last remaining hope vanish in front of her. She couldn’t make it through the maze to the other bathrooms. “Over here.” Miss Honey whispered, leading her into a corner of the last dead end they had come across. “Take off your shoes and socks.” 

 

Matilda thought she knew what Miss Honey wanted her to do. Her face turned red, but it was better than having a full blown accident. Miss Honey was going to stand guard so she could pee in the grass like a dog. She kicked off her shoes before pausing to bend and hold herself again, before managing to slip off her socks. 

 

“Please help me with the straps.” Matilda begged. 

 

“Why?” Miss Honey asked, before realization dawned on her. She gave Matilda a sympathetic smile. “No, sweetie. You need to keep them on.” She gave her head a gentle pat. 

 

“Wha-” Matilda choked out as she sobbed. “No, please no!” She tried to undue the strap herself, but her arm was now even worse than before. “I can’t!”

 

“Sweetie, it’s okay, I promise. Just get it over with.” 

 

Matilda sobbed. “No, I’ll go back in line. I can make it!” 

“Shh. Honey, you already didn’t make it.” The woman said, but her voice was gentle and non chastising. She knelt down until she was eye level with her. “There’s no point in fighting the inevitable any longer.” 

 

“I- I-’m so sorry.” Matilda cried. Another, larger streak had begun to form but then stopped. 

 

“Matilda, really it’s okay. You’ll feel better if you just get it over with. I promise. I love you, and a pair of wet pants, or sheets isn’t going to change that.” 

 

Matilda stood there stunned. It had taken her so off guard that she let go of herself and stood still, staring at Miss Honey as if seeing her for the first time. Had she just heard what she thought she did? 


 

The distraction had been enough. Matilda whimpered and turned towards the hedge as she felt her bladder decide enough was enough. She leaned her head against the hedge and began to bawl as warm liquid began to freely flow down her legs, soaking the faux denim and coming out at the ankles, leaving a patch of damp grass at her feet. 

 

“It’s okay, it’s okay.” Miss Honey whispered gently, rubbing Matilda’s back. “That’s it. It’s all over now.” She gently spun the girl around to face her. She ran the back of her hand along the girls damp cheeks. There was still a look of uncertainty and shock in her eyes. “Talk to me, Matilda.”

 

“Were you just saying that?” Matilda asked, almost a whisper. 

 

“Saying what?” Miss Honey asked, but the young girl didn’t respond. She was at a complete loss, until a sad thought crossed her mind. “Matilda,” Miss Honey whispered. She felt something large and thick catch in her throat. “Has anyone ever told you they loved you before?”  Matilda stood still for a moment before slowly shaking her head no. 

 

Miss Honey sighed sadly before kneeling down and wrapping her arms around the trembling girl and rocked her back and forth. “I love you, Matilda.” 

 

“No, Miss Honey, you’ll get all wet.” Matilda said, but made no move to push her away.

 

“I don’t care.” 

 

“Miss Honey.”

 

“Yes?” 

 

“...I love you too.” 

 

………………………………………………………………………………..

When the two stood up and made their way back to the center of the maze, they noticed the line for the Porta Potty had not changed at all. Was Miss Trunchbull still in there? Matilda wondered. She had an idea, a terrible, but wonderful idea. She doubted she could pull it off, but the fluttering anticipation in her chest told her Maybe. Despite her current ordeal, she hadn’t felt this happy and at peace… ever. 

 

 If she could smash a wall, and knock over shelving… what if? 

 

“Is that lady still in there? The big one?” Matilda asked. A woman and daughter pair turned around and took in the state Matilda’s clothes. The woman gave her a look of sympathy before nodding her head. It was all she needed to know. 

 

“There’s a fountain by the exit.” The woman called out after her. 

 

“Miss Honey, could I use my powers for evil, just this once?” She motioned something with her finger and Miss Honey knitted her eye-brows together. It took her a minute to respond, as being a good role model and  poetic karma fought for dominance.

 

“You could try, I mean it’s not like you could...right?” Miss Honey smiled for a second. 

 

“I feel like I could do anything right now.” Matilda whispered. She stared at the porta-potty. It had worked with the glass. She threw her whole mind into it. She summoned every emotion she had felt today. Embarrassment, shame, and lastly, a new one she had never felt before. Love. 

 

Ever so slowly she could see the blue box begin to rock. Back and forth. Back and forth. 

 

“KNOCK IT OFF YOU LITTLE MAGGOTS!” Bellowed an angry voice from inside. 

 

Back and forth. Back and forth. 

 

“I MEAN IT, IF I FIND WHOSE DOING THAT I’M GONNA MAKE YOU WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN!”


 

The rocking began to pick up momentum. People in line began to back up.

 

Back and forth. Back and forth. 

 

Finally with one last mental push, the porta potty tipped over. 

 

“Huh, sure is windy today.” Miss Honey said casually as they turned their backs and began the walk back home. 

 

“Right, Miss Honey, It just seems to come out of nowhere.” Matilda said with a grin. 

“You know you don’t have to keep calling me, Miss Honey.” 

 

Matilda took her hand in her hers. “What do you want to be called?”

 

Jennifer thought about it for a moment. “When you’re ready, how about mom?”

 

Matilda smiled. “Okay, mom.” 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

Matilda could tell something was bothering her teacher and now guardian, Miss Honey. She wasn’t as lighthearted with the class or quick to smile. She seemed on edge, with her shoulders bunched tight almost to her ears as she stood explaining to her year one class basic vocabulary. Matilda, who usually had permission to work on more advanced lessons by herself, was now eyeing her with rapt attention. 

 

“Who can tell me another word that starts with the “ch” sound?” Ms. Honey asked. Her best friend's hand was first to shoot up, as was the norm. “Let’s give someone else a chance, Lavender. Anyone else?” 

 

“Child.” Someone called from the back. 

 

“Very good, but please raise your hand next time. Umm, Cory, how about you?” 

 

A “ch” word of a different kind flashed through Matilda’s mind. She shuddered at the memory of her time spent in the Chokee. She winced as she heard the sound of a few posters begin to shake and rattle on the wall. Breathe, she thought to herself. Breathe. 

 

“Brian, would you mind getting up and closing the windows? It’s getting a bit windy.”  Miss Honey asked. She locked eyes with Matilda for a second. None of the other students seemed to notice, not a single leaf or branch moved or swayed in the still air outside. 

“Matilda,” Miss Honey said after they exchanged glances. “Would you step out into the hall for a moment?”

A chorus of “ooohhhs” and “You’re in trouble.” Filled the room. Matilda wordlessly placed a bookmark in her geography book and made her way to the door, ignoring the many eyes that trailed her. She swallowed the lump that was forming in her throat. Wait, was she in trouble? She bit down on the corner of her lip. Well, she had lost control of her powers for a moment. Was Miss Honey mad at her for disrupting? Or was it because she had stopped reading? Her mind seemed to be trying to come up with a reasonable explanation, but a horrific thought kept worming its way to her consciousness.

Don’t be stupid, she told herself. Miss Honey is the kindest and sweetest adult in the whole world. She’s not going to throw you in the Chokee just because you made a few posters dance around on the wall. Then a different thought crossed her mind. What if another teacher caught her out here without a hall pass? Would they take her to the Trunchbull?

She nervously glanced up and down the hallway. What was she doing out here?

Matilda nearly jumped out of her skin when a door down the hall burst open and out came a balding man, she assumed to be in his 50’s. She froze when he made eye contact with her. Oh no, was he going to ask her what she was doing out here? She breathed a sigh of relief when he merely nodded his head in her direction as he walked past to the teachers’ lounge, his shoes clacking loudly with every step down the echoing hall.

“Matilda.” A voice behind her said. She let out an, “eek” and jumped. She felt a soft hand fall onto her shoulder. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you, it’s just me.” She turned to find Miss Honey; her soft brown eyes narrowed with concern.

“N-no, it’s fine, you didn’t scare me.” Matilda said, trying to hide her shaking legs. “A-am I in trouble?”

“What? No, of course not!” Miss Honey said with a frown. “I just wanted to see how you were doing? Usually when things start shaking…” she trailed off.

“Sorry,” Matilda mumbled.

“You don’t have to apologize; I understand you don’t always have a complete grasp on…whatever this may be. I’m still just trying to figure out what makes you tic.” She said with a weak smile. “You do look exhausted, though.”

Matilda shrugged and looked away. It was Miss Honey that was worried about something! She hadn’t meant to make her worried about her too!

“Would you like to lie down for a bit and rest? I could see if there’s a bed open in the nurse’s office.”

Just as Matilda was about to shake her head, a wave of exhaustion seemed to crash into her. At the mention of a bed, it was all she could do to stay on her feet. She tried to protest, but Miss Honey had already taken her by the hand and was gently leading her down the hall.

“Did you get enough sleep last night? You didn’t stay up reading under the covers with a flashlight again, did you? You know I love your eagerness to learn, but bedtime is bedtime for a reason.”

“No, I just woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep.” Matilda answered. Mostly true, she thought to herself. She hadn’t started reading until after she had woken up.

“Did you have another nightmare?”

“Yeah.” Matilda admitted. “But not about the Chokee, this one was different.” She let Miss Honey guide her into the office as she talked to the nurse. 

“Hey Jennifer, what can I do for you?” A bead of sweat began to form on Matilda’s temple. Her stomach began to churn angrily as the adults stood talking to each other. In through your nose, out through your mouth, she chanted to herself. An unpleasant, heavy sensation began to form around her backside. No! Not now! You can’t be getting sick now! She clenched her hands into fists, ignoring the cold goosebumps that began to rise on her arms and legs. In through your nose, out through your mouth. You can ask to use the bathroom after Miss Honey leaves. 

 

“Would you mind if one of my students laid down for a bit?” Miss Honey asked. 

“Just need to ask her a few routine questions. Come on up, have a seat.” The older lady patted the hard blue plastic chair and motioned for Matilda to sit. She hid the grimace from her face as she slowly lowered herself down, ignoring the urge to excuse herself. “Any pain anywhere?” 

 

“No.” Matilda said in a softer than normal voice. 

 

“Upset tummy? Fever? Chills?”

 

“Just a little tired.” She said through clenched teeth. She didn’t want Miss Honey to know she was feeling sick. She looked up at her concerned teacher and smiled weakly through the pain. “I’m fine, You don’t need to stay here.” She felt as if an invisible arctic wind passed through her body that only she could feel. She hugged herself, fighting the urge to double over. If she didn’t leave soon, she wouldn’t make it to the restroom in time. The thought of soiling herself horrified her so much, a “cover your cough” poster began to shake. In through your mouth, out through your nose. Calm down. Breathe. 

 

“Alright, you can lay down in the back.” She said to Matilda before turning her attention back to Miss Honey. ” I’ll send her back in an hour or so.”

 

“Actually, if you wouldn’t mind, would you let her sleep as long as she can?” Miss Honey whispered something in the older woman's ear. What Matilda wouldn’t give to have super hearing instead of telekinesis. As it turned out, she didn’t need super hearing to know what had been said. 

 

“Don’t let her read?” The nurse said in surprise. “Jennifer! I never thought I’d never hear words like that come out of your mouth.”

 

“Yeah, well, trust me. She won’t sleep if there’s a book in her hand.” While normally true, Matilda didn’t feel much like reading at the moment. 

 

“What do you think this is, a pediatrician's office?” She rolled her eyes and added in a sarcastic tone. “As if our great and powerful leader left us any money in the budget for children’s books. All I have is an old medical textbook I brought from home; nothing she’d find of any interest.” She said dismissively. 

 

Miss Honey cringed. “Don’t you let her get anywhere near it! One hour with that and she’ll be opening her own clinic underneath the monkey bars.” The school nurse laughed, but Miss Honey shot Matilda a look that said, “Don’t you dare.”  

 

She would not try and open a clinic underneath the monkey bars, Matilda thought to distract herself from the pain. It would be more of a first aid center, and it would be behind the slide. Miss Honey pressed what was meant to be a reassuring hand on Matilda’s shoulder.

 

“Don’t feel like you need to come back quickly. Try and get some rest and take it easy today. I’ll be back later to check on you.” Matilda nodded, too afraid to speak. She feared, one wrong movement, and she’d lose the battle of control against her churning stomach.  She bit at her nail as she waited anxiously for Miss Honey to be out the door and around the corner before sprinting to the bathroom in the back and nearly knocking over the school nurse in the process. 

 

“Matilda? Are you okay?” A voice asked her. A knock on the bathroom door. An involuntary moan came from Matilda’s mouth as she sat doubled over on the toilet. Another cramp and then another. Would it ever stop? Her dress clung to her now sweaty, trembling frame. 

 

“I’ll be fine in a minute.” She managed to get out. I hope.

 

“Are you throwing up?”

 

“No!” Ugh, she better not start throwing up! This was bad enough. Another cramp. Another moan. Why did it have to burn so much? “I… I must’ve eaten something that’s not agreeing with me.” 

 

“Why didn’t you tell me you were feeling sick?” Couldn’t they have this discussion later when her body was not actively feeling and sounding like an erupting volcano? 

 

Instead, she repeated she’d be out in a minute, but a minute quickly turned to five, and then 10. By the time she figured it was safe to leave, she could hardly move. She grimaced as she shuffled out, unable to pick up her legs or bring them together.

 

“How about we go over those questions one more time.” The nurse said as Matilda very gingerly lowered herself down on the cot, the wax paper sticking almost immediately to her sweaty body. “Anything hurt? Your head? Stomach?”

 

“My stomach.” Matilda admitted, among other more sensitive areas. 

 

“Anything else? Nausea, Diarrhea? Chills?” 

 

“Yes.” Her heavy eyelids began to slide closed. Maybe she could just sleep it off. 

 

“Open your mouth, I need to get your temperature. Don’t fall asleep just yet.” 

 

’M’not.” She mumbled in response, before feeling a hard point along with the odd feeling of the disposable plastic sleeve under her tongue, causing her mouth to quickly fill with saliva. She waited awkwardly for the beep, relieved when it was removed, and she could finally swallow. 

 

“You’re running a slight fever.” 

 

“I’m fine. I just want to rest for a minute.”

“I really should call your mother and have her come get you.” At that, Matilda’s eyes opened, and she fought against the pull of sleep.

 

“No! Please don’t! I’m fine now, see? I think I’d like to go back to class.” She tried to sit up, but felt resistance. She looked to find the nurse holding her down with the palm of her hand. 

 

“Woah there! I know Jennifer said you liked school, but you’re sick. You should be home in bed.”

 

Matilda shook her head. No one knew she had been living with Miss Honey, and she had been asked to keep it to herself. She had figured it was because Miss Honey was afraid the other kids would think she was giving Matilda special treatment and that’s why she wasn’t expected to follow along in class. But the nurse was talking about calling her biological mom to come get her, and Matilda had more than an inkling they didn’t miss her in the slightest. They had hardly been aware of her existence when she had lived with them, what made anyone think they cared about her now?

 

“What’s your last name, Matilda?” 

 

She sighed in defeat before answering. “Wormwood.” A sudden recognition shown in the school nurse's eyes, followed by a look of pity. Now it was clear she recognized her as the pathetic, whimpering and shivering mess that was in here last month. 

 

“I see.” Came a quiet, subdued response. “Then how about I just let you rest a bit and see how you feel in a couple of hours?” She suggested, as if it had been her idea all along. She went over to the sink and filled a cup with water under the tap. “The most important thing is making sure you don’t get dehydrated.” She handed the cup to Matilda, who downed it and handed it back before lying down on the cot. The cup was refilled and placed on the floor next to her with instructions to keep drinking every couple of minutes, but she was fast asleep before a couple of minutes had even passed. 

