The Girl at the end of The Jungle Book –
This must be the boy! The one she’s heard about: the boy they say is raised by the animals. They call him feral and free, that he is liberated to wander around the land. He speaks to the snakes, the bears… the tiger that terrorises them. But why does he choose these animals over his own kind? She imagines teaching him how to dance. Her father says she is the best in the village. Shanti takes a drink, tired after walking long hot miles to collect water, but still alert to any sign of his presence. He has followed her before. Is he there now, watching? She catches her reflection in the water and imagines what that freedom would be like. To not provide for her younger brothers, to lie in the sun! She laughs to herself – that freedom is only ever for the men.
Token Cool Asian from Mean Girls
“Is Regina George even really that hot? Like, seriously? She has no butt, weird knees, and ALWAYS looks sunburnt. Like, everyone is obsessed with the plastics just because they’re white and blonde and I’m over it – Britney season is over!”
Tina quietly sipped her chocolate milkshake, zoning Vera out. She’d heard this rant a 1000 times. She knew people called her a ‘cool Asian’, but the plastics never even looked in her direction. Sure, she was pretty enough for the Asian guys, but even they flirted with Karen and Regina constantly. She was head gymnast, played three instruments, could beat her brother to any dunk and made cupcakes that you would totally like die for, but Vera was right, she was just an overachieving Asian cliché. She slurped up the last sweet sips and wondered if life gets any better after high school.
Pigeon Lady from Home Alone 2
“And they call me crazy…” she chuckles to herself. Yet here was this boy, again! Much too young to be alone in the park at night – where were his parents? Who were his parents? She thinks of all the times the police have tried to move her on, assuming she was smoking crack or drunk or a maniac, but where are they tonight? She saw him trip, a flash of bare ankle – he’ll freeze in a New York minute. She tuts to her pigeons, her friends. As a girl she’d draw them all the time, now they’d almost become substitute children. She thought of her own life, the loss of her small boy… she stopped herself. No point dredging all that up again (and again and again and again). She glanced at the lost child and nodded at her bird family – they who kept her warm, on the inside, at least. “How can we help him?” she sighs.
Padma Patil from Harry Potter
Padma looked across her dorm and wished once more she’d been sorted into the same house as her sister. It wasn’t fair! She felt the prickle of tears as she imagined mum coming in, singing prayers to them. She closed her eyes and tasted her honey-drenched whispers, “Aum jai jagdish hare…” She opened her eyes and was confronted with the dorm again. She didn’t know this place would be so, so… white. Everyone in Ravenclaw seemed alright, but they just didn’t get her. She was smart – always top of the class – but you’d think it was only Hermione who had a brain. She beat her marks all the time! And no one had even heard of the things she liked – practicing mehndi, magic monopoly, watching her mum cook headily spiced dinners – the thought set her mouth watering. She thought Hogwarts wouldn’t be as white, as posh, as some of the other Wizarding schools, but it seemed almost everyone here was rich and from ancient and powerful families. She didn’t like being different. She squinted into the dark and rolled over in frustration – thank god for Parvati.
Ursula from The Little Mermaid
She was the fucking queen! Ursula slowly licked her crimson lips – the colour of passion and violence, of sex and rage. What did Trident know about any of that? The way he kept those poor girls under lock and key, they were more like scared servants than daughters! She adjusted her breasts and stroked one tenderly as she did so. Trident took that crown from her, and if she had to use Ariel to send him a message she would. To think a dithering old man, a man who knew no magic, could try and take what was hers and paint her as an evil witch! He knew nothing about female power, what women are capable of – how could he? The corners of her perfectly shaped mouth curled up into a smile. It was time for redemption.
This story was originally published in Somesuch Stories Issue 4, which is available for purchase via AntenneBooks.
Illustration by The Jungle Book (1967) // Movie Stills DB