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.