 

…………


 

The school nurse sat forward in her chair, file open on her desk and hand hovering over the phone receiver. There was something unnerving about the Wormwood’s. While not as openly hostile and unpleasant as her boss, a feat neigh impossible, the blatant disregard they had for their daughter rubbed her the wrong way. It was as if Matilda was nothing more than an unpleasant, spoiled brat throwing a tantrum, belonging to some other unfortunate set of parents and not their own flesh and blood. Matilda, as far as she could tell, wasn’t even a brat, but the most mild-mannered 6-year-old she had ever met. 

 

“Maybe you’ll be a little more agreeable today…” she muttered as she keyed in Matilda’s listed phone number. She held her breath as the phone rang on the other end. Just as she was sure no one was home, an angry sounding woman answered. 

“What do you want?”

 

“Hello, is this Mrs. Wormwood?”

 

“Yeah, Who wants to know?” 

 

“Hi, this is Miss Rogers, I’m calling from Crunchen Hall Elementary regarding your daughter, Matilda. She seems to be feeling a bit under the weather and-”

 

“So? What are you calling me for?”

 

 Miss Rodgers sucked in a breath and rubbed at her temple. “Well, if she’s sick, then she really ought to be at home in bed.” 

 

“Look, lady, Matilda ain’t our problem no more. Why don’t you call up that teacher she's living with? She’s the one who wanted her so bad, it’s her problem now.” Came the reply. “Now, if you wouldn’t mind, I’ve got more important things to do than discuss someone who don’t live here no more.” 

 

Miss Rodgers blinked in confusion as the call was disconnected and tried to put the pieces together. So Matilda didn’t live with her parents anymore? It was probably for the best. Well, if not them, who was she supposed to call? What teacher? A teacher here? Her teacher? She didn’t mean… Jennifer?!

 

So that’s why Matilda asked to stay at school. Miss Rogers knew Jennifer lived alone, but when it came to her personal life, she knew little else. She frowned. The Trunchbull would never let her leave early. Matilda was stuck until school let out if Jennifer was her only chaperone. She’d have to call Jennifer and at least attempt to get her out of here, if not for her than for the other kids she’d expose. 

 

She stuck her head in the back room that held the three dirty, and rusty cots. What was the Trunchbull doing with the schools' money that they couldn’t even afford proper beds? Instead, all they had was military style cots that looked like they came from the 50’s and walls with cracked and peeling yellowish paint. 

 

She glanced down at the young girl who lay curled in a ball with her arms wrapped tightly around her stomach. Matilda was the fifth case of NoroVirus to come in this week. Miss Rodgers had sent them all home immediately at the first sign of tummy trouble in an attempt to curb the spread, but it was already too late. There wasn’t much she could do when every time she stepped out of her office she saw children sharing drinks, putting their mouths over the water fountain, and even licking the handrails on a dare. She gave one more pitying glance at Matilda before returning to her desk. 

 

They needed to think of a way to get her home and soon. If this was anything like what was going around, and she was pretty sure it was, Matilda was about to feel a lot worse before she felt better. It was time to call Miss Honey. 

 

……..


 

Matilda was only vaguely aware of the passing of time from the distant sounding chimes of the school's bells. Was that for lunch or recess? Or was the school day over already? What if it was the start of a new school day? Had she slept all morning and through the night? Had they forgotten she was in here? 

 

Her head was pounding, and he body shivered involuntarily from the cold. She had asked Miss Rogers for a blanket, only to learn there wasn’t any. A mere 30 minutes later, her body’s internal temperature switched and decided it was a hot summer day in the Sahara Desert. She had asked for a fan, but they didn’t have any of those either. Matilda had to make due with room temperature water from the faucet Miss Rogers kept forcing on her. 

 

She didn’t want to drink any more water. Her stomach felt so full and bloated. Rushing off to the restroom at a moment's notice was becoming more and more difficult as the room spun. The last episode, she hadn’t quite made it in time and had been forced to bury her underwear in the restroom trashcan. She was tempted to just pull the cot in next to the toilet and stay there, what with her stomach being as indecisive as her internal climate control. The near constant diarrhea was bad enough, but she wasn’t sure how long it would stay only that. There had been a few close calls where the unrelenting waves of nausea had nearly tipped her over the edge. Talking seemed to make it worse, so whenever Miss Rodgers had come to check on her, all she could do was grunt in reply.

 

How had this happened so fast? One minute, she was sitting in class thinking of words that started with “CH” and the next thing she knew, her stomach decided to give an example of its own by “churning.” 

 

She tried opening her eyes, waiting for the world to stop tilting. She could feel the sweat rolling down her face and chest. Her dress was plastered to her body, refusing to unstick no matter how much she tugged at it. She’d give just about any earthly possession to be at home in bed right now instead of this miserable cot. 

 

How much longer until the school day was over? There was a clock over on the far wall. If she could turn her head just a little to the left… A sudden rapid falling sensation had her gripping the sides of the cot for dear life. She shut her eyes tight. Her bladder voided itself. The cupboards began to bang open and closed around her. Papers, mops, brooms, and cleaning supplies began to fall to the surrounding floor. “Stop, please, stop!” she begged, but everything was out of her control. Miss Rogers rushed in, but as soon as she stepped through the doorway, Matilda heard a loud, “snap” and the school nurse's body fell limp to the ground. 

“No!” she shouted. Panic overtaking her ailing stomach. Had she…had she just killed someone?! 



 

“Matilda! Matilda! Wake up!” 

 

A cold hand to her face jolted her awake. She was shaking and breathing heavy. Miss. Honey was standing over her. 

 

“I’m sorry! I couldn’t control it!” Matilda said as she bolted up right. She took in the room, expecting to see destruction, but not a single door was ajar and nothing was out of place. She felt relief as she settled back down. She hadn’t killed Miss Rogers, after all! 

 

“It’s okay. Don’t worry about it. The floor can be cleaned.” 

 

“Blood?” Matilda whimpered. 

 

Miss Honey searched her face, her eyes full of concern. “Blood? Why would there be blood?” 

 

It took a second for Matilda to realize what she had meant. She didn’t need to look to know one part of the dream had been true, but she could hardly care at the moment she had wet herself. 

 

“Bad dream.” Matilda whispered. This is what she got for reading Stephen King’s “Carrie”. Miss Honey had tried to keep her from reading it, but Matilda had been bound and determined to read the book about a teenage girl with telekinetic powers. 

 

“Probably the fever.” Miss Honey said, “You’re burning up.” 

 

“I want to go home.” 

 

“I know, sweetie. Soon. I can’t leave yet, I tried. Hortensia’s coming to get you. You’re going to stay with her and her mom until I get off work. They live close by.” 

 

Hortensia? Why was she coming to get her? Not that Matilda was complaining. Anything was better than being here, but why wasn’t she in school? 

 

“Do you think you can sit up?” Miss Rogers asked. She offered Matilda her arm, and together they slowly got her up into a sitting position. The room began to spin in protest. Her stomach gave an angry lurch. Her mouth began to fill with saliva, but with a few even deep breaths, the wave of nausea passed. Matilda wasn’t so sure how she was getting there. Were they expecting her to walk?  It took a toll just sitting up, she didn’t think she’d make it trying to walk out of the building, let alone however many blocks it was.

 

She was only vaguely aware of Miss Honey wiping her legs down with a wet paper towel. It wasn’t until Miss Honey said, “Let’s get you out of these wet things,” and begin to reach up under her dress did Matilda remember her current state.  

 

“Where’s your underwear?” Miss Honey asked when her palms felt nothing but bare hips. 

 

“Trashcan.” Matilda mumbled back. 

 

“Why did you throw them away? We could have washed them.”

 

Matilda shook her head. There was no saving those. 

 

“She’s had a rough morning, Jen.  Sometimes all it takes is a cough or a sneeze at the wrong moment, and you can kiss any outfit they're wearing goodbye.” Miss Rodgers chimed in. Understanding seemed to dawn in Miss Honey’s eyes. 

 

“Not from this?” she said, referring to the wet cot. Matilda shook her head. She traced a cool, gentle hand down Matilda’s face. “What about your dress? Did it get on it anywhere?”

 

“No.” She had been holding it up, about to pull her underwear down, when disaster had struck. She really couldn’t have been any closer to making it. 

 

“Oh, I hate the thought of sending you over like this.” Miss Honey said, taking in the dark, wet spot that ran up part of her back. “I don’t have anything for you to change into.” She turned her attention to Miss Rodgers. “Is there anything in the lost and found?”

 

“Well, there is one shirt, maybe if she’s careful it could make due just until she gets there, but without any underwear it’s iffy.” Ms. Rodgers said. She headed out towards the reception area and began digging in a box underneath the counter and pulled out a large white shirt featuring the name of a nearby catholic summer camp on the back. 

 

“It’ll have to do.” 

 

Miss Rodgers handed the shirt to Matilda. Miss Honey motioned for her to lift her arms up, but Matilda shook her head.

 

“I’ll change in there.” She motioned to the bathroom. She could feel the slight pressure at her backside. She’d better not put it off like last time. The urge wasn’t bad, but it was deceptive.  What started as an annoyance could grow to full-blown emergency as quick as a snap of the Trunchbull’s riding crop. 

 

She gingerly stood to her feet and took a few steps. The room grew dark around her. Her vision began to tunnel. Her blood pressure was crashing. She stumbled, but Miss Honey was quick to grab her.  

“Woah! Careful, are you okay?” Miss Honey’s arms were around her, holding her up. As much as Matilda would have liked to stay this way for a few more moments longer, she had more pressing matters to attend to.

 

“Got up too fast.” She wobbled a bit as she took another step closer, and then another. Her mouth began watering. Oh crap. She turned around and sat back down on the cot. On second thought, she could get changed out here after all. 

 

Once she got the wave of nausea under control, she tried in vain to pull off her dress, but it wouldn’t budge. She was just too exhausted and weak to even do this by herself, and the sweat coating her body wasn’t doing her any favors. 

 

“Arms up.” Miss Honey commanded. Matilda gave in, allowing herself to be stripped naked, except for her socks and shoes. She held up her arms again, as Miss Honey shimmied the T-shirt for St. John the Baptist’s Youth Retreat down her body, just stopping halfway down her thighs. “You’ll need to hold it down, but I’m sure Hortensia has something else you can wear. Maybe you can even soak in a nice warm bath once you get there.” 

 

Matilda leaned against Miss Honey’s arm and closed her eyes. A bath did sound nice, but she wanted nothing more than to just go back to sleep. A loud thundering sound coming down the hall made her open her eyes. 

 

“I told her to be discrete.” Miss Honey said with a sigh. 

 

“Good luck with that one.” Miss Rodgers said as Hortensia rounded the corner, pulling a red, and slightly rusty looking Radio Flyer wagon behind her. “And look who it is! The Goddess of Chaos herself.”  

 

“I made it!” Hortensia cried, clearly out of breath. 

 

“Did you run here?” Miss Honey asked. 

 

“Yeah, but only ‘cause I lost track of time petting a cat.” 

 

“And did you leave said cat where you found it this time?” Miss Rodgers asked suspiciously. 

 

“Yes,” Hortensia grumbled. “I swear! I had nothing to do with what happened the other day! I have no idea how that black cat ended up in Miss Trunchbull’s office.” 

 

Well, that explains the screaming everyone heard over the intercom yesterday, Matilda thought. It had brought much needed laughter to the students and staff. 

 

“Uh-huh,” Miss Rodgers said, “Just like you have no idea how those scratches ended up all over your arms and tufts of black fur were found in your backpack? Let’s not forget about the cat treats in your pocket.” 

 

Hortensia waved her hand dismissively. “All a big coincidence! Trunchbull’s got it out for me! Every time something happens, she just assumes it’s me.” 

 

Matilda gave a weak smile. That’s because it was always her. Except for the time Lavender put a newt in the Trunchbull’s drinking glass. 

 

Hortensia seemed to notice her for the first time. Her eyes widened when they locked eyes. “What happened to you? You look like sh…” She caught herself at the second. “Shadows. You have shadows under your eyes.” She looked down. “And you have no pants on. Why are you not wearing any pants?” 

 

Matilda squirmed under her gaze. 

 

“Do you think you could lend her something to wear when you get to your house?” Miss Honey asked. 

 

“Probably, it’ll be big, though.” Hortensia said. She pulled the wagon closer. “Hop in, we got to go before my mom gets mad. I was only allowed to be out for fifteen minutes.”

 

“Did you get in much trouble?” Miss Rodgers asked.

 

Hortensia sighed. “Grounded until the end of the summer.” 

 

Matilda let out a yelp as Miss Honey picked her up by the back of the legs. She could feel her stomach rolling in protest at the sudden motion, and was relieved when she was quickly set down in the wagon. She was so glad she didn’t have to walk, there was no way she’d make it without puking before she even got out of the office. The pressure in her bowels had grown considerably, but it was too late to ask to use the restroom now. Hortensia had already started pulling her out the door, but not before asking Miss Honey, “You’re still going to talk to Mr. Larson about my Math grade, yeah?” 

 

The final piece clicked in Matilda’s head. Miss Honey had bribed her! She must have been desperate!
 

Before they were completely out of hearing range, Matilda could have sworn she heard Miss Rodgers say, “I’m going to miss her when she graduates.” 

 

………..

 

It had taken less than three minutes for Matilda to thoroughly regret her decision not to walk. She could feel every bump in the sidewalk, and every crack she rolled over was like sealing the nail in the coffin for her. She didn’t know whether to beg for Hortensia to speed up or slow down. She tensed every muscle she could manage. Her bowels demanded release of the built-up fluid and, what was worse, the nausea. If what she had experienced before were, “waves” than she was now sailing in the middle of the stormy ocean. She tried taking slow deep breaths, but nothing was helping. 

 

“How much farther?” Matilda asked, through almost sealed lips. She was afraid if she opened her mouth, it would all be over. 

 

“Just up the next street. You okay? You don’t look so good.” 

 

“Bathroom.” Matilda groaned, holding her stomach. She didn’t want to admit she was about to hurl. Maybe if she didn’t admit it, it wouldn’t come true. It had been the wrong thing to say. 

 

“Say no more!” Hortensia cried, and then she had begun to run, yanking the wagon along behind her. Matilda didn’t even have time to turn her head off the side, instead coating the front of the white shirt and lap in bile and bits of Lucky Charms. Her bowels released from the forceful retching. Against the hard metal, it sounded like a playing card in the spokes of a bicycle. 

 

Hortensia came to a sudden halt and spun around, “Did you just-” Her face went pale and then a shade of green. Matilda answered her question by leaning over the side and vomiting again. The invisible bike with the “bap bap bap bap” sounding spokes whizzed by. Hortensia jumped back out of the line of fire. 

 

Matilda groaned and sat back in the wagon once she was sure there was nothing left inside her to throw up. She could feel liquid covering her legs. She looked down at herself and grimaced. The wagon, and her the lower half of her body, were coated in a dark yellowish liquid. She was thankful her body had rid itself of any solid waste long before this carriage ride from hell, but her bowels had continued to try and drown themselves. She looked up to find Hortensia with a closed fist tight against her lips as she paced back and forth. 

 

“I think I’m okay now.” Matilda said. 

 

“That’s go-” Hortensia tried to say before gagging. “I can do this. I can do-” Gag. “It’s still better than summer schoo-” Gag. “Deep breaths.” Gag. 

 

It took them a few minutes to resume their trip. Matilda was horrified when she looked behind them. The wagon was leaking, leaving a trail from the scene of the crime all the way to their final destination. 

 

“Ma!” Hortensia yelled when they came to a stop in front of a single story brick house. Hortensia unlatched the black gate and pulled Matilda into the yard, before letting go of the handle and running up the porch steps. “Ma! Bit of a problem!” 

