Dreams Built in Sand by Sean Flanders

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SUMMARY: Secrets lie in a girl's sandbox.

"Ashley! Hey! Over here!"

Ashley stopped her bike and saw, across the street, that kid calling her name and waving her arms like she's trying to guide a plane down. She was one of what Ashley thinks of as Class Kids. Of the hundreds of students at C. Dupin Elementary School, Ashley divided all of them into five groups, placing each group in a strict hierarchy. At the bottom were Mean Kids; they were a rapidly growing group consisting of everyone who, in one way or another, had gotten Ashley Walker pissed at them. A little further up the totem pole were the Other Kids; they were the many kids at C. Dupin that Ashley had never met; if she ever heard their names, she had forgotten them a long time ago. Then there were Class Kids; they were the ones that Ashley had class with but never really got to know; learning a few things about the Class Kids was inevitable, but could largely be avoided. Above the Class Kids were the Cool Kids, those lucky few that Ashley actually enjoyed spending time with and had earned the right to call her a friend. Above even the Cool Kids, and certainly above some Class Kid whose name Ashley couldn't even remember, there was the very peak of the pyramid, a group consisting of only one member: Ashley herself. Ashley had worked up various categories to include adults, family members, and kids from other schools, but, when you got right down to it, there were really only two groups that mattered: at the top there was Ashley, and far below her was Everyone Else In The World.

So it was with a sugary smile on her face and acidic thoughts in her brain that Ashley acknowledged this Class Kid and walked her bike across the lawn to her.

"What's up, Cindy?" Ashley asked as the Class Kid finally stopped waving her arms, leaving her blonde bangs to fall across her eyes. Ashley couldn't actually remember this girl's name, though she must have heard it before. Ashley never asked people what their names were; either they introduced themselves or Ashley called them whatever name seemed to fit. Most Class Kids, she found, could never bring themselves to correct her, and this hyperactive Cindy-looking girl was proving no exception. In fact, she seemed too excited to even notice what name she was being called. Even though her arms had stopped waving they still jittered as they hung at her sides, and her legs did an awkward little dance that either meant she was excited or was holding in piss. Ashley hoped it was the former.

"Ohmygod it's so cool you'll never guess just there in the sandbox and so awesome you gotta see yeah yeah it's great totally cool believe it!"

Oh, great, she's one of the perky one, Ashley thought.

Out loud she said, "What's so great?"

"You just gotta see oh please please you'll love it it's so awesome!" the little blonde girl said, skipping around her house and into the backyard.

Ashley knew from watching movies and TV that little girls like the two of them were supposed to skip, but, now that she thought about it, she couldn't recall actually seeing another girl skipping before.

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