There was only one main rule at Oakstone Academy.
"This is the staff and parents newsletter. Any student who has been caught breaking school rules will be reported through this newsletter. As you know, we do not condone fighting of any kind, physical or verbal. I would caution you to admonish your daughter for her actions."
Eight-year-old Magenta Davies heard the dorm parent say the words to her mother. The dorm parent, Miss Burgundy, was thin like a stick, with round moon-colored glasses and a silver gray bob for hair. Miss Burgundy glanced at Magenta to see if she heard anything. The child feigned ignorance, sitting below her mother and playing with Barbie dolls. Ken was about to take Barbie to their favorite restaurant, and they were going to try sushi.
Magenta did not know what admonish meant, but she knew she did not like Miss Burgundy. Not one bit. She disliked Miss Burgundy more than Blue Harrison. Being in the fifth grade and her second year of boarding school, Magenta had already made an enemy. Thus on the last day before the new school year started, Miss Burgundy had asked to see Magenta together with Magenta's mother.
"Magenta dear, you must say sorry to Blue." Miss Burgundy smiled, trying to be nice, but Magenta did not feel the warmth. She could see yellow and green pieces of leftover lunch on Miss Burgundy's teeth.
"He pushed me first! Blue is a meanie beanie!" Magenta said, smashing Ken against Barbie's body.
Ken and Barbie had no say in the smashing but Magenta realized she was being too violent so she set the dolls down.
Miss Burgundy's smile turned into a frown.
"That is not a nice thing to say." Miss Burgundy replied, her nose turning up towards the heavens as if she were an angel of the Lord about to blow a trumpet.
Miss Burgundy's flat smelled like raw fish and old socks. There were piles of papers and dusty books, as well as knitting and paper mache projects scattered here and there. Magenta hated the flat too. In her bad mood, Magenta tugged at her mother's dress.
"Mommy, I want to go to the toilet," Magenta said.
Magenta's mother, Cathy, apologized profusely on behalf of Magenta.
"Miss Burgundy, I will make sure to talk to Magenta about this. We'll go see Blue and his family now to say sorry after toilet time."
Cathy held Magenta's hand, packing Barbie and Ken into her bag before taking Magenta out of the flat.
Outside, Cathy placed Magenta on top of a wall ledge gently. Outside the girls' dorms was a garden with a pathway leading down to the other dorms and the school class buildings.
"Maggie, please. Blue may be Mr. Meanie, but you shouldn't push others. Miss Burgundy said you almost hurt your new friend Shelby when you pushed Blue."
"But it wasn't my fault," Magenta protested.
"No, I don't want to hear anymore. We're going to the boys' dorms now. Eat this candy, it's the last lemon one from daddy."
Cathy and Magenta headed to the boys' dorms, with Magenta sucking on the sweet candy in sulky silence. The candy was her favorite, but this sorry business was not nice. Magenta's footsteps made stomping prints across the garden mud marsh between the pavements.
"Stop that, you're going to get your trousers dirty!" Cathy said.
So what if I do, Magenta thought.
Magenta didn't care about getting messy and dirty. She liked rolling around on the hills, but she didn't like having to go to Blue's dorm. Her bad mood grew increasingly worse as they neared the dirty boys' dorms. Cathy pulled Magenta along when Magenta stopped moving.
"I don't wanna." Magenta decided.
"Come on, we don't have all day," Cathy sighed.
Blue Harrison saw Magenta coming from his room.
Magenta, the bad apple to his rotten pear. Blue was a naughty child, the kind who pranked everyone in sight. Fart jokes and dinosaurs were in. Bad girls and candy were out. As soon as he saw Magenta, he got up and sprinted outside. His parents called after him to come back.
He ran out of the dorm, sticking his tongue out at Magenta.
"MEANIE BEANIE!" Magenta shouted.
"BADDIE MAGGIE!" Blue shouted even louder than Magenta.
Cathay held Magenta back by the back of her shirt. At the same time, Blue's parents came outside too. Blue's dad pulled Blue by the ear.
"Stop!" Both parents told their children.
"Magenta, say sorry!"
Neither Blue nor Magenta listened to the one word that mattered.
Magenta tore away from her mother's grip and stomped her way to Blue.
Everyone held their breath, thinking Magenta would apologize for her actions.
Skidding to a halt right in front of Blue and his father, Magenta pulled her left eyelid down and blew a raspberry. Blue touched his eye as if to say how offended he was. Then, before anyone could react, Magenta's foot came hurtling down on top of Blue's right foot. Magenta flounced behind her mother promptly, with a small 'tee hee' grin.
Blue howled and clutched his foot, glaring with tears in his eyes at Magenta. He roared and flew forward to grab Magenta's hair. She fought against him and all four parents tried to pull them apart but they were unsuccessful. Even at eight, Blue and Magenta had the strength of giants. At least when it came to each other.
This time a whistle broke the impending fight.
"What in the name of the good Lord are you children doing!"
Blue and Magenta froze.
It was old Mrs. Gouges, senior teacher and head overseer of all dorms. Mrs. Gouges was a stout middle-aged woman, with curly grey hair. Her eyes held a look that said 'don't you dare' all the time, and her eyebrows were drawn back in a pencil-thin fashion.
"Blue Harrison! Magenta Davies! You should be ashamed of yourselves! What kind of example are you making for the new students? Kitchen duty tonight!" Mrs. Gouges' word was final.
Magenta's mom marveled and asked, "but they are only eight! How can they wash all the dishes?"
Blue's dad made a "tsk" sound as if to say that's what they deserved.
"Not to worry, they will not be washing all the dishes. They will be drying some of the cleaned dishes." Mrs. Gouges had the same sickly sweet smile as Miss Burgundy.
Their parents had already left, much to mutual disappointment. Magenta and Blue's parents both worked in important embassy positions. Thus they chose to put their children in boarding school early. They had to go on the next planes back to the city.
That night, Magenta's arms ached from cleaning so many plates, bowls, and pieces of cutlery. There were piles upon piles of dishes to clean. Though other students also got kitchen duty. The other students were the ones washing the dishes. They discussed what they got into trouble for in quiet tones. Most of them broke the 'no fighting' rule.
Magenta felt a headache pounding steadily in her head, spreading to make her body feel weaker. Pressing a hand to her forehead, Magenta continued despite her pain.
Silently, Blue nudged Magenta.
"Go back to your room, Sleepy," Blue said.
"Almost done," Magenta replied.
Blue took the plate from Magenta's hands gently. He shook his head and put his hand up.
"Mr. Gouges, Magenta is sick," Blue spoke.
Mr. Gouges was a fat man, with wisps of black hair on either side of his egg-shaped head. But he was jovial, always smiling kindly, unlike Mrs. Gouges who was constantly flat-lipped. He peered at Magenta from where he sat, supervising kitchen duty.
Contrary to Mrs. Gouges, Mr. Gouges had a soft spot for kids. He got up, his chair creaking. Mr. Gouges left the room and came back after a few minutes, seeing the pallid look on Magenta's skin.
"Okay Magenta, come wait here. Get some water. Miss Burgundy will be here soon to take you back to your dorm."
Magenta flashed a rare weak smile at Blue, it was her offer of thank you.
Blue smiled back, briefly, before going back to the task at hand.
The night ended with a truce, but the years ahead proved to be more tumultuous.
A/N: Welcome to Blue and Magenta! This book is a completed first draft, entered into the Wattys 2022. I am putting it here too unless it gets shortlisted.