 

Matilda heard footsteps approaching and willed herself to disappear. 

 

“What on earth is that smell!? ‘Tens’! You better not have tracked dog shit home on your shoes again! Take them off. I swear to God, I leave you to do one thing and-” She stopped mid-sentence when she swung the screen door open. “Oh good Lord.”  

 

Matilda hung her head in shame as she sat in a puddle of excrement. 

 

“Is there any on my back? She shat herself like a fire hose and-” The older woman walked past her daughter, paying her no mind, and stopped in front of Matilda. 

 

“Oh, you poor thing!” Matilda let out her held breath. “‘Tens’, go start her a bath, and bring me a mask and gloves!” Hortensia eagerly bounded up the steps, eager to get away from the offending sight and odor. “I’m sorry, hun, I know you’re feeling sick, but I’m going to have to hose you down. There’s just no other way.” 

 

Matilda grimaced, but nodded. Once all the precautionary equipment was in place, The older, and quite larger, version of Hortensia offered her gloved hand and slowly helped her out of the wagon and out of her socks and shoes. 

 

“Hang on to the fence if you need to steady yourself.” 

 

Matilda held on to the black iron bars for dear life as things began phasing in and out. Her stomach was beginning to do flips again. 

 

“Take off your shirt. You’re not bringing it into the house.” Heat radiated in Matilda’s cheeks as she slowly obeyed, grateful for the tall hedge blocking the view from the street. “Girly, where are your panties?” 

 

Why did everyone care so much that she wasn’t wearing underwear? 

 

Matilda stayed silent, grimacing as she stood naked in front of this stranger while covered in waste. 

 

“I take it it’s been one helluva day for you?” Matilda nodded. She just wanted to get this over with, sit on the toilet, take a bath and go to sleep. She heard the hose turn on and braced herself. “Sorry if this is cold.” She jumped as the ice-cold water made contact with her skin. Where was this when she wanted something cold earlier? 

 

Matilda shivered as the cold water sloshed over her back. Her stomach cramped in response and the familiar heaviness settled. Not again. She moaned and clenched her fists by her sides, but it was no use.

 

“I need the bathroom!” She shouted, taking a step towards the house in a panic, but she could already feel it begin to drip down her freshly cleaned legs. 

 

“STOP! Oh no, you don’t!” Came a shout. “Not with that leaky bum of yours.”

 

Matilda whimpered in desperation, her eyes full of panic and tears. “But, I need to-”

 

Hortensia’s mom pointed back at the fence. “You can pop a squat there if you need to. I have to hose you and everything down again anyway. You won’t hurt anything. Go on.” 

 

Matilda stood frozen in horror. She couldn’t just…that was so… Another cramp. Another wave of pressure, followed by another leak.

 

“Don’t just stand there, you’ll only make a bigger mess. ” 

 

She shuffled back to the wet area where she was being hosed off and gave Hortensia’s mom another pleading, desperate look as if to say, “You sure about this?” 

 

“Do what you need to do. I’ll be over here rinsing down the wagon.” 

 

Matilda winced as she gripped the fence with one hand for support and lowered herself down into a squat. Her body needed no further instruction. 

 

…………….

 

She was bawling in near agony by the time she was led through the house. Her butt was beyond raw. It burned! It was unbearable! No amount of cold water from the hose would soothe it. She knew she was making the pictures shake in the hall, but she didn’t care. Let them find out! They’d seen everything else! 

 

“I know! I know! Shh, a warm bath with help with the irritation.” She lightly guided Matilda from the back towards the bathroom. “Tens! I need you to run over to Chunky’s and pick up a few things. I’ll call her with a list as soon as I get her settled.” A few seconds later, they heard the front door open and close. “There you go, how’s that?” she asked as Matilda gingerly lowered herself into the water. “Do you think you’ll be okay by yourself for a few minutes?” 

 

Matilda nodded, still whimpering, and shut her eyes. 

 

“Our neighbor has a toddler, his names Chuckie, but we call him Chunky, he’s the biggest toddler you’ve ever seen! I think they might have something that can help ease the burning. Here’s the toilet if you need it, don’t worry about getting water on the floor. I’ll be back to check on you in a few.”

 

Matilda sighed and sunk as low as she could into the water. The warm water felt nice on her irritated skin. All she wanted now was to crawl into bed. Every part of her seemed to ache. She never wanted to be this sick again. 

 

Her stomach had managed to behave itself in the 20 minutes she had been left to soak. Matilda hoped that would be the last of it, but she doubted it. Wishful thinking, she knew.

 

Once she was finished with her bath, she was led into Hortensia’s room. It was exactly as Matilda had always pictured it. An absolute disaster. A path had been cleared by kicking clothes and other debris off to the side and everything pushed off the bed except for a t-shirt, gloves, a bottle of blue gel and some kind of mat. 

 

“Lay on your side on the mat facing the wall, and we’ll see if this will help with the pain.” Matilda eyed the bottle suspiciously as she got into position. Petroleum Jelly. 

 

“You’re not gonna… you know, take my temperature, right?” Matilda asked. 

 

“I think your booty has been through enough abuse for one day.” Matilda couldn’t agree more. She heard rubber gloves being put on. “I am going to put some on my finger though.” Matilda clenched, “... And dab it on the irritated areas.” She relaxed. This woman was putting her on an emotional roller coaster! 

 

She jumped a little as the cold gel was applied. The relief to the stinging was almost immediate. 

 

“Better?”

 

“Yes!” She was about to let her guard down the rest of the way when she heard a peculiar, and yet somewhat familiar noise. No! She couldn’t be! She felt something pressed against her lower back.

 

“Roll onto your back for me.” 

 

She could feel tears prickling her eyes as she rolled over. “Why?” She looked down at it splayed under her. It wasn’t even a pull-up like what she wore to bed! 

 

“Hun, you are a very sick little girl right now, and this sick little girl has a very leaky bum.” 

 

“I don’t think this is really necessary.” 

 

“The gallon of diarrhea I rinsed off you and my patio says otherwise. Now, do you need any more gel? Is anywhere else irritated?” Matilda laid on her back, glaring up at the ceiling. “Going once, going twice, going thre-”

 

“Here,” Matilda mumbled, motioning in between the panty lines. “And the inside of my thighs.”

 

“It’s just in case, if you need to use the toilet, you can.” She said, dabbing gel. “If I left you like you are right now, one sneeze, and you’d douse the dog.”

 

Matilda blushed. She was probably right. “I didn’t know you had a dog.”

 

“The NEIGHBORS dog.” Ok, now she was just exaggerating. 

 

“It’s not that bad.”

 

“Let me show you something.” She left the room, and came back, holding something in between her fingers. “This was the shirt my daughter was wearing.” She came closer. Matilda felt her face begin to burn. Little yellow dots stained the back of it. “I quite like my furniture, so please. Let’s just keep this on for now, just in case.”  Matilda let her tape it up. “I’m sorry I made you do your business in the front yard, but it was obvious you wouldn’t have made it, and I couldn’t think of anything else.”

 

Matilda shrugged and wiped the tears out of her eyes. “Sorry, I had to.”

 

“It’s not your fault. I know it was completely out of your control. Here’s a clean shirt you can wear. What would you like to do? Would you like to come out to the living room? Or would you like to sleep for a bit?”

 

“I think I just want to sleep.” Matilda admitted after poking her head out from the shirt. 

 

“Alright, I hope you feel better. I’ll send Tens in with some medicine for your tummy a little later.” She handed Matilda a blanket. “Here, you can watch some television.” She turned on the little set and left. 

 

Matilda scowled. She hated the television. She looked around for the remote but couldn’t find it. She let her head fall back on the pillow, feeling irritated. She just wanted to sleep. She rolled this way and that trying to get comfortable, but with the inability to close her legs or turn down the volume, it was hopeless. Just as she was about to force herself up and turn it off, she spotted the remote lying across the room on the floor sticking out from under a pair of shorts. Without thinking, she stuck out her hand and made it come to her. There was a sudden bang. Matilda jumped as a bowl of soup crashed to the floor. 

 

There stood Hortensia, empty-handed and mouth ajar. There was no question. She had seen far too much today.

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  • SashaButters changed the title to Afternoon in the Chokey (Updated 12-30-21)

Matilda nearly gagged at the horrible, bitter syrup she had just swallowed. She pursed her lips and grimaced, before handing back the little plastic measuring cup. She wasn’t sure what was worse, the consistency or the fake cherry flavor that followed. 

 

“That should help you feel a bit better.” Hortensia’s mom said, putting the bottle of children’s Tylenol on a nearby shelf. Matilda sucked down water from the cup sitting next to her by the couch. The Pepto Bismal she had been given an hour ago hadn’t been nearly as bad, and the effects had been near miraculous. Despite her stomach no longer tossing about, she still had the distinct feeling of having recently been trampled. Her body ached, and the fever refused to break on its own. 

 

Matilda laid back down on the couch, wrapped in a blanket and wearing nothing but a large Spice Girls T-shirt and diaper that went up nearly to her belly button. True to her word, Hortensia’s mom had let her out of it to use the toilet, but found herself pinned right back into it with a bobby pin as soon as she was done. She tried to ask for regular panties now that things had calmed down, but Hortensia’s mom seemed to have no intention of setting her free. 

 

Hortensia herself sat on the floor cross-legged, a bag of her favorite potato chips open on the coffee table, and unfinished homework assignments in a pile. Matilda recognized the text book she was working out of as Year 5 arithmetic, the same one she had skimmed through last week, before Miss Honey had found her something a little more complicated. Matilda watched her for a minute. Her face seemed to cycle through concentration, confusion, and finally frustration. How she could even see any of the problems underneath all the crumbs was a mystery. 

 

“Why aren’t you in school?” Matilda asked, her curiosity finally winning out in the end. 

 

“I got suspended for the week.” Hortensia groaned. 

 

“Beats being put in the Chokey.” Matilda said. Hortensia shot her a panicked look and quickly put her finger to her lips. “What?”

 

“You’ll get me in more trouble with Ma. She thinks I made that up, if she hears you talking about it, I won’t be able to sit for the rest of the night. She’ll just think I told you that to scare you.” 

 

Matilda scrunched up her face. “Your parents don’t believe you?”

 

“Would yours?” she said, disbelieving. Matilda thought back to the time her own father had called her a liar after she told them about Bruce and the chocolate cake fiasco. Then again, Harry Wormwood had often called her a liar, among other things.

 

“Can I ask you something, uh, weird?” Matilda asked after a moment of silence. Hortensia put down her pencil and eyed her.

 

“If you answer mine.” Matilda gulped, but nodded and wrapped the blanket around herself tighter. She knew what was coming and had been dreading this conversation. 

 

“I know what I saw. You can deny it all you want, but I saw the remote just…” Matilda looked away. “What are you so worried about? That I’d tell? Who’d believe me? Watch. HEY MA!” Matilda felt the blood drain from her face. She stared at Hortensia, absolutely panic-stricken, pleading with her eyes to stop.

 

“What?” came the reply as her mom strode in. Matilda’s heart began to beat rapidly inside her chest. 

 

“Matilda can move objects with her mind. I saw it.” Hortensia said. Why? Why would she do that to her? Matilda imagined herself getting carted off and studied. She couldn’t meet anyone's gaze as panic set in. Her stomach gurgled in protest from the stress, and before she could react, felt liquid fill the front and back of her diaper. 

 

“I thought I told you to stop making up stories! What have you been doing all this time? Why am I not seeing any progress with your homework?” The woman went on, chastising her daughter. Hortensia shot Matilda a look as if to say, “See what I mean?” 

 

It took a while for Matilda to relax, her body didn’t seem to be in the mood to handle any kind of adrenaline rushes. Part of her was livid, but the other part of her seemed to understand. It was something she had to see to believe. 

 

“I better see that pile of work done by the time I get home tonight!” Her mom finished. “This is NOT a vacation.” 

 

“Yes, Ma.” Hortensia mumbled, swiping away the crumbs off the textbook. 

 

Suddenly the anger was wiped from her face nearly as fast as it had come. She stared at Matilda, who felt herself sink into the couch. 

 

“Hun, how are you feeling?”

 

“Uh- the s-same.” Matilda said, looking away. She could see the woman sniffing from the corner of her eye and felt heat creep to her face.

 

“Did you have an accident?” She said in a somewhat lower voice, but not nearly low enough for Hortensia not to hear. She froze in place, unsure how to answer that. She had been waiting for the woman to leave the room, so she could rush off to the bathroom, throw away the evidence and say it had ripped trying to get it off. 

 

“N-no,” Matilda lied, before grimacing, her voice rising a few octaves higher than normal “I mean, I don’t think so, I’ll j-just go and-”

“No need.” Hortensia’s mom said before pulling the blanket off her and making the smell more apparent. “C’mon, let’s get you cleaned up before I have to leave for work.”

 

“N-no! I’ll do it myself.” Matilda insisted. “I-I have to go again anyway, so I’ll-” but before she could finish her sentence, Hortensia’s mom cut her off. 

 

“No, I don’t want you making a mess. I have to leave soon, It’ll be easier if I do it.” 

 

“But,” Matilda tried to protest. “That’s gross!”

 

“So is sitting in a messy diaper and not saying anything. C’mon.” She pulled Matilda up by the arm to a standing position. “If you still need to go, you can finish now before I change you.” 

 

Matilda was horrified. Her face was beginning to burn from the shame and embarrassment. Tears prickled her eyes. She looked at Hortensia for help, but she just shrugged.

 

“She works at the old folk's home; she’s used to worse.” Hortensia explained as if that would make her feel better. 

 

“Y-you said I could use the bathroom!” Matilda insisted, backing away. 

 

“Yes, but now you're covered in poop, and I don’t have time to clean up after you if I let you take it off. Now let’s go. I’m not going to ask you again.” Hortensia’s mom came up behind her and gave her a somewhat firm push on her back to get her moving towards the bedroom. Matilda was crying now as she walked towards the bedroom, still fighting with her stomach. 

 

“I don’t want to go in the diaper!” 

 

“I know, but we all have to do things we don’t want to.” The woman said in an annoyed voice.

 

Matilda could feel the anger begin to well in her. If she made a mess, she’d just clean it up herself! She’d been taking care of herself for most of her life! Why was this woman treating her like such a child? If only Matilda was older! She wouldn’t treat her like this if she was Hortensia’s age. 

 

“Up on the bed.” She patted the changing mat from before. Matilda gritted her teeth, but reluctantly climbed up and laid on her side. “Have you finished?” Her clenched fists and wiggling gave her away. She felt a hand push her onto her back.

 

“What are you doi- NO!” Matilda nearly shouted in horror. The older woman had clasped Matilda’s legs in her hands and began bicycling them up and down. Matilda knew what she was trying to make her do! She had seen this exercise in a book. It was for making constipated babies poop. “Please stop!”

 

“This will help dislodge anything stuck and release any trapped gas.” Matilda whimpered, feeling herself lose control with every other pump of her legs. “Don’t fight it, relax and let it all come out on its own.” She pushed Matilda’s legs in towards her body before pulling them out one final time. She laid on her back, breathless and horrified, after a single loud squelching sound announced that the exercise had done its job. Her body shook with sobs as the diaper was unpinned. 

 

This was wrong! This was all so wrong! She felt degraded as her legs were lifted in the air and a wet wipe had begun to clean. 

 

“You’re going to make yourself sick to your stomach if you keep crying like that.” Matilda glared at her as a fresh diaper was slid underneath. It was taking all her will power not to lose control of her temper. She didn’t want to cause a different kind of accident. One that involved things shooting around the room instead of shooting out of her. She needed to control herself, or she really would pull a “Carrie.” 

