John sat under a tree during recess, a big book open on his lap. Other children were swinging or playing tag, but he had just gotten to the climatic battle between hero and villain.
Toe to toe battle on the edge of a cliff, fists flying, a sweep kick from the dastardly deviant nearly sending the hero over the edge. Fingertips digging into dirt, feet dangling in the open air.
"Any last words?" The villain held their foot over the hero’s clutching fingers.
"John!" A shout from behind, near his ear, made him jump. The bark scratched at his back, and his book tumbled into the mulch. Giggles broke out behind them. "Got you good!"
"Very funny Emily." John frowned as he picked up his book, trying to dust away the mulch without leaving black smudges on his pages. "I lost my page!" He whined. "And my book is dirty."
"Boo hoo you diphthong." Emily plopped into the dirt besides him, big blue eyes sparkling ad she grinned. "As long as you can read it, it'll be fine." Her pigtails bounced as she reached for the book.
"Hey!" John twisted and held the book out of her reach.
"What, you don't want to let me even see the title?" Emily moved closer, clambering over John's legs to get a hand on his book.
"Ow!" John started to push at Emily's shoulder. "Get off!"
With a huge, completely exaggerated sigh and a flick of her head, hitting John in the face with a pig tail, Emily pushed away from John, letting him keep his book. He rubbed a red spot on his calf where her knee had really held all her weight.
"Geeze." He grumbled. "What's the matter with you?"
"What's the matter with you diphthong?" Emily crossed her arms.
"I know you are, but what am I?" John's default to taunts he didn't understand.
"Wrong." She twirled a pig tail around her finger. "You're name is a diphthong, only one syllable that cannot be separated. Unlike Em-i-ly." She held up three fingers. "See diphthong?"
John blinked a few times before scrunching his eyebrows. "Why would they use diphthong to describe a one syllable word, when .diphthong is two syllables?"
Emily looked over her shoulder, before grabbing John’s wrist and pulling him to his feet. “Maybe Miss Carlson knows!” She started running, pulling John behind it.
Neither of them expected how many times she would do so in the future.
Word count: 409