CarrieAnn Lee


Ten-year-olds, Jessica and Izzy are best friends, even though they seldom agree on anything. They love a good argument. Even though they have a mutual disdain for most boys, they still like to spy on them. Itís 1968 and girls are still expected to wear dresses to school, Barbie dolls are the new rave, roller skates still have four wheels and how you raised your child was your own business.

Izzy loves a good adventure. She drags her friend Jess, who lives only two doors down from her, along for the ride. Jess tries desperately to stay on the good side of
her father, but finds that he doesnít have one. No matter what she does, Jessicaís father takes out his disappointment with life, upon her.

One day, Jess tries to show off her bruises to fellow classmates, thinking that they are cool like war wounds. Her classmates arenít interested, but Izzy is. She has immediate compassion for her friend and tries to convey her concern for her, but Jess shrugs it off. Jess believes that all children are disciplined in the same way. The term
child abuse wasnít used in the sixties.

When the abuse becomes too much for Jess to bear, Izzy devises a plan to save her friend. Izzy begins collecting picket fencing, bricks, sheets, old carpeting and anything else she can get her hands on and drags it beneath her house. She builds a very comfortable and attractive (to a 10 year old anyway) hiding place in the crawl space. At first, Jess bulks at the thought of sharing a dark hide-away with a bunch of spiders, but gives in, when her father delivers an unusually harsh beating on report card day. Knowing that Jess hates spiders, Izzy  kills all the spiders under her house and puts them into a glass jar. Then she places them on Jessieís windowsill.  The message is received, and instead of going to school the next day . . . Jessie disappears.

Copyright 2007 CarrieAnn Lee
All Rights Reserved