 

Ugh, she wished she had listened to Miss Honey and put the book back. The thought of accidentally hurting someone had never crossed her mind until she had read that book! 

 

Once a fresh diaper had been taped up, Matilda tried to sit up, but Hortensia’s mom stopped her. 

 

“I think it’s better if you stayed here. I can tell you’re getting cranky.  I think a nap will do you some good.” Matilda wanted to retort, but the woman turned and left. Hortensia was leaning in the doorway watching her. 

 

Matilda could start to taste blood in her mouth. She had been biting down on her tongue so hard she had begun to make it bleed. Did she just… did she just get put down for a nap?

 

 Yes, she felt sick. Yes, she was tired. Yes, she wanted to throw something! 

 

“You see what I put up with?” Hortensia mumbled, before coming in and closing the door behind her.

 

Matilda looked around the room and saw a stuffed animal sitting on the floor. She stretched her hand out and made the toy rise into the air before launching it across the room. She did this a few more times, knowing full well Hortensia was watching her in awe. 

 

“How long have you been able to do that?” Hortensia asked once Matilda had calmed down.

 

“I don’t know, a month, I guess. I got furious at my dad for ripping up a library book and forcing me to watch tv. So I sort of just… blew it up.”

 

Hortensia gawked at her. “You just, sort of, blew it… up?” She repeated, making it sound more like a question. “Your parents made you watch the television, instead of read, so you blew up the tv…”

 

“Not on purpose!” Matilda threw in. “It just sort of happened and-”

 

“Your parents made you watch television instead of read.” Hortensia said, a blissful, dreamy look across her face. Matilda rolled her eyes and launched the stuffed dog at her. “Can we trade parents? Please?” Matilda was about to readily agree. She could have the Wormwords and all the television she could ever want, but a sad realization crossed through her mind at the last second. Yes, their home lives were different, but in the end, they were just two kids whose thoughts, feelings, and concerns fell on deaf ears. No wonder Hortensia acted out so much.

 

“What about your dad?” Matilda asked. Hortensia shrugged. 

 

“Not around much. Long haul trucker. What did you want to ask me earlier?” 

 

Matilda bit her lip. It wasn’t really something she felt comfortable coming out and asking, so instead she tried to nonchalantly stear the topic there. “How many times have you been in the Chokey?”

 

Hortensia puffed out her chest with pride. “Six.”

 

Now it was Matilda’s turn to gawk. “Six?” She shuddered. 

 

“Two times, she even left me in there all day!”

 

“I’ve only been in there once; that was enough for me.” 

 

“You?” Hortensia scoffed. “What in the word did a squirt like you do to piss her off?”

 

“She thought I was stealing books from her office.” Hortensia scrunched up her face.

 

“I’ve snooped through her office plenty of times, the only books she has in there are old textbooks, and who’d take those?”

 

“Miss Honey.” Matilda admitted. “She thought I wasn’t placed in the right year when I started school here, but when she tried to have me promoted, the Trunchbull said ‘no’”. So she gave them to me to work out of during class.”

 

Hortensia looked as horrified as if Matilda had suggested it was Miss Honey herself who had thrown her in the Chokey. “She gives you extra work?” 

 

“Not extra, just different. Sort of like independent study, I suppose.”

“Independent study? You mean you don’t have to follow along with the class?” 

 

“When the Trunchbull is there, I do, and,” Matilda slipped into a conspiratorial whisper, “sometime’s I give Lavender the answer when she’s called on and doesn’t know.” 

 

“How in the bloody hell did you manage that sweet deal? What I wouldn’t give to not get smacked every time I got caught not paying attention.” Hortensia sighed. Then, as if realization dawned on her, she narrowed her eyes and took in Matilda. “You know, now that you mention it, you don’t talk like any of the other squirts and scum.” 

 

“What do you mean?” Matilda didn’t think she sounded any different from any of the other kids in her class. 

 

“I noticed it earlier, too. You said you were, ‘furious’ not ‘mad’ ‘angry’ ‘pissed’, but ‘furious’.”

 

“Of course, I was livid! He tore up a library book!” Matilda exclaimed, before adding, “I think you’re the only one who says things like ‘pissed’.”

 

“How many five-year-olds use words like ‘furious’ and’ livid’?” Hortensia said. 

 

“Oh,” Matilda said. “I thought you were referring to an accent, not my vocabulary.” 

 

Hortensia rolled her eyes. “Now you’re just showing off.” Matilda frowned. She wasn’t trying to sound superior. She’d like few things more than to simply blend in, as long as it meant she could keep reading instead of watching the telly of course. She knew Hortensia wasn’t being serious about her showing off, so she figured she could have a little fun.

 

“Preadolescent homosapien, are you proposing I would flaunt my intellectual prowess for mere jovial amusement?” On any other day she knew could have come up with something better and far wittier, but today had been especially dreadful, and her brain felt like jelly. Hortensia furrowed her eye brows. 

 

“Did you just call me a homo? I ain’t no homo, twerp. Do I look homeless to you?”  Hortensia replied with a scowl. Matilda merely blinked. 

 

“Uh, right.” Matilda said. For the first time, her mind had drawn a blank. She had no way to respond to that. There was so much wrong with that statement, she didn’t know where to start.

 

“I’m surprised you know what a homo is, though! It’s a shame Trunchbull wouldn’t put you in with the 2nd years. You’re like one of those genies. ”

 

Right, Matilda thought to herself, second year. And wait? Genie? 

 

“You mean genius? Because last time I checked, I can’t grant wishes.”

“Yeah, that.” Hortensia said. “Besides, you have magical powers, maybe I did mean genie. Have you ever tried to grant a wish?” Hortensia said. 


 

“I’m not a genius,” Matilda said matter-of-factly. “And no, can’t say I’ve ever tried to grant wishes.” She said with mild bemusement. She made a show of scrunching up her face in concentration, before lifting her shirt. “Nope, can’t grant wishes. I’m still in a diaper.” 

 

“Well, genies can’t grant their own wishes, obviously.”  

 

They went back and forth, blurting out what they’d wish for if they ever found a genie, each wish becoming more and more outlandish and silly. 

 

“…a pool of chocolate pudding.”

 

“. . .  A refrigerator that dispensed chocolate milk instead of water.”

 

“Bags of chips that weren’t half air!” 

 

“I think,” Matilda said after a pause, growing serious. “I’d wish I was an adult, so people would listen. It’s awful being small.”

 

“No, don’t wish that! You can get away with so much more when you’re small! People still think you’re cute. Every year gets worse! You have Miss Honey as a teacher; You’ve still got it good, unless, of course, you cross Miss Trunchbull. She hates small children especially. Always manages to send one or two to the hospital every year. What’s worse, there was a kid in my form called Billy Reyes. Three years ago, I think, he went missing and no one’s ever seen him since.”

 

“What happened?” Matilda asked. 

 

“They said he went missing walking home, but you know what I think?” Hortensia dropped her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “I think the Trunchbull, you know…” she dragged her thumb across her neck for emphasis. “He’s not the only one, either. I know there’s been kids that have gone missing since before I went there.” 

 

Matilda shivered. She remembered what Hortensia had said before. What do you think would have happened if Amanda Thripp hadn’t cleared that fence? She shuddered again. She was horrified that she found the idea of the Trunchbull murdering children so… so….plausible. 

 

No! No sane person would ever entertain the idea. It was impossible! Outlandish! Absolutely bonkers! Yet, if someone told her their teacher spun a girl around by the hair and hammer threw her off school property just for wearing pigtails… Honestly, she wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t witnessed it herself. 

“Hortensia, don’t you think, maybe, it would be a good idea to stop provoking her? I- I’m rather fond of you, and I’d hate to see you get injured.” Hortensia looked as if Matilda had suggested she stop eating potato chips and take up grazing on kale. 

 

“You’re just a shrimp; you wouldn’t understand. It’s not just for laughs.” 

 

“Then why? You could get seriously hurt if you make her mad enough.” 

 

“Look around, squirt. Kids are already getting hurt. You know what the adults do about it? Not a damn thing! They’re cowards. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. You know why all the parents call us liars? Because it’s easier than entertaining the possibility that our principal is a deranged psychopath. Even if all I can do is pour honey on her chair, and itching powder in her shorts, at least I feel like I’m doing something.”

 

Matilda gazed up at her with a new-found respect. She wasn’t a troublemaker. She was a brave and courageous crusader, leading the charge against a formidable adversary despite near impossible odds. In Matilda’s eyes, she was a hero. 

 

…….

 

It was nearly dark by the time Miss Honey had come to collect Matilda, who had been pacing worriedly in the living room. School let out at three, and here it was nearly six. Relief flooded her when she finally heard a knock. Hortensia answered the door and let a very frazzled and exhausted looking Miss Honey inside.

 

“Jenny!” Matilda yelled, nearly bowling her over in a near bone crushing hug. “I was so worried!”

 

“I’m so sorry, Matilda!” Miss Honey said, wrapping her in an equally tight embrace. 

 

“Careful, Miss Honey,” Hortensia warned. “If you squeeze her, she’ll, uh, blow.” Matilda ignored her. 

 

“How are you feeling, dear?” Miss Honey asked, looking Matilda over. “You look better. Do you think it’s all out of your system?” 

 

“And all over me and my front yard!” Hortensia threw in. Matilda shot her a dirty look. 

 

“Did something happen?” Miss Honey asked. 

 

Hortensia grinned as Matilda shook her head with near bug eyes. “Made a bit of a mess when she first got here, is all. Ma had to rinse her, and anything within a six-foot radius of her, down with the hose. You’re lucky you missed it.” 


 

Matilda felt an arm pull her closer. “I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there for you.” She wanted to ask why she was so late, but it didn’t matter. She was here now. The adrenaline that filled her moments before was quickly crashing. She let out a yawn and stretched her arms over her head. The T-shirt she was wearing rode up, and Miss Honey asked, “Why are you wearing a diaper?” Matilda blushed and buried her face into Miss Honey’s dress. 

 

“Oh, Ma made her. Matilda was like a fire breathing dragon, but instead of her mouth, it was her arse, and instead of fire, it was sh-”. 

 

“Thank you, Hortensia, I understand.” Miss Honey said, cutting her off. “I hate to ask this after everything, but I don’t think I should take her to school tomorrow. Would you mind terribly if she stayed here with you?” 

 

Hortensia shrugged. “Sure, she’s alright, for a shrimp.” Hortensia handed her a bag. “Ma wanted me to give you this. It’s got medicine and extra, you know, in case Mount Matilda erupts again.” 

 

“Thank you, hopefully we won’t need them.” Miss Honey said, bending down and picking up the exhausted five-year-old and letting her rest her head on her shoulder. Matilda wrapped her arms around Miss Honey, and when the woman turned and began to walk out the door, Matilda locked eyes with Hortensia, and smiled mischievously. It was payback time. While Miss Honey was walking away, Matilda narrowed her eyes and made a slashing motion with a finger. Hortensia’s pants crumpled to a ball by her ankles. 

 

 

“Is there anything else I can do to help you feel more comfortable?” Miss Honey asked. Matilda bit her lip. “What? What is it?” 

 

“Would you read to me, Jenny?” Matilda asked from her side of the bed. Usually, it was Matilda who read out loud before they went to sleep. “I’ve never had a bedtime story before.” 

 

“Of course! What would you like me to read?”

 

“Anything is fine; I just want to hear you read.” Matilda admitted. Miss Honey grabbed the nearest book, and joined Matilda in bed. Matilda stared at her with longing. What she really wanted was to cuddle up with her, but she didn’t want to risk getting her sick, although she supposed, it was probably too late for that.  Despite remaining quiet, Miss Honey seemed to sense it. She lifted the blanket.

 

“Come here.” She held her arms out. Matilda waited a second, before throwing caution to the wind. She eagerly scooted over and let Jenny wrap her in a warm embrace. Matilda sighed contentedly as Miss Honey stroked her hair and face. They both quickly forgot about the book. “Matilda, could I ask you something?” Jennifer said. 

 

“Hmm?” came the mumbled response.

 

“Why do you call me Jenny?” She felt Matilda slightly stiffen in her arms. “I’m sorry, silly me. You’re unwell, you must not be up for this kind of conversation.”

 

“Do you not want me to call you that? Would you prefer something else?” Matilda knew it wasn’t very polite to call adults by their first names, but she had thought they were more than just child and adult to each other. She frowned. Miss Honey herself had said she could as long as it wasn’t at school.

 

“No, it’s nothing like that, it’s just, I would very much like it if you saw me as your mother. You had even started to call me ‘mom’ but then you suddenly just stopped and went back to Jenny.” She could feel Matilda stiffen again, and she stayed silent for a long time. 

 

“I tried but, to be honest, I just don’t see you like that.” 

 

Jennifer felt her heart crash to her stomach. “O-oh..” she tried to sound normal, but her voice caught. “T-that’s…” Her eyes began burning with tears of hurt and disappointment. Matilda suddenly bolted up when she heard her breath begin to hitch.

 

“That’s not what I meant! Oh god!” Matilda said, looking at Jennifer's red and puffy eyes with horror. 

 

“I-t’s fine! Y-you don’t have to explain.” Miss Honey said, cursing the tears that had begun to fall. Pull yourself  together, you pathetic miserable woman! You are supposed to be here for her! It is not a five-year-old's job to coddle you!

 

“My brain just really isn’t working today!” Matilda sighed. “I don’t call you mom, because I think it would be insulting to you.” 

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

“When I think of the word, ‘mom’ it doesn’t make me feel good. I still think of her. I think of the words selfish, horrible, shallow, unkind. I think of all the times she called me stupid, annoying, a wart. I think of cans of soup left on a burner, and loneliness. I even remember when I was a baby!”

 

Miss Honey was about to say, “no one remembers their time as a baby”, but she stopped before she opened her mouth. This was Matilda, and with her extraordinary mind, it was very well possible she could. So she stayed silent and let her continue. 

 

“She’d put me in a bouncer or high chair and leave me there for hours! I’d be left in the same disgusting diaper all day long. I remember the rashes! The pain! And they had the nerve to yell and whine at me for making a mess or crying. I toilet trained myself at one just to make it all stop!”

 

 Now it was Matilda’s turn to start crying. “You’re none of those things, Jenny, and I know you’d never do anything like that to me or anyone. You’re the kindest, warmest, and most caring person I’ve ever met. You make me feel safe, and loved, and everything I spent hours wishing for!” Matilda held Miss Honey’s face in her tiny hands. “You’re so much more to me than that; You’re like my fairy god mother who came and rescued me and made everything better! How could I compare something so dirty and horrible to something so pure and wonderful as you?”

 

“Oh Matilda!” Miss Honey choked out. She pulled Matilda into a tight embrace, and whispered in her ear. “You’re everything I’ve always wished for, too! I love you so much! You rescued me, darling, not the other way around.” They held each other long into the night, neither wanting to be the reason they broke apart. 

 

Jenny was perfectly fine, Miss Honey thought to herself. It wasn’t the word that mattered, but the feelings behind them. Now that she understood Matilda’s train of thought, her heart felt lighter and more at ease than it ever had. Was this what love felt like? As she gazed at the young girl splayed out over her chest, she smiled and made a silent vow. Jennifer would replace that painful past of Matilda’s and fill her mind instead with loving, and fun memories they would both cherish forever. For her daughter, she would do anything. And maybe one day, that word that filled her with so much pain would one day be full of thoughts of the love they had for each other instead. Matilda would know when the time was right, Jennifer wasn’t going to bring it up again. Yes, she thought as she closed her eyes. Jenny was perfectly fine. 

 

 

When the morning came, Matilda yawned and stretched, before slowly cracking open her eyes. She found Miss Honey propped up on an elbow watching her with a large dopey smile Matilda had never seen before. 

