The dim light of another gray, northern Indiana autumn morning dribbles in through the curtained window. I roll onto my back and sigh. Staring at the ceiling, I try to reconcile the fact that shortly, I will be heading back to the house where my sibling and parents are. Every part of me is resisting and I don’t want to get up. I turn over to see if Mandy is awake and find her looking at me.
“Hey,” she says with a yawn. “Want some food before you return to your cell?”
“Yeah, I guess I’d better eat something now. Who knows what they’re going to do,” I mutter.
At this point my friends have given up the idealistic attitude that maybe my family will change and have become resigned to reality, justlike me. I am angry that because of all this, my friends are suffering too. I bet this is why most people avoid me. It isn’t just because of how I look. It’s the thing they can’t put their finger on, but they know there is something wrong with the picture. Some people are civil to me, but won’t socialize with me. That’s how I know I’m right. I have good test scores and good grades. It isn’t like I’m a vandal or anything. I’m used to being treated like crap, so it usually rolls right off. But today that I pray no one starts in on me. Today I feel like I have no skin and that nothing can protect me from the certain pain that waits for me in my parents’ house. I feel like a walking, bleeding wound that leaves a trail wherever I go.
I scrub myself in the shower and throw on some junky clothes. They’ll probably make me clean the whole house with a toothpick or something, and it’ll save time if I’m prepared. I flop down at the kitchen table and Mandy brings me a stack of blueberry pancakes and sausages. She has a tin of real maple syrup, too. I pile food onto a plate and being snarfing.
The doorbell rings and I freeze in midbite. The color has drained from Mandy’s face and she speeds to answer the door. I hear a cacophony, and hear Max and Andy goofing around, “Jesus Mandy! It’s us!” “Put me DOOOOWWWWWWNN!” Mandy is hollering and flailing as Max carries her into the kitchen over his shoulder. He is grinning and poking her in the butt with his index finger. “I thought you were the Pillsbury dough boy,” he laughs, putting her down and raising his arms to shield the many blows coming from our petite friend Mandy slaps Max lightly around the head and shoulders. “You shithead! I’m on the rag and I could’ve squirted blood everywhere like a jelly donut!” she screams, smacking him hard on his arm. Andy starts making puking noises and gestures over the sink, “Blaaaarrrgh! Thanks for the visual, Mandy.”
Fasten your seatbelts for a white-knuckled ride on the looney wagon and trip down memory lane with a band of misfit teenagers. Kiera Graves and her small posse of true blue friends plot ways to escape their cowtown; and play a game of keep away with her Machiavellian family to help her survive high school and make it to college.
Courage under fire, the closest bonds of friendship and blossoming romance keep this tale of coming of age and survival buzzing with excitement, heart, and warmth.
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Genre - General Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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