 

“What?” Matilda asked with a self-conscious grin. 

 

“You just look so adorable like that.” 

 

Matilda sat up, letting the covers fall off her. Some time in the night, she must have taken off her shirt, leaving her only in the dry diaper from the night before. She had been too tired to change when they had gotten home, opting instead to go straight to bed. 

 

“It’s more comfy without a shirt.” Matilda said, shrugging before laying back down. “You should try it.” 

 

Miss Honey laughed. “I think I’ll just let you enjoy it.” 

 

Matilda frowned. “How come? You wear such uncomfortable looking gowns to bed.”

 

“Uh, well, to be honest, I don’t like being undressed. It makes me uncomfortable.” Miss Honey said. 

 

“Really? Why?” Matilda asked, moving her arms about. “I feel so free.”

 

Miss Honey smiled, her eyes full of sadness. She was going to end the conversation with a “I just don’t,” or, “It would be inappropriate,” but decided against it. Matilda had been so open with her about her past last night, even though it was difficult. She sat back down on the edge of the bed, took a deep breath and said, “Much like you, I did not have a happy childhood. If saying and thinking about the word, ‘mom’ is what sets you back, then small enclosed spaces and being undressed are mine.”

 

Matilda nodded her head solemnly. “I understand.” 

 

“I wish you didn’t.” Jennifer said. 

 

Matilda watched her pick out her clothes for the day before heading into the bathroom. Matilda sighed and closed her eyes, thinking about last night. She loved cuddling up with Jenny, but her night shirts were so uncomfortable. She had almost asked her to take it off, but now she was glad she didn’t. Matilda was a little disappointed, though. She had no idea why, but she’d been having this overwhelming desire to lay on Jenny’s bare chest at night, skin to skin, and just be held like last night. Was that weird? The thought of being held, feeling her body heat and listening to her heart beat sounded so appealing. She felt a little depressed now, knowing it would never happen. 

 

Matilda heard the shower turn on and winced. She rolled over, trying to ignore the pressure building in her bladder, but the sound of running water wasn’t helping. She crossed and uncrossed her legs and wiggled underneath the covers. She’d be out in a bit, Matilda told herself. Jenny never took very long showers. A few minutes went by, and then a few more. Matilda groaned into her pillow. She couldn’t wait much longer. She pushed herself up and stood at the bathroom door before knocking. 

 

“Umm, Jenny? Are you going to be much longer? I need to pee.” 

 

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m right in the middle of shaving. Do you think you can hang on for another ten or fifteen minutes?” Matilda winced. 

 

“Probably not.” She admitted. 

 

“Shoot! Umm, well, you know, you could always just-”

 

“Please, no.” Matilda said. She knew she was about to suggest peeing in the diaper.  “I think it would hurt an awful lot.”

 

“Oh, you're right, I’m sorry, I forgot about that. Well, I guess if you can’t hold it, then go ahead and come in.” 

 

“Thank you! I’ll be quick!” She dashed to the toilet, paying no mind to the silhouette behind the curtain. 

 

“Oh, just whatever you do, don’t flu-” Miss Honey began to say, but it was too late. Matilda had already pulled the lever by habit. She winced and stepped back. 

 

“Sorry!” She yelled. Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad.

 

Miss Honey screamed and jumped out from behind the curtain. “Oh that’s cold!” She spun around and froze. Matilda stood gaping at her, nearly open-mouthed. Miss Honey tried to cover herself, but Matilda had already seen.

 

“No! Stop!” Matilda said. She came closer, eyes wide with horror, but utterly transfixed. “Oh, Jenny,“ She said softly. 

 

Jennifer flinched as Matilda lightly traced the discolored, circular marks around her abdomen, hips, chest, upper thighs and back. She let Matilda circle her and investigate, there was no point hiding it now. She fought against the urge to cover herself. 

 

“Jenny,” Matilda said again. “Are these all burns?” 

 

“Yes.” Miss Honey said softly

 

“How? Why?” Matilda began to ask, but froze. She recognized them now from the ashtray in her old living room. “These are from cigars.” 

 

“Yes.” Miss Honey said again with a sigh. She reached out and turned the water off in the shower before wrapping a towel around herself. 

 

“The Trunchbull?”  Matilda whispered.

 

“Yes.”

 

A rage was growing inside Matilda like she had never felt before. She could hardly see straight. Words her father had said to her once echoed in her mind.

 

“When a person is bad, that person needs to be taught a lesson.” 

 

Yes.

 

 It was time they taught the Trunchbull a lesson.

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  • SashaButters changed the title to Afternoon in the Chokey (Updated 1-04-22)

Not a word had passed between them on their walk to Hortensia’s that morning. Matilda had hardly noticed her surroundings changing at all until they arrived at the front of the black gate. Her attention had been so focused on what she had seen and the implications of it all. Rage boiled inside her so much she had needed somewhere to direct her anger. If Miss Honey had noticed the leaves tumbling around against the wind in front of Matilda, she hadn’t said anything. 

 

“Please don’t mention what you saw to anyone.” Jennifer whispered, staring straight ahead at the door. Matilda gripped her hand and gave her a reassuring squeeze. “I hadn’t meant for you to see.” 

 

Before Matilda could respond, the door began to open. Hortensia stood in the doorway wrapped in a blanket with a deep scowl on her face. “You got me sick.” She hissed at Matilda, before stepping aside to let them in. Miss Honey flashed her a deeply apologetic look. 

 

“Go sit down, you big baby.” Hortensia’s mom said, shooing her daughter away. “Serves you right, treating this like some sort of vacation. You wouldn’t have gotten sick if you minded your own business and did your homework like I told you to.”  Hortensia grumbled before slinking off to the living room couch. 

 

“I’m glad I packed the Pepto then.” Miss Honey said. “I’m terribly sorry about all this, thank you so much for looking after her. I hope she wasn’t too much trouble yesterday.” 

 

“A few issues in the beginning, but nothing too serious.” Hortensia’s mom looked her up and down. Matilda suddenly felt very shy, but resisted the urge to hide behind Jenny. “You sure overalls are a good idea?” 

 

“She has a change of clothes if she needs them, just in case, but things have begun to settle down. Even if she does have any issues, don’t worry about it, she’s perfectly capable of taking care of it herself. I know she’s only five, but she’s very independent. She’s not like other kids her age.” 

 

Matilda’s heart soared in appreciation. It had taken some coaxing from Jenny, but Matilda had confided in her about the events of the previous day and had nearly gotten to her knees and begged Jenny to talk to her on Matilda’s behalf. 

 

“Kids act different when they're sick. It doesn’t matter how resourceful or independent you think they are, It can set them back years.”

 

“I’m a teacher I understand, but you see,” Miss Honey dropped her voice to a whisper, “Matilda has come from an abusive family, and there are some trust issues when it comes to adults she doesn’t know well, but we’re working on it.” 

 

“Oh,” Hortensia’s mom said, her face falling. “I wasn’t aware of that.” 

“She’s been forced to grow up very fast.” 

 

Matilda darted inside, eager to get away from their conversation about her, and joined Hortensia on the couch. 

 

“What happened?” Matilda asked her.

 

“You! You’re what happened!” Hortensia growled. “I was just minding my own business after dinner, watching a bit of Telly, when out of the blue it felt like the Trunchbull threw a shot put right into my belly! I damn near blew a hole in my trousers!” 

 

Matilda winced in sympathy. After having gone through the same thing yesterday, she knew from experience Hortensia wasn’t exaggerating. While Matilda knew she wasn’t 100%, maybe not even 65%, but she was far better off than the girl huddled in the blanket seated next to her. 

 

“Matilda!” Miss Honey called from the door. She got up and approached Jenny, who handed Matilda her backpack and wished her a better day. “Please try and eat something today.”

 

Matilda nodded, but she was still a bit hesitant. She had already refused breakfast before they had left the apartment in fear of a repeat of yesterday. Once Miss Honey had left, Matilda returned to her spot on the couch and began rummaging through her backpack. She pulled out the pink bottle, and began scanning the back for the info she needed. If she had to eat, she’d better give her stomach a fighting chance. After pouring out a dose for herself and knocking it back with a wince, she turned her attention to the back of the label once more. 

 

“Hortensia, have you had any medicine today?” 

 

“Ma sent it home with you.” She replied, still curled underneath a great, green comforter. 

 

“I’ve got the bottle with me, how much do you weigh?”

 

“I don’t know, 45 kilograms, around there.” 

 

“It says you should take 15ml.” She was about to pour out another dose when a shocked voice called out her name behind her. 

 

“Matilda!” She jumped and put the cap back on the bottle. Hortensia’s mom snatched the bottle away in a panic. “Honey, please, let’s leave this for the adults. I don’t want you guessing how much to take and making yourself sick.” 

 

“The label says for her to take 15ml since she’s over 30 kg, I’m not guessing.” 

 

“Matilda, please, you’re too young to-” She froze as she looked at the bottle in her hand, then back at Matilda, before letting her eyes drift to the bottle once more. Without a word, she poured a small amount into the cup, clearly stopping at the 15ml line, and handed it over to Hortensia.

 

“Eww, no I don’t want to take any medicine.” Hortensia complained, before falling quiet at the glare she had received. 

 

“It’s not that bad, I just had some, and it really does help. It’s better than the Tylenol.” Matilda offered. 

 

“How much did you take, Matilda? Did you also take 15ml?” Her mom asked. 

 

“No, ma’m, I took 7.5 ml.” 

 

“Is that how much Miss Honey told you to take?” 

 

“No ma’m, it said so on the back under instructions.”

 

“But how did you come up with 7.5 ml?”

 

“The bottle says to half the dose if you’re under 30kg.” Matilda explained with a shrug. “Half of 15 is 7.5.” 

 

Hortensia’s mom let out a breath that sounded as if she had just had the wind knocked out of her. Matilda didn’t understand why adults always seemed so surprised. It was right there on the label, as clear as the nose on her face! All you had to do was read it.

 

“Y-yes, th-that’s right.” her mom said, more to herself than to Matilda. “Whose class are you in again?”

 

“Miss Honey’s, ma’m.”

 

“Oh, yes, that’s right, of course you’re in the first form. You’re five.” The woman shook her large blond head as if trying to wake up out of a daze. “What’s that pointy thing sticking up out of your backpack?”

 

Matilda looked down. “Oh, it’s my compass, I must have forgotten to put it away. Thank you, I’d be a very cross if I cut myself on it.” She pulled out the metal instrument and set it in the coffee table along with a few of her text books.

 

Her mom stepped forward, picking up one of the books. “Why in the world are you carrying these around for?” 

 

“To work on my school work; I don’t want to fall behind.” 

“Fall behind who?” Hortensia said, poking her head out from the blanket. “You said you get to do your own thing in class. Can you believe that, Ma? She’s allowed to not pay attention in class.” 

 

Her mom didn’t say anything, instead she flipped through the pages, eyes as wide as saucers. She put the first book back down and picked up another one. “Matilda, does Miss Honey really expect you to work out of these? All by yourself?” 

 

“She says I can ask her questions if I have any in between lessons, but so far I’ve managed fine by myself.” 

 

Hortensia’s mom sat down on the opposite side of the table, gazing wordlessly at the books. Then she turned her attention to Hortensia’s stack and pulled out a completed work sheet before letting out an annoyed, “hmph,” and brushing off potato chip crumbs. Next, she copied down the questions on another piece of paper, without the answers, and handed it to Matilda. 

 

“Would you please humor me for a moment? I know it’s silly, and you’re probably not feeling up for it but, are you able to … solve these?” Matilda looked over the paper, nodded her head, grabbed a pen and immersed herself in the equations. “I think, I think I’ll make us some toast while you work on that.” 

 

“I’m done.” Matilda said, before the woman had even managed to get halfway across the living room. 

 

“That-that’s not possible, it took me longer just to copy the questions down.” She looked down and let out a laugh that almost sounded relieved. “Did you just scribble random numbers?”

 

“No, ma’m.” Matilda said softly.

 

“Well, where’s the work?” 

 

Matilda pointed to her head. “Up here.” Matilda could see the doubt written all over her face. “You can check them if you’d like.” 

 

Hortensia’s mom shrugged and then smiled and sat down. “This is all just a silly game anyway. I do have to grade Tens’s work, actually.” Matilda could see the color drain from her face as she entered the numbers into a calculator one by one, occasionally making a mark on the page Hortensia had worked off of, before taking a glance at Matilda’s answer. Once she had finished, she put the pen down and stared quietly ahead for some time. 

 

“How?” She finally whispered. “Did you really just do all that in your head?” 

 

“Yes, ma’am.” 

 

“I thought you had just copied off ‘Tens’ when I noticed they were right, but you even got the ones right that she couldn’t.” She slowly stood up, looking a bit shell shocked. “I think I’ll make that toast now.”

 

 

“You see what I mean?” her mom asked, pointing down at a pile of spread out math sheets on the table, each with a failing grade. “She excels in every other subject,” she had started to say but stopped, “I-I mean, she gets an A, but math has always been a very large hurdle. We’ve even hired tutors, but she just won’t focus enough and makes such near constant silly mistakes.” 

 

Matilda gazed over the work, deep in thought. “But you said she gets A’s in all her other subjects? That also takes a great deal of focus. I’ve found that she’s actually quite perceptive, much more than even some adults I know.” 

 

“I guess she has a selective attention span, then. You’re umm, well, I don’t think I could even make that make sense. I was hoping you could notice something the others can’t.” She said, stumbling over her words a bit.

 

“Hmm,” Matilda muttered, “Well, there is something, but it doesn’t make much sense since you said she does well in everything else.”

 

“What?”

 

Matilda pointed at several points along the tests. “I can tell she knows how to do the math, she’s doing all the right steps, but she’s still coming up with the wrong answers.”

 

“I know! That’s what I mean by silly mistakes.” 

 

Matilda took a bite of her toast before answering. “But look closer, she’s copied down the wrong numbers. This question right here, 4,872 x 3,964, when she transferred it to scrap paper she wrote 4,872 x 3,694.”

 

 “See, she’s not focusing.” the woman started, but Matilda quickly shook her head.

 

“No, now look at these. Even the harder ones, she consistently gets the word problems right. Do you see what’s different about them? She always gets the questions right when the numbers are written out, but when it’s time to copy the answer down, the number is jumbled.”

 

“Oh, that’s strange.” Her mom said, frowning. 

 

“I don’t think it’s a matter of focus. Of course, she won’t get the answer right if she’s seeing the  question wrong.” 

 

“So you’re thinking she needs to get her eyes checked?”

 

“No, I mean, you could if you wanted to, but it might be a little more complicated than that. I’m not really sure myself. At first, I thought maybe dyslexia, but it doesn’t seem to happen with letters, only numbers. If letters were getting jumbled, she’d make a lot more spelling mistakes. Possibly it’s a minor case of dyscalculia? Has she seen a doctor about it?”

 

“Well, no.” 

 

“You could start there. And just as an experiment, next time she has a math assignment, read her the question out loud, and have her read you her answer. I know there’s still steps in between, but it might slightly improve her chance of getting it right.”

 

“That was certainly a fresh perspective.” Her mom said. They sat in silence for a moment before she added. “Thank you, no one’s ever brought this up before.”

 

“Hortensia’s been telling you the truth.” Matilda blurted out. “About the Trunchbull, I mean, what she does to kids.” Hortensia’s mom’s eyes looked very sad for a moment.

 

“I know.” She whispered. 

 

……

 

Matilda sat glaring at the television, seething. She was making the channels change rapidly, despite the remote being on the other side of the room. She thought of Hortensia’s words from the night before. “The adults are cowards, every single one of them.” She shut the TV off and balled her hands into fists. 

Her eyes filled with tears at the thought of the burns all over Jenny’s body, of Hortensia covered nearly head to toe in cuts and scrapes who came home to a mother who pretended they weren’t there. She cried for Amanda, who had nearly been scalped and impaled in front of her friends, for Julius Rotwinkle, who had been thrown out a window, and lastly she cried for herself, because she knew deep down, she was no better than any of them. Hadn’t she also failed to act? She had stood paralyzed to the spot along with everyone else. 

 

Matilda wiped her face and gritted her teeth. Things had to change around here. She couldn’t keep making excuses. She thought of Hortensia’s words, “Don’t wish you were an adult, you can get away with so much more when you’re little.” Maybe she had a point. She went to Hortensia’s room and barged in without knocking.

 

“Wake up!” She said to the lump asleep on the bed. Hortensia groaned in response. “I want in on whatever you're planning next!”

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  • SashaButters changed the title to Afternoon in the Chokey (Updated 1-06-22)
  • 2 weeks later...

The girls sat hunched over the kitchen table, textbooks spread out, in an attempt to throw Hortensia’s mom off their backs. Matilda had a blue notebook open on top of her algebra worksheet and was flipping through the pages with mild amusement. If Hortensia deserved any kind of award, it would be for her creativity, but realistically, her notebook full of schemes and plans tended to fall into the “illegal” and “impossible” category. 

 

“If anything actually does happen to the Trunchbull, this notebook needs to be burned.” Matilda said. 

 

“Why?” Hortensia asked with a scowl. Matilda thought she still looked rather green, but that was probably because she still continued to stuff her face with potato chips. Just the thought of eating something so greasy sent Matilda’s stomach for a loop. She herself hadn’t been feeling so great since the toast, despite the medicine. 

 

“Because I don’t think Jenny, or any university, would approve of 1st degree murder as an acceptable form of extracurricular activity.” 

 

“What do you care about university for? You’re five.” Hortensia said, in between a mouthful of chips. “And I’m ten, would anyone really believe us to be capable of murder?”

 

Matilda sighed. “We’re not killing her.”

 

“But say, hypothetically, she dies of an accident.”

 

“No! No one’s dying!” Matilda said, before flipping to a page and sliding it over.” How exactly did you plan on getting cannonballs onto the roof? Does that really look like an accident?” She pointed to a crude illustration of a squished car with a dead stick figure in the driver's seat. 

 

“I will admit they're not the most thought out ideas; it’s just a hobby.” 

 

“We need to think smaller, the idea is to inconvenience her; not hurt her.” Matilda could see Hortensia’s face turn angry. 

 

“Inconvenience? I thought you wanted revenge and-” Hortensia jumped to her feet, chair scraping behind her. “Um, I don’t-” but before she could finish her thought, Hortensia was sprinting out of the kitchen and down the hall. 

 

“I told her to stop eating chips.” Matilda mumbled, before taking several long gulps of water. Jenny had been adamant about drinking water, so she had been playing a little game. Take a drink every time Hortensia ate a chip. She had soon abandoned that game, her tiny stomach was no match to whichever evolutionary adaption Hortensia’s stomach had come up with to store chips. She was starting to think she didn’t have a stomach at all, but rather a portal straight to one of the nine dimensions of hell that dumped undigested snacks onto some poor damned soul. Matilda shuddered at the thought. Maybe Dante’s Inferno hadn’t been the greatest reading material, either. 

 

Matilda’s legs were jiggling by the time she heard the kitchen door open. She looked up, hoping it was Hortensia. She’d have to give the bathroom a few minutes to air out, of course, she didn’t have to pee so bad she’d rush in straight after whichever horror’s Hortensia had unleashed in there. She frowned in disappointment when she realized it was only Hortensia’s mom. 

 

“Sicker than a dog.” she heard her mumble. Matilda bit her lip. It didn’t sound like Hortensia would be out anytime soon. 

 

“I really appreciate you helping Hortensia with her math, I don’t know how you do it, though. I can’t get her to willingly work, even when she’s well.” Matilda felt a pang of guilt. The open text books had just been a cover. 

 

“Maybe she’s just delusional from a fever.” Hortensia’s mom chuckled. 

 

“Could be.” 

 

“What should I call you?” Matilda asked after a moment of silence. She didn’t even know Hortensia’s last name. 

 

“My name is Eve.” 

 

“Okay, Mrs. Eve.” Matilda said. It was rude to call adults by their first name, so she had to improvise. Hortensia’s mom only laughed again and shook her head.

 

“Just Eve is fine.” 

 

Matilda didn’t feel comfortable being on a first name basis. She was still angry with her for failing to act in Hortensia’s best interest. Why had she called her daughter a liar if she knew she was telling the truth? Why did all the adults in this town sit back and do nothing? Matilda’s own father had sent her to Crunchem Hall knowing the Trunchbull’s reputation. He had probably sent her there because of the Trunchbull’s reputation, not in spite of. Matilda shook her head, this wasn’t a road she wanted to go down right now. It was much easier to fight for other people instead of herself. Besides, her father’s actions had inadvertently made her life drastically better, not worse as he had most likely intended. She had met Miss Honey, and she had found, for the first time, what love felt like. 

 

Another, more sad thought filled her head. It made her uneasy and made her stomach twist. Matilda had been angry at the adults in her life for not standing up to the Trunchbull and not protecting their children. Was Miss Honey any different? If the time came where Matilda was in danger, would- no could timid, fearful Miss Honey protect her? Matilda knew it was too much to ask of her. Jenny needed someone to look after her! She had been abused far worse than Matilda knew she could even imagine at the hands of that woman! Timid Jenny, who looked like she wanted to sink into the floor whenever the Trunchbull entered her classroom. Jenny, who had signed away any hope of ever being properly independent, who hid horrid scars underneath her clothes, and had spent years living in poverty. She was Matilda’s reason to fight. When she thought of Jenny, she wasn’t afraid. 

 

“Matilda, do you need the bathroom?” Eve’s voice snapped her from her train of thought. Matilda looked down at herself and blushed. She hadn’t even noticed she had gotten up on her hind legs, hands grabbing at herself. What was she doing? She was better than this kind of juvenile behavior! 

 

“Well, umm, yes.” Matilda admitted. It would be more childish to deny it at this point, and now that she had started paying attention, did she ever! “Do you have another bathroom?” Maybe there was another in the master bedroom. Her hopes were dashed when Eve shook her head. “It’s fine, I can wait until Hortensia’s out.” 

 

Eve looked skeptical. “I don’t think she’ll be out anytime, soon. Is it your stomach?” Matilda shook her head, and Eve seemed to relax now that an impending blow out was off the table. 

 

“A neighbor’s, maybe?” Matilda asked after failing to distract herself with the textbook. 

 

Eve bit her lip. “The only neighbor I’d feel comfortable taking you to is Jan, Chunky’s mom, but she’s a bit of a germaphobe. I don’t think she’d let either of us in right now.” Matilda’s face fell. How had she not noticed sooner? Had she really been that deep in thought? “I can’t leave Hortensia alone right now, either.” 

 

“I could just walk to the market, it’s only a few blocks.” Matilda suggested. Eve looked like she had proposed letting Matilda play with a loaded fire arm. “Or not.” she mumbled.

 

“I’m sorry, you’ll either have to wait or…” Matilda watched her eyes shift to her backpack. 

 

“No!” Matilda said, a bit more forceful than necessary. “I still have that, umm, soreness. It would be very painful.” Why was everyone suggesting she pee on herself today? Just because she was a bed wetter did not make it suddenly okay. 

 

“Oh, that’s right.” Eve said. “Well, if you get desperate enough, there’s the backyard, although it might be a little tricky for you being a girl and all. You’d probably have to take everything off from the waist down.” 

 

“I’ll wait.” Matilda said through gritted teeth. She just went from being a baby to being a dog. She had had her fill of relieving herself outdoors after yesterday. The experience had been unnerving, not to mention loud. It was a memory she wished to bury and never think about again! She despised being vulnerable, and nothing said vulnerable like being naked in a stranger's front yard with zero bowel control next to a woman who kept saying things like “that’s it.” and “let it all out of your system.”  If she had meant to be comforting, she had missed the mark by a mile. It had been the most humiliating moment of her life, right next to Jenny pulling her out of the Chokey soaked, and having her first accident in Jenny’s bed. Recently, it seemed, her life seemed to be full of cringy moments. 

 

Matilda’s resolve not stoop down to the level of an animal had lasted all of twenty minutes. She groaned in embarrassment as she got up and headed for the backyard. She kept reminding herself it would look worse having an accident. Picturing Eve treating her like she had yesterday had broken the rest of her resolve. 

 

“Do you need any help with your overalls?” Matilda could feel warmth gather in her face. She had hoped to slip out unnoticed, or at least Eve would have the courtesy not to say anything. No such luck on either accounts. 

 

“No, thank you.” Matilda mumbled. She went out back, shutting the screen door behind her. She took in the backyard. All the grass seemed to be directly in front of the back door. Matilda groaned again. No way was she going to do this with Eve watching. She had given her enough of a show yesterday. As Matilda made her way around the small backyard, she couldn’t shake the image of a dog sniffing around, searching for the perfect spot. Just pick somewhere and get it over with! There! 

 

All the way along the fence were flowers, but there in the corner was a bush, and not a very pretty one anyway. As she was undoing her overalls, she had the odd feeling she was being watched. She eyed the backdoor, but Eve, thankfully, was not there. No one was looking out the kitchen window, either. She was just feeling paranoid because this felt wrong, she thought, but before she stripped the rest of the way, she let her eyes scan the area one last time. Nothing. She got into position over the bush, but just as she began to pull everything down, she let out a yell and quickly hoisted it back up. She had been so concerned about Eve watching, she hadn’t thought of anyone else, so she was startled when her eyes locked with a man on the second floor of the neighbor's house. 

 

Matilda ran back inside, overalls still dangling. 

 

“Feel better?” a voice from the kitchen table asked. Of course, she’d ask that, Matilda thought.

 

“There was a man watching me from upstairs.” Matilda said. Eve scowled.

 

“Damn him, that perv. I’ve caught him several times watching us.” 

 

Matilda shook her head. “I didn’t…” 

 

“Wise of you.” Eve said, a scowl still on her face. “Stay inside the rest of the day.” Matilda didn’t ask why. 

 

Matilda rested her head on her textbook, burying her face in her arms. “C’mon, Hortensia! Aren’t you done blowing it up yet?” Matilda quietly mumbled to herself. Her legs were now involuntarily shaking, the straps she hadn’t fastened on her overalls bouncing noisily against the chair. What was she going to do now? She looked up hopefully when she heard a scraping sound. Was Hortensia back? No, it was just Eve dragging a chair over to the top row of cupboards. 

 

Instead of climbing on top to reach up, Eve patted the chair. ‘Come on, hop up” Matilda tried to make sense of what she was saying. She stood up and followed in a trance. She couldn’t think right now, she couldn’t even stand still. Maybe Eve was afraid of heights? She doubted Matilda could reach that high, but she stood on the chair anyway. 

 

“Face me.” Matilda turned. She wasn’t even eye level, she was still a good foot shorter. So then why? Matilda let out a panicked gasp. Eve had yanked her overalls and underwear down, and was lifting her up by her hips. When she stopped moving, Matilda realized she was hovering over the sink. Her legs were resting over the edge, but she knew if Eve let go, she’d fall backwards into it. “Go on, I’ve got you.” Once again, not comforting, Matilda thought. Her body clenched tight in protest. “Let me know when you’re done.” 

 

“I-I can’t.” Matilda muttered, face red with embarrassment. Not with Eve right in front of her, holding her. 

 

“Everything’s harder as a girl, I know.” Eve said. It was true, Matilda could have gone in the bush with her back to the neighbor already.  She wrapped one arm around Matilda’s waist and reached behind her with the other. She nearly jumped out of Eve’s hold as she felt cold water splash her back. Matilda hadn’t been quite out of the range of the faucet, but she was no match for the sound and feel of running water. 

 

Matilda hid her face in her arms as she felt herself give in, feeling both shame and relief, grateful for the noise of the faucet. If she had to hear herself pee, it would have been the end of her dignity, although she was pretty sure she had lost all of that yesterday. 

 

Once Matilda’s feet hit the floor, she quickly hoisted up her underwear, but before she could re-attach the buckles of her overalls, she felt Eve tugging on her shirt. “I’m sorry, I got you all wet.”

 

Matilda shrugged. If Eve hadn’t, she’d still be up there, involuntarily fighting against every trickle. Matilda shuddered, imagining Eve praising her for every sound and trying to coax her into letting it out all at once. 

 

“See, you’re cold.” Matilda felt her shirt get pulled off. “Do you have another shirt?” Matilda shook her head. She had only brought spare pants and diapers she had been sent home with. She hadn’t thought her shirt would get in the line of fire. “I’ll put it in the dryer for you.” Matilda nodded and let out a large yawn behind her hand. She was starting to feel exhausted now that adrenaline and panic were no longer coursing through her. Her energy level was still much lower than usual and she realized she felt warm, not from embarrassment, but from fever. She was still sick. 

 

“Feel free to take a nap on the couch if you need to.” She heard Eve yell from the back of the house. Matilda wanted to very much, but…” her eyes drifted to her backpack. Why had Jenny packed those diapers and not pull-ups? She knew she couldn’t risk sleeping without anything, not with how much water she had been drinking, and not with how desperate she had gotten so quickly. She ground her teeth. Matilda didn’t have a choice, she knew. She dug around in her backpack and pulled one out, before making her way over to the couch. She kicked off the rest of her clothes, and opened it. 

 

She turned it side to side. Where was the front, and where was the back? She had never changed a diaper before, it all looked the same. She sat on it and tried to pull it up, nope, that wasn’t right. Matilda turned it around and tried again. Nope, that was even worse! On her fifth try, she let out a moan of frustration. She heard a chuckle. Matilda looked up to find Eve watching her from the hallway. 

 

“Need a hand?” Matilda wanted to say no, but this blasted thing wasn’t cooperating, and she was in danger of falling asleep on top of it and not in it. “Lay back.” She did as she was instructed, too drained to fight. Eve’s words were fading in and out. Matilda was only vaguely aware sometime later of another figure’s presence. 

 

“Move your diapered ass.” Matilda moaned and rolled onto her side, suddenly squished between the back of the couch and something nice and very warm. She wrapped her arms around it, but something was in the way. Without opening her eyes, she felt around and moved away whatever it was, before pressing her face against it and sighing contentedly, now fast asleep, before feeling something reluctantly wrap around her. 

 

…………………………………………

 


Jenny was surprised to find the door beginning to open before she had even lifted her hand to knock. Eve poked her face out and beckoned her in with a finger, with a finger of her other hand pressed to her lips. 

 

“You need to see this.” Eve whispered, and Jenny followed her inside now curious. Eve crept into the living room and pointed down at the couch. Jenny tiptoed inside and covered her mouth in surprise. Both girls were asleep, Matilda in nothing but a diaper, her face resting on Hortensia’s bare stomach, both with arms wrapped around each other. 

 

Jenny bit down on her knuckle to suppress the giggle that wanted to come out. Matilda had her moments, but Hortensia? Now that was a girl she couldn’t imagine being a cuddler. She couldn’t even picture her staying still long enough to cuddle. She took one last glance at the girls, before following Eve into the kitchen. 

“I never imagined Hortensia as the affectionate type.” Jenny admitted, taking a seat. Eve laughed.

 

“She’s not. I told you, they’re different when they're sick.” Eve said. 

 

Jenny thought back to last night. Matilda had been a bit clingier than usual, and Jenny had been more than happy to oblige. She thought it was because Matilda had thought she had hurt her, but as she thought back, it was Matilda who had initiated contact. She had even asked to be read to.

 

“You never told me she was some kind of genius.” Eve suddenly said, her tone changing. Jenny smiled and shrugged. “If she wasn’t sick, I was about to have her do my taxes for me.” 

 

“What gave it away?” 

 

“I caught her trying to give medication to my daughter. When I took the bottle away from her, she recited the instructions, and the math needed to calculate the dosage for children based on their weight. Then she began doing Hortensia’s math homework in her head. I thought she was copying off Hortensia’s paper, but she even got the answers Hortensia missed.”  

 

Jenny smiled and replied, “She likes math.” 

 

“Let me ask you, where is she living? You said she comes from an abusive home. Is she a foster child, is that why she’s still in your class? ” 

 

Jenny’s smile faltered. “It’s complicated. She’s living with me, but her situation isn’t exactly…”

 

“On the up and up.” Eve volunteered.

 

“Yes.” Jenny said, sounding sad. “I was able to get her family to give up custody of her, and pay a very small amount in child support, but if anyone came looking for her.” She bit her lip. “I don’t think the courts would give me custody. That’s also why she’s still in my class. I don’t have the legal right to switch schools, I’d pull her out of there so fast if I could! I try and be the best teacher I can be for her, but-” Jenny stopped as she felt a hand close around hers.

 

“She doesn’t need you as a teacher right now; she needs you as a mother.” Jenny froze. “That independence, you see, that came from necessity. That’s not normal, it doesn’t matter how smart she is. Do you know why she knows how to give herself medicine? It’s because no one was there to give it to her.”

 

“I know,” Jenny said with a sigh. “She told me last night she doesn’t see me as a mother, though.” 

 

“Then make her see you as one.” Eve said. “Jenny, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I think Matilda has very dark feelings towards the adults in her life, and if you don’t address it and soon, something very bad may happen.”

 

Crap, Jenny thought, she must know about her powers too! 

 

“Like today, for instance, she gave me a look like she wanted to rip my head off!” 

 

“Well, she is only five, and you said they don’t act themselves when they're sick. She is a very sweet girl.” 

 

“Jenny,” Eve said. “Listen, I found a notebook in with her school things. She’s having fantasies about murdering the principal.” 

 

Jenny’s eyebrows narrowed, and then she let out a nervous laugh. “What? No, Matilda would never want to hurt anyone. “ 

 

“I put it back with her things, you can look through it tonight, but seriously, with that brain of hers and these dark fantasies, you really need to do something to put a stop to this. Even the bed-wetting is a sign of emotional disturbance. ” 

 

“Eve!” Jenny said, getting to her feet. “Matilda is not some evil child, she is a very sweet and special girl who doesn’t have a drop of darkness in her heart!”

 

“I’m not saying she’s evil! All i’m saying is I think you need to spend more one on one time with her. Fewer academics, and more nurturing maybe, I don’t know!” Eve said also getting to her feet. 

 

“Jenny?” A quiet voice asked. Both women turned to find a very sleepy looking Matilda leaning against the doorway, a wet diaper hanging from her hips. 

 

 Jennifer plastered on a fake smile as best she could. She could only pray Matilda hadn’t heard their conversation. “Hi, sweetie, I’m sorry if we woke you. Let’s get your overalls back on, I’ll get you cleaned up once we get home.” Matilda looked at her a bit dazed, but didn’t argue. She had barely pulled up her pants when Jenny picked her and her backpack up and headed for the door. 

 

……………………………..

 

To think Matilda capable of such a thing! Jenny thought, seething, as she started running a bath. Eve had spent two afternoons with her and was already telling her how to be a parent! Jenny sighed as she rubbed at her temples. She was getting a headache. 

 

“Jenny? What’s wrong?” Matilda asked from the doorway. She had gotten out of her overalls, and was pacing back and forth in the wet diaper, a look of pain on her face.

 

“It’s nothing, sweetie, don’t worry about it. If you need to pee, go in the diaper.” Jenny watched Matilda’s face turn a bright shade of red.

 

“N-no, I don’t have to.” She said. Jenny nodded and turned back to the water, aware Matilda had gone into the other room. When she came back, she couldn’t help notice there was predominantly more sagging around her waist and an even more uncomfortable expression on Matilda’s face. Liar. 

 

“Come here. Let’s get that off you.” Jenny reached for the tabs, but frowned when Matilda pulled away. 

 

“I can do it myself.” She mumbled. She was about to tear it off, but Jenny grabbed her hands to stop her.

 

“I know you can do it yourself, and I love how independent you are, but sometimes, like right now, with me, you don’t have to be. Does that make sense?” 

 

Matilda frowned. “It’s gross, though, I don’t want you to.” 

 

Jenny smiled softly. “Gross? Why would I think it’s gross? Is it because it’s so…fresh?!” She lunged forward, taking Matilda off guard, and began making her squeal with laughter. 

 

“No! Stop! I’m ticklish!” she cried, and tried to dance away, but Jenny had her pinned into the corner, running her fingers up her sides, until the small girl was red-faced and panting. She looked so far from the evil genius Eve thought her to be. Jenny bent down and tore the tabs off, before balling it up and throwing it in the trashcan. 

 

“Was that so bad? Now into the bath with you!” She waited until Matilda was fully submerged before excusing herself. Now, what was with this notebook? She went to Matilda’s backpack, digging around, until she pulled out a blue composition book she didn’t recognize. She opened it and flipped through the childish doodles. Jenny breathed a sigh of relief. Dark fantasies, she thought, shaking her head. This wasn’t even Matilda’s neat writing, and the plans inside were so over the top, how could anyone take them seriously? Dropping a cannonball from the roof? Really? 

 

Jenny stopped at a page that featured a crude drawing of a cat. She smiled and shook her head. She had a feeling she knew who this notebook belonged to, and Eve wasn’t going to like it.

 

“Matilda,” Jenny said, do you know who this belongs to? I found it in your backpack.” She held it up, so Matilda could see, and noticed her face begin to lose color. Jenny sighed and sat down on the closed toilet lid. She may be a genius, but she couldn’t keep a secret to save her life. 

 

“Hortensia’s,” she mumbled. At least she wasn’t lying anymore. “I said I wanted to help her play pranks, so she showed it to me.”

 

Jenny bit her lip in worry. The Trunchbull was the last person anyone should be playing pranks on. 

 

“I realize some of the doodles she made aren’t exactly pranks.” Matilda went on. 

 

“Yes,” Jenny said. “They aren’t. They are the worst plans for murder I have ever seen.” Matilda giggled.

 

“Did you see the cannonball one?” Matilda asked. “How was she planning on getting those on the roof?” 

 

Jenny smiled. She had also seen rough drafts for other strange occurrences she hadn’t realized had been Hortensia’s doing. She was smart and calculating when she put her mind to it, so she knew the murder sketches had been nothing to worry about. It was clear no planning had gone into them. How had she planned on getting them onto the roof? It was almost as if she’d need-Jenny swallowed nervously as realization dawned on her. It was almost as if she’d need telekinetic powers. 

……

 

“Matilda,” Jenny asked as they laid in bed that night. “Do you like living with me?”

 

“Yes, of course! This is so much better than where I came from!” Matilda said, rolling onto her side. 

 

“I know it’s better, but I was just wondering…is it enough?” Am I enough?

 

Matilda rolled over and faced her. She looked confused. “I don’t understand.”

 

Jenny sighed. “What If you could have a family who loved and appreciated you. A mom and dad, your own room again. Your own bed! I can’t give you any of those things. Wouldn’t you prefer that over this?”

 

Jenny could see the scowl forming over Matilda’s features. “I thought you said you wanted to be my mom.” 

 

“Of course, I want to be your mom!” Jenny said. “I may not be very good at it, but-” 

 

“If I could choose, I’d still pick you.” Matilda said matter-of-factly. “This,” she gestured around the tiny room, “has felt more like home than anywhere else I’ve ever lived, because you’re here.”

 

“You’re so sweet, I hope you’re not just saying that.” Jenny said, pulling Matilda towards her and into a hug. “You know you can tell me the truth, no matter how small or big.” 

 

“I do.” Matilda said, resting her head on Jenny’s shoulder. 

 

“Uh-huh, Miss, no, I don’t have to pee.” She could feel Matilda stiffen against her. She bit her lip, maybe she shouldn’t have gone so far. “Why does that bother you so much?”

 

“I don’t know.” Matilda mumbled into Jenny’s nightgown. Liar. She rubbed up and down her bare back, her shirt having mysteriously disappeared again. 

 

“Tell me, please. You never tell me you need something until it’s too late.” She could feel Matilda tense again. There was an issue somewhere around here. She was determined to get to the bottom of it. “You don’t like asking for help, even if it would save you a lot of trouble. Remember the museum?” Jenny could feel Matilda begin to shake with sobs, but she had to get to the bottom of this. “Talk to me, Matilda. I can’t be there for you if you don’t tell me what you need.” Jenny waited patiently, gently scratching Matilda’s back until she calmed down. “Tell me this, back at the museum, why didn’t you just ask me to unclip your overalls?”

 

“Because it was something a little kid would need.” 

 

“Honey, you’re five years old, you are a little kid.” 

 

“I don’t like,” Matilda said, but stopped.

 

“Go on, finish your thought.”

 

“I don’t like feeling helpless, and I don’t like people thinking I’m helpless.” 

 

“Of course, I don’t think you're helpless, but needing help sometimes doesn’t make you helpless either. Adults need to ask for help all the time, too. ”

 

“But not like,” Matilda said, dropping her voice, “going to the bathroom or something.” 

 

“Did you know brides on their wedding need someone to hold their dress up while they pee?” Matilda scrunched up her face. 

 

“So I won’t get married then.” She said. 

 

Jenny laughed. “Just over that?” 

 

“These last few days have been awful!” 

 

“I know, being sick is no fun, but I think you’re over the worst of it. Eve said you only threw up twice today. Maybe tomorrow you won’t throw up at all.” 

 

“Not like that, I mean, yeah that was awful too, but I don’t like being sick, around other people. Like you said, you didn’t like not wearing clothes. I don’t like dealing with bodily functions around other people. Adults especially, It makes me feel-”

 

“Vulnerable?” Jenny asked. 

 

“Yeah!” Matilda said. “I don’t like feeling vulnerable around adults.” Jenny frowned and stroked Matilda’s head. It didn’t really come as a surprise given everything she had shared with her, but it still made Jenny feel a little sad. 

 

“Do I make you feel vulnerable?”

 

Matilda didn’t answer for some time. “You used to, but not so much anymore.” Jenny sighed.

 

“I want you to feel comfortable with anything you might want or need. You know that, right? No matter how embarrassing or personal. It doesn’t matter what it might be. I will never shame you, or belittle you, or scold you for asking or letting me know you need help.” 

 

“D-do you mean that?” Matilda asked in a quiet voice. 

 

“Of course, Matilda. Is there something in particular you wanted or needed that bothers you?”

 

“I- I guess, but it’s weird, and it would make you uncomfortable, and I don’t even know why I want to so bad!” Matilda said, tripping over her words. Jenny’s face frowned with concern. What was it she wanted that would make her uncomfortable? 

 

“What is it?” Jenny asked.

 

“I- I want to,”  Matilda said, looking uncertain. “I want to lay on your chest.” Matilda blurted out. 

 

Jenny smiled, still confused. “That’s fine.”

 

“Your bare chest.” Matilda said, barely over a whisper. Oh… 

 

Jenny paused. She stared ahead at the foot of the bed. Why would Matilda want to lay on her bare chest? One of the few things she wasn’t sure she could do… Her heart was beating in a panic. She was waiting, she needed to answer her. She could tell her, “no,” without belittling or shaming her, but was that fair? Jenny had been asking her to drop her guard. That was normal, though, she was the adult and Matilda was a child. She needed to be able to trust adults again.

Was this even an appropriate request to fulfil? She was just a child. Surely there was no ulterior motive, she even said herself, she didn’t know why she wanted it…so bad. Jenny gulped. Matilda had never said she wanted something badly. Why this of all things? She thought of Matilda lying on Hortensia’s bare stomach with her arms around her. 

 

She was a girl who had never felt love. The more she thought about it, the more it made sense. Matilda was craving a kind of non-sexual intimacy, the feeling of skin against skin. Was that why she kept taking off her shirt? Jenny bit her lip. She was almost certain Matilda had stopped expecting a reply. She sighed and turned off the light.

 

……………….

 

Matilda felt her heart sink when the room had gone dark. She guessed that was Jenny’s way of saying, “no,” but she could have at least told her instead of ignoring her. She could feel tears begin to well in her eyes, Then she heard another sound, of something soft that had fallen to the floor.

 

“Come here, Matilda.” 

 

An arm gently guided her down in the dark. She could hear Jenny suck in a panicked breath when their bodies made contact. Where was it? She felt around her chest, until she felt what she was after. There! She moved up as slowly and gently as she could and placed her ear where her hand had been. Matilda could hear and feel Jenny’s heart beating like mad. 

 

“I won’t hurt you, Jenny.” Matilda whispered. “It’s okay.” She softly hummed for a bit and ran her fingers through Jenny’s hair. Ever so slowly, she could feel Jenny’s stiff body begin to slowly relax underneath her. Matilda smiled as she felt Jenny’s arms move around her and embrace her. Yes! This. This is what she had been longing for. She wanted to feel her body heat around her, and listen to her heart beat. There was something so intimate about it, like it was something only they could share.

 

“Are you okay?” Matilda whispered. The arms around her tightened in response, and she felt a pair of lips kiss her cheek.

 

“How did you know I needed this too?”

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  • SashaButters changed the title to Afternoon in the Chokey (Updated 1-20-22)

The thing which woke Matilda the next morning wasn’t the fact that it was nearly an hour past when they should've been out the door, but the too hot sensation, as if she was sleeping on a furnace. When she opened her eyes, she was surprised to find she was almost in the exact same position as last night, only higher up, with her head resting in the crook of Miss Honey’s neck. Only now, instead of the pleasant warmth of their shared body heat, Jenny felt like a piece of metal that had been left out in the sun.

 

Oh no, Matilda thought, slowly lifting herself up to eye level. Jenny was whimpering softly in her sleep, and a strained look Matilda couldn’t quite place, somewhere between fear and anger. 

 

“I’m sorry,” Matilda heard in between nonsensical babble, followed by something that sounded a lot like “bull”. It was obvious who she was dreaming about, and Matilda knew there was no such thing as a pleasant dream if that woman was involved. 

 

“Jenny,” she whispered softly. “Jenny, wake up.” She pressed a hand to her forehead and frowned. She was burning! Matilda had gotten her sick after all. She quietly chastised herself. Why couldn’t she just leave her alone and stay on her side of the bed! Or even better, slept on the floor! Or stayed at Hortensia’s. There was no hope for them after what Matilda had done over there, anyway. 

 

Miss Honey was moaning now, before a wet gurgling sound escaped her lips. Matilda could see yellowish bile running down the corners of her mouth. She was going to choke! Matilda jumped off her and pushed until Jenny was on her side, head over the side of the bed. She forced open Miss Honey’s mouth and let it drain onto the bare wooden floor below. 

 

Jenny began coughing and opened her eyes, they were glassy, and her gaze unfocused, but Matilda breathed a sigh of relief. At least she was awake. Jenny tried to sit up, but Matilda stopped her. 

 

“You’re sick.” Matilda said. It seemed to take Miss Honey a minute to register the room she was in and why one of her students was in bed with her. Her eyes went from panic, to confusion, and then finally settled on understanding. 

 

“What time is it?” Jenny asked. She rubbed at her pounding temples. 

 

Matilda looked up at the clock before answering, “8:30.”

 

“Shi-” Miss Honey gasped. She threw the covers off and sprang up, stepping in the puddle of sick. Matilda was shocked. She had never heard Jenny come even close to swearing before. 

 

“Jenny, stop! You can’t go to class like this!” She watched Miss Honey brace herself against the wall of the bathroom, before lunging for the toilet to be sick again. 

 

“I have to.” Jenny managed to eventually choke out, before shakily wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. “I’m already so late! She’s going to kill me.” Her protesting was cut short by more retching. 

 

Matilda went to the landline and pulled out the phone book. No way was she going to let Jenny anywhere out of the apartment today. The thought of her going to school was insane! She looked up the number for Crunchem Hall and dialed. The receiver was picked up after two rings. A man answered; it was the vice principal, Mr. Trilby 

 

Matilda quickly made up a story of walking to school and finding her teacher getting sick in the street, before walking her back home.

 

“Thank you for letting us know, Matilda. We were wondering what happened to her; it’s not like her to miss class. Ever. Tell her I wish her a speedy recovery. Even the principal is out with it.” 

 

“Thank you, Mr. Trilby, I will.” Matilda said before hanging up. Jenny would be happy to know the Trunchbull wasn’t there. 

 

Next, Matilda grabbed a rag from the sink and wiped up the mess off the floor, as well as the now yellowish footprints leading to the bathroom. The door was now closed and Matilda could hear the shower running. Matilda would be ushering her back into bed the moment she came out, whether she wanted to or not, she’d keep smacking her with the broom if she had to. 

 

While Matilda was thinking about what else she could do, there was a loud thunk sound from the bathroom. She went to the door and knocked. No answer.

 

“Jenny? Are you okay?” Still no answer. Worried, she opened the door and peeked inside. The shower was still running, but she couldn’t see the woman’s silhouette behind the curtain. “Jenny?” There was a moan in response. Matilda rushed inside and threw open the curtain. Jenny was crumpled in a heap on the bathtub floor, holding her head. 

 

“Jenny!” Matilda quickly turned off the water and kneeled on the floor to be eye level. She moved her hand away, but she couldn’t see any blood. “Are you okay? What happened?” 

 

“Just got a little dizzy. I’m alright.” Miss Honey said. 

 

“No, you’re not!” Matilda protested. “I called the school and told them you weren’t coming in.” 

 

“Matilda! No! You shouldn’t have done that! If the Trunch-” Matilda stopped her. 

 

“I talked to Mr. Trilby, and told him I found you ill on my walk to school, so I walked you back home and called as soon as we got here. He says he hopes you feel better, and not to worry about it. The Trunchbull called out, she’s got it too.” She could see the fight fall from Miss Honey’s face the moment she realized the Trunchbull wouldn’t be breaking down her door to find her. Matilda offered her a hand, and together, they managed to get her out of the bathtub  and onto the bathmat. Matilda didn’t like how wobbly she still was.
 

“Hold onto the towel rack, I’ll dry you off.” 

 

“Matilda, that’s really not necessary.” Miss Honey protested, but Matilda could see she was straining just to stay on her feet.

 

“Hold on to the towel rack.” She repeated, a bit more forceful. 

 

“Matilda,” Miss Honey said, sounding exasperated, but did as she was instructed. Matilda dried off her legs and hips, before climbing up onto the closed toilet lid to get her upper body. She could tell Jenny was uncomfortable with the close contact and being seen naked, but Matilda wasn’t going to let her risk falling again. She had read bathrooms were the most dangerous place in the house, and as she took in the edges of the sink, bathtub and toilet, she could see why.

 

When she had finished, she threw the towel onto Jenny’s head, giggling as it fell over her face. There was no hope of reaching her head, so she took Jenny by the hand and led her back to bed. 

 

“In,” Matilda ordered. Jenny didn’t argue, she was practically panting from the effort of standing and walking. She slid under the covers, letting her towel covered head hit the pillow. You’re pathetic, Jenny thought, making a child care for you, a grown adult. You’re no better than her. “Stop it,” Matilda said with a scowl. “You’re sick, and you’re not making me do anything. I’m doing it because I want to.” Miss Honey grimaced. She hadn’t realized she had said it out loud, maybe she was worse than she thought.

 

“We could play pretend.” Matilda said, after a minute of awkward silence. Miss Honey looked up at her. “We’ll pretend you’re not an adult. I’ll be the parent, and you’ll be the child.”

 

“Like playing house?” Jenny asked, closing her eyes. Hadn’t they been playing house this whole time? With Jenny pretending to be a strong, reliable adult in Matilda’s life, instead of the small cowardly child she felt like most of the time. 

 

“Yeah, like house. I know you don’t need my help, but we’re just pretending you do. It’s just a game.” 

 

A game of make believe? 

 

A fragment of a memory passed through Miss Honey’s mind. Her father, Magnus, getting his temperature taken with Jenny’s toy thermometer, band-aids all over his face and suit. 

 

“What is it, Doctor, what’s wrong with me?” Magnus asked.

“You’re sick!” Four-year-old Jenny declared. She pulled the toy from his mouth and stared at it, “112! Degrees.” 

 

“112 Degrees! Well, it’s a good thing Dr. Bumblebee is here to take such good care of me.” Magnus said.

 

“Yeah,” Miss Honey said before feeling a cup of medicine pressed against her lips. She swallowed it. “Make believe sounds nice. Let’s play.” The corners of her mouth twitched upward into a smile when she felt a cool, wet wash cloth gently laid on her forehead. “How do you always know?” She mumbled before falling back to sleep. 

 

……………………………………………………………….


 

Matilda sat crossed legged on the bed, silently watching, waiting and…feeling? The first time had just been a hunch, the second, a lucky guess. The third? Quick reflexes. The fourth time though… Matilda was puzzled. It was almost as if Matilda knew Miss Honey would be sick even before she did. Every time Jennifer had lurched forward, Matilda already had the trashcan floating in the air and ready in front of her. 

 

What had unnerved Matilda the most was her own body. She had been certain she had to pee, but when she went and sat on the toilet, nothing would happen despite the pressure growing stronger. This had been going on for the last thirty minutes, and it was driving her mad. Then an odd thought crossed her mind. No, it wasn’t possible. People couldn’t just… 

 

People also couldn’t make trashcans float in the air, but here she was, beckoning it into the bathroom to dump its contents into the open toilet. She pushed an imaginary lever in the air, and the toilet flushed. She supposed it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

 

“Jenny?” Matilda whispered at her bedside. “Jenny?” She placed a hand on her forehead. She was still burning up. Nothing she gave her seemed to break the fever. 

 

“Hmm?” Miss Honey mumbled. She opened her eyes, still glassy and unfocused.

 

“I was just wondering if you needed anything. Some water, maybe, or to use the bathroom?” Matilda could see the crease of worry form, before she tried to sit up. 

 

“I’m so dizzy,” Jenny said. The two of them slowly managed to get her into a sitting position with her legs over the bed, but that was as far as Matilda was willing to push her. She didn’t like how red her skin was getting, or how flushed her face was. She didn’t have a thermometer, but she was almost certain her fever was beyond 102. If she tried to get up, all Matilda could do was make a good cushion to fall onto, and fall Matilda was certain she would do. She just had to think. How could they do this? 

 

“Don’t!” Matilda said, when she saw Jenny trying to push herself up. “You’ll only get hurt.”

 

“I need to pee.” Miss Honey said, but stayed where she was, obviously spent from the small movement.

 

“I know,” Matilda muttered. “I’m thinking.” The obvious idea was out, Matilda’s pull-ups would never fit her. “How far can you scoot yourself off the bed? I could levitate the trashcan to you, but…” There was the issue of angles still, and she doubted Jenny would be willing, given her issues with modesty.

 

“Whatever, that’s fine, just hurry.” Matilda bit her lip. What she needed was a doctor. Did they really make house calls? Or was that just a thing of stories past? Did Jenny even have insurance? 

 

Matilda played with a few angles, but it was clear this idea was out. She would have needed to be on a corner, and it all came back to neither of them having enough strength… unless… She couldn’t move that much weight with her body, but maybe… They never had tested her limits. What if she could hold her up with her mind? 

 

“Try and stand up, I have an idea.” Matilda pushed with her mind as hard as she could, helping move Jenny’s body as Jenny tried to pull herself up. She was a little wobbly still, but much steadier than before.

 

“Are you the reason I feel so light?” Jenny asked. She was still hanging onto the bed frame. Matilda nodded, grabbing her hand. 

 

“I think I can walk you to the bathroom like this” Matilda started to say, but stopped. There was an intense, sudden pressure, like something was squeezing her. Another premonition? She wasn’t going to make it halfway across the room. “I’m sorry, but can you spread your legs a little?” The trashcan met its target just as the dripping started. “It's making you feel lighter, but I think it’s also squeezing you.” Miss Honey stood frozen in place, looking at the bathroom with longing. “It’s too late, and I don’t think I can keep this up much longer.” She lifted a towel off the floor with the last of her mental strength and held it over Jenny’s waist. 

 

“Thank you for that.” Miss Honey whispered, nodding at the towel, but Matilda had a hunch she didn’t care at this point. Matilda squirmed in place. She could feel the pressure inside herself ebbing away with the trickling sound coming from the other side of the towel. This was too bizarre! She patted the crotch of her pants, almost half expecting to find them wet, and then…she was fine. Matilda let the towel fall before she grabbed the trashcan with her hands and set in on the floor. She didn’t trust herself not to mentally drop it, and she needed to focus all her attention on getting Jenny back into bed. This was too much of a strain on her powers to rely on as a solution, even if Jenny would be willing to stand over the trashcan every time instead of trying to walk. 

 

Matilda collapsed into bed next to her. Maybe she would be more useful if she wasn’t still getting over this herself. She wanted nothing more than to fall asleep as well, but she knew she couldn’t. She needed to keep watch. Matilda needed to keep…feeling. She had a sense of doom hanging over her, and she couldn’t seem to shake it. It didn’t seem to be what Matilda had, but in a way, this was worse. Her fever was spiking, not breaking. 


 

The first person Matilda called when Jenny started jerking in her sleep was Hortensia. It was the only number she knew. When Hortensia picked up, Matilda asked for her mom to come over, but learned Eve had also gotten sick. Matilda wasn’t happy to learn her issues were in her lower GI tract, just like Matilda’s and Hortensia’s had been. Matilda had been relieved she hadn’t had to deal with Jenny having diarrhea, but now she’d almost welcome it. She could deal with the mess if it meant Jenny would be better soon. 

 

When Matilda tried to get Jenny to drink water, only for her to spit it back out, she made a second phone call. Followed by a third, and then a fourth. No doctor's office made house calls, it seemed. She was almost in tears when she tried the last thing she could think of. She tried the school and asked to speak to Mrs. Rodgers. 


 

 “Hello, Matilda! Glad to hear you're feeling better!”

 

“I need help!” Matilda begged. “It’s Miss Honey! No one will come!” Now she really was crying. 

 

“What is it? What’s wrong with Miss Honey?” 

 

“I don’t know! I thought I got her sick, but it’s different, and her fever won’t break! Can you come look at her? I can’t even take her temperature! I don’t have a thermometer, but I think It’s really high, and I’m scared! Please!” 

 

“It’s going to be okay, Matilda, try and calm down. Can you tell me what’s wrong with her?” 

 

“S-she’s got a fever, and she’s throwing up, but not like from nausea. More like from her stomach contracting, and she’s not swallowing!” Matilda heard Mrs. Rogers suck in a breath. “What is it?”

 

“I’m not sure but, I’ll be there soon. Have you called an ambulance? Do you think she needs one?” 

 

“I don’t know,” Matilda said. She had been debating calling for one for the last hour, and if Mrs. Rodgers hadn’t picked up, she probably would have called, but she knew something about their living situation was complicated. She didn’t want to put Miss Honey at risk just because she was too dumb to know what was and wasn’t an emergency. 

 

“I’m coming, just hang in there.” 

 

Matilda was pacing the floor by the time Mrs. Rodgers arrived. Jenny’s breathing was getting shallower, and she wasn’t responding in anything but quiet moans. Matilda’s jaw was beginning to ache, but she wasn’t sure if that was because she was grinding her teeth, or had something to do with Matilda feeling Jenny’s pain. 

 

She opened the door wide for Mrs. Rodgers before she had even approached the door. Matilda eagerly beckoned her in. 

 

“Thank you! Thank you for coming! I don’t know what to do anymore!” All she had managed to do at this point was wipe her down with cold, wet rags and listen to her breathing turn more ragged. Matilda had thrown a sheet over her to cover her body after pulling the blankets off her, but she didn’t have the time or the energy to dress her. 

 

“Well, let's see where her temperatures at.” Matilda watched as she pulled a thermometer out of her bag. “Hopefully it’s not as high as you think.” Matilda hoped so, too. “Jennifer, can you hear me? It’s Mrs. Rodgers from school.” Miss Honey weakly opened her eyes, but didn’t say anything. “Matilda called me, she’s worried about you.” Miss Honey blinked in acknowledgement before closing her eyes again and rubbing her jaw. It was right where Matilda’s hand was on hers. “I’m going to take your temperature.”

 

Matilda held her breath and waited for the beep. Mrs. Rodgers pulled it out and looked down at. Matilda could see her face fall.

 

“Go ahead and call that ambulance now, Matilda.” 

 

………………………….

 

Everything seemed to happen in a blur. Their tiny apartment was full of paramedics asking questions, and yelling vitals. Matilda could see an oxygen mask being secured around Miss Honey’s face. Matilda was starting to cry again, but she didn’t care. She followed them out of the studio as they wheeled Miss Honey out on a gurney. Matilda stopped when she felt Mrs. Rodgers grab her hand.

 

“Come with me in my care, we’ll meet them at the hospital.” Matilda looked back at the ambulance, she wanted to stay with Miss Honey. “Please, I’d like to talk to you about something.”
 

Matilda followed her to her car, giving one last glance behind her, before climbing into the passenger's side. 

 

“What were all those scars on her body? Do you know?” Matilda nodded, but didn’t reply. It wasn’t her secret to tell. “It’s important, the paramedics need to know.” Matilda bit her lip.

“Cigar burns.” Matilda said softly. “She was abused as a child.” She heard Miss Rodgers suck in a breath before beating the steering wheel with a fist. Matilda jumped and stared at her.

 

“It was her, wasn’t it.” She said it in an accusatory tone instead of a question, but Matilda nodded her head. They sat in silence for some time, before Mrs. Rodgers started the car. “You did the right thing, calling for help.”

 

“I was afraid no one would come. I was so scared. She looked like she was hav-having a a a f-f-fit.” Matilda hid her face in her arm and learned against the window. 

 

Please be okay, Jenny, Please. You’re the only family I have. 





 

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  • SashaButters changed the title to Afternoon in the Chokey (Updated 1-22-22)
53 minutes ago, BabySofia said:

You have taken the original work and really made it your own direction here. Looking forward to the next chapter - I'm sure Jenny will be alright... If not I hope Matilda punishes the authoress! 

Lmao ? 

I hope you mean that in a good way ?It's a bit from the book, movie, and play. Matilda from the play has a bit of a psychic connection to Jenny, so I'm just adding to that. 

 

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1 hour ago, SashaButters said:

Lmao ? 

I hope you mean that in a good way ?It's a bit from the book, movie, and play. Matilda from the play has a bit of a psychic connection to Jenny, so I'm just adding to that. 

Never seen the play actually... All I've ever known is Matilda was awesome. Hope she does let Jenny mommy her in the near future too. Poor girl grew up waaaaaay too fast!

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  • SashaButters changed the title to Afternoon in the Chokey (Updated 12-6-23)
  • SashaButters changed the title to Afternoon in the Chokey (Updated 2-16-